There’s so much fun and joy and general epic-ness going on here that we hardly know where to start. So, we’ll begin at the beginning, which is the moment Jhanelle realized Darren was her person for life: “I knew he was the one when I would start missing him before he left, and we already lived together. Lol. That sentimental life was not me, but he cracked the code and had me incredibly mushy, and still does.”
Knowing that, you also now know how Darren’s sweet proposal was so perfect for Jhanelle. “He proposed to me on Christmas, and he knows I do not like “super-cliche” moments, so he made it extremely unique. He reenacted the Common “Come Close” video (which is one of my favourite songs) from start to finish. If you don’t know what I am talking about, look up the video on YouTube, it will make you smile. Then he got on one knee and asked the question.”
Together, these two planned an outdoor wedding at Stratus Vineyard…and then, plot twist, the pandemic arrived. Their guest list went from 200 to 30, and at first, they figured they’d have a a second celebration down the line. But then, says Jhanelle, “After experiencing the perfect day, filled with love, laughter, happy tears and EVERYTHING you asked for in terms of the look of the wedding, you scrap the whole idea of a Part 2. You embrace the memories and relish in the fact that COVID or not, you experienced the perfect day for both of you, and that is what matters the most. Now, we might have a PARTY for those that couldn’t attend down the road, but there is no way a do-over or expansion exists for an already perfect day.”
Find out where Darren’s killer suit is from, how our dazzling bride found her gown (hint: her sister was involved!), and why part of the wedding party stopped traffic from Jhanelle below!
Tell us about your outfits! How did you choose your gown?
“All the credit goes to my amazing older sister. She set up a day in the city for me, her, and my mom to browse different boutiques. Since it was during COVID, she even coordinated for all my close friends to join online. I thought I had the style and dress I wanted from a previous store until I walked into Lea-Ann Belter. I was like, “I will just go and see, but I think my mind is made up.” Welp, that changed quickly when Vanessa showed me all the options I HAD to create the dress of my dreams instead. We merged my favourite part of about three dresses in-store to make MY dress. I know I wanted something that showed my curves but was elegant and unique at the same time. I got that and more.
His suit was so much to create as well with Fari Hara. We knew we wanted something that was not black but still subtle. They curated the perfect suit for Darren inside and out. I mean it, even the inside of the suit was decked with the finest detail. It almost made me want a suit to change into for the reception.”
Why did you decide to get married where you did?
“I always knew that I wanted an outdoor wedding, and I love wine, so combine the two, and you get a vineyard wedding. The best part of Stratus is the room in which we had the reception. It is intimate and unique and allows everyone to feel like they have been swept away into an experience and moment, not just a wedding. The ceilings cascaded with wine barrels, the candle wall, and the intimate dim lighting are absolutely perfect.”
Tell us about your day!
“Like most that planned a wedding with good ol’ RONA as your special guest, we had to make adjustments. BIG ones! We had a guest list of 200 people, and the wedding was cut down to 30. At first, I said, this will be Part 1. we will have something else for our loved ones who couldn’t make it. But after experiencing the perfect day, filled with love, laughter, happy tears and EVERYTHING you asked for in terms of the look of the wedding, you scrap the whole idea of a Part 2. You embrace the memories and relish in the fact that COVID or not, you experienced the perfect day for both of you, and that is what matters the most. Now, we might have a PARTY for those that couldn’t attend down the road, but there is no way a do-over or expansion exists for an already perfect day.
I LOVED the flowers. I showed a picture and never repeated anything about the flowers. What I got was better than the flowers I shared.
The finishing touches kept coming. From the personalized card for our vows to the special request for a Caribbean-inspired mix on our menu, it all combined to make the perfect day.”
One detail you couldn’t live without?
“My sister! She made sure that my day went off without a hitch, and if there was one, she made sure I didn’t know about it. She held it down with my wedding planner.”
What was the most important aspect for you, in terms of planning your wedding?
“The spot that we held our reception dinner in at Stratus. There was a point when I thought we weren’t going to be able to use the room because of COVID limitations, so to hear that I was going to be able to use the space that attracted me to this location was incredibly special.”
What was the funniest moment of your day?
“Hearing about how my dad, husband and his best-man shutting down the streets of Niagara with our photographer. Their dapper look had everyone gawking and turning heads. The next day, even random people told me how memorable they were.”
Three words that best describe your partner:
“Me: 1. Loving 2. Funny 3. Good-looking
Him: 1. Joyful 2. Pleasant 3. Gorgeous”
Where did you go on your honeymoon?
“Pending… We are still trying to figure out where we want to go.”
Any tips for couples getting married?
“Remember, it is your day. Add the things you want even if others won’t get it or like it. I love chocolate cake, and he loves chocolate brownies. We had brownies for dessert and chocolate cake for the wedding cake. I am sure some people would have appreciated vanilla or felt like it was chocolate overload. But we enjoyed having the things that made us happy on OUR day; that’s what creates the memories.”
Jahnelle + Darren’s Stratus Vineyard Wedding Vendors
wedding gown: custom Lea-Ann Belter dress via the flagship Toronto bridal boutique | photographer: Simply Lace Photography | planner: Love Laced Events | venue: Stratus Vineyard | groom’s custom suit: Fari Hara | florals: Kendon Design | beauty: Eminent Allure | rentals : Simply Beautiful Decor