Real Weddings: Inside a gorgeous, laid-back ceremony on the Toronto Islands

Real Weddings: Breanna and Fraser

Inside a gorgeous, laid-back ceremony on the Toronto Islands

By Jen Kirsch| Photography by Tara McMullen
| April 19, 2018

Breanna McQueston, a public infrastructure worker, and Fraser Wilson, vice president of International Homes Marketing Group, met through mutual friends at a St. Patrick’s Day party at Steam Whistle Brewery six years ago. They were both decked out in green—and more than a few green beers deep. There was a spark, but Fraser was in a relationship at the time. A few months later, when Fraser was single, they ran into each other at the Thompson Hotel and started dating.

In December 2015, the couple visited Horton Tree Farms, which is owned by Breanna’s extended family, to find a Christmas tree. Unbeknownst to her, Fraser and Breanna’s cousin had already found the biggest tree on the farm and hung a small wooden acorn from one of its branches. As the couple approached, Fraser pulled off the ornament, got down on one knee and opened it up to reveal a ring.

Immediately after she said yes, they headed to a cabin on the farm, where their family and friends were all waiting around a big bonfire with bubbly and Mombacho cigars (Fraser is a partner in the company). The couple planned to get married at the Royal Canadian Yacht Club in the summer of 2017. When their preferred spot got flooded, they opted for a patch of grass with a stunning view of the city instead.

Real Weddings: Inside a gorgeous, laid-back ceremony on the Toronto Islands
Cheat sheet

Date: July 22, 2017 Planner: Bliss Events Photography: Tara McMullen Photography Bride’s dress: Lea-Ann Belter Groom’s attire: Garrison Bespoke Flowers: Blush and Bloom Hair: Sarah Reilly Makeup: Celeste Weese Venue and caterer: Royal Canadian Yacht Club Music: Bride’s uncle and cousin (ceremony); Exodus (cocktail hour); Mahoney (reception) Invitations: Paper and Poste Signage: Love Lettering Guests: 220

The bride arranged a house swap with a woman who lived on Ward’s Island. She stayed there the weekend of the wedding:

Real Weddings: Inside a gorgeous, laid-back ceremony on the Toronto Islands

Toronto-based designer Lea-Ann Belter made her dress:

Real Weddings: Inside a gorgeous, laid-back ceremony on the Toronto Islands

She and her bridesmaids took a water taxi to the venue:

Real Weddings: Inside a gorgeous, laid-back ceremony on the Toronto Islands

The groom and his groomsmen also arrived on a (slightly more powerful) boat:

Real Weddings: Inside a gorgeous, laid-back ceremony on the Toronto Islands

The couple’s niece and nephews walked down the aisle with their dog, Penny:

Real Weddings: Inside a gorgeous, laid-back ceremony on the Toronto Islands

The bride’s cousin and uncle played the fiddle and guitar during the ceremony:

Real Weddings: Inside a gorgeous, laid-back ceremony on the Toronto Islands

Another cousin flew in from Scotland to perform a Celtic “blessing of the hands” during their ceremony—a nod to the couple’s Scottish roots:

Real Weddings: Inside a gorgeous, laid-back ceremony on the Toronto Islands

The couple took a harbour cruise immediately after the ceremony. “This was such a good part of the day,” says Breanna. “It gave us some precious time together during an otherwise crazy day”:

Real Weddings: Inside a gorgeous, laid-back ceremony on the Toronto Islands

Guests played lawn games during cocktail hour:

Real Weddings: Inside a gorgeous, laid-back ceremony on the Toronto Islands

To avoid a stuffy yacht club atmosphere, the couple hired a reggae band to create a chill “island vibe”:

Real Weddings: Inside a gorgeous, laid-back ceremony on the Toronto Islands

Fraser’s short list of absolute must-haves included beer koozies. “Keeping beer cold in July is serious business, and he has this theory that they’re the best keepsake because no one ever throws them out,” says Breanna:

Real Weddings: Inside a gorgeous, laid-back ceremony on the Toronto Islands

To honour the groom’s late father, Michael, the couple set up an ice cream cart. “We had a little sign beside the ice cream explaining that it had been Michael’s favourite treat and asking that our guests to keep him in their thoughts as they enjoyed it,” says Breanna. They had four signature ice cream combos, or guests could create their own from dozens of toppings:

Real Weddings: Inside a gorgeous, laid-back ceremony on the Toronto Islands

Margaritas—the groom’s favourite, and what the couple drank on their first date at Playa Cabana—were the signature drink. And to honour their first meeting, the beer of choice was Steam Whistle:

Real Weddings: Inside a gorgeous, laid-back ceremony on the Toronto Islands

The couple hired Mahoney, a band they’d flown in from Alberta, to play their reception. They first saw them play at a friend’s wedding, where they created the best dance party they had ever seen. Their first dance was to Van Morrison’s “Someone Like You”:

Real Weddings: Inside a gorgeous, laid-back ceremony on the Toronto Islands

At each table setting, a guest’s name was hand-lettered onto a mussel shell. “I wanted a nautical touch for the tables that was fun and personalized without feeling too kitschy,” says Breanna. She commissioned GreyberryDesign, a company she found on Etsy, to make them. “Thankfully, they sent me a few extras, because our dog thought they smelled tasty and destroyed several of them two days before the wedding. I had to put my own calligraphy skills to the test”:

Real Weddings: Inside a gorgeous, laid-back ceremony on the Toronto Islands

The venue served a four-course meal of fior di latte caprese salad, grilled Atlantic salmon or Alberta beef striploin, chive-and-ricotta agnolotti and strawberry pavlova:

Real Weddings: Inside a gorgeous, laid-back ceremony on the Toronto Islands

At the end of the party, a member of the bridal party boated out to the breakwall in front of the yacht club and lit some surprise fireworks (after flights had stopped for the night, of course). The bride and groom spent the night on their boat. The next day, they set sail for a two-week honeymoon in Prince Edward County and along the Trent-Severn Waterway:

Real Weddings: Inside a gorgeous, laid-back ceremony on the Toronto Islands

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