Our Toronto Wedding: Ceremony and Reception

(plus I have a couple videos from our wedding videographer in Cuba at the very end of this!)

All photos in this post are again by Nicole Kirk Photography.

So I left off right before the ceremony. After our first look at Brickworks, Nicole, our photographer, drove us over to the venue, only a five minute drive so it was very convenient. We got married at the Globe Bistro, a restaurant in Toronto at Danforth and Broadview, and it was just perfect.

We wanted to be officially married before our destination wedding in Cuba, so our initial plan was to go to City Hall and then take our family out for dinner, however the logistics of that ended up being a bit more complicated than we anticipated. So, we started looking around at small wedding venues in the city and in the end the Globe Bistro won. Okay honestly we didn’t look at very many places, we just really liked this one. We went for brunch there a few times, loved the food and service, and decided that was the place for us.

They had a perfect room upstairs for the reception, and the restaurant was big enough that the ceremony could take place there as well (SO convenient, this way no one had to move to a different location). And since it was a restaurant it was already a nice space, we barely had to decorate, and they handled all the food and drinks (and servers, and plates and cutlery, and table linens and all that stuff that you might have to rent elsewhere). It was easy peasy planning-wise. I’m so, so glad we got married there.

Okay, onto the ceremony. I felt very calm all morning. In the week leading up to the wedding, I just wanted to get the show on the road already! I think seeing the venue with just Evan the day before also helped to calm my nerves. I was just excited and happy and ready to marry Evan.

My handsome dad walked me down the aisle to, once again, the instrumental version of Jack Johnson’s Better Together (I used it at both weddings, I just love it so much).

And my most wonderful groom was onstage waiting for me.

Literally we had a stage, the restaurant used to be a theatre, so that was nice. I felt very important.

We may have been low key with the decor and the details, but the ceremony was something that was very important to us. I still can’t get over how amazing it was, and a lot of that had to do with our officiant Heather. She has been a longtime blog reader of mine who also happens to be a United Church minister, and actually reached out to me through my blog and offered her services to us when I wrote that we were getting married. We met up with her for lunch a couple of times in our planning days and she could not be a nicer or more genuine person. She was so helpful when we were planning out our ceremony and worked with us to make sure that it was thoughtful and meaningful to us. I loved working with her. She did such a great job during the ceremony. Her voice was loud enough for everyone to hear and full of joy and charisma. I feel so lucky to have had her.

Aside from our families, I only had two friends in attendance — my good friend Beth from high school and another friend of mine since elementary school, Allison, who was Beth’s date (which worked out so well, my mom was so excited to see both her and Beth!). Beth and Michael (Evan’s brother, aka Brotherman aka the Best Man) stood up there as witnesses for us.

And Evan’s cousin kicked off our ceremony with a really great reading that Evan and I chose. Here it is.

From The Beginning to End by Robert Fulghum

You have known each other from the first glance of acquaintance to this point of commitment. At some point, you decided to marry. From that moment of yes to this moment of yes, indeed, you have been making promises and agreements in an informal way.

All those conversations that were held riding in a car or over a meal or during long walks — all those sentences that began with “When we’re married” and continued with “I will and you will and we will”- those late night talks that included “someday” and “somehow” and “maybe”- and all those promises that are unspoken matters of the heart. All these common things, and more, are the real process of a wedding.

The symbolic vows that you are about to make are a way of saying to one another, ” You know all those things we’ve promised and hoped and dreamed — well, I meant it all, every word.”

Look at one another and remember this moment in time. Before this moment you have been many things to one another —  acquaintance, friend, companion, lover, dancing partner, and even teacher, for you have learned much from one another in these last few years. Now you shall say a few words that take you across a threshold of life, and things will never quite be the same between you. For after these vows, you shall say to the world, this; is my husband, this- is my wife.

We both had a hard time holding it together during that. We found that reading while we were internet searching it really resonated with both of us. I love that it is practical and less about the romantic, two people becoming one, soulmate bullshit. We both said that we knew very early on that we would get married, and we had all of those conversations. We’ve been all in for a while and our wedding was just the next step in the process, so it felt very fitting. Also, it said “lover” in it and I like that.

Heather said some other nice things, and then before our vows we did our question of intention, which was:

Do you Evan promise to love Lindsey and respect her, to share your life and your dreams, to build with her a home that is a place of love, happiness, commitment and growth?

I do.

Do you promise to be a companion to her in all of her successes and failures, her happiness and sadness, to always give to her your unwavering support and above all else, the freedom to be Lindsey?

I do.

Do you Lindsey promise to love Evan and respect him, to share your life and your dreams, to build with him a home that is a place of love, happiness, commitment and growth?

I do.

Do you promise to be a companion to him in all of his successes and failures, his happiness and sadness, to always give to him your unwavering support and above all else, the freedom to be Evan?

I do. I really do!

My favourite part of our question of intention was the part about the freedom to be ourselves — that is something I think is so important in a relationship and not something that I’ve always felt, until Evan came along.

And our vows, which I loved. We had talked about writing our own, but in the end we found some that again resonated with us and felt fitting to us. Here they are.


p class=”p1″>Evan/Lindsey, I promise to be your lover, companion and friend,
Your partner in parenthood,
Your ally in conflict,
Your greatest fan and your toughest adversary.
Your comrade in adventure,
Your student and your teacher,
Your consolation in disappointment,
Your accomplice in mischief.
This is my sacred vow to you, my equal in all things.

I particularly liked the mention of lover, again, and the ending with “my equal in all things.” Also comrade in adventure and accomplish in mischief — this felt very true to us.

Then we had Heather read the Blessing of the Hands, which we also found somewhere online and just loved. Here it is:

These are the hands of your best friend, young and strong and full of love for you, that are holding yours on your wedding day, as you promise to love each other today, tomorrow, and forever.

These are the hands that will work alongside yours, as together you build your future.

These are the hands that will passionately love you and cherish you through the years, and with the slightest touch, will comfort you like no other.

These are the hands that will hold you when fear or grief fills your mind.

These are the hands that will countless times wipe the tears from your eyes; tears of sorrow, and tears of joy.

These are the hands that will tenderly hold your children (and all your cats).

These are the hands that will help you to hold your family as one.

These are the hands that will give you strength when you need it.

And lastly, these are the hands that even when wrinkled with age, will still be reaching for yours, still giving you the same unspoken tenderness with just a touch.

That sure started the ol’ waterworks. I think that is such a beautiful blessing.

After this we lit a candle for our loved ones who are no longer with us, specifically my D-Dad and Nana, and Evan’s Bubby and Nana, and said a little prayer for them.


p class=”p1″>Although we cannot see you
We know that you are here
Smiling down, watching over us
As we say “I DO”
Forever in our hearts
Forever in our lives
And so we say our vows
In loving memory of you
This light shines
as a symbol of life
and love remembered.

And finally, we have the exchange of the rings.

Evan/Lindsey, as you place the ring on Lindsey’s/Evan’s finger, please repeat after me:


p class=”p1″>With this ring, I marry you and bind my life to yours.
It is a symbol of my eternal love,
My everlasting friendship,
And the promise of all my tomorrows.

And we sealed our vows with a kiss.

And I got my lipstick all over Evan’s face and he looked like Howdy Doody for all our family photos.

We signed all the legal things…

And then we were officially husband and wife!!!!!!! YEAHHHHHHH.

And then it was party time!

Our guests mingled in the reception room and ate h’ors doeuvres and drank mimosas while we took family photos — this was originally going to happen outside but it was raining quite heavily so we just did it right there on the stage and it turned out well (they say it’s good luck if it rains on your wedding day!). Because we only had 35 people in attendance we were able to get pictures with absolutely everyone, which was great. Tracey, our wedding planner was a HUGE help in wrangling people for pictures. We had a list of photos we wanted (highly recommend doing this) but I still don’t know what we would have done without her.

For the reception room we kept it simple with the decor and just did tulips with a local florist as centrepieces (Tracey also arranged this for us — and the florist brought them over and then came and picked them up afterwards, which was fantastic).

We also put framed pictures of Evan and I on the tables in mismatched frames, and our guests could take them home if they wanted to, you know, adorn their homes with our faces.

The mimosas were a’flowin!

Evan’s uncle kicked things off with the most perfect toast.

And then it was food time. We had a brunch buffet which included a veggie frittata, baked French toast, bacon, sausage, a fruit plate with yogurt and granola, greens with field mushrooms and roasted tomatoes, potato salad, and an assortment of pastries and sour dough toast.

Ahhh I love brunch food so much and it was all really delicious. A lot of people say that have trouble eating on their wedding day but I had ZERO issue with that at all. I cleaned that plate and went back for more.

Evan and I sat at the head table with our moms, Brotherman and family. Throughout brunch we did speeches, and Brotherman’s was so great. It was thoughtful, funny without being embarrassing for Evan (not that he would have cared) and with just a littttttle bit of sap.

And my friend Beth’s speech about our longtime friendship was touching as well. She may have shed a tear, or several million 😉

It was cute. When I had my heart shattered into pieces when I was 17 she was the one who came straight to my house with a pint of ice cream. She also talked about how bad of a driver I was in HIGH SCHOOL. (I’m much better now, but you may remember the Captain Hook story…whoops).

And then my dad got up there and was so genuinely touching because he got choked up and left in the middle of what he was saying and sort of left us all hanging. I was like “Dad are you going to close this out with a toast or what?” so he had to come back up and finish that off.

It made us laugh harder than I have laughed in a long, long while.

We didn’t do dancing or anything, just mingling. I loved that it was low key and I had time to go around and sit and chat with everyone. Perfect!

My cousin Allie and her daughter Nora came all the way from BC! (remember Allie’s wedding? One of the most fun weddings I’ve ever been to) I was so happy they were there.

And then Evan and I got up there to do our thank you speech together as husband and wife!

Evan started with mentioning that he had planned and written down everything he wanted to say and my plan was just to wing it, and he pointed out that was very representative of our relationship.

Which got a good laugh. And he is not wrong.

I just had a big love burst for him while I was typing this.

After a few hours of eating and drinking and chatting with our guests, we cut the cake. The cake! It was made by a former coworker of mine at Girl Guides, Cathy, and gurrrrrlllll, she slayed.

Evan had one request and that was NO. FONDANT. So we had all the buttercream and it was fabulous. I love that she matched my bouquet with the flowers.

The top layer was coconut with coconut buttercream, and the bottom layer was vanilla lemon. SO FREAKIN DELICIOUS. If you’re in the Toronto area and need a cake check out CakesByNaCJ, I highly recommend!

All in all, it was a wonderful day and I could not have been happier with the way everything turned out.

And then we went off and did it all again in Cuba, as you may know.

So if you made it to the bitter end and you don’t feel wedding’d out yet, here’s a video of our Varadero ceremony, I haven’t shared it here yet!

I still don’t really know what our officiant is saying (well I caught “thank you for choosing our hotel”), but I like it anyway. And a bonus video of us frolicking around with our bridal party, which is one of my favourite things.

I have no regrets about having two small weddings instead of one larger one. I feel so lucky that we were able to have an intimate celebration with so many people who mean so much to us. I’m just going to say, we also saved a lot of money doing it this way, so I definitely recommend.


4 responses to “Our Toronto Wedding: Ceremony and Reception

  1. Wow, love your video’s, especially the second one, such a fun and beautiful wedding. Destination wedding’s are the best.

  2. Oh my goodness. I just love that “Beginning to End” speech and the Blessing of Hands. I read it all twice and cried twice. How beautiful!

  3. Beautiful pictures! Our officiant read the same reading at my wedding last year. I just love it!