We have several soap boxes that we will never get off of …

In addition to firmly believing that every bride and groom NEED to capture their marriage on video (see Friday’s LBB post!) … we firmly believe that everyone needs the added support of a wedding planner. Whether your wedding is small and intimate or huge and lavish ~ you need an advocate. You need someone to help you piece the puzzle together, a shoulder to lean on when you’re so busy at work that you don’t know how it’s all going to come together … someone who knows the ropes and will assure that you have an exquisite experience!

And so today, we bring you Lorie & Jason’s intimate and exquisite wedding from Crystal at Distinct Occasions in Toronto ~ wedding planner & designer, extraordinaire ~

One thing is certain ~ Lorie is one stylish bride in the city! She has a sense of just who she is and what it was that she wanted from her wedding day. Her groom, Jason, was just as forthcoming as we forged ahead in an enchanted forest theme. Their ceremony was held with them standing in the middle of their guests. Personally written vows, feather-girls instead of flowergirls, a bride who skipped the bouquet and opted for her groom’s arm … plenty of champagne, a photo booth and a guest who painted a killer portrait of the couple as her gift! This was truly a celebration to remember.

from today’s lovely bride, Lorie …

When planning the wedding, we were lucky enough to get connected with Crystal Adair-Benning of Distinct Occasions through a mutual friend. She helped us filter our ideas and really figure out what was important to us on our wedding day. One thing Jason and I knew right away and brought to Crystal was that we wanted our wedding to be an incredible party. We wanted fun. To make that happen, we decided the night should be about our favorite things: delicious food, plentiful drink, good music, dancing into the wee hours of the morning and our amazing friends and family. And we knew we wanted to look gorgeous,too!

When choosing my bridal look, I decided to keep the dress simple and get really gorgeous accessories. It all started when I spotted a pair of fuchsia satin Stuart Weitzman shoes. I had also dreamed of wearing feathers in my hair. I had a custom piece made by Nicole McInnis of Dina! My hairdresser Loretta, gave me a gorgeous up do that was edgy and romantic. Along with my hair, the feather headpiece and veil was the part of my outfit I loved the most. A close second was my jewelry, which I found at Mink, one of my favorite stores in Toronto. I had chosen a three-strand grey pearl necklace and bracelet. My dress was a metallic taffeta gown from Nicole Miller, which was reminiscent of the oyster shells that first inspired us and had an organic feel to it. As for bridal make-up, I enlisted my old friend Patricia Burton-Williams, a talented make-up artist. I definitely felt like the goddess of an Enchanted Forest.


Our original inspirations for the look and feel of the event were extremely varied: oyster shells and their beautiful iridescence, feathers and their playfulness, a recent trip to Paris and our love affair with the macaron. The theme evolved from there once we had chosen our invitations from Wedding Paper Divas ~ they were called Enchanted Forest. The illustration featured one pink bird and one green bird perched in branches. So we worked with Crystal to create our own Enchanted Forest (or “forêt enchantée,” as we’d say in our ridiculously bad French accents!) with all the glamour of a swanky cocktail party.

For the location of our wedding bash, we chose one of the best restaurants in town, Canoe. With Canoe’s reputation for their food and impeccable service — plus that view from 54 floors up! — we knew people would show up ready to party. We didn’t want to kill the vibe by dividing people up into tables for a seated dinner so we brought the food to the people… in enormous amounts! With that in mind, we opted for a cocktail reception immediately after an intimate ceremony right at our venue. And are we ever glad we did — it was everything we wanted and more. Our wedding planner really listened to us and helped us make the decisions we needed to in order to get the whole thing right.

We selected a lengthy menu of hors d’oeuvres including lamb, sablefish, terrine of foie gras, and wild mushroom tartlettes. Plus we had a raw bar filled with oysters on the half shell, scallop ceviche, shrimp cocktails and lobster salad. The food was outstanding and the service flawless. The bartenders (who were a highlight of the reception), realizing they had a drinking crowd, had a blast making old school cocktails for our savvy guests. Not a dry soul in the room.

As for the music – an all-important factor! — we asked a handful of our friends to DJ. Crystal, our wedding planner, was a bit nervous about involving such a DIY element in the evening but we put Jason’s brother, Don, in charge, along with a few more friends who are musicians, sound engineers and people we considered to have excellent taste in music!

We asked them to create sets in different styles for various parts of the night for us. For example, we had a big-band jazz set for the receiving line and early-evening mingling, and a smooth “yacht rock” set during the first round of cocktails. Next we had old-school soul and funk after the speeches to get folks dancing. Everyone we enlisted pulled it off and the result was an incredibly interactive evening with a packed dance floor (and even an impromptu tribute to Lady Gaga, complete with DJs in tin-foil costumes!).

As for décor, some of my favorite touches were definitely our centerpieces designed by Nicole at Petals,Stems & Leaves! They were all different and incorporated branches, moss, orchids and bird cages (not to mention the feather wands for our feather-girls!). We LOVED them! We also absolutely loved our macaron tower from Bobette & Belle with the macarons themselves in our wedding colors: pinks and greens. The result resembled a tree and was situated on a pedestal in the center of the room and next to the dance floor. All eyes were on it all night. After we had a chance to feed each other a few tidbits, our guests could dance over and pluck a perfect macaron from the tower.

We also made sure that the room was filled with candles and had satiny rosette pillows placed all around the window seats so guests could sit comfortably to take in the view.

Two other elements made the day outstanding for us. First was our ceremony. Our wedding planner hooked us up with an absolutely amazing officiant. He helped us customize our ceremony and vows, guided us in selecting our readings, and delivered an outstanding ceremony. It was intimate, full of love and meaning while being playful and passionate. Everyone was rapt during and we received so many compliments on the ceremony itself and our officiant.

Finally, we thank our photographer, Kevin Charlie. As soon as Jason and I had our date picked, we booked Kevin, who was also a friend of mine. He has such an eye and is a pleasure to work with — we knew Kevin would capture all the beauty and fun the day would contain. From family portraits that the parents loved to the candid shots that made us smile, he got it all. Also, as a part of our package, he created a hardcover book of our favorite images — the result looked less like a typical wedding album than a beautiful art book. The photos resemble magazine shots, and when we look through it, it tells the story of our day. It’s as if we’re able to relive the whole event every time we leaf through the pages, which is a feeling we’ll always treasure.

Our thanks to Crystal for sharing … and sincere congratulations to Lorie & Jason on a job ~ SO well done!!

Wedding Planner: Distinct Occasions,  Photographer: Kevin Charlie, Venue: Canoe Restaurant, Invitations: Wedding Paper Divas,  Florals: Petals, Stems & Leaves, Croquenbouche: Bobbette & Belle