One of my absolute favorite things is seeing family traditions and heritage. There’s just something about them being passed down from generation to generation and the nostalgic feel of beautiful things from times past.  I love how this couple incorporated so many of their families’ histories and heirlooms into their special day at the historic Fermenting Cellar with every moment perfectly memorialized in these exquisite images from George Matthew Photography. I still can’t get enough of the “breaking of the bread” tug-of-war between the bride and groom. Click here for the gallery.

Click here for the FULL wedding!

From the Bride… “Charlie, meet Carly,” our mutual friend said as she introduced us under a starry September sky on Toronto’s Centre Island. We were both there for a summer concert — Charlie was there watching the band, and I was working as PR liaison between local media and bands. Muse had just played Starlight, and Gnarls Barkley was hitting the stage. This was the summer of 2006. Little did we know then that Carly and Charlie, or “the Arlies” as friends call us, would go on to build a beautiful romance that would lead us down the aisle.

The perfect wedding was preceded by the perfect proposal. Five years after we first met, we found ourselves back in the very same spot on Centre Island, this time just us. Charlie had orchestrated an elaborate plan. The four-part series of mini adventures began with Charlie getting down on one knee and proposing. Of course I said yes (a thousand times)! But the day wasn’t over. The proposal was followed by lunch at the spot of our very first date, dinner at our most favorite restaurant and a surprise getaway to New York City, where we stayed at The Plaza Hotel and strolled through Central Park. 

We knew we wanted our February 4th wedding to really feel like us. A little old-fashioned and a little rustic with lots of personal touches to make our guests feel extra-special. We were thrilled when we found the Fermenting Cellar in Toronto’s historic Distillery District. We were sure that if its 100-year-old walls could talk, this building would have some incredible stories to share, and we were excited to add ours to its history. We had a touch of DIY in everything — from the lighting on the walls, to the staging and draping of the ceremony, dining room, lounge and dance floor. We were married by Charlie’s father’s childhood best friend — a Superior Court judge — and we wrote our own vows. We included some traditions from my Macedonian and Italian family, including the breaking of the bread, a symbolic tug-of-war that predicts the power balance of the couple based on who tugs the bigger piece! I wore my late grandmother’s brooch on my bouquet, and Charlie’s late grandmother’s mink coat to stay warm in the winter air. We kept our decor and color palette simple with shades of white, cream and wood touches in the centerpieces and on our amazing candy bar, which was done by The Cupcakery. My father-in-law even made the wooden cake stands we used (and now have shared with other friends for their weddings!) The final touch was the giant chandelier we brought in to hang above the ceremony and dance floor. It set the mood for the entire event. Our favors were packaged with “Our Warmest Thanks” and included everything you need for the perfect winter warm-up: hot chocolate, shortbread cookies and chocolate mint and vanilla bean marshmallows by Nadege. It was a magical day and one Charlie and I look back on with great affection. We may need to renew our vows just so we can do it all again!

Wedding Photography: George Matthew Photography / Wedding Venue: Fermenting Cellar in Toronto, Ontario / Floral Design: Vicki Sokolowski / Wedding Cinematography: Justyna Sokolowski / Candy Bar: The Cupcakery / Marshmallows: Nadege Patisserie / Wedding Dress: Va Lena Valentina via Becker’s Bridal / Bride’s Shoes: Jimmy Choo / Bride’s Coat: The Groom’s Grandmother’s / Bride’s Bouquet Brooch: Her Grandmother’s