The night before my wedding I slept like a baby. I came home from my rehearsal dinner back to my parents house with my bridesmaids Catherine and Gillian. I said goodbye to Mark as he spent his last night as a single man in a hotel near our wedding venue.

personalized bride wedding dress hanger
I crawled into bed around 10:00 pm, with my wedding dress hanging directly across from me on my closet door.  I had been reading some trashy novel that week and decided to finish the few remaining chapters before I went bed, assuming I wouldn’t sleep anyway.  After I turned off the lights, crawled under the blankets, said a little prayer and closed my eyes I was fast sleep and didn’t wake up until 6:00 am the next morning.
I could have slept in until 8:30 am but I had some nervous excitement already brewing. After checking the weather and seeing I would be blessed with a sunny day, I hopped out of bed to find my mom already awake and in the kitchen.

Slowly the rest of the house woke up. My brother left to meet Mark at the hotel. The makeup and hair team arrived and set up in my parents’ living and dining rooms. My maid of honour Tanya arrived with Starbucks for everyone and my final bridesmaid Erin arrived.

starbucks for the bride
Catherine found a great Songza playlist on her iPad. We sipped mimosas and took turns rotating through the hair and makeup stations. Once we finished hair and makeup, the flowers and my photographer arrived. She took some photos of my dress and accessories and then we all went upstairs to get into our dresses.

mint and peach bridesmaids

After my dress was on, I made my way to the staircase to unveil myself to my awaiting parents and bridesmaids. These were the stairs I had walked up and down many times. As a child. As a teenager. As an adult. And now as a bride. It was definitely a surreal moment.

Paloma Blanca wedding dress

I knew that when the limo showed up it was go time. This was actually the first time (and only time) I felt legitimately nervous. I knew that at this point it was a short drive to the venue and I would be getting ready to walk down the aisle. All morning time had gone slowly and I kept thinking I had more time, but this was it. All the planning, stress, tears, joy, all of it was leading up to this point.

bride in white limo

We arrived at the venue (Hernder Estate Wines in St. Catharines, Ontario), a winery where we would have both the ceremony and reception. The bridesmaids and I stayed in the limo and watched as guests walked by to take to their seats. Eventually, the winery’s wedding coordinator Penny, a bubbly, well organized, no nonsense lady came and got the bridesmaids and I and let up to the spot where we would make our descent down the long, grass aisle.

hernder estate wines

I felt alright until Penny told me it was my turn to go. I was standing right at that barn door you can see in the photo above and I literally burst into tears. I looked down at my soon-to-be husband and all the guests and just started to cry. Penny reassured me that this was completely normal and happened to most brides. I took a few deep breathes and  just as quickly as I started crying I stopped. I was ready.

hernder estate wines wedding

The amazing thing during all of this is that even though I had those few moments of nervousness and those few tears, I had never felt more at peace. I knew that I was making the best decision ever by marrying Mark.

Music is a huge part of my life, so I took extra care in choosing the music for the wedding. There was a specific feeling I was trying to create our wedding. A feeling of coziness, comfort and an overall relaxed atmosphere. The music I chose helped to articulate this theme.

Wedding Program

The ceremony itself went by really quickly. We had the most wonderful wedding officiant named Cathy who helped us plan our entire ceremony. My favourite part was the “ring warming” we had, where our wedding rings were passed around to our parents and wedding party and each person held our rings and made a wish for us.
Wedding at hernder estate wines
After the ceremony, we immediately went into taking pictures. Our photographer, Justina Phippen, captured some phenomenal shots, like these:

mint and peach wedding
groomsmen picture idea

Somewhere in the middle of picture taking, I heard a loud splat and thought a large bug had bounced off of me. Our photographer instructed Mark and I to get closer for a picture.  He instantly recoiled in disgust and asked what was on my chest. It was bird poop. A bird pooped on me on my wedding day. It only landed on my chest and nowhere on my dress or hair, which was a wedding day miracle. I laughed so hard I thought I was going pee my pants (no bridezilla here).  My photographer was also able to capture the whole thing as it went down.

After the bird poop fiasco, we finished up taking pictures and entered our reception hall around 5:00 pm. The hall looked amazing with decor by KJ & Co. and Trace of Vintage. A special thank you to my day of coordinator Meredith for helping make sure everything went off without a hitch.
Chalkboard drink sign
hernder estate wines wedding
I can honestly say I was so overcome with excitement I hardly ate my meal at the wedding. We had speeches between each course and each one made me laugh and cry at the same time. It was during this time that I started to realize just how fast time was going and how much I wanted to slow everything down. I tried to remain present the entire time and really enjoy each moment.
Vintage wedding centrepiece
wedding head table
Custom Made Mr. & Mrs. Sign from ZCreateDesign

I had envisioned a three tier mint ombre cake for my wedding and the bakery we used (Cake and Loaf) nailed it. The cake table was one of my favourite decor pieces at the wedding, with a vintage mint scale beside the cake to go with our vintage motif.

Previously, I had flip flopped over our first dance song. It started out as “Once in a Lifetime” by Landon Austin, then “The Luckiest” by Ben Folds, then “All of Me” by John Legend. We finally decided on “Northern Wind” by City and Colour, which was so fitting as he was born and raised in St. Catharines where our wedding was held.

Before the wedding, I had been so nervous for our first dance. I thought we would step on each other’s feet, or get overwhelmed by everyone staring at us, but it was perfect. I actually teared up a little as we moved around the dance floor. The three minutes felt like three seconds and just like that it was done. That seemed to be a theme for this wedding. Everything moved too fast, something I bet most brides would say when looking back on their wedding.

Our photographer pulled us away when it finally got dark outside to get a few shots of us among the lamp posts outside. After she left, we took a quiet moment to sit and let it all sink in. We were married! It was an amazing feeling.

One of my favourite parts of the night was dancing with our family and friends. At the very end of the night, when there was only our parents and the wedding party left, the DJ played “Holocene” by Bon Iver, Mark and I’s favourite song. We had one final slow dance, while our loved ones formed a circle around us and cheered. That moment was what real, pure happiness is. Dancing with my husband (!!), surrounded by my favourite people, to my favourite song in a beautiful gown. I never once took a moment of my wedding day for granted. The entire day from morning to night was so special. I spent so many days leading up to the wedding stressed out, but on that day I felt the most joy and love I have ever felt. When the night ended, I was exhausted but all  I could think of was how much fun I had and wished I could do the whole day again.

rustic winery wedding
What is your favourite memory of your wedding day?'
Written by Tracey