There are a lot of things to love about Catherine and Tobi’s wedding day at the Broadview Hotel. In addition to being beautiful (hello, bright, airy, and warmly modern!), there is so much love and laughter going on it’s contagious. If you’re wondering whether Catherine and Tobi always have so much fun together, the answer is ‘yes.’ They met at the Toronto Festival of Beer…and have gone together ever since (pics below!). But their relationship is built on more than just good times. Tobi and Catherine have been there for each other when things got rough, too. In fact, one of those moments is what made Catherine even more sure Tobi was her person.
In 2012, she’d Iost her job “with the company at which I’d started my career and been with for three years. I was absolutely devastated and didn’t know what to do. Throughout the ordeal, Tobi was there for me…he provided me with so much love and support. This was the first time a partner of mine had prioritized my career and my needs professionally—I had always prioritized everyone else’s careers before my own. Tobi put me first and helped me prioritize my career and growth.” Ladies, when your partner throws in with you like that, you know you’ve got a good one!
When Tobi and Catherine became engaged, they knew one thing for sure—Toronto’s Broadview Avenue would play a starring role in a wedding that was 100% them. Explained Catherine, “The Broadview strip was a key player in our story. It’s where Tobi grew up, where we had our first date, where we lived for most of our relationship, where I bought my wedding dress, and so much more.”
Speaking of her gown, Catherine visited us at our flagship Toronto bridal boutique a couple times, once with her family and friends and once by herself. It was during her second appointment, when the only opinion to hear was her own, that she found her custom Lea-Ann Belter gown. “When I went in alone, I realized the dress I thought I liked was actually a dress my family liked, and I was just succumbing to pressure. Having gone in a second time to see Vanessa on my own, I was able to find my perfect dress, which was a custom A-line gown that had a “Bliss” ruched, sweetheart bodice and a whimsical, flowy “Faye” bottom.”
There’s more to Catherine’s wedding gown search, how she and Tobi met, and more below!
How did you guys meet?
I had an annual tradition of attending the Toronto Festival of Beer (aka Beerfest) with my two best girlfriends, Patty and Megan. However, 2012 was a bit of a different year because we found ourselves with two spare tickets. Patty was pregnant with her first child, and for obvious reasons, neither herself nor her husband Jerry was able to attend. To ensure the tickets didn’t go to waste, Megan offered the spare tickets to two of her closest friends from work, one of them being Tobi, my husband.
Never in a million years would I have thought that I would have met my husband at Beerfest. Tobi arrived about an hour and a half later due to a prior commitment, and by that time, the three of us were already a few beers in. Eventually, Tobi caught up to us, and we continued to run around from booth to booth in the blistering July heat. After several pints of beers, some good laughs, and a back-handed insult from myself to Tobi about his hair – Megan, Tobi, and I found ourselves sharing a cab home and going our separate ways.
Cut to one week later, Tobi sent me an invite to connect on Facebook, and at the same time every night for the next five days, we would chat endlessly about everything and anything…until finally he asked me to hang out, and the rest was history.
We still attend Beerfest annually as it’s tradition (except for 2020 because of the Pandemic), but now we also celebrate the anniversary of when we met.”
Catherine + Tobi the day they met!
How did you know Tobi was “the one”?
“I wish I could say that there was a single isolated moment when I knew that Tobi was the one, but the reality is that there were several moments within our first few years together that reinforced that he was “my person.” It was these moments that showed his character and the type of person he is.
The first moment was after the first time I had ever stayed over at his place. Having forgotten to pack my toothbrush and a hairbrush, the next morning while I was still asleep, Tobi ran down the street to the store to pick up a toothbrush and hairbrush for me so that I had some necessities at his place. I learned very quickly that he was an incredibly considerate, caring, and thoughtful person.
The second moment was after I lost my job in December 2012 from a company at which I’d started my career and been with for three years. I was absolutely devastated and didn’t know what to do. Throughout the ordeal, Tobi was there for me…he provided me with so much love and support. This was the first time a partner of mine had prioritized my career and my needs professionally—I had always prioritized everyone else’s careers before my own. Tobi put me first and helped me prioritize my career and growth.
Most importantly, I knew Tobi was the one because I felt so comfortable with him from the beginning. I felt like I could be my most authentic self around him and he accepted and loved me no matter what.”
How did you guys get engaged?
“We got engaged in February 2017 at a Nordic Spa called The Polar Bear’s Club in the Laurentian Mountains in Piedmont, Quebec.
We had been together for four and a half years before our engagement happened, and I was starting to wonder when we were going to take the next step. So one day, I had a bit of a fit and told Tobi that I wanted to be engaged before the start of the new year. Tobi didn’t take that comment very well and took it as an ultimatum, so in an effort to stand his ground, he held off on proposing and deliberately waited until after the New Year. Little did I know that when I told him my timeline, he had already purchased my engagement ring.”
How did you choose your gown?
“Initially, when I started looking for wedding gowns, I thought I wanted a Kate Middleton, Alexander McQueen-inspired gown…lace sleeves and all. However, after trying several lace-sleeved dresses, the cut and the style just didn’t suit me, which broke my heart. So I went back to the drawing board and started to think about what I wanted: a simple, timeless, and elegant A-Line dress. A dress that could eventually be passed down to my child.
I visited five bridal boutiques in total, including the Lea-Ann Belter flagship store in Toronto. Visit after visit, some members of my family kept imposing their views on the “ideal wedding dress,” which to them was a ball gown with lots of sparkle. This definitely wasn’t my style at all. After our first visit to Lea-Ann, I thought I had found my dress but walked away to mull it over. A few days later, I emailed Vanessa to see if I could come back in and try the gown again. Low and behold, when I went in alone, I realized the dress I thought I liked was actually a dress my family liked, and I was just succumbing to pressure. Having gone in a second time to see Vanessa on my own, I was able to find my perfect dress, which was a custom A-line gown that had a “Bliss” ruched, sweetheart bodice and a whimsical, flowy “Faye” bottom. As for an accent piece, Vanessa was able to get a custom double strand Swarovski Crystal belt made and attached to my dream dress.”
Tell us about your day!
“Tobi and I got married on September 15, 2018, surrounded by our family and friends at the Broadview Hotel in Toronto, a historic east-end neighborhood landmark with a rich and unique history. We immediately knew we wanted to get married here because the Broadview strip was a key player in our story. It’s where Tobi grew up, where we had our first date, where we lived for most of our relationship, where I bought my wedding dress, and so much more.
Our wedding aesthetic was grounded in two words–simple & elegant. We stuck to our green, white & rose gold colour scheme till the very end, and we were surrounded by white “Vivienne” spray roses, white Limonium, green Pittosporum, Silver Dollar Eucalyptus, Parvi Eucalyptus, and Cinera Eucalyptus.”
What was your first dance song?
“We walked into our wedding reception to Jay-Z’s “99 Problems,” and as we started to dance, we transitioned into Van Morrison’s “Crazy Love.” “
One detail you couldn’t live without?
“Broadview Avenue—I guess you could consider it a crucial character in our relationship and wedding day.”
Three words that best describe Tobi:
“Calm, kind & considerate.”
Where did you go on your honeymoon?
“We actually haven’t gone on a honeymoon yet because we prioritized buying a house first. Two days after we celebrated our first wedding anniversary, our dream came true, and we purchased our forever home—a beautiful, detached home in Toronto’s East End. We officially moved in on February 1, 2020, and just as we started to plan our honeymoon, the Covid-19 Pandemic hit, and we had to put our honeymoon on hold again.”
Any advice for future brides/grooms?
“Weddings tend to bring out the “ugly” in some people—it can bring on unwanted drama OR unsolicited commentary from family and friends. Avoid getting caught up in the drama and continue to stay true to yourselves… it’s your day and no one else’s. Don’t let other people’s opinions bear weight on what you want…and when things get tough…remember to lean in on your partner for support.“
wedding dress: custom Lea-Ann Belter gown (Bliss/Faye) | photographer: Ryan Bolton Photography | venue: The Broadview Hotel | groom’s custom suit: Marlon Durrant at Md Bespoke | hair + makeup: Rhia Amio |
florals: Stôk Floral & Design Inc. | DJ: DJ Double Up | bridal bouquets + boutonnieres: Catherine’s mother in law, Judit Reichlin | wedding cake: Tiered Cake Boutique