Toronto Bride and Lifestyle Designer Alexandra shares the design process behind her and husband Andrew’s Stylish Modern Garden Inspired D.I.Y Berkeley Fieldhouse Toronto Wedding beautifully captured by Strokes Photography.
You describe the Berkeley Fieldhouse as a getaway oasis in the middle of the city. How did you work this theme into the planning and design of your wedding?
Berkeley Fieldhouse made it super easy for me to work with. It fell perfectly inline with my style to begin with. It has beautiful lush greenery, which just naturally added to the look and feel I’ve desired.
I absolutely loved the layout and the treehouse which guests could attend. It was a perfect indoor/outdoor space on a gorgeous summer evening where guests can get both of the worlds. The greenery outside also tied in the greenery centrepieces. The gorgeous chandeliers inside tied in the gold accents of my designs perfectly. In addition to the lighting that we were able to set the mood and colour scheme.
Berkeley Fieldhouse was a perfect in between of getting here with ease, and walking into an unexpected garden. It was just the perfect spot and made planning super easy.
The bridal suite photos have a beautiful ethereal quality. What was the photographers process for creating this album?
We originally weren’t sure if this room would work for photographic since it was a little dark, but also didn’t fit the colour scheme well. However, we tried a few shots, and they turned out one better than the next. My bridesmaids and I had some drinking champagne while the photographer captured this! She also played with angles and mirrored reflections to add to the shots.
What was your process for choosing your photographer and what did you like best about your wedding album?
Our photographer was amazing. Jo, from Strokes Photography was a pleasure to work with. She really made our visions come to life. She knew from the start that I was a huge plant lover. She incorporated lovely plants into the shoot to make for gorgeous photos that really reflects us. Sam, the secondary shooter, had also given us a lot of amazing tips for us to look our best and make things easier on us. We had full confidence prior to the wedding day that our photos would look amazing. Strokes Photography had sent us back photos that looked beautiful and natural yet fit into the colour scheme without trying too hard, without major intense editing. Honestly, there isn’t one photo that I don’t love from the day.
You got immediate feedback from your wedding guests that they described your wedding as the best wedding ever. What were some of the best choices you made that contributed to this success on your wedding day?
Some of these choices came from the food we’ve selected, (as a small example, some people who don’t even enjoy oysters, somehow became the biggest fans at the wedding). All of the food was amazing. It was also amazing to be able to have SOP bar service. Due to this, we were able to get some interesting and unique drinks for guests to choose from. My now husband, made some great custom alcohol choices based on knowing our guests and their taste, and also trying to ensure a good balance / variety of options so everyone has something they can enjoy. The guests loved their drink and food choices.
In addition to the food and drinks, we added a fire performance. Adding this unique element isn’t what people are used to seeing at other weddings. It really added a personal touch to have my friend do a lovely show for us.
And most importantly, we wanted everything to be perfect for our guests, but we also wanted to feel relaxed, casual and put emphasis on fun over formality. We wanted the day to feel more fun and not overly formal. Guests had a nice variety of ability to be outside on a nice summer evenings, or being inside dancing away. Everyone had a fun time.
How did you incorporate elements of your love story and how you met your husband into the themes of your wedding day?
We originally had a website for guests to RSVP which contained our story. We also incorporated our story in the ceremony portion to give our guests a recap. It made for a fun addition to the ceremony. In addition to that, I spin hula hoops and perform with them. To tie that element in, we added the hooping game where guests had to spin the hula hoop in order to get us to kiss rather than the traditional glass clinks. I also hula hooped by the end of the night, in my wedding dress.
Strokes was able to capture our fire performer beautifully (which is a difficult task to get the perfect exposure and to capture in a still.) Strokes was able to capture our true reactions as well as our guests perfectly. They found a great balance between photographing all the elements I’ve wanted and all the elements I didn’t even know I wanted but now seeing them are amazing.
What was your process for ensuring that all your design elements and styling choices worked so cohesively in the space ?
I’ve created a moodboard for myself 1st and foremost. To keep with the styling, I kept to minimal colours that work well together. Our colours were dusty rose (which is reflected in the invites, and in the lighting), white and gold also were used as accents. We’ve matched other small details, such as the hula hoop, card box, the centrepieces, and other print materials had gold accents to tie things in together. The floral/plant accents were also tied into the seating chart. I think it’s important to pick one or two defining parts of the design and run it thru to other pieces to create a cohesive look.
We’ve used the rustic vibes of the Berkeley Fieldhouse interior to dictate a clean/bright aesthetic, and the outdoor space let people enjoy the evening with fresh air.
You are a fire dancer and performer, how did you incorporate this into your wedding day and share your passion with your guests?
We hired one of my fellow fire spinnings and a friend to perform at our wedding. This is something our guests know we do, but not all have seen it in person. It was really nice to be able to share the magic of fire to our guests. She did a show with fire fans, then one hula hoop and moved on to two hula hoops. The fire really adds a nice warmth and graceful beauty to a show.
The venue itself falls perfectly inline with our style to begin with, so it made it super easy to create a lovely atmosphere. The added lights under the outdoor canopy were an amazing addition by the Berkeley Fieldhouse as they also tied in the fairlyights curtain we had on the arc and the lights in the terrariums.
You documented your design process and shared it out on your design profile. How did this start a conversation and add an element to your wedding experience?
I thought documenting my process would fun a fun experience and to show some people which steps I took to get here. It was also a fun way to get people excited and to give a glimpse into the day itself.
What were some of your sources of inspiration for the wedding graphics and decor elements you created?
As a designer, I really wanted to create my own printed materials. I’ve looked at many inspirational images prior to starting and wanted it to look slightly different than a one page print. I chose vellum paper which had black and gold typography print for luxury and easy readability. Vellum on it’s own could be tough to read from, so placing dusty rose backing to the invite tied in our dusty rose colour as well as made it easier to read. Together these were hole punched by hand, and then attached together with a snap to create a clean finish. To top it, I’ve added a lovely gold ribbon to really tie in the gold into the look and feel. The ribbon added a touch of luxury and texture.
You decided to forego florals for terrarium succulent centrepieces with fairy lights. This had a stunning outcome. What was your process for creating these designed pieces?
Succulents and plants in general are a personal passion. I really wanted the decor to reflect our lives and my own unique personality. I’ve bought a whole bunch of succulents and assembled them into each terrarium with a gold trim.
I also have so many fairy lights at home, and they look beautiful in any situation. I’ve added the fairylights into the terrarium – and they reflected beautifully on the glass. We’ve also attached a fairlight curtain to the arc outside, to add some magical look.
Huge thanks to my maid of honour – who had helped me cut the wood slices which were added under the terrariums. We had a few craft days to sand the wooden slices and add polish to them to create a more complete wooden coaster. The coasters added a more complete and natural look to the glammed up terrariums. Fieldhouse to me also has a half rustic, and half glitzy look and feel so the centrepieces worked well with that look.
What is the story of your beautiful wedding dress?
The 1st store I ever went to had a big pouffy dress with lacy sleeves which I loved, but wasn’t sure if I wanted to buy the 1st dress I saw. Around this time, we had a trip booked, and were gone for about couple of weeks. After the trip, I’ve gone to maybe about 5 stores to try on a variety of dresses and none had really spoken to me. After that, I came back to that 1st store again, and that 1st dress that I originally liked – was gone. I wasn’t sure what to do at this point when the owner of the store suggested to look at the store selection once more time. I’ve looked with my mom and maid of honour, and we found this one. Quite similar – but even better! It was probably a blessing in disguise that the 1st dress was gone. The 1st dress had sleeves, so in retrospect, I’d probably be way too hot on a summer night. Finding this dress with thin elegant straps, this dress was perfect. It had a low back cut, which was what I wanted to begin with. It also had very subtle florals on it that weren’t too overwhelming – and tied back into the plant theme. This dress really made me feel like a fairy, and was the most comfortable to be in. Even more fun to dance in!
What was the spark that set you on your path as a plant lover and when did you begin to get experience as a stylist?
I’ve always fancied plants but never had much space for them. It wasn’t until about 4 years ago, my friend got me a tiny sprout of a plant that somehow I’ve managed to keep alive.1 plant turned into now… 50 plants in my apartment. I was starting to repot and propagate my plants. It was only obvious that I should incorporate that aspect into the wedding.
Since I was also creating my own floral arrangements timing wise seemed to make perfect sense. Terrariums could be made much in advance and just kept alive, and night before the wedding, my bridesmaids and I had a crafting party, making boutonnieres, bouquets and corsages. One of my fellow plant lover and enthusiast, was able to help me out get a quote from a small floral shop and from there we both planned out via drawing how the arrangement might look like, and how many flowers we might need in total. We were quiet organized and pre-planned every aspect. She drew me lovely diagram which made it much simpler to create all the florals. She also had helped me transport the two giant buckets of flowers and greenery into my home. From there on, my home become a floral workshop station. The fridge was full of flowers that night to keep them fresh for the wedding.
My mom and a couple of my friends helped me seamlessly move all the decor into the venue. They are the real true champs for transporting so many things, and nothing broke or shifted. I figured the terrariums would be the hardest to move from point A to point B since there are rocks and so many loose parts, that if anything shifts, all will fall apart. They somehow managed to move it and everything stayed perfectly together!
Design Styling and Florals : Hoops Plants