When it comes to planning a wedding, there are so many pieces that need to come together to create the vision you imagine. There are lists upon lists and details upon details of things to consider and coordinate. Being a Type-A kind of gal, I shed that engagement glow and started hunting for venues and vendors pretty quickly. At the same time, I know my limits. I was very aware that we would need a village to help keep me and my fiancé organized and on top of everything. Aside from our bridal party and family, this is where the right wedding vendors can ease a lot of stress.
Searching for wedding vendors was not as easy as I thought it would be. There’s a lot of talent out there, but finding the personalities, aesthetic, and, of course, budgets that fit you as a bride and/or groom is where it can be tough. And of course, after all that, your vendors of choice have to be available on your wedding date (getting married in the off-season helps SO much with this, by the way).
In this post, I’m documenting the vendors and businesses that really stood out for us from start to finish. These individuals played a huge role in helping us prepare for and pull off the best day of our lives.
Apparel & Accessories
La Maison d’Or Jewellery
The team at La Maison D’Or was so patient with us as we went through the process of picking wedding bands (and, in Jason’s case, through the process of designing my engagement ring). Through a handful of in-store visits and a dozen emails back and forth, Arpi, Brent and Jessica imparted their knowledge of metals and gemstones on us, and gave us options that fit within our style and budget. We never felt pressured to buy from them, even when we decided to go in another direction for Jason’s band.
Our post-purchase experience at this family-run business has been just as refreshing. They stop to talk to us like we’re old friends, always offer to polish my engagement ring (including a few days before the wedding so that it was nice and shiny for those detail shots!), facilitated ring resizing with ease, and even offered us tickets to the local wedding expo this past year. I mean, what more can you ask for from your jeweler?
Ruffled Rose Boutique
The Ruffled Rose Boutique is a local mother/daughter-run custom veil business that came highly recommended to me from past brides. They offer handcrafted veils at considerably lower prices than what I was quoted at bridal boutiques. When I saw that they were an Ottawa business too, I jumped at the opportunity to support local.
My communication with Julie was primarily through Instagram DMs. I reached out months in advance of my wedding date to ask about timelines and Julie offered to send swatches to me right away. In fact, she sent me more swatches weeks later when she received a different tulle that they could offer to their clients.
I was also struck by how kind and responsive she was. You would think that choosing a piece of tulle to wear on your head would be pretty simple but, if you want to get into it, there are so many details to consider. She walked me through various length, width, fabric, comb, and blusher options. Julie had clear answers for each of my questions that made finalizing my veil one of the easiest decisions during the wedding planning process.
Once all the details were chosen, Janine finished the veil in a few days and I picked it up a few weeks later. Janine was so sweet as she helped me try it on to make sure I was happy with it before folding and packing it away for me to take home, complete with care instructions. This was such a stress-free process!
Beauty & Hair
Erin Heather Bridal
When seeking out hair and make-up stylists, I was looking for someone who could create a natural, dewy look. I don’t wear a lot of make-up on a daily basis so I didn’t want to stray too far from that on my wedding day. Lucky for me, Erin has perfected the exact effortless look I was going for: soft waves, glowing skin, and a touch of glam.
Working with Erin felt like working with an old friend. In addition to being so charismatic and hilarious, she is very professional and organized. She encouraged me to give her feedback every step of the way during and after my trial until I was completely happy with my look. She listened and took into consideration my concerns about oily skin and oily eyelids (it’s a thing!) and had products to counter each of these issues so that my make-up wouldn’t budge.
Before my trial and wedding day, her assistant, Olivia, sent me and my bridesmaids a short list of tips to prep our skin and hair to help it last the long day ahead. She also prepared a schedule of “appointments” for the morning of the wedding so that my girls knew when they were getting made up.
(Photos by Agatha Rowland)
Bright and early in the morning, Erin and her two assistants arrived at our hotel room to do hair and make-up for me, my four bridesmaids, one groomswoman, and my mom. We were all done on time, and each given a little lipstick sample for later on in the day.
Best of all, my hair and make-up stayed in place all day and night, even after dancing for four hours. Needless to say, Erin‘s a miracle worker and I would recommend her to anyone seeking a hair and/or make-up artist.
Avi Scribbles Art Co.
The addition of a handwritten welcome sign came late in the planning process for us but, when I saw the living wall at the entrance of our venue, I thought it would make the perfect backdrop for a statement sign. I initially looked into purchasing a large ornate mirror but then noticed that a local calligrapher offered mirror rentals, and she had the perfect one for this space!
Avi is a consummate professional who also feels like your BFF. She has such a positive energy that emanates from her. When I reached out to her about hand-painting her rental mirror for our wedding, she sounded so enthusiastic about this project. She answered all my questions about the mirror, sent me additional photos of it, and even offered to adjust the backing so that we could hang it, if needed. Talk about great customer service!
After we finalized our wording, Avi sent us two draft designs superimposed onto the mirror, which served as a great visual. This made the choosing a design so easy for us.
When we went to pick the mirror up about a week later, it looked exactly like how she drafted it. It made the perfect finishing touch to our wedding decor and we couldn’t have been happier with it.
Moonchild Lettering Co.
Because our wedding was planned for late-Fall, I thought that personalized leather moto jackets would be the perfect accessory for me and my bridesmaids.
I found ivory and black jackets by Blank NYC (similar here) and sought an artist who could hand-paint a colourful floral design onto the back of the ivory jacket. Luckily for me, Kassandra from Moonchild Lettering Co. offered this service. Working with Kass was a breeze. I shared inspiration photos with her and gave her some general ideas of the style I was going for. Kass drafted three designs, which reassured me that we had the same vision. I picked one for the back of my jacket.
She was open to revising the design, both during the draft process and after she had finished painting it, until I was completely happy with it. She also hand-painted my bridesmaids’ names onto their jackets, which made for the perfect gifts.
I’m so thankful for her patience and enthusiasm, and of course, her artistry. The jackets all turned out beautifully!
What first drew us to Luxe Duo as a piano-cello duo was their willingness to play songs that were not in their current repertoire (which, by the way, is already so diverse in and of itself!). Jay and I wanted to inject some customization into our wedding with the aim of keeping every aspect of it as true to us as a couple as possible. We thought that picking some of our favourite songs to be played live during the ceremony was the perfect subtle touch of personalization. And Luxe Duo delivered.
I reached out to Luxe Duo almost a year before our wedding. We continued to email back and forth for months before we officially hired Dian and Brandon. Even so, I think they always replied within 24 hours so I was never anxiously waiting for a response from them. Dian even sent me live samples of her work late into the evening so that we could hear how she played songs that we were thinking of including in our ceremony. Their customer service is on point!
In the end, we decided to invest in Luxe Duo‘s live music for our ceremony and we have absolutely no regrets. We asked them to play some of our favourite love songs, including a song that Jay learned to play for me when he proposed. It added such a lovely personal touch to the ceremony. We are so happy to have had them play for us and our guests on our wedding day!
As a side note, our song list included:
- The Luckiest – Ben Folds
- I Will Follow You Into the Dark – Death Cab for a Cutie
- Yellow – Coldplay
- I Choose You – Sara Bareilles
- Bridesmaids’ Processional: Malibu – Miley Cyrus
- Bridal Processional: Chasing Cars – Snow Patrol
- Signing: Mirrors – Justin Timberlake
- Recessional: Born to be Yours – Kygo & Imagine Dragons
Dulce Couture Cakes
Gabriela, the woman behind Dulce Couture Cakes, is the definition of “girl boss.” When we sat down with her for our tasting, we got to talking about how she found herself in the business of making cakes. Her journey to Dulce Couture is one of passion, hard work and perseverance. I felt so inspired by her after meeting her in person!
But, I digress. Besides her incredible story, she creates deliciously flavourful and moist cakes with delicate and ornate handmade details. During our tasting, we sampled four different cakes with four different icings, including the one that we had told her we were interested in. We also talked about sugar flower designs, colour schemes, and the overall feel that we were shooting for, which she took into consideration while crafting her final design. At our request, she happily added poppyseeds to the lemon cake we chose, and went out of her way to purchase a ribbon to tie around the cake’s top tier to pull the whole look together.
When we saw our cake on our wedding day, it was exactly what we were expecting. A modern, minimal cake with a touch of romance. We saved the cake for our family to eat the day after the wedding, which made for the perfect post-wedding treat as we reminisced about our magical evening the night before.
As wedding favors for our family and friends, we curated a table of our favourite desserts from two local bakeries. We received so many compliments on these desserts the day after our wedding that I had to share more about these two as well!
Annie from Doughbaby Doughnuts is the doughnut queen. Her Instagram is full of her innovative baked creations and, when I saw all the flavours and designs she offered, I was hooked. Not only does she have a huge variety of flavours, she has vegan options too. Plus, they’re all nut-free!
(Photo by Agatha Rowland)
Annie sells her doughnuts at local markets and eateries but I ordered a dozen specific flavours from her to try out before making our final selections for our dessert table. Ordering was a breeze (the hardest part was choosing between all the flavours she offers, honestly). She even delivered to the venue on our wedding day for a small fee, so the process overall was stress-free.
Her doughnuts were a huge hit. In fact, I heard someone even snuck one off the table before dinner was served and, by the end of the night, they were all gone!
Three Tarts Bakeshop
Three Tarts Bakeshop is an institution in Ottawa. They are my favourite bakery in the city, bar none. They are my go-to for cakes, tarts and pies so I thought they would be the perfect addition to our dessert table.
(Photo by Agatha Rowland)
We reached out to Emily at Three Tarts to pick an array of desserts, including homemade tarts, chocolate-covered marshmallows, cookies, and macaroons that stayed in our budget and arrange delivery to our venue the morning of our wedding. Although we didn’t get to try the desserts on the night of, we heard from our guests that they were delicious and the empty dessert table at the end of the night spoke volumes.
Although an officiant can often be an afterthought in the planning process, they can make or break your ceremony. To me, it was important to find someone that suited our personalities, understood our vision, and could deliver the type of ceremony that we wanted. After all, they are the voice that greets your guests and directs you through your matrimonial vows.
Shelley was earnest, accommodating, and really cared about making our wedding ceremony a true representation of us as a couple. We envisioned our ceremony to be short, intimate and moving, but also light-hearted. From our first phone call, to meeting in person, to walking us through our rehearsal, to officiating our wedding day―she was there every step of the way as the calming voice of expertise, whenever we had questions or needed advice.
After getting a feel for how we wanted to ceremony to run, Shelley made scripting the ceremony so simple for us (note: I wanted to be a little more hands-on with the ceremony and she was happy to let us hold the reins when we wanted to!). Shelley has a plethora of resources and sent us a number of samples to pick and choose from to help us piece together a mock-up. She always offered to share more samples or revise wording in case anything didn’t suit us. She never blinked an eye to any of the “less traditional” additions we wanted to include in the script, and even encouraged it. To me, this spoke volumes about her professionalism and adaptability.
(Photo by Agatha Rowland)
Shelley made some suggestions for the ceremony (and that we, ourselves, would not have thought of!) that enhanced the experience for us and our guests. She also had a great sense of humour and evoked a few laughs from our guests with her ad-libbing, which was exactly what we wanted from her. She worked with our wedding party to write in personal anecdotes, which she shared with us during the ceremony. Altogether, the ceremony set the perfect tone for the rest of the day.
Last but not least, Shelley even left us a card and gift on our wedding day, which was totally unexpected but so so so sweet. We truly could not have asked for a more lovely officiant to marry us off!
Photographer / Videographer
As I’ve said before, photography was one of our top priorities when it came to booking vendors. Before booking our three engagement shoots—heck, before picking out our venue—we had decided on our wedding photographer. Our choice of videographer came shortly after that. And, as a last-minute addition, we decided to also hire a photographer to document our tea ceremony.
For two people as indecisive as me and Jay, it was surprising how quickly we knew that Agatha was the right photographer for us. We wanted a documentary-style photographer who could capture the emotion of the day, work in low light—our wedding was at the end of November—and help direct us while shooting.
(Photos by Agatha Rowland)
After meeting Agatha via Skype, we knew she was the perfect fit. She was so professional and pleasant, and answered all our questions confidently. She had a very calming energy to her, which is exactly what I knew I needed. If we had any doubts, our engagement shoot with her sealed the deal.
(Photos by Agatha Rowland)
Agatha is very organized and her experience really shone through when we started planning our wedding day timeline with her. She recommended locations for our first look, wedding party portraits, family portraits and couple’s portraits, and helped us tweak our wedding day schedule to ensure we had enough time for photos at each of our chosen locations.
On our wedding day, Agatha arrived on time and jumped right into shooting with the bridal party in our hotel room while her second shooter, Liam, shot the guys. We had a tight schedule in the morning but she kept us on track, letting me know how much time we had left before the ceremony and how we could adjust the schedule on the fly, if needed. She stayed calm and collected, which helped us feel as relaxed and comfortable as possible even though it felt like everything flew by around us.
When we weren’t taking portraits, Agatha and Liam were practically invisible. I barely saw them the whole night, except briefly before some moments that required a little more coordination like our sparkler exit and my fireworks surprise for Jay.
(Photos by Agatha Rowland)
Jay and I received our full online album less than a month after our wedding and we are so ecstatic about the photographs. As we flipped through the collection that she sent us, our hearts must have grown 50 times their regular size. It was like watching our wedding day unfold before us again, including moments that we didn’t even get to see in person on the day of!
(Photos by Agatha Rowland)
Simply put, Agatha is such a gem to work with. We cannot thank her enough for giving us the most beautiful mementos from our wedding day. We will cherish these forever!
Jinbon‘s distinct cinematography style made him stand out for us as a wedding videographer. It’s romantic, it’s emotional, and it’s real. The moments captured in each and every one of his videos, to me, shares the soul of each wedding he films. He has an eye for beautiful composition and you can tell he’s studied his craft meticulously.
Besides his technical skill, I was so impressed by Jinbon‘s professionalism and thoughtfulness. He tries to get to know his couples and their wedding in advance to ensure that he documents the most important memories for them. I chatted with him on numerous occasions to ask for his opinion on certain aspects of our wedding and, regardless of how seemingly trivial, he was always responsive. I never felt like I was a hindrance.
On our wedding day, we barely noticed Jinbon while he worked. I think this is a credit to him capturing the real, authentic moments of the day like a fly on the wall. Unobstrusive but present where we needed him. We feel so fortunate to be able to call Jinbon both a friend and our wedding videographer.
Jinbon sent us a teaser of our video a few weeks after our wedding and we squealed while watching it half a dozen times. A couple weeks after that, we received our wedding video. And we were awestruck. It is so thoughtfully put-together; he paired the footage to the music perfectly. Most importantly, we could really feel the emotion of the day through it. There may or may not have been a few tears shed the night we watched it together.
Words can’t express how special this video is to us. To see our friends and family together in one place, on one night, all captured by one of our closest friends… well, our hearts are so full of love and gratitude. Thank you, Jinbon, for encapsulating our day into the most beautiful five minutes.
Mary was a last-minute discovery whose Instagram page I was fortunate to stumble upon a few weeks before our tea ceremony. I was looking for a photographer who could capture candid, raw emotion in photos; work in small, crowded spaces; and adjust well to different types of lighting. We were holding the tea ceremony in November in two houses crammed with over 40 people, so we knew space was limited and natural light would be a challenge. Mary ticked all the boxes.
I had only spoken to her once on the phone before she came to shoot our tea ceremony but it felt like talking to an old friend. Not only that, but she’s a positive, ball of energy that both our families loved. We couldn’t help but smile when we were around her (this made taking portraits a breeze!).
When she sent us our complete, edited gallery just three days after our tea ceremony, we were utterly stunned. First of all, by the quick turnaround, and secondly, by the photos she delivered. It was hard for us to believe that a single photographer was able to move around undetected in the tight spaces where we held our ceremony and capture the variety of shots that she did within two hours.
We received her gallery link while we were at my in-laws’ house so we were able to flip through it that evening with family that was still in town from the wedding. It was such a special moment and the reactions were priceless. Mary is extraordinary and we’re so lucky to have booked her!