Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Wedding Wednesday: Finalizing Vendors For Our Downtown Toronto Wedding

Wow it's been a while since I did a Wedding Wednesday!!!!
It's been pretty crazy around here, but with only 6 months until we tie the knot that can be expected!
Luckily, Kris and I have finally reached "the lull" - that magical phase of wedding planning where you've picked all of your vendors and paid your deposits, and now it's just dreaming and waiting until September... when we will begin our 2 months of finalizing details blitz, bound to test our limits.
People have said that we're slightly insane for turning a proposal into a marriage in 10 months, but I wouldn't have it any other way! Now that we have vendors picked, I couldn't imagine just WAITING for months and months and months! 
Did we have to compromise on vendors because of our short timeline? Not even for a minute. A wedding myth I am HAPPY to be squashing.
Now, we are getting married in early November so it's not exactly "wedding season", but throwing a wedding in downtown Toronto on any weekend is bound to mean competition. We've been very lucky through this process to not need to compromise on the vendors we want.
So who are these magical people who are going to make our day so special? Let's review!
Ceremony & reception venue/bar/catering: The Fermenting Cellar - Distillery Events
We were initially hesitant to book a Distillery District wedding in November. It's a beautiful spot, but half way through the month the area is FLOODED with people there to enjoy the Christmas market (Us included! In fact it was one of the locations Kris considered proposing)
As soon as we saw The Fermenting Cellar though we were hooked. I keep telling people I'm getting married in a basement (and technically we are!), but it's so much more than that. Soaring ceilings, cool rustic walls, steel beams and romantic nooks and old whisky fermenting barrels. 
It's a blank canvas venue which means we're responsible for most of the decor, but honestly the room is so cool we're going to keep it simple with low flower arrangements, candles, and a few rustic touches.
And luckily, our wedding will take place before the market starts, so we'll get the big Christmas tree decor and lights, but none of the crowds!
Our officiant Charles was a hit before we met him. A Toronto area chef, who is on the board of two different theatre societies, enjoys bike riding in his spare time... Kris and I read his bio and felt this was someone we could be FRIENDS with. The only thing remaining was to get him on the phone and make sure our assumptions were correct.
Charles was lovely. Not only does he have a calm and clear voice (important) he talked us through our ceremony, some of the details to make sure things run smoothly, and gave some good advice about writing our vows. Picked!
Picking a DJ was the hardest part of planning. Our venue is pre-wired for sound which makes it a bit cheaper on the DJ front, but there are certain noise restrictions because it's in a residential area. On top of that we need someone to run music from 4:30pm straight through to 2am. That's a LONG day of DJ ing with various styles of music ranging from ceremony, cocktail hour, dinner and the EPIC DANCE PARTY I am hoping for.
Luckily our venue pointed us in the direction of Magen Boys, as did Kleinfeld when I bought my dress from them. They're working with us (through what appears to be a 600 question sheet for us to fill out) to find the perfect DJ for our tastes, and know exactly what is required for audio setup and pushing the rules on sound.
You can't have an epic dance party without pushing a few rules
Florists! Another hard thing to find! For our wedding we're only having bridal party/family florals done, and an arrangement for the head table; Costco and good old fashioned bridesmaid sweatshop labour (I love you all! I do I do I do!) will be responsible for the table arrangements.
Because of this, getting quotes from florists was a bit of a chore. At one point someone told me it would be "between 3000 - 6000 dollars" and I thought "No. Not ok with ANYTHING in that range."
I've got a bit of a pragmatic view of wedding decor... which is that most people don't really notice it. It's good to HAVE flowers, but who is finding DEEP disappointment with DIY decor? Those people would find discontentment with something else even if I did shell out 6K on flowers, so I'd rather go light on decor and spend money on TONS of food. That's what people remember anyway, not whether I went with roses or tulips or daisies.
I sat down with Amber of Cool Green & Shady in her shop and she just GOT me. Not only was it a warm, beautiful and lush place to sit and have a meeting, away from a cold early spring rain storm, but I came away feeling happy with the cost and the work that would be done.
Amber was a delight, laid back and efficient. She had spreadsheet templates all ready to fill in (woman after my own heart) helped me compile a Pinterest page for her to work from, and told me she could recreate the bright orange bouquet I'm after! She had some great ideas for pulling in fall colours and having the right balance of punchy oranges and softer tones. I was thrilled and I can't WAIT to see the final product.
Day of coordinator: A Lush Affair
Alusha of A Lush Affair (get it!?) and I met over coffee... after me blowing her off about 3 times due to various issues (illness, getting grounded in Boston during a nor-easter, insane work). I immediately took to her. Not only is she a freaking stunner inside and out, but she used to work for Distillery Events and knows all of the ins and outs of throwing an event at my venue.
We talked through her month-of services, and what she'll do on the day to make things run smoothly, and I was suddenly breathing easier about timetables and some of my day-of concerns that had been creeping in to my bride-brain.
I'm a project manager, so planning this wedding never daunted me. I knew even with a quick turn around time I could get it done; but I can't be EVERYWHERE on my wedding day, and frankly I would rather not be.
With my work schedule, it's good to know I'll have someone coordinating vendors leading up to the day, and on the day while I get myself all prettied up with my family and my girls, that someone has got my decor covered and is going to bat to make sure my day is perfect. 
Alusha is my wedding day goddess, I feel so much better after saying yes to a coordinator.
Dress: ...Wouldn't you like to know!
No spoilers on that, you can wait ;) I'll say that it's beautiful and I 100% cried when I put it on my body. Like INSTANTLY just broke in to tears. The woman helping me was all "should I go get your mom?" and I'm just standing there sobbing like "no, but maybe some Kleenex?" while I tried to compose myself.
Then she brought me Champagne. Kleinfeld Toronto is freaking bridal heaven. 
Anyway, you can wait until November for the grand reveal!
Wedding planning really does leave you with so much to think about, but I'm happy to have all of these vendor boxes ticked. It's time for my hair and makeup trials and a bit of pampering during the lull.
And maybe some more dedicated gym sessions.
xxox, Laura