From the bride, Joanna:
Our day began in our suite at the Hotel Saskatchewan by spending some quiet time together drinking coffee and exchanging gifts. The groom then went off to meet his siblings for breakfast while the bride, bridesmaids and our mothers gathered to get ready in the suite at the hotel. We enjoyed a relaxing morning, sharing many laughs and stories as we got our hair and makeup done. The groom met up with his groomsmen later in the morning and they got ready in another room at the hotel.
After lunch, our photographer organized our first look in Victoria Park. Seeing each other for the first time as bride and groom was a moment neither of us will ever forget. It brought tears to our eyes and we shared a quiet moment together, reflecting on the specialness of the day. We were both full of love, excitement and anticipation. Our wedding date was special to us as it was the fifth anniversary of our first date. We chose to take photos in some of the places we had spent our first date (Victoria Park, Wascana Park and Government House), which made the day that much more special.
Our evening ceremony began at 5:30 on the patio outside the RCMP Heritage Centre. The bride’s brother and the groom’s sister served as ushers and greeted guests as they arrived with champagne bubbles and programs in the shape of fans. Our processional song was “Feels Like Home” by Chantal Kreviazuk. The ceremony began with our mothers walking down the aisle together carrying memorial lanterns in tribute to family members who had passed away. A friend of the groom’s father, a fellow Lutheran Pastor, officiated the ceremony and added many personal touches to make the ceremony memorable. One of the most touching parts was a special prayer for the groom’s father who was unable to attend as he was in the hospital in Winnipeg. We exited together to the song “Everything” by Michael Bublé while our guests blew bubbles.
Following the ceremony, we led everyone inside the RCMP Heritage Centre. We snuck off for a few minutes for a quiet moment together and then joined our guests in the lobby where everyone was mingling and enjoying cocktail hour featuring our signature drinks and French themed appetizers. The bride’s cocktail was called “Midnight in Paris” (a blackberry and hibiscus martini) and the groom’s drink was named “Passionate Pamplemousse” (a grapefruit and bourbon cocktail). We also had a non-alcoholic lavender lemonade so everyone could partake in our French theme. The signature cocktails were a big hit with our guests and we received many compliments throughout the evening about our choice of beverages.
After cocktail hour, we gathered in the Heritage Room where we enjoyed a French themed buffet supper and a French dessert table. We had a ring-toss game using a large Eiffel Tower and plastic rings to make us kiss. It was a crowd pleaser. After a few toasts, we cut our cake and then had our first dance to “What Love is All About” by Johnny Reid. We then danced with our mothers to “My Wish” by Rascal Flatts and were joined halfway through by our wedding party who danced with their spouses. Our DJ then invited all guests to join us on the floor to dance in memory of the bride’s father who passed away in 2013. All the guests joined us on the floor to dance to “Here Comes the Sun” by the Beatles. For the remainder of the evening, we mingled with our guests and danced the night away. It was a magical day full of love and laughter that we will always treasure.
We spent a little over a year planning our wedding and were able to take our time creating the details that made our day reflect us a couple. We chose our vintage French theme not long after we were engaged as we had decided to honeymoon in Paris and both loved history and vintage decor. We purchased used decor off of Varage Sale and remade it to match our theme. We were lucky enough to have many family and friends volunteer to help us make hundreds of paper flowers, assemble unique programs and many other craft projects. All the decor came together beautifully to make our venue personalized and unique to our wedding. (Editor’s note: see Joanna’s Pinterest board for tons of inspiration!)
We decided that we didn’t really need anything that our guests would traditionally give as wedding gifts. Instead, we asked our family and friends to do acts of kindness and then tell us about their stories to help inspire others to do the same. We documented their stories on our wedding blog and were overwhelmed by the many wonderful and thoughtful things everyone did on our behalf. We still received stories months after our wedding from guests who said they were still inspired to pay it forward. (Editor’s note: you can read all these heartfelt stories on Joanna and Jeremy’s wedding blog)
We both missed having our fathers at our wedding. Paying tribute to Jeremy’s dad, who was in the hospital, during the ceremony and dancing with all the guests to one of Joanna’s late father’s favourite songs during the reception, made it a little easier to make it feel like they were there in spirit. We made a last minute decision to have our ceremony professionally recorded to watch later with Jeremy’s dad when we discovered at the last moment that he couldn’t attend. We also had a guest record the toasts during the reception. Watching the videos together with him in the hospital a couple of weeks later on Father’s Day brought us all to tears but was a very special moment for everyone.
Wedding planning advice: Prioritize what is important to both of you as a couple when you establish your wedding budget. We spent time pricing everything out before we set our budget and then prioritized photography and food. We wanted to make sure our day was well documented so photos were important. We are both foodies, so having food that we knew we would enjoy was also important.
Don’t be afraid to make your day your own, even if you have suggestions and advice from well meaning family and friends. For instance, we decided we wanted to keep our cash bar simple and only offered a choice of beer, wine or our signature cocktails as well as a couple of non-alcoholic choices. We also wanted our day to have a good flow and had all of our events run together with no breaks in-between. We liked that our photos were all done and we could just enjoy ourselves with family and friends at the reception right after the ceremony.
Having a good friend or a paid “day-of” coordinator to handle all the details is important. Even the most organized bride wants to enjoy the day and not worry about making sure all of the vendors and other logistics are taken care of. Other details will come together. If something doesn’t happen, you are the only one that will notice so don’t worry about it and enjoy the moment.
Joanna and Jeremy – June 3, 2017
Ceremony and Reception: RCMP Heritage Centre
Photographer: JLW Photography
Bridesmaids: David’s Bridal
Hair: Beauty House
Makeup: Ginnette Hall
Groom and groomsmen: Tip Top Tailors
Flowers: Wascana Flower Shoppe
Rentals: A1 Rent-Alls
Catering: Sprout Catering
Transportation: Carpe Diem Limousine