Nicole & Mike’s wedding simply defines lovely. From its romantic hues to the infectious joy, and all the gorgeous personal details in between, it just doesn’t get any prettier than this secret garden themed affair. Personalization is the key to a dream wedding, especially when the celebration is rich in DIY details with the most unique rustic styling you will ever lay your eyes upon. Join us as we share Nicole & Mike’s beautiful wedding story along with amazing images captured by the talented Alabater Jar Photography.
The love story
From the Bride (Nicole): Mike and I met while we were away at college in London, Ontario. One of my roommates was dating one of Mike’s roomates and eventually we met and became good friends. Mike had his eye on me for a while before I gave him a chance!
We were friends for two years during school, I moved back home which was about 3 hours from London, while Mike had to stay for a third year after summer. That summer, I spent a lot of time with my friends from college, including Mike. A group of us ended up at a cottage in Grand Bend for July long weekend, that’s when Mike decided it was his last chance to pursue things. We started dating that week.
We soon realized what we were in for, we lived 3 hours away from each other and Mike was soon leaving for 2 months in Europe. Our relationship got serious quickly, having been friends for 2 years was such a blessing. I think it only took about 2 or 3 months before we both knew each other was the one.
Nicole: The proposal was not any girl’s dreamy, romantic scene; it was very typical “us” – clumsy and full of disasters. The day started with me being sick, and yet I spent it cleaning his Grandpa’s house with his mom, romantic I know. That night we drove up to my parent’s for the weekend. Mike was acting funny making way too many stops that we never made going to my parent’s. He was stressed, texting like crazy, making me drive around with him to do errands, needless to say I was not a happy camper.
I spent most of the drive (the whole drive) yelling at him and complaining. We finally made a stop at St.Georges Church in Georgina. About 5 minutes from my parents house. I asked why we were pulled over, Mike said: “I have to pee”! WHAT?! At a church are you crazy? He then said “come with me” (yes this is our proposal story).
After much convincing, as it was freezing cold and raining, I followed Mike as he led me to a spot over the lake. He paused awkwardly and finally got down on one knee. I was floored. Absolutely the last thing I was expecting!
After the worst day, I’m engaged. Mike had tried so hard, to bring me to a beautiful spot by the lake as it’s my favorite place in the world. He was running into issue after issue all day long, and it just became this big complicated mess of a story, that led to the start of our amazing journey.
A secret garden wedding theme
Nicole: Our wedding theme was a secret garden. It was to be intimate, chic, very magical and full of love. Our venue delivered! All the twinkle lights, lanterns, hanging vines, full size trees, water features, it really felt like you walked into this secret magical garden that no one else knew existed, it was just us, our family and friends, and our new life.
Wedding design & details
Nicole: We had about 220 guests, all seated for a full serve 5 course meal. Our florist did the most amazing job; the centerpieces were breathtaking, along with the rose pedals showered over all the tables, that was of big importance to us and for our theme.
Our budget, never really was determined. We wanted to get married asap, we only had a 7 month engagement. We didn’t really roll with a budget; the wedding overall came in at about $40,000.
Mike and I agree that our favorite moment was when I walked down the aisle. Before the wedding, a friend had mentioned that she didn’t remember seeing her groom at the altar because she was looking around at all the guests. I made sure that my eyes were locked on Mike, and he watched me every step I took. I walked down the aisle to the song Main Title by Aaron Zigman, it was the most amazing moment, it felt like a dream and neither of us will ever forget achieving that intimate moment.
The day was so very special and personal to us because I made sure we had little touches of our personalities everywhere you looked. Tons of do it yourself project, nothing came together; nothing came as a package deal. We picked every little color, every fabric, charger plates, signature drinks, handmade decorations. It really tied the whole thing together!
Wedding planning priorities
Nicole: The important things to me for our wedding were the visuals. Mike not so much. All he needed was food and he was happy. I had been on Pinterest for months dreaming up what our wedding would look like, watching “Say Yes to the Dress” like it was my job.
From the very start my priority was to have a unique venue. There was nothing more that displeased me than to picture us celebrating in a hall somewhere, so not us. I proceeded to look at barns, gardens, pubs, breweries, anything that would give me the foundation I needed to start my dream wedding.
Advice for other couples
Nicole: Our advice for couples planning their big day would be to really have involvement from both bride and groom. Mike really had no interest in the details, colors, textures like I did, but when it came down to paying for it – he cared. It is important to attend meetings with the caterer, florist, venue operators, whatever it may be, together. If one person is doing all the research and planning, then you are going to run into big issues when the bill comes along and your significant other is mind blown and wondering when why how where did this all happen.
Another thing that became huge for us was not having to please the crowd. We came from very different families with different traditions. We had to work really hard to do what was pleasing to us, what we believed in, and what we ultimately wanted our day to be about.
Thoughts from the photographer
Alabaster Jar Photography: Where to even begin for this wedding, I don’t think we’ve ever seen a more unique venue. It felt like we were under the stars, in Tuscany, when really we were hiding away from the first Blizzard of the Canadian winter. The greenhouse made for amazing pictures, with greenery on the ceilings and walls, twinkle lights everywhere and an industrial look that you normally have to go searching for.
The colours were so soft and clean, the bridal party was huge, loud and so much fun, and for our first time we had some bridesmen, which made for a predominately male bridal party, as i’m sure you’ll see.
Nicole was calm, cool and just knocked every photo out of the park! When it came time to shooting the first look and Mike and Nicole’s photos, the passion and love was so real that they made it easy to capture their joy.
This wedding was relaxed and full of emotions, we laughed along with the speeches and cried during the father daughter dance, what an honour it was to share in Mike and Nicole’s day. A huge thank you to our second shooter Jeffrey Chan Tin.
Find the photographer:
Venue: Madsens Greenhouse (Newmarket Ontario) | Florist: Grace of Metro Florist | Caterer: O’Malleys Catering | Bridal dress & bridesmaids dresses: Elmwood Bridal Boutique | Groom / groomsmen suits: Moores | Antique keys favors: Wedding Stars | Tule wrapped giant balloons: All Reasons Party Rentals (Sutton, Ontario) | Invitations: Wedding Paper Divas | Guest photo book: Shutterfly