This is the kind of wedding I absolutely adore; a rustic meets laid-back sort of party where friends and family come together for the entire weekend to celebrate true love. It’s the kind of wedding where lakeside nuptials, campfires and “Sweet Child of Mine” all come together to create absolute magic… and you can see every beautiful moment captured by Jenn & Dave Stark right here.
And a sweet little film from Jenn & Dave Stark… enjoy.
From Jenn & Dave Stark… Right from the first email Dave and I knew Jess & Alex were our kind of people and that the day they had planned was going to be something special and from the heart. We met up with both of them and just fell into a rhythm almost instantly and could have talked for hours more. Jess is thoughtful and isn’t afraid to be herself, and Alex, you can always hear his laugh rising above everyone else’s. Such good people.
For their wedding, they invited all their family and friends to a resort in Muskoka, Ontario next to the lake for the last long weekend of the summer, where they’d have a night-before welcome campfire, be reunited with friends they hadn’t seen in years (they’d be living in BC and Seoul up until recently), with everyone staying in cabins. Jess & Alex would be married on the dock to a thoughtful and personal ceremony created by Jess, go out in a canoe together, have lemonade as the sun set, and have one heck of a good dance party.
I love the thoughtfulness that went into every part of their day… the way they encouraged everyone to relax, unplug and enjoy the last long weekend of summer… how they tried to either re-purpose/make by hand/buy used every aspect of the day…. her wedding dress was bought used, with the hopes of selling it again to another bride-to-be…. Jessica also made it a labour of love creating the beautiful pieces used around the property, repurposing old barn board to create all the signs you’ll see in the images below. Of special note is the sign post listing all the places her & Alex have lived/visited around the world!
It was just a completely relaxed day, with no pretenses and everyone just coming together as a group and having a great time as summer came to an end.
From the Bride… The grounds of Port Cunnington had a naturally beautiful ambiance that you could just ease into. The lake, the beach, the forested surroundings, the bonfire with Adirondack chairs, and docks with lounge chairs gave air to relaxation so one could just enjoy the weekend. With the wedding being a Labour Day weekend long affair, we enjoyed a BBQ and bonfire with s’mores and a huge sing-a-long late into Saturday night. The next day the sun was out and the lake was the place to be – kayaking, paddle boarding and lounging it up prior to the ceremony.
The ceremony was held on the lakeside dock, which really encompassed our laidback attitudes. We entered to a classical version of Guns and Roses’ “Sweet Child of Mine,” which was an accolade to my mom, as she has always been such a supporting and loving parent with a strong passion for music; and GnR is totally her style. The ceremony was short and sweet with lots of laughs and smiles. I wrote the ceremony so that it was a true reflection of us; we both wrote our own vows as we thought that our personal expressions of love were a very significant aspect of the ceremony. A close family friend read a Native American reading that spoke to our beliefs of marriage. My best friend Amy sang one of her songs as we signed the registrar and it was so moving to have her share her talents with us.
After the ceremony, cocktails and hor d’oeuvres were served on the lawn, alongside lawn games to enjoy. The games were a collection of bocce, washer toss and lasso golf made by my father and friends.
Alex was adamant that we served good comfort food that reflected the season. This led to our decision to serve a variety of late summer/fall style appetizers on the lawn during cocktail hour and an array of dinner choices – as we had numerous dietary restrictions. Our dessert table was three cakes from Sweet Confections. They were a three-tiered buttercream lemon cake, a two-tiered buttercream chocolate cake, and a two-tiered buttercream banana cake. Late night was pizza, guacamole and salsa with tortilla chips. I don’t think our guest or we could have eaten anymore!
My mom was a huge part of this wedding and I could not have done it without her. Alex and I were living overseas during the planning and she put so much time and effort into it. I also had tremendous help from my other mother Helen, who taught me how to sew. The table runners were my first project. The guest book is squares of fabric signed by the guests that will be foundation of my first quilt. The decor was do it yourself with a lot of help from your friends. There wasn’t a theme, we really just focused on reusing/make by hand/buying used as wanted to make sure our wedding reflected our personal beliefs. A large part of that is the plan for the items to be used again. For me the décor was based around the flowers. I wanted in season blooms everywhere.
The wood décor was salvage century barn board from a family friends farm. My father used the wood to create our lemonade stand. All the signs Alex and I made were hand painted by my talented Aunt and Uncle. The logs are also from the farm which I used a soldering iron to burn the hearts. The cake and escort card dresser are my childhood pieces that made it all more special. I collected the vast array of milk glass that was used and will be saving a few pieces than passing them along to the next bride. Our favours were raw honey from a neighbour’s farm, that my sister, mom and I put together. The collection of family photos and parents and grandparents on their wedding day was another small detail that just made it memorable.
Alex’s personal touches were the hand made barn board bookshelf and chalkboards he built. We brought the bookshelf to the lawn and set it up with the lemonade stand to serve the gift of mason jars. We focused on the small details and just let the day come to together. We didn’t have a coordinator but a friend, Leah did us the honours of keeping tabs on everything for the day- and she worked her butt off.
All and all the weekend was 100% true to us and we wouldn’t have done it any different. I can’t express the level of happiness I felt on that day, and I’d happily do it a hundred times over again. I look forward to sharing and passing along the small details for the next bride and groom to enjoy!
Photography: Jenn & Dave Stark | Ceremony & Reception: Port Cunnington Lodge | Hair & Make up: BlushPretty | Baker: Sweet Confections | Florist: Jane Marshall Flowers | Bride’s Gown: Amsale (Dahlia) | Hair Accessory: Etsy, Wearableart | Groom’s Attire: Indochino | Ceremony Music: Amy Cunningham