Jess & Dan

Toronto Island Wedding

When my dear friend Dan called to tell me he was engaged, the first thing he said after telling me the news was “what weekends are you free next summer?”  Unfortunately, my Saturdays were already all booked up and I was heartbroken that I wouldn't be able to attend, let alone photograph it. Luckily, Lindsay happened to have his date free and I am so thrilled (and know Dan & Jess are too) with the beautiful images she took (along with fab second shooter Katia Taylor) of their wedding day. The wedding was so perfectly “Dan & Jess” and every time I look at the images I tear up and feel like I was there! We're so excited that this wedding will be featured in the Wedding Co.'s Magazine's premiere issue this January!

– Heather (wedding photographed by associate photographer Lindsay)

Describe the vision/theme you had for your wedding in 5 words or less: casual summer island party

What are you favorite memories of your wedding day?
Bride: At the end of the night, everyone went down to the Ward's Island dock to wait for the last ferry back to the city.  The moon was huge, and there was cottonwood floating everywhere in the summer breeze like snow.  Dan and I were staying at a B&B on the island, something we'd dreamed of doing for years.  All our family and friends boarded the ferry; they were laughing, singing and waving to us as they pulled away against a moonlit city skyline.
Groom:I was waiting at the huppah for Jess to arrive for the ceremony.  Her uncle in a bagpiper and went the B+B to meet her to pipe her in.  We were all waiting there in anticipation for around 10 minutes when we suddenly hear the faintest sound of a bagpipe off the in the distance.  As the bagpipe got louder I could suddenly see Jessica off in the distance approaching and, to me, she looked like a glowing angel.  It was the one and only time I've ever had my breath taken away.  At that moment I re-fell in love with her all over again.

Best wedding related decision:
We have a few!
1. Caterer Audrey Demers.  Capable, brilliant with locally-sourced, actually good food that doesn't taste like typical catered fare.  An absolute genius when it comes to all the extremely complex logistics of having an event on an island.  The Ward's Clubhouse has absolutely no kitchen facilities and she created a summer picnic menu for us that was just brilliant. Hire her for ANYTHING on island.  Her expertise is invaluable.

2. Don't get a wedding cake.  We did a mix of squares and cookies from our favourite bakery.  Not only did it save a boatload of cash, I think people generally like cookies better than wedding cake anyway. Fondant is gross.

3. Spend money on live music. The Boxcar Boys: this wonderful young band that plays Dixieland.  They played through the cocktail hour and really pulled the atmosphere together.  Guests said they felt like they were at a party from the Great Gatsby and I think this was because of the great live music.  Also, some of our close friends paid for the band as our wedding gift, which turned about to be one of the greatest gifts we got.

4. Don't spend too much money on decor and flowers. Unless Martha Stewart is coming to your wedding, absolutely no one notices.  Pick a venue where the building is nice enough on its own and then use simple linens and minimal flowers.

Favourite detail: Home-made pennants that my mom sewed.  Also, my bridesmaids made sure the details were perfect.  Katie brought a gorgeous lunch to eat while we were getting ready, and Jill gave me a tiny bouquet of lavender to keep me calm while getting hair and makeup done.  Heather knew I wasn't likely to eat enough at the wedding and so made sure my B&B was stocked with chips, which I devoured the minute we got back to the room after the wedding.

Advice for future brides & grooms:
Very important: plan something fun and low stress, a non-wedding related activity, for 1 month after the wedding.  The wedding itself is so all-encompassing that when its over there's a bit of a void and you need something to look forward to.  We went to NYC for the weekend.

Would you change anything if you could do it all over again? Oh man a wedding is so much work I can't even imagine doing it again.  We had beautiful weather and a wonderful day and I wouldn't change it.

Best surprise of the day: Speeches.  When you're friends and family speak from the heart about you, I was overwhelmed and touched.  Its hard to anticipate the impact the speeches have.

VENDORS: Ceremony Location The Ward's Island Assocation Clubhouse | Chris Webster
Reception Location (same) | Officiant (if not a church ceremony) Nathan Cheifetz, All Seasons Weddings, | Cake Mabel's Bakery, (our fave bakery on Roncesvalles) made lemon bars, orange blondies, brownies, chocolate chip cookies and strawberry/rhubarb tarts | Dress Blue raw silk skirt Brian Bailey, (shop on Queen Street) shirt Jones New York from the Bay, shoes Karston from Balisi, vintage gold locket and ring from Jess's Mom Maggie and her Grandmother Irene. | Flowers Peony and wildflower bouquets by Sarah Nixon My Luscious Backyard | Hair/Makeup Shawna Lee | Caterer Audrey Demers Events & Catering | DJ Sammy Rewal | Rentals Exclusive Affair Rentals
Table flowers I picked up heather, baby's breath and greenery from Kay & Young Flowers at Av. and Dav. | Decor Jess collected vintage bottles and vases for the tables.  Jess' mom, Maggie brought vintage crochet place mats for the tables and sewed red and blue fabric pennants for the outside of the building.  The vintage type writer is Dan's Grandmother's. | Favours Lapel buttons made from soda pop bottle caps from Dan's grandfather's soda company, Pure Spring Ginger ale.  Jess and bridesmaids crafted these up one day! | Chuppah Made by Jess' dad, Jim, with lace from an Algie family friend. | Band The Boxcar Boys | Invitations were hand-made.  Dan took a photo of the apartment building where we met | Tent Rental Varsity Tent & Event Rentals | Hotel Accommodations Westin Harbour Castle for family and friends.  Jess and Dan stayed on island the night of the wedding at the Swan's End B& B, Algonquin Island. | Jess and Dan's wedding wear stylist Erin Swan, owner of Charlie Boutique | Dan’s attire 3 piece chambray suit, drykorn for beautiful people, from GOTSTYLE on Bathurst, tie, DiBi, shoes Aldo.

WEDDING SONGS: Processional Bagpipes performed by Jess' Uncle Bob | Recessional Bagpipes | First Dance Hallelujah by Leonard Cohen, performed by KD Lang

Favorite HRM picture from the day (and why?): There is one shot taken just before we arrive at the ceremony.  My dad, my bridesmaids and I are walking along the island path and there are a whole bunch of other people in the shot, rollerblading, biking, people just enjoying a summer day on the island.  I love this picture but I'm not really sure why. (below)

Two lovely couples that you might recognize from past HRM blog posts: Chris & Kathleen and Kristen & Kevin


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