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Real Weddings 2016: Inside a laid-back, DIY everything Brickworks bash

By Jean Grant| Photography by Danijela Pruginic
Real Weddings 2016: Inside a laid-back, DIY everything Brickworks bash

Meghan Kraemer and Eli Younan, an associate creative director and real estate agent who live in Little Portugal, got engaged on vacation in Paris—but, Eli says, “Not in a corny way in front of the Eiffel Tower or anything.” They had their hearts set on a summer wedding at the sought-after Evergreen Brickworks, and waited three years to make it happen. In the final six months leading up to the big day, Meghan spent hours every evening designing invitations, hand-sewing decorative pennants, crafting place mats and embossing rubber stamps with a custom logo. The result was a stunning ceremony and reception packed with cute personalized touches and the perfect amount of whimsy—all without a wedding planner, something they now regret: “It was the little things like ice that got stressful, like how much ice you need for 200 people. We had to get two tonnes dropped off over the course of the evening,” says Eli.

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Cheat sheet

Date: September 14, 2014 Photography: Danijela Pruginic Bride’s Dress: BHLDN Flowers: The Stem Groom’s Attire: Sydney’s Hair and Makeup: Lebel and Crowe; Blair Petty Venue: Evergreen Brick Works Caterer: Grand Electric Cake: Lindsey Bakes Late-night food: Electric Mud BBQ Music: The Unseen Strangers Invitations: Meghan Kraemer; Kid Icarus Guests: 186

Meghan and Eli wanted to offer guests the chance to mingle with drinks before the ceremony. They served Labatt 50—their dive-bar go-to—plus craft beer from Muskoka Brewery. During the reception, their friends from Blood Brothers Brewing (Meghan did their branding) provided stouts and ales:

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One of the buses transporting the couple’s families got stuck in a huge traffic jam on the way to the wedding, and their officiant had a time constraint, so they had to cut the ceremony by 90 per cent. On the bright side, guests loved that it was so short:

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Meghan wanted the flowers to reflect the natural greenery surrounding the venue. The bouquets were a mix of dahlias, Queen Anne’s lace, asters, snow berries, wax flowers, anemone and blushing bride:

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Before dinner was a Mahnattan cocktail hour, a tradition in Meghan’s family, plus a guac and salsa bar. “We may have made the mistake of not having enough food during cocktail hour. People weren’t used to how strong Manhattans are,” Meghan says.

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The Unseen Strangers provided the music for both the ceremony and cocktail hour. Meghan walked down the aisle to “Knot comes Loose” by My Morning Jacket:

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The pennants were made from a mix of vintage fabric from the Aberfoyle Flea Market and new materials from The Knit Café on Queen West:

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Because the Brickworks is changing their rental policy, theirs was one of the last weddings where the couple could bring in their own caterers. Meghan was on Grand Electric‘s opening team of servers, so her pals at Electric Mud BBQ—part of the Grand Electric family of restaurants—catered the party:

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Dinner was a collection of small plates, including albacore tuna ceviche, spicy squid, beef cheek tacos and fried chicken (followed much later by poutine for a midnight snack):

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Guests were constantly getting up and switching seats throughout the meal, much to the couple’s delight. “We wanted it to feel like a casual patio party,” says Meghan:

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The place cards at the tables (designed by Meghan) featured little drawings of things with personal significance to the couple, like their Shiba Inu, Hudson, and a California grizzly (Meghan and Eli went long-distance for a year in 2008, when Eli moved to California for work):

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Lindsey Bakes made a carrot wedding cake with cream cheese frosting and designed a cake topper cookie designed to look like the couple with Hudson. She made three versions to make sure she got it right:

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Here’s a closer look at the cookie:

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Meghan designed rubber stamps that she used on most of the wedding’s paper goods—including the guest book, invitations and and custom shot glasses:

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She also designed cute colouring packages for all the kids in attendance:

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The couple’s first dance was to “Cigarettes and Coffee” by Otis Redding:

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Meghan sewed the bean bags for these homemade cornhole sets out of vintage fabrics:

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Meghan searched for a vintage-feeling dress for a while, and ended up ordering one online that barely needed any alterations:

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Instead of wedding favours, the couple made a donation to the charity MusiCounts, and told guests to take home one of the photos on display:

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Meghan and Eli saved their honeymoon—a trip to Barcelona, San Sebastian and Bordeaux—until a year after the wedding. “It gave us another event to plan,” Meghan says.

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