Real Weddings/Rustic Weddings

Rustic Autumnal Wedding with Amazing String Lights

Rustic Autumnal Toronto Wedding | Laura May 31

We can’t wait much longer to see the forests change to their vibrant, firey fall colors, so today we’re divying out a dose of autumnal paradise outside of Toronto, Canada.

Aaron and Sean married far from their tropical home in Singapore, (and meeting place of Bali, swoon!) at an elegant and cozy English style estate, warmly captured by Laura May. 

With leaves falling, and barley and wheat foliage to match, the two found plenty of ways to celebrate both the changing season and new chapter of their lives.  Autumn colors took the center stage, both in wardrobe and decor.  Thanks to the Aaron’s expertise in wedding planning, and their fantastic florist La Petite Fleur, the fallen leaves and dried flowers made their way naturally into the decorations, boutonnieres, and even their Balinese ceremony tradition, keeping the overall theme rustic and natural.

The whole day sounded so stress-free and truly a blast.  The two got ready for the day together (who better than your significant other to tell you how great you look?!) and spent the whole evening laughing with friends.

Rustic Autumnal Toronto Wedding | Laura May 20

Our Love Story

I had just arrived in Jakarta, Indonesia.  My best friend, John, was also living there and after 2 months of living in the fast pace and heavy traffic of Jakarta, suggested we fly to Bali for a weekend getaway.

I went online to meet local people.  It’s so much more enjoyable when traveling to know the “in” places to go.  While online, I saw Aaron.  I didn’t have courage to message him….he was WAY to gorgeous.  But luckily, and seemingly unbelieveably, he messaged me.  Unfortunately after exchanging messages, we weren’t able to meet.  I departed under the Balinese sunset and didn’t think anything would come of it. 

My birthday was the next month so John and I decided to go back to Bali.  I made plans to meet Aaron at Jemme – a fantastic restaurant that does the occasional dance party.   John and I arrived to see Aaron dancing away.  I can still picture him that first night when I close my eyes.  Despite our excitement to meet, I didn’t have the stones to approach him…even after two glasses of liquid courage and practical pushing by my bestie.  Eventually Aaron came up to me and pulled me to the dance floor.  We danced the night away. 

Rustic Autumnal Toronto Wedding | Laura May 68
Rustic Autumnal Toronto Wedding | Laura May 14
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Rustic Autumnal Toronto Wedding | Laura May 69

The Setting

Aaron found the Roseville Estate online while searching from Indonesia.  Ironically, it was 10 minutes from my childhood home. 

We strung café lights amongst the lower branches, lighting up the quickly changing leaves.  This was topped off with a large wine barrel that we used to sign the marriage certificate and a collection of candles surrounded by stalks of wheat.  We of course used electric candles for this, as we didn’t want pyrotechnics as part of the ceremony.

Even better, by selecting Roseville we were able to stay at the venue for the entire weekend as our own private hotel.  This gave us time to set-up all the little touches the way we wanted without rushing or stressing.  We also had our rehearsal dinner at the 1800’s farm house, where we made a BBQ dinner for our friends and family.  This was a fun way to say thank you to them for their support and long travels.

Rustic Autumnal Toronto Wedding | Laura May 35
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The Photography

Laura May was a photographer at our friends’ wedding earlier in the year.  We loved her portfolio.  But to be safe, we still researched another dozen photographers and interviewed 3 of them.  Laura was the clear choice.

What we loved was the candid photo approach.  We knew we’d have some posed pictures – the “Vanity Fair” shot in the barn is still one of our favorites.  But for the most part, we wanted pictures that captured the event.  Our joy.  Our tears.  Our embraces with friends and family.  Laura and Carina did a glorious job in memorializing those moments. 

We still look through all the photos with amazement of what they captured.  A particular favorite is when we caught my mom holding a beer for Blair (our brother-in-law).  She doesn’t drink, so the reaction from the kids was great.  But her reaction to our reaction is still one of the best in a rather substantial collection of amazing pictures.

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The Decor & Details

A tradition in Bali is to throw flower petals when the couple walks down the aisle, rather than rice.  As it was autumn, we asked everyone to throw leaves instead.  We picked up leaves for several days before to let them dry out.  It was great as we spent time wandering the woods of southern Ontario collecting leaves in reds, oranges, yellows and browns.  And while it didn’t work out 100% the way we wanted, we got a few good pics that made it all worthwhile.

Our invitations were custom made in Bali on thin pieces of wood with the details carved in.  

Rustic Autumnal Toronto Wedding | Laura May 27
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Rustic Autumnal Toronto Wedding | Laura May 76

The Flowers

Brandy from La Petit Fleur did such an incredible job putting together our absolutely gorgeous arrangements.  Succulent.  Barley.  Wheat.  Rosemary.  Her selection made for a truly non-traditional arrangement that stood out.  In particular, the boutonnieres were breath-taking.  We loved them so much that we had them dried out and framed.  We are hanging them in our new apartment in Singapore, along with some of our favourite pictures from the wedding.  And as a bonus, Aaron took 2 of the photos Laura took and had an artist recreate them in pencil and watercolour.  I TOTALLY married the right man!

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Favourite Moments

We wanted our wedding to be a light, fun affair.  We didn’t want it to be too emotional or sappy.  We chose Blair, Sean’s brother-in-law, to perform the ceremony.  He kept it 70% hilarious and 30% semi-serious.  And he nailed it!  We have so many pictures of everyone laughing and enjoying the ceremony outside in the cool evening breeze.  And the clincher, he ended with a quote from Hugh Anthony Cregg III…aka Huey Lewis.  And the lines he quoted were from “The Power of Love”, the theme song from Back to the Future.  Since we didn’t recognize his full name, it took a minute to realize what he was quoting from.  Hysterics started from a few in the crowd before we were all in tears from the gloriously non-traditional poetic choice.

Rustic Autumnal Toronto Wedding | Laura May 46

Advice for Other Couples

We are very fortunate that Aaron does wedding planning as a side job in Bali.  So he knew exactly what we needed to do.  But as the novice, I’d say the best thing he did was come up with a “mood board”.  It was a few pages with themes, as well as pictures of table layouts, floral arrangements, suits and invitations that would inspire us and our vendors.  This was a great way to keep a consistent message and avoid confusion later on.  Even if you aren’t artistically minded, you can put together a collection of photos you find online that you like.  As you see them combined, you start to see what you want to keep, change or toss.  This was a very inexpensive and simple approach that saved potential arguments or unneeded stress on the day.  And our vendors were great – Aaron’s vision turned out perfectly and even more beautiful than I imagined.

Rustic Autumnal Toronto Wedding | Laura May 66
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