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Welcome Welcome to our third edition of Wellington Weddings, a publication that celebrates the places and spaces that help make for incredible wedding experiences right here in Wellington County. The publication was started to inform people about local services and businesses, but it has grown to celebrate the stories and lives of people here who are embarking on the journey of a lifetime and have chosen this region to call home. What strikes us as incredible in every edition so far is the growth of the wedding industry in our region. This is because, of all the couples we have spoken to, there is a commitment to support local businesses in their hometowns across Wellington County. It’s about more than convenience – it’s about community. And like weddings themselves, it’s about bringing people together to celebrate special moments in life. Where better to do that than home? We hope you will enjoy this edition of Wellington Weddings and share it with your friends. As always, we are looking for new stories and new opportunities to share information about businesses related to all things weddings. Thank you to all those couples who let us share their stories, and to the advertisers who support our desire to make Wellington County the place to say “I Do.”



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RHONA & MARTY JULY 28 | ELORA A second chance at love is not one to “It was all pretty fateful to me … I’ll be wasted. The day Rhona (nee Lamb) be honest; I’d sworn off men,” Rhona walked into Marty Lehman’s mechanic says, laughing. “I’m a very independent shop in Elora, he knew she was his woman, so I was fine on my own. Had I happily ever after. He didn’t let the not taken the car into the garage, we’d opportunity pass. And Rhona took a likely never have met.” chance on this soft-spoken man and a IT WAS Marty agrees. “Rhona was the nicest casual date at the local pub, where she person I’d ever met. It was a no-brainer,” knew just as quickly that he was the one. he said. “It was real fate, and that’s how I “It was all destiny.” would have wanted to meet someone,” The lessons of their past would be the Rhona said. “You just never know what’s guiding force for their future. around the next corner.” AND THAT’S HOW I “You know that marriage is work, and The Shepherd’s Pub in downtown WOULD HAVE WANTED you have to work at it constantly, so you Elora was the site of their first date. TO MEET SOMEONE don’t take things ... for granted,” Rhona The couple said the conversation was so said. “And to meet someone that you are good that they lost track of time. compatible with, it just seems so lucky.” “The waiter came over and said, ‘We Three years later, with an official can see that you are having a great time engagement and a wedding to plan, the together, and I hate to break it up, but couple began thinking about the kind we closed an hour ago, and we’d really of celebration that would suit them. like to go home now,’” Marty recalled. Marty’s wish was that the day lived up After that date, the pair decided there was something between to his bride’s vision. them. Three years later, it led to their wedding and the official start “We decided to do the full wedding in part because when Rhona of a new life together. was married before, she and her first husband just went away for Both Marty and Rhona had been married before and each raised a weekend and didn’t have a ceremony,” Marty explained. “This a pair of boys, now grown men. Both had endured the gruelling was her first real full wedding, and I wanted her to have it. So we process of a divorce, hers eight years prior, and his twelve. When decided to have a formal dress-up party with family and friends and asked what would make them dive into matrimony a second time, have the most fun we could have,” Marty said. they looked at each other and smiled. Rhona emigrated to Canada from her native Scotland in 1983

real fate

Wellington Weddings 2018 // 7

and maintained strong ties with family and friends back home. For her, there was no question that her dream wedding would celebrate her Scottish heritage and culture. In a regal fashion, the idea of ladies in beautiful hats came to mind, and the Canadian relatives were thrilled to go along with that. And thus, the theme “kilts and hats” emerged. A grand wedding required a spectacular location. The Elora’s White Garden, a bed and breakfast just a few blocks from the downtown core, was ideal. It is the home of David and Karen Drimmie (Marty’s sister). Renowned in the community for their family business Drimmie Florist, now operated by daughter Anna, the venue offered a private setting with spacious grounds and lavish gardens, plus a pool and several rooms to accommodate out-of-town guests. It was idyllic for both the wedding ceremony and the reception. Invitations to the July 28 wedding were printed in Fergus featuring Rhona’s family tartan, the Lamont tartan, on the back of the printed paper, and included Scotland’s national flower, the thistle, on the front. Then the couple prepared to the throw the party of their dreams. “The planning went really well, pretty smooth. We did try to do it locally,” Rhona said. “It was great how many family and friends came together to make it happen.” It helped to have the expertise of the Drimmie Florist family when it came to the flower arrangements, from the bouquets to the tables, to the actual garden itself. Every detail was elegant, including large peacock statues adorned with colourful feathers. “The flowers were completely over the top and beautiful,” Marty said. “It wasn’t about money; it was about their talent and what they wanted to show our guests to make it look so wonderful.” As a keepsake, Karen created a giant wreath of the dried flowers collected after the wedding. She presented it to the couple when they returned from their honeymoon.

8 // Wellington Weddings 2018

Creating an intimate outdoor reception venue, Burkes Tents was hired to provide a frame tent, with an open setting, the furniture, as well as a proper dance floor. “They were great,” Rhona said. “They came on the Thursday and set up, and it was very professional. They made it look easy, and I’m sure it wasn’t easy.” Catering was arranged through Van Gali’s Catering out of Fergus and featured an elegant plated dinner of beef bourguignon with a Yorkshire pudding. “The caterer had to prepare the food



off-site and deliver it in, and they worked so hard for us,” Rhona said. “The food was incredible, and everyone enjoyed it.” The venue featured a unique outdoor bar, set up in the frame of an antique truck from the 1940s. “I’m pretty sure the bartender had never seen anything like that before,” Rhona said. Fate seemed to intervene once more for Rhona when it came to finding the picture-perfect gown to suit her vision for the romantic garden setting. A friend suggested she visit the House of Brides shop in Wingham, Ontario. Not only did she find exactly what she wanted, but the store was

going out of business, which made the dress a bargain. “It was the first dress I tried on, and it was half-price, so that makes it Scottish,” she said, laughing. But nothing could make the day more special for the couple than to have Rhona’s family present. In all, fourteen relatives made the trip from Scotland, as well as three of Rhona’s childhood friends. “The two families got on well. It was a whirlwind of a week, and everyone really got to know each other at the rehearsal barbecue,” she said. The Scottish men in the group came prepared to wear their Highland dress kits for the wedding day, as is the custom: kilts, representing their tartans, with Prince Charlie jackets, wool socks, sporran and black dress shoes. Despite no claim to Scottish heritage, Marty agreed to wed in proper Highland dress, and his groomsmen and several friends also adopted the attire for the occasion. “Marty is from Fergus, so that’s why we made him an honorary Scot for the day,” Rhona said. The men of the wedding party rented their Scottish Highland kilts and formal dress from William Glen and Son in Toronto. Marty wore the Graham of Montrose tartan. When asked how he felt dressed like a Scotsman, Marty said, “It was fun. There was a lot of questions about my wearing a kilt (from my friends), and the wool socks were uncomfortable at first, but a kilt was very comfortable on a hot summer day.” Marty’s best man was his son Alex, who also dressed in a kilt for the occasion, and Rhona’s twin boys, Christian and Jacob, represented her family wearing the Flower of Scotland tartan. The young flower girls, Olivia Drimmie and Violet Ball, were Marty’s grand-nieces. Each of them wore black tartan dresses. As a thank you for participating in the ceremony, Marty and Rhona bought the girls silver

bracelets engraved with their names from Ron Wilkin Jewellers, in downtown Fergus, the same store where Marty purchased his wedding band. So much of the emphasis of the wedding was on Rhona’s Scottish heritage, which was just fine by Marty, but his bride wanted to be sure aspects of his character were also included in the day. Marty is a mechanic by trade and a car-lover by heart, with a few classic cars of his own. But it was his collection of miniature model cars that found their parking spots in the décor of the wedding. “When we were talking about the flowers for the table, it seemed to be all about me … kilts, tartans and thistles in the bouquets and I thought, there needs to be something meaningful in this for Marty,” said Rhona. “So I went to Anna (Drimmie) and asked her if we could somehow include Marty’s small car collection,” she said. “I snuck the cars out of the house one day and gave them to Anna, and they put the cars around the head table, had some around the champagne table, and had these cars here and there as part of the décor.” But when it came to ensuring the Scottish traditions were up to par, it was Rhona’s younger sister Kay, also the Matron of Honour, who flew in from Scotland with a list of superstitions and customs that made the day authentic and special. “Our wedding was all about tradition if it was anything,” Rhona said. That included the Hen Party ritual, a Scottish tradition where the bride is paraded about with a hen hat, a sash and various embarrassing accents added to it throughout the night that draws attention from onlookers, as the bride and her fellow “hen” pals do a pub crawl. In a small town like Elora, Rhona says it created quite a stir. “It was embarrassing. I kept telling my sister they don’t have Hen parties in Canada, but it’s the tradition, so I had to go along with it. I know the people at the pub found it really amusing,” she said.

Not quite as embarrassing, but fun nonetheless, Kay fastened a silver sixpence with a swath of duct tape to the bottom of Rhona’s wedding shoes, (the shoes were purchased from Shoe Villa in Elora). This is to symbolize good luck for the bride in her nuptials. What’s more amusing is the duct tape held so well, despite a night of serious dancing, that the sixpence remains in place. Kay’s shoes for the wedding belonged to their mother, who along with their father, had passed away. “Kay said she was going to make sure our mother was there for this wedding one way



or another,” Rhona said. “The shoes hurt her feet, but she did it.” To surprise her sister, Kay also brought over a small black and white photograph of their parents wedding day. Anna Drimmie placed the photo in a frame and unbeknownst to Rhona, fastened it with a ribbon to her bouquet so that her walk down the aisle would include a memory to honour her parents. “There were a few tears when I saw that,” Rhona said. Adding to the good luck wishes, it is customary for a Scottish bride to carry white heather in her bouquet and her sister

insured Rhona had some sprigs of artificial white heather to add to her wedding flowers. A fellow Scottish-Canadian friend baked heart-shaped shortbread to serve the guests on silver platters that belonged to Rhona’s mother. Mother nature cooperated for the wedding day itself, and a summer that had been significantly rainy and cool brought a Saturday afternoon of sunshine and hot temperatures, typical of a July day. Leading Rhona up the aisle to her groom was piper Jim Stewart of Holstein, who played “Murdo’s Wedding” for her. After a short wedding ceremony performed by officiant Karen MacPherson Clark of Fergus, the newly married Mr. and Mrs. Lehman were piped out to “Scotland the Brave.” Rhona recalls her walk down the aisle, with her husband beside her: “I was grinning from ear to ear. It was absolutely the happiest day of my life. And everyone was looking back at me smiling, and they were happy for us.” With the ceremony complete, the party was on, which began with a traditional Ceilidh. Knowing the party might last well into the night, the couple secured a noise bylaw permit through the Township of Centre Wellington to extend the evening. To ensure all the guests enjoyed the night, they gave everyone an opportunity to submit music requests. “We sent out emails and texts to our family and friends asking them what they would like to hear at the wedding, and we made a playlist,” Rhona said. Instead of a DJ, they had a sound system in place and the music present, with quiet music for the dinner portion and then a full line-up of the requested music throughout the night. “We had the place rocking!” Another cost-saving feature was the decision not to hire a photographer. Friends and family took photos throughout the day and night. “I still think we got great photos and I

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wasn’t disappointed at all,” Rhona said. The day itself turned out to be everything Rhona hoped for, and everything Marty wanted for her. “It was very special … and I think what I enjoyed most of all was the generations, young and old. Just to be surrounded by all those people who love us … it was just very uplifting,” Rhona said. “It was such a happy occasion, my cheeks were sore after from smiling and laughing.” A blending of lives and cultures made for a spectacular wedding celebration far beyond their expectations.


It was absolutely the happiest day of my life “It was fantastic. I enjoyed every single minute of it. There wasn’t any part of that whole day that was less than perfect for me,” Marty said. “We had many people say it was the best wedding they’d ever been to.” Marty knows a lot about cars, but he seems to understand that romance is also a well-oiled machine. To ensure Rhona always remembers that fate brought them together, he makes a reservation for the same table at the Shepherd’s Pub in Elora every year on the anniversary of their first date. 


Taking outdoor weddings right into the wilderness or countryside, or wherever you stake your ground, has become an emerging trend in event planning. Glamping takes a celebration into the great outdoors with an elegant twist. One of the pioneers of the movement is Moonlight Glamping, a small but thriving business in Elora owned by Talia Rose Yeo. “Glamping allows us to bring the unique experience of a luxury hotel and combine it with the beauty of the great outdoors,” Talia explained. “I call it a high-end camping experience, or a pop-up hotel. It’s all the fun of a camping experience sleeping in tents, but with the comforts of a hotel stay.” Forget about sleeping bags on the ground and confined quarters that you can’t even stand up in, because this is not that. Moonlight Glamping has five different water-proof canvas tent options to choose from; the average is 210 square feet. Standard accommodations include a double bed with fresh linens, a nightstand and lamps, a bistro table, chairs, a PVC floor and rugs. Flowers and other décor are added for a finishing touch. “Some people like beds off the ground, some prefer them right on it, but either way, they are real beds,” she explains. “So far, everybody has loved the experience. Now I’m starting to see repeat customers,

which is incredible.” Talia started with just four tents, but when she realized it was a viable business venture, she pitched her tents and expanded her stock. As she approaches her third year in business, Talia’s already booking for eighteen weddings in regions across Ontario for the 2018 season (which corresponds to the traditional camping season). Of those weddings, six are booked at various locations in Wellington County. “I set up tents for a lot of rural weddings, making a make-shift campground right on the property,” she said. “We set up full guest suites for people.” And there is nothing like having a honeymoon suite under the stars. For large gatherings, or even small ones, glamping is an affordable option, an average cost of $125 a night per double occupancy, with a two-night minimum, and everyone is together. “Couples who want to save money can add another bed into a tent, so they could sleep four easily and bring the cost down, and it’s just $50 to add that,” Talia said. Moonlight Glamping can accommodate up to 100-plus people with a variety of tent sizes and sleeping arrangements. The largest number

Wellington Weddings Weddings 2018 2018 // // 11 11 Wellington

she has set up in one location is 30 tents, for the Big Festival, a concert weekend in nearby Oro-Medonte Township. The minimum order is seven tents. “I think people can stay on site; it’s a little more organic,” Talia said. “And when you are celebrating an event like a wedding, people don’t need to take cabs to get back to their hotel.” For convenience, Talia and her staff prepare for setup two days before the event, with tents in place the day before the event. When the party is over, the crew returns to take down and clean up, usually on the Sunday night or Monday. “We have a very casual approach to the takedown so that everyone can focus on their party and we take care of taking down the tents,” Talia said. Flexibility in her range of glamping

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services has helped build her business. From hiring personal chefs and bartenders to cater special events, renting cooking packages and specific set-up design for special requests, Talia and her team handle the rentals and set it up to scale. MY SERVICES ARE ADAPTABLE, AND IT GIVES ME THE


“My business had turned into a lot of event coordination too because brides have requested it,” she said. “My services

are adaptable, and it gives me the ability to customize for whatever the wedding party wants. For instance, I can work with a bride’s theme or colour palette, and I’m expanding my stock to accommodate colours and items that will work with décor themes. We can customize for the bride.” This is where Talia’s experience pays off. She has connections to accommodate special requests to add-on to a Moonlight Glamping experience. “I’ve set up dressing rooms with mirrors and electrical outlets so wedding parties can get dressed and done-up for the wedding. I’ve rented bathrooms, set up lawn chairs and a fire-pit,” she said. “And I’ve set-up dining tents for special dinners.” As much as weddings are a growing business for Talia, she points out that much of her new business stems from bachelor and

bachelorette parties. Victoria Black, of the Niagara region, booked a Moonlight Glamping weekend for a bachelorette party to be held in the Grand River Conservation Authority’s (GRCA) Elora Gorge campground. “I had contacted Talia last March to talk about a bachelorette for my sister,” Victoria said, noting she was seeking accommodations for twelve women. “Talia asked what the budget was and then actually worked within it to make sure we could accommodate as many beds per tent as possible,” Victoria said. Because Talia has established a relationship with the GRCA, she was able to help Victoria select an appropriate location for the group to celebrate comfortably, surrounded by the natural beauty of the Elora Gorge. “Although super early to plan the event, she let me know when I could book campsites, what washrooms would be like in the campground and what was in the area to give me an overall idea if this (glamping) was even for my group,” Victoria said. The party rented two campsites and the biggest Belle tent, with four double beds, as well as the regular Belle tent, which featured two double beds. “The sites Talia suggested were perfect,” Victoria said. “They were close to a washroom and had a small stream and a mix of shade and sun.” The experience was made even more special come Saturday morning when the Moonlight Glamping team delivered fresh, hot coffee to the campsite. Talia asked questions about the ages of the bachelorette group, what they were interested in and if there was a theme to the weekend that she should follow. Her knowledge of the area and partnerships with local businesses, such as restaurants and tourism sites, helped Talia create a unique experience for the bridal party and their friends, including ziplining over the gorge and a beer tasting. “Talia sent us information on One Axe Pursuits and the Elora Brewing Company. We took both suggestions, which made our planning super easy,” Victoria said.

Victoria decided to make the bachelorette even more special by catering a private dinner at the campsite, and Talia recommended a chef. “We decided to splurge and do this on the


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The bachelorette weekend was a success for Victoria and her group of friends, so much so that she is planning a return trip. “We have fallen in love with the little town of Elora and how special it is,” she said. “We love the GRCA park best as it allows us to be close to town to explore, hike and it is such a green and clean park.” Now that Victoria has experienced glamping, she is a fan, but she is a bigger fan of service of the Moonlight Glamping team. “I wish I had known about them prebachelorette because having twenty tents as guest accommodations at my sister’s wedding would have been amazing,” she said. This summer, Victoria is hosting another weekend celebration, this time with 12 family members ranging in age from 2 to 71 years old. She has added a dining tent to their weekend and will again hire the chef to cater one evening. “We have chosen this option because for a large family who doesn’t have camping equipment this is a great way for us all to get outside in comfort,” Victoria said. “Our family trip has a larger budget than the bachelorette did, but I now know the value and am 100% comfortable with the pricing; especially as we are bringing our parents this summer.” Moonlight Glamping has grown organically, predominantly by word-of-mouth, with a social savvy millennial generation that wants to create and share unique experiences that are cool and memorable. To see it expand to multi-generational customers is ideal for Talia, who is already looking forward to a full summer ahead and growing a business that she loves. “Creating a special setting for a wedding, for the couple and their guests, or setting up a weekend of fun and adventure for a bachelor or bachelorette weekend is an amazing experience to be a part of, and I consider it an honour to create that for my guests.” 

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Make Room for the Bloom When love is in bloom, everything is beautiful. Your wedding day should be too. Flowers are an elegant way to embellish your wedding decor, from fresh fashion accessories for the bridal party, to décor for the ceremony, and centrepiece at each dining table. Where do you begin? We spoke to Dale Franklin, owner of Blooming Dale’s, a busy floral shop in downtown Drayton, about what brides should know before choosing their flowers and their florist.

Know your budget: “The most important thing for a bridal couple is to talk about the money and determine how much they are going to spend on the whole wedding,” Dale said. From there, it is a matter of determining what the bride and groom deem important for their wedding day. When it comes to flowers, the budget can be kept minimal, at around the $500 range, or extravagant and exceed the $1,000 mark, or anywhere in between. It’s all dependent on the number of people in the wedding party, the

décor, the guest list and the number of guest tables. “It comes to the level of importance you place on your flowers and the plan for the wedding,” Dale said. “The flowers aren’t always the priority for every couple and that’s okay. We will still provide the best arrangements we can to work within their budget.” Dale understands the stress wedding budgets can create, but she also wants couples to feel comfortable being completely honest about what they are willing to spend. “It’s hard for some people to say ‘I only have this much money,’ but when I know this, I can offer suggestions and help them make a choice that will work for them,” she said. Knowing the overall wedding plan, theme and décor helps her offer sound advice on cost-saving measures. “The centrepiece is always a place where we can cut costs,” Dale said, noting that there are many alternatives to floral arrangements for receptions. Factoring in the number of tables for a large wedding’s seating arrangement can quickly determine if floral centrepieces are the best option for your budget. Overall, a couple needs to determine what are the must-haves and what they can do without, and budget accordingly.


Wellington Weddings 2018 // 15

Picture perfect When creating a budget, Dale reminds brides of a simple strategy, “Cut corners on what won’t be photographed.” Your bridal bouquet will be photographed. In fact, it is one of your biggest fashion accessories throughout your wedding photos, from start to finish. The bouquet is a personal statement of style and complements the wedding gown. Dale said, just like that gown, it should be exactly what the bride has envisioned, even if the budget needs to shift.

knows a calla lily from an orchid, and that’s okay, Dale says. “I’ve had brides come in and say they don’t know anything about flowers and I say, ‘That’s why you come to a florist,’” Dale laughs. Which is why she suggests couples or brides book time to meet with a florist before the wedding, the same as you would with a wedding photographer, caterer or event planner. “Flower shops are busy places, but a booked appointment time is dedicated to meet with you, so we aren’t interrupted,” Dale said. She recommends brides meet their florist anytime during the wedding planning process, but she says approximately three months prior to the event is ideal. “We need to meet with the bride or the couple and have the flowers ordered at least six weeks ahead,” she said. “We need time to


dreamt about “Do not scrimp on something you’ve dreamt about,” Dale said. “If the cost of the bouquet is prohibitive, but ... you’ve always wanted a specific style of flowers and design, then we can look at cutting corners somewhere else.” Also remember that your groom’s boutonniere will be in almost every photograph too. Add in the wedding party and soon you will see, flowers matter.

Bring your ideas Bring your ideas, or don’t. Not every bride

source the flowers.” For the initial meeting, she recommends brides come prepared with examples of what they like, what they’re hoping for and any themed pieces from their wedding. “Look at home décor magazines, not just a bridal magazine, because that helps us understand ... your personal style,” Dale said. “We want your bouquet to represent your style.” She adds trends include flowers such as orchids, calla lilies and the bouquet design of the hand-tie stems continues to be popular. An emerging look is the succulent mixed with floral elements. “Bring in your colours, any photos you’ve gathered, and even your Pinterest board. We

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look at it as an aggregate of your ideas,” Dale said, though she warns brides that sometimes the Pinterest ideas prove to be out of budget. “Pinterest is our best friend and worst foe. They help brides come in with a firm idea of what they’d like to see, but they don’t show prices. And a florist needs time to design,

plan and construct these arrangements.” She reminds customers this is the reason that wedding florals tend to cost more than an average event. Today’s brides are also ensuring their bouquets are about more than just flowers. Memory bouquets are increasingly popular where the bride carries a small photo or symbol of loved ones who have passed on, so their spirit is part of the wedding day. “You can involve more than just the people who are present that day,” she said. A bouquet has become an opportunity to incorporate family heirlooms, such as jewelry, trinkets or small mementoes into the design. “If it’s a sentimental touch I am always behind it,” Dale said. “If you are making it something personal for yourself and your groom, that’s something special. Make it as personal as you can. It’s not really about what’s on trend … it’s really about you.”

What your florist needs to know “What is said in the flower shop stays in the flower shop,” Dale declared, adding her best piece of advice is to share everything about the wedding with her, from the family

dynamics to any interpersonal dramas beyond that. Dale said she has seen brides make decisions to make others happy, or felt pushed to make concessions that go against the bride’s vision. When it comes to the flowers, she can help. “Tell me what you want and I will make it happen,” Dale said, noting that her service includes flower setup for the ceremony or reception and the delivery of the bouquets. “I’m the one delivering the flowers and you’re likely not there, so I need to be very clear on your wishes to make sure they are executed properly.”

to consider. “For instance, for outdoor summer weddings that include hydrangeas, we have to be prepared to deliver those at the last minute because they don’t do well out of water, and we can’t guarantee their quality

Toss It You toss your floral wedding bouquet into the crowd of single ladies at the end of the night, a tradition that predicts the next bride-to-be. Don’t throw away the original. Blooming Dale’s, and many florists today, offer a free throw-way bouquet, a simpler version of your original arrangement. Some brides hope to keep their wedding bouquet for years, but Dale said it’s better to take a picture; it lasts longer. “I get asked often by brides if they can keep it and dry it out and I tell them they can try, but there are no guarantees,” she said, noting that eventually the flowers become brittle and pieces break off. “My suggestion is take a million photos of it. Take pictures of everything you love about your wedding day,

Who gets flowers? Aside from the wedding party, deciding who else needs a corsage or boutonniere is a personal decision, and an added cost. “There are traditions but there is no right or wrong decision,” Dale said. “Typically, it’s parents, step-parents, grandparents, and the emcee is sometimes included, if they are involved in the wedding. It’s people you want to acknowledge because they are important to you.” It comes down to budget, but she reminds brides that there are modest alternatives to using flowers to acknowledge special guests. “Corsages and boutonnieres can be costly, but floral bracelets are common,” Dale said. “And the boutonnieres don’t have to match those of the groomsmen. People will feel honoured to have the flower and not worry about the kind of the flower.” She cautions, “If you start to add people to your flower list who aren’t going to expect one, you can really start to eat up your budget. You only have so many dollars and so let’s make it special for the people who matter to you.”

past four or five hours.” Dale adds that her shop does its best to source Ontario-grown flowers, for quality and price, but notes that out-of-season flowers need to be shipped. “Peonies and tulips are popular, but do not plan for those out of season, because they aren’t nice and they are very expensive,” she said. “And we can’t guarantee them.”


it s’ really about

Flowers by season Dale reminds brides to factor in the seasons when planning flowers for their weddings. “Think about the time of year and whether the wedding will be inside or outside,” she says, adding all these are factors for a florist


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Wellington Weddings 2018 // 17

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18 // Wellington Weddings 2018

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remember the $5 plate they had at a wedding years down the road, ou’ve set the date, booked the venue, finalized the guest list and but they’ll remember the great prime rib they had at your wedding.” have chosen your theme. Now it’s time to call Miriam Foell, owner of But it’s about more than just good food on the plate; it’s about Fergies Fine Foods. She will ensure the food you serve your guests ties presentation on a grander scale. into your plan and budget, so the flavour of your day is as memorable “We coordinate the food and the décor that will go along with their as the wedding itself. theme, the way the menu is presented, so everything fits with their “One of the things we do well is we really listen to the bride and vision for the wedding,” she said, adding she works with the venues, groom and their wants, and we create something to match their vision,” florists and other vendors to ensure her team fits seamlessly into the Foell said, noting it’s important that the menu reflect the uniqueness event. of the couple. “We ask them what foods they like and we always make As a full-service catering company, she helps clients cut down on their sure to have one of their favourite food items included in the menu rental expenses by including an extensive inventory of dishes, serving that day.” trays, cutlery and glassware, enough to serve up to 500 people. Customization is the key to her business, which over the last six years With delicious food comes incredible leftovers, and Foell believes has catered hundreds of weddings and is presently booking into nothing should be wasted. 2018. “We are a zero waste kitchen,” Foell explains. “We take “We truly are a niche type of caterer in this area,” Foell the food not eaten and make up full meals in freezer said, explaining that Fergies Fine Foods has a retail containers, so the couple can then have meals storefront in downtown Fergus that includes a later.” large commercial kitchen, in-house bakery, and WE HAVE TO HAVE Sometimes leftovers are turned into breakfast is professionally staffed with a head chef, bakers buffets for guests the next day, particularly for exceptional FOOD. and pastry chefs. The location allows her settings like country weddings, where experienced team to produce fresh, THERE IS NO QUESTION … guests and family will gather back at homemade meals and baked goods, IF WE’RE GOING TO DO IT the venue. including wedding cakes, with complete WE NEED TO DO IT “It simply goes along with the theory that quality control. we are a full-service caterer; if there is a need we “We don’t have a cookie-cutter menu,” well... will fill it.” she said, recalling the diversity of two of her Foell believes it’s her experience that makes her, favourite recent weddings: a full Scottish dinner and her team, a trusted source in many facets of the and a ‘city meets country’ theme. “Every menu we wedding, from advice throughout the planning stages, to cater for a wedding is unique to that wedding. It’s about dealing with vendors and anticipating unexpected issues customization, and not everybody offers that.” that often occur at large events. Experience is the best teacher. Adapting menus to accommodate special dietary requests for clients “We look after everything that they may not have thought of because is not a problem for her team. that’s our role, to serve the bride and groom and their guests,” she said. “It’s become one of our specialties,” Foell said. Careful planning and “It’s a huge honour that they trust us with this and we truly go beyond a skilled team that makes everything from scratch means clients can the catering role, so we’ll smooth the rough edges that might otherwise be assured their dietary needs are met, from gluten-free to dairy-free, occur, and that simply comes with experience.” allergies and more. Pride is evident in every dish her staff prepares. She adds, “It’s the reason you hire a caterer that has great experience, “Food quality is key. In every part of our business, it’s all about rather than someone who does this once in a while.” the food,” Foell said, adding that in a small community, reputation is Foell has learned that quality food and dedicated, personal service everything. “We have to have exceptional food. There is no question … is about creating community, and there is no better proof of her if we’re going to do it we need to do it well, otherwise we shouldn’t be business success than the repeat customers, the couples whose story she doing it.” continues to be a part of with baby showers, Christenings, anniversaries Building community relationships is central to Foell’s commitment and more. to support local farmers and food producers. “We become part of people’s lives as their lives progress,” she says “We buy the best cuts of meat. We have accounts with some local proudly. “That’s the piece that brings me the most joy. It’s the piece that organic farms, and buy eggs from a Mennonite farmer, and we buy keeps me going … being connected to people in the most important local produce when we can,” she said. And if people question the costs times of their lives and to be there to serve and to witness.” of using the best cuts of meat, she reminds them, “People will not ADVERTORIAL FOR FERGIES FINE FOODS | 187 ST. ANDREW ST. W., FERGUS | 519.787.7700

Wellington Weddings 2018 // 19


When Brock and Clinton (nee Klotz) Addersley look back on their wedding day, there is nothing but happy memories, wonderful stories and a sense that everything was perfect - because it was. It was their day, their way in the town they call home. And while Fergus was never intended to play such a prominent role in the ceremony planning, looking back on it, the couple is proud to say their special day was made even more special because it was local. “Doing everything local was truly a big part of it, but we didn’t start out planning it that way,” said Clinton. “It just fell into place.” The only thing that wasn’t local was the marriage proposal itself. Clinton popped the question on a Toronto pier during the July 2016 Toronto Pride events, surrounded by friends and the night sky alight with fireworks explosions. After six years together, there was no doubt: Brock answered with a “yes.” The wedding planning began and the date was set for June 17, 2017. “We really wanted an early summer wedding,” Brock said. The theme of the wedding was to keep it simple, yet elegant. The venue of choice was the Wellington County Museum and

20 // Wellington Weddings 2018

Archives, a building Brock said he has always loved. Having grown up in Fergus, he passed the iconic building on the hill often. For Clinton, a Guelph native, the location was also ideal, with its Victorian gardens, heritage

barn and picturesque scenery. Plus, it was close to home for all their guests. “One of our favourite points about the museum was that we didn’t have to go anywhere else. We could have the ceremony and reception in one location. The fact that everything was included into it was just so nice,” Clinton said. “And we knew the photos would be nice.” “If there is one thing I would tell anyone who wants to get married there, it’s that the museum saved us a lot of money,” Brock said. “Everything is included: tables, chairs, cutlery, dishes, the option to use the garden, everything. It was perfect.” With the date set and venue booked, the wedding planning came together smoothly. “You always think shopping local you’re going to have to pay more but it’s not true,” Brock said. “I’m really glad we were able to do everything right here in town. Supporting local businesses and getting everything we needed here made it so much easier.” Part of it was convenience, with so many wedding businesses in Centre Wellington, but part of it was the reminder that there is much to be said for small-town, local service. Clinton purchased Brock’s engagement ring at Ron Wilkin Jewellers. It would also become

his wedding band. In turn, Brock went to the same jeweller to pick out Clinton’s wedding ring. “They were fantastic,” Clinton said. “I walked in a few months after having purchased Brock’s engagement ring and the girl remembered me immediately and said, ‘Oh, you’re here for the wedding ring.’ She knew exactly what I had bought then and had helped me find what I wanted for the wedding. It’s just nice that they remember you.” Hometown nostalgia may have been an influence for the men’s clothing, but it was the sophisticated styling and customer service that made Broderick’s Apparel for Men the only choice for Clinton, Brock and their groomsmen. “We bought our wedding suits at Broderick’s, in downtown Fergus, and the groomsmen rented their suits there too,” Clinton said, noting the rental ensemble included everything from the shirt and tie, to the cufflinks and shoes. “We were able to match our colours and do it all in one convenient location for everyone.” That local connection also helped when Brock’s father went to purchase his own attire. “When my dad went in they knew what we were wearing in the wedding party so they could help him pick out items that would complement us and our colours,” Brock said. “It’s that kind of detail to customer service you wouldn’t get anywhere else.” Brock said he’s always had good service at Broderick’s, laughing as he recalled, “I bought my prom suit at Broderick’s in high school.” While there was simply no reason to leave town to get the quality and style they wanted for the men in the wedding party, it turned out the same could be said for the groomsmaid’s dresses. Clinton was surprised but pleased to learn that Toronto’s bridal shops could not rival the service or selection of Lidia’s Brides in Fergus. He was given the task of coordinating the gowns for the best woman and four groomsmaids. The dresses were to be in mint green, a colour theme throughout the wedding accented in peach. “The ladies and I had gone to Toronto to shop for groomsmaid dresses and we couldn’t find what we were looking for in a decent price range or in the styles we wanted,” Clinton explained. “Not even in the big brand name bridal stores.” That’s when he booked an appointment at Lidia’s Brides and met the mother and daughter team of Renata and Megan Sergejew, whose bridal attire selection and personal attention impressed everyone. “We were surprised they had what we wanted and they are right here in Fergus,” Clinton said. “They were so easy to deal with. All the girls bought their dresses from Lidia’s Brides



and they were fantastic. The dresses needed some alterations and were done on-site within a week, and ready to go.” Clinton, a make-up artist and hair stylist at Cut & Design Hair & Aesthetics, located in Fergus’ south end, personally took care of the hair for each of the groomsmaids. Despite the expected anxiety of all that comes with one’s wedding day, he enjoyed getting to help the ladies look their best. Downtown Fergus was also the location of the couple’s caterer of choice - Fergies Fine Foods, owned by Miriam Foell. “We didn’t know Miriam, but she was the first to respond to us,” Clinton said, adding that as the planning process continued she was quick to accommodate changes and worked with them personally, remembering special details about the couple to make the event special. “She was wonderful and so kind to us,” Brock said. “She took care of everything.” They credit her professionalism for working within the couple’s budget, actually helping them to save money by being local and making food that suited everyone’s palate. “We didn’t have the meal plated. We had it family-style, as a buffet, so everyone could have what they wanted,” Brock said. “Miriam made sure we had plenty of the food items that were popular so everyone had enough of what they wanted. Everybody loved it.” Miriam even arrived the day before the wedding with food, as the wedding party and family started to set-up the hall. Her attention to detail was matched by her thoughtfulness, and that is something the Addersleys will remember. But the guests will remember the delicious food. “Everyone at the wedding was impressed,” Clinton said. “She was honestly so incredible and the food was out of the kitchen so quickly. I would definitely have Miriam cater again.” Clinton relied on the bakers at Fergies Fine Foods to create the wedding cake, too. “I sent her photos of what I liked and she took those ideas and made us something that incorporated all that, but made it our own, which is what I liked,” he said. “Our cake was beautiful. It was so well done.” The final stage in the planning was determining the décor for Aboyne Hall. The pair decided to keep everything simple. “We really didn’t do much. We didn’t want it to be too crowded,” Brock explained. “The wedding vision for us was that we wanted to have a party with our family and friends, which is why we didn’t have a lot of decorations (and) we kept the ceremony short.” Clinton said they decided not to hang decorations on the walls and to rely only on the flowers to add ambiance to the room. Those flowers were a wedding gift from family friend Donna Leahman, a horticulturalist who also happens to be the

Wellington Weddings 2018 // 21

mother of Brock’s best friend, and on that day, the best woman, Rachel Leahman. “Donna did all the flowers, centrepieces and the head table,” Brock said. “I wanted succulents everywhere,” Clinton said, noting one of his favourite features was the greenery all around the head table. “Our boutonnieres were succulents too.” With a manageable guest list of 85 people, including the wedding party, Clinton said Aboyne Hall was the perfect size with capacity for 120 guests. This allowed them ample space for people to feel comfortable at their tables and to throw the party of their dreams. The wedding day itself was everything the couple hoped for. Even a rain downpour couldn’t dampen their spirits or the atmosphere of the Victorian Garden. “It rained right before the ceremony. It was a downpour. I couldn’t even see across the street it rained so hard,” Clinton said, recalling how the museum staff wiped down all the chairs afterwards so

22 // Wellington Weddings 2018

everything was fresh and clean for the guests. “And then it was sunny right before we were set to go down the aisle.” Brock said that though the couple had no back-up plan if the rain were to continue, the capable staff at the museum had a contingency plan. Everything was taken care of either way. As far as weddings go, this one was stress-free. Karen MacPherson Clark of Fergus officiated the wedding. She also happened to be one of Brock’s public school teachers. She provided the couple with various templates of vows and they wrote their own version based on those ideas. “We gave Karen exactly everything we wanted her to read and she did a great job,” Brock said, noting the ceremony took about fifteen minutes. “We wanted the ceremony to be very us,” Clinton added. “We didn’t want it to be too serious. We wanted it to be fun and relaxing. It was a very, very laid back wedding which made it so much better.” And while mobile phones were banned during the ceremony,


were so beautiful


Karen encouraged guests to take a photo of the couple when the ceremony was complete. The couple purchased a unique, personal Snap Chat filter for a 24-hour period so guests could share it. Fergus photographer Jenna Ecclestone Moore captured the day’s special moments. As is the policy of the museum, only one wedding

The Perfect Location for a Memorable Event A stunning setting for your wedding and reception, bridal shower, engagement party, bridesmaid brunch or rehearsal dinner!

is to be photographed at a time at their venue, which gave the newly married couple ample time to get the photographs they wanted. “The pictures are gorgeous,” Clinton said. “The pictures in the heritage garden were so beautiful because it had just rained and all the colours were so intense, which is what made it so perfect.” Staying on a local premise, the couple hired local musician Steve Royal to perform several songs throughout the ceremony and professional disc jockey Jeremy Woods, of Digital DJs to help guests dance the night away. With an open bar and liquor license that included the hall and the outdoor gardens, the party was exactly what Brock and Clinton wanted. “It was the most fun I ever had,” said Brock. “Everybody just had so much fun.” Another benefit of a local venue was the ability for all guests to get home easily and safely. “Everyone was local and could cab it home or had a designated driver arranged, but still didn’t have far to go,” Brock said. Later that night the couple surprised their guests with the delivery of 20 pizzas from Dominos in Fergus. “We didn’t tell anyone but the wedding party that pizza was the late-night meal,” Clinton said. “It was such a hit.” Looking back on their wedding day, Brock and Clinton have only fond memories and wouldn’t change a thing, especially the ability to make it a local event, supporting so many small businesses along the way. “When I think about it now, it didn’t seem like we could do anything in town … but really, being able to do everything here was so much easier and made the wedding so much less stressful for us,” said Clinton. Brock agrees, saying one of his favourite aspects of the wedding was the small-town feel of it, in a town where the couple are building their life together, in a community they are happy to call home. 

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24 // Wellington Weddings 2018

FIND BOUTIQUE EXPERIENCE AT LIDIA’S ne year ago, in the charming town of Fergus, The Stonehurst B&B transformed into Lidia’s Brides — and brides couldn’t be happier. “They have a beautiful and elegant selection of dresses and the salon itself is absolutely gorgeous,” reviewed bride Allie. “But what puts it over the top is Megan and Renata.” The mother-daughter duo, with owner and seamstress Renata Sergejew at the helm, are re-invigorating the personalized bridal appointment with familial warm welcomes and an uncompromising flexibility of bending over backwards for their clients. “It’s all about the experience,” says Renata. “We’re here to make it memorable while we find that perfect dress.” “And, when brides come in for the appointment, the whole place is theirs,” adds store manager — and daughter — Megan Sergejew. “They really get our undivided attention, which means we can do a lot more than try on dresses. This, and the historical house, is what’s setting us apart in our niche.” That’s how Laura came to create her dress — the top of one and bottom of another — from Adi Shlomo Bridal’s line of traditionally styled gowns embellished with modern touches. After consultation with the design house and the details finalized, Laura’s one-of-a-kind wedding included a one-of-a-kind piece. “These two ladies are just great people who will do anything to make sure you are happy and truly do love to see happy brides and families!” Laura commented. “I am so thankful for everything they did for me.” Going the extra mile for brides and their wedding parties earned Lidia’s Brides — in its inaugural year — Diamond in the


Best Shopping: Formal Wear category in the 2017 Guelph Mercury Tribune Readers’ Choice Awards. The concept of exceptional personal service and attention to detail originates from the boutique’s namesake, Lidia — a skilled seamstress, and devoted mother and grandmother. Her legacy of caring and hard work is threaded throughout Lidia’s Brides. Alongside the boutique experience, supporting new and creative designers is important to Renata, and collections offering customizable gowns — from add-ons to separate-pieced outfits — is always at the top of the order list. “We want to be unique,” says Renata. “And we want our brides to be unique, so when we’re looking for new collections we’re always thinking about bringing in different dresses than the other stores around us.” Lidia’s Brides carries designer bridal lines Rosa Clara and Rosa Clara Couture from Spain, Julie Vino and Adi Shlomo Bridal from Israel, Tarik Ediz White of Turkey, and American designers Justin Alexander and Lillian West. Toronto designer Lea-Ann Belter represents Canada. “We are happy to be able to feature a Canadian designer. It’s also great to be able to say ‘this line was made here in Canada’,” Megan says, adding she was very impressed by Belter’s designs and the integrity of craftsmanship. “If you are looking for the true bride experience, this is the place to go,” raved Britt. “Their dress selection is so modern and they have a selection of stunning gowns. (I’m) so thrilled Lidia’s was able to help my sister find the dress of her dreams.”


Wellington Weddings 2018 // 25

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Cara & Justin SEPT. 23 | CLIFFORD

It doesn’t get more country than a barn wedding with a convoy of pick-up trucks leading the bridal party through town, but Cara (nee Smith) and Justin Burns wouldn’t have it any other way. Their hometown roots in Wellington North are embedded in their love of family, friends, community and, above all else, each other. So, when the pair wed on Sept. 23, they made sure those same values guided their special day. It also helped them stay on course with a realistic budget. “I wanted a country-rustic wedding, with a small-town feel to it,” said Cara, who is wellknown in her community as a country singer. “We wanted it to be pretty and special, but both Justin and I agreed, it’s one day, and we want to focus on the rest of our lives. We didn’t want to break the bank for one day.” They set their priorities right from the start. They knew the bulk of their budget would go to the food for 210 guests, the photographer and, of course, the wedding gown. “Those were the big-ticket items, so we planned for that,” Cara said. Family friend and caterer Bonnie Koeslag, from Alma, was hired to prepare a buffet-style dinner, creating a wide variety of foods that would please a large crowd. “The main food was honey garlic chicken and roast beef, and it was amazing,” Justin said. “The buffet style was easy for everyone, and there were plenty of choices to make everyone happy.”

Cara added, “Bonnie was fantastic. She and her crew stayed and prepared our late lunch too. They were wonderful.” When it came to capturing the special moments of the wedding day, both Cara and Justin agreed it was important that the photographs be top quality, as keepsakes for years to come. The pair were keen to work with Me Photography, owned by Clinton and Rhonda Spindley of Fergus. “That was one thing I had no issue spending money on,” Cara said. “A lot of our friends have had horror stories with photographers not giving them their photos or not giving them the quality they wanted, and we’d seen a lot of Clinton and Rhonda’s work, so we wanted them.” Aside from specific requests for photos of the grandparents and family members, the couple gave free rein to the talents of the Me Photography team, and they’re glad they did. “We wanted to capture as much of the day as we could. Clinton and Rhonda were there with us the whole time,” Cara said. With a laugh, she added, “There was a team of two of them so they could divide and conquer.” And for all the moments in between, a videographer captured everything from the ceremony to the speeches. To ensure Cara and her bridesmaids looked their best, she enlisted the help of the stylists at Diane’s Beauty Salon in downtown Mount Forest and had make-up artist Lindsay Hagarty of The Rosewood Spa in Palmerston come to Cara’s parents’ home to get everyone camera ready.

Wellington Weddings 2018 // 27

Last but certainly not least, the wedding dress was an expense Cara does not regret, nor Justin, for that matter, because he said she was stunning in her white gown. Not only did it meet her financial expectation, but it also met her buy-local goals. “So many people drive to the big city to get their dress, to have that experience to say ‘yes to the dress,’ but I got that at White Romance in Listowel,” Cara said. It was love at first sight. “My dress was the dress in the store window,” Cara recalled. “Even as I tried on many other dresses in the shop, I knew it was the one in the window I would eventually buy.” Cara said her dress was worth the money, with a price tag of $1,100. “White Romance was fantastic, and their variety of dress styles were great,” Cara said, noting they had a full stock of merchandise at affordable price points. “You didn’t have to break the bank to shop there. They would only pull dresses that were in my budget. My dress was worth it and every chance I could get to put that dress on, I took it.” Justin and his groomsmen, even the couple’s fathers, found their wedding attire at Broderick’s Apparel for Men in downtown

28 // Wellington Weddings 2018

Fergus, where they purchased suits and rented the vests and ties. “It definitely paid to go to Broderick’s because myself and two of the groomsmen had all bought clothes there for previous weddings and the staff there remembered us. I PURCHASED SOME ITEMS ONLINE FROM BUY AND SELLS, WHICH HELPED ME KEEP MY EXPENSES DOWN ....

I chalk painted everything. They knew who we were and remembered whose weddings we’d been in, a year later,” Justin said. “They walked over to the shelf, grabbed a shirt in my size, knew my pant size and it all fit perfectly. It was very personable service. And they gave us a great deal.” The remainder of the wedding budget was used wisely. As Cara jokes, her mother always called her thrifty. It turned out to be a great

life skill. “I just tried to do things as affordably as possible. I did a lot of things ahead of time, so I wasn’t stressed out,” Cara said. “We tried to do as much as we could locally.” Justin agreed. “It was very important that it be local.” The ceremony itself was held on an idyllic location on a private farm property in Clifford. “It’s close to my parents house, and I’ve always loved that barn. It’s gorgeous,” Cara said. “There is a beautiful barn out front with cornfields all around, it’s unbelievable.” From a décor perspective, the rustic country theme allowed Cara to get creative and keep the wedding reasonable. With a vision in mind, Cara wasted no time in making it a reality, finding innovative uses for barn board and burlap - her staple décor items. She chose dark purple for her colour accents, including the bridesmaid’s eggplant dresses and the groomsmen’s shirts and ties. “We did little to no decorating for the ceremony just because of the essence of the barn,” she said. “It was totally cleaned out and had beautiful light shining in. It was perfect.” Performing the ceremony was Mount Forest wedding officiant Wendy Smith, who gave the couple a package of options for their

vows. She was a natural choice as a former colleague of Cara’s. “I knew I wanted Wendy to be there with us on this day and she did a great job,” Cara said. “She was so funny.” Of course, it wouldn’t be a country wedding without pick-up trucks, and Justin and his groomsmen were only too happy to oblige. “It was all about the trucks,” Justin laughed. “Growing up it was always about driving a truck. You polished it up, and you went out with your friends. So for the wedding, instead of limos or limo buses or fancy cars, we went with a convoy of pick-up trucks. And that’s how the wedding party left.” The trucks led the way to the reception held in the Community Hall at the Mount Forest and District Sports Complex, which was an affordable option at under $1,000 for the hall and kitchen facility. It was also the ideal space to accommodate the guest list of 210 people, the majority of which were family. “We made the decision not to include children as guests to the wedding reception, which saved us a lot of money for the catering.” Cara said. “We also had friends who were invited to the reception only, after the dinner portion, so they could come party with us.”

The hall required minimal decoration in keeping with the country rustic theme. Over the centre of the dance floor, Cara created a centrepiece fixture using a hula-hoop base wrapped in bailer twine and embellished with tulle that was given to her as a wedding ... INSTEAD OF LIMOS OR LIMO BUSES OR FANCY CARS,

we went with a convoy of pick-up trucks gift. String lights were intertwined. Tissue paper balls in shades of purple and white woven yarn balls were also strung from the ceiling to lightly embellish the décor. “We had the centrepiece tied up in no time,” Cara said, noting that she intended to keep the room simply decorated. “We had to clean and clear up that night, so this made it easier.” Table décor consisted of hand-crafted vases

made from donated wine bottles wrapped in twine gifted to the couple. The vases held tall, fresh grasses that she cut from the fields around her parents home. Recycled Mason jars were decorated with twine ties and jewels and held fresh-cut mums. For the table numbers, Cara cut rectangular blocks of wood then stained the blocks and painted each with the table number and wrapped the blocks with ribbon and twine. All of this was presented on a thick raw cut of live-edge wood. “The centrepieces cost me next to nothing,” Cara said. “The only thing I paid for was the ribbon and the flowers. Everything else was lying around or donated.” Shopping locally, Cara found accent treasures like fake flowers and décor pieces in places like MC Liquidation in Mount Forest and other thrift stores in Wellington North, Harriston and Listowel. An antique window frame became a sign for the bar area. She purchased used picture frames and developed photos of the couple and used them to decorate tables for the reception. “I purchased some items online from Buy and Sells, which helped me keep my expenses down,” Cara said. “I chalk painted everything.” While she purchased some of the

Wellington Weddings 2018 // 29

tablecloths for the reception, a friend of the family donated the rest. Purple ties were placed on each guest chair for the reception, and the colour was also used for the napkins. Using burlap and paint, she crafted signage for the bar area with the word “love,” and even created a tail-gate “Just Married” sign for the back of Justin’s pick-up truck as they left the ceremony. The couple rented a set of antique doors from Arthur Cash and Carry to act as a backdrop for the head table, which added a simple, rustic element to the reception. Cara even kept her fresh flowers on a budget by choosing white mums, flowers readily in season, and purchased locally at Mount Forest Greenhouses and Garden Centre. “They were fantastic to deal with there,” Cara said. “We ordered white mums, but I wanted to have something purple. Richard (Quartel), who owns Mount Forest Greenhouses, had a simple solution. He had a purple flower spray paint that was perfect and just added a touch of colour to the flowers. It was perfect.” The mums were placed in Mason jars on the guest tables, and large pots were placed in milk pails around the room, keeping with the country rustic theme. “Nothing was expensive flower-wise. The mums came in around $120,” Cara said. Wedding favours can quickly eat up a budget, but Cara and Justin chose to sweeten their plan by making edible wedding favours. They ordered chocolate mold trays of miniature cowboy boots, something playful that guests would appreciate. Using both white and milk chocolate flavours, (and spending a good deal of time in the kitchen), a total of 300 individually wrapped favours were prepared for a cost just below $200. Cara’s younger sister Corey Smith, also the maid of honour, generously made the wedding cake for the reception and 300 cupcakes to feed the guests. Not only was this an excellent gift for the bride and groom, but it also contributed to cost savings. For this bride, an important aspect of staying on budget was being organized with the do-it-yourself projects, but also being flexible. “If I could give any advice to brides planning

30 // Wellington Weddings 2018

their wedding day, it is to do stuff ahead of time and don’t wait to the last minute … just do it and pack it away,” she said. “Weddings are one of those things where you can add more or change things.” And when she got maxed out on stress or expenditures, Corey brought her back down to earth.



“My sister and I made a pact to keep each other grounded when we got married, to make sure we were there for each other to keep bringing it back a notch,” Cara said, admitting there were a few times when Corey stepped in and reminded her sister to do just that. “It’s about remembering that it is just one day.” When it came to the bouquets and boutonnieres, Cara decided to use artificial flowers designed by Julie Stan of Country Creations in Mount Forest. “I loved my bouquet design, and I wanted to keep my bouquet forever,” Cara explained.

“All of our boutonnieres were artificial too, so our grandparents and parents could keep them as a keepsake. ” The artificial flowers were beautiful and elegant, but they had a genuine sentimentality that wasn’t planned. “In a weird coincidence, we found out that Julie was the same florist who did my mother’s bouquets when she was married, back when Julie owned her flower shop in Listowel,” Cara said. The tradition of shopping locally in their town included the significant purchase of the engagement ring and wedding bands from Wendt’s Jewellery. “I had always shopped at Wendts, so Justin went there to get the engagement ring,“ Cara said. “I shop there because of the small-town feel when you’re there and the way they make you feel welcome, so we went there for our wedding bands and gifts for the wedding party because they have such great service.” From the months of planning to the big day itself, both Cara and Justin made sure the wedding celebrated their small-town roots by staying true to their budget and their values. “We’re very family oriented, and we’re very close to our friends, and all of them were a part of our celebration,” Justin said. “This was a big wedding, but it was the best representation of us; a big party with our family and friends.” Though it was a lot of work, they credit their family and friends who rolled up their sleeves to make the event one to remember. “Everyone helped,” Justin said. “We had so much support from lots of our family and friends to put it all together, and everyone stayed after to clean up the hall.” Now that the wedding is behind them, both Cara and Justin have nothing but the best memories. “It doesn’t matter what obstacles arise; it always works out,” Cara said. “Everything always comes together,” Justin agreed. And there lies the fundamental theme going forward in the marriage for this dynamic couple, who are the best of friends. With a long country road ahead of them and a pick-up truck for the ride, the view is theirs to enjoy. It’s a country song waiting to be written with a very happy ending. 

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Wellington Weddings 2018 // 31



Callise & Mitch Loos SEPTEMBER 30 | HARRISTON

When friends and family of Callise (nee Foerter) and Mitch Loos gathered to raise a toast to the newly married couple, they were marking a moment these two will cherish forever, because their wedding was as much about family as it was about them. And since the Town of Minto is where they’re from, it was only natural that it be the backdrop for their union. “Mitch is from Clifford, and my family is from Harriston,” Callise said, adding her and Mitch’s grandfathers, both farmers, were neighbours in the nearby town of Howick. No doubt those rural roots inspired the decision for the couple’s wedding venue. “We liked the idea of a relaxed atmosphere, so we decided to get married in a barn,” she said, noting the private property located in nearby Clifford has hosted some weddings and events in the past. Callise said it was the perfect tranquil setting, with a large empty barn in the sprawling countryside. “Mitch and I both like the outdoors,” she said. “We wanted a ceremony that was natural and authentic to us. We knew we didn’t want to get married indoors in a church. We wanted to get married in the fall with the trees around

32 // Wellington Weddings 2018

us.” The reception was held at the Harriston Curling Club, which was ideal for their budget and space allowance. “The club was affordable for us, and its location made it easy for everyone to get to, and many people simply walked home when the night was done,” said Callise.


so we decided to get married IN A BARN

It was essential to the couple that their wedding day reflect their relationship. “We aren’t big attention-seeking people. We just wanted it to be authentic,” Callise said. “Our wedding wasn’t super extravagant because that’s not who we are. We wanted a

hometown feel to it.” As luck would have it, the only autumn day available for the couple’s choice of venues was Sept. 30, which also happened to mark the 28th wedding anniversary of Callise’s parents, Dorren and Crystal Foerter. “I carried a matchbook that was a guest favour from their wedding day, with their names and wedding date on it as my ‘something old’ tradition, which I kept with me in my clutch,” Callise said. While she was happy to follow some wedding traditions, such as the timehonoured “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue,” Callise admits she was not a typical bride, in the traditional sense. “I didn’t grow up with a vision for my wedding,” she said. Even as it approached, she struggled with the idea of having to be the centre of attention. It’s not her comfort zone, nor is it Mitch’s personality. Even down to their wedding vows, this pair kept it short and sweet, on purpose. To the mandatory legal declarations that come with every wedding ceremony, Callise and Mitch simply added, “you’re the love of my

life, and you’re my best friend.” “That is true for Mitch and I,” Callise said. “We’ve always been best friends. There is nothing else to say, that’s what works for us.” So, when it came to planning the wedding day, she took on the task in a way that felt comfortable to her. “I treated my wedding like how I decorate my house: I know what I like and what I don’t like,” Callise said. Mitch also had a vital role in planning the wedding. “He knew what he wanted, and so it was quite easy to come together on the plan. It was just planning a party.” She also credits the support of her sister, Quinn Foerter. “She’s a planner, and she was the maid of honour,” she said. “My sister was amazing.” Quinn and the girls’ mother, Crystal, were significant supporters when it came time to shop for the wedding dress. They were the only two people Callise wanted along for what she considered an awkward event. “The whole idea of having people look at me in a big white wedding gown was terrifying to me,” she said, admitting the whole concept of wedding dress shopping evoked the same fear. “I knew I didn’t want a ball gown. I didn’t want a strapless gown, and I didn’t want anything tight or fitted. I’m not a princess. I cannot wear those styles.” She found her dress at Taylor’s Bridal

Boutique in Elmira. “I found a dress by Rebecca Ingram with an illusion neckline, and it wasn’t too tight or too bulky,” she said. “The cost was around $1,000, and it was beautiful.” Callise then trusted the make-up artistry of Jessica Dietrich, from Jessica’s Aesthetic in Mount Forest, and the hair-styling techniques of Deanna Glazema of Creativeedge in Harriston. THE WEDDING WASN’T ABOUT ME, THE BRIDE. IT WAS ABOUT CREATING


When it came to wedding flowers, Callise wanted something different, so she made the trip to Drayton specifically for the expertise of Dale Franklin and the team at Blooming Dale’s. “I’m not a girl who wants flowers. It’s just not something I have ever wanted,” Callise said. “I wanted succulents and thistles for our bouquets and boutonnieres.” Succulents were part of her décor at the

reception too, and the bride was pleased with all of it. “Dale was amazing; she totally nailed it,” Callise said. “It was exactly what I wanted.” Making the bouquets even more personal, Callise carried two special pins secured into the bouquet handle that belonged to family members whose memory she wanted to honour. One was for her grandfather Gordon, who passed when she was young. Before his passing, Callise had given him a Grandpa pin. The other was a Fire Chief’s Insignia pin that belonged to her uncle Harold Weber, who had spent 40 years as a firefighter in Harriston, including rising to the rank of Fire Chief. He passed away from cancer in February 2017. “I chose to put the pins in my bouquet because I wanted to honour their memory, but I didn’t need anybody else to know. It was just about me honouring them. Harold’s loss was so fresh, and I didn’t want everyone to feel sad,” Callise said. To honour his late grandmother, Marie Loos, Mitch wore one of her heirloom rings around the stem of his boutonniere. One thing Mitch and Callise share, besides a love for one another, is a passion for wine. They enjoy trying new flavours from around the world, as well as bottling homemade wines. When it came to thinking of a wedding theme, this inspired their decision to create a rustic winery feel to their reception. “We originally wanted to get married at

Wellington Weddings 2018 // 33

a winery, but distance was an issue. The closest winery to us would be in Orangeville, but with ninety per cent of our guests in the Minto area, we didn’t want anyone to have to drive that far. I wanted everybody to relax and have fun and be able to walk home.” If you can’t get everyone to the winery, bring the winery to them. For that task, Callise and Mitch hired One Events, a Clifford business owned by event planner Samantha Gibson. “I did the decorating and design of both the hall and the ceremony, providing room décor and elements from the wine barrels, to the benches, centrepieces and linen. We set up a custom bar, head table and wine bottle seating chart,” Gibson said. “We worked close with Callise to develop a design in décor that would bring the wine theme to life.” Callise laughed recalling that in the initial meetings before the wedding, Sam learned quickly that she was not dealing with a bride who had many demands. “I was the most nonchalant bride,” Callise said. “I didn’t know what most weddings had in terms of decor and design, but I knew I didn’t want the usual things. I didn’t need sparkle, glitz or glam. I wanted simple and understated.” For the One Events team, this allowed them the freedom to get creative with the rustic winery feel. “I was really easy to deal with and make happy,” Callise said. “I just trusted them to do things, and I rarely said no.” Putting their trust in One Events paid

34 // Wellington Weddings 2018

off. From adding subtle décor in the barn to creating the atmosphere of a winery in the Harriston Curling Club, Sam and her team expertly made Callise and Mitch’s vision a reality. One Events provided benches for guest seating at the ceremony, but part of the charm of the old barn was its authentically rustic nature. I KNEW I DIDN’T WANT THE USUAL THINGS, I DIDN’T NEED


Glitz or Glam I WANTED SIMPLE AND UNDERSTATED Transforming the Harriston Curling Club into a winery atmosphere included having drapes cascading from the ceiling, curtains around the room, and specialty lighting. “We had grapevine and succulents as part of our décor and Edison bulbs and grapevine strung from the ceiling,” Callise said. “Sam took care of all of it, completely setting up the curling club for our guests. She used wine bottles hung on a nice rack display where the labels were actually the seating chart.” Being able to rely on the expertise of an

event planner made the wedding far less stressful. “Whatever we wanted, they made it happen,” she said. The accent colour throughout the wedding was sapphire blue, and that was used as the tablecloth for the guest tables, while grey was used at the head table to compliment the bridesmaid sapphire dresses. Callise added, “The wedding wasn’t about me, the bride. It was about creating a guest experience that was a celebration and about getting our friends and family together.” That experience included a cocktail hour with a wine tasting and charcuterie boards, made even more special with help from her family. Quinn made wine jelly and other jellies to serve with the cheese and horsd’oeuvres. Each of the charcuterie boards was handcrafted by Callise’s father, Dorren, who also crafted wine barrel tables for the event, (and made two large wooden planters in the shape of each of their first initials, to use as part of the décor). “We had 35 different cheeses to serve our guests and we had wine pairings throughout our meal,” she said, noting their caterer for the evening was the Grand River Caterers, out of Elora, who prepared a wonderful meal. “The wine was great for the pairings. We selected 15 different varieties of wine for sampling,” she said. The couple created their own wine to offer guests as party favours, bottling the wine at two locations, Vintner’s Cellar Elora and Argyle Wines in Listowel.

“We tried to keep things as local as we could,” she said. While some couples save money by making their own décor pieces and sourcing materials, Callise said that wasn’t their style, in part because of their careers. Callise is the administrative coordinator for Minto Fire Department, and Mitch is a nurse at the hospitals in Palmerston and Walkerton, as well as a volunteer firefighter in Harriston. “Mitch and I didn’t want to do the décor and spend hours on crafts, and we didn’t want to make things to sell later to recoup our expenses,” Callise said. The budget was a factor in all wedding planning decisions, and for this couple, an event planner was the right choice to invest in to create their ideal experience. “It was more economical for us to hire One Events,” Callise said. “If you factor it all in, by the time you rent the plates and dishes, set up the bar, the tables, source the décor and get it all set up to make it look like a wine cellar, it takes a lot of time and work. So, you are basically hiring them to come, set it up and take it all away. That was the easiest option for us.” She has no regrets. “It was definitely my vision,” Callise said. “One Events were wonderful to work with. The event was executed 100% as I’d hoped. It was the feeling I wanted when I walked through it.” Putting a portion of the wedding budget toward an event planner was as crucial as making an allowance for wedding

photography, to ensure professional quality photos, something both Callise and Mitch valued. They hired Brandy of Brandy Meyers Photography in Palmerston. “Two years ago, Brandy did our family portrait, and I follow her work on social media. I like her style and her use of natural light,” Callise said. THE EVENT WAS EXECUTED 100% AS I’D HOPED.

It was the feeling I wanted WHEN I WALKED THROUGH IT But much like her desire not to be the centre of attention, this bride has some reservations about being photographed. Brandy recommended they start with an engagement photo session. “This was my first time being professionally photographed with Mitch. We had the engagement photos taken in Waterloo Park,” said Callise. “We aren’t big on public displays of affection, but Brandy made us feel comfortable, and it was good practice for the wedding.” When it came to her wedding day, Callise told Brandy she wanted natural photos that

were true to the couple. “I told her I didn’t want props and I didn’t want photos of me doing foolish things,” she said laughing. “Can it just be natural and normal?” There was one fun exception: a 1979 Volkswagen Beetle convertible owned by her uncle, John Day, made for a whimsical backdrop in several photos. Capturing those moments in photographs was important, but some moments will be memories in her mind forever, like a special dance with her Grandpa Lyle Foerter. Callise chose a song her grandfather used to play for her when she was a little girl, and the two of them would do chores together in the barn. “He was surprised when he heard the song, and when I looked around the room, so many people were crying,” she said, smiling at the memory. “That was one of the best moments of my night. That two-minute dance made my grandfather’s whole night too. To me, that is what a wedding is supposed to be about … it’s the moments.” Those moments were not lost on either of the newlyweds. “It’s a humbling experience to have people come together to celebrate your marriage with you, and everybody showed up for us,” Callise said. “There were a couple of times at the wedding where people would say to me that they could see that there was a strong family relationship amongst us, and it’s true. We are so lucky to have that. That’s what the wedding was all about, celebrating with your family and friends.” 

Wellington Weddings 2018 // 35

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Advice from a professional makeup artist member and has worked as a freelance makeup artist since 2005. “I continue to take courses and study with MAC to update my techniques, keep current and to know what trends are coming up for the upcoming wedding season. It’s important for me to keep my skill sets current,” Dixon said. YOU WANT TO LOOK GOOD IN YOUR WEDDING PICTURES. YOU WILL LOOK AT THEM


“You can always be better at what you do and I always want to get better at my craft and keep learning. I take pride in what I do.” It was through MAC she learned to apply makeup for photography, so that the application works with various types of lighting - a very important aspect of wedding photography. “You want to look good in your wedding

pictures. You will look at them forever,” Dixon said. “I always tell the bride, ‘You will look to yourself like you are wearing a lot of makeup. Don’t be alarmed. I promise you that in your pictures, you will look subtle and natural.’ And that is where the trust comes in. They have to trust my expertise.” She said that when a makeup application is done and she does the reveal, she takes a large mirror and holds it back at a distance from the bride on purpose. “A bride needs to see herself as others will see her that day, walking up the aisle or posing for photos or making a speech. They will see her from a distance. She needs to look flawless from a distance. That’s the goal,” Dixon said, adding with a laugh that brides always reach for the mirror to see themselves close up. “I’m not sure they actually trust it until they see themselves in their wedding pictures, but those are the brides that always return to me and say, ‘Now I understand what you meant about looking nice in my photos,’ which is great. And I appreciate it because I want to know they were happy at the end of day.” Dixon said an essential part of her role is knowing how to read people. “I think that is part of what makes me good at my job. There is a fine line between taking somebody out of their comfort zone and being sure not to take them too far out,” she said. “My first question is always ‘Are you a makeup wearer?’” It’s an important question regardless of the answer because it helps Dixon anticipate their


Every bride deserves to feel beautiful on her wedding day. For freelance makeup artist Barb Dixon of Fergus, that’s not only her goal for her bridal clients, it’s also her greatest sense of accomplishment. Making someone feel beautiful in their own skin on the most important day of their lives is more than a job it’s an honour, she says. “I really get the opportunity to see all the best moments of my clients’ lives,” Dixon said. “And then to allow them to feel really good in their own skin … it’s really a special thing for me.” There is a reason you hire professional caterers, musicians, hair dressers and decorators for your wedding day. They are the experts. The same can be said for makeup artists. Sure, your cousin is great at makeup and could do yours for free, but should she? Of all the days you want to look your best, when you will be the centre of attention and the most photographed person in the room, you want a professional to make you look great. “I’ve built my freelance business with the integrity of my work and I have built a solid reputation based on the quality of my work,” Dixon said. “My entire business is word-ofmouth, and that speaks to my skill. It may sound funny to say this but, my name is on their face and that matters to me.” Dixon works exclusively with the MAC (Makeup Art Cosmetics) product line, the world’s leading professional makeup line renowned for its expertise in makeup artistry. Having pursued extensive training with the international organization, Dixon is a MAC Pro

Wellington Weddings 2018 // 37

38 // Wellington Weddings 2018

it’s okay to be honest with me. It doesn’t hurt my feelings to make changes,” Dixon said. “The end goal is simply to make the bride happy. “I want my clients to be happy with the service, and feel like they got what they wanted so it’s worth them spending the time and the money.” Factoring the cost of a professional makeup artist into the wedding budget is important, as is making a reservation well in advance, because like any other professional service in the wedding industry, services book up fast. “I recommend brides contact me a year PHOTO BY ME PHOTOGRAPHY

level of comfort with her work. “I have to have a little understanding, a sense of who they are as an individual, and I must respect my client’s wishes. And that’s where my expertise shows,” she said. “I want to know what my brides want to get out of this because that’s what I do.” Details help. Dixon recommends that any bride booking a makeup application make sure their artist understands the full extent of the wedding day vision. “It’s important for me to know the venue, the theme and the scale of the event,” she said. “Is it a barn wedding with a rustic theme or a cathedral wedding with a traditional elegance? How do they want their guests to feel? These descriptions help me imagine the whole day, which then translates to the look the bride will want to have.” It’s about personal style and tastes. From the wedding dress to the choice of flowers, it all makes a statement. Seasons are an important factor too and alter the way Dixon approaches the makeup. “From winter weddings to summer weddings, you are contending with two completely different things,” she said. “Dry skin in winter or the heat of summer in 35-degree weather, these require totally different skill sets and different applications.” But in the end, for Dixon, it all comes down to how the bride wants to feel amid the excitement of her wedding day. “I want to know how they want to feel, because to me that is a far greater expression of the bride herself and in my creative process, I am very much about the energy around that,” Dixon said, recognizing that brides have a very distinct vision of how they see themselves. “Some women want to have a romantic look, while others prefer a more classic look, and some like to be bold to suit their personality. And I have some brides who want to look and feel sexy,” she said. “It doesn’t matter to me what they want to look like, but it matters to me that I can dress their face to go with that vision.” Dixon says sometimes a bride either doesn’t know what they want for their makeup style or does not have the words to express it - that’s okay too. For some, the concept of wedding makeup is overwhelming. That is where Dixon’s experience helps to offer options to find what inspires them, and give advice from colours to technique. “I see everyone’s beauty in the way they are different and I like to bring that out in them,” she said. “It’s about letting them feel like the best version of themselves.” Her professionalism also helps her manage her client’s expectations without getting offended if they want to make a change. “If I don’t get an immediate positive reaction, I ask them right away what is and isn’t working for them and I want them to feel


a real romance to it, TO MATCH A VERY SPECIAL FEEL TO THE DAY and a half before the wedding,” Dixon said. “My busy wedding season is June into early October, and as an independent artist, I have to plan accordingly.” For brides who want a trial of her services, Dixon directs them to her portfolio of work via Facebook and Instagram as opposed to an actual pre-event makeup application, with good reason. “In my early days of my career I found I’d get brides who were panicked about the big day and didn’t realize that things would change in the six-month period since they booked me originally,” Dixon explained. “But their skin changes with the seasons, maybe their weight changed, their hair, maybe even their wedding dress or the event itself.” Dixon said that brides will often hire her to do their makeup for a bachelorette party

or engagement photos and other pre-wedding events, which gives them an opportunity to experience her skills. Budgeting for her services is simple too. Her rates have stayed the same and she recommends brides factor in $65 per person for a standard makeup application and go up from there, depending on false eyelash applications (whether they supply their own stock or buy from her) or choose air-brushing services. Dixon provides all the makeup materials and comes to the home or dressing location of the bridal party and, so long as it’s under an hour of travel time, there is no charge (though she does travel far for her work). Upon booking, brides need to confirm the number of people having a makeup application, including the bridesmaids and any other family members. Dixon believes it is important that all the bridesmaids have their makeup done professionally as well to present a cohesive look in person and in the photos, and she prefers to do the bride’s makeup last to keep her looking the most fresh. “I don’t charge more for the bride’s makeup application than I would for anybody else in the wedding party, though that is an industry trend,” Dixon said. “I spend the same amount of time on the bride as anyone else and I use the same amount of product, while providing them with the same quality work, so I see no point in charging more.” But with years of experience Dixon has witnessed first-hand the most common mistakes of brides-to-be that even a makeup artist cannot fix - at least not completely. “If someone said to me, you could only give one piece of advice to brides it would honestly be, do not try anything new just before your wedding,” Dixon said. “If you are going to spray tan, do it at least 14 days before the wedding. Don’t go get eyelash extensions within a day before for your wedding. And do not start a new skin care regime just before the event. Stick with what’s tried and tested and they know that works for them.” That, and hire a makeup professional. “You are only a bride once. Bridal makeup has a real romance to it, to match a very special feel to the day, for that moment in time, and you’re never going to feel as special as you do on that wedding day,” Dixon said. “I feel like I get so much out of loving what I do. It never feels like a job to me. It’s so rewarding to be part of this special moment and making the bride feel beautiful. It’s a gift.” And her greatest reward comes in six simple words: “This is exactly what I wanted.”  Contact info: Barb Dixon Makeup Artist Phone: 519-766-6031 Email:

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Shawn & Tanya OCTOBER 5 | ELORA

You can call it fate. Destiny. Karma. Luck. They’d all be correct. When love is meant to be, it always finds a way. This is the story of Shawn Barnes and Tanya Chapman, high school sweethearts who went out into the world to find themselves, only to find one another again. Timing is everything. “We dated for two years in high school, or two proms long,” Tanya said, laughing. To hear them tell it, theirs was a sweet friendship and a great experience for a first love. Just one example was their weekly routine of Wednesday night date nights. Shawn was a reservist at the Guelph Armoury. Every Wednesday night, after training, he would pick Tanya up from her job at the Fergus library and they’d go on a date. The pair was serious enough about one another in their Centre Wellington High School days to purchase matching rings from local artisans Pepe Fernandez and Maureen Dwyer who owned a jewelry store, Pepe and Maureen Ltd., in downtown Elora. The store was renowned in the community for the artisans’ unique craftsmanship and it was in business for 27 years. Both Shawn and Tanya held

onto that jewelry, even when they had to let go of each other after graduation. “It wasn’t a messy break-up, it was just understood,” Tanya said, noting they each had ambitions to pursue. “Our lives took different directions.” “Part of it was we we didn’t want to stay here. We wanted to go and see the world,” Shawn said, noting that as part of a fourth generation in the small village, he needed to move away to experience life. “I had to leave to go do anonymous things, because I couldn’t do it here.” Tanya went to Africa on an exchange program then headed for the writer’s school at the University of British Columbia. Shawn moved to Ottawa to attend Carleton University. They stayed friends and wrote to one another and saw each other over holiday breaks and summer vacations. “We had a reunion one Christmas at the pub, the Dalby House,” Tanya recalls. “When we ran into each other again, we were in relationships with other people.” Life moved on. Years passed. Careers and relationships happened.

Wellington Weddings 2018 // 41

Tanya, now a published author living in Toronto, had been in a long-term relationship that ended. Shawn, living in Ottawa, was working in the computer software industry. He had married and divorced. Tanya’s first fiction novel, King, had been published by Coach House and she was set to do a book tour, which included media interviews. One of those interviews caught Shawn’s attention. “I heard the name Tanya Chapman and I thought, ‘could that be the same Tanya?’” Shawn said. “So, he Googled me,” Tanya said laughing. “Then he emailed me and I see his name come up and, of course, I’m thinking, “Shawn Barnes? Really? Because I’m thinking by then, ‘Shawn Barnes was the one that got away…’” Rekindling their friendship began with emails back and forth. “It was great to reconnect,” Tanya said. “I was trying to find out if he was married without asking him outright, so I asked things like if he had any children, questions like that.” Not long after they virtually reconnected, Shawn made the move to see her in person. He emailed her his plans. “Tanya was doing a book reading in Montreal a little while later, so I drove to Montreal to see her read, but she missed the email,” Shawn recalled. “This was in the day before smartphones and texting,” Tanya states. “So, I am in Montreal and nervous about this book reading and I look out around the room and notice there was this guy sitting at the bar in a toque and glasses, but I didn’t know who he was.” Later, they each went outside for a breath of fresh air and she realized the guy at the bar was Shawn. Her Shawn. And the rest, as they say, is history. The timing was right. “In the 13-year interval, we got to go away and screw up our own and other people’s

42 // Wellington Weddings 2018

lives and figure it all out and then, we were back,” Tanya said, laughing, but with a sincere reflection that it needed to happen just as it did. The couple lived in Toronto for about eight years before they decided to make a change. “There was just something about coming


there is no place better than here home,” Tanya said. “We always knew we would and there was something about it that just struck us … Just do it.” Once again, the stars aligned. Both grew up in and around Elora and there was an older home with plenty of character just a few blocks from where Shawn was raised. He has always dreamt of living in it. Shawn admits he used to ride his bike past it just to catch a glimpse. So, when the couple began to search online for real estate, his dream house was on the market but not for long. That was two years ago, and while they’ve settled into their old stomping grounds, they are equally encouraged to see so many of their former high school friends also returning to the area to raise families and return to the small-town lifestyle. “When you grow up here you think you want to get out of here, but then you grow up and decide you want to come back because

there is no place better than here,” Shawn said. One night the couple went on a dinner date to The Cellar Pub and Grill, on the banks for the Grand River, where the conversation turned to the idea of getting married and the realization that their 11th anniversary was just a few weeks away. “We decided right there that we were really going to do it,” Tanya said. “We were going to get married.” Sitting in the restaurant, the pair pulled out their mobile phones and started to coordinate their schedules, factoring in work deadlines and such. Both agreed they didn’t want to spend months planning a wedding. Nor did they want a big, flashy event. It simply wasn’t their style. “We went through our calendars and Thursday, October 5 (2017) was our next availability,” Tanya said. While Thursday is not a traditional wedding day, Shawn said it was right for them. “We felt like if the wedding was on a weekend, it would have to be a bigger thing,” he said. That simply wasn’t what the couple was about. They wanted their wedding to authentically represent who they are right now. “I didn’t want a big event or a day about me, I wanted something that was just a special day, like all of our days together,” Tanya said. “Something that represented how we live every day, not something so different from it.” From that moment on, everything fell into place. With a date set, the couple walked up the street to one of their favourite spots, the Elora Brewing Company, renowned as a microbrewery paired with a menu of creative local fare, set in a historic building in downtown Elora. There they met with their friend Maclean Hann who is the manager and event



Every Day

coordinator of the restaurant. “They’ve done quite a few weddings and Mac handles all of it,” Shawn said. “We said, ‘Mac, what’s going on here upstairs on October 5,’ and he said, ‘I don’t know you tell me,’ and he wrote our names down.” A brewery may not be a typical reception venue but Maclean says the Elora Brewing Company hosts approximately 12 weddings a year. With the introduction of his role to help coordinate, the concept of hosting large scale events is gaining momentum. “I think initially it’s about the building itself,” he said. “There’s two kinds of weddings: some people want that traditional very classic white wedding with very ornate table décor and views, and some people want something like this, more rustic, in a working brewery. “So, I think the draw here is for people who want something a little less traditional. And this place speaks for itself.” The date worked out well too. “Because they did this on a Thursday, they were able to have the entire upstairs space for

their celebration,” Maclean said, noting the restaurant below remained open. Booking the reception venue was easy. Planning the menu for their estimated 15 guests was equally as simple. Tanya said one of the best features of dealing with the Elora Brewing Company was the flexibility in selecting their favourite foods and not being limited to a preset dining option. “It was a choose your own adventure,” she said. “The answer to everything was just ‘yes.’” Also, they appreciated that Elora Brewing Company’s chef is committed to serving locally sourced ingredients. “What we aim to do is tailor every event to the customer, from the food to our own selection of beers, to whatever type of wine a customer would like. We aren’t a cookiecutter caterer,” Maclean said. “We do have set menus and options for people, but the kitchen really prides itself on working with the guest and I pride myself on doing the same.” He said it was easy to make his friends

happy. “They chose steak frites with Béarnaise sauce, because Tanya wanted something to dip her fries into,” he said, smiling. “We offer wines, but she specifically wanted a California cabernet, so I brought that in for her.” With all that arranged, it was time to start telling people that Tanya and Shawn were officially tying the knot. One of the first friends they told was childhood friend Dan Dunlop and his wife Denise. Dan grew up in the house next to Tanya’s grandmother, so these friends go way back. Dan also happens to be a photographer. “We told them we had decided, just the night before, to get married and Dan said, ‘I’m taking your photographs,’” Tanya said, noting they were already fans of his streetscape photography. “So, I thought to myself, good, there’s another thing done.” Next up, Tanya walked down to Drimmies Florist in Elora to order her bouquet and flowers. “I had no idea what I wanted, so I just trusted them to make suggestions,” she said,

Wellington Weddings 2018 // 43

with a laugh. “I was open to whatever they recommended. I said to just make it beautiful and they did.” The village of Elora played such a formative role in their relationship that it was only natural that it be the backdrop for their intimate wedding. They decided they’d take the matrimonial leap at Lover’s Leap, in the heart of the town that brought them together, where the Irvine River meets the Grand River. Obtaining their marriage certificate through the Township of Centre Wellington, the couple hired deputy clerk Lisa Miller to officiate the wedding. “Lisa gave us three versions of vows for the ceremony and we merged pieces of each of them into our ceremony,” Tanya said. Elora also allowed them to do everything they needed for the wedding right in their hometown. THE ANSWER But it was the sentimental nature of TO EVERYTHING their wedding rings that really brought WAS JUST together their past with their present. “We still really liked the rings we had Pepe and Maureen make us back in high school. We wanted a replica of those rings made for our wedding rings,” Tanya said. “One day, I was talking to the owner of Karger Gallery and telling her about my rings, and she told me to go see Mandy at Macadi Jewellery, because she knew that Mandy was Pepe and Maureen’s apprentice.” Small world. Small town. Great coincidence. Mandy Deskur Murray was now a successful jeweller in her own right, running Macadi Jewellery on Mill Street in Elora for 10 years. “We provide jewelry that is different and we try not push people towards what is trendy, but something that will reflect them, and that’s why we get really unique shoppers here,” Mandy said. Having apprenticed with Pepe for a year and a half, she was very familiar with the design of Shawn and Tanya’s rings. “Their original rings were made by Pepe,” Mandy said, noting that made the opportunity to do a new design inspired by those pieces into a new set of wedding bands even more special. “It had to be about them, as a couple, that would reflect them,” Mandy said, admitting she enjoyed the way Shawn and Tanya

respectfully interacted with each other throughout the design process. “You could see when they were excited about something, so we channel into that which makes the process easier in the end.” She said the couple were inspired by her Escarpment Collection, elements of which influenced her design of their wedding bands. Using rose, yellow and white gold, the addition of champagne diamonds in Tanya’s ring made it special. “Tanya’s rings were based on a stackable collection we have and we made that into one single ring for her,” Mandy said. Mandy explains the wedding rings were designed to look like they were meant to be together. “For Shawn, we were able to make his ring a little more masculine,” Mandy said. “It was based off the Escarpment Series, but I was able to add texture to his design.” In the end, both the jewelry designer and the customers were thrilled with the result. “Shawn and Tanya were a joy to work with and really open to my opinion of what will work, and that’s what makes a great piece work,” Mandy said. It’s also the reason that Tanya returned to Macadi’s at the last minute on her wedding day, which wasn’t a big deal because Tanya was perhaps the most relaxed bride ever, even on the day itself. “When I got up that morning I realized, I didn’t have ‘something new’ to wear,” she said. “So, at 10am, when I realized that, I walked down to Macadi and picked out a necklace.” Mandy laughs recalling the moment Tanya walked into the store. “She said, ‘I don’t have anything new to wear today,’ so we helped her out,” Mandy said, noting that Tanya was wearing a gold chain she loved, so with their suggestion, the bride picked out a charm and earrings. “Tanya purchased selected pieces from our Nature’s Impressions Collection, which is a unique line of jewelry crafted from actual molds made by nature itself,” Mandy said. “It was a perfect fit (for) the wedding in nature at Lover’s Leap.” If this wedding had a theme it would be one word: authentic. Right down to the wedding attire, the day was symbolic of Shawn and Tanya’s personalities as individuals and as a couple. A white



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wedding gown was never in Tanya’s vision and a tuxedo was never in Shawn’s plan. “We had a jeans wedding,” Tanya said. “We went with the theory be who you are; don’t wear it if you wouldn’t wear it again.” Shawn invested in a new jacket, one he would wear again and often, and Tanya went for a new pair of her favourite Levis, but everything else the pair wore was already in their wardrobe. Simple. Classic. Genuine. This also explains why neither the bride nor groom felt any anxiety on their wedding day. The to-do list was minimal, the expectations were modest and Mother Nature brought them a bright, warm October day. “It was nice to go out for a walk in the town that morning, and really we had nothing to do the day of the wedding,” Tanya said. “I walked down to Lines Hair Design and had my hair done, picked up my bouquet at Drimmies on the way home, came back home and listened to some music and then everyone met here. We got the dogs ready and walked down to Lover’s Leap with Dan and Denise Dunlop and got married.” Lover’s Leap is a beautiful tourist spot with a spectacular lookout on the edge of the forest overlooking the Elora Gorge and the Grand

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River below. But it is a small space, which made it ideal that the guest list was also kept to immediate family of fewer than 10 people. It’s a sentimental place for all who grow up in Elora. “When we were teenagers we used to always go into the gorge, via the stairs in Victoria Park to the big rock at the bottom and hang out there with friends,” Shawn said. “We thought about getting married in the Gorge itself but we couldn’t expect our parents to get down there,” Tanya added. With everyone gathered, the ceremony was set to begin. But Elora is a tourist town, so of course, there was an audience. “We waited for tourists to move,” Tanya said, smiling. “And then we made them wait for a bit,” Shawn said, smiling also. When the vows were exchanged and the kiss sealed the deal, the couple and their family walked back to their house for some champagne and a toast to the happy couple. When it was time for dinner, everyone walked together to the Elora Brewing Company, where the remainder of the family arrived and a celebration for 15 was laid out. It was everything Tanya and Shawn hoped for, from the meal to the drinks to the relaxed atmosphere. “We had a gathering after dinner and invited any of our friends who wanted to come down to the brewery that night to celebrate with us,” Tanya said. “At one point in the night we looked over the railing down to the floor below and there was a bunch of our friends from town and from our high school days. It was amazing.” Married on the night of the Harvest Moon, which also happened to be the title of the song of their first dance together, a classic Neil Young tune and a throw-back to their first years together, it seems the story of Tanya Chapman and Shawn Barnes has come full circle. And nobody is more aware of how rare or special the journey has been than the two who were destined to find one another again. Every Wednesday, date night happens, so they never forget. Here’s to second chances and meant-to-be romances. First loves and last loves. And the reminder that happy endings are possible. 


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Wellington Weddings 2018  
Wellington Weddings 2018  

Wellington Weddings 3rd Edition - A feature publication of the Wellington Advertiser - 2018