Gravenhurst Cottage Wedding | Aleisha + Michael

A destination wedding in Mexico was 100% the plan for our sweet bride Aleisha and her groom, Michael. It was the place where they’d first gone on vacation together, and it held a lot of meaning. When the world got turned upside down, they decided not to postpone their November wedding, but to revise—instead of November in Mexico, the day shifted to the beginning of October (so everything could be outside) at Michael’s family cottage on Silver Lake in Gravenhurst. Ontario.

The two of them took it all in stride…they loved the cottage, which had been their second choice of wedding venue. Then came the next plot twist. Says Aleisha, “We kept our guest list small at only 55 people, but then 1.5 weeks before the wedding, Ontario cut outdoor gatherings to 25 people. This was when I (Michael was so positive the whole time) became sad for the first time. We thought we were in the clear keeping our guest list small, but this cut was drastic and hurt.”

Partnership and love for the win, you guys! Michael’s positivity and support helped Aleisha, and their friends and family helped everything come together. Some of the guests who had been cut from the guest list were still able to float by on canoes on the lake, and, since the wedding was local, Michael and Alisha’s sweet pups got to come.

More on Michael and Aleisha’s twinkle-light-strewn wedding (including her amazing experience finding her Splendor gown) from our sweet bride, whose first dance with Michael was to “Man of Steel” by Brantley Gilbert:


Share your proposal story!


“We have been together for 12 years, starting when we were 15 and 16. Finally, on May 30, 2019, just after 10 years together, he proposed during our trip to Norway. After a long hike up to Pulpit Rock, while sitting with our feet dangling over the edge, he popped the question. He is terrified of heights, so this was quite crazy, but so special.”

wedding dress: Astrid & Mercedes Splendor via Memories Bridal | photographer: Jessica Piekny Photography | full vendor list below

How did you choose your gown?


“I chose my gown at the cutest boutique in Barrie called Memories Bridal. This was a memorable experience because Melanie (shop owner) had recently opened so she really did her best to make it a fantastic experience. She was so knowledgeable and worked directly with us. I was with my mom and my best friend. The Splendor gown was a mix of simplicity and elegance—It felt timeless yet beach appropriate. When we chose the dress, Melanie brought out champagne and we celebrated into the night sitting on the floor in the middle of the gowns. It’s a memory I will never forget. Her service was the best out of anywhere I went. She even sent me home with a “bridal survival kit,” everything I might need for emergency on the day of.”


Tell us about your day!


“We were supposed to get married in Mexico on November 26, 2020. My husband and I have been blessed to travel to many places, but Mexico was our first trip together. Given the pandemic, we waited and waited, not sure what November 2020 was going to bring. Finally, at the end of August, we made the call to cancel Mexico. Unsure of what the future would hold, we wanted to follow through with a small wedding and decided to host it here in Canada at my husband’s family cottage on Silver Lake, in Gravenhurst.

We wanted to keep our wedding outdoors, so we chose October 3, 2020. The cottage was always our second choice, so we sort of already had a vision and were very positive about the whole last-minute change situation. What excited us most was that we would be able to have our two pups, Burt and Elsa, included in our day. Elsa was our flower girl, and Burt was one of the groomsmen. With just over a month to prepare what most people spend a year doing, it was all hands on deck—and everyone was willing to help. We kept our guest list small at only 55 people, but then 1.5 weeks before the wedding, Ontario cut outdoor gatherings to 25 people.

This was when I (Michael was so positive the whole time) became sad for the first time. We thought we were in the clear keeping our guest list small, but this cut was drastic and hurt. This meant our grandparents couldn’t be there, and some of our closest friends. But we were determined to keep going. Some of the people we cut were our uncle and close friends, but they have a cottage on our lake, so they were happy to watch the ceremony from canoes! Even though the cottage wasn’t our first choice, it really turned out so beautiful! I went with simple rustic boho decor, and a must was tons of lights. I designed and hand-made all of my decor, even the boutonniere’s the guys wore! This was all so exciting for me because if we were in Mexico this was all taken care of, and I really enjoy creating.

Everything was just as we imagined with the fall colours popping, the weather holding off (though a bit chilly), and our closest family and friends together. Everyone says that this actually seemed more “us” than Mexico would have. Time felt like it stood still, despite the chaos in the world, for one night we all celebrated love, joy, and being together. It was pure magic. One cool thing that we included was a champagne pop and toast with everyone after the ceremony, but before we walked out the aisle. We included a bit of Mexico into our wedding as our tent entering song, as well as tacos as one of the items on our dinner menu from the food truck. We loved having donuts from the bakery in Gravenhurst for our guests instead of cake.”


One detail you couldn’t live without?


“I couldn’t live without all of the lights, I couldn’t get enough. They really added to the magic of the night and were definitely my favorite part of our decor.”


Describe your wedding day in 5 words or fewer:


“Magical, Joy, Love.”


What was the funniest moment of your day?


“Funniest part of the day was probably when we were struggling to open the champagne bottles then Mike ended up squirting his all over me.”


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


“The something blue I wore were blue buttons from my Great-grandmother sewn into my dress for the bustle (my husband wore matching cuff links). Something borrowed was my garter from my mom. Something old was my necklace, my mom had the engagement ring from my grandmother turned into the necklace. Something new was my earrings.”


Three words that best describe your partner:


“Michael is patient, funny, and ambitious.”


Any advice for future brides/grooms?


“Don’t worry so much about the small details, who will be there, or what people think. The main thing is that you are marrying the love of your life. Love always wins!”

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