A Festival-Inspired Boho Wedding on Ward's Island in Toronto
We decided to have an eclectic, festival-inspired boho wedding on Ward's Island and it was honestly the wedding of my dreams. My partner and I are definitely "offbeat" and I wasn’t sure when starting the planning process whether we could have the wedding we dreamed of in the way we wanted. We searched for vendors who would understand our vision: community-minded, full of love, and laid back enough to work with us well.
It was raining on the morning of the wedding but the rain was supposed to clear an hour before the ceremony. I was hopeful but not terribly worried, I had faith that things would work out. My friends were so amazing at making sure I wasn't getting too stressed anyways.
There were so many things that could've gone wrong that day, but didn't. Everything from the weather and the outdoor ceremony plan, to my partner's brother getting injured that morning and being unsure whether he'd make it. Spoiler: he did. Because of our AWESOME team! They took care of SO many details I can't even list them all, but it certainly helped to have so many hands on deck and ready to jump in to help at all times.
A lot of our wedding details were handcrafted and DIY. My friends came early to help me prepare all of the decor for the big day. All the florals and bouquets/bouts were made from fresh flowers that we picked up at the Toronto Flower Market at 9am that morning. We drove them straight to the dock and started putting things together in the venue.
By the time I was getting ready, my bridesmaids had finished getting everything prepared in the venue and all came back to our tiny bed and breakfast to start getting ready. There were clothes and makeup and ladies in all corners getting set for the event. It was such a fun and joyous atmosphere, exactly what I needed before the big ceremony.
After we got our first look photos taken, my partner scooped me up in his arms and put me into the basket of his cargo bike. and zoomed past our guests to the venue where everyone else was waiting for us. We made quite an entrance as we zoomed past our guests where they were all waiting for us. Everyone cheered as they saw us coming - it was epic!
We also had our parents, the maid of honour, the best man, and all of our kids do our handfasting which consists of tying ribbons around our hands with a specific blessing for each cord symbolizing the bond we are making. The handfasting was so beautiful, and our kids were so proud to be a part of it.
Having #TheJustMarriedJacket was a super special touch because of my punk rock roots and it was also a nod to my brother who is in a thrash metal band. Not surprisingly, he wore leather pants to the wedding! It was a way to infuse some of my personal history and more community spirit into the day, and I especially loved telling the "sisterhood of the traveling wedding jacket" story behind the jacket to our guests.
Describe your wedding day in 3 words.
Magical. Fun. Delicious.
Tell us about something your wedding just HAD TO have.
The main piece of jewelry I knew I was going to wear was my mother's Navajo squash blossom heirloom necklace my father bought her in the 1970s in New Mexico. It was so special to her and after my father passed away, she gave it to me. I knew that I needed a statement necklace and thought it was a perfect way to incorporate something that included both my father and my mother together.
Tell us about something you could have done without or wasn’t necessary in the end.
Wedding favours. To be honest, my partner and I didn't actually discuss favours but our team surprised us with such lovely little favours that we were delighted to set them out. Unfortunately we didn’t have a sign saying guests should take them so we had a lot of leftovers. It's definitely a nice to have, but not a necessity!
Tell us about your bridal style.
My bridal style is boho-eclectic. There were lots of bright colours, flavours, and handmade touches woven into the day. From the lace-edged cathedral veil I DIY'd and finished sewing the day before the wedding, to the quartz crystal wire hair comb I made, and the turquoise family heirloom squash blossom necklace I wore - everything had meaning.
What's your advice for future brides?
Develop your vision for what you need and want in your day with your partner and stick to what you feel is right. When I felt I was getting too caught up in what "should be", I would talk to my partner and together we would decide what was truly part of our vision.
Our guests were overwhelmed with how much the entire day truly reflected us. There were so many ‘traditions’ that just didn’t jive with us, and honestly no one batted an eye when we skipped them.
We did a handfasting instead of a ring exchange and had ribbons tied around our hands to ‘tie the knot’. We didn’t do a bouquet toss or a garter toss because these felt too outdated for us. We had no parent dances since his mother and my father have passed on. We had just one maid of honour and one best man instead of a giant wedding party. Many of our friends contributed their help in lieu of a gift so it was perfect. It was such a beautiful day, and everyone could feel the warmth of our entire community celebrating with us the whole time.
Date: June 23, 2018
Location: Ward's Island
Wedding Coordination: A Good Fork
Photography: Liat Aharoni Photography
Wedding Dress: Champagne and Cupcakes
Makeup Artist + Hair: Carley Makeup Artistry
Groom's Suit: Tom's Place
Groom's custom skull necklace: Ptah's Creations
DJ: DJ General Eclectic + Boom Bike
Caterers: ChocoSol Traders and friends of the couple
Backdrop: Alberto Bomba Bicycle Art