One Couple's Nontraditional, Rustic Wedding in Toronto
Crafting a wedding that was unique to them was Toronto-based couple Steph and Tim's main priority. Ultimately, it resulted in an eccentric event that was held together not by a theme, but rather by a vision. "We wanted to create a wedding that we would want to go to and have fun at," says Steph. "We knew that neither of us wanted a traditional wedding at all. We wanted an ethical, feminist wedding."
One of the first things the couple did was hire a wedding planner. "Steph was occupied working on her Ph.D, and there was no question about her doctoral work remaining a priority throughout our wedding process," Tim says. "Alex McNamara, our planner, made that possible." Steph explained the vibe she wanted for the big day, and Alex came back to her with a detailed color palette and mood board. "With a few tweaks, we ended up with the palette," says Steph, who then used it as a guide as she made decisions about flowers and other details.
Determined to keep things relaxed, the pair opted not to have a wedding party and initiated a dress code of "whatever makes you feel good." They knew they wanted the day to take place at one location, without any prolonged breaks. To that end, the couple chose to hold their wedding at Archeo, a beautiful, rustic-elegant restaurant in the Distillery District of Toronto with brick details and a vast cobblestone courtyard perfect for a ceremony. "It really suited the vision we had for the wedding," says Steph, who tried hard to make the wedding unique with as many personal touches as possible. "We pulled all the parts of weddings we liked and left out all the ones we didn't," she explains. "That meant no bouquet or garter toss, no cake cutting, no waiting for photos. No outdated patriarchal traditions."
On July 16, 2016, the couple exchanged handwritten vows in front of 120 guests during the wedding of their dreams. The best part? "Having all my family and friends in one place to celebrate love!" says Steph. "I had family members who came from Australia, Trinidad, Chicago, Raleigh, Aruba, New York—all over the world—to celebrate with Tim and I. It was really special."
Colorful Wedding Shoes
Steph's suede Mary Jane pumps were a vibrant shade of teal.
A Dream Wedding Dress
The bride's wedding dress by Canadian designer Truvelle was one she found in a photograph and fell in love with early on; she adored its rose gold sequined bodice. "I had been loving the dress for a while, but I didn't know for sure it would be the one until I tried it on. My heart started pounding and the tears started flowing!" she says. "I had been talking a big game, thinking I could never cry over something so mundane as a dress, and then I put on the 'Eden' gown and couldn't keep it together!" The silk-lined wedding dress was also comfortable. "It felt like wearing a cloud," she adds.
A Luxurious Bridal Bouquet
Steph envisioned a bold, bright bouquet—and Tellie Hunt of Coriander Girl brought it to life. "I didn't want roses as a primary flower," Steph says. "I wanted thistles and craspedia. Tellie made it all happen."
A Magical First Look
For their first look, Steph approached Tim with a balloon filled with confetti.
Tim's reaction upon seeing his bride was that of a true romantic. "I was stunned and my breath was taken away," he says. "I have always thought Steph was beautiful of course, but it was at the first look before our wedding that it really sunk in what we were about to do. I was overwhelmed and filled with joy."
Charming Wedding-Day Attire
Tim indulged in a bespoke suit for his wedding day, tapping Surmesur in Toronto. "They let you choose every last detail," he says. Made of bright blue wool, the suit itself had distinct stitching on the buttonholes, as well as the couple's wedding date sewn into the jacket. Tim rounded out his ensemble with a matching blue polka-dotted bow tie and suspenders with a floral motif.
Delightful Seating Cards
Guest seating cards were fashioned from tags and strung from a rack.
Guests stayed cool at the outdoor event thanks to white fans, courtesy of the bride and groom.
A lovely floral garland was suspended between two ladders; the set-up served as the backdrop for the couple's ceremony. The ladder was decorated with small things from the couple's home, including their most beautiful books.
Here Comes the Bride
Steph was escorted down the aisle by both of her parents.
A Nontraditional Ceremony
The ceremony took place in the cobblestoned courtyard of the Archeo, where the couple exchanged vows in a service they wrote themselves. "Our officiant, Tade Credgeur of The Marrying Lady, was amazing at helping us write a really special ceremony that fit us and our relationship," says Steph. "We wrote our own vows and exchanged them in private, and then read another version to each other during the ceremony." It was important to the couple that the ceremony was unique to them, so they put thought into making it fun and nontraditional. "We're pretty politically conscious, so we wanted to be as ethical as possible," says Steph. "We acknowledged the indigenous land on which we were having the wedding, as well as took a minute to speak to the privilege that we had in being able to get married on the day. We tried hard to make it our own, even down to the little things. It was a really special, one-of-a-kind ceremony."
A Post-Ceremony Stroll
The couple and their photographer took a stroll around Toronto's Distillery District to snap candid portraits.
During the cocktail hour, a photo booth in the form of a converted Volkswagen bus drove onto the courtyard where loved ones were enjoying drinks. "It was such an awesome surprise for our guests!" says Steph.
A Spacious Reception Area
The reception took place inside the Archeo, where wood-beamed ceilings soared and concrete flooring shone, creating a charming, rustic-elegant atmosphere. The couple sat with their families at a table in the center of the space, with the remaining tables arranged along either side. "It made it a lot easier for people to come see us and for us to interact with everyone!" says Steph.
Elegant Table Numbers
Guests found their tables via stylish table numbers displayed in an pretty font.
A Lush Floral Display
A beautiful floral installation was placed above the main reception table, providing a stunning focal point.
Fresh Fruit Pies
Pies, including apple, pear with raspberry, blueberry with peach, sweet cherry, and apricot, by Eugenia Rosenblun-Bordieu were a highlight of the dessert menu.
An Adorable Wedding Cake
A small, vanilla-flavored "naked" cake, also by Rosenblun-Bordieu, was included in the dessert display "just in case," Steph says, and featured strawberries with cream between the layers.
A Divine First Dance
The couple took their first dance to "First Day of My Life" by Bright Eyes. "It was just a really memorable moment because the song reminded me of the time we met and the times when we sang songs together and how much I loved her," says Tim—it was the perfect cap to the perfect day.
Photography, Scarlet O'Neill Photography
Event planning, Alex McNamara for Blush and Bowties
Cake, Eugenia Rosenblun-Bordieu
Flowers, Coriander Girl
Stationery, Lilli DiPrima
Favors, Original Animal Magnet; Vango
Officiant, Tade Credgeur
Wedding Dress, Truvelle
Rings, Alexis Russel
Music, Maren Hancock for Dialed in DJs
Hair, Shauna Edwards for Natural Mystic Hair Studios
Makeup, Bianca Harris for The Look Beauty
Groom's suit, Surmesur
Lights, Moonrise Letter Lights