Wow, this bride totally wins the DIY award of the year. Not only did she design her entire wedding day, she also made the unbelievably cool, hand letterpressed invites and grew all the herbs and succulents that served as decor and centerpieces. Our heads are seriously spinning from all the pretty details. Oh and the adorable chalk board signs, ya…she did those too. Sara Wilde Photography captured each and every moment perfectly and there’s a ton more to feast your eyes on here in the full gallery.

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From the Bride… Darren and I come from two very different professional fields: I’m a graphic designer, and he is a falconer and wildlife control officer at Toronto’s Pearson Airport. Every aspect of my day-to-day routine relies on modern technology, whereas Darren’s days are not very different from someone living in the middle ages. Somehow, despite our contrasting career paths, we have been able to live happily under one roof for many years. When Darren proposed after almost eight years of dating, we talked about wanting our wedding day to be spent with close friends and family in a quiet, lovely and very personal setting. 

Naturally, I drew my inspiration for the overall design of the event from Darren’s feathered companions. Illustrated feather details can be seen in many of the ingredients that make up our decor, including the hand-letterpressed invitation envelopes. Another prominent element of the design is natural wood. Being Russian, I feel that birch trees have a special place in the heart of my heritage, which encouraged my choice to use birch wood to create our laser-cut wedding invitations and many other details. You can say that this wedding was truly “a labor of love.” My mom and I devoted six months to growing all of the herbs and succulents used in the centerpieces. Many days leading up to the wedding were spent designing paper goods, hand-drawing chalkboard signs, making photo booth props out of sculpting clay, wood-burning table numbers and much more. To many it might seem a bit over the top, but this was our goal — putting a piece of our heart into every detail of our wedding.  

Our good friends, the parents of the best man, were kind enough to offer their beautiful property in Port Hope, Ontario as the venue for both the ceremony and the reception. Durham House is a historic property with a beautiful, English-style garden that slopes down to a small lake. This venue set the perfect mood for the whole wedding, adding some countryside charm that is so appealing to both of us. We arranged for an outdoor ceremony overlooking the lake framed on both sides by beautiful century-old trees. The reception took place in a tent nearby, where numerous strings of patio lights hung over the tables, creating a truly whimsical atmosphere. Despite some light rain, we couldn’t have asked for a better day to get married. The ceremony was as we hoped for — filled with warmth and laughter, and the sun even began peeking out of the clouds. Once the skies got dark, some of the most magical moments of the day took place. My parents surprised me by bringing a Russian “Karavai” — this specially-decorated bread is given as a blessing. It is a custom for the bride and the groom to try to break the Karavai apart — whoever gets the larger piece will be the head of the household (wisely, Darren let go of the entire loaf, surrendering it to me). Later in the evening, the wedding guests enjoyed a spectacular floating lantern finale, as well as another unplanned wonder. It just so happened that our wedding day fell on the weekend of this August’s Perseid meteor shower. Clear, unlit skies of the countryside provided a truly spectacular culmination to a magical day, proving that the best memories are often those that fall outside of the plan.

Wedding Photography: Sara Wilde Photography / Wedding Venue: The Home of the Best Man’s Parents in Port Hope, Ontario / Wedding Styling, Concept, Stationery, Decor + Photo Booth: Oleksandra Smith of Laska (The Bride) / Floral Design: Sweetpea’s / Wedding Cake: Little Tomato Catering / Custom Cake Topper: Melissa Lowry of Milo&Ben / DJ: Magen Boys Entertainment / Wedding Dress: White by Vera Wang / Hair: Melissa Noelle of Lush Brush Hair & Makeup / Makeup: Carly Adams / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: twobirds Bridesmaid

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