Elegant Hart House Wedding | Tonya + James

Ready for a lesson on love? Meet Tonya and James! These two met at a birthday party in the 6th grade and became the best of friends. They started dating in high school, and years later, James proposed while on a trip to Portugal! Says Tonya, “James and I were best friends for many years before we started dating. The foundation of our relationship is rooted in a close friendship which made it so easy to see that he was the one early on in life!”

Tonya is a teacher, she and James got their romantic start in HS, and they got engaged in Europe, so choosing Hart Hall at the University of Toronto (with its romantic, old-world vibe) for their venue felt so right. As did having their first look in front of the very same high school at which they officially started dating.

Get the scoop on their wedding’s “classy high-school party” aesthetic, how Tonya found her Honey gown, and more from our delightful bride who danced to “Marry Me” by Train below!


How did your sweetie propose?


“We were traveling to Portugal with our close friends. The evening we arrived, we went down to the beach and he popped the question! We spent the rest of the trip celebrating!”

wedding dress: Astrid & Mercedes Honey via the flagship Toronto bridal boutique | photos: Mango Studios | full vendor list below

How did you choose your gown?


“Trying on dresses was my favourite part of the wedding planning process! I owe a lot of that to Vanessa, my consultant at the Lea-Ann Belter flagship store in Toronto. Lea-Ann Belter was my first experience trying on gowns. I was really open to trying on different styles. Vanessa was so lovely; she made my family and myself feel so comfortable! Every dress I tried on she would look at my body language and give me a different perspective! It was so helpful and personal! After this experience, I went to other stores and tried on other dresses. Nothing compared to my experience at Lea-Ann Belter with Vanessa. I had to go back! And that’s when I found “the one.” A veil was really important to me and adding the cathedral veil completed my look! It was super special that my mom, dad, sister, best friend, and mother-in-law enjoyed the experience with me!”


Tell us about your day!


“Being surrounded by all the people you love most in the world is hard to put into words. Our day was perfect! We started the day with our first look at our high school. We began dating here so why not start our wedding day right back where we first fell in love! We were trying to get access to the school but unfortunately, we were unable to make it happen. We adjusted the plan to do our photos outside. On our wedding day, the boys arrived at the school first. The school doors were open! It was the best surprise to start our day! We chose our venue, Hart House in Toronto, for its European feel. It brought us back to our engagement and traveling which connected with us. Hart House has a very romantic vibe which was a theme we incorporated into our day. We kept decor and florals simple and elegant, shades of white, greenery, and candlelight. Since James and I started dating in high school, we wanted our day to feel like a classy high school party. Between every course, our loved ones were up and mingling with one another. It was a really beautiful atmosphere. You could feel the love in the room! DJ Sanga Genesis played the right music at the perfect time to develop our “classy high school party.” Lindsay at LQ Events really helped us bring our vision to life and made our day run so smoothly! Huge thank you to both of them!”


What was your something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue?


“Something old: Nonna’s jewelry
Something borrowed: Mom’s necklace
Something new: Shoes”


Where did you go on your honeymoon?


“We were supposed to go to Spain, Croatia, and England this summer. Unfortunately, Covid has affected our plans so we are TBD.”


Any advice future brides/grooms?


“Don’t stress over the little things… being surrounded by the people who you love and your partner really make the day so special!”

Tonya + James’s Hart House Wedding Vendors

wedding dress: Astrid & Mercedes Honey via the flagship Toronto bridal boutique | photographer: Mango Studios | month of coordination: LQ Events | venue: Hart House | florals: Park Ave. Blooms | reception music: DJ Sanga Genesis

Were you a Lea-Ann Belter bride? We’d love to see your pictures and share your story! Email Jessica@Lea-AnnBelter.com.