Catherine and Adam’s elegant Backyard wedding took place at their couple’s own home! The couple decided to celebrate their marriage with a fabulous tent reception on the stunning grounds of their new family home. We’re loving the elegant-yet-casual style that the couple implemented with the help of Elise Schmitz of Toast Events. The reception details are gorgeous from the hundreds of taper candles, to the suspended white floral structures by The Design Co. Florals to the draped linen panels lining the tent. We love the way the design of the candlelit dinner is both incredible lush and totally relaxed at the same time. Check out all the details in these gorgeous images captured by Joel & Justyna.
What made the wedding special and unique?
Adam and I just purchased what we hope will be our forever home and we were able to do both the ceremony and the reception in our very own yard. We purchased a home that was obviously too large for just the two of us, but we purchased it with our future family in mind. If we are lucky, one day when we tell our kids about our wedding and we show them our photos, they will get to see what the house used to looked like. We also don’t know anyone that had their wedding in their own yard. Not too many people get to do that we are so fortunate that we did.
Tell us about the gown and where/how you found it!
I originally took my mother and mother-in law to look at gowns in New York. I needed something a bit low key as I was just at the very beginning of the process. I went to With Love Bridal in Kanata on a Wednesday afternoon by myself. I was paired with the owner of the store who made the experience calming and not too fussy. This was the second dress that I tried on and it was between this dress and another one that I really liked. But it wasn’t until she put on the veil that I decided that this was the one. I liked that it was simple, with a pretty back detail. I didn’t want aggressive beading or shimmer. I just wanted the dress to be pretty and to look like me, and I wanted it to be a timeless that I would still like when I looked back on photos many years later. I also liked that my dress was going to be a surprise to my whole family. I offered to show my mom and bring her subsequent appointments but she agreed that the surprise was better!
What were some touches added to make the wedding personal?
We had so many! Because we wanted the day to be personal we really paid attention to every detail! Here are some of my favorites!
Walking down the aisle, I hired Adam’s favorite blues singer in town to play during the ceremony and cocktail hour. He learned Mary’s Song (which is really not what he does) just for us. It made both our mothers cry. Also, his raspy voice was just so lovely it would make anything sound romantic and sweet!
Both my husband and I have, or are currently working in the beverage alcohol industry and specifically Canadian Whisky is something that we both have spent the better part of our careers working with. I stumbled upon this adorable tradition called Burry the Bourbon while on Pinterest one day. It’s a southern tradition where that the bride and groom bury a bottle of bourbon upside down on the site of their wedding exactly one month (to the day) before your wedding. This is to ward off any rain. On the wedding day, the groom digs up the bottle and it is shared as the first toast with the bridal party. Given our strong relationship with Canadian whisky – we swapped out the bourbon for a bottle of Wiser’s Red Letter (stellar by the way and the box photographed VERY well). I have to say, even with the swap it worked. It rained the entire week of our wedding with the exception of our actual wedding day. October is a bit of a gamble weather-wise but it was beautiful and sunny.
In addition to not loving the idea of speaking in public, I am also a ugly-crier at best and didn’t think I could get through a thank you speech without crying. And really no one wants a photo of that! So instead of long, drawn out speech Adam and I individually wrote thank-yous to each of our guests. Guests were assigned seats at dinner and a personalized message was written to each person thanking them for the contribution that they had made to our lives and taped underneath their seats. At speech time, instead of the bride and groom toasting each other we toasted to our family and friends and asked them too look under their seats.
The Cigar Roller! My husband LOVES cigars and Whisky. Since we have been together a long time we had already exchanged the classic gifts like watches, and cuff links etc. As his gifts, I brought in Frank Correnti from Toronto to do cigar rolling for our guests. I even had little matchboxes made with the initial of our last name to make it a bit more special. The leftover boxes now sit atop a whisky barrel that we got as a gift in our home.
Our Give away: In my spare time, I write a tiny little blog called Whisky and Champagne. In a very small homage to that, we gave away Whisky and Champagne bottles to our guests as a thank you. We had little tags printed that said “Poppin’ Bottles with Mr. and Mrs. Bolek.”
What was the most memorable part of the day?
For me, the most memorable part of the day was having my brother do the ceremony. Adam and I actually got legally married the weekend before, leaving the ceremony available for us to do whatever we wanted. It was quick and very sweet and a bit emotional (honestly – to this day I have no idea how I didn’t cry) and we were so lucky to have someone that loved us so much performing the ceremony.
For Adam, he will say hands down the dinner. The food was straight up spectacular. Adam and I wanted to mix elegant and casual as much as possible as that is very much who we are. We are the type of people that will go to a black tie dinner on a Friday and then drive up to a friend’s cottage on Saturday and spend the weekend in flannel and jeans. So our guests wore black tie, but we served family style BBQ. SWAY band was amazing and created the perfect tempo for the meal; people were laughing and having a great time. It felt like a fancy family dinner. We tried to cut out a lot of the formality of a wedding. So we just had a 2 minute welcome speech and our speech and that’s it. We also opted out of a formal cake cutting and chose to do it off to the side unannounced instead. I did not toss a bouquet and we didn’t do the garter toss. Instead we did dueling Champagne fountains.
Tell us how you met and became engaged.
Adam and I met when we were 8. Our parents have been best friends for years and we even vacationed together when we were young. In truth, it was not love at first sight. In fact, we didn’t really even start spending too much time together until we were teens. Although we both admit that the flirting started then and continued throughout university. It was not until well after university that we really started dating. We actually didn’t even tell our parents for a solid 6 months because we didn’t want them to get their hopes up (as we had no idea if this would work out or not).
Adam and I got engaged 2 years ago at our annual Christmas party. Every year (except this year – we had a wedding instead) we host a party that usually brings in about 40-60 of our friends to enjoy in the Christmas cheer. Adam had my ring made in Toronto and a friend of ours was bringing the ring to Ottawa that day. Adam had actually been planning the engagement for a long time and was planning on proposing the next day. But Adam has never been very good at waiting to give gifts; he just has never been able to do it – I generally get my Christmas gift at the beginning of December because the thought of holding onto it for a month seems silly to him. He had wanted to propose the next day after all the chaos of the party had settled and he wanted us to be in PJ’s having a coffee and cuddling on the couch avoiding cleaning up. But in true Adam style, I think he had the ring in his pocket for about a half hour before he popped the question. We were in the kitchen doing dishes before guests arrived and he just couldn’t wait. He also surprised me with a vacation to St. Lucia and our flight was the next day. So we enjoyed the evening with our friends with some Christmas cheer and then spent a week on the beach.
Photography: Joel & Justyna // Planning + Design: Elise Schmitz, Toast Events // Florals: The Design Co. Florals // Invites + Paper: Ben Purkiss // Venue: Private Residence // Makeup: Klava Zykova // Hair: Mac + Pucci Studio // Catering: Meatings // Live Music: Sway Band // Ceremony Music: John Carroll // Cigar Bar: Correnti Cigars // Ceiling Treatment: Sage Designs // Dinnerware Rentals: Plate Occasions // Clear Tent And Chair Rentals: Party Time Rentals // Cake & Pies: Caroline Schmitz // Props and Farm Tables: Makin’ It Lovely // Paper Cups: Candice Kay Designs