Maggie & Dan {real wedding story}

Bride & Groom: Maggie Horsburgh & Dan Deruytter
Wedding Date: 12-Sep-2020
Photographer: DA Photography (daphotostudio.com)
Wedding Ceremony: Doon Chapel
Wedding Reception: NithRidge Estate Weddings and Events (eventdepot.ca/nithridge-estate)
Original Guest #: 150
Original Budget: $15,000
What was your original plan?: “We are #RepeatOffenders so our original plan to was to invite all of our friends and simply have a party. We were going to hold the ceremony at the Doon Chapel, head to Mill Race for photos and dance to a 6-piece band in a small hall that we had rented in Cambridge. The food was going to be catered finger foods at food stations, and we were going to manage our own bar to keep costs down.” – M

Colour Palette: “We always knew that we would be getting married in a vintage theme as a nod to our parents’ era. No specific colour theme, but a focus on black and white photography. The coolest part is that many of our guests came dressed in vintage as well, which added to the fun!” – M&D

Tell us your story!: WHAT IS MEANT FOR YOU, WILL COME TO YOU
Dan and I met at a Euchre game in the summer of 2018. There was a gathering of strangers who met every Tuesday to play cards, and occasionally Dan and I would get to play euchre together as partners. He made the effort to get to know me, asking me out for coffee, and each time I shot him down. I was on a heart “break” after a few failed relationships and was taking a year off. Finally, after three persistent attempts, I agreed to have dinner with him. Within the hour, I knew I was with someone incredibly special. We started dating and have never looked back.

I had booked a trip to Israel through Rev. Joe Amaral earlier in the year and was leaving in a few short weeks. I asked Dan if he would like to come on this trip with me if there was room. He had called, booked and paid for the trip within days, even before asking for time off work. It was the trip of a lifetime and proved to be the very beginning of our love story.

One year later, Dan went down on bended knee in the middle of a restaurant and asked if he could be my husband. This man is a planner, had asked each of my three adult children for permission to marry me, then took my best friend ring shopping. They designed the perfect ring for me, and with the blessing of my children and friends, he proposed.” – M

PLAN A

“We started the planning with the one thing we knew with certainty – we wanted a very specific photographer, Dragi Andovski from DA Photography (daphotostudio.com), and wanted to work around his schedule. He was available September 12th and said “it never rains on that date”. We first met Dragi last year at The Ring’s Cambridge Wedding Expo while looking for a photographer for my daughter’s wedding. When we saw him again this winter at the Ring’s KW Wedding Expo we booked him on the spot, and that became our wedding date.

My youngest daughter was getting married just weeks before us, so we wanted something low key. We love to dance, so planned to have a simple ceremony, nice pictures, casual atmosphere with a vintage twist, and a dance. It wasn’t going to be a “wedding” nor a “reception”, just a big party. Within weeks we had locked down a venue, a caterer, a band, an event co-ordinator and put a plan together.

Getting married and planning a wedding can bring challenges, and having a wedding in the middle of a global pandemic takes those challenges to a whole other level!

Like most couples, we froze in our tracks, waiting to see what the future brought – grieving our sense of loss, the death of dreams, and acknowledging the fear that was now surrounding the globe. Tragically, my daughter and her fiancé had to postpone their wedding to 2021, but Dan and I had each been married before. There was no reason to wait – a ceremony was going to happen somehow.

Months after the Pandemic, restrictions were being lifted from total lockdown to Phase 2, then Phase 3. There was a glimmer of hope, but what would it look like? How could we make this happen? We have so many friends who love and support us – how could we get married without them there?!

We contacted three levels of government to get instructions and restrictions, then reached out to each of our vendors with a new plan – Plan B.” – M

PLAN B

“Our venue canceled, the hairdresser canceled, our band went down from a six-piece to a two-piece, but we had our photographer, our caterer, and our event coordinator. Crushed for only a moment, we began redesigning our wedding day….again. We shifted and pivoted more times than I can count. In the end, our event co-ordinator saved the day. Karima Kassam from Event Depot (eventdepot.ca) helped us regroup and re-imagine what our day could be. She made calls and got us connected. What originally was going to be a party ended up being completely different than we ever imagined. We were having a wedding!” – M

PLAN C

A VINTAGE WEDDING – How do you have a fairy-tale wedding in a pandemic?

The Venue: Terry and Marley from Nithridge Estates (eventdepot.ca/nithridge-estate) offered their venue to us when we had no place else to go. This was new territory for everyone, and they were willing to work with us if we would work with them. Breathtaking is the only way to describe the estate. Massive columns frame the amphitheater overlooking the lazy Nith River as it wanders its way through the property. A doe and her fawn crossed the river as we watched in awe. A train ran alongside us on the tracks above – there is just something so comforting about a train going by. The Percheron horses came up to us along the fence, just to see what was going on. Their home was opened up to us, and they made us feel like we were the only thing that mattered, offering the bridal suite which included a dressing room and beauty salon, bar service for the evening, as well as free reign on the property.

The Ceremony and Distant Guests: With restrictions in place, we decided to hold a simple ceremony with just our children and their families present. John and Gayle from Doon Chapel were outstanding hosts and made us feel like this was their favourite wedding. The chapel was beautifully decorated and measures were put in place for our guests to feel safe in the chapel. Our love story began with Rev. Joe Amaral (joeamaral.org), and he graciously accepted our request to be the one to marry us. It was a magical moment having him there to see this next part of our journey.

Streaming the ceremony: Thunderstorm Productions (thunderstormpro.com) streamed our wedding online for the many guests who would have loved to be there in person with us, including our family in Belgium, and friends across the USA and Canada. Every single person was with us online, watching every moment of our vows from their own living rooms. We were even able to say a special message to everyone at the end of the ceremony when we went outside, greeting Belgium in French, and thanking everyone else in English. It made the day even more perfect.

The Photographer: Dragi Andovski from DA Photography (daphotostudio.com) captured the true essence of our day. He made us feel so comfortable with the camera and he directed us well. He understood our desire for candid shots and the love of black and white photography. You can see his work is exceptional! And, as promised by him, it did not rain that day.

Cocktails and Photos: We invited each of our guests to dress in vintage attire, and held a casual cocktail hour upon their arrival. We hired Inflated Ego Entertainment (facebook.com/inflatedego) a local balloon artist to entertain the children, and had a photo wall available to our guests for family photos. It was vintage-inspired, a wall of old doors and logs of wood for people to sit on. It was touch-free making it safe for our guests, and our photographer.

The Food….Oh, the FOOD!: Chef Bob Friesen from Gourmet Chef at Your Table (gourmetchefatyourtable.com) had to keep redoing the menu as our wedding shifted, but we finally got it right. The Hors d’Oeuvres were spectacular with servers walking the property keeping our guests busy trying each dish. The sit-down meal was served on mismatched china dishes which caused great conversation with our guests, and tea was served in china teacups. Every detail mattered including era-specific food such as Mac’n Cheese Pops and Deconstructed Apple Pie for dessert!

The Guests: We were limited to 100 guests in an outside venue, and that is exactly what we had….sort of. We knew as the night went on, that many of our guests would leave after the meal. We arranged a second shift of guests, who were invited to arrive at approximately 9:30 pm. It worked out perfectly, we never had more than 100 guests in our tent. The cater brought out one more round of food consisting of sliders, tacos, and more to feed our hungry guests. We were wowed by Double Impact (innuendo.ca/double-impact) as they played wonderful dance music favourites into the night, and we closed the place down at midnight. Dan and I had the first dance and the last dance!

The Bride: “My dress was purchased pre-pandemic from Knot Too Shabby Bridal (facebook.com/KnotTooShabbyBridal) in Stratford. It was cocktail length, and the exact look for a vintage wedding! I purchased my shoes from La Crème (lacremestjacobs.com) in St. Jacobs, the sling-back style was perfect for a 50’s look. I bought the floral hairpiece from Taylor’s Bridal Boutique (taylorsbridal.com) in Elmira and paired it up with the perfect crystal beaded Birdcage Veil that I found on Etsy.” – M

The Bouquet: was handmade by Janice Corrall from Flowers by Janice (facebook.com/FlowersbyJanice). It consisted of brooches that had been given to me by inspiring women in my life. Each amazing and beautiful woman represented in my bouquet brought strength to my story and I wanted to feel their strength and presence with me throughout the day. It will be a cherished heirloom.

The Groom: “Dan dressed in a stunning suit styled by Jim at Stars Men’s Shop (shop.stars-strauss.com) at Conestoga Mall in Waterloo. Jim was amazing to work with, fussing over the tiniest details, and altering the suit to fit Dan’s slim frame. He helped pair his suit with the perfect tie and suspenders. Dan bought his saddle shoes (a surprise to me!), and his fedora on Amazon.” – M

Hair and Makeup: “Our vintage wedding was a nod to our parents’ era – the 1950’s. So many details went into the execution, but everything was muted by the incredible talent of two ladies – Elida Castellani, and Michaela Teofilovic. I was brought to tears as Elida (facebook.com/elidahair2018) transformed my hair back in time! She wasn’t intimidated by this challenge, but rather, this gal took the time to study the era, to master pin curls and to make my vision a reality.” – M

My daughter, Michaela from PearlGirlMakeup (pearlgirlmakeup.com) captured the joy in my heart through my eyes and smile. She made my face glow with an air-brushed application, glam touches and those bright red lips from yesteryear didn’t move one bit all day long. Her ability to bring radiance to my look is a testimony to her incredible talents.” – M

The Car: “Dan and I went to Kitty’s Ice Cream Garage (kittysgarage.ca) a few weekends before our wedding for ice cream and a chance to just walk around and admire the vintage cars. All car shows had been cancelled for the year, so Kitty’s did a pop-up show with physical distancing in place. We met Trish and Richard from Stoney Creek at this show and they offered to be our chauffeurs for the day in their 1957 Chevy Belair. We were ecstatic! The look wouldn’t have been complete without their stunning car as part of our day.” – M

The Centrepieces and Favours: “I started working on the centrepieces pre-pandemic, so during the lockdown, I was able to put much of it together. Each centrepiece consisted of a unique doily with a stack of lace-bound vintage books, b&w photos of Dan and I with favourite quotes, a china teapot with fairy lights, and flower bouquets supplied by Buds’n Blooms (budsandbloomskw.com). For favours, I spent most of the summer making jars of assorted jellies and jams, tying a vintage hanky on the jar – not two of them were alike. They were a huge hit!” – M

COVID: “We had to address the elephant in the room. Guests wore masks, stay seated, and received miniature hand sanitizers at each table setting. We also had custom mask sprays made with essential oils at each table to help our guests breathe better. We installed a dance floor in the tent and placed urns down the centre to separate it into two sections. Guests could dance within their bubble, and not more than 10 people on each side of the floor. It was really well received, and for many of our guests it was nice just to dance again.” – M

THE END….BUT It’s Really Just the Beginning!
“The perfect ending to the perfect day – approximately fifteen minutes after we left for home, it started to pour rain. It was as if God had held a tarp over us the entire day with hits of sunshine, a warm summer breeze, and unlimited love. Our fairy-tale-wedding had happened in the middle of a pandemic. In a way, the pandemic had become a gift to us, giving us the wedding that we didn’t even know that we wanted.

Happy endings? You bet! From this one event, every single one of our vendors has become the preferred vendor for Nithridge Estates! Karima from Event Depot has been hired to manage the venue, giving Terry and Marley a much-needed break. The photographer, the caterer, the band, the hair and makeup stylists, the Reverend, and even the car have all been chosen as preferred vendors serving many more brides to come. We have been blessed beyond our wildest dreams and we give God the glory for this unique and special day.” – M&D

Final Budget: $35,000+

More Love Stories…

Buds and Blooms, COVID-19, DA Photography, Doon Chapel, Elida C. Hair, Event Depot, Gourmet Chef at Your Table, Inflated Ego Balloon Entertainment, Knot Too Shabby Consignment Wedding Boutique, La Creme, NithRidge Estate Weddings & Events, Pearl Girl Make Up, Rev. Joe Amaral, Stars Men's Shops, Taylor’s Bridal Boutique, Thunderstorm Productions