Toronto Bride Megan shares her and Husband James’s gorgeous Micro wedding at Berkeley Fieldhouse with the expert team Laura Olsen Events and Bellwood blooms beutifully captured by Tamara Lockwood Photography.
Toronto Bride Megan shares her experience:
What three words would you use to describe your wedding day?
– Fun, Romantic and Safe (lol)
What were some of the ways you had to adjust your wedding plans and what advice would you give a couple getting married in these complicated times.
We were originally booked to be married at Berkeley Church on April 4th, but of course that didn’t work out. We had picked July 25th as our reschedule date (naively) and were bound and determined to keep that as our day. Funny enough, even back in March all of our vendors were available on July 25th so it felt like it was meant to be. As the new rules and regulations were set we worked with Berkeley events team to see what would be possible and what we could proceed with. Our original plan was to do the ceremony at our original space in Berkeley Church then move outside for a reception at Berkeley Fieldhouse. The Tuesday before our day, with Toronto implementing new by laws, we had to move our ceremony outside so that we (James and I) wouldn’t be wearing a mask inside throughout the ceremony.
While COVID had a big impact on our day, we didn’t want to look back on ceremony pictures of us in masks and only remember COVID being part of it. That meant we had to change our whole ceremony space in a couple of days. Ruth from Bellwood Blooms came up with amazing ideas to repurpose a big ceremony piece we had ready to go for the ceremony inside. Another big change that we had to make was our guestlist. We had first booked a 150 person wedding and now how to change that to under 50.
We decided to stick to immediate family and bridal party with their spouses only, which was about 30 people, and set up a zoom link for our friends and family who couldn’t join us. This ended up working out great and Berkeley helped us pick a good spot for the webcam and we were able to use their wifi. We had over 115 people join over zoom! We also didn’t have dancing but it was nice to be able to have some drinks and enjoy the company of our guests (socially distanced of course). In order to keep everyone safe, Berkeley did temperature checks on everyone upon entry and I had sent out a note asking anyone who may have any symptoms (mild or severe) to please stay home. I bought masks for everyone coming to the wedding and our little wedding favour was a bottle of hand sanitizer for everyone.
The main piece of advice that I would have to other couples during this time is that ultimately we are not always in control and sometimes you just have to go with the flow. A lot of things didn’t turn out the way we had originally planned, but we are so happy that we went ahead and had an intimate wedding. It was truly a special day and we were still able to have most of the aspects of our original day incorporated. As well, work with your vendors, they are trying to navigate this crazy time too and by working with them, asking them for advice and recommendations we were able to pull this day off! If any couples are the fence about what to do, I would highly recommend a “micro” Wedding. It was so amazing to see our wedding vision come to life and we are so happy to, finally, be married!
What were some of your biggest priorities for your wedding day and how did you manage to keep them a priority with the adjustments that happened?
For us the biggest priority was to have a fun and relaxed day. Thankfully we had Laura as our coordinator and she truly kept the day easy for us. By the time we arrived at the venue pretty much everything was set up and ready to go and we were blown away with how her and Ruth were able to bring our vision to life (even with all the last minute changes). We were of course heartbroken we couldn’t have everyone attend, but having people “tune in” over zoom was great.
As well, our bridal party worked with Berkeley to set up a surprise video during the reception from some of our family and friends with sweet messages for us. It was actually one of our highlights from the day and there were lots of tears! Pictures were also very important to me.
We were lucky to have Tamara as our photographer and she had previously shot weddings at both Berkeley Church and Fieldhouse so she knew exactly where we should go for our first look, bridal party shots and family pictures. We wanted to keep pictures outside to keep people safe and thankfully we had the most beautiful day. We have only gotten our sneak peak but were so happy with the pictures and we can’t wait to see more!
We were chatting the day day after the wedding and couldn’t believe how perfect the day was- from the venue, to the food, the ceremony- it all went off without a hitch (for once!). It felt like a normal day after months of uncertainty and frustration and there was so much joy from everyone- it was truly the best day!
In conversation with Laura Olsen Events
How would you describe the wedding style of this gorgeous intimate wedding?
I think we can safely say this quickly became a beautiful, garden-esque environment with all of the stunning florals that filled the space! Megan’s choice of pink glassware and napkins made it feel feminine without it being overwhelming. The pretty menus carried the floral theme through to the smallest detail with them being personalized with each guests’ name and meal choice. Despite the smaller guest count, it didn’t feel as though there was too much space as we were able to take advantage of all of the pretty spaces on the property for guests to enjoy.
What were some of the ways that the wedding design was adjusted with the overall design principals staying in place?
There was some quick thinking when working with the city’s changing guidelines and requirements for safety during Covid, but Megan and James and all of their vendors were completely on board with finding the new norm. It was originally planned to have their ceremony in the mezzanine of the church, but with bride and groom having to wear masks, it was decided to move the ceremony outdoors, which was actually SO dreamy as we had the best weather and that floral detail on the pergola was easily able to be repurposed, framing the sweetheart table for dinner. I remember Megan saying, “I think we have too many flowers now,” and me replying, “NEVER! It is so many people’s dream to have flowers everywhere and we’ve been able to live that out here!”. Otherwise, the rest of the design details transferred quite seamlessly outdoors.
What advice would you offer a couple hoping to get married while abiding by all the safety requirements and what are some of the ways you made adjustments with your couples that keep the joy in the day?
My biggest piece of advice is to allow yourself time to grieve for your original plans if you feel that you need to. Know that there’s nothing wrong with taking some time for that. Second, simply go with the flow, though I know that is easier said than done. Everyone’s safety is a priority at a time like this, and the most important thing is that your closest friends and family are you able to be together to celebrate with you. Being outdoors is a huge plus if the weather allows and having lots of hand sanitizer and face masks on hand certainly help. These stations can even be styled up quite cutely and will likely be something that you look back on with a bit of laughter many years down the road. And if you do decide to do a second event at a later date, know that it will be that much sweeter when that day arrives and you won’t regret it a bit!
Bellwood share their design process and wedding style they created.
How did you work with your couple to arrive at the floral concept they were hoping for?
The plan for Megan + James’s floral decor was adjusted several times over the course of the planning process. Most if not all of those changes were due to venue changes and ceremony/reception location changes that happened weeks and even days prior to the wedding, due to covid 19 restrictions. We worked closely with the bride just days prior to the wedding, to create a beautiful garden inspired ceremony space that played with the already existing and playful garden theme within Berkeley Fieldhouse. We added lots of flowers into the mix from her original floral colour palette of Vintage Mauve, Dusty Rose and Ivory.
What if any adjustments did you make in your process with the micro wedding format ?
We adjusted the guest table by about 50%, from over 12 tables to just 6 (which sat only 4 or 5 guests, rather than 8 to 10). We also opted for a more elaborate and jaw dropping ceremony backdrop and aisle decor, to give the guests as well as the couple a pinterest worthy memory of the ceremony.
You work intuitively with the natural seasons in your design work. What did that mean for this wedding 🙂
During the warmer months, we always aim to work with locally grown flowers and foliage to reduce our carbon footprint. For Megan and James’ July wedding, we were able to source Ontario grown autumn olive foliage for a very garden inspired look. We also incorporated local larkspur, queen anne’s lace, ranunculus and African blue basil (grown in Ontario!) for the florals. All of which added to the lovely textured, garden inspired designs.
What about the Setting of the Berkeley fieldhouse worked well with the design concepts ?
We loved the overall garden vibe at Berkeley Fieldhouse. Rather than us bringing in ALL of the natural decor to a venue, we were able to add to the pre-existing secret garden feel at The Fieldhouse. We think the combination of the natural surroundings already found at the venue, alongside our garden inspired floral designs is what really brought the entire design concept together. You would have never known that Queen Street is just on the other side of the fence.
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I cried just a little bit today while I made this beautiful arbour, as the AV group tested the full length video of well wishes from Megan and James’ many friends and family who were not able to attend their wedding due to ‘you know what’ restrictions. Love is absolutely not cancelled, and having a smaller group physically attend your wedding does not limit the amount of love in the room. Congrats to our lovely couple today, and thanks to that AV guy for bringing all the feels to today’s set up at @berkeleyfieldhouse ✨💍🌿
Does having lots of natural elements form nature work as an antidote to the pandemic stress ?
I would like to think so! I can only imagine that hosting or attending even an intimate gathering during these unprecedented times can be somewhat stressful, no matter how many precautions you take, or how safe the government tells us it is to gather in smaller groups. I would like to believe that hosting your event in a natural setting surrounded by beautiful florals and inspired designs would help calm some of those anxious feelings, and help you and your guests fully immerse themselves while enjoying your event.