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WELLINGTON YOUR ULTIMATE RESOURCE FOR WEDDING PLANNING IN WELLINGTON COUNTY The Wellington Advertiser is proud to offer truly local advertising from the businesses and services located in our region that can help you every step of the way as you plan your dream wedding. Plus, our feature stories focus on the experiences of couples that have exchanged their vows, with helpful advice and inspiration to share. In this edition we’ll take you from the beaches of Mexico all the way to the front lawn of the Wellington County Museum. We’ll tell you what you need to know to throw the ultimate outdoor wedding at home, and introduce you to the owners of CJ Country Events, a country wedding location in Guelph-Eramosa that makes wedding planning simple. In Drayton, we look at the importance of the support of family and friends in making one couple’s wedding day a celebration of community. We’ll highlight the emerging tradition of Memory Bouquets with a local bride and Anna Drimmie, owner of Drimmie Florist, in Elora. We will take you inside Wellington County’s newest bridal boutique, Lidia’s Brides, located in a heritage home near downtown Fergus. And because we know wedding planning puts a lot on your plate, we talk to Miram Foell, of Fergies Fine Foods in Fergus to learn why hiring an experienced, fullservice caterer makes all the difference in your wedding’s success. And we’ll take a walk on the alternative side, with a wedding as unique as the couple themselves, to shine the spotlight on an alternative venue many of us walk by often and never think of as the ideal wedding location. One of the great features of this publication is the beautiful wedding photography. We thank each of the wedding photographers for their willingness to share their art to help tell the story of these couples. Please take note of the photo credits throughout this edition.

9 Douglas St., Guelph | | 519.836.5088 Monday to Friday 10am - 6pm and Sat. 10am - 4pm

Our print publication will be supported by our online community;, where the conversation continues. This will be a chance for you to share your wedding stories, photos, suggestions and advice with us. With blogs, interviews and feature stories, we will focus on relevant local content and advertisements that represent businesses in Wellington County. We hope you enjoy this edition. Let us know at


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Florist Anna Drimmie 95 Metcalfe St. ELORA 519.846.0021 Family owned and operated for over 44 years. 4 expert designers on staff. We go out of our way to make sure everything is perfect for your wedding day. Mention this ad and get a FREE throw bouquet with your wedding flowers. KELSEY WATERFIELD PHOTOGRAPHY


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our wedding is one of the most important events in your life, and it all starts with the magic moment of finding the right dress. That’s why the owner of Lidia’s Brides in Fergus believes the experience of finding that dress should be an event in itself. “The wedding starts now,” says owner Renata Sergejew. “That’s what we were thinking when we had the concept, that it was about the experience. We want people to feel special about this day, because this is where it starts; the dress is the first thing you do and we want the experience to be spectacular.”

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To ensure that individual service, brides (and their parties) are welcomed by appointment only. Lidia’s Brides doesn’t post regular store hours, instead favouring personally scheduled times, that allow for less rush, less pressure and a more relaxed atmosphere for everyone. Lidia’s also serves refreshments and light snacks to make shopping a special occasion. “When you book an appointment, it’s your appointment and nobody else will be entering our boutique while you are here,” says store manager Megan Sergejew, who has joined her mother in this venture. “Because we live on site, we can be very flexible to appointment times, whether it be weekends, evenings, days. We want this to be convenient for the bride and her wedding party.” Megan books allotments of approximately two hours or more, to ensure that no appointments overlap and every client has the benefit of her personal attention. She’s recreating the sensation brides have been sold in film, that one-of-a-kind experience. “When you go into many bridal stores to buy your dress, you feel like they should pamper you and give you that personal attention, but … it’s not like that,” Megan says, recalling many personal bridesmaid shopping experiences. “It should be like it is in the movies.” Renata agrees. “It’s no longer service-oriented. It used to be you were the bride and you were special. That’s what we want to do here,” she says. “It’s important that the bride feels like this space is all hers, so we want to suit her schedule and not have interruptions, or people waiting for their turn.” The concept of personalized service is more than just a sound

business model; it’s about honouring a legacy, it’s about family and the joy of fulfilling a lifelong dream. It begins with the story of the boutique’s namesake Lidia, the matriarch of Renata’s family. It was her passion for all things fabric -- the delicate beauty of lace, the smoothness of satins and the attention to detail in every bead, button or pristine row of stitches -- that has inspired this boutique’s vision. “My life was full of fabrics and clothes, because my mother was always making clothes,” Renata says. A skilled seamstress by trade, Lidia first came to Canada in 1956. Departing from Italy to the shores of Nova Scotia, she registered as one of thousands of immigrants who landed at the now-famed Pier 21. “She worked a lot of jobs, and many of them had to do with fabrics and then upholstery,” Renata says. “She was an incredible seamstress.” Her legacy of hard work and attention to detail is threaded throughout the boutique that bears her name. “It’s in the blood,” Renata jokes, noting she’s always been fascinated with weddings. In her 20’s, together with a friend, she started a business plan for an event company, but it just wasn’t the right time. Despite having a fascination for weddings and a mother whose seamstress skills could make it a reality, Renata admits her wedding day and her attire was understated, by choice. “My mother made my wedding outfit, which was a two-piece white suit with a special blue blouse. It was exactly what I wanted and I loved it,” she laughs at the realization. “Maybe that’s what it is? I regret that I never did that whole big wedding thing with the big poofy dress.” But the real epiphany came to Renata when her mother died in February 2015. Lidia was in her 85th year.

... “We want people to feel special about the day, because this is where they’re starting; the dress is the first thing you do and we want the experience to be spectacular.” “That’s what started it all,” Renata says. “It was one of those, ‘if not now, then when?’ kind of moments. I thought to myself, I’m going to do this thing and I’m going to do it my way, and we’re just going to have fun with it.” Location is everything, so the hunt was on to find the right spot to make this dream a reality. “I wanted a place with a presence, not just a nice front door,” Renata says. “I didn’t want an industrial feeling, or even the feeling of a retail space. I wanted something where, when you walked in, you knew you were having an event and you knew you were going to buy your wedding dress.”

Perhaps the spirits were at play when her niece Amanda, a realtor in Centre Wellington, led them to the door of Stonehurst B&B. The grand limestone heritage estate in downtown Fergus was a community landmark. “We came out of curiosity,” Renata explained. “Megan and I walked in and both of us stood at the front door and we just knew. The first thought was, ‘how are we going to do this?’” The mother-daughter duo moved into Stonehurst in January 2016, and the successful Bed & Breakfast continued under Megan’s management until October. “The B&B isn’t closed; it’s just less of a focus,” Renata says. “We want to be able to offer it as a place for brides who perhaps come in from out of town, or perhaps have guests travelling in to shop with them, but it will all be driven to the needs of our clientele.” “We want to be unique,” Renata says. “We’re bringing designer quality dresses that meet the elegance of this venue.” Lidia’s Brides designer bridal gown lines include Rosa Clara and Rosa Clara Two, from Spain; Julie Vino and A&J Designers, both from Israel; Tarik Ediz White, of Turkey; and American designers Justin Alexander and Lillian West. Toronto designer Lea-Ann Belter represents Canada. “We really want to feature more Canadian designers,” Megan says, adding she was very impressed by Belter’s designs and the integrity of craftsmanship. “The Canadian presence is important to us, and being able to say ‘this is made in Canada!’” She stresses they were mindful about which bridal lines they would carry, and where and how they were made. The pair has done their homework. They knew the designers they wanted to work with, the quality and integrity of their designs, and the standard they would set for their business. “We were conscious of supporting countries with people who are creative and trying to expand their business,” Renata says. “A lot of these designers offered add-ons and separate-pieced outfits, so there are changes you can make and a lot of different styles you can create. We really wanted to offer these kinds of customizations.” Lidia’s Brides also carries several lines of bridesmaid and motherof-the-bride dresses in a variety of styles. Accessories are also available, including jewelry, tiaras, belts and sashes, jackets and an extensive selection of veils. Realizing that price point is an important factor in the final decision to saying “I do” to the dress, Renata and Megan have carefully curated a fine selection of gowns for various budgets. Officially opened in January 2017, Lidia’s Brides hopes to be the place brides begin their walk down the aisle in grand style. 265 St David St S, Fergus | Phone: 519.843.8800 To book an appointment email February 2017 | WELLINGTON WEDDINGS

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Some tips before you go

If a destination wedding is your dream, be sure to understand all the rules and regulations of that country and all the fees involved. If you’re heading to Mexico, there are two options to say “I Do”:

LEGAL (CIVIC CEREMONY): If a couple is heading to Mexico to officially exchange their vows in a legal, civil ceremony, it is recommended the couple arrive four business days prior to the wedding so the following rules are met: • A legal marriage in Mexico requires a marriage license and must be performed by a Mexican justice of the peace. • The cost of the marriage license and ceremony is around $480. An additional $95 fee applies if the marriage is out of office.

• A non-denominational non-religious ceremony is available for $380. • There is a fee for the apostle, (the stamp that makes the marriage certificate valid outside of Mexico). The apostle is $100 with an additional cost of $80 to have it couriered. Couples should expect that document to arrive approximately one month from the date of the ceremony. • Valid passports are required for the couple and four witnesses. No other identification will be accepted.

• Tourist visas are required for the couple and four witnesses. This isn’t difficult, as all foreigners are automatically given a tourist visa at Immigration at the airport, upon arriving in Mexico.

documents. The wedding planner then delivers the documents, fees and medical certificates to the Justice office. • If a couple needs witnesses for the ceremony, they can be provided for an additional fee.

• The couple and witnesses need to photocopy their passport page with photo, and the front and back of their tourist’s visa.


• A blood test of the bride and groom is required, and must be completed and processed in Mexico. The test is for blood type and an HIV test. It can be done at any local clinic. In some cases, a nurse will be arranged to come to the hotel to perform the test. The results will be provided within 24 hours. The cost for the blood test is approximately $37 per person. • A doctor’s certification of the blood test results is required and can be arranged through the facility that conducts the wedding. The cost for the certificate is approximately $60. • At least 3 days prior to the ceremony, the couple and 4 witnesses must sign all

If a couple is legally married in Canada prior to the trip to Mexico, then the wedding in Mexico is considered a symbolic ceremony: • No paperwork is required to perform the wedding ceremony. • The couple must arrive in Mexico two days prior to the ceremony to ensure that all details for the event are correct and to walk-through the plan with the wedding coordinator. • There is no mandatory length of stay after the ceremony is performed. For more information on a destination wedding in the Playa del Carmen region of Mexico, visit: weddings.

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THE BEST OF BOTH WORLDS Home is where the heart is, but Mexico is where the beach is. For couple Sean Marak and Erica Finlayson-Marak of Elora, their wedding needed to include the best of both worlds. And so it did in all the important ways. “We like travelling, so why not mix the two?” Sean said. In fact, travelling has become an important part of their relationship. Erica credits Sean with inspiring her to travel more, something she admittedly was not interested in much before he came along. Each year of their courtship they have travelled to a unique destination. “It was no question this is what we wanted to do,” Erica said, noting the couple wanted a beach wedding at a boutique-style resort, in a place somewhere new to them both. “Destination weddings have become big business and they can be very costly,” Erica said, which definitely influenced their decision and helped them select the Playacar Palace in Playa del Carmen, Mexico. “We chose this resort because it was a boutique hotel, with approximately 200 rooms,” Erica said, noting she preferred a smaller hotel so her guests were not spread out in their accommodations. The picturesque beach front location and the close proximity to the city of Playa del Carmen ensured her guests would enjoy the experience too. “It’s exactly what we wanted and we didn’t even know it’s what we wanted,” she laughed. Key to the booking was the wedding package offered by the resort, which made planning the wedding in a foreign destination relatively stress free. “We were older and later getting married; we wanted no fuss, no muss,” Erica said. “The resort provides you with a wedding coordinator, and basically, the hotel took care of everything for us through the coordinator.” But there were some hurdles to having an international wedding. “Mexico had so many parameters,” Erica said, when discussing the documentation required for a legal marriage in that country, including

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tourist blood tests to be performed and certified by a doctor there. “There was a lot of red tape to sort through to do it all in Mexico.” They found a simple solution: the couple was legally married in a civil service in Canada prior to the big event in Mexico. On January 16, 2016, the pair exchanged vows in Victoria Park, in Elora, at a location known as Lover’s Leap. The event was officiated by Karen McPherson Clark from All Seasons Weddings in Fergus. Two friends attended to act as witnesses. “Lovers Leap was one of the first places I took Sean when we were dating,” Erica said, fondly recalling the stories she learned from Elora’s theatrical historian, Al Koop, of Older Voices Walking Tours. “Al would tell great stories about the how this spot was the place of the kissing waters, where the Irvine and Grand rivers meet and the tale of the Indian Princess who leapt off there for love (hence the name) … it’s an important place of prominence in Elora.” Quietly married in Canada, the newlyweds headed to the beach for a symbolic formal ceremony in Mexico on January 26, 2016. “We had to be legally in Mexico for four days before we could have a ceremony, even for a ‘fake’ ceremony, given we were legally married already,” Erica said. Erica admits it was difficult to imagine how the wedding would go when she couldn’t see the facility in person prior to the event, but she has no regrets. “There is no such thing as a private beach ceremony,” Erica said, recalling how the walk from the hotel to the beach was a long one, and everyone from the hotel and the beach area was watching. “The thing about being married on a beach is, it is still a public beach, but the people were amazing and the weather was beautiful.” Looking back, the experience was everything the couple hoped for. “It was very magical,” she recalls. “I didn’t expect it to be as great as it was; it was better than I expected.” The one caveat to having a destination wedding is the understanding

that not all invited will be able to attend, and consider, including the work of landscaping, being okay with that. Twenty-five guests were decorating and coordinating rentals. able to make the trip south. “The reception in July was more work “We went in knowing we would extend than the wedding in Mexico,” Erica said, the invite (to Mexico) to everyone on our laughing. guest list, but we knew it wasn’t going to be But they wouldn’t have done it any other possible for everyone to attend,” Erica said, way. noting they recognized many factors made “I think the way we did it was better it impossible for some to make the trip, than a traditional wedding and many of our from finances to vacation schedules, health guests told us so,” Sean said, joking that Erica issues or other commitments. “We were fully enjoyed the opportunity to wear her wedding aware some of our family and friends could dress again. But he added that with no not come, and we had no expectations. We assigned seating or formalities, no speeches, understood.” and casual summer attire, it was intended So, if your guests cannot all make it to to be a very informal, relaxed event. “People the party, why not bring the party home to them? That’s exactly what Mr. “I THINK THE WAY and Mrs. Marak planned WE DID IT WAS to do, by throwing a fabulous backyard BETTER THAN wedding reception in A TRADITIONAL July, at their home in WEDDING AND Elora. Complete with a MANY OF OUR large tent, a dance floor, GUESTS TOLD seating and an open bar, US SO.” the couple welcomed over 130 guests to their event. “We wanted the opportunity to celebrate with those who could not come to Mexico. We wanted to ensure everybody had the chance to afterwards said it was great.” celebrate,” Erica said. “We love entertaining Erica added, “It was just a big party. None and our backyard is perfect for it.” of it was mandatory. People who could The couple wrote letters to all of their come came, including the neighbours … neighbours to notify them of their plan, and people were free to come and go as they (which included an invite to attend) pleased like any other party.” and applied for a bylaw extension from The wedding reception at home also the Township of Centre Wellington. An allowed the couple to get important insurance policy was required specific to photographs taken with the family and house parties, as they were hosting an open friends who were unable to get to Mexico. bar. With the dry summer, the township was With the Wellington County Museum and under a fire ban, so the couple could not have Archives, in Aboyne as a backdrop, the photos open flames. There were many factors to brought their event home.



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

“I have always, ever since I was young, loved this building,” Erica explained. “It’s nostalgic … the colours of the building, the large lawn, and the mystery of the building too…” As a public location, the museum is open to any couple looking to do wedding photos there, but Erica cautions other brides to ensure they give the location some notice of the date and time they want to make use of the facility, as there are often many wedding parties on scene. Also, she reminds couples a donation is requested. Destination weddings are gaining in popularity, in part for the ease and also for the experience. But for many couples, the challenge is making sure their wedding day is inclusive to everyone, including those unable to travel to the event. Sean and Erica were able to find the ideal balance of having a wedding day that fulfilled their dreams, while finding a way to make sure everyone felt included in the celebration of their new life together. It can be done, and it’s worth it, they say.

WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY AT THE MUSEUM: WHAT COUPLES NEED TO KNOW. As one of the most popular photography locations in the county, couples must bear in mind it is also a very active facility for the community, especially on weekends. The heritage site also happens to be a very busy place for wedding receptions and events. “Advance notice helps us to coordinate what can happen where,” said Kym Drinkwater, clerk of the facility. “We can also determine what areas the couple can and cannot access due to previous bookings, actual events and ceremonies taking place.” While photographs taken outside on the grounds of the property require no special permits, photographs to be taken in the interior of the museum or the heritage barn require a contract with the facility and include a fee for usage. “Everyone wants the same access,” she said, noting the favoured photography sites include the expansive front steps that sprawl from the front doors of the museum, or the archway beneath them, the Victorian Garden and the Heritage Barn. “We do ask for a donation for usage of the site,” Drinkwater said, noting the amount is based on whatever the couple deems acceptable. The funds go to support museum activities.  PHOTO CREDIT: BEAN POD PHOTOGRAPHY, ELORA, BY DAWN DEJ

For more information on venues, pricing and booking please contact Kym Drinkwater at: T 519.846.0916 x5221 1.800.663.0750 x5221


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Your full service




but they’ll remember the great prime rib they had at your wedding.” ou’ve set the date, booked the venue, finalized the guest list and But it’s about more than just good food on the plate; it’s about have chosen your theme. Now it’s time to call Miriam Foell, owner of presentation on a grander scale. Fergies Fine Foods. She will ensure the food you serve your guests ties “We coordinate the food and the décor that will go along with their into your plan and budget, so the flavour of your day is as memorable theme, the way the menu is presented, so everything fits with their as the wedding itself. vision for the wedding,” she said, adding she works with the venues, “One of the things we do well is we really listen to the bride and florists and other vendors to ensure her team fits seamlessly into the groom and their wants, and we create something to match their vision,” event. Foell said, noting it’s important that the menu reflect the uniqueness As a full-service catering company, she helps clients cut down on their of the couple. “We ask them what foods they like and we always make rental expenses by including an extensive inventory of dishes, serving sure to have one of their favourite food items included in the menu trays, cutlery and glassware, enough to serve up to 500 people. that day.” With delicious food comes incredible leftovers, Customization is the key to her business, which and Foell believes nothing should be wasted. over the last six years has catered hundreds of “We are a zero waste kitchen,” Foell explains. weddings and is presently booking into 2018. “We take the food not eaten and make up full meals “We truly are a niche type of caterer in this area,” in freezer containers, so the couple can then have Foell said, explaining that Fergies Fine Foods has a WE HAVE TO HAVE meals later.” retail storefront in downtown Fergus that includes Sometimes leftovers are turned into breakfast a large commercial kitchen, in-house bakery, and is buffets for guests the next day, particularly for professionally staffed with a head chef, bakers and settings like country weddings, where guests and FOOD. pastry chefs. The location allows her experienced family will gather back at the venue. team to produce fresh, homemade meals and baked “It simply goes along with the theory that we are goods, including wedding cakes, with complete THERE IS NO QUESTION … a full-service caterer; if there is a need we will fill quality control. IF WE’RE GOING TO DO IT it.” “We don’t have a cookie-cutter menu,” she said, Foell believes it’s her experience that makes her, recalling the diversity of two of her favourite WE NEED TO DO IT and her team, a trusted source in many facets of recent weddings: a full Scottish dinner and a ‘city the wedding, from advice throughout the planning meets country’ theme. “Every menu we cater for stages, to dealing with vendors and anticipating a wedding is unique to that wedding. It’s about unexpected issues that often occur at large events. customization, and not everybody offers that.” Experience is the best teacher. Adapting menus to accommodate special dietary “We look after everything that they may not have requests for clients is not a problem for her team. thought of because that’s our role, to serve the bride and groom and “It’s become one of our specialties,” Foell said. Careful planning and their guests,” she said. “It’s a huge honour that they trust us with this and a skilled team that makes everything from scratch means clients can we truly go beyond the catering role, so we’ll smooth the rough edges be assured their dietary needs are met, from gluten-free to dairy-free, that might otherwise 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 remember the $5 plate they had at a wedding years down the road,

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WEDDING GOOD LUCK CHARMS Spiders, doves and sugar cubes all can be symbols of good luck on couples’ wedding days.

Couples’ wedding days are special moments, ones they hope pave the way to a life filled with happiness and good fortune. That’s why the bride and groom surround themselves with close friends and family who want to celebrate and support their new life joined together.

• It’s good luck for the bride to see a dove on the way to the wedding because doves symbolize peace and prosperity. Because doves mate for life, this symbol is doubly beneficial on a couple’s wedding day, as it can be a harbinger of a long, happy marriage and home.

Perhaps due to superstition or tradition, many couples employ some wedding day strategies to increase their good luck. The following are some of the symbols that couples may want to keep an eye out for on the day they walk down the aisle.

• Some brides believe sugar cubes tucked into their wedding gloves leads to a sweet union. • Hindu tradition states that rain on a wedding day is good luck. Rain is believed

to be a symbol of fortune and abundance, especially after times of drought. What’s more, rain can foretell a strong marriage. That’s because a wet knot is more difficult to untie. • Ancient Romans were so concerned with ensuring good luck that they actually studied pig entrails to determine the luckiest time to marry. If they consulted with the English, they might determine that a wedding shouldn’t take place on a Saturday, which is unlucky. English tradition states Wednesday is the best day to get married. • In Holland, well-wishers would plant pine trees outside of newlyweds’ homes as a symbol of fertility and luck. • Grooms may want to give a coin to the first person they see on the way to their weddings. This is another symbol of good luck. • Some couples plan to marry during a full moon, because that can symbolize good luck and good fortune.

• On a couple’s wedding day, tears from a bride or a child during the ceremony is considered lucky. • English folklore suggests that brides who discover spiders in their gowns are in for some good luck. • The Chinese believe that lighting fireworks at their wedding ceremonies chases away evil spirits. A red umbrella also might be held over a Chinese bride to keep bad spirits at bay. • Many grooms do not see their brides in their wedding gowns before their wedding ceremonies, feeling it is bad luck if they do. Many brides also do not wear their complete wedding outfits prior to their big day.



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Memory Bouquets


Weddings are an important time for families to reconnect and celebrate life and love, but it is a time where the absence of family and friends who have passed away is deeply felt. Finding a way to honour their memories is, for some couples, as important as the celebration itself. Anna Drimmie, owner of Drimmie Florist in Elora, enjoys incorporating personal heirlooms and memory pieces into the flower bouquets she creates for her bride clientele. “I’m seeing more and more memory bouquets. It’s definitely more popular,” she said. “Sometimes it’s lace from a (bride’s) mom’s wedding dress wrapped around the handle of the flowers, or sentimental things get incorporated into a bouquet design. We have added broaches, necklaces, pearls, items like that. We do it a fair amount.” When Kaitlyn Koning and Brendan Smith, of Elora exchanged vows, they found a special way to include their departed family members in

a way that felt authentic to them both, by creating a memory bouquet. Kaitlyn credits the tradition that began when her sister was married a year ago. She printed off photos of all the loved ones who had passed away and attached them to her bouquet. “I loved the idea behind it,” Kaitlyn said. At the time of her sister’s wedding, their grandfather was ill. By the time of Kaitlyn’s wedding on October 15th, 2016, her grandfather had passed. “I wanted to honour my grandfather who had passed before I got married,” she said. “But I also wanted to honour Brendan’s family, including his uncle Dave and his Nan.” Sadly, she never had the opportunity to meet these important people in her husband’s life. For Kaitlyn’s concept, she sought consultation from Drimmie Florists, and Anna’s team suggested tying small versions of the photographs to dangle from the bouquet.


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After printing off the photographs, “I think it’s special because it’s so Kaitlyn cut the images into small, equal close to you,” she said. “You’re holding sizes of approximately 2x3, similar to it the whole time, so you feel like they a wallet size, and put them into photo are with you … they are with you for protectors. Using ribbon to thread through the ceremony, walking down the aisle, the individual protectors, the images were for the pictures… they are with you then laced into one bundle. the whole time.” “Kaitlyn was great to work with; she was Anna says memory bouquets are a a refreshing bride,” Anna said. “She was pleasure to create and the florist can open to anything but she knew what she be flexible in how they incorporate wanted. We had free range which was nice.” objects into the bouquets. The bouquet suited the wedding’s rustic“We’re more than happy to do it,” country theme, incorporating sprigs of she said. “We encourage brides to wheat, sunflowers, Gerbers in yellows, bring in anything with sentimental oranges and reds, a yellow rose and even value, because we want to make the berries. bouquet special for them.” “I had seven images in total,” Kaitlyn As part of the design plan, she said, representing her grandpa, her Opa reminds brides to discuss the concept and Oma, and uncle Jeff. On Brendan’s during the initial consultation. side, the photos included his uncle Dave, “We need to see it first so we have his Nan and his mother’s mom, Nonie. an idea of size and we can figure out The couple considered this a silent how to fit it into the placement,” Anna tribute, and more of a personal sentiment. said. “It’s always fun to work with it While their 260 guests could see the photos and see how it turns out.” if they were paying attention, the point was However, she recommends that Kaitlyn and Brendan knew the images were heirloom treasures be held off until part of their ceremony. the week prior to the finishing touches “That’s what I loved … often people of the bouquet, just for safety. Flower do memory trees, or have photos, but shops are busy places and nobody for us it wasn’t so much about doing it in wants to lose precious items. front of people, it was about the two of us Kaitlyn was pleased to be able “IT WASN’T SO MUCH remembering,” Kaitlyn said. “It wasn’t so to shop local, supporting Drimmie FOR PEOPLE TO SEE, much for people to see, it was more of a Florist. IT WAS MORE OF A WAY way for us to remember them.” “It’s always our flower shop that we FOR US TO REMEMBER THEM” “I thought it was a really nice tribute,” go too,” she said. Brendan said. “I’m a pretty quiet guy, so I Despite being married at like that it was a nice silent tribute.” Bingemans in Kitchener, the couple He adds, “I don’t think my mom knew were also happy to work with Brenda that I was putting my uncle Dave into the bouquet, so it was a surprise Ridgeway, of Cobblestone Creations. to her.” “She did a tremendous job decorating the arbour and pulling the For Kaitlyn, honouring her grandfather was important to her, rustic theme into the reception,” Kaitlyn said. especially with her family being from out of town. Community and family are important to Kaitlyn and Brendan, “Family is a big part of both of our lives,” she said. “We grew up in especially as they begin this new journey together. Their silent tribute close knit families.” will forever be embedded in the memory of their wedding day, proving For a more public display of a memorial, the couple had a memory that sometimes, the biggest statements we make are those we never candle lit at their ceremony. speak.  Anna understands the significance of the gesture being incorporated PHOTO CREDIT: LATTE PRODUCTIONS (JUSTIN & JENN REID) into the bouquet.

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When you create a business doing what you love with the person you love, in the place you call home, that business is bound to succeed. This is true of Stephen and Lyssa Caine, of Guelph-Eramosa, owners of CJ Country Events. Since creating the ultimate country venue for outdoor celebrations four years ago, the couple has established their rural property and equestrian farm as an ideal venue for weddings and events. “A wedding will happen only once in a lifetime, and we want this to be the best day, the best experience,” said Lyssa. And the pair had the infrastructure in place to make it happen. For years, the farm was a successful equestrian summer camp complete with cabin lodging, a pool and pond, full stables and a commercial kitchen that has fed generations of hungry campers. The site welcomed riders from across Wellington County, but also earned a reputation far beyond its borders, including international students who made the trip each summer. And while the equestrian stable is still a hub for horse-backing riding lessons and competitions, the camp culture was

beginning to shift away from overnight experiences for kids. But, when one barn door closes, another one opens. The time was right to launch CJ Country Events. “We have such a beautiful facility, so why not open it up to others?” Lyssa said, adding it was always her dream to make the farm available for special events, but weddings in particular, because she enjoys them. “We offer a very park-like setting,” she said. “We have trees with pathways, and little secret areas in the trees, the stone ruins of an 1850’s barn, and an 1850’s log cabin serves as the location for our commercial kitchen and bar area. There is a large pond with a fountain. Plus we have ample parking. This property is gorgeous.” Stephen added, “Couples have 70 acres to decide what spot best suits their event, with at least 18 acres of manicured lawns. There are many different spots for the ceremony.” Lyssa says the facility allows them to host what she calls “elegant country” weddings, where the set-up is as fancy and sophisticated as the couple wishes, but still maintains a casual atmosphere.


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“People want something simple. They want it kind of rustic; a nice to come see it, and decide how best to work in it,” Lyssa said. relaxing, simple wedding,” she said. She adds, “We work with any type of caterer the couple chooses. We “We start by asking the couple, ‘What do you want? What do you see? don’t have a selected vendors list, so it’s open to the couple’s decision of What traditional things do you want to see, and what don’t you want their choice of caterers, but we do have a list of caterers we’ve worked to see?’ … We will help them organize their event as little or as much with, if people would like recommendations.” as they wish.” Couples booking CJ Country Events are also responsible for hiring Together, they help the couple coordinate the day. their own DJ, renting a tent and dance floor, and hiring the officiant “We talk about who is coming to their wedding, the logistics to perform the ceremony. They are also required to obtain the liquor involved, and we come up with the best solutions available for them,” license and secure special event insurance. Smart Serve bartenders are Stephen said. provided by the venue. And this has offered the Caine’s the opportunity to see their work The Caine’s agree that a casual barbecue theme is common for the transforming a camp to an event country-appeal of the setting. Food venue come full circle, including trucks have also been successful and the patrons. When Janine the location is ideal, as they can pull Thomson married Jordan Ives up to serve. in September 2014, it was a very Lyssa notes that unless the caterer special occasion indeed. brings servers, she has staff that will “GETTING TO HAVE “Janine worked for us, so there perform the task, and her team will was a sentimental attachment also be responsible for the set up DAYS TO GET READY? because she came here as a and clean up. YOU WON’T FIND camper, then a staffer and then By offering an atmosphere that THAT ANYWHERE” got married here,” Lyssa recalls. “It can accommodate the ceremony means something to us because and the reception, and all things we saw her grow up and we’re still related to the event itself, the Caine’s very close. It’s really something to offer an affordable option for see the next generation coming weddings. through – staff, campers, riders – “A lot of people don’t want to and it’s great that we get to open spend twenty to thirty thousand up our doors to them here.” dollars on a wedding. They want to For Janine, the location was get their lives started and not be in ideal for the complete wedding debt,” Lyssa said. day, but was so the experience. “We have all kinds of wedding “I was looking for something décor, so people don’t have to outdoorsy, and they were in rent it,” she said, noting they have the early stages of opening the accumulated an inventory of props facility,” she said. “We are really and items, such as lanterns, table outdoorsy people and we wanted runners, lighting, and of course, the something very simple … and clean hay bales sometimes used for nothing showy. We really wanted to keep it simple.” seating, with the linens to drape over them. On occasion, they have She added, “Lyssa was amazing. I am not really a big wedding person, purchased items a couple wants for their day, knowing they can be so I didn’t have a vision … she pretty much came up with all the great repurposed for other guests in the future. ideas. She was on the ball, she was organized, and she got contacts for For instance, for Janine’s wedding, the ceremony was held along the me. Lyssa pretty much did it all. She was like a wedding planner.” edge of the old stone bank barn wall along the garden pathway. A large One of the benefits to this locale is the commercial kitchen, which wood trellis was design-built by Stephen for the couple. allows the event caterers to do minor preparations and serve. “They put in so much effort … it was a big labour of love, this “The kitchen was a camp kitchen, not a restaurant, so we ask caterers wedding,” Janine recalls. “They built things like the trellis for us.

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Wine barrels were all pressure washed and stained and a bar table was created. It was for the future of the business but that’s where it started. They put in a lot of work and we were pretty speechless when it came time to thank them … because they did so much.” Included in the CJ Country Events wedding package is the ability to host the rehearsal dinner at the site, or to host events in the days leading up to the event. “The couple gets access to the whole property from the Tuesday prior to the wedding, right up until their wedding day,” Stephen said. “They can set up in the days before the wedding, with the tents going up days ahead and take time to decorate, and we’re here to help.” Lyssa believes this is the best part of the event. “We want them to have an experience of seeing the wedding come together, of seeing the process so they can make changes and see it come together and enjoy the experience.” “Getting to have days to get ready? You won’t find that anywhere,” she adds. “It’s that full experience, not just come in, set up and go out.” “We want it to be personal,” Stephen said. “Couples meet us and they see the two of us as a partnership, and when they see that they know we’re here to help … tell us what you want in your wedding and we’ll tell you if you can do it. And if we can’t, we’ll let you know.” So far, there hasn’t been a request the pair couldn’t accommodate. They encourage couples to make use of the grounds for such things as engagement photos, for ‘save the date’ cards, or do a reveal photography session prior to the actual ceremony, to reduce stress during the wedding day. “Lyssa and Stephen are extremely flexible, and there is so many places where you can have the ceremony,” Janine said. “If there’s something you want to do tell them and they’ll make it happen… they have so many contacts and people they know.” The inclusiveness of the venue also means the wedding parties have private space to prepare. A large cabin, with a fireplace and country cottage décor serves as the site for the bride and her attendants to dress,

do their hair and make-up, and have their bridal party photography done. The groomsmen also have a cabin that serves as a lounge with a games room. “They can do it all here,” Lyssa said. Naturally, horses are part of the experience. A beautiful horse and carriage will usher in the bride and her wedding party onto the grounds, with the option of one horse or a team of Clydesdales. Though Janine took some convincing to make use of the horse and carriage, as she thought it might be too showy, she is glad she did. “I would recommend having the horse and carriage. It was a really nice touch,” Janine said. “Duchess (the Clydesdale) has such a presence that when she comes around the corner, she’s so beautiful.” Experience has taught Lyssa one sound piece of advice she shares with wedding couples: remember who your guests are and think of their needs. “This is a guest experience,” she said. “And while you’re taking time for your photos, let’s entertain your guests.” CJ Country Event staff will set up games like horseshoes, croquet and others, while offering a cocktail hour. “We invite guests to walk the property, take a seat by the pond,” Lyssa said. “They can enjoy a park-like setting without needing to go anywhere.” “If you have children coming to the wedding, we’ll provide activities for the kids to be entertained and we have staffers to coordinate and monitor that,” she adds, noting in some cases, the couples have rented bouncy castles to make it fun for the tiny guests. Attention must also be paid to guests with accessibility issues too. “We’re as accessible as a farm can be,” Stephen said. “We’ve rented golf carts in the past to help people get around the property, but we can often drive them down to the ceremony in a car. We get a sense of what the needs are and work with them.” As the night goes on, fire pits with comfortable seating offer guests an opportunity to get away from the music of the reception party and


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enjoy a conversation away from the crowd. “It got chilly as the night went on, so Lyssa brought out blankets for our guests to be cozy in their Muskoka chairs,” Janine said. When it’s time to wrap up the party, the Caine’s take care of that too. “We do all the clean-up, take the garbage away, coordinate all the rental companies coming to get the gear, and we can store any items for couples that need to get it later,” Stephen said. “It’s all a part of what we do.” Just minutes from Guelph or Fergus, CJ Country Events offers the beauty of a country location within an easy distance, and its reputation

for affordable and flexible usage is making it a popular wedding destination. For the hosts, making wedding dreams come true is making their business dreams a reality, and reinvigorating their vision for their family farm. It’s the heart and soul of everything they do. “We want the experience to be fantastic,” said Stephen. “It’s a reflection of the wedding and we want people to remember it as an amazing experience – and it’s a reflection on us too. We are opening our home to them. Our farm is our home, and we want them to feel welcome and remember it.” 



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Alternative VENUE

DEANNA & RYAN MAIDEN OCTOBER 29 | FERGUS It’s your day, do it your way. That was the attitude of bride Deanna Chilton, of Fergus, who, together with her husband-to-be Ryan Maiden, wanted to ensure their special day respected their alternative rock’n roll lifestyle. ‘Soft gothic’ is what I would call the theme, but really, there was no theme. It was just things I, or we, like,” Deanna said, admitting that she really didn’t buy into the concept that the wedding needed a theme. “We’re alternative people,” Deanna said. “We like rock music and (heavy) metal shows … we were never going to have a pink wedding. “ The wedding dress was never going to be white either. That was a conscious choice, as the couple had lived together prior to the wedding. Deanna didn’t want the traditional white gown or the sentiment that went with it. She had her mind set on either a black or red gown. She chose red in the end because it’s her favourite colour. “When else will you get to wear a big, red dress?” Deanna said, of the long, flowing gown she had custom-ordered off the website. Upon delivery, she had it altered to fit her perfectly. Deanna’s grandmother had some concerns about the non-traditional aspects of a bride in red, so out of respect, the bride made sure her grandmother was the first to see the dress. The response was ideal. “She said, ‘That’s not red; that’s American Beauty,’” recalls Deanna’s mother, Wanda Chilton, in agreement. “When you look at the wedding photos, the red just pops in the pictures.” Deanna created her bouquet out of used broaches, heirlooms given to her from her mom, grandmother and friends. She incorporated black flower petals, a necklace and used a shortened broomstick for the handle. The bridesmaids wore charcoal grey gowns, ideal to offset the red dress, and carried lit lanterns up the aisle. Ryan and his groomsmen wore skull and crossbones’ boutonnieres, that Deanna fashioned herself from ostrich feathers that came from her great-great grandmother’s hat. “We keep everything; we’re Scottish,” Deanna joked. Her Scottish heritage was evident throughout the day, from the piper that lead the wedding party along the streets of Fergus from the ceremony to the reception, (who also happened to be a former student of her greatgrandfather, both of whom belonged to the Mount Forest Pipe Band), to her grandfather’s kilt pin that she wore on her shawl and the Clan McNaughton tie Ryan purchased at the Fergus Scottish Shop, and wore to honour her family. And during the ceremony, they participated in a traditional hand fasting ceremony, a symbolic gesture of making the vows official. As details of the wedding began to emerge, including the October 29th date, the red and black décor with elements of skull and crossbones and the alternative music bent to the event, the couple were repeatedly questioned about whether this was going to be a Halloween-themed occasion. Deanna insists it was mere coincidence. It also happened to be a date that the Fergus Grand Theatre could accommodate the ceremony, which played right into ensuring their February 2017 | WELLINGTON WEDDINGS

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wedding was as unique as the couple themselves. “It was never going to be a church wedding for us,” Deanna said. “I wanted something different.” She added, “It’s a beautiful venue, even at the front of the building, from the outside.” Eric Goudie is manager of the Fergus Grand Theatre, which is owned by the Township of Centre Wellington. He says the venue hosts a few weddings a year, but handles many inquiries each season. “You have to be looking for something different,” he said. “This (site) is for someone who wants to add a component of theatrical to their wedding.” He added couples can use the stage, scenery, lighting, and backdrops, even special effects just like any other theatre production. Plus, the theatre is an affordable option that can offer a flexible schedule leading up to the wedding. The cost of the venue varies depending on the length of usage. “There is a calculator on our website to calculate the costs, so people can see the fees associated with their usage,” Eric said. “We do provide volunteers to be on hand at the event, as we would for any other event at the theatre,” Eric said. “As far as we’re concerned this is another show and this is part of what we do as a venue.”


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Eric encourages brides and grooms to book a tour of the site so they can fully experience all it has to offer. “A tour is the best way to see how you can use the space. Your limit is your creativity.” Deanna and Ryan toured the site several times, to plan their day. Deanna said the support from the staff up to and during the event was incredible. “Eric was amazing and put up with us calling to ask questions” she said. “We had the theatre the night before the wedding to set up and we had our rehearsal dinner there.” Wedding décor included paper flowers at the front of the stage and a large branch that was suspended from the ceiling of the stage, strung with flowers and small lights. Lanterns marked the end of the rows along the aisle. The ring bearer for the occasion was the couple’s dog Callie, (a Boxer-Pug cross), and having the dog on the premises was not an issue. Theatre technicians coordinated the music Deanna requested for the ceremony, which included hard rock scores. When her dad walked her up the aisle, the theatre technicians cast the spotlight on the pair as she

was led to the stage. “What I liked about the theatre was everyone could see the ceremony and when I looked out, I could see everyone too,” Deanna said, noting there was comfortable seating for her 140 guests. The venue has a capacity to hold 252 patrons. Eric agreed. “The site lines are great, the sound is great, we have good acoustics, access to mics and other theatre equipment.” He knows that this venue isn’t for everyone, but he knows it’s perfect for the right couple. “It’s unique, something nobody else is doing; something nobody else will expect … we offer that.” Deanna said the venue was perfect for her vision of her wedding day. “It was fun. People always said to me, ‘you don’t have fun at your wedding’ (because you are making everyone else happy), and we wanted to have fun,” she said. “I think it all went very well.” Wanda added, “It was beautiful.” After the ceremony, guests enjoyed a cocktail hour in the front reception


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Happily Ever After

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Located in the village of Rockwood. Decorated in neutral colours this room can accommodate up to 250 guests for dinner and dance. Amenities include tables, chairs, full food preparation kitchen with dishes, bar area.

Marden Community Centre

Located in the picturesque setting of Marden Park, located approximately five minutes north of Guelph. This quaint hall offers tables and chairs, kitchen and bar for up to 100 guests. The adjacent garden area is a perfect spot for an elegant outdoor wedding.

Rockmosa Enabling Garden This lovely garden area makes a perfect spot for a small outdoor wedding or even a wedding vow renewal ceremony.

of the theatre, which allowed the bridal party time to get their photos done, before everyone met up again and were led by the piper from the Fergus Grand Theatre to the Fergus Legion for the reception. What is most unique about Deanna’s vision for her and Ryan’s wedding day was their ability to be true to the unique characteristics of their relationship while honouring their family traditions too. “We didn’t do anything we didn’t want to do,” Deanna said. “Some people get pressured into doing what they didn’t want to do (at their wedding). We didn’t want to get stressed.” Looking back on everything from the dress to the décor of the venues she chose, she felt everything came together perfectly – for a wedding without a theme. That rock’n roll rebellion paid off, and she encourages other couples to do make sure their special day goes their way. “Do what you want – not what other people think you should do, and have fun at your own wedding.” There is no greater statement about the chemistry of a couple than their wedding day and that is the whole point of the celebration. Keep it real. Be yourselves. And do it your way. 

Both Rockmosa and Marden are available for Weddings, Anniversary Parties and Showers at reasonable prices. For more information please contact Vicki, The Township of Guelph/Eramosa. 519-856-9596 Ext.113 or or visit our website

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CATERING TIPS Five things to do before you call a caterer

What makes a


We know there are many ingredients to planning the perfect wedding. Hiring a professional caterer is a priority. But before you stir the pot and prepare your menu, Miriam Foell, of Fergies Fine Foods has some well-seasoned advice.

1. Select and book your venue before you call a caterer or any other service provider. If you need recommendations for a good venue, ask a caterer. Chances are they have been in most of the sites you’re considering and they offer insight. 2. Clearly understand the costs and work involved in whatever services you are hiring out. If a price appears too good to be true, it most likely is. Do your research. 3. Meet with multiple caterers and understand what they can do to help create your day. Your caterer will be one of the most important

relationships in your wedding planning – you’re going to be working together for anywhere from 18 months to two years. Trust is key. Ensure they are the right match for your vision. 4. Ensure your caterer is an established facility with their own commercial kitchen. Ask for references. Talk to other people who have worked with them. 5. Ensure everyone involved in the planning of your wedding is aware of your budget, including your caterer. Be very clear about what you intend to spend. Stay within your budget.

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Great Outdoors ELEGANT

When Kevin Cox took his girlfriend, Laurie Martin for an evening and shop to supply the equipment and lighting for the wedding were hike up the trail leading to the Erin water tower on a warm July night, required. Garbage receptacles and disposal plans were needed. Parking she had no idea he would propose. But she knew without a doubt her required the support of neighbouring homes and businesses. Airanswer was ‘yes.’ Planning the wedding came to her just as naturally, conditioned washroom facilities on site prevented an overload on the including the decision to do hold the entire wedding at the couple’s property’s septic system. home in Erin, on the front lawn of their rural property. The couple also needed to create a practical work environment for “We aren’t the banquet hall type or the golf club type,” Laurie said, the caterers, and even details like having fire extinguishers on site for adding, they wanted something simple for everyone. Having lived and safety with use of the barbecue. A large commercial barbecue, freezer worked together on their home for three and a commercial fridge, were set up in years, they didn’t want to go overboard. Kevin’s workshop. “It’s not so much that I wanted to be “The caterer needed to be experienced “FOR AN OUTDOORS WEDDING, outside, I just really wanted to do it here. to cook on site, so we hired Fergies (Fine YOU REALLY HAVE TO THINK That’s just how I envisioned my day, so it Foods) in Fergus,” Laurie said. “Miriam is ABOUT YOUR GUESTS COMFORT” would be what it would be.” amazing … She is all about her customers Laurie was clear she wanted a June and she’s such a sweet woman. I knew if wedding. anything went wrong that night, she would “I love flowers, especially peonies, so I be on top of it.” Laurie laughs, noting food wanted to be married in June,” she said. tasting at Miriam’s shop was the only part “I’m a member of the Erin Horticultural of the wedding Kevin wanted to help plan. Society so flowers were huge for me.” For the wedding day, AAA Events in It’s a good thing she also enjoys planning Erin prepared the food and light hors events. She soon found she had her d’oeuvres to keep the wedding party fed. work cut out for her, especially when the Laurie credits owner Tracey Wallace as outdoor wedding was at her home. being an important support throughout “You have to move fast, because the event planning process. everyone is planning weddings, sometimes For the bar set-up, Laurie purchased a years in advance. But I was limited because used bar on Kijiji, which she in turn sold I needed everyone to come to me here,” after the wedding. In fact, many of Laurie’s she said, had to consider the ability for the major purchases were recycled, bought caterer to cook onsite, for the hairdresser and make-up artist to come through wedding swap sites on Facebook, and then later resold. But to her, equipment rental deliveries to the house, and so much more. she still had to order and pick up all the alcohol, mix and accessories, “You have to think about it in the sense that you are building a plus rent extra glasses and hire bartenders. banquet hall here,” she said of her property. “You have to think of everything . . . All the little things have to be considered.” Those little things include issues like making sure the landscaping and gardens were presentable. The lawn had to be filled in, which required the equivalent of four dump trucks of dirt that then needed to be seeded and fertilized in due time. Thankfully, Kevin owns DK Excavating Company, so they had access to the machinery, manpower and clean fill required. Otherwise she said the cost would have been prohibitive. Factors like adequate power supply and outlets from the home


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“You have to factor in who will help set the wedding up, and remember the morning after the wedding, you are the clean-up crew,” she said. “There is the time commitment to coordinate all this too, because you don’t have the staff of the banquet hall.” Laurie stayed on budget, but admits creating her venue was a costly venture. “In a way, it probably cost me more money because I’m making a banquet hall,” she said. She laughs, remarking, “A village built this wedding, not just me.” A self-described control freak, Laurie had a vision for her wedding day that inspired all her decisions. Detail-oriented and organized, she had everything booked by September. “My theme was not rustic, because I felt it was exhausted,” she said, adding she preferred a rustic sentiment with a more sophisticated theme. “I wanted it to be airy and elegant, so people wouldn’t feel that they were at my house.” For the reception, Laurie rented a dance floor and a 40 x 60 white tent. She admits she splurged on the cost of the liner that gives the billowing effect from the ceiling to give the tent a gala feel, which she says was almost the same amount as the tent itself. She has no regrets. “It moved and it felt elegant and you didn’t feel like you were at an outdoor wedding in an outdoor tent,” she explained, joking, “I didn’t want it to feel like we were at the beer tent at the fall fair!” Putting up that tent required a building permit from the Town of Erin, for a fee of roughly $200. Another budget boost came with the rental of gold Chiavari chairs. “It was a small cost for the comfort of the guests,” she said, noting it was not only more sophisticated looking, but also more comfortable. Laurie’s colour scheme included colours such as champagne, gold, charcoal grey and rich pinks, for a pop of colour. Little details like rustic décor embellished with gold sequined or champagne table clothes added elegance, as did the use of chandeliers for lighting. Along the back end of the tent, behind the head table, were recycled wood planks from a shed the couple had torn down and repurposed, which gave a rustic look to the tent décor. The boards were draped in a vine of flowers.


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Using flowers for a burst of colour in all her décor, Laurie turned to Snowberry Botanicals in Erin to create four centrepieces for the family tables, the arrangements, corsages and the bouquets for the wedding party and herself. “They were so pretty. I loved my flowers,” Laurie said. “And they know I am a floral fanatic.” Other tables had fresh cut peonies from a heritage garden at Kevin’s grandmother’s farm in Erin. That farm was also an important backdrop in the couple’s wedding photos later that day, as a place of importance to them. Family was central to the entire day. But Laurie was also determined that the wedding represented the couple’s personalities too. “The excavators were behind the wooden alter, acting as part of it, because Kevin wanted something that represented us,” she said, laughing. “Anybody that showed up that day would have said, ‘Yes, we’re at the right wedding.’” The outdoor ceremony welcomed just over 100 close friends and family members, all seated in formal chairs on the lawn. And while the Sumac trees buffered the noise of nearby Trafalgar Road, there wasn’t much in the way of shade. By 3pm that day, Laurie recalls it was 35 degrees. “For an outdoor wedding, you really have to think about your guests’ comfort,” she


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said, which includes factoring in the amount of time those guests will be exposed to the elements. The June 18 ceremony was kept close to 30 minutes. She offered her guests non-alcoholic refreshments to ensure people stayed hydrated. “We had a lemonade bar too, to keep guests cool,” she said. Wedding programs came in handy not only to help guests follow the ceremony, but by using thick card stock, Laurie knew the paper could double as fans to keep people cool. Making sure Laurie and her bridesmaids looked cool under pressure was hairdresser and make-up artist Courtney, of Peachie Keen Studios. “She uses a certain type of makeup that is great for outdoor weddings,” Laurie said. “I had to be sure I hired someone who knew how to do makeup for an outdoor wedding, especially for the photos, so it would stay on.” While the bride never wilted, she cautions other brides considering an outdoor wedding to be realistic about their expectations and the outcomes.

“Planning something like this on your own is not for the faint of heart,” she said. “If you don’t have a stomach for things being out of your control - don’t do it. The weather is going to be what it will be.” She adds, “If it rained, we had the tent so I wasn’t worried about it.” The warm day cooled only slightly into an evening with an elegant meal, a sense of home and an open reception that later that night welcomed another approximately 30 guests to the party. “Our goal the whole time was that we wanted it to be a party,” Laurie said of her shared vision with Kevin. “We just wanted to have a big celebration that we both got married at … it was about celebrating and coming together.” The decision to exchange their vows at home was important to Kevin and Laurie, and for all the work, it was worth the effort. “That’s part of the reason we did it here,” she said. “This place means something to us. We’ve worked so hard on this house together and Kevin is fourth generation here. Erin is such a great town … I would do it all again and I wouldn’t change a thing.” 

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it takes a village... A DREAM WEDDING It takes aCREATING village... IN DRAYTON



Rooted in family and grounded in faith, Angela Poot and Corné “One of the biggest reasons we decided to get married in the winter Koersen always knew they would exchange their vows in the town that was due to the fact that it’s one of the least busy times in the year brought them together. for farmers. Besides Corné and his immediate family, who are dairy “It was pretty important to have the wedding in Drayton, because farmers, we have quite a few relatives and friends who would be Drayton was a central place for my family,” Angela said. “Growing up affected by this as well,” Angela said. in the Drayton Reformed Church is important to my upbringing and “We were also mindful that February is a much nicer time to take a my community.” sunny vacation than the summer, and we figured everyone is ready for Corné attended the Bethel Christian a party in the dull days of winter.” Reformed Church in Listowel, the same Angela notes there were several benefits town where Angela attended high school. to having a winter wedding. Vendors and Despite their close proximity, the pair had caterers were more flexible with dates and never crossed paths. requests, and people were available to “Without our faith communities, Corné attend the event. and I probably wouldn’t have met,” Angela “My wedding dress was bought off said. “Though we grew up ten minutes the rack at a very reasonable price after apart, our paths didn’t cross until we the prime wedding season had ended,” both signed up to be part of a team that Angela said, adding with a laugh, “And we was organizing a young adults ministry were able to thoroughly enjoy a tropical in Drayton, with the goal of connecting honeymoon in St. Lucia while everyone young adults from various towns in the in Ontario suffered through the coldest “OUR LIVES ARE MADE surrounding area.” week of the season.” SO MUCH LESS STRESSFUL The location of those ministry meetings When it came to picking a theme for WHEN WE ASK AND ALLOW was the renowned local landmark, the the wedding, nature inspired Angela as Drayton Festival Theatre. It would also be a to create a simple yet charming motif PEOPLE TO HELP US.” backdrop for some of the couple’s wedding from the invitations to the ceremony and photos, to honour the memory of their first reception. meeting. “I have always been a lover of nature — Corné proposed to Angela in August 2015 and the two became one often taking pictures of landscapes and the intricate details found in on February 6, 2016, which gave them just over five months to plan plants and trees,” Angela said. “I’ve spent time living in the city, where their wedding. you realize how much you take for granted being surrounded by nature “I didn’t want to drag the engagement out,” Angela said, admitting when you grow up in the country. Spending time in the forest is very winter was the best season for the two to wed. peaceful both alone and with Corné.”

34 |


Angela explained, “When looking for inspiration for the invitations, I was drawn to examples that included trees.” She took her design concept to Fergus Printing to have all invitations and signage produced. Supporting a local business was important for the couple. “Since we were getting married in the winter, the tree silhouette was appropriate, and we continued to find other ways to incorporate it into our décor.” There was a deeper meaning to the symbolism of the tree too. “Trees are often viewed as a family symbol,” Angela explained. “When we get married and start our own family, we are both adding onto our parents’ trees as well as starting our own. I like to think of our faith and our communities as the roots which keep us grounded and help us to weather the storms that life will bring.” Wellington County remains steeped in rural traditions, including small-town values that persist in a changing world. “Since I’ve grown up living in one house and attending the same church my entire life, I feel strongly connected to both my neighbourhood and faith communities,” Angela said. “The people surrounding me have always been full of encouragement and willing to help. From lending wedding decorations, to helping set up the church and reception hall, to sharing their musical talents during the ceremony, to cleaning up everything once our special day


was over – our lives are made so much less stressful when we ask and allow people to help us.” That sense of simplicity and nature’s beauty resonated throughout the wedding plans. Angela credits her family and community at large with helping make the day everything she hoped for. “Gathering all the trees and hydrangeas was a family affair,” she said. “Corné cut down the trees from the edge of his field, and he worked with my dad to fit them into stands made from larger slabs of wood.” For Angela, this made for beautiful and affordable décor. “I decided to bring the nature indoors by lining the aisle with trees and having a cluster of them on the stage along with some other rustic items,” she said. Angela’s mother, future mother-in-law and aunt worked together to collect dried hydrangeas. “Our centrepieces had branches that were sprayed with fake snow, and we dried many, many hydrangeas that were spray painted gold for the centrepieces and that were used throughout the wedding,” she said. It was faith that brought Angela and Corné together and that is central to their lives going forward, as much as it was the most important part of their wedding day. “Getting married in the church I grew up in has always been part of my wedding dreams,” Angela said. “Not just because it is a beautiful space, but because it was important to make our promises to each other


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| 35

before God and the community that came together to support us.” As the Sunday piano player, she admits she wasn’t used to being front and centre in the church. “It was a very familiar place, but also a very special place … which made it less nerve-wracking, it was very comfortable,” Angela said. While the indoor ceremony was all she hoped for, Angela admitted having wedding photographs taken outdoors was a challenge. At the recommendation of a family friend, the couple’s wedding photos were taken at the Samis’ family farm just outside of Drayton. “It was conveniently close to our church and hall,” Angela said. “The barn was undergoing some renovations and was partially used for farm equipment storage, however there were still areas inside and several spots around the property that worked perfectly for our needs.” The shelter of the barn and a little cooperation from Mother Nature made for a lovely landscape for the photos. “The night before we received a fresh dusting of snow which made everything look fresh and clean,” she said. “To keep warm, we took


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breaks in cars and we had a space heater in the barn. My mom and grandma made faux-fur shawls for all the ladies, which gave the photos a unique wintry flair.” Angela adds, “We had our photos taken before the ceremony, and I made sure there was a ‘warm up’ time with coffee and tea so that we were all functioning well before needing to be centre stage.” Not far from the church, the reception followed at the PMD Arena Complex in Drayton. “The PMD had recently been renovated,” Angela said. “It was nice and spacious, and clean. And they set up the tables, chairs and stage for us before we got there.” The couple selected both square and rectangular tables, just to make the room less formatted. The head table was centred in the room and the couple invited the spouses of the bridal party to join them for dinner. To add a personal touch, Angela’s father crafted a large, layered chandelier out of wagon wheels, lights and dried flowers that hung


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over the head table. Ceiling swags, lent to the couple by friends, added elegance to the room. The colour scheme for the event was lapis (a deep purple), gold and ivory. “It didn’t feel like an arena at all,” Angela said. Angela liked the hall’s options for lighting, as well as the big screens with projectors that allowed guests to enjoy a slide show about the couple. Family from Holland also sent a video message for all to watch. Dinner was also an important part of the reception and a tribute to the couple’s heritage. “Our caterer, Carolyn Freeman, was part of my larger family community as well. She is married to my mom’s cousin, and she prepared a wonderful Mennonite-style meal that many

people raved about later,” Angela said, “Many brides and grooms don’t really enjoy their meals due to the stress and excitement of the day, but both Corné and I were able appreciate the great food prepared for us.” Corné and Angela celebrate their first anniversary this February, but they are also celebrating the addition of a new leaf on the family tree, due in July. When they look back at their wedding, they have only fond memories of a celebration that Angela insists took a community to build. “I loved working with my family, pooling ideas and talents to create a unique and special day where we were surrounded by people that loved us and who will continue to support us as we figure out life together,” she said. 


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Wellington Weddings 2017  

Wellington Weddings - A feature publication of the Wellington Advertiser - 2017

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