It may have been cold on the early spring day Anna and Jérôme married, but all the love kept them warm! These two travelled all the way from France to marry on Shongum Lake in Randolph, NJ. As a French teacher, Anna has traveled all over—having spent a lot of time in New Jersey, it was a special place for her. Her students even attended the wedding!
When planning, Anna and Jérôme kept it small, local, and ethical, starting with the dress. It was important to Anna that she knew from where her gown came as well as who made it. When she and Jérôme visited us in Toronto (Yes! Both! More on that from Anna below…), Anna fell for her Magnolia gown and added a Maeve jacket for the chill. The couple then arranged food and wine from a nearby farm and beer from a local brewery. Their meal was prepared by Anna’s dear friend and a close friend of the couple performed the ceremony, which included a handfasting during which guests contributed ribbons. It was all such a meaningful celebration of their love—and their glowing expressions say it all!
How did you guys meet and get engaged?
“I actually met Jérôme 17 years ago through a common friend. We didn’t get together straight away, though! I’m a French teacher and travel a lot for work, and at that time I left France for Finland. Then I went to teach in New Jersey, and during that time we got back in touch on Skype and decided to give love a try that summer while I was back in France. A month after coming home to France, I left for Gambia! From then on, we had a long distance relationship—we were lucky to see each other a few times a year! But when we did, we always travelled to a nice place and had so much fun! We learned so much about one another during that time (not to mention about ourselves—there’s so much to discover around you in Africa!) At the end of the year, I went back to the same school I had been at in New Jersey. As we were walking on the beach in New Jersey, Jérôme dropped to one knee (it was strange to see him this way because he is so tall!) and of course I said yes!”
How did you find your gown?
“I had NO idea where to go and what to choose, but I wanted something that was ethical and respectful of the fabric. It was important to me that I knew where the dress was made and who was going to make it. That was how I came to Lea-Ann Belter in Toronto. I was lucky that Vanessa in the Toronto store had some availability the weekend Jérôme and I decided to drive to Niagara Falls. It was during that appointment that I fell in love with the Magnolia dress! Jérôme actually saw me in my gown, but he had seen so many that day he hardly remembered one from the next! I was worried about being cold the day of, and on Vanessa’s advice added the Maeve jacket.”
Tell us about your day!
“I totally had no idea how to start planning everything! From the beginning, I just had the impression that it was all about the guests, which is why I decided to do what was best for us (and I did it all in 3 months!). Jérôme and I felt we should make our big day as local as possible. The food and wine came from one farm in our area, and the beer from a local bergerie. We had the chance to have one of my very best friend to cook for us and it was amazingly delicious! As far as decorations, we went for things we could reuse again, like mason jars.
Our wedding day was SO cold!! It was supposed to snow and I was ready to wear boots under my dress! But once I went outside to surprise Jérôme it was beautiful (but still cold)! The ceremony was on the beach and a very good friend married us, which meant so, so much. It was so personal and touching. We also decided to have a handfasting and a few friends, colleagues and even students came with their ribbons to tie around our wrists! It was so special. The ceremony was in English (and it was interesting because we had a few people coming from France and who didn’t really understand what was going on…but we guessed that they understood when we kissed!). Then we all went inside this cute log cabin in front of the lake and had really good time with music, local wine, local beer and amazing food!
What’s your funniest wedding day memory?
“When we gave my students all the candies (coming from France) and they were just like what!?…and their mums were like…NOOOO!”
Describe your wedding day in 5 words or less:
“Outside, intimate, local, love and cold!”
What was your something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue?
“For the blue and borrowed…a very good friend gave me a pin that had everything—something blue, a coin, something new…it was perfect and I put it on the bouquet. She even offered me a really cute necklace that was blue (I’m totally not into jewelry…).”
Where did you go on your honeymoon?
“We went for 4 days in Banff National Park to do some hiking but actually a lot of trails were still closed because of the snow…and it was still amazing (and we are now really thinking to get married a second time over there with all the friends who couldn’t make it the first time!). It was so beautiful and we both love all the National Parks.”
Any advice for future brides/grooms?
“For the bride and groom, I will say try your best to share all the preparations of the wedding together—we couldn’t because of the distance, and it was so hard! Also, just think about yourself first (I know—it’s the selfish advice but it is your day!!!)”