This couple's wedding in an historic Toronto setting featured Orthodox tradition and glamorous celebration
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Andrei and Daniela are proof that you absolutely can find love online—especially when you live in a bit city. Both residents of Toronto, the couple met on Tinder in February 2016 and began dating within just two weeks of their first meeting. It didn't take long for Andrei, a registered nurse, and Daniela, a site administrator for a large condominium developer, to know that they were in for the long haul.
After nearly three years of dating, Andrei proposed in Trinity Bellwoods Park, a landscape the couple frequented throughout the early stages of their relationship. Andrei asked Daniela to meet him for ice cream after work, knowing that they would venture into the park afterwards. Andrei "wanted to propose right when [they] entered," but a large crowd of people foiled his original plan; he wanted the proposal to be just the two of them. He soon found the right moment: Before the pair reached the opposite end of the park, Andrei got down on one knee and popped the question with a custom solitaire engagement ring. Daniela thought Andrei "was joking around and tying his shoe," but quickly realized how serious he was—and happily said yes to forever.
Throughout their engagement, which lasted a year and four months, Andrei and Daniela prepared for their wedding with help from planner Alexandra McNamara of Blush & Bowties. The bride knew that she wanted an elegant celebration that highlighted both of the couple's Christian Orthodox values, but also allowed their guests to let loose and have a great time. On October 6, 2018, the pair were married in a religious ceremony at Russian Orthodox Christ the Saviour Cathedral; an intimate and elegant reception at Toronto's historic Steam Whistle Brewery followed. For the couple and their 70 guests, the celebration "was everything we wanted—we had a wonderful designer dessert table, amazing food, a great DJ, a historic venue, and an overall amazing wedding vibe," recalls the bride.
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An avid fan of the TLC show Say Yes to the Dress, Daniela made an appointment to try on wedding dresses at Kleinfeld in Toronto. She knew she wanted a lace "mermaid [gown] with a sweetheart neckline and a wonderful train," which is exactly what she walked away with. After trying on six dresses, Daniela realized that the winner—an off-white Pronovias bridal gown composed of three textured lace layers—was the very first garment she had tried on. "It was the most amazing dress I had ever seen and most importantly it made me feel amazing," says the bride. "It meant a lot to me to feel like a beautiful woman. I loved that feeling."
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Daniela's bridal bouquet, created by Ashley Elaine Florals, included a mix of seasonal flowers and foliage that tied in the colors she had chosen for the wedding—lavender, sage, and champagne. The arrangement was held together with a light mauve ribbon.
Staying true to her theme of classic elegance, Daniela chose subtle and sentimental accessories. She wore a dainty, gold necklace (a gift from her sister-in-law), her grandmother's solitaire diamond earrings, and two gold bracelets given to her by her mother and godmother.
She completed her bridal look with a custom cathedral veil and blusher, designed by Sharon at Posh Veils in Toronto. Sharon understood Daniela's vision, came to see the dress, and took every measure to "ensure that the fabrics and shade of the veil were compatible with the gown," notes the bride.
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Daniela chose was she calls the "classic wedding shoe:" Jimmy Choo's "Romy" pumps, in a platinum glitter. The shimmer of her shoes added a touch of glamour to the delicate lace of her wedding gown and custom veil.
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Art Deco Accompaniment
Daniela asked two of her favorite women to stand by her side as bridesmaids. Her best friend, Maria (left), flew in from abroad to serve as Daniela's maid of honor; Marina, her now-sister-in-law, served as her bridesmaid.
The bride wanted the bridesmaids' dresses to convey an "Art Deco, glam vibe." She found dusty rose gowns that fit the bill at Jealous Bridesmaids in Toronto; the pink and white beaded details on both dresses were symmetrical and structured, recalling the early 20th-century style.
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Andrei knew that he wanted to wear a classic black tuxedo on his wedding day, so he visited Nick Sue at Atelier Munro in Toronto's Harry Rosen store to have a made-to-measure black and white tuxedo created. To add a bit of flair, the groom opted for a blue paisley jacket lining, complete with the pair's wedding date monogrammed on the inside panel. The final look included a vest, tailored white shirt, black pants, and a black bow tie.
He accentuated his classic black-and-white look with personal accessories. These included silver "I Do" cuff links, funky socks with "pills, stethoscopes, and electrocardiograms on them" as a nod to his career, a mauve pocket square which matched the ribbon of Daniela's bouquet, and a simple boutonnière.
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Andrei's two groomsmen wore black suits with white shirts to complement his own tuxedo. They accessorized with mauve ties and pocket squares and partook in the groom's "fun sock theme;" his best man wore tiger stripes socks, while his other groomsman donned socks with sneakers on them.
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A Favorite Moment
The bride and groom, both Orthodox Christians, chose the Russian Orthodox Christ The Saviour Cathedral in Toronto for their religious ceremony. Daniela's father walked her down the aisle to the church choir singing "Ave Maria"—Daniela's late grandmother's favorite song.
The bride's most memorable big-day moment took place right before the ceremony, while she was standing with her planner and father behind the church doors. She could hear "the choir start to sing 'Ave Maria'" and then the doors opened—she saw her husband for the first time "and knew it was the beginning of [their] life together."
Standing at the end of the aisle, Andrei recalls this moment as his favorite, too. When asked about Daniela's entrance, Andrei says he "was overwhelmed with emotion." "The sight of her entering and the first notes of 'Ave Maria' echoing" through the sanctuary, Andrei says, caused tears of love, joy, and awe to run down his cheeks.
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Sealed with a Kiss
The afternoon ceremony was officiated by the church's priest and included many prayers and songs sung by the choir. There are no vows recited at Orthodox weddings, so Daniela and Andrei did not exchange traditional promises. They did, however, seal the ceremony with a kiss after slipping on their wedding bands.
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The Historic Venue
Daniela and Andrei chose The Steam Whistle Brewery for their cocktail hour and formal evening reception. The duo loved the historic building—which was built in 1929 and formerly housed the repairs facility for the Canadian Pacific Railway—for its elegant, but relaxed vibe.
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Following the cocktail hour, guests moved into the property's event hall for the remainder of the celebration. They were greeted by a large gilt antique mirror, which Lauren Kerbel calligraphed with each attendee's name and seating assignment.
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At the reception, eight round tables were organized around a central dance floor. The tables were decorated with rose colored linens, floral centerpieces in gold vases, elegant cutlery, simple white china, and champagne-colored glass votives.
Once guests had taken their seats, they enjoyed a vegan salad to start, followed by their choice of Canadian prime striploin, branzino, or Kentucky fried eggplant. Seasonal sides, including succotash and heirloom carrot slaw, green gnocchi with asparagus and fennel beet slaw, as well as smashed fingerlings and siracha silken tofu were also served. Andrei and Daniela placed great importance on good food—their caterer, The Food Dudes, definitely delivered.
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On the Tabletop
Centerpieces included roses, cosmos, and dahlias were the focal points of each tablescape; gold-framed table numbers offered a glam touch.
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The couple's commitment to next-level food carried into their dessert offerings, as well. Their "designer dessert table" featured an assortment of indulgent treats, which were displayed alongside their decadent wedding cake. The style and colors of these bite-sized treats mirrored the floral hues and overall elegance of Daniela's bouquet.
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The newlyweds' Nadia & Co Earl Grey cake featured peach and honey buttercream frosting. The confection was coated in traditional fondant and adorned with hand-painted flowers and gold detailing and topped with a mauve sugar bloom and gold leaves.
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Guests were sent home with rose- and champagne-flavored macarons from Nadege Patisserie. The treats were printed with Andrei and Daniela's initials and their wedding date, surrounded by a dainty leaf laurel.
Following a wedding day that exceeded both of their expectations, Andrei and Daniela jetted off to French Polynesia for their honeymoon.
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Photography, Jacqueline James Photography
Event planning, Alexandra McNamara of Blush & Bowties
Catering, The Food Dudes
Flowers, Ashley Elaine Florals
Stationery, Lovely Little Design Co.
Calligraphy, Lauren Kerbel Design
Cake, Nadia Colella, Nadia & Co.
Music, Maximum DJ
Bride's gown, Pronovias
Makeup, Ashley Readings
Bridesmaids' dresses, Jealous Bridesmaids
Groom's suit, Atelier Munro
Lighting, Quest Audio Visual Inc.
Transportation, Allure Limo and Services Inc.