Ward's Island Wedding by Avangard Photography + Ell'Events
November 1, 2011
North America

This sweet and laid back couple approached their wedding day with a laid back attitude and a sense of fun, fun, fun. They knew they didn't want their wedding to be too serious so from the food, think tacos and Chinese food to the photo both, think silly costumes for ice breakers, this couple's day turned out exactly how they wanted it to: stress free and effortless. Ell'Events planned and coordinated the big day while Avangard Photography captured all the pretty DIY details. Click here for more!









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From the Bride...We wanted our wedding to reflect our personalities: simple, whimsical, and fun. We loved the idea of a backyard wedding, but backyard real estate that can encompass 100+ people doesn't come easily in Toronto. We couldn't decide if we wanted something reflecting the city Toronto, where we took a big leap of faith and moved to, or something rustic and outdoorsy, how we spend as much of our free time as possible? Neither of us wanted to get caught into the small details of wedding planning (and neither of us had any idea where to even start), so we sought help.

Our wedding planner, Olivera Pavlovic of Ell'Events, found an incredible location that was perfect for us: Ward's Island. The island was a ten minute boat ride from downtown Toronto, we went with our families and the wedding party on an antique wooden boat appropriately named "New Beginnings" and the rest of the guests took the ferry over. There was so much usable space that we had our ceremony, cocktail hour, and reception in different areas, and it always felt like a new place.

We had a traditional Chinese tea ceremony, where we exchanged greetings with our new immediate and extended families. Marty was nervous about this part because he had to pronounce some of the names in Cantonese. Not that easy!! The wedding ceremony was exactly what we wanted: short and simple. We went with traditional vows; there is something special and comforting about saying the timeless words. One of Marty's colleagues, a Justice of the Peace, married us under a birch arch on a grassy field with Lake Ontario and the Toronto skyline as background.  Olivera had all these great ideas and made the planning process a breeze. I wanted some DIY elements and called on some of the wedding party's expertise. We ended up with some beautiful wooden signage, a rustic wooden ring pillow, program fans for the guests, and a framed table arrangement, as well as some easy stuff, like seating cards and table numbers. We used vintage cans and mason jars filled with seasonal flowers for our centerpieces. My cousin made our amazing wedding cake. It was carrot cake (our favorite!) and was perfect and delicious.

The food was a huge part of our planning. My parents are pretty traditional and wanted us to have a Chinese banquet for the reception. While I didn't want that for my reception, I did want the food. Marty wanted to have fajitas and tacos. So what better way to celebrate than to have everything? We ended up with Chinese, Mexican, and Italian stations, as well as a lamb-on-a-spit station, and a salad station. One of everything, please!! At first I was like, "Really, Marty? You want a taco as your wedding meal?" but it actually ended up being the most popular station. You win this time, Martin Cyr.

The logistics of getting everything over was no easy feat. Olivera had to have everything shipped in - chairs, tables, cooking utensils (oh yeah, some things had to be cooked on site), you name it. It had all seemed so simple and rustic in my mind! After dinner, we had a photo booth and dance party. The photo booth was a huge ice breaker, as everyone got to wear silly costumes and compare photos after. We changed into traditional Chinese wedding garb for a portion of the evening, and lit off paper wish lanterns that flew off into the sky.

We had minimal speeches and ended up canceling the garter and bouquet toss as everyone seemed to be having a great time and we didn't want to disturb that. Both of us are on the same page that the wedding was really just one giant celebratory party, and that the marriage is what really counts. We didn't end up following our schedule to a tee, but the laid-back, imperfect schedule was what made the wedding feel stress-free and effortless, exactly the way we wanted it to be.

Event Planning + Coordination: Ell'Events / Wedding Photography: Avangard Photography / Venue: Ward's Island / Make-up: MAC Cosmetics / Hair: The Little Hair Shop / Boat Transport: Harbour Tours Toronto