I am still replaying moments in my head from our wedding as I write this and I am humbled by the beautiful experience.
Before planning got underway for this once in a life time event, my husband and I identified things that were of priority to us. They kept us staying mindful throughout and we trusted that the rest will fall into place if we can stay present in the moment while focusing on each other on the day of. (And we were right)
Things that we prioritized:
1) Have an enjoyable planning process
It was very important to us to enjoy the process of wedding planning which often times can be stressful. We were realistic with what we were capable to take on since we planned the wedding ourselves with the help of our wonderful family and would only take on things we can control and when is possible, not get caught in the fine details that may take the joy away from the process which we did quite well.
2) Children friendly
A lot of our family and friends have young children and we wanted everyone to be apart of the day. We got babysitters for a few hours so parents can enjoy themselves while kids got to play in the playground and have fun at our arts & crafts station.
3) Stay mindful
We were fully aware of how quickly the day would go by so staying present and mindful were key. I started the morning by teaching a heart opening yoga class with family and friends. It was intended to 1) Encourage guests to slow down and start the day by practicing mindfulness and mindful movements 2) Stimulate the body with heart opening sequences to allow space in our hearts for love. It was a beautiful way to start the day and also allowed my guests and I to extend our time together since a lot of them visited from out of town.
Life happens, and is full of surprises that may be good and bad. We were prepared for things to not go as expected and when things did not we managed to not get caught up in it so we can fully enjoy each moment as they are.
4) Free flowing floor plan
We did not have arranged seating and along with round tables we also had a few high-tops to allow a free-flowing floor plan. It worked nicely as we wanted our guests to flow freely and interact with more than one group of guests.
5) Be silly
My husband and I do not take ourselves too seriously. We came up with this fun idea of a photo frame and filled it with funny photos of ourselves. We did a "caption this" game and encouraged our guests to come up with some funny statements for each photo. Reading through those captions were so much fun!
We also played our own music, my husband was the DJ for most of the day and his best friend took over and it was a blast! Playing our own music made the event even more intimate and interactive. We rented speakers and mics at Bob's Music and the staff there were so incredibly helpful that made what seems to be very complicated to us to arrange into something so straight forward!
6) Waste-free wedding
We did not want to be wasteful and made a commitment not to buy any one-time use items. We either utilize things that we already own or will be able to use again. One of my favorite tricks I came up with was designing my own signage on Canva and put them in old photo frames. We did all our print jobs at Digital Copy Xpress in Deep River and they did a wonderful job printing some really high-quality pieces. By being mindful of recycling items, it also cut down the costs for us!
7) Support local businesses
Amazing local businesses helped made our day extra special and showcased just how fortunate we are to live in this community filled with so much talent. We worked with Laurentian Brew so we can supply refreshing kombucha for our guests and they were a hit! Our guests loved trying out a local kombucha brewery. All our floral arrangements and our custom made gifts were from Forest Cove. We wanted gifts for our family and friends be personalized and it was lovely to collaborate with Forest Cove in designing the pottery pieces we gifted. Cards were also custom made and we wanted something that would reflect Deep River. Elm Tree Papercrafts made our vision come true and created some beautiful custom made cards for our special guests. It was a lovely experience to work with those local businesses so closely on making our vision come true!
8) Live music
We did not know we wanted live music until we watched the 2 for the Show perform live! Mike and Steve performs easy listening music that is just perfect for our day ceremony. Mike and Steve have the best energy and it was lovely to have them add to our day as they play soft music in the background as our guests settled in, it was the perfect way to start the day! They made the ceremony by performing "I just called to say I love you" as my wonderful brother walked me down the isle. They did a beautiful job performing live and I cannot imagine not having them a part of our wedding. We highly recommend Mike and Steve!
Make-up, hair and skincare
I love makeup and decided to do a one-on-one workshop with Kristin from Hela Beauty so I can do my own makeup and get ready with my friends. It was lovely to learn different tricks and tips from the talented Kristin, I left with skills that I can use in my daily makeup application. I highly recommend doing a workshop with Kristin if you like makeup as much as I do. I also recommend getting eyelash extensions on your special day like I did. I had eye-lash extensions done by Judy at Glow Esthetics and was so happy I did because that meant I can get emotional without having to worry about mascara running down my face! My hair was done by the amazing Holly Rabishaw at The Edgymane Salon. Holly was so kind to accommodate me last minute and did such a beautiful job with my hair. I never get my hair done and having it professionally done made all the difference in the world!
In terms of skincare, I prep my skin with all Au Natural Skinfood products starting with their clay mask and finished with their face oil and day creme to keep my skin hydrated to allow a smooth application of my makeup. I've been consistently using Au products for a few months and my skin loves it. It meant that I can get away with a sheer foundation coverage which allowed my skin, freckles to shine through.
Dress and accessories
I loved wearing my Desiree Hartsock dress! I felt so myself in it and it was the first dress I tried on! I had the most helpful team of girls at Revelle to make my dress experience a memorable one. My dress was a sample dress and believe it or not, it was 4 sizes too big but the incredible tailor Cherie at Cheries Dressmaking made it look like the dress was made for me! I shopped for my accessories at Loversland and the experience was equally as memorable and left there with the most comfortable, dancing-friendly heels, dreamy veil, and hand-made hair piece!
We had food stations instead of individual plates. Again, we wanted a free-flowing event so having food stations really allowed for our guests to enjoy the delicious variety of food provided by the amazing Maven Catering and El Bosco Catering at their leisure. Good food makes happy guests, so thank you to my wonderful chefs, everyone left with full bellies and full hearts! With Maven Catering you can request in advance that any extra left over to be donated to the local food bank as well which made us feel very good about not wasting any food.
Family and friends
We had the best people in our lives that help and make this once in a life time event even more special than it already is. We are just blessed with everyone's generosity and helpfulness. We will forever be grateful for everything!