Geoff and I met eight years ago, the night before he started working on his master’s degree in library studies. A few years later, at home in the apartment we shared, I caught him smiling to himself. “What is it?” I asked. He refused to say anything, but after ten minutes of laughter and my continuous pleas, he admitted that he had been planning to ask me to marry him for months, but didn’t have a ring for me. It was a low-key, hilarious proposal, and it was perfect.
We didn’t start planning right away. In fact, we were engaged for four years before we were married on September 15 of this year. I daydreamed about a picnic in the park or a quick trip to City Hall, but knew it wasn’t realistic. We didn’t want to spend a fortune, and we were intimidated by the idea of planning. We waited until the moment felt right to set a date. That moment came when my brother got married in August of 2011. Geoff and I looked at each other and said, “We can totally do this!” Within a couple of weeks, we had started to plan. We did it carefully and deliberately, and in that way, it felt manageable.
Our goal was to have a large wedding (we ended up having nearly 200 guests) that would somehow feel small. We decided that our wedding would be fairly traditional, and we also decided against a defined theme. We thought that if we chose all the elements according to our taste, the aesthetic would be consistent. The engagement ring I picked out shortly after Geoff proposed is modest – a white sapphire ring from Kate Szabone – and I let that be my guide. My ring and our everyday life together are in no way over-the-top, so there was no need for our wedding to be.
We designed our wedding invitations ourselves and the color scheme set the tone. I contacted our friend Kristiann from Victory Patterns about designing and making my dress, and I could not have been more thrilled with it! Geoff decided to get a bespoke suit from Brooklyn Tailors. I also ordered a custom headpiece handmade by Lou Lou Loves You because I had admired her flower crowns and thought that there was no better occasion than a wedding in which to wear one. I wore a delicate Twigs & Honey veil for the ceremony.
While planning, I contacted our friend Nikole about the cake and my friend, Celine about the photography. We got in touch with yet another friend, Alison, about the flowers. One of the best parts of wedding planning was being able to hire members of the highly talented creative community we are lucky to be a part of here in Toronto. I didn’t have to go to wedding shows and I didn’t have to research vendors since I was familiar with all of their work and could trust them to make beautiful things happen. “I spent most of the summer working on projects for the wedding, because I really love to make things.”
I made decorations and designed all the wedding stationery with Geoff’s help. We also silkscreened a “Love is Sweet” design onto white cotton aprons to give out as favors. As with any creative endeavor, for every completed project there were at least two abandoned ones that were never finished or just didn’t work out, so our apartment looked like a wedding had exploded in there, full of ribbons, tulle, and paint all over!
The ceremony was held in a church on the University of Toronto campus. We have both been connected to the university for over 10 years, and the older parts of the campus are among some of my favorite spots in the whole city. It meant a lot to me to be married there.
The dinner and reception were held in a restaurant that belongs to one of my father’s oldest friends, located close enough to where a lot of our friends live that they could take cabs or even the bus home (a definite draw!). We hired a really amazing and accommodating DJ, Justin from Indie Wedding DJ. The fun dance party we had was just what we had wanted, and our friends loved it too. We booed when Justin announced that he had to play his last song.
When I think back to our wedding, what I remember most is laughing a lot and feeling surrounded by so much love. So many huge smiles, so many sparklers out on the sidewalk. It was the most beautiful day.
All photographs by Celine Kim.