Vintage VW buses, bold colors, nature, and all kinds of love gathered together on Amanda and Jonathan’s Toronto wedding day! These two chose super romantic Graydon Hall as their reception venue and were wed in a traditional Catholic ceremony during which they wrote prayers to one another in place of writing vows. The music played an important role, as well, as Amanda is a musician.
Meaningful details continued to weave their beautiful way throughout their reception, lending significance and fun to everything from the favors and guestbook (a live calligraphy artist wrote messages on Jenga pieces!) to dinnerware. Amanda’s bridal ensemble got in on the act, too. She customized her Divine gown in our flagship Toronto boutique by extending her train and buttons and adding beading, and she amped up her Beautiful veil with extra length and a beaded blusher.
Get the story behind her Curacao mountaintop proposal, how she came to find her gown, and details of her and Jonathan’s day below!
How did your sweetie propose?
“On the very top of a Mount Christoffel in Curacao. Jonathan knew my dream proposal was on top of a mountain but he also wanted it to be a surprise. So before we left for Curacao he dropped hints that he wasn’t bringing anything valuable on the trip. Little did I know that he had put the ring in a little bag, with a note to airport security asking them to be discreet because it was a surprise proposal.
He had planned a hike up Mount Christoffel and hid the ring in our backpack. I didn’t even see it when I was getting our snacks! When we arrived at the top of the mountain I thought “Wow, this would be a great place to propose.” When I turned around, he was there on one knee!”
How did you choose your gown?
“I love supporting Canadian fashion so I knew my dress would be made in Canada. I also wanted my dress to be silk. There’s just something truly special about silk lace and organza.
I’ve watched Say Yes to the Dress enough times to know that I’d likely choose one of the first dresses I tried on, so I knew choosing the first store was important. I loved Lea-Ann Belter’s aesthetic so I chose it as my first shop and went with my mom and sister. Vanessa was lovely to work with and she chose a dress that I would never have thought to try on. When I tried it on I was taken aback by it. I thought “Omg, I look like a bride.” I wasn’t sure if it was “the one” because it didn’t have what I thought I wanted – like embroidery and a full skirt. So I kept looking…and looking…and looking. I tried on at least 100 dresses over a span of 9 months. I had a couple of other favourites but I kept going back to this one. I went back to Lea-Ann Belter I think 4 times and every time Vanessa was so patient with me!
After 9 months and 100+ dresses, I chose the first dress I tried on – the one Vanessa picked out for me! We extended the train and added Swarovski crystals so it sparkled. We chose an incredible 10-foot veil to match. I chose to wear the Lea-Belter dress for the ceremony because I saw myself walking down the aisle in it the moment I first tried it on. But I still wanted a “princess-y” full skirt for dancing, so I had a silk overskirt made at Catherine Langois as well.”
Tell us about your day! Did you have a theme or style in mind? Did you incorporate any cultural or religious traditions?
“Every style decision throughout our wedding was a reflection of both myself and my fiancé. For our colour palette, we chose red roses because my mother had them in her wedding bouquet, and my fiancé Jonathan wanted bold colours. So the colours we focused on were red, purple, raspberry, lilac, and blush.
We love nature, which was reflected in our venue, and we chose tree saplings for our guest’s gifts. We were so excited to plant them!
Poppies were included in the florals because my grandmother used to have a wildflower garden on their acreage. Our plate settings included blue Delftware to represent my Dutch background, and we had a gelato cart during dessert to reflect both of our Italian heritage.
For Catholic ceremonies, you don’t get to write your own vows, so we wrote prayers to each other instead. It was a really beautiful moment, and a lovely way to make our vows personal.
We also made our own rings! We selected the gold beforehand and then went to a workshop to learn how to make them. I made Jonathan’s and he made mine. Both rings are made of conflict-free gold, similar to my engagement ring.
The music was really important to us because we’re both musicians. I am part of an opera company, so I asked one of our soloists, Michelle, if she could sing for the ceremony which was really lovely. She was accompanied by organ, trumpet, and harp. I’ve wanted a harpist at my wedding since I was a little girl, and it sounded so beautiful! For the reception, we had a jazz quartet that put their own spin on popular songs. I found them busking during TIFF the summer before our wedding and I knew they’d be perfect.
One of my close friends, Lyndsey, did mine and the bridesmaids’ makeup. She’s not an official makeup artist, but she had done my makeup when we were in university and I was confident that she’d kill it. We definitely took a risk because we didn’t do a makeup trial! The first time she had done my makeup since our university days was the wedding day.”
Poppies were within my wedding bouquet because my grandmother used to have a wildflower garden on their acreage, and we made our own rings! We selected the gold beforehand and then went to a workshop to learn how to make them. I made Jonathan’s and he made mine. Both rings are made of conflict-free gold, similar to my engagement ring.
I’m a musician so music was really important. For the ceremony, Jon and the bridal party walked down to Pachelbel’s Canon in D, and I walked down to Delibes’ The Flower Song. I sing in an opera company and one of the soloists sang which was really special. She was accompanied by organ, trumpet, and harp. I’ve wanted a harpist at my wedding since I was a little girl, and it sounded so beautiful! For the reception, we had a jazz quartet that put their own spin on popular songs. They were playing in David Pecaut Square during TIFF the summer before our wedding and I knew they’d be perfect. For Catholic ceremonies, you don’t get to write your own vows. So we wrote prayers to each other instead! It was a really beautiful moment, and a lovely way to make our vows personal.
Since I love calligraphy, at the reception we had a live calligraphy artist write guests’ messages on Jenga pieces as part of the guestbook. During dinner, our plates were blue Delftware to represent my Dutch background, and to reflect both of our Italian heritage, we had a gelato cart during dessert!
I wanted each bridesmaid dress to reflect the style of the bridesmaid. So each chose a lilac dress from a different designer. And one super fun thing was that our bridal party traveled in vintage VW buses. They were difficult to find but we absolutely loved them!
Finally, one of my close friends, Lyndsey, did my makeup. She’s not an official makeup artist, but she had done my makeup when we were in university and I was confident that she could do a really great job. I’ve seen so many brides with overdone makeup so I didn’t want a traditional makeup artist. We definitely took a risk because we didn’t do a makeup trial! The first time she had done my makeup since our university days was the wedding day.”
What was your first dance song?
“Our first dance was Perfect by Ed Sheeran. We chose the one that featured Beyonce.“
Describe your wedding day in 5 words or less:
“Surreal, joyful, exciting and beautiful.”
What was your something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue?
“Something old: My grandmother’s wedding ring.
Something new: Everything else! I didn’t subscribe to the borrowed and blue bit.”
Where did you go on your honeymoon?
“We went on a mini-moon to Prince Edward County. It was our first time there and we loved exploring the wineries, and everything the County has to offer. Our full honeymoon will be in the South Pacific later in the year.”
Any advice for future brides/grooms?
“Make sure to relax on your big day! You can’t fix anything that goes wrong so there’s no point in stressing out about it. Enjoy every moment.”
bride’s finery: Astrid & Mercedes customized Divine dress and customized Beautiful veil via the flagship Toronto bridal boutique, overskirt via Catherine Langois | photographer: Will Reid | planning: Cynthia Martyn | shoes: Badgley Mischka | florals: Blush & Bloom | jazz band: Radio Fraud | wedding cake: Cocoa Cakery | invitations + seating cards: Keeks Paper Co | seating chart: Elle’s Fleurelles | artwork: Blossoms and Ink | live calligraphy: Megan Nicole Lettering | gelato bar: Bliss Gelato | hair: Blush Pretty | invitations: Keeks Paper Co. | place settings: Plate Occasions | engagement ring: Fair Trade Jewelry Co. | wedding rings: couple created through the The Devil’s Workshop. | venue: Graydon Hall | videography: James Frodyma