When you can necessarily have all of your nearest and dearest come cross country to California to celebrate your nuptials – what’s the next best thing? Bring California to them. Which is just what this new Mr. & Mrs. did. The result was a fusion of their favorite things done just the way they like it, and it was all sweetly snapped up by Claudia Hung. It’s sophisticated, yet seaside inspired, and it’s all sitting pretty here.
For even more of this gorgeous day, you simply must hit play on this sweet film from Love Madly…
From the Bride…Having our wedding over a holiday weekend meant our guests’ typical vacation destinations to the cottage or beach would be cancelled or postponed. So we wanted to whisk away our guests to a place that they would consider their long weekend getaway. Our vision was to incorporate “outdoors”, “nature”, “beach” with a lot of fun and entertainment. Toronto’s Palais Royale with its large outdoor patio made it the perfect venue. Our ceremony would be outside on the patio overlooking the lake while our reception would take place in the hall. What also made Palais Royale perfect – it was in the same neighbourhood where I grew up and where my parents moved to when they immigrated to Canada. My parents had rented a room in an old Victorian home (just around the corner from Palais) and got married in its backyard with a handful of guests. That home served to create many memories given years later they became owners of that same home and raised myself and my two siblings. If it had not been for our over 200 guests, I would have had our wedding in that same backyard like my parents did almost forty years ago. Instead, I would stand by the pretty shed and garden where my parents stood when they exchanged their vows – and reveal myself to my husband the morning of our wedding day.
My husband and I left our hometown in Toronto to work in Southern California several years ago. We thought of bringing a bit of California home to our wedding guests. For design and decor, we were inspired by a Cape Cod, Muskoka, or California summer home complete with Pottery Barn furnishings. We wanted elegance like a lakefront country club but with a California feel – not Hollywood glam, but more sophisticated “beachy”, like Malibu. We wanted to bring elements of what we saw in local design stores and floral shops in Manhattan Beach where we live – sand, shells, orchids, Manzanita branches, and terrariums. We picked a coral reef pattern for our invites and table numbers. I created place cards by writing guest names in calligraphy on shells which were then placed in a large plexiglass table top filled with sand. I also replaced the usual guest book “tree” with a coral reef, so guests’ thumbprints represented fish instead of leaves. We took an old wooden ladder we found behind the shed of my parent’s home and my dad created a trellis/arbor ladder structure for the ceremony arch which Fuscia Designs later covered with a stunning array of flowers and suspended glass bubbles and small terrarium vases filled with orchids across the front.
Given Palais Royale’s dark brown interior and the deep purple bridesmaid dresses, we wanted our décor colors to be light, airy and summery. We went with predominantly ivory with lighter shades of purple and coral (almost pastels) used as accents for our florals and décor. My parents decorated spherical paper lanterns with circle cut outs made from tissue paper in various pastel colours so they looked like chandeliers which we hung over the dance floor. I went with Vera Wang’s Fiona dress in ivory coupled with a pair of gold sparkly Christian Louboutins. The groomsmen wore grey tuxes, while my husband went with black to stand out.
For entertainment, we wanted a lion dance to scare away the evil spirits and a tea ceremony to collect red envelopes and jewelry for luck and prosperity but knew it was primarily for our parents to encourage us to bear children quickly and continuously. Our menu would boast California fusion with a hint of Asian influence. We had a dim sum buffet with king crab legs and a suckling pig, and for the main course, we let our guests choose a surf and turf. Dessert was a quintet vs. the typical trio – we included a fruit-cabob and a fortune cookie with the message “The best is yet to come”. The fortune was fitting, because we ended the night with a surprise fireworks show. We first had our guests light flying lanterns which they watched float into the sky towards the (almost) full moon and over the expansive lake, and then surprised our guests with colourful fireworks.
Photography: Claudia Hung | Cinematography: Love Madly | Floral Design: Fuscia Designs | Event Design + Planning: Bride’s Cousin, Rosie | Ceremony + Reception Location: Palais Royale | Hair + Make Up: Joan Huang | Cake: Bobbette and Belle | Groom’s Cake: Sweet and Splendid, Danielle | Ceremony Music: Jack McFadden (double bass), Doriann Forrester (flute), Philip Disera (guitar) | Entertainment: Lady Kane + All Masters Lion Dance Cultural Association + NightFire Pyrotechnics | Bride’s Rings: Kwiat | Officiant: The Reverend Canon Dr. Andrew Sheldon (All Saints Kingsway) | Limo: Mina Limousine Service | Wedding Dress: Vera Wang | Shoes: Christian Louboutin | Groom’s Suit: Men’s Wearhouse | Bridesmaid Dresses: Priscilla of Boston | Jr. Bridesmaid Dress: David’s Bridal