Décor was kept minimal at this sweet fête in a classic Canadian venue.
Photography: Barb Simkova for Tara McMullen P1 of 11
Amy and Dan
For Amy Chesney, wedding planning started with a singular vision. After hours spent online and flipping through magazines, "I fell in love with the idea of thin branches and small yellow orchids lining reception tables," she says. With the color scheme in place, the plastic surgeon, who lives in Waterloo, Ontario, began to envision the rest of the details for her wedding to fellow surgeon Dan Charleton: an oversize balloon toted down the aisle by a tiny ring bearer; a cocktail hour with a raw oyster bar and his-and-her drinks (an old-fashioned and French 75, respectively); place-card holders made from maple branches foraged from a family member's property; table numbers that encouraged guests to jot down well-wishes and advice; a dessert spread with an ombré-frosted lemon cake, sugar cookies, and other treats; and, finally, a packed dance floor that wouldn't even begin to empty out until two in the morning (last song played: R. Kelly's "Ignition [Remix]," requested by the groom).
The setting for the fall fête was Toronto's Royal Conservatory of Music, which has a blend of old architecture (the main stone building dates back to 1886) and new design (a glass-and-concrete annex completed in 2009) that fits the couple's classic-meets-contemporary sensibility. "We kept the décor minimal, aside from a few flowers and candles," says Dan, who opted to wear a timeless black tuxedo. "The floor-to-ceiling windows already provided the perfect backdrop."
At 5 P.M., 147 attendees gathered in the light-filled mezzanine of the conservatory to watch Amy and Dan exchange traditional vows between arching branches of yellow mokara orchids. Moving to the main level for the reception, friends and family took their seats on clear acrylic chairs and tucked into entrées including beef tenderloin, seared miso-glazed black cod, and ricotta gnudi. Speeches were given—eight in total!—as the glass walls began to let in the twilight, during what was just one of Amy's many favorite memories of the celebration. "It was all the little moments that got me," she says. "Everyone said the day would go by in a blur, but I think I managed to savor just about every minute!"
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A Photo with the Ring Bearer
Though she didn't have an overall look in mind from the outset, "The way it came together, all the guests said it was vintage '20s glam," says Amy of her bridal fashion. She paired her lace Elizabeth Fillmore gown with a faux bob accented by a jeweled comb. "I'd grown my hair out for a year for the wedding and we chose a look that rolled it under in a half bob and made it look short, but I loved it."
Here, Amy posed with her ring-bearer nephew. For the ceremony, he carried a balloon painted with the words Here Comes the Bride.
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A Sunny Ceremony
"The sun broke through the clouds and lit up the ceremony for this amazing photo," says Dan of the couple's first kiss as Mr. and Mrs.
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In Palette Libations
Even the cocktails served, like these old-fashioneds, stuck to the color scheme.
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"The huge windows make it seem like you've invited the outside in," says Amy of their reception space.
Photography: Barb Simkova for Tara McMullen P8 of 11
Long Reception Tables
Amy and Dan's 147 guests dined on entrées including grain-fed beef tenderloin and seared miso-glazed black cod. For dessert, chocolate lava cake and autumn apple crumble were set at alternating places around the table, "so guests could share with their dates," says Amy.
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The Place Settings
Hundreds of mokara orchids were glued by hand to the twigs running the length of tables.
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Amy and Dan let their four-year-old nephew help them cut the small lemon cake that anchored the dessert buffet.
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Photography: Barb Simkova for Tara McMullen P11 of 11
Location, The Royal Conservatory of Music
Event design and planning, Karina Lemke
Catering, Marigolds and Onions
Flowers, Cool Green & Shady
Photography, Barb Simkova for Tara McMullen Photography
Videography, Focus Production
Officiant, Jeremy Citron of All You Need Is Love
Stationery, Wedding Paper Divas
Cake, The Wedding Cake Shoppe
Desserts, Yummy Stuff
Ceremony music, Wellington Music
Reception music, Matt Cully of Goin' Steady DJs
Rentals, Around the Table
Bride's gown, Elizabeth Fillmore
Bride's accessories, Olivier Laudus earrings; L.K.Bennett shoes; Tiffany & Co. necklace and bracelet; Leif Benner wedding band and engagement ring
Hair and makeup, Ivy Lam
Bridesmaids' dresses, J.Crew
Ring bearer's accessories, OTAA pocket square; Tie Fetish bow tie; Bow Tie Fun suspenders
Groom's and groomsmen's tuxedos, Indochino
Groom's accessories, Hugo Boss shirt and shoes; Dion bow tie