Hayley & Patrick Johnston


Patrick and I were never supposed to meet. We were from different cities, went to different universities, traveled in totally different circles, and up until the day we met, never knew we had any friends in common. Everything changed on Friday, October 3rd, 2014 when we were both guests at a wedding. Despite having plus one invites, neither of us brought a date. Paddy (my nickname for Patrick) was third wheel to his best friend (our future best man) and his date, while I hung out with friends most of the night. Late into the evening (and after we were both several cocktails deep), Paddy worked up the courage to finally stop staring at me and come introduce himself! It didn’t take me long to realize how incredible this gorgeous man was. I told my mom and best friends all about him in the weeks that followed, and to this day they’ll say that they knew even then that Paddy was the one for me.  

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By Christmas we were inseparable. At the time, we worked completely opposite schedules, but made an effort to see each other every second we could. By March we were living together, and in May he took me on our first trip to Boston. 

Fast-forward to July 18th, 2017, just after sunrise, when we were at the end of a dock on Lake Hudson. All of a sudden, Paddy got down on one knee and proposed. I literally have no idea what he said in that moment, because I blacked out from so much happiness! (Paddy says that he doesn’t remember any of his speech either).

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The week after our ‘engagement honeymoon’ at the cottage (as Paddy calls it), we started to look for wedding venues. We both had a clear vision of what we wanted - somewhere rustic and chic, but not an actual barn. I stumbled across online photos of The Hideaway at St. Marys Golf & Country Club, which had striking wood features and a natural setting, and was at the same time elegant and timeless. SMGCC was the first venue we visited and after about five minutes touring the Hideaway and the outdoor ceremony grounds, we had set a date and signed the papers. It was the easiest, fastest decision we made in the entire wedding process. 

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Aside from the beauty of the venue (which speaks for itself when you step foot on their grounds), our Wedding Planner Courtney was an absolute gem. Courtney and the whole team at SMGCC always made us feel like our wedding meant as much to them as it did to us, and they always kept us organized during the planning process. I never worried about the details, because I knew SMGCC would take care of us. Some of the other elements that made our decision so easy were the vast food selections, the open and unlimited bar option, the organically beautiful ceremony and reception spaces, and the relationship SMGCC has with incredibly talented local vendors. We selected Kim of Above & Beyond Event Design for our decor, Lanny and Jay of Lyric Flowers for our floral design, Shawn from Van Daele & Russell Photography for our photos, and Rob of Music Central Entertainment as our DJ. We cannot say enough about all of these amazing vendors – their service and delivery was absolutely exceptional, and we would highly recommend every single one of them. Not to mention the fact that they all work together regularly, and this made the planning even easier. It’s clear that the vendors work so hard behind the scenes together, without even having to involve you, ensuring that the whole experience is seamless.

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For our ceremony design, Above & Beyond suspended a chandelier from the pergola, and Lyric Flowers added greenery to the light fixture as well as asymmetrically along the structure. We used two SMGCC wine barrels at the pergola posts to host massive floral arrangements, which we later repurposed for our reception space.  And the finishing touch was a loose placement of rose petals down the aisle, which pulled the look together perfectly.

In the reception space, Kim brought in her rustic barn board backdrop for behind our King style head table, and decorated it with drop Edison lights. Her team also styled an amazing feature at the end of our table, with wood crates and LOVE galvanized letters. We rented in wood harvest tables to use for the majority of our guest dinner seating, and worked with SMGCC to create a unique floor plan that incorporated a mixture of the wood tables with two round tables for immediate family. The round tables were dressed with tone-on-tone champagne linen and napkins, and the same colour napkins were used on the wood tables to compliment lace or chiffon runners. Lyric Flowers wove greenery garland through all of our candle centerpieces, and down the centre of the wood tables.

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On the morning of our wedding, Paddy and his four groomsmen played nine holes of golf, while my girls and I got ready in the stunning Bridal Suite onsite at the venue. Esteem Artistry did the most beautiful job on makeup application, and then I finally slipped into my fit and flare, off-the-shoulder lace and tulle gown by Jacquelin Bridals, which I purchased from Ballett’s Bridal in London. My look was completed with Kate Spade stud earrings, a hairpiece from Petrov Bridal, a diamond necklace from my Mom’s personal collection, and of course, my engagement ring (and wedding band) by Neil Lane.

We elected to have a first look and do photos before the ceremony, so that we could spend more time with our guests during cocktail period. The team at SMGCC was so helpful in coordinating this timeline for us ahead of time, and suggesting unique locations around town. We hired Shawn for photography because of his insane creativity and artistic ability (not to mention, he is so fun to work with and super easy-going), so we trusted him entirely to take us where he thought was best. He used the stone buildings in the downtown of St. Marys as an artistic setting, and also shot some of our favourite photos right on the grounds of SMGCC. I highly recommend asking your photographer to sneak the two of you away from dinner for a few minutes, to take some sunset or night shots – something that SMGCC also encourages. It gives you a moment together to let everything soak in, and with amazing golden light, you end up loving these shots the most. (Actually, I love every single photo Shawn took the most).

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Our whole wedding day ran so smoothly, and Courtney or Taryn (our Wedding Maître D’) consistently checked in, frequently asking how I was doing and if there was anything they could do to help (often helping before I even had to ask!). The entire day was completely perfect from start to finish, and even our guests couldn’t stop talking about how amazing the setting, service and food were. As the bride, you are often the one to worry about the details coming together, but I can honestly say that I never felt stressed. There was always someone to turn to on the SMGCC team, Paddy and I were always in the moment, and we were able to watch the day unfold how we always dreamed it would – which was such a relaxed and rewarding feeling. We really cannot thank the St. Marys Golf & Country Club, and all of our other amazing vendors, for all of their efforts in bringing our vision together. Since we met on a Friday the 3rd, we decided to get married on one – and August 3rd, 2018 was nothing short of magical for us.

Story by Hayley Johnston

Photography by Van Daele & Russell