The Lauren’s: Inner city elegance
It was pure inner city elegance for Lauren and Lauren’s Toronto wedding. Lavish blooms, magnificent gowns, and radiant smiles all made for a wedding that is sure to inspire.
Location Toronto, Canada | Photographer Kimon Kaketsis
Tell us how you met… We met nearly seven years ago at a monthly dance party thrown by a mutual friend of ours at a bar in the Kensington neighbourhood of Toronto. The dance is called “Business Women’s Special” (“BWS”, from ‘Romy and Michelle’s High School Reunion’). Turns out Lauren J (“Lo”) had gone to school in eastern Canada with Lauren B’s (“Lauren”) childhood best friend. Lo, out of character, actually went to the bar on her own that night to see her friend from University (and the boyfriend of the host of BWS. This friend also went to University with Lo and Lauren’s childhood bestie in eastern Canada). We didn’t know this at the time, but it was mutual friends and a love for dancing that brought us to BWS that night. Our friend introduced us as “Lauren, meet Lauren, she is the best! And Lauren, meet Lauren, she is the best!”. Turns out, he was right!
Give us a little insight into the initial days of your relationship… When we met neither of us were entirely out in our personal or work lives. Lauren had come out to her immediate family, while Lo had not come out at all – neither of us were out at work. Lo was raised Catholic and was pretty fearful of how her coming out would be received, and Lauren came from a small town in western Ontario. Both of us were, as we still are, dedicated to our careers and had internalised what coming out may do to our potential in our workplaces. In the first six months of our relationship, Lauren went to Australia for a four-month co-op term, and Lo joined her at the end for a bit of a vacation. That trip ended up being an eye-opener and test for us in our relationship, being out in a country where same-sex relationships were not legal and received, while mostly positive, somewhat mixed at times. Turns out, both of us could not have been more warmly welcomed and supported across our families, friends and at work. We ended up coming out in our own way and time – we were, and are, incredibly fortunate.
Lauren and Lauren’s story continues below >
So, who proposed and how? We both proposed in the summer of 2015!!! We thought it was pretty cool to have the opportunity to propose to someone (whether you are gay or straight!) and also wanted the other to have the chance to be proposed to. Lo ended up being the first to pop the question. She was doing a 200km two-day charity bike ride one weekend. Lauren was going to meet her in Niagara at the end. We had plans to stay at our favourite Bed and Breakfast (where we first went away together years before) that night, and then head to a concert the following night. Writing notes (lunch, cards, etc.) had ended up being a big part of our relationship. We also had exchanged journals when we went to Australia. For each of the five days leading up to the bike ride, Lo wrote a note to Lauren, each themed around something special in their relationship (i.e., a note made up of saved concert tickets, or plane and trip tickets, etc.). Lo left her with a card the morning Lauren dropped Lo at the bike ride. Lo had the ring with her the entire 200km (she was afraid to leave it in her luggage as Lauren was bringing it for her from Toronto to Niagara). That evening after the race we sat on the balcony of the B and B, with our favourite bottle of wine, Lo gave Lauren one last note in her journal from Australia and then proposed!
A couple of months later, Lauren proposed to Lo in her Lauren’s hometown, which is on one of Ontario’s five great lakes. We had a late lunch on a restaurant patio and then walked down along the boardwalk by the beach. We jutted down to the water where there was a deserted bench. We were chatting, and the sun began to set. Lauren proposed there before we headed back to her family home where she had set up a beautiful patio dinner with strands of white lights (Lo’s favourite!) all around the trees and garden.
When was the wedding? We got married on October 15, 2016.
Did you want a particular feel to your wedding? When we were talking about a general feel for the day, “rustic elegance” is what we loosely landed on (whatever that actually means!). At the end of the day, our whole approach to the wedding was that we wanted it to unequivocally reflect who we are as individuals and as a couple. We think we accomplished that!
Where did you find the bulk of your inspiration? With the venue we had, we wanted to keep things simple. We had fun reading through magazines for ideas, but ultimately enjoyed trips to small-town antique stores where we bought unique silver pieces that ended up providing unique details to the tablescape and candle holders. We also found an old bike on which we strung white lights and placed by the dance floor, and a worn window frame (that we painted) and used as our table seating chart. We ordered rectangular wooden tables through our venue that we placed together to create four sets of long wooden tables to contrast with the golden chandeliers and white and grey warehouse backsplash of the Fieldhouse. Amongst other ‘bits and bobs’, our décor became all about the flowers – which were stunning and really accentuated the simplicity and beauty of the venue.
How did you choose your suppliers? We were lucky as, in the end, this all fell into place quite easily for us. We ultimately went with vendors that we had either seen (via friends’ weddings and experience) or, in the case of those we found on our own – like our florist, venue, invitations and dresses – we went with those with whom we had great chemistry and who had a track record of working with LGBTQ couples. That was important to us.
Our wedding rings were done by a mutual friend (of the same couple that introduced us!); they had their bands done by her the year prior. Likewise, our photographer also happened to do their wedding (and was the photographer at the dance party the night we met – and actually took our first ever photo together!). Moreover, we designed our invitations with a friend of Lo’s sister who is wicked talented, and we enjoyed collaborating with her and her brilliance over dinners and sunny days in the park. We cherish these personal touches and connections that honestly made it feel as though we were working with friends than perhaps a traditional vendor-client relationship.
Tell us a little about your overall wedding planning experience in regards to being a same-sex couple in a predominantly ‘Bride & Groom’ saturated industry? We had a lovely experience with our vendors and truly felt like they wanted to help make our day the amazing one it was. We wouldn’t have worked with any vendors who were anything less than unequivocal allies – or also members – of the LGBTQ community and that was the case through and through with each and every one of them.
Also, we think people had fun with the fact that we had the same name. Our wedding invitations played on it, as did our officiant who welcomed guests to the “Laurens’” wedding. It was fun and playful, which we love, and so we were happy to see our suppliers also embrace this and incorporate it into the day!
Did you find it difficult to translate more common traditions into a ‘same-sex’ wedding? For us, we kept focusing on the day we wanted – the issue of gender never really played into it because we weren’t thinking of our day in that way. We went with things that made the most sense and were meaningful for us and members of our family. For instance, we both walked down the aisle with both of our parents. We also had first dances with our Dads and also with each other (to Beyonce!!!), but we didn’t toss our bouquets, and we also threw in some of our own touches – like a surprise drumline by some of the guests.
Any advice for other same-sex couples planning their day? We’re not sure we are in any place to be doling out advice, but ultimately we think it is important for any couple to think first and foremost about what is most important to you both at the end of the day. A wedding – large or small – can be stressful, and we appreciate that this will vary by each family and wedding. The ability to “do what you want” can also be compounded by family members, opinions, and whether others are funding your big day and to what degree. Ultimately, we kept things pretty close to the chest and were fortunate to have family members that respected that choice. We brought people in when we both wanted, but also in areas where we knew this would be important and meaningful to them (such as bringing our Mom’s to our final dress selection), so everyone could feel they had a part in the process, beyond the day itself. Remember – your wedding day, for many of us, is the biggest day of our lives up until that point. We made choices in how we planned our day with the aim that we will always look back on it fondly, with warm and fun memories, and confidence that it reflected who we are and that we wouldn’t do anything differently. Keep what’s important close to you both. That can become more difficult as you get deeper into planning – but if you can do that, the rest is truly a breeze. Enjoy it and have fun – we definitely did!!!