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 I always wanted to be proposed to on top of a mountain but wanted it to be a surprise. So he told me wasn’t going to bring anything valuable on the trip because he was afraid it’d get lost. He traveled on the flight with the ring in a little bag with a note in it to security saying that if they were searching his luggage can they please not show the ring. When we went for the hike, he somehow hid it in the 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.” He somehow distracted me long enough to be able to set up his GoPro and when I turned around he was there on one knee!”
How did you choose your gown?
“I’ve watched Say Yes to the Dress enough times to know that there’s a big chance that you choose the first one. So I wanted to make sure I got it right. I was open to different styles but my two must-haves were that it was made in Canada and that it was silk. There’s just something special about silk lace and organza compared to polyester.
I loved Lea-Ann Belter’s aesthetic so decided to go there as my first store with my mom and sister. Vanessa was amazing and picked out the ones I had seen on the website and then another one that was totally different. I tried one of the ones I chose and realized it wasn’t for me. I then tried on the one Vanessa chose. It was completely different than what I wanted but I was kind of taken aback by it. I was like “Omg, I look like a bride.” I didn’t know if it was “it” though because it didn’t have what I thought I wanted like embroidered flowers and a full skirt. So I kept looking….and looking….and looking. I tried at least 100 dresses over a span of 9 months. There were a couple of other favourites but I kept comparing all of them to this one. I went to Lea-Ann Belter I think 4 times and every time Vanessa was so patient with me. She was like my therapist!
By my bridal shower, 4 months before, I still didn’t have my dress. I realized that that dress 9 months ago was the only one I had “the feeling” with. After 9 months, 100+ dresses I ended up getting the 2nd dress I tried on at the first store I went to. We added a couple of feet to the train and added Swarovski crystals and it was gorgeous. Vanessa helped me choose an incredible 10-foot veil to match. I chose to wear the Lea-Belter dress by itself because I saw myself walking down the aisle in it when I first tried it on. But I still wanted a “princess-y” full skirt too for the dancing, so I found a beautiful overskirt at Catherine Langois.”
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 fiancée. We wanted a garden party, and to incorporate nature as much as possible. Our colour palette was a blend of Jonathan and I—red roses for me since that’s what my mother had in her wedding bouquet, and Jonathan wanted bold colours. So the colours we focused on were red, purple, raspberry, lilac, and blush. Our gifts were tree saplings. Jon chose them because he loved the idea of helping the environment—we were so excited to plant them!
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