I’ve absolutely been ‘missing-in-blogger-action’ for way longer than I’d like to admit, but I like to think I have a (pretty) good excuse. Over the last year it feels like all of my spare energy was put into planning the wedding of my dreams. Honestly it truly felt like there was no time for anything else!
Kuddos to all of you brides who have also taken on the task of planning a wedding solo. I had the most amazing day of coordinator, Jackie Penner from Jackie Penner Events. Honestly, best money I spent over the whole wedding. (She is so worth it, use her!)
But otherwise every last detail I decided to take on myself. Let me tell you, it’s not a job for the weak of heart!
I feel like brides always feel required to put on this happy face when planning a wedding. (I was so guilty of this!). We promise you everything is magical and perfect and easy. It is magical and perfect, but it isn’t always easy — and it’s okay to be real about it! Also, it’s okay to ask for help. And if you are super A-type like me that isn’t very easy. I just didn’t want to put a burden on anyone which in hindsight was silly.
At first, I really didn’t need a lot help. To be honest I loved planning every last little detail. To me ‘the love is in the details’ and I was obsessed with making sure my wedding was full of them. That part was my favourite.
It was the final execution that was the challenge for me personally. This day you think about 24/7 is finally here and that is head-spinning to begin with. Then you have to get everything to the venue, make sure all loose ends are tied up, and do so many little things that the list seems never ending. I don’t think I realized how much help I needed until right near the end.
It’s like every dream you’ve ever had about this day: every detail and emotion and family member and person you love… all coming to a head! To be honest the week of still feels like it was a really sleep deprived dream.
Don’t get me wrong, marrying Anthony was the absolute best day of my life!! Being with everyone we love and that means so much to us, while making that special commitment – it makes my heart flutter when I think about it! But I also want to be really honest in my blog stories instead of acting like everything is always perfect. Because that’s not real life.
As much as it was the day of my wildest dreams; I can definitely admit that the experience of planning such a large event, with the amount of emotion that a wedding brings out, was one of the most intense and beautiful experiences of my life. Personal growth exercise like no other!
Thankfully I had 14 (yes, 14!) of the best bridesmaids ever that spoiled me with the best showers and bachelorette party I could ask for. They were some of the best moments of the entire wedding process and I couldn’t be more grateful. ‘Blow off steam’ parties is really what you should really call them!
Anyway, with everyone asking for pictures, I thought what better first blog back than one to showcase the reason I’ve been so MIA. The big-beautiful-black-and-white-magical-best-party-of-my-life reason.
So here you go:
Anthony and I were married on August 6, 2016. We had a sleepover with our wedding parties the night before at the Delta hotel in Toronto. It had amazing suites that could accommodate our very large wedding parties to get ready in, and we rented a few extra rooms so everyone could have a bed.
The boys and girls were on different floors which made it really fun and added this cute excitement knowing Anthony was just a floor away. We had a few drinks together as a crew and then went off on our separate ways. I think the boys had a bit too much fun the night before! But us girls were good and I think I was in bed by 11pm which was not too bad at all.
We had Kate, owner of Hutch Cosmetics, and her team do the make up and Marianna and her team do the hair, who is my regular stylist and friend. I may be bias, but to me both are the absolute best at what they do! Everyone just looked so glam and stunning.
I also ordered robes as part of the gifts. I used a company I found off pinterest called Robes by Silk and More. Kind of an odd name for the company though because the BEST part of the robes is that they aren’t silk. They are this really breathable and comfortable structured cotton blend that everyone loved. Some of the girls wanted the details to order more after the wedding. Score on the good wedding gift! ha.
I also gave them these really cute Kate Spade clear studs with gold posts. (Linked isn’t the exact same, but similar!)
Pictured: Me getting glammed up by Hutch Cosmetics.
Pictured: Bride, 8 of 14 bridesmaids and our flower Girl.
Getting ready parties are the best parties!
Honestly, I was so calm and relaxed during the getting ready portion of the day. It was like I truly had finally let go, knowing Jackie my wedding coordinator had it under control and I could finally relax for the first time in a long time. Add in all your best friends and some bubbly and I pretty much felt like this on the inside all day:
Pictured: Happy and calm with my Co-Matrons of Honour. My sister Laura and best friend of 20 years, Claire.
Our photographer (who is responsible for all the beautiful pictures in this blog) is my long time friend, Brian Reilly. He is also the most talented photographer I’ve ever met. I love his work and knew I wanted to use him long before we were even engaged.
When Brian arrives, any bride that has used him can attest ‘it’s time for business!’. He is really good at taking charge and getting everyone going. Which with a wedding party of 26 people – you really couldn’t have it any other way.
At first, we were pretty reluctant to do the ‘first look’ reveal before walking down the aisle. Anthony is Italian and very traditional and I’ve just always pictured my wedding day going a certain way.
Long story short, because of timing – if we wanted to get as many photos as I knew we did, we needed to do the reveal in the afternoon and start pictures early. Our wedding was 300 people, we did a receiving line to keep tradition on the DeBartolo side, and it was a 6 course Italian meal. Pretty much if we added photos before that we would be cutting into prime dancing time – which neither of us were willing to sacrifice!
Let me just tell you…. BEST DECISION I EVER MADE! This was hands down the best moment of my life. We had all of our family and bridal party there to see the moment. It was super emotional and perfect. Anthony’s reaction was honestly the most sweet! (You can watch it, here. I can’t watch without crying.)
If you are ever questioning whether or not to do a reveal, I highly recommend it.
I also did a reveal with my dad moments before seeing Anthony, which was super special and beautiful as well.
All dressed and ready for the reveal. I loved my dress so much. It was Sottero & Midgely. Originally it was an off the shoulder dress, but I altered it A LOT.
Pictured: My dad waiting for the reveal, Me with my maid of honours approaching. I love how Brian shoots these! The focus is so cool.
Pictured: Father’s First Look
After my dad’s first look the photographers ushered my dad out to where the rest of the family was waiting to witness the big reveal between Anthony and I. I was so emotional and nervous and excited. It was so nice having Laura and Claire with me to calm my nerves. Poor Anthony had been waiting so long in position to see me. He said he’s never been so nervous in his life and that it felt like hours waiting for me to come out.
What you see here is the best moment of both of our lives. We are both so happy we did this:
I just love these shots!
Total ugly cry but how can I not post this?!
After this we went right into the wedding party pictures. To be honest as a bridesmaid many, many times in my life – I’ve always said the pictures are my least favourite part. I’ve never been part of a reveal until my own, so usually your so amped up from watching two of your favourite people tie the knot – that you just want to go grab a drink instead of missing the cocktail party to fake smile. Ha!
This was really great because we were all so fresh and excited to hang out together, knowing we weren’t missing anything because the wedding hadn’t even began yet.
When we first got engaged we really wanted to get married at The Steam Whistle Brewery downtown Toronto. Unfortunately it only holds a strict 200 guests, and we had 300 so it wasn’t going to work. I was so pumped the day of the wedding when the location Brian had scouted to shoot us was at the same place we originally wanted to be married! It was right across the street from our hotel – so it worked out great. The grounds are the best part of this venue, so it was like getting the best of both worlds.
The pictures are incredible from this part of the day. Here are just a few:
Pictured: One of my favs! Anthony and one of his Best Men, James.
Can we please talk about the most handsome wedding party ever? Suits all by my husbands company, Tolo Clothier.
Pictured: Literally stopping traffic with our wedding party!
14 maids + 10 groomsmen + Bride + Groom = 26!
My girls got a little tired of photos in the heat so they went to cool off in the brewery. Jealous I missed this moment for sure!
Next up it was time to take our limos over to the venue. Anthony went first with his guys and then I headed over with my dad and my bridesmaids and flower girl.
The wedding and the reception were at the Atlantis Pavilions on the waterfront downtown Toronto. It actually just closed down permanently this month, as the Ontario place is reclaiming the building. But we feel pretty lucky to have been married in a place with such amazing views of the city. Toronto is where we met, went on our first date, got our first place together and got engaged. So, a venue with skyline views of the city was a perfect fit for who we are as a couple.
Here are a few from the ceremony. We were married on the rooftop of this old waterfront building. The pictures are just incredible:
I‘m sorry but have you EVER seen cooler processional photos?!
My wedding party was just so stunning and glamourous. We all have such different body types so to find one style that everyone looked good in and liked would have been impossible. I’ve always known I wanted to let my bridesmaids wear whatever they want in the same colour and length. And really, you can’t get more classy and beautiful then all black long gowns. I feel like it worked beautifully and I love that everyone felt their best. That was the most important to me above all!
I feel like this is the longest blog I’ve ever done because of all the amazing photos.
As I said earlier in this post, the love is in the details for me. So I’ll leave you with some beautiful shots of my sweet details.
We really wanted a glamorous and classic wedding feel, almost ‘Old Hollywood Glam’ style. I’m a really simple person when it comes to colour. Anthony always teases that I love to decorate in white and wear black. It’s pretty much the truth!
So, our colours couldn’t be more perfect for us.
I wanted the bridesmaids to be a gorgeous contrast to our white and classic décor. To me, it was the most stunning finished product. Really one of the prettiest room transformations I’ve ever seen. I’m a sucker for an all white room!
The venue already had the most stunning view of the water and the skyline. So the more simple and clean, the better. We ordered 600 white candles so when it got dark it was a romantic love fest. It turned out so well. We also covered the dance floor in white and hung drapery over the head table. The flower arrangements were by Blossoms of Burlington and they were the most elegant and plush center pieces I’ve ever seen. Again we went with all white, for these a mixture of different types of white flowers. It was just beautiful.
I also used the first names of our wedding party as ‘table names’ instead of numbers. On each table name card I included photos of us with the person we named that table after, a little write up of how we met them and a bit about the person as well. It was a really cool way for our guests to get to know the wedding party and the sweetest touch to honour those who stood up for us!
Here are a few shots:
Table names and the absolutely stunning center pieces by Blossoms of Burlington. I’m in love with how the tables turned out.
Our gift was a candy jar that read ‘Thanks for celebrating our LOVE SWEET LOVE’ with our names and wedding date. The candy bar opened after dinner and guests filled the jar to take home.
Claire my maid of honour is a professional artist and she painted all these amazing signs to direct guests and to add a few more sweet touches. We love them!
Pictured: Our guestbook board. Didn’t totally go with our glam theme, but it goes in our home well so we decided to make an exception. We saw this on pinterest and loved it!
Lastly, I’ll leave you with some of the sweetest candid moments of the night. I hope you enjoyed reading about our wedding as much as I’ve enjoyed sharing.
Lots of love,