His name was Albuquerque and he was a turkey. He was feathered, he was fine; and he wobbled, and he gobbled; he was absolutely mine. At least that’s what I told my mother when I came skipping back from kid’s club clutching a hand-traced turkey drawing. It was Thanksgiving in the early 90′s and everyone in the class got to make one. Being a child genius, I managed to put two and two together and figure out that the same bird we had been singing about all afternoon was now being carved on the dinner table. I was 5 or 6 and completely devastated. I told my parents I wanted to become a vegetarian, but being too young to make an informed decision, we settled on my only eating meat that came from Amish or Mennonite farms, where they treated their animals “kindly”. It got to a point where I was asking random waiters at restaurants if their meat was “Amish”.
Sure enough, when I grew up, I became a vegetarian, but this past weekend was my first ever meat-free Thanksgiving (yes Americans, in Canada, we celebrate one month ahead of you due to our earlier winter!) Inspired by the beautiful bounty of the season, I decided to round up the most magnificent meat-free celebrations I could find. Here is a bushel of vegetable inspired wedding ideas! Yum!
The epic SmogShoppe shindig I posted last week got me thinking about the numerous other weddings I’ve developed mild to severe crushes on over the years. Most I still have stashed away in bajillions of folders which currently inhabit my computer. I thought it might be fun to open up the vault and share with you some of the goodies: weddings which are, in my opinion, truly one in a million. I figured it’d be most appropriate to start with my Favourite Wedding of All Time (except, of course, my parents’); out of all the thousands of weddings I’ve seen, pinned, tweeted, tumbled and e-mailed to my mother at 3 A.M., I don’t think any have inspired me so much as this one. To me, it’s more than just a wedding. It’s a philosophy. I didn’t realize it at the time, but when I first gazed upon this masterpiece, I began to understand that weddings weren’t just forbidden fluff for engaged women to enjoy (and stealthy single girls, behind bolted doors, in the dead of night) but living, breathing works of art.
I know. You want more, just like I did when I first set eyes on this visual feast. Luckily, wedding planner Annie Lee of Daughter of Design dished all the deets for us to devour like a big slice of wedding cake.
Sarah Joy Kubanack and David Miller are both performers, just like you’d expect from the bride and groom behind such a delectably dramatic celebration. Miller is a member of Il Divo, the operatic pop group created by Simon Cowell, and Kubanack is a stage actress and singer in her own right. The two met, quite appropriately, while performing in Baz Luhrmann’s L.A. production of La Bohème, a modernized opera about a writer and artist in Paris who fall in love and do marvelous things like go to cafés until one of them tragically dies. The opera would later inspire Miller and Kubanack’s entire wedding celebration (“sans the tuberculosis,” says Lee).
Miller and Kubanack’s guests received remarkable invitations calligraphed by Bernard Maisner in white ink on thick black card stock. “If you are thinking of doing black invitation sets, that’s all fine and dandy, but it’s always best to do your response cards in a lighter color so that people can write with blue and black pens without any issues,” advises Lee. “Most people don’t have white marker lying around.” In lieu of a standard RSVP, Miller and Kubanack injected some French formality by spelling out “Responde S’il Vous Plait” (where the term “RSVP” actually originates). The pair also expressed their positive spirituality by requesting guests indicate if they would be attending the celebration “in body” or “in spirit”.
Daughter of Design worked with Hatch Creative Studio to fashion the ceremony location after a French café. Bistro chairs and tables were towed into the event space at 632 on Hudson (one of my favourite venues on the entire North American continent) along with an assortment of park benches and garden furniture. Envisioning an old, abandoned building overgrown with plants and vines, the floral designers at Hatch arranged “flowers pouring in from the open windows and vines and flowers growing on the walls,” describes Lee. As a festive touch, old French opera posters were displayed throughout the venue, which was also decorated by Maisner with lavish calligraffiti. “From their first song lyrics on the mirror to opera libretto on chalkboard, there were a lot of great details we added,” says Lee. Maisner also calligraphed a chalkboard sign positioned outside 632 on Hudson, baptizing the space “Café Mommus” for the evening (the name of the café in La Bohème).
Kubanack wore a silk sheath by Michelle Rahn from Gabriella New York and Miller a suit custom tailored by Giorgio Armani himself. In lieu of a traditional bridal march, Kubanack walked down the aisle to a piece Miller composed for her (adorably titled “For Sarah”) which was played by a string trio and harpist. The maid of honour and best man both performed ceremony readings which had been taped inside vintage tomes to appear as if being read directly from the books themselves. Guests were surprised by West Village Chorale who had quietly slipped into the room before singing “Set Me as a Seal” and a jubilant Ossana recessional. The music switched gears for the reception, where Miller and Kubanack enjoyed their first dance to “Such Great Heights” by Iron and Wine; an energetic Postal Service cover of the same song was later played as the final dance of the night.
Instead of a traditional sit-down dinner, Miller and Kubanack “opted for a cocktail party style reception with both passed courses and stations. Each room was themed to correspond with an opera, for example the ‘Madama Butterfly’ Asian room, ‘La Boheme’ French room and ‘La Traviata’ Italian room,” says Lee. As a surprise, Kubanack arranged for Miller’s favourite Japanese restaurant, Nobu, to set up camp in the Asian room. Guests also enjoyed a decadent dessert bar and wedding cake created by Ron Ben-Israel (who was shown a picture of a tree the couple had snapped on a camera-phone in upstate New York and wanted to incorporate in the design). Framed by two L brackets, the cake became a focal point for the entire reception. “I don’t think I’ve ever had a cake more photographed at a wedding,” says Lee.
It was one of those weddings. The type that appears in your Facebook news feed and you click on seconds later, unable to complete any further tasks until you have gazed upon each and every picture. Blue Manolo Blahniks, check. Aerial performers, check. The most insane chuppah you’ve ever seen, check. This was my friend Michelle Garber’s wedding, which I knew was going to be major as soon as I saw her twirling around in Pnina Tornai gowns on Say Yes to the Dress. Yes, I’m talking about that Michelle. She also happens to be the sweetest, most down-to-earth girl you could ever hope to grab coffee with, and has been since I first met her during my sorority days (hi Delta Pi!) When I learned she had become a wedding planner, I wasn’t surprised. It seemed like a natural progression after pulling off one of the most epic weddings of all time.
Just over a year later, she is the owner and principal planner of Fab Fête, a wedding planning boutique that already has Toronto brides babbling. With a coveted 5-star rating on WeddingWire, 50% of Fab Fête’s clients come from referrals. It’s easy to understand why. In an industry long over-populated by mason jars and mismatched centerpieces, Fab Fête offers an unapologetic glamour puss approach to wedding production. Her work speaks for itself: with details such as donut machines, shoe-shiners, photo decals and dangling crystal ice sculptures, Michelle’s specialty is undeniably statement events. She produces the same types of soirees you’d expect from Toronto’s most seasoned wedding professionals, sans the attitude that often tags along (and I spent my childhood in the Midwest, so I care way more about manners than most people. In fact, I have literally refused to write about vendors with icky personalities, no matter how outstanding their work is). Fortunately, in Michelle’s case, her work is just as wonderful as her personality.
“I’m newer in the industry, so I have that drive to exceed expectations,” says Michelle. While she may be a newcomer to the wedding scene, she’s no stranger to event planning. After earning a business degree from York University, Michelle continued her education at George Brown College, where she received a post-graduate diploma in Event Planning. She is also a certified wedding professional through WPIC (Wedding Planners Institute of Canada) and produced several non-profit events before her foray into weddings.
Some of her favourite Toronto wedding venues include the Trump Hotel, Arcadian Court and Hazelton Manor, where Michelle celebrated her own Big Day. Her immediate transition from bride to planner has provided some valuable insight: “I spent a lot of money on things that I didn’t need. I thought they would make a bigger impression than they actually did,” she explains. While Michelle has a discerning eye for detail (“I really love the small things,” she gushes), she also guides brides to getting the most bang for their buck throughout the entire wedding planning process. With extremely reasonable rates (starting at $950 for day of coordination), Michelle manages each wedding from start to finish, with no overtime charges or unpleasant surprises.
“I always put brides ahead,” says Michelle, who has built friendships with each of her brides, and unsurprisingly so. After all, Michelle is not only a committed professional but wedding guru in her own right and really, just extremely nice (even by Midwestern standards). She’s also met Randy Fenoli (“He is so cute, exactly like he is on TV.”) Need I say more?
1. Diamonds or pearls? Diamonds are a girl’s best friend!
2. Black tie or bow tie? BLACK TIE
3. DJ or live band? Depends on the style of the wedding. Either one is great!
4. What’s the best thing you’ve ever done/seen/heard at a wedding? I recently helped plan a wedding where the bride did a “Backstreet’s Back” dance with her dad. It was the exact dance from the music video and it was a hit. So creative!
5. What wedding trend do you think it’s time to shelve? Well it’s not really a trend but I think that people need to stop thinking that there is only one way of doing something. There is no right way of doing a wedding. Breaking a few traditions and adding some new ones work! The couple needs to make the wedding theirs’ and not worry about what others think.
6. Brides should spend less on the _____ and more on the _____. Spend less on the tiny details that will not be remembered and more on the larger details that will be seen and experienced by everyone. Try to spend money on one big ticket memorable item like a late night gelato bar in ice or a food truck. Make your wedding stand out from the crowd!
7.Favourite celebrity wedding I LOVED Carrie Underwood’s wedding. I thought it looked like a whimsical enchanted forest yet so princess like. I thought it was breathtaking.
8. If you could bring any person, living or dead, as your plus one to a wedding, who would it be and why? Wow, that’s a toughie. I think I would bring Michael Jackson. I know it sounds so cliché but I think he would be such a fun guest and I would persuade him to get up on stage and get the crowd going. It would not only enhance my time at the wedding but it would be a ball for the guests and couple as well!
9. Dream wedding venue to work with I would LOVE to plan a wedding at the Plaza hotel in NYC. Everytime I go into the ballroom I get shivers and I could just do so much to enhance the elegance of that venue. It is breathtaking
11. Words you live by “Do what you love and you will never work another day in your life.” –Confucius
In a Nut Shell: Big-style events with a boutique approach
Pricing (Approximate): Day of Coordination, $950-1250
Full Event Planning, $1950-2400
Piece of Advice: Don’t skip the traditional speech. “Your guests came to the wedding and need to be thanked,” says Michelle.
According to the Hebrew calendar, this is the first week of Year 5773! Rosh HaShana (literally “Head of the Year” in Hebrew) officially began on Sunday. The holiday is traditionally celebrated with apples and honey to reflect our hope that the upcoming year will be filled with sweetness. Since Wedding Style File is all about the sweetness, I thought I’d share some honey-inspired wedding ideas and inspiration!
Wedding Style File is a blog run by wedding marketing professional Rachel Cravit. More than her own little piece of Internet, Wedding Style File is a place to scour for ideas and inspiration, indulge in delectable details, gorge on visual splendor and ultimately rejoice in the creative life that weddings inspire.