This wedding made my Monday. And not just because it’s drop-dead gorgeous and filled to the brim with pretty (it sooo is). No, it also happens to be the kind of wedding where every moment, every detail and every.last.look is steeped in meaning; a wedding in which the stunning bride and groom put so much of their personalities into the planning, it shines through in every beautiful image captured by Still Motion. It’s what we call a love-fest to the extreme and you can see it all in the full gallery.
From the Bride… Our wedding was the coming together of a prairie girl and a country boy. Having both grown up in wide, open spaces under expansive skies, it felt right to get married in a barn under the same expansive sky. We had also wished to incorporate lavender into our wedding somehow, as lavender had been one of my late father’s favourite flowers. In the end, the Scott’s Barn was the perfect combination of both. It was a lavender farm complete with a beautifully restored old red barn nestled between the rolling Northumberland Hills and Lake Ontario near Cobourg, Ontario. The owner of the farm, Pat Scott, even moved her annual public lavender festival out by a week so we could get married on the farm when the lavender was in full bloom. Pat’s a special lady.
Before we started planning the wedding, Pietro and I talked about our “anchors” – the things that we wanted to define the spirit of our day that were important to us. We wanted these anchors to eventually help guide our decision making down the road… to keep us grounded. Of these, the most important anchor was our family and friends: the community of people who had loved and supported us all our lives – and continued to. It was important that our guests have fun, and that everything would be as enjoyable and easy for them as possible. How this translated into our day were elements like a school bus to pick up and drop off our guests both from Toronto and Cobourg, individualized children’s goodie bags containing toys and sweets to better occupy them during the day’s events, and communal seating in two long rows of tables where food was served family-style for our reception. Communal eating not only mirrored how our two families had traditionally eaten together, but we also felt it would bring out the spirit of community, sharing, and togetherness that much more.
We found inspiration for our wedding design in both our venue and each of our cultures. We pulled from the bold red and white of the barn, purple of the lavender fields, along with my Chinese heritage and the Mennonite and Sicilian cultures of my groom’s family. We looked for the intersection of all these sources and wanted to bring out the rustic elegance of our venue, while throwing in a touch of whimsy. Before designing the wedding, we branded it (what happens when you have two people working in the design industry and a Creative Director in the mix). The result was a simple design that could be applied through the many elements of our wedding. It incorporated a custom vintage-style line drawing of a lavender bouquet that was paired with a red Chinese seal that integrated both of our names as well as the dragon and phoenix representing our marriage. The illustration was created by our dear friend, Roben Nieuwland, and the seal was designed by my grandfather, who is a Chinese artist and calligrapher in Hong Kong.
While we had always planned to create the designable elements of our wedding ourselves, we hadn’t initially planned to do so much of our wedding ourselves. But, as is the case with many weddings, the unexpected happened and with a little more than a month to go, we needed to make the difficult decision of letting go of the event decorating and planning company we had booked our flowers, event rentals, and day of coordination services through. However, as a result we were given the opportunity to not only meet but to build fantastic relationships with the amazing vendors we ended up partnering with – all of whom were nothing short of incredible in how much they contributed to our wedding through their creativity, generosity, and enthusiasm. In particular, our caterer, Christine Bib, was a god-send. As a specialist in catering non-traditional weddings and a veteran in the business, she was a fantastic guide who helped us navigate through some of the final details of our day. She never missed a beat, even going so far as to bring our florals right to the B&B we were staying at on the day of our wedding because we hadn’t been able to pick them up that day. We were also lucky to have found our florist, Rachelle Soucy of Botany Floral Studio and Selena Hazlitt of Hazlitt Vintage Rentals who both stepped up on short notice to deliver beautiful flowers and decor elements that only enhanced our day.
We also incorporated contributions from family and friends wherever possible. Many contributions had already made their way into the brand. Others took shape in details such as a wedding quilt made for us by Pietro’s grandmother that we got married in front of, a hooked rug that we stood on through the ceremony made by his aunt, the chalkboard menus done by a dear friend, the music Pietro’s brother played in the ceremony on a guitar that had belonged to their late father, and of course the Stormtrooper, Darth Vader, and Chewbacca that three friends had sworn to secrecy and dressed up as to interrupt our first dance to start the real dance to the Star Wars Cantina song.
As both Pietro and I had lost our fathers in earlier years to illness, weddings tended to trigger a mix of emotions for us. While we wanted to commemorate our fathers in a meaningful way, we also wanted the day to be light-hearted, joyful, and full of laughs (and maybe a few occasional tears). As a result, we decided to leave out many of the parent-oriented traditions from our wedding, and instead opted to honour our fathers in more subtle ways. For me, it was the lavender at our venue, for Pietro, it was having his father’s guitar played when I came down the aisle. For our moms, we each gave them a white rose during our ceremony as a thank you for all the years of love and support. In the end, we were really glad we did it that way. And for any future brides and grooms planning a wedding – it’s your day. Make it yours. Do what you feel comfortable with. Don’t feel pressured into following tradition and how things have always been done – it’s likely your guests won’t even notice. And if they do, they likely won’t care.
Photography: Still Motion | Cinematography: Still Motion | Catering: Christine Bib | Floral Design: Botany Floral Studio | Ceremony + Reception Location: Scott’s Barn | Vintage Accessories: Hazlitt Vintage Rentals | Music: Luca Gagliano (ceremony) Brooke Blackburn | Event Design, Planning + Invitations: DIY | Wedding Cake + Cupcakes: I Do Wedding Cakes | Hair + Makeup: Salon Belleza | Shoes: Balisi + Heel Boy | Wedding Dress: Khiet Ngu, seamstress and dress designer | Chinese Dress: Old Shanghai | Bridesmaid Dresses: Henkaa | Groom + Groomsmen Suits: Moores | Groom + Groomsmen Ties: Simon Carter | Groom + Groomsmen Shoes: Converse | Groom’s Horseshoe Nail Wedding Band: Mennonite Blacksmith + Dana McLaven | Bride’s Engagement Ring + Wedding Band: Dana McLaven | Location of Bride’s B&B: MacKechnie House