Today we’re sharing one of those real weddings that makes you smile the moment you set eyes on it.
A super sweet couple truly in love, a beautiful wedding day they’ve poured their personalities into, and lots of cool details we just know you guys will adore.
Shelley & David got married in downtown Toronto, with a celebration that brought spring and summer botanicals to their urban backdrop (with a touch of gold thrown in for good measure!).
Their day was candidly captured by Olive Photography.
With a clear vision of what they wanted from their big day, Shelley & David styled an eclectic blend of of DIY details, cool attire, antique finds and custom made details, for an overall look that was whimsical, creative, and oh-so-pretty.
We just love it when a couple share lots of stories, insights, and advice from their day, so scroll down not only to gush over this gorgeous day, but also to find out how these college sweethearts made it all happen…
Wedding Day Snapshot
Our Love Story
Dave and I met when we were 18 on the third day of university – we were on the same floor in residence. We quickly became really close friends, hanging out all the time, and by January we were “officially” boyfriend and girlfriend.
Living in residence together is like dating in a relationship incubator – you see each other all the time so after a few months it already feels like you’ve been dating for a year. Because we met so young, we really feel like we grew up together.
Our relationship doesn’t have many sweeping big romantic gestures – it’s just not our style – but we have spent more than a third of our lives together already and have all the little moments that go along with that.
Dave proposed to me in our tiny apartment that we shared for more than five years – we already had dinner plans right after and I was SO happy that he did it at home so that it was just us.
The best part was that he timed it for the evening before we went home for Christmas so that we were able to tell all our friends and family in person.
Since we live about five hours away from our hometown, it’s something that any other time of the year we wouldn’t have been able to do.
Prep in Advance
Do anything that you can do ahead of time as early as possible. I was really lucky to be able to take the week before the wedding off from work, and I don’t know how I would have got everything finished if I hadn’t.
All the little things add up and it was a lot of late nights the week before getting everything done.
We definitely would have tried to do more in the week’s leading up to the wedding instead of leaving it to the last week.
Writing out a decor plan on how you want things set up on the day of the wedding will help to map out what needs to be done and makes it much easier to delegate tasks to your wedding party and family.
Don’t forget to enjoy yourself through it all – play music, have a glass of wine, work outside if the weather’s nice – we enjoyed doing all the pieces because we had fun along the way.
Bride’s Favourite Moments
There were so many special and amazing moments throughout the wedding that stand out, it’s really hard to choose!
My favourite moment of the ceremony was signing the registry – which surprised me because I often find that part creates a bit of a lull.
It felt like the first time that I actually took a minute to breathe, look around at everyone and the decor and venue and the best part was finally getting a chance to talk to Dave and laugh with him.
It was a really nice moment because I felt like we got to escape the spotlight for a minute and appreciate everything that was happening.
Another really special moment was my first dance with my father. He had kept the song a secret from me – ‘I Hope You Dance’ by Lee Ann Womack.
Our venue featured an outdoor dance floor so getting to dance with my dad under the stars to such a beautiful song that he chose just for me was pretty incredible and certainly left me teary-eyed by the end of it.
Groom’s Favourite Moments
Seeing Shelley turning the corner and walking down the aisle was by far my favourite part because I had been looking forward to it, not just all day, but for the year and a half we spent planning the wedding.
The dress and the whole look was completely different than I expected but was perfect.
I loved the fact that we had a long aisle because it gave me a chance to really take in all the details and by the time she met me at the front, she really had taken my breath away.
Look Outside the (Wedding) Box
You don’t necessarily have to go through traditional wedding stores for every detail of the wedding.
We did really well finding decor at Target and Staples, attire details online at places like The TieBar and Etsy, and finding the bridesmaid’s dresses at Urban Outfitters.
It’s a great way to save on your budget and also make sure that your details are one-of-a-kind.
Finding a vendor on Etsy is great if you want something a little different too because they’ll often work with you to create something custom. The groom and groomsmen’s pocket squares are a great example – I sent her a picture of the ties and bow tie and she sent me photos of fabric options to choose from.
They turned out perfect and it was also nice to know that they’re a really special takeaway for the guys that they can’t get anywhere else.
Finding Your Theme
Our advice for engaged couples is first and foremost, to start with a theme or an overall look and feel for your day.
Everything else – venue, attire, decor, music, flowers – will flow out of having a strong overall vision for what you want your wedding to look like.
Pinterest and wedding blogs are a great place to get inspiration for what you want and identify the things you’re not as into.
They’re also a great place for finding vendors and venues – we found our venue and photographer from wedding blogs and we’re thrilled with how they worked out.
The Decor & Details
Doing Things Your Way
Go with your gut. There were lots of traditional details we weren’t sure about like whether to have a bouquet toss or having the wedding party announced coming into the reception – neither of which we ended up doing.
Every time we were asked about those details, we just went back to what we were picturing for the day and decided to do that, regardless of what the norm was.
This is also true of decor and all the little details. I really wanted gold Chiavari chairs to make the “gold” accent in our theme pop.
The venue came with silver/steel chairs and a lot of people thought I wouldn’t end up caring about the chairs but I stuck to my guns and I think they made the look of the whole dining room pop and tied the theme together.
A bonus is that we were able to use them for the ceremony as well, so that looked great in pictures as well.
Our Final Piece of Advice
Lastly, but probably most importantly, get a wedding day-of coordinator. Even if you’re doing the planning yourself, get someone to help you on the day-of.
You want to be able to enjoy the day and a coordinator can set up your decor, make sure all your vendors arrive, ensure the venue is set up according to your floor plans and make sure everyone in your wedding parties arrive on time and are positioned properly.
I work in Public Relations and plan and execute a lot of events, and I still couldn’t have pulled off the wedding without Fidan and her Designed Dream team running the show.
The peace of mind is worth it but having the perfect wedding day is the cherry on top.
All that hard work and planning certainly paid off, right? Those herb pots and botanical prints are so lovely. (And BTW, how awesome is that sprinkle wedding cake!).
And such useful advice too – I might have to take on that on-the-day co-ordinator tip for myself! Oh and how freakin’ sweet are David’s words about gorgeous Shelley walking down the aisle – what a sweetheart!
Thanks so much to the awesome, Olive Photography, and of course Shelley & David, for sharing their pretty DIY wedding with us.
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