Real Weddings: Alex and Ryan

Inside a romantic rustic-chic celebration in a 150-year-old restored barn

Alex Bergquist-Terplawy, an inventory manager at Nike Canada, spin instructor and co-founder of vegan seafood company Seed to Surf, and Ryan Klein, president of Sapsucker, a sparkling water company, met at a spin class Alex was teaching in 2017. After a few dates, they decided to go their separate ways. But, after two years of friendship—and persistence on Ryan’s part—they got back together, this time for good. When the pandemic hit and indoor fitness studios shut down, Alex and Ryan headed up to Ryan’s family farm in Collingwood. After getting engaged in 2021, they knew that the Klein family’s 100-acre property and restored barn was the perfect location for their wedding. Here’s how it all came together. 

Alex: We met in 2017, when Ryan attended my spin class. He came to get smoothies with a group of us afterward, and he asked one of my girlfriends for my number. Our first date was at Bar Raval for drinks, followed by a pride party at the Drake Hotel. We went on a few more dates before I put a pause on things. I wasn’t sure where I saw the relationship going, which is hilarious to think about now. But, after being friends for over a year and a half, we started formally dating again in 2018. Clearly, the second time was the charm.

Ryan: When I went to Alex’s spin class for the first time, I thought, Wow, she’s so cool. After we went our separate ways, I was subtly very persistent. I kept showing up at her 6 a.m. Wednesday class until she agreed to go out with me again. 

Alex: It was a little bit of a slower burn for me, but I was very impressed with his persistence. It’s one of his best qualities. Once I got to know Ryan, I realized what an authentic, kind, hilarious, deeply weird yet perfect person he is. I know it was the right call to take some time to really get to know each other before we started dating seriously, because when we went for it for the second time, I felt certain that this was going to be it.

Ryan: Getting engaged was always a two-way conversation. We both knew that we wanted to get married and spend the rest of our lives together, and we talked about it a lot. The thing is, Alex prides herself on never being surprised, and I wanted to prove—mostly to myself—that I could surprise her. 

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I had to find an engagement ring, but I also wanted to get Alex an “engagement road bike” to go along with the ring. During Covid, she’d gotten really into cycling, one of my long-time hobbies, and was starting to get better than me. It was March 2021, and it was a difficult time to buy a bike because of how popular cycling had become during the pandemic. Eventually, I sourced the perfect high-end road bike, and a friend helped me design a custom engagement ring. Alex had booked us a trip to the Drake Motor Inn, in Prince Edward County, for later that month, and I thought it was the opportunity to propose. 

Neither of us are big romantics, but I was still super nervous. The second we arrived, I got down on one knee, opened the ring box and proposed. To keep it a surprise, I couldn’t bring Alex’s new bike with me to PEC, so I had folded up a piece of paper with a photo of the bike inside the ring box. When I opened the box, Alex ignored the ring, opened the piece of paper and said, “Oh my god, is that a new bike?!” The ring was appreciated shortly afterward—at least that’s what I tell myself.

Alex: It was a really nice bike! By which I mean, an engagement ring and a bike made for an especially wonderful surprise. We had a wonderful weekend celebrating, drinking and eating our way through Ontario wine country.

We toyed with the idea of getting married later that year, but I’m a bit of a control freak, and I knew the uncertainty of more potential Covid restrictions changing our plans would not set me up for success. So we started planning our wedding for June 2022, at Ryan’s parents’ family farm in Collingwood.

Ryan: I had always imagined getting married at my family’s farm. I didn’t want to force it, so I was very happy when Alex started leaning in that direction on her own. We didn’t really consider any other venues; this was the most natural fit for us. My parents have spent almost a decade updating and renovating the property, almost all on their own. My dad painted every inch of the eight-bedroom house by himself, and my mom thrifted around the country to furnish it. In the summers, my parents spent their time manicuring walking trails in the forest and planting beautiful flower gardens. Over the past five years, their passion project was restoring the barn, which was built in 1860. They made a lot of “subtle” comments about what an amazing wedding venue it would be. They weren’t wrong.

Alex: I loved the idea of planning a wedding, but I didn’t necessarily love planning my own wedding. I enjoyed the logistics and strategy of wedding planning—my Excel spreadsheets were low-key works of art—but I prefer to be out of the spotlight. I started to embrace it closer to our date, when people were expressing their excitement for us. It’s not every day that you get to be surrounded by your best friends and family, who are all there to celebrate your love and root for you. Once I realized that, I got more excited.  

On the morning of the wedding, we got ready in the farmhouse. Ryan and his groomsmen got ready at one end of the house, and my girlfriends and I got ready at the other end. Even though we were separated, we still got to share the same energy and excitement, which was special. One of my favourite parts of the day was after our first look, when the wedding party and our families gathered in the kitchen and we made Aperol spritzes and hung out before our guests started arriving. We got some intimate and relaxed time with the people that we love.

Ryan: It was the perfect day. The house was chaotic, but in an amazing way. My parents were running around, and my aunts and uncles were there to help with the flowers and all of the last-minute stuff. Our day-of coordinator, Hayley, was a lifesaver. She had the best, calmest energy, and she made sure we didn’t have to worry about anything. But, up until the day, Alex did almost all of the planning. I just had to put on my tux and show up.

We coordinated yellow school buses to drop off our guests. As soon as people started showing up, everything happened very quickly. We thought of our ceremony as more of a vow exchange. It was non-traditional, and we wanted it to be more intimate and less formal. We exchanged personal vows and ended up making a lot of people cry! After that, we went straight into cocktail hour and dinner.

Alex: Ryan and I are both plant-based eaters, and it was important to us that we had a vegan wedding. We’re also huge foodies, so delicious food was just as important. When we got engaged, I asked my friend Zach—who owns Dreyfus and Bernhardt’s in Toronto—if he wanted to cater a 150-person vegan wedding. I was mostly joking, assuming it would be a hard no. But, when he said yes, I went, “Wait…really?!” Having Dreyfus cater our wedding was one of the highlights. The food and service were perfect. I’m so grateful that Zach was able to do that for us. It was really special. 

Ryan: We also wanted a challah, but challah traditionally has egg in it, so we got Brodflour to make us a custom vegan challah. 

Alex: I’m a house and techno fanatic, and I knew I wanted that music at our wedding. I’m convinced that there couldn’t have been a better DJ for us than Joey K. He was so cool and talented, and he mixed over seven hours of house and techno for us, which kept the party going until 4 a.m. He even had a smoke machine.

Ryan: The best part about our wedding was that every detail was authentic to us—the music, the food, the home-grown nature of everything. We wanted to involve family and friends wherever we could. In keeping with Jewish tradition, we wanted a chuppah, so my dad and I built one from scratch using pieces from a 150-year-old cedar split-rail fence that we found around the edge of the property. My uncle, Garth, officiated our vow exchange, and my aunt foraged every bouquet on the tables. Alex’s dad played traditional Jewish music on his accordion during cocktail hour. We also had an incredible hora in the field outside of the barn. 

We had the best party. Everyone showed up with amazing energy and a commitment to keeping the night going for as long as possible. For example, our dinner was divided into two courses, with a small break in between. After the first course, Alex and I went outside to take photos. When we came back, everyone was on the dance floor—it was a full-on rave before the main course had even come out. 

Alex: After the wedding, we wanted to get away and decompress, so we escaped to Sauble Beach for a few days. For our honeymoon, we went to upstate New York in August. We wanted to avoid the chaos of flying with our road bikes, so we drove them down to Hudson, New York. We found a wonderful boutique hotel and spent a week full of amazing food, wine and cycling. 

Alex: Being married is nice, but nothing has really changed, which is great. It’s just comfortable. We’ve been enjoying weekends up at the farm and at our house in Leslieville, chipping away at renovations and landscaping. We’re also planning a one-year wedding anniversary trip to Europe this June. Cycling will be involved.  

It may sound clichéd, but our wedding was the best day of our lives. I thought, I’m not going to be the type of person who says that, but here I am! The whole day was about celebrating our love, our friends and our family at our favourite place. It couldn’t have been more perfect. 

Ryan: When you’re kicking people out at 4 a.m., you know you’ve done something right.

Cheat Sheet

Date: June 25, 2022
Venue: The Klein Farm, Ryan’s family farm in Collingwood
Catering: Dreyfus
Photography: Hugh Whitaker
Day-of coordinator: Hayley Hopkins with Plan It Right Events
Bride’s dress: Malene Dress from Prea James, purchased at LoversLand
Makeup: Presley Foskett
DJ: Joey K
Florals: Deanna Brown (Ryan’s Aunt)
Hair: Sarah Brown (Ryan’s cousin)
Rings: Lauren Hogarth Jewelry