MARRIED AUGUST 19TH, 2017
Growing up in small town St. Marys, Ontario, you basically know everyone, and everyone knows you. Brett was a couple of grades older than me, and not a part of my group of friends, but because he was a friend of my brother’s, we were familiar with one another. I never saw him in a romantic way (did I mention that he was a friend of my brother’s?), and then something all of a sudden changed on the night of my prom. Brett showed up at the after party, we talked and got to know each other, and we both felt a new, deeper connection.
Seven amazing years together flew by, and then it was October 27th, 2016 – the fateful day when Brett asked me to marry him. I was at work, when Brett texted me to let me know that he would be joining me for dinner at my Grandma’s house. This wasn’t out of the ordinary – my Grandma was my best friend and I spent a lot of time at her house, and so did Brett – so I wasn’t suspicious in the least. When I arrived, I was surprised to see my Mom there as well, but again, wasn’t suspicious since she frequently visited with my Grandma. And then suddenly, about midway through our visit, Brett took my hand and got down on one knee – and then it finally clicked. Brett had orchestrated a proposal! And not just any proposal. Since my Grandma was very sick, and likely wouldn’t make it to our wedding, Brett ensured that my Grandma had a front row seat for the proposal, and that she was just as surprised as I was (she had no idea he was going to pop the question!). From complete shock, I forgot to answer him, but my Grandma was quick to point that out, and I immediately said ‘Yes!'
Before we were even engaged, I knew we would have our wedding at the St. Marys Golf & Country Club. Throughout my time in high school, university, and a little beyond, I had worked for SMGCC for 12 years! So, aside from having the team of people that had become family to me by my side on my big day, I also knew firsthand how much care and detail was put into each and every wedding at the venue. There was no doubt in my mind that our experience could be greater anywhere else. I contacted Ashton (Director of Special Events) almost immediately after Brett and I announced our engagement, and within a few weeks, we had chosen the date and room for our wedding. We ended up booking the new room for our reception – The Hideaway – as it had more of a rustic vibe than the Ballroom, which felt like us. Of course, the space wouldn’t be finished until a few months before our wedding, but based on the lifelike architectural rendering, the concept Ashton explained to us, and knowing that she and Matt would make it more outstanding than they promised, we weren’t nervous in the least (and the room did end up being even more breathtaking than we had imagined).
After choosing our venue, the next big thing to check off the list was finding my wedding dress. Along with my Mom and bridesmaids, I made an appointment at Nicholas and Elizabeth, in London. The first dress I tried on was a stunning low-back, a-line lace gown by Maggie Sottero. From the way I felt in the dress, to the excited looks on the faces of my bridal entourage, I instantly knew it was the one. I tried on a few other dresses, but nothing compared to the first one. So, on my very first (and only) day of dress shopping, I had found the one!
The next step in the wedding planning process was securing all of our other vendors. For décor and florals, we turned to the two companies who I had seen do an unbelievable job numerous times at the venue before – Above & Beyond Event Design and Lyric Flowers. Not only do they work well together, but they also have a strong partnership with the team at SMGCC, which makes planning and organizing that much easier. We decided on a theme of rustic elegance that would only enhance the natural beauty and design of the Hideaway room. With an industrial steel sheet and wood backdrop, linen in ivory and navy blue, and candlescape centerpieces throughout the room, the styling done by Above & Beyond blew me away. Their name truly says it all – they go above and beyond to bring your vision to life. Then Lyric Flowers added the icing on top – all of the gorgeous ivory and blush florals, with lots of greenery – and the whole look came together perfectly. However, our list of amazing vendors didn’t end there. We chose Paper Suitcase Photography for our photos, Michael Fisher for our videography, DJ Schwartzentruber Music Services for the entertainment, and Kandy Cakes for our wedding cake.
On the morning of our wedding, Brett and the groomsmen hung out at our house, while my bridesmaids and I had our hair done at Sensations Salon & Day Spa (complete with mimosas and cinnamon rolls!), in downtown St. Marys. Following our hair appointment, the girls and I made our way to my parents' house, where Makeup by Sarah finished up our looks with natural makeup. Brett and I liked the idea of seeing each other for the first time when I walked down the aisle, so we opted not to have a reveal. However, I did a first look with my parents before the ceremony, and it was an emotional moment that I will always cherish.
Our ceremony took place on my parents' property, where my childhood home had previously stood, and in front of where my family’s current home sits. We chose this as the setting for our vows because it’s sentimental to us (it’s the place where Brett and I hung out for a large part of our relationship), the property is vast and beautiful, and it’s a short drive to the St. Marys Golf & Country Club. Above & Beyond had worked their magic again by adding a wooden arbour with sheer draping as our altar, and then, of course, Lyric Flowers completed the look with a beautiful floral arrangement affixed to the corner of the arbour. When it came time for me to walk down the aisle towards Brett, I was much more nervous than I had expected to be. It’s amazing how the build up of the big moment just hits you all of a sudden, and you are overwhelmed with the excitement of seeing your soon-to-be husband! Luckily, I had my dad by my side, as he kept me incredibly calm all the way down the aisle. And then as soon as I was standing with Brett, all the nervousness completely washed away (until I had to read my vows, stuttering through the whole passage)! All jokes aside though, our vows were probably the most memorable part of the day. We were completely in the moment together, and I had no idea Brett could even write like that!
Following the ceremony, we took family photos on my parents' property and then the rest (including wedding party and photos of the two of us) at the golf course, while our guests enjoyed cocktails and passed hors d’oeuvres on the Hideaway patio. We then enjoyed an unbelievable dinner prepared by Chefs Jason and Joe, and the rest of the amazing service staff. Everyone kept raving about how the starter Caesar salad was the best they’d ever had! And I would have to agree! Even though I’ve had the salad numerous times before, it tastes better every time I have it – that’s why we chose it! Dinner turned into speeches, which turned into dancing, and then all of a sudden it was time to call it a night.
Looking back on our wedding day, I can truly say that it was the best day of our lives. We loved celebrating with all of our family and friends, and just being completely carefree. That’s one of the things I will remember most about the day. How easy, laidback and smooth the whole day felt. Ashton, Courtney and the rest of the SMGCC team made the process just so organized and clear, from booking, to planning, and right up to the day of our wedding. They took care of needs we didn’t even know we had, asked us about details we wouldn’t have even thought of, and surely addressed any issues without our knowledge. And even though our ceremony was off-site, Ashton arranged for her team to help with the planning and day-of coordination, so that our families (and the two of us) could just enjoy the experience and not worry about the details. That dedication to providing a seamless and unforgettable day for their couples – that’s what sets the St. Marys Golf & Country Club apart from any other venue.
Now that Brett and I are happily settling into married life (so weird that I have a husband!), we're setting our sights on the future - traveling to new places together every year (we explored British Columbia for our honeymoon), attending more weddings at SMGCC (I'm actually a bridesmaid in a wedding there this year), and hopefully being blessed with a little family of our own.
Story by Brittany Petrie
Photography by Paper Suitcase Photography