This industry insider bride chose a deep, moody color scheme and nontraditional details for her fall Canada wedding.
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Wedding and lifestyle photographer, Alix, met her husband, Andy, while standing in line at a brunch restaurant in Toronto, Canada. Almost four years later, the couple took a weekend trip to Los Angeles where they tackled a morning hike together in Hollywood Hills. Once they made it to the top, Andy took advantage of the moment and proposed with the stunning vista as the backdrop.
From the very beginning of the wedding planning process, Alix and Andy set out to create an experience that felt new and different for their guests. "Because of my job, I've seen a lot of weddings," Alix says, "So really we just wanted to do things that I haven't seen done before." With the time of year in mind, the couple embraced rich, dark tones in their color palette, which brought a unique element to their rustic elegance theme.
After a year-and-a-half-long engagement, the couple invited 102 of their closest family and friends to their October 6, 2018, wedding at Archeo, a restaurant in Toronto's historic Distillery District. Along with their planner, Karina Lemke, the pair put together an intimate wedding inspired by the autumnal vibes of the season, complete with plenty of candles, handmade décor accents, and plenty of greenery. In the end, the couple crafted a celebration that reflected both their big-day vision and personalities. "I think we struck a nice balance between having a relaxed and fun atmosphere while still keeping a sense of occasion and formality," adds bride says. The groom agrees, calling the event "a wonderful time and an even better memory."
As for the bride's best advice for couples currently planning? "No matter how much you plan, nothing can prepare you for how you feel on the big day. It's so overwhelming, in the best way. Schedule time on the day of for just you and your new spouse. You'll appreciate more than you'll know," she says.
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Alix and Andy were drawn to Archeo for its unique history. "We loved the look and feel of the surrounding architecture and felt that getting married in a place with so much of the city's history was a nice touch," the bride says, "Plus, for our guests coming in from out of town, it's a great little nook of the city to visit!"
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After trying on what Alix considers "an embarrassing amount of gowns," she came across the Nicole Miller "Hampton" wedding dress at Loversland Bridal Boutique in Toronto and knew it was the one. The stretch silk dress featured a draped cowl neckline, mermaid silhouette, lace detailing in the back, and a fishtail train. "I wanted something classic, that I would look back on in ten, 20, 50 years and still love," she says. She paired her gown with a veil from Felichia Bridal, a gold oak leaf headpiece from Bespoke Bridal Shop on Etsy, statement earrings from a local bridal jewelry designer, The Loved One, and a bracelet that was passed on to her by her paternal grandmother.
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Alix knew she wanted muted flowers for her wedding; the final result involved mostly-white and burgundy blooms with tons of greenery. "Amber from Cool Green and Shady incorporated some very dark, almost black tones as well—I was thrilled with the florals!" she says. Wanting to incorporate something special for her maternal grandmother, the bride carried her brooch on the stem of her bouquet.
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The Groom's Look
Andy wore a custom charcoal suit from Garrison Bespoke. "I made the commitment early on to get one from a tailor and I was really happy I did," he says. "I'll have it for a lifetime and it'll always remind me of the wedding." He paired his suit with a burgundy tie and pocket square, which referenced the event's color scheme.
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Alix's bridesmaids wore separates, opting for white tulle skirts paired with black turtlenecks. "All the ladies standing up with me are so unique and fashion-forward, so I wanted something that they would feel themselves in," Alix says. "I thought it went perfectly with the setting. Plus, sweaters in October were appreciated!" Each bridesmaid wore black heels and held miniature versions of the bride's bouquet.
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The First Look
Alix found it hard to resist taking photos herself, so she trusted her team at Alix Gould Photography including, Ally May, Maureen Im, and Matt Naporowski, to step in and capture the day's events. The team photographed their first look on a white wall beside their hotel, followed by a few photos taken throughout the Distillery District. It ended up being Andy's favorite part of the day. "You're not only seeing your bride for the first time that day, but you're seeing the rest of your life in front of you," he says.
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The ceremony took place in the venue's courtyard, where old distillery walls and exposed brick served as the backdrop. A whiskey barrel wedding altar with white florals stood at the end of the aisle. "Our florist took inspiration from the barrels and created these elaborate pieces that were such a focal point," Alix says.
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Alix wanted the ceremony aisle to cast a warm, cozy glow on guests. Her method? Candles of varying heights were placed inside modern, gold glass lanterns and embellished with olive branch garlands.
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Andy got emotional as Alix walked down the aisle toward him, accompanied by her father. As a special touch, the song that played during the processional was composed by Alix's step-father. The pair exchanged vows that were selected from a list their officiant gave them and then personalized. Queen's "You're My Best Friend" played during the recessional; they say it reflects their relationship well.
The service was officiated by Reverend Sarah Bunnett-Gibson.
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The DIY Seating Chart
Guests found their table numbers at a seating chart display that the bride created. "Instead of table numbers, we decided to name the tables after the streets both Andy and I lived on, separately and together," Alix says. She made a template in Photoshop and hand-painted the gold details.
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The reception took place inside the restaurant, where guests enjoyed a three-course dinner at long tables that were left without linens to highlight the natural wood. A circular floral installation—another DIY by the bride—hung from the ceiling, featuring olive branches, white roses, and pops of burgundy florals.
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The duo explored vintage shops to find vases for the tabletops, which Andy went over in gold paint. Small tea candles in gold votives were scattered throughout the tables along an olive branch garland.
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When it came time to choose a song for their first dance, Alix and Andy looked to their love of playing old-school Nintendo games together at home. They settled on an acoustic song called "The Mario Kart Love Song" to kick off their wedding night.
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On top of cake, guests were lucky enough to enjoy mini cupcakes and Alix's grandmother's original Mandelbrot cookies, courtesy of the bride's aunt's cookie business.
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The Sparkler Send-Off
Alix and Andy finished their night with a sparkler send-off. Guests cheered for the pair and wished them well on their mini-moon to Blue Mountain in Ontario, Canada. The set off on their official honeymoon to Costa Rica a few months after the celebration.
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Photography, Ally May at Alix Gould Photography
Venue and catering, Archeo
Event planning/design, Karina Lemke
Flowers, Cool Green and Shady
Invitations, Basic Invite
Bride's gown, Nicole Miller via Loversland Bridal Boutique
Bride's veil, Felichia
Bride's headpiece, Bespoke Bridal, Etsy
Bride's earrings, The Loved One
Hair and Makeup, The Art of Makeup & Hair
Groom's suit, Garrison Essentials
Groomsmen's jackets, Zara
Cake, Love In Bloom Cakes
Cake topper, The Roc Shop
Music, Impact DJ
Officiant, Reverend Sarah Bunnett-Gibson