Real Weddings: Dasha and Sébastien

Inside a beautifully thoughtful celebration that went back to where it all began

Sébastien Heins, an actor, and Dasha Peregoudova, a labour and employment lawyer, first met when they were in elementary school. Dasha remembers going to watch Sebastien perform, when he was playing young Simba in the Mirvish production of the Lion King. They lost touch until 2012, when they found each other on Facebook. Dasha went to see one of Sébastien’s shows, sending him a note afterward to compliment his performance. They were just friends at first (Dasha was involved with someone else), but after a while they realized there might be a deeper connection. After Dasha’s relationship ran its course, she and Sébastien became an item. They dated for five years before getting engaged, which happened at Dasha’s 30th birthday party. Between her schooling and his stints at Stratford, the couple had spent a significant portion of their relationship apart, and they wanted to throw a big party to celebrate being back together. They gathered 70 friends, and Sébastien arranged for a bunch of them to toast Dasha. Sébastien went last and, at the end of his speech, he got down on one knee and proposed. The shindig turned into an impromptu engagement party.

They wanted their wedding to be personal and meaningful. “We held it in February because on one of our visits to Manitoulin Island, David ‘Sunny’ Osawabine, an Indigenous elder and friend, taught us about the personal significance of the winter season,” says Dasha. Böehmer was chosen as the reception location for a sentimental reason: owner Paul Böehmer’s father and Sébastien’s grandfather were artist-friends who met when they both immigrated to Toronto from Germany. The one exception was their ceremony venue, Casa Loma’s conservatory, which they chose purely based on its aesthetic appeal. “It felt intimate, magical and theatrical,” says Dasha. They peppered the day with thoughtful touches and throwbacks, like watercolour portraits of each guest and a photoshoot at their old elementary school. Here’s what went down.

Cheat Sheet

Date: February 23, 2019
Planner: The couple
Photographer: Jennifer Moher
Bride’s dress: Gemy Maalouf
Groom’s attire: Indochino, Harry Rosen
Hair and makeup: Hair: Melissa Daniela (Sekt); Makeup: Rosanna Villani
Venues: Casa Loma; Boehmer
Caterer: Boehmer
Cake: Alex Cooney; 3D cake topper by Selftraits
Flowers: Blush and Bloom
Favours: Bruce Jones and homemade red currant jam from Dasha’s grandmother, Jenya.
Music: Cello: Rachel Pomedli; Song: Araya Mengesha; Reception DJ: Mickey Rodriquez
Invites: Neil Adare (Tiny Studio)
Guests: 100

Sébastien and his groomsmen started the day at Town Barber on Dundas:

Dasha got ready with her mom and grandmother—both of whom had flown in from Russia—at a home they rented near Casa Loma:

Dasha’s dress, which she picked up at a trunk show in Chicago, was nicknamed “Goliath” because of its size. She originally wanted something simple, but fell in love with this gown from a Lebanese designer:

Before the ceremony, Sébastien’s aunt, who is a huge history and architecture buff, gave the audience a brief lesson about the significance of Casa Loma. She also delivered the land acknowledgement:

A cellist played a Frank Ocean song during Dasha’s walk down the isle:

Here comes the bride:

A judge, who is a colleague of Dasha’s, married them. Because of his profession, he was able to explain the meaning behind a lot of the traditional elements of a wedding ceremony (like asking if anyone objects):

It was sealed with a smooch:

After, a school bus transported the bridal party to the elementary school where Dasha and Sébastien first met. They had a photoshoot where they once waited outside to come in from recess:

They hit the jungle gym, too:

The couple made it to Böehmer before everyone else, and relaxed with a coffee before the mayhem:

One of their friends, a visual artist who also happens to be a phenomenal baker, made their cake. The stand was designed by Sébastien’s father, who’s an industrial designer. The top of the half moon was meant to resemble a diving board:

Dasha and Sébastien had 3D figures of themselves made for the cake topper:

At the tables, everyone received a custom watercolour portrait made in advance by Sébastien’s uncle Bruce Jones, an illustrator. He got so good in the lead-up to the event, he was able to complete each one in only eight minutes. They also gave out Dasha’s grandmother’s homemade red currant jam:

Sébastien also made gin for their wedding party, using juniper from the small island in Georgian Bay where his family has a cabin. He designed the label, calling it Isle 85:

They did a family-style meal, with nods to their heritages mixed into the dishes:

During the meal, in between speeches, they asked three different couples at various stages of marriage (six, 20 and 40 years) to offer advice:

Their first dance was to Hozier’s “Work Song”:

Here are some more photos from the day: