Neal and Darren recently tied the knot at the Robertson-Wesley United Church, surrounded by their friends and family, followed with a celebration at the Muttart Conservatory. We adore that this wedding features all sorts of special touches courtesy of their loved ones – from an awesome green ombre cake, to a choir serenade during their wedding ceremony, Darren and Neal’s friends and families truly came together to give them a perfect day. Read on for more of their story, plus all of the sweet details on how these two made their wedding day their own. Enjoy!
images by Zokah
How did you guys meet?
We met through an online dating app. Our first date was over drinks, and I’m pretty sure both of us knew something special was happening right away.
Tell us a bit about the proposal…
It was our two year dating anniversary. Neal had been secretly saving up to buy an engagement ring for a few months (which didn’t leave a lot of money to spare for entertainment) so it wasn’t a surprise when Neal suggested that he and Darren do something low key to celebrate. Neal recreated their second date, which included a walk across the high level bridge. Mid-span, Neal asked him “How much do you love me?” While Darren was answering, Neal fell slightly behind him, pulled the ring out, dropped to one knee, and said “I love you this much.”
Neal, how were you feeling the morning of the wedding?
I was definitely the panickier/planner for the wedding. We had a big push the week before trying to make sure everything was ready ahead of time. Our wedding party/friends/coworkers/family were all ultra supportive.
The day of the wedding I just let go of everything. There wasn’t any more for me to worry about because I knew it was going to be too late to change anything. It was the best nights rest I had had in a week. I woke up excited, and focused on trying to remember every detail that was happening around me.
Darren, how were you feeling the morning of the wedding?
I was tired and excited. I tend to be more of a worrier, and although I trusted that the details had been dealt with, the ever looming chance of catastrophe was there. Everyone wants their wedding day to be perfect, and I was no exception. Neal was my rock, and everything settled down once he convinced me to eat something.
What was your favourite part of your wedding day?
During the service we had a live choir sing an a Capella arrangement that is incredibly important and meaningful to me. I am so thankful that I have so many wonderful and musically inclined friends and family, many of who learned and rehearsed the song on their own time in order to make our day so special.
Any shout out for the vendors who made your day feel extra special?
Monikah and Zac of Zokah Photography provided us with amazing service, right from our initial booking through to the pictures being delivered. They were able to answer all of our questions through the entire process; suggest an amazing location for our photos; direct us through the formal photo process, no matter how awkward I (or my husband) were at any given moment; and deliver an amazing product when all was said and done.
Who were all of your vendors?
Cake: Our beautiful cake was made by Heather Vandertol-Vanier, an amazing independent cake maker. I really had no idea what the process of making a cake was, and she she went the extra mile to make sure that we received a cake that exceeded our every expectation.
Catering: Our catering was done by Brad Lazarenko and his phenomenal staff at Culina Catering. We couldn’t have been happier with the meal we were served, and the ‘family style’ serving method went over very well with all of our guests.
Flowers: Our bouquets and boutonnières were provided by the talented staff at Callingwood Flowers.
Centerpieces: Our exquisite table centre pieces we created by a wonderful woman and personal friend, Val Echevarria. She is incredibly talented, and did amazing work with the budget we gave her.
Decor: Decor and table settings were provided by Special Event Rentals. Kaitlyn DeGrasse was a pleasure to work with (even through all my last minute changes and additions). They had a lot of options that allowed us to customize exactly how we wanted our reception to look.
Grooms-maid Attire: Our grooms-maid attire and matching men’s ties were made by Vanya Eston, of VanelDesign on Etsy. She was quick to answer all of our questions, and we ended up with personalised pieces, tailored to each member of our party.
Ceremony Venue: Our ceremony venue, Robertson-Wesley United Church, provided us a lot of opportunities to personalize our service. It ended up being pretty sappy, but that is all on us. 🙂
Reception Venue: Our reception venue, the Muttart Conservatory, and their staff (under the direction of Crystal McElroy) were unbelievably helpful with set-up and take down.