{reality wedding story} Rustic Chic Plus Gold & Glitter Equals Magic at PondValley Manor

Venue: Pondvalley Manor | Photo: NovaMarkina Photography

Kelsey And Andrew wanted a rustic chic wedding day. Kelsey admits, “I fell in love with the simpleness of the rustic look.” But she also knew they needed something more. “I also wanted to bring my love for gold and glitter into it…” The couple says their theme really spoke their personalities. Kelsey explains, “Andrew is more laid back and I’m more over the top so when we put the two together, magic happened… literally!” 

BRIDE & GROOM: Kelsey Gaudreault & Andrew Pearson

WEDDING DATE: August 27, 2016

LOCATION: Pondvalley Manor (bit.ly/pondvalleymanor), St. Thomas

“We chose Pondvalley Manor because of its rustic charm and that it gave us the opportunity to do absolutely whatever we wanted to make our wedding our own. From the moment, we stepped foot onto the property, it definitely didn’t feel like we were still inside the city! The location was perfect for travelling guests along with easy access to a variety of amazing photography locations.” – K

HOW DID YOU TWO MEET? HOW DID HE POP THE QUESTION?
“Andrew and I met at the St. Thomas Golf and Country club back in 2011. I had just started working there as a waitress and he was the Head Golf Professional. He didn’t win me over right away, it took a while for me to take him up on his offer to “teach me how to golf”, but once I did there was no looking back!

“Then it happened, among hundreds of Iowa fans. The actual moment is still a blur to me, I was in total shock – I don’t even remember how he asked! …It was the best day of my life…” – K

Andrew went to school in Iowa and is a die-hard Iowa Hawkeyes football fan so once we started dating I was quickly becoming an Iowa fan myself. We made it a yearly tradition to go down to Iowa during football season to watch the Hawks play, so it really became a special thing for the two of us. The weekend of November 22, 2014 we headed down to Iowa City, and little did I know that it was going to be the best football game I had ever been to. It was a dreary, wet Saturday when we headed downtown to join in on the tailgating. Andrew had told me he wanted to walk around and wait to watch the team come in off the buses… but in reality, he had set up to have a secret photographer catch everything unfold! After walking around and waiting in the rain for a couple hours (yes, a couple hours….) the team FINALLY showed up and walked into the stadium. Andrew then asked if I wanted to get a picture in front of the Nile Kinnick statue, I agreed knowing that once that we did I could get inside the stadium and dry off! I asked a security guard to take our picture and once he had finished I turned to Andrew and asked if he was ready to go inside, he replied by saying “Not yet. I have one more thing…” Then it happened, amongst hundreds of Iowa fans. The actual moment is still a blur to me, I was in total shock – I don’t even remember how he asked! But of course I said yes and he finally pointed out the photographer hiding out in the crowd to capture the candid pictures! It was the best day of my life and I couldn’t stop staring at my finger the entire game!” – K

GUEST #: 100

BUDGET: $20,000 – $25,000

“Going into the whole wedding planning process was a bit of a shock for me. Growing up, planning my dream wedding I never really thought about prices! We wanted to be realistic but also wanted to make sure it had everything we imagined.. after all, we were only going to get married once! We settled on a budget of around $20,000 – $25,000.” – K

HOW DID YOU FIND YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER?
“We came across our photographer from our amazing wedding planner Lauren DeKoster of Twelfth Night Events (www.twelfthnightevents.com). She came highly recommended to us and once we met her we knew exactly why. NovaMarkina Photography (www.novamarkina.com) was absolutely amazing! She knew exactly how to make us feel comfortable throughout the entire process and made booking so easy and stress-free!! She worked within our budget but still gave us everything and more. She was realistic, she understands the industry but she also understands reality. No matter the budget, Nova puts her heart and soul into her work and it is quite obvious in the end result. Nova took all of my visions and ideas and added her own flair to them which made them so much better than I had ever imagined possible. She has an eye for the little details that make the biggest impact.” – K

FLORAL: “Flowers were really important to me, the look they give just ties everything together. So finding the perfect florist who saw my vision like I did, I thought was going to be like finding a needle in a haystack. That was until I met Anne Rino from La Bella Vita Floral (www.labellavita.ca) in London. Anne was beyond my expectations! It felt like I had known her my whole life and that was exactly what made my decision to hire her an easy one. She gave me exactly what I wanted but didn’t charge me an arm and a leg. Anne is truly one of a kind and I rave about her to everyone I talk to!” – K

DÉCOR: “The décor was my favourite part!! My mom and I had planned the décor for a long time so when the time finally came to put all of our ideas to work it truly paid off! We also had help again from our amazing florist and now close friend Anne, my dad and Andrew. The five of us truly transformed a plain old barn into a fairytale. When people ask me about our décor I still get goosebumps because of how perfect it looked and how the five of us did it together.” – K

DIY: “A lot of the DIY projects were done by my dad who is amazing at what he does. If I had to choose, my favourite DIY piece would probably have to be the arbour that Andrew and I got married under. My dad built himself then my mom and Anne decorated with floral – it was STUNNING!!” – K

CAKE: “We went with the well-known Grandma’s Oven Bakery (www.grandmasoven.ca) located in Aylmer. The quality and deliciousness of her desserts are out of this world. When I told Grandma’s Oven my love for gold glitter, she knew exactly what to do. She created a cake topper covered in edible gold glitter… HOW AMAZING!! It looked unbelievable and trust me, it tasted even better.” – K

BRIDE ATTIRE: “Shopping for my wedding dress had to have been the most exciting day of my life. I chose Garber’s Bridal (www.garbersbridal.com) to shop for my dress since I had heard a lot of amazing things about them. My consultant Ashley was amazing and made me feel super comfortable in a very crazy, overwhelming room of gorgeous white dresses.” – K

“My advice when dress shopping – is to go into it open minded, YOUR dress could be the one you thought you would never end up with.” – K

DJ: “From the moment, we met with our planner Lauren, we told her that one of the most important aspects of our wedding was the party atmosphere. We wanted our guests to have the most fun they had ever had at a wedding – so our choice of DJ was very important. With that in mind, Lauren recommended Music Central Entertainment (www.musiccentral.ca) – and it was definitely the right choice. Our DJ Darryl was amazing!! He kept the party going all night long, and our dance floor was packed the whole time.” – K

MUSICIAN: Connor Wilson (www.connorwilsoncountry.com)
“Before the ceremony and cocktail hour we had Connor Wilson play. He is a local country singer and is absolutely amazing!!! Our guests raved about how much they loved his energy and song choices. He really interacts with the guests and makes sure they’re having a great time.” – K

HAIR & MAKE-UP: “What girl doesn’t love to be pampered? Lucky enough for me, one of my gorgeous bridesmaids owns The Loft Hair Refinery (bit.ly/thelofthairrefinery) in St. Thomas. Her and her amazing team are literally the hair gods, so I knew I had to have them do everyone’s hair – and they all turned out stunning. For my make-up, I went with my friend Jenna who transforms people’s faces every day and makes them look like runway models.” – K

CATERING: “Another very important piece of our wedding puzzle was the food. Food is always very important and we wanted our guests to get an amazing meal. Both Andrew and I love BBQ and when Lauren recommended BBQ Feast Catering (www.bbqfeast.catering), we were sold. We decided on boneless bbq chicken, beef brisket, golden Yukon potatoes, mixed green bean medley and a variety of amazing salads. We had so many guests rave about the food and how awesome BBQ Feasts staff was. They definitely won’t disappoint!” – K

BIGGEST CHALLENGE: “My biggest challenge when planning my wedding was trying to make every single person happy. Trying to avoid causing any waves throughout the entire process is next to impossible. There had been times when that stress would overcome me but I was lucky to have Andrew, my amazing parents and of course my ride or die girls that helped me realise that the wedding is about Andrew and I, nobody else.” – K

BEST MEMORY: “Trying to narrow down the best memory of the wedding is really tough for me. From the minute, I woke up to the minute I went to bed, everything was amazing. Being as close to my parents as I am, I would have to say having the both of them walk me down the aisle would be my best memory of the wedding – aside from marrying my best friend of course!” – K

ADVICE, ONE BRIDE TO ANOTHER: If I was to give any wedding advice it would have to be to listen to yourself! Do exactly what YOU and your husband-to-be want and not what anyone else wants. This day is about you and him, and if those around you can’t keep quiet and respect the decisions you made throughout the wedding planning than maybe they aren’t meant to be a part of it. No matter the waves you make, feathers you ruffle, at the end of the day it’s going to be you and him (and that’s all that matters). Finally, my most important piece of advice is to enjoy the ride! Enjoy every second of planning the best day of your life, because it’s gone in a blink of an eye.

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