Mackenzie and Jordan share their beautiful  intimate wedding experience and the love story of their day.
What were some of the surprising benefits of having fewer guests and how did you make gestures to your larger guest list who due to restrictions could not attend ?

We were rather unlucky in that our wedding was cancelled just 8 days before the scheduled date. Toronto implemented new gathering restrictions and although we had a feeling it was coming it was still a heartbreaking moment considering we had everything ready to go. There were of course ‘why us and why right now’ moments when weddings had gone on relatively normal the few months prior but we knew the restrictions were to keep our guests safe. We also wanted everyone to enjoy themselves on our special day which might not have been easily done in a 50 person gathering at that time and we didn’t want anyone to feel nervous so we like to think everything happens for a reason. We explained the situation to all of our guests and they were very understanding and we thanked them for that.

The surprising benefit was lack of nerves I think, we both felt incredibly calm the whole day. I think we would have been much more nervous/fluttery to get married in front of and entertain a large group of people on an already highly emotional day.

Instead it was just our immediate families and wedding party, which I think added a layer of calm to the whole day which was just what we needed.

You had to alter and adapt many of your wedding plans to where to event regulations and stay safe, yet you managed to have a beautiful celebration what advice would you give couples in the same situation?

The main thing we learned throughout this process was that you can dwell on every possible scenario, you can have a plan A, B and C and how you think you’ll feel about them as outcomes. However you really won’t know how you’ll feel until the moment presents itself and it’s time to make a real decision. I think it’s still smart to prepare yourself mentally for the potential back up plans but I would recommend trying your best to not to overthink everything; somethings are out of your control so try not to obsess about them- easier said than done though! When this pandemic first started we were 100% convinced we would be postponing our original 120+ wedding until 2021 or later. We have been together for almost 10 years already so we didn’t feel there was any rush. However, fast-forward 7 months and we were married with 14 people in attendance at an outdoor ceremony. We didn’t see that coming in a million years, so take everything in stride!

How did you adjust and work with your florist to keep your intentions for design in mind but adjust and re-plan your celebration?

Our florist Kate Torelli of Belle Epoque Floral Design was amazing. We actually worked together the year prior on a Netflix show ‘Madam CJ Walker’ and I absolutely fell in love with her floral designs then and once we were engaged I knew I had to book her. We worked within the palette I had in mind and she made stunning mood boards so I could get the overall feel. We had to eliminate some designs when we changed the reception (no longer needed an arch with florals behind the sweetheart table for example) but she was so understanding and extremely flexible during the entire process.

What is the story of your gorgeous wedding dress?

The dress is a Paloma Blanca and I found it at Kleinfeld’s in Toronto. It was my third dress shop and although I had some contenders I hadn’t fallen in love yet. This was the first dress I tried on that day and the bridal consultant was actually the one who picked it out. It was a pretty clear stand out to my mum and bridesmaids who were in attendance with me as I flounced around . It’s funny because I had said ‘the only thing I don’t want is strapless’ and look what happened. I also decided to have the dress lined in the front, so the exposed corset was just at the back- I thought it looked more timeless that way.

You have a creative profession, how did your professional work experience and interests help you in your wedding planning process ?

Well I’m very organized so the normal side of the planning process wasn’t stressful for me since I’m used to buying and decorating film sets as my day job. The hardest thing was staying on our personal budget and realizing rather quickly that I couldn’t do everything I had envisioned. It was also fun to work within the fall colour palette as we’re naturally drawn to fall colours in daily life so it felt like an expression of us.

If your weddings mood and theme was most like one of your favourite films which one would it be and why?

Our wedding mood and theme was a bit of a 1920’s vibe, drinks served in coupe glasses while jazz played in the background all night so perhaps the Great Gatsby? We had fallen in love with La Maquette for it’s nod to art deco and we intended to bring in more gold accents and candlelight to elevate it. Our wedding party had an old Hollywood timeless look with the men in sharp black suits and the women in the rich champagne colours (with some furs of course!)

How important was it to have a photographer who had experience shooting intimate settings so they could capture your day with such beauty and ease?

The immensely talented Jacquie Reimer of Oak and Olive Co. can do it all! One of the reasons I was initially drawn to her portfolio was that she is able to capture the intimate quiet moments within large and busy settings. So as the guest list slowly downsized through the months leading up to the wedding we had no doubt she would easily provide us with a memorable and beautiful photo gallery of our day.

We knew she was a perfect fit when we had our engagement photo session with her in late November 2019. The three of us instantly felt like old friends; she made us feel completely comfortable which is evident in her photos. Jordan was a bit apprehensive about a photo-shoot but he came away beaming and was so happy we decided to hire her. This also alleviated any potential photo stress to come on the wedding day. We highly recommend having engagement photos with your wedding photographer! (and absolutely recommend Jacquie @oakandolive)

How did you keep all the elements of your original wedding plan such as cake, decor, dance, dress and wedding ceremony mood all in place?

Luckily the Berkeley venues are all so beautiful. Originally we had planned to get married at the Berkeley Church, then changed to La Maquette with the smaller guest list and then Berkeley ended up being able to host our ceremony at the Berkeley Fieldhouse (third venue is the charm). They were so lovely to be able to set that up for us with such short notice and our coordinator Brett has been a dream to work with.

In terms of decor, the ceremony was simple because we were able to still keep our statement florals on stands at the ‘alter’. At the last minute I added the aisle markers to make the 12 chairs feel a bit more special.

One of my bridesmaids was unable to attend the wedding so she actually made the delicious wedding cake , which was a lovely way to feel her presence on the day.

We did have to completely pull together a reception table for our house. I was able to rent chairs, dinnerware and linens. I’ve done it many times before for work so that was easy to arrange in a few days notice and we were very happy with how it turned out. I designed a new menu for the table and was of course able to use the same name tags and florals intended for tables at the original reception, although this time we only needed ‘table 1’!

Where did your wedding reception take place and what were some of the impressions you have now of this experience?

We had it at our home. We are lucky enough to be able to fit 10 people at our dining room table. We had a cocktail hour with charcuterie and featured one of our favourite cocktails thePaper Plane’. Then we had an amazing 4 course dinner catered by Enoteca Sociale- a delicious Italian restaurant. My maid of honour Rebecca Welker put together a surprise compilation of well wishing video messages from our intimate guest list of those who could no longer attend –this brought the room to tears!

We really enjoyed the quality time we spent with each other and our families. I know with larger weddings the bride and groom can get pulled in so many directions so it was special that we got to hold hands all night and felt no pressure of where to go, what to say or do. After all the hard decisions and frustrations that began to cloud our wedding planning, sitting around that table surrounded by the faces that have made us who we are couldn’t have felt more right in the end.

What was some of the feedback you got from your families on their wedding experience?

 Everyone thought it was the most perfect day, everything went off without a hitch. They had all been our sounding boards for the months leading up to it and knew how difficult it was for us to make decision after decision and continually felt our stress and sadness.

So having the day turn out as splendid as it did was just so exciting and honestly such a relief for everyone.

We were initially going to completely postpone once the new restrictions were in place but we decided waking up on October 18th and not being married was just the opposite of what we wanted out of an already difficult year.

We now know in our heart of hearts that it was the best decision we’ve ever made.

There were some stunning nature locations shots done with your wedding group, where did they take place and how did your photographer curate the outing so effectively?

We were originally going to take photos near our AirBnb for ease of a jam packed day but once we had our new plan it freed up more time . Over Thanksgiving  weekend, Jordan and I decided to scope out Edwards Gardens and we were shocked to find such a large and stunning location in Toronto. We spoke to Jacquie who of course was up for anything and she suggested we do our family photos  at the Berkeley Fieldhouse so then they could rest and prepare the reception while we took the wedding party to the Gardens. Such a good idea, I feel like our mums in heels on those trails might not have been the best idea in retrospect!

Since it was such a stunning fall day it ended up being much busier than when we had scouted it. However everyone was respectful and congratulatory. Jacquie and our videographer Josh Ford navigated the area perfectly and although it definitely wasn’t just the two of us in the park it most certainly felt that way.

Mackenzie Hartridge 

Photographer : Oak and Olive Co

Filmmaker : Josh Ford Media

Floral Designs : Belle Epoque Floral Design 

Dress : Paloma Blanca KleinfieldsToronto 

Officiant : Helen Sweet Officiant 

Berkeley Fieldhouse

Hair piece  : Morgan Lovely 

Hair and Makeup Artist : Eryn Shannon Makeup and Hair