reception

Kelly & Patrick Darby

MARRIED JULY 21ST, 2018


Our wedding story began back in 2013 when we were set up by my sister and brother-in-law. Patrick had been a friend of theirs since high school, but since he was a few years older than me, we had never had a chance to meet. It wasn’t until we had both graduated from university seven years later, that my sister and brother-in-law suggested to both Patrick and I, separately, that they knew we would be the perfect match. Phone numbers were exchanged, and eventually Patrick and I went out.

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With Patrick being an outdoors type and also very into sports, our first date consisted of us playing catch in a park not far from where we both lived in Woodstock. Although I was nervous, as this was our first date and sports were never really my thing, I quickly felt very comfortable with Patrick. After the park, we went out for hot chocolate, and conversation came very easy for the both of us. We talked for hours about many things, but mostly our shared love of travel. Patrick had travelled to more places around the world than I had, and I was fascinated listening to all the stories he had from his experiences. Fast forward a year later, and we were spending our first year anniversary waking up in a tent on top of a mountain in Peru. We were away together, travelling through the Western side of South America for two months. It was one of the most amazing places we’ve been to together. When we got home, everyone commented on how we must be meant for each other, since we had spent every day of the trip together and were still excited to be in each other’s company by the end of it.

We went on many more adventures together over the next few years, leading up to September 9th, 2017 – the day Patrick would ask me to marry him. That weekend, the two of us had gone up North to his parents’ cottage. We woke up early on the Saturday morning to go for a canoe and portage, over to an isolated campsite that was built by people who have cottages around the lake. This is a place we go to almost every time we are up at the cottage in the summer. It felt like just another beautiful day on the lake, so little did I know that Patrick had unlikely plans up his sleeve. We were standing on the rocks, looking out at the lake, when Patrick got down on one knee and proposed! And I of course said YES!

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It wasn’t long after the engagement that we started looking for wedding venues. My dad had suggested checking out the St. Marys Golf & Country Club because he had been there before and said it was absolutely beautiful. After visiting the venue and meeting Courtney Ordway (Special Events Manager) and Taryn Scripnick (Special Events Coordinator & Maître D’), Patrick and I knew right away that this was where we wanted to have our wedding. We fell in love with the outdoor ceremony site, as well as the Ballroom where we held our reception. Both the Ballroom and the private outdoor patio and ceremony area had a warm, intimate feeling, and we loved that both spaces allowed for versatility in creating our own vision. When it came to the planning process, we were blown away by the incredible organization skills that Courtney and the rest of the SMGCC team provided for us. Courtney made sure we kept on top of everything and made it as stress-free as possible - which was a real life saver when trying to pull all of the pieces together perfectly, yet being like most brides who have never had experience planning a wedding!

When the big day finally arrived, I couldn’t have asked for anything more amazing. I had been worried the whole week leading up to the wedding, as the weather forecast was calling for rain. Although the weather isn’t something that can be controlled, the SMGCC team helped to keep my nerves at bay by assuring me that they would do everything in their power to bring our outdoor ceremony plan to life, and that they would wait to switch to our indoor backup plan until the last possible chance. It ended up drizzling a bit right before our ceremony, but stopped just in time. During the ceremony, the sky was overcast and there was a slight coolness to the air, which was moody and romantic, and provided an unexpected relief given that out wedding was in the middle of the summer!

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We worked with many of the SMGCC recommended vendors, and they definitely did not disappoint! For our décor, we went with Kim Foster of Above & Beyond Event Design. After our first meeting, I left feeling like she knew exactly what I had envisioned our wedding to look like, and I was confident that she would make it as beautiful as I had always dreamed it could be. The style we chose was ‘Rustic Elegance,’ and our colours were gold and dusty lavender. From the raised floral centerpieces on wood casbah stands, to the candlescaping and calligraphy table numbers, to the elegant backdrop draping in the reception space and on the ceremony pergola, and even to the styled vignette in front of our harvest head table, Kim really made every detail come together perfectly. It was so easy that Kim often works with Lanny Hoare and Jay Harrison of Lyric Flowers (another SMGCC preferred vendor), who we had chosen as our florist. They worked so well together, and always seemed to know exactly what the other was thinking with the overall design.

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For our floral design, we asked for a monochromatic look of white flowers with lots of greenery, and the arrangements ended up just as beautiful as I had imagined. It seemed like there were flowers everywhere we looked! Lanny and Jay are really amazing at what they do, and made me feel like they truly cared about the important elements of our day. One of the most significant details for me was having a piece of each of my grandparents with me that day. Lanny and Jay did an amazing job of incorporating a piece of jewellery from their personal collections into my bouquet, so that I could see them as I was walking down the aisle. That’s just one of the many ways that Lyric Flowers worked to make every floral detail perfect.

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When wedding dress shopping, I fell in love with a modern high neck sheath dress from Sophie’s Gown Shoppe in London, which was made from lace and crepe fabric and designed by Stella York. The bridesmaid dresses also came from Sophie’s, and were a timeless floor length style in dusty lavender. For my shoes, I knew I wanted something classic and comfortable, but also fun. So, I purchased blue decals for the soles of my shoes (my something blue!), from a shop on Etsy, with one noting my new married name and the other noting our wedding date.

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We had Courtney Losch of Courtney Lynn Beauty do the bridal party makeup, and we worked with Shelby Reed of the Cottonwood Salon for our hair. They are both so artistic, and so easy and fun to work with. For our photos, we worked with Kelly Taylor of The Bridal Lounge Photography. Her talent, coupled with her easy-going personality made our decision easy when searching for a photographer. Our photos are now memories that we will hold onto forever. For music, we worked with Music Central Entertainment, and they kept everyone dancing and having a good time through to the end of the night.

My uncle, Randy Hicks, baked our wedding cake using his signature carrot cake recipe. He is an extraordinary baker, and we are so grateful for all of the time it took him to make it. He spent hours meticulously crafting the flowers that went on the cake and the end result was beautiful. When it came to our dinner, all of our guests raved about how great the meal of prime rib, stuffed chicken, and spinach and ricotta cannelloni was – cooked by Jason Skipper, the Executive Chef at SMGCC. The frozen lemon meringue cake was absolutely unique and delicious, and a perfect compliment to the warm summer weather.

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I feel like I can’t say enough about how great of an experience it was working with the team at SMGCC. They all work so hard to make everything flow seamlessly, from your first tour to your planning meetings, to vendor referrals, and right through the day of your wedding. It was so helpful to have someone there to help us with each step of the planning process, reminding us of details that we likely would not have thought about on our own. We would absolutely recommend St. Marys Golf & Country Club to anyone we know who is looking for a wedding venue. July 21st, 2018 will forever top the list of one of the happiest, best days of our lives. We wish we could do it all over again!


Story by Kelly Darby

Photography by The Bridal Lounge

Julie & Brian Garel

Julie & Brian Garel

MARRIED JUNE 30TH, 2018

Brian and I met almost 10 years ago on the first day of orientation, at the University of Waterloo. We were in the same orientation group, and aside from a few name games with the rest of the group, we didn’t officially meet until later in the day during a campus tour. Brian had broken his flip-flop during a really intense cheer-off earlier in the day, and was stuck at the back of the tour with one shoe. I felt bad (and also thought he was cute), so I walked slowly with him at the back of the group, and we chatted for the rest of the tour (not paying any attention to the actual tour!). Later that day (after getting lost on campus) I was talking to my friends about the cute boy I had met, and told them that I was pretty sure I had found my future husband!

Samantha & Spencer Ball

Samantha & Spencer Ball

MARRIED MAY 11TH, 2018

I guess you could say that our love story began as a total cliché. Spencer and I met at the tender age of 14, in grade nine science class, where he sat directly behind me. At the time, Spencer was nursing a particularly bad ankle sprain, after being injured playing for the Huron Perth AAA Lakers. Being that he was on crutches, I figured that he could use some extra help carrying his books to and from class. So, I volunteered to help him out on many occasions and we got to know each other a little better. Spencer’s hilarious sense of humour, caring and charming personality, and beautiful blue eyes had me hooked, and I began to realize that I wanted to get to know him on an even deeper level.

Kelly & Theoren Judson

Kelly & Theoren Judson

MARRIED SEPTEMBER 23RD, 2017

It was the start of a school year and another study session, at the University of Guelph, when Theoren and I had first exchanged (prolonged) glances with each other. Later that day I returned to the library, following the homecoming game, and our first exchange of words occurred when Theoren asked me what the score of the game was. A few weeks later, our next interaction occurred in the same library. While I had left my cubicle for a study break, Theoren had arrived at the library annoyed to find that someone had stolen his regular cubicle. According to library regulars, it was a well-known rule to leave an empty cubicle in between two occupied cubicles. So, out of spite, Theoren decided to set up camp at the cubicle that was right beside mine.

Kristen & Jacob Nuhn

Kristen & Jacob Nuhn

MARRIED AUGUST 19TH, 2017

When you have a twin, there are so many perks that the two of you share. Perks like having a built-in best friend, reading each other’s minds, finishing each other’s sentences, and understanding what the other person would want in a romantic partner.  That last perk is particularly important for this story. About five years ago, my twin sister, Jessica, set me up on a blind date with Jacob, a friend of her boyfriend’s, who she said would be perfect for me. Jacob and I went on a double date with my sister and her boyfriend, and when it came to an end, Jacob and I continued to hang out and talk until three in the morning! With chemistry like that, you’d think that the rest was smooth sailing.

Brittany & Brett Petrie

Brittany & Brett Petrie

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.

Jasmine & Sean Smith

Jasmine & Sean Smith

MARRIED MAY 13TH, 2017

Before all the dating apps of the world, there was a time when people met by chance, in places like coffee shops and bars. So, I guess you can say that our love story began the old-fashioned way. I was out with some girlfriends, celebrating my birthday at the Thorny Devil (a nightclub in London, Ontario), where Sean and his friends also happened to be that night. One of my friends started chatting with one of Sean’s friends, and then Sean and I struck up a conversation. Right away I thought he was cute, but it was the way he made me laugh that told me there was something really special about him. And I haven’t stopped laughing with him since.

Stephanie & Joel Strugnell

Stephanie & Joel Strugnell

MARRIED OCTOBER 1ST, 2016

When you know, you know! That was the feeling Joel and I had after our very first date. Two small town kids, who attended high school in the same town, but who had never met - until our passion for fitness and health lead us to cross paths at the Stratford GoodLife. Only ever exchanging hellos at the gym, it wasn’t until mutual friends introduced us to each other at a local pub when we took the next step. We talked for what felt like hours, leaving our friends to entertain themselves. As the conversation continued to flow, I was feeling confident and happy about our first real encounter, and assumed Joel felt the same. But when he left to catch his ride and didn’t so much as ask for my phone number, I was left with a surprising reality check.

Ashton & Matt Staffen

Ashton & Matt Staffen

MARRIED SEPTEMBER 10TH, 2016

Our love story began as an office romance, back when we were both working for a large Canadian retailer. I was finishing up my university degree and only in the office part-time, when Matt first started in my department. I would admire his ‘goldie locks’ from afar, and we would smile at each other in passing, since I wasn’t in the office too often through the week. When I began working full-time hours a few months later, overlapping tasks would encourage our email exchanges, and Matt finally mustered up the courage to ask me out. At the time, I was freshly out of a long-term relationship, and not looking for love. However, when Matt insisted that, being new to the city, he was simply looking to make more friends in the area, I thought that a friendly outing wouldn’t hurt. Of course, in actuality, he intended to sweep me off my feet – and that’s exactly what he did! It only took one conversation to convince both of us that there was something incredibly special about each other; and we’ve been inseparable ever since!

Tiffany & Jordan Mandigo

Tiffany & Jordan Mandigo

MARRIED AUGUST 20TH, 2016

Our story began back in December 2011 at an ugly Christmas sweater party. Not wearing an ugly sweater, Jordan came to the party with my best friend and her husband, who had mentioned to him that there was someone at the party they wanted him to meet (me!). At the time, he was living in Calgary, but was home for the Christmas holidays. Following the party, we interacted every day by texts, long distance phone calls, and trips back and forth between Calgary and Ontario – and our relationship continued to grow. Finally, in August 2012, Jordan made the move back to Ontario and we bought our first home together.