Our wedding was beautiful, everything came together wonderfully as planned. We were blessed with sunshine and clear skies the entire day. As you can see through our photos, our wedding had a modern feel with touches of vintage. I love the juxtaposition of new & old, it's so chic! Wedding Mapper was easy to use and I was able to save some money by creating the maps myself. Hopefully, my vendor resources will be of help to friends, friends of friends and anyone else planning on getting married in Toronto in the future.
To view our online photo album by Boston Avenue, click on "Wynne & David":
Saj is an amazing solo artist! He sang so beautifully at our wedding ceremony (Praise & Worship solo and during the Signing of Registry). I first heard of Saj when we started attending Agincourt Pentecostal Church in 2005. He sings with soulful conviction and a lot of warmth, reflective of his love for God. He sang Lisa McClendon's "You Are Holy" and Commissioned's "'Tis So Sweet." He also worked well with my brother and friends (musicians).
Janet & Julia were recommended by Grace Church on-the-Hill, where our ceremoney was held. Janet's a professional Classical singer and Julia sings regularly with the choir. They both sang so beautifully during the Processional that some of our guests cried! I selected Lakmé, "The Flower Duet" by Léo Delibes, which happened to suit their voices and they both were familiar with and had sung the piece before. They were accompanied by a friend of mine (Ambrose Chan, piano teacher and performer) on piano. Along with the church's great acoustics, the ladies sounded like angels!
Truly a unique site, with unique products to customize your wedding with beautiful touches! I didn't want home-made looking signs on our wedding car, because the car was just too stunning to ruin the look that way. The bridal car was a red & white, vintage, 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air. So, I ordered initial monograms for both sides of the small, rear, passenger windows and the "Just Married!" label with our first names were applied by our chauffeur to the main, rear window once the ceremony began. Oh yeah...and they're easily removed too. Good quality artifical, green & white hydrangeas (from Michael's) were bundled and attached on the car's rear bumper with white ribbon, below the rear car lights. The overall look was subtle and classy, but still had the "wow" factor. We also ordered a sign from Wonderful Graffiti Wedding for the front entrance of the wedding reception, so guests were greeted warmly and did not accidently enter through another door intended for restaurant clientele and vice versa. The folks at Wonderful Graffiti Wedding offered great customer service, when I discovered that the corner of my sign was bent during shipping. They sent another one free of charge.
I dealt with Terry and Andrew with all the logistics for the song list and the dj introduction of the wedding party for the reception. We didn't have a dance because we had a small wedding reception of about 107-110 people, consisting of family, relatives (many with young children) and close friends only. I chose a wide variety of bossa nova, trip hop/rock/rhythm/blues (e.g. Morcheeba), Spanish music, a little jazz (e.g. St. Germain) and threw in a bit of '80s music (Sade, Spandau Ballet, The Pretenders, The Cure). I wanted to get the feel and atmosphere of a hip, classy lounge. I didn't want any Chinese music, which is often typical, background music at Chinese wedding banquets. Since our reception was held in a heritage bldg/house, we had to go classy and timeless all the way! The guests loved my selection of music and Vince (DJ) did a great job with introducing the wedding party. He respected my request to keep the intros simple and classy...none of that flamboyant, Vegas-like showmanship! Oh yeah...I also requested all family, friends, including the DJ that wedding games were not permitted at our wedding reception, keeping with the classy, "adult-like" atmosphere.
Elizabeth, trained by a French pastry chef, is a friend of my husband's, she used to run her French pastry shop at Leslie & 16th in Richmond Hill. She is now located at Times Square in Richmond Hill, ON. I've yet to try all her desserts, but so far they're all dee-lish! We had a white, pin-tuck ruffle, 6 tier cake, 2 of the tiers are real (lemon rasberry flavour). The ruffle detail mirrored the ruffles on my wedding dress. The look of the cake was inspired by a photo I saw in a Martha Stewart Weddings magazine. Thanks Elizabeth for making our cake so special!
I wanted something creative and different from the chopsticks, Chinese takeout boxes, Asian tea cups, picture frames etc. that are usually given out as wedding favours at Asian weddings. I purchased mini-bamboo steamer gift boxes to house the Jelly Belly candies that were packaged in gusset bags, sealed with an initial monogram sticker. I then wrapped a satin ribbon around each mini-bamboo steamer, attaching a label with our name and wedding date. It was chic and pretty to look at, inside and out and can be re-used to hold small items. InspirAsian Creations had sold the most affordable mini-bamboo steamers at the time and they happen to be Canadian, so no customs/duty fees for me! They were prompt and easy to deal with. I would recommend comparing prices with various vendors, as prices may change over time.
Based in Strathroy, Ontario, Crystal Clear Bags was by far the most affordable when it came to packaging. They were very quick to send my order out (and very friendly too on the phone). I purchased clear, gusset bags from them to house the Jelly Belly candies that were put into mini-bamboo steamer boxes as our wedding favour. Unless you can find something else cheaper, I would highy recommend them!
Always a favourite of mine when it comes to candies that you remember savouring during your childhood years. They sell what was once common in stores 30-40 yrs ago. As well, they have a large selection of Jelly Belly candies...my fav! We ordered two different brown coloured Jelly Bellies for the adult guests and green and yellow ones for the kids, to compliment our wedding colours. I gave them a 4 star rating only because Jelly Belly candies are always too expensive, but they were the cheapest that I could find at Sugar Mountain. Be sure to order extra, because it's REALLY hard to resist not eating them while you're wrapping them up!
I ordered Medium Round Monogram Labels/Stickers from Wedding Favorites (also available in mini size as well). You can choose from a variety for colours and fonts to compliment your wedding. The monogram labels were pretty and chic and were used to seal the gusset bags that housed our Jelly Belly candies. To identify the kids' favours (they had different flavoured candies) from the adults, we stuck a monogram sticker on the outside of the mini-bamboo steamers which packaged each bag of Jelly Belly candies nicely.
Fiona was a real treat to work with! She was so professional and is loaded with creative talent. Her floral style meshed with my simplistic taste. Fiona was very accommodating. For our initial consultation, she met with me during my lunch break at a restaurant across the street from my work. She brought her laptop to showcase more examples of her work. Her new studio space is beautiful and chic too, definitely worth the visit! Fiona and her team did an amazing job to ensure that the church and restaurant's policies were respected. They set up all the flowers and removed them in a timely and non-disruptive manner. I also appreciated that Fiona offered to pick up, set-up and return (for a small fee) the aisle runner we ordered from Micki's, another vendor she often deals with. We ordered the aisle runner directly through Micki's, rather than have Stemz do it for us, to help us save some $$. The bridal and bridesmaids' bouquets were gorgeous. My bouquet, inspired by a photo I found in Martha Stewart Weddings, was wrapped with ribbon from Mokuba (selected by moi). Stemz also created the boutonnières and the table centre pieces for each reception table. Aside from the chic, altar flowers (placed on clear, acrylic pedestals), my favorite was the tall, rectanglar vases that were lined up along both sides of the church aisle, filled 3/4 of the way with water, a floating candle and green orchids. The simple design complimented the old architecture of the church santuary. All I can say is...Gorgeous! Gorgeous! Gorgeous!
Stephita offers hand-made stationary at a reduced priced compared to many vendors who offer similar quality of work. They don't provide letterpress font/details, however that would have added to the cost of each invitation. We also ordered church programs, table menus, favour labels and satin ribbons from them. I've given them a 4 star rating as their choices of design are nice, but somewhat limited. They allow some flexibility with mixing their designs, but their fonts and icons are limited. However, if you're looking for Asian-inspired, modern designs, this might be up your alley.
My mom purchased a pair of snowflake, diamond earrings to go with my wedding dress. They are subtle and unique for that special day. She was able to negotiate the price.
You'll be surprised what you can find on eBay. I wanted to get some vintage jewellery pieces to incorporate that timeless, unique look. I purchased a vintage celluloid clamper bangle bracelet with rhinestones (from an estate sale in Chicago). It was a steal at $35 USD! The piece dates back to the 1940s/1950s. I also purchased a beautiful, antique Chinese King Fisher Feather Phoenix Hair Pin (from China), which dates back between 1850-1899. It was worn by Chinese brides from wealthy families at that time. Another great find is a company in the USA that made jewellery and accessories from vintage, typewriter keys. I had initial cufflinks custom made for the groom and for the groomsmen as a gift.
I didn't want to purchase the typical white or ivory coloured bridal shoe, nor did I want to wear ballet slippers or horrid runners underneath my bridal gown (I still don't understand why some brides would do that for comfort's sake?!). I was looking for a delicate, 40s inspired peep-toe, high-heel shoe. I found the perfect pair of shoes by Bettye Muller from their Spring 2007 line. The shoes were not too comfortable, but they looked gorgeous on my feet! I added clear gel, shoe pads under the balls of my feet to add a little comfort. The shoes were perfect with the delicate look of my silk organza wedding gown with ruffles (inspired by a Vera Wang creation). The shoes are available through various vendors. I purchased mine through DJPremium.com at the time. I don't think it's available there anymore, so you'll have to search through other vendors.
Pastor Jonathan Smith is a wonderful friend, pre-marital counsellor and officiant. He also led the praise & worship songs during our wedding ceremony (he's musically talented too). His wedding message touched many of our guests about the love of Christ. He's the type of pastor that you love to listen to and not feel that you are being "preached at". His relationship and love for God is reflective in his messages. He is now leading the Evangel Pentecostal Church in Montreal, we're sad to see him go, but happy he is touching the lives of people in Montreal.
Boston Avenue was actually my 3rd choice of photographer. My first two were all booked up at the time. However, Boston Avenue offers the best customer service and one of the best quality of photo-journalistic style of photography Toronto has to offer. They covered the wedding from my parents' house till the end of the speeches at our reception. Serafino & Dodge were great! We got a lot of spectacular shots and our wedding album was perfectly put together. We also ordered our "Thank You" cards from them to include a few digital photos to share with our guests. My only complaints are that their office (west-end of downtown Toronto) is too far from where we live and that their goods and services are way too expensive.
For my hair pin (worn with my wedding gown), I wanted to go with something delicate and vintage, or vintage-inspired. I found the perfect piece through Grace For Weddings, an American company. I ordered the handmade vintage and modern 'Iris' beaded hair pin. I can't seem to find their website anymore, so I'm not sure if they are still in business. I really hope so, as their hair accessories are truly one of a kind and beautiful. Another good source to find real, vintage accessories is eBay.
When I got engaged, one of the first things I insisted on having in my wedding was Chiavari chairs for my guests to sit on. They have that timeless, classic appeal that is modern at the same time. Although they were not cheap to rent, I made sure I fit it into my budget somehow, because it made a huge difference in the Chinese restaurant venue for my reception. Everyone including the restaurant, didn't understand why I was so adamant about having those chairs, but they all agreed on the day of the wedding that my vision was clear and the reception hall looked much better with those chairs. They add that special touch of chic-ness and sophistication to your wedding decor, plus they also look great in wedding photos. Also from Chair-man Mills, I rented table linens and napkins, because the Chinese restaurant only had red or peach available...yuck! I was willing to go for white, but they didn't even have that available...typical of Chinese restaurants to have terrible choices! Chair-man Mills has a showroom available on-site (North York) to allow clients to preview their goods. Oh yes, I can't forget the large, round, silver, cake base for my 6-tier cake!
We didn't know a whole lot about jewellery, so we knew we wanted to go with a referral. Joseph was recommended by my brother-in-law and also a friend. We had our platinum wedding bands custom made through Gul Jewellery, located at Centerpoint Mall (Toronto ON). I found a wedding band design that I loved through Furrer Jacot. Gul Jewellery did an amazing job at finding someone to replicate it. I paid 1/3 the cost for what I would have paid for the original for the similar quality diamonds. My husband opted for a simple design, that was unpolished in the middle and polished along the top and bottom of the band.
We initially rented tuxes for the groom and groomsmen at Tuxedo Royale, but ended up cancelling the order, because the fit was not quite right for the groom. He is slim build and has narrow shoulders, so his size is difficult to fit. Freeman Formalwear has a wider range of sizes and styles available. We were much happier with our choice in the end. I arranged for the same patterned ties, handkerchiefs and vests, but slightly different colour combinations so it was not too "match-poo." The guys looked great...esp my handsome groom!
Images Film + Video was initially my second choice for videographer. My first choice was all booked up. Images Film + Video did a great job capturing the day. I'm currently awaiting the finished product. I've only recently submitted my music decision list for production, due to procrastination on my part. I will definitely share the flashback video once it's completed.
Emmy Leung was recommended by my mother, who heard about her on TV. My dressmaker happens to be friends with her as well. Emmy did an amazing job to make me look beautifully natural on my wedding day. My only complaint is that she is way too expensive, but she's definitely one of the best when it comes to makeup for Asian skin. I went to several non-Asian make-up professionals for trials, however they always ended up making me look older and too caked up. Emmy was also nice enough to fix up my mom's make-up, as the lady from Faces Bridal & Make-up Studio didn't do such a great job. After Emmy's touch, my mom looked gorgeous too!
The make-up done on my bridesmaids and my mom was not so great. I don't remember the lady who did the make-up. Emmy Leung used to work for Faces, however not all the make-up artists' skills at this studio were consistent with Emmy's. Thankfully, Emmy agreed to fix up my mom's make-up and mom looked great afterwards. I had to hire a make-up artist to do my make-up for my 2nd wedding banquet for the groom's mother's friends and didn't want to spend too much by hiring Emmy Leung. I went back to Faces, but found another make-up artist (Connie) that was much better than the one that did my bridesmaids' and mother's make-up on the wedding day. My mistake was I should have arranged for trial make-up for one of my bridesmaids or mother before letting them book a make-up artist of the studio's choice. Word of advice: Invest your hard earned cash on make-up trials so there will be no regrets...including secondary makeup artists!
I didn't have too much time to do hair trials. Lina was prompt and patient. She kept changing my hair during the trial until I was satisfied. I was going for the 1930s/1940s finger wave with a low chignon, but unfortunately, that's difficult to achieve with Asian hair. Lina really tried, I'll give her "A" for effort, but the wave just would not stay. I know it's possible though, because I've seen it done in period movies. If I had more time, I would have tried out at least one more salon that could achieve that look, perhaps I should have tried out a salon that specialized in Asian hair.
Betty had plenty of patience for a finicky bride. I used to attend the same church as Betty and she also did an amazing job on my sister's wedding dress in 1998. I showed photos of the Vera Wang dress I wanted her to replicate, as well as other designer dresses I wanted to replicate for my 3 bridesmaids, flower girl and my mother. Betty spent the time to look for fabric and trim samples. Although Betty does not specialize in making Asian dresses, I took the chance to have her replicate a Tang Dynasty dress for me. She did a great job such that the guests were wowed and my groom's jaw dropped when he saw me walk into the room. Betty also made a simple veil and replicated an adorable ring bearer's pillow from a photo I found in a wedding magazine.
Gourmet sandwiches at reasonable prices. A friend of mine researched and suggested this place. She helped me place an order for a variety of sandwiches for the wedding party, their spouses and a few of our helpers. Most weddings don't think about eating in the middle of the day, but it's important to fuel up, even if it's just a little nibble. The food was fresh and very tasty too! It was perfect for our photo op stop at St. Lawrence Market. Thankfully, we managed to grab a few picnic tables.
Glenn was recommended by one of my bridesmaids. He was just starting to rent out his vintage car for parties and weddings. Glenn has kept his car in mint condition and he was great as our chauffeur. We were nervous about not being able to wear seat belts in the car, but he ensured that he drove safely and at a moderate speed. Apparently, I learned that they didn't wear seat belts in the 1950s. Illegal in today's times, but legal to ride in a vintage car without seat belts.
I love the extensive choices Mokuba offers. Most fabric stores do not carry the same quality of ribbons and trims they have. I've first learned about them when they used to be located at Queens Quay Terminal around the late 1980s, early 1990s. Back then, I purchased a beautiful, pastel coloured rosebud trim for a plain dress that needed some interest. Many years later, I'm back again to choose the ribbons for my bridal bouquet and ribbon for one of my bridesmaid's dresses.
We initially booked with Diamond Banquet Hall for their quality of food, but we cancelled with them due to terrible customer experience with one of the owners (Stewart Cheng). He did not deliver what he promised and claimed that I was asking for "too much" and gave us attitude. I was simply asking to change the venue date, if another wedding party did not pay their deposit on time and he initially agreed to that, then broke his promise when the other client didn't pay their deposit on time. Mr. Cheng also was yelling at me twice over the phone (he didn't stick to his agreement and decided to blame & yell at me "for asking too much"). He also made sexist remarks when we first met with him. For example, he sarcastically asked if my bridesmaid and I were lawyers, because it appeared to him that it was the women and not the men (referring to my fiance at the time) who were making decisions regarding the wedding reception. We already told him earlier in the conversation that my husband did not speak cantonese and I'm translating everything for him in english. Mr. Cheng then told us that he would never let his wife make major decisions and control matters in their household, that he was the boss. We reported the incident with the BBB. Although there wasn't much they could do because we received our deposit back, the BBB agreed that Stewart Cheng was acting inappropriately. We're so glad that we changed our wedding reception venue to Casa-Imperial Fine Chinese Cuisine. The manager was really polite and accommodating. The ironic thing is that Stewart Cheng prides himself in offering great customer service, however he should have taken his own advice. One of his managers apologized for HIS behaviour, but we never received an apology from Mr. Cheng himself. In the end, we made the right choice, because Diamond Banquet Hall would have been a terrible place to take photos, because it is located in a plaza. Casa-Imperial Fine Chinese Cuisine is located in a beautiful, heritage home (Devonsleigh House) and looked lovely at night.
I ordered our ivory aisle runner on the phone from Micki's. It was an easy process and the lady on the phone was very friendly. I had my florist (Stemz) pick it up, install it, pack it up and return it for me for a small fee. It saved me a lot of time to make that arrangement, because Micki's is located in Concord, Ontario, which is out of my way.
I first heard about Grace Church on-the-Hill when I attended a friend's wedding. The sanctuary at Grace Church on-the-Hill is glorious! The sun was shining through the windows and the whole place was glowing on the day of our wedding. The staff and volunteers from the church were a real pleasure to work with as well. The church had really good acoustics and had just the right amount of seats available for our guests....not too many and not too little. Their beliefs (Anglican) aligned with ours, which was most important and they allowed our own pastor (Pentecostal) to officiate our wedding.
We were advised by Grace Church on-the-Hill that all wedding guests are welcome to use The Bishop Strachan School's parking spaces. We were also permitted to take photos on their property, as it was the weekend. They had plenty of mature trees in the area, which acted as a beautiful, simple backdrop for many of our wedding photos.
I initially preferred to go to a Caucasian venue, but my family, my groom and his family all preferred to have Chinese food made on the premises. We initially booked with Diamond Banquet Hall (Chinese restaurant), but we had a terrible experience with one of the owners (Stewart) that we filed a complaint with the BBB. Out of one bad experience came some good, because then I found Casa-Imperial Fine Chinese Cuisine, the only Chinese fine dining restaurant that I know that is in an attractive, heritage building in the GTA. Their food and service was great. In the end, this venue suited are taste, because it kept within our classic/vintage theme. If we had remained with Diamond Banquet Hall, our photos would have turned out bland. The outside of that restaurant is located in a plaza, not attractive at all. We were really happy with our choice of venue as it was a good compromise between my family and me. Boston Avenue, Stemz and Chair-man Mills did a great job enhancing the beauty of the place.
We turned a lot of heads when our wedding party approached St. Lawrence Market for photo opportunities and to have an outdoor lunch break (ordered through Sandwich Box). We didn't have to pay for a license to take photos there, we just had to get prior permission. We weren't allowed to take posed photos inside the market, but we were allowed to walk through the inside of the market while our photos were being taken by our professional photographer and videographer. Posed photos were allowed outside of the market. We almost thought we were going to be run over by a car, when our Boston Avenue photographer asked us to stand in the middle of Front St. It was great fun, we were waving and smiling at passersby and passing cars. Our rented vintage, red & white 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air drew a lot of attention too. We felt like king and queen for the day! The market provided some rustic interest and variety to our wedding photos that fits within our heritage building theme. I love the juxtaposition between old and new!
Click on each tool to see a sample.