Julia and Tyler surprised their guests at their engagement party at Berkeley Bicycle Club event venue Toronto by getting married. Toronto bride Julia discusses their wedding choices and outlines how it was such a success.
You chose your own unique wedding adventure at the Berkeley Bicycle Club. How did you first come up with the idea for your wedding?
We got engaged this past December and knew immediately that we didn’t want to wait to be married. The surprise wedding was something that we had discussed before and that we thought would be a blast. We knew that a completely traditional wedding wasn’t for us, but our plan consisted of all of the parts that we love about weddings. Once we ran the idea past our parents and they were on board, we went for it!
What were your three top priorities when planning your wedding day?
Most importantly, we wanted our friends and family to have fun. We wanted to pay them back for years of love and support! Second was that we both felt comfortable with our day. With a surprise wedding, you skip a lot of tradition and with every step, we kept checking in with one another to ensure that we didn’t feel we were missing out on anything. Third was keeping the secret! Yes, we were bursting as the weeks went on, but we really wanted our guests to be completely surprised. Amazingly, our guests said that in retrospect certain things make a lot more sense now but they would never have guessed it!
Your wedding was all about the unexpected for your guests. What was the feedback you got from this wedding experience?
The reaction from our friends and family was incredible! Over the 4 months that we planned our wedding, we visualised the reveal many, many times. It was one of the moments we were most excited about. Even with all of the anticipation, we couldn’t have imagined the positive feedback. As my brother announced that the engagement party was in fact a wedding, everyone was cheering and they didn’t stop until we were changed and beginning our ceremony. Even after the fact, everyone’s excitement was amazing and made the day so memorable for us.
What was your favourite part of your wedding experience?
The reveal of the surprise done by my older brother and having all of our most important people together in one room.
You incorporated beautiful plants into your ceremony what was the idea behind this?
We are both plant-lovers (you should see our condo) and we thought that the green complimented the venue really well with all of its woodwork and white walls. The plants that I did buy as part of my “vision” were apparently right on target as the Bicycle Club had coincidentally bought the exact same plants to decorate with so the effect was doubled! That was a happy surprise as we set up the day before. The best part is that we still have the plants at home to remind us of our day. (And some with friends and family since there were so many.)
What made you chose the Berkeley Bicycle Club for your wedding day?
As soon as we stepped foot in the Bicycle Club, we knew it was our venue. It was the perfect mix of old and new with little bits of charm scattered everywhere. The layout was perfect for the surprise wedding as we wanted to hide the ceremony space for the first half an hour while guests were arriving. We barely had to do anything to the space. We only added a few plants and candles and we were set! We visited the venue on our first day of searching and it couldn’t be beat.
Who was in on your secret ceremony?
We let immediate family in on the secret from the beginning. We wanted to make sure that everyone was comfortable with the idea. There were a few things that we didn’t want to miss out on such as dress shopping and the excitement of sharing our plans as we made them. Along the way, we let in a few friends to help out who were sworn to secrecy (and who did an amazing job!).
What advice would you give a newly engaged couple?
Plan the wedding you want! There can be so much stress over doing what is traditional or what’s expected. We had so many guests tell us that our wedding was very “us” and that made me so happy. On occasion, I worried that there might be some guests disappointed or upset that they were surprised- but the reaction in the end was so positive. I’m so happy that we stuck to our plan. It was so worth it!
Photographer Abhi Jammi
Additional Photography Freddy Stoeckler