Trish and Alan’s Greek-Canadian Schoolhouse Wedding
A historical building in Toronto provided the backdrop for a holiday celebration that blended tradition and DIY touches.
Trish Papadakos and Alan Smith met in design school. When they married a decade later on October 13, 2013, their fall wedding reflected their creative backgrounds and personal ones -- she has Greek roots and he is Canadian. The nuptials in Toronto’s Enoch Turner Schoolhouse coincided with Thanksgiving, and the couple celebrated the Canadian holiday by breaking bread with their nearest and dearest.
The oversized invitations were printed locally and folded around a petite “Greek-Canadian book of cultural observations.” The color palette was inspired by the two countries -- with blue-and-white and red-and-white sprinkled into the design.
Trish and Alan painted watercolors inside the booklets illustrating cultural differences in geography, language, anthropology, culinary studies, and music and dance. Trish focused on Greek observations, while Alan made the Canadian ones.
The Bride’s Bouquet
Trish carried a bouquet of anemones, viburnum berries, Queen Anne’s lace, scabiosa, gomphrena, snowberries, garden roses, and herbs -- believed to drive away evil spirits and symbolize prosperity.
A Sweet Touch
In Greek tradition, a bride carries sugar cubes in her glove as she walks down the aisle to ensure a “sweet” marriage. But since Trish didn’t sport the accessory, she had her florist, Coriander Girl, add them to the stems of her bouquet. “They were like tiny beribboned gift boxes,” Trish says.
The Bridal Look
Trish dressed in Jenny Packham -- donning the designer’s gown, headpiece, and jewelry that she found at White Toronto. “I was never drawn to the big, princess dresses,” Trish says. “But I had been following Jenny Packham’s collections for the past few years. I knew I wanted something delicate and lightweight (as I love dancing and didn’t want to be too hot or weighed down). The specific style I ended up wearing was the first one I tried on!”
Prior to their ceremony, the happy couple swung by Allan Gardens for portraits. One of the oldest parks in Toronto, its lush conservatory in the botanic gardens was a beautiful setting for the couple’s first look.
A Little Rainfall
Though it was a warm autumn day, rain poured down just prior to the ceremony. “It made the venue that much more intimate and cozy as guests hurried into the flower-filled and candlelit schoolhouse from the wet city outside,” Trish says.
The Bridal Party
The bride took a few photos with her white Holga camera. “It was the camera that I was using when I first met our wedding photographer, Rebecca Wood,” Trish notes. “I was taking a photo at my friends’ wedding and she was documenting the event for the couple.”
The Venue Setup
The service took place at 4 o’clock at Enoch Turner Schoolhouse, in front of Trish and Alan’s 100 guests.
A Greek Tradition
During the ceremony, the couple incorporated head crowns. The toppers symbolically join the bride and groom as queen and king of their own little kingdom.
The duo also exchanged wedding bands. Trish’s ring boasted 10 little diamonds, as a reminder of the decade they’d been together.
Guests dined at long tables, and enjoyed a feast inspired by Thanksgiving. Vintage vessels and family heirlooms, candles, and petite tree slices enhanced the space while being authentic to the couple’s style.
Local beers (from a brewery two blocks away), wine from a nearby winery, and a couple of Greek liquors rounded out the menu.
A few of the same booklets that were sent out with the invitations appeared on the reception tables, furthering the nod to the pair’s merging backgrounds.
The First Dance
“I Will” by the Beatles played as the couple took to the dance floor to show off their rumba skills.
In the schoolhouse’s official classroom (which boasts original blackboards and wooden desks), a photo booth was set up for guests. Some opted to write messages with chalk, others just had fun in front of the camera.
The Wedding Cake
One of the bride’s closest childhood friends, Sarah Bell of Bobbette & Belle, incorporated honey, an ingredient often used in Greek desserts, into the tiered wedding cake. She decorated it with rosemary sprigs.
Bobbette & Belle also made bite-sized sweets in a variety of seasonal flavors -- like mini pumpkin pie and apple and butter tarts. Little cupcakes and Greek loukoumades were also on hand for dessert.
Tossing money into the air over the dancing bride is another Greek tradition. The amount collected is typically a gift for the newlyweds to take forward into the next chapter of their lives.
Guests went home with a jar of honey. The Greek honey came from one of the tallest mountains in Peloponnesus, where Trish’s father grew up, and the Canadian honey came from the orchards in Ontario where Alan’s family has a two-century-old fruit farm.
The newlyweds expressed their gratitude with bilingual thank-you cards. They sent the handwritten notes with a photo of themselves and a few photo booth snapshots of the specific guests.