Industrial & Organic Wedding at the Canadian Museum of Nature in Ottawa

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Industrial & Organic Wedding at the Canadian Museum of Nature in Ottawa

Museum of Nature Wedding Gallery

Geoff and Julia's wedding last June was a major milestone in my life (I can't believe I haven't blogged about it yet). It sounds silly that someone else's wedding could be a pivotal moment in my history, but let me give you a little context. Okay, a lot of context.

I was working for another wedding planner in Ottawa for one year before I decided to spread my wings and launch my own company in September 2013. I knew that my real passion was wedding design, not necessarily planning, so I made it my focus. It was a harder concept to market than I anticipated. Not many understood the difference between a designer (one who develops the aesthetic design of the wedding) and a planner (one who coordinates the administrative elements of the planning process and executes them on the wedding day). Couples assume we do it all, and many planners choose to take it all on.

I wanted to draw a firm line in the sand between the services though. I believe that most people excel in one area more than the other. Some are stronger at planning and aren't creative and others are stronger at designing and aren't as efficient with planning or administration. I wanted to build a team that had a strong combination of both types of professionals so that we could all focus on what we love and not have to deal with the stuff we don't. Anyway, I had designed a number of major styled shoots that showcased my design skills (this one in particular), but I didn't have a wedding in my portfolio that could help me market my actual taste: this blend of natural, organic elements and industrial, refined elements. I needed to find my "ideal client" as all the business books call them.

I was pretty nervous leading up to my consultation with Geoff and Julia. They would be my first big client under my own name, and t was also going to be my first official consultation. We met at El Camino where I greeted them over a stiff bourbon sour and tacos. We instantly connected and I knew they were my ideal client. We loved all the same things. I painted them a picture of what I could immediately picture for them and it was a done deal. That night launched a great friendship, a portfolio I am proud to show off, and a possibly a reputation for drinking too much with my clients (which I don't think is a bad thing).

Geoff was studying Green Architecture at the time we met, and Julia was articling at a law firm en route to pass the Bar just days after their wedding. There were a lot of things we wanted to include in the design, but some of them were really conflicting. They are passionate about industrial design, minimalism, being green, graphic design, vintage cars, food, lettering, the great outdoors and their adorable dog Frank. So how did we incorporate all of these into the wedding? Well...

  • The Third Floor Gallery of the Museum of Nature provided the perfect canvas: white gallery walls, exposed ceiling, poured concrete flooring and a contemporary green space behind the Museum of Nature to hold the cocktail hour after the ceremony at Geoff's family church.
  • We rented a vintage Rolls Royce to bring them from the church to the Museum.
  • We scooped up Frank the dog for pictures post-ceremony.
  • The entrance to the reception showcased a 15 foot wall of place cards delicately hanging with greens between two birch trees and over the "guest book" which was two oars for guests to write on. They got engaged while portaging.
  • The reception had greenery-draped planks suspended from the ceiling with their favorite industrial style Edison bulbs hanging low for a more intimate dining atmosphere.
  • The lights illuminated the centrepieces: wood boxes spilling with greenery and florals.
  • The backdrop to the head table was a giant chalkboard wall that incorporated the same lettering used in the invitation suite and menus.
  • The meticulously designed menus incorporated their love for lettering and minimalism and were perfectly accented by little ferns laid delicately on top.
  • The meal was designed around their love of food and was divine. Julia really loves edible flowers and each course incorporated them into the aesthetic of the dish.
  • The traditional Greek treats on the sweets table were made my Julia's family as a nod to her heritage (and were absolutely delicious, I will openly admit to eating a few before the wedding started).
  • The delicious cake was designed to look like a building, complete with a "concrete block" buttercream tier and little fern accents that were reminiscent of greenery growing through cracks of cement. Side note about one of my favourite wedding moments ever: with their guests surrounding them waiting for the big moment, Julia and Geoff cut their cake and fed each other the first slice. After Julia took her first bite she immediately looked over at me and yelled "Holy f**k this is good!")
  • The guest favours were "flower bombs," our florists' genius invention that had wildflower seeds rolled up in fertilized soil ready to be thrown into a garden.
  • The kissing game played to Julia's love of golf: it was a putting green that encouraged the guests to come up and get a hole in one to get the couple to kiss.
  • And finally, the dance party was a never ending wicked stream of old-school hip hop right out of their childhoods (much to the pleasure of the majority of their guests).

We found that perfect harmony between masculine and feminine, industrial and botanical, raw and refined. I was so proud of this wedding. Geoff and Julia gave me complete creative control and together we were able to design a wedding that told their story perfectly. I will never, ever forget when I was standing with them outside the Museum of Nature at the end of the night. They said: "Brittany, you HAVE to quit your day job. This is your calling." (so cheesy, I gobbled it up). Exactly 1 year and 3 days after their wedding, I quit my day job and haven't looked back since.

Design, planning and lettering: Satin & Snow // Photographer: Union Eleven // Florals, favors, backdrop and decorative lighting: Full Bloom Floral Design // Invitation suite, menus and place cards: Wishtree Invitations & Stationery // Cake: Catherine Beddall Edible Art // Sweets table rentals: Amy & Jen // DJ and uplighting: Professional Entertainment // Musician: Cadenza Strings // Hair: Showpony Hair// Makeup:  // Catering: Tulips & Maple Catering // Ceremony: Christ Church Cathedral Ottawa // Reception: Canadian Museum of Nature

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Joanna & Dave's Chic Rustic Wedding at Evermore Weddings & Events in Almonte Ontario

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Joanna & Dave's Chic Rustic Wedding at Evermore Weddings & Events in Almonte Ontario

Joanna & Dave's 1 year anniversary was this past week and to celebrate, I'm sharing their stunning wedding at Evermore Weddings & Events in Almonte, photographed by none other than Anne-Marie Bouchard. Anne is one of my favourite photographers on the planet and the first vendor I fell in love with in Ottawa as I was starting to learn about the wedding industry back in 2010. I attribute much of the success of my original "Satin & Snowflakes" blog to her as she regularly submitted weddings for publication on my site and it dramatically increased its quality. So basically I could say that I'm here in part because of Anne's support of my blog in the early days! Thanks Anne!

Danica and Zaineb from our team last year coordinated this beautiful day and we also made all of the fun signage like the seating charts on Joanna's vintage window panels and the chalkboards that she borrowed from her maid of honour! Fun fact: the maid of honour, Ashley, was a bride of ours the year before and became a stylist on our team after her own wedding! Happy Anniversary Jo & Dave!

Coordination: Satin & Snow // Photography: AMBPhoto // Shuttle Bus: Barr Transportation // Limo: Elite LimousineTransportation // Hair: Emilie Tran // Venue: Evermore Weddings and Events // Officiant: Exceptional Ceremonies - Keith Langille // Ring: Howard Fine Jewellers // Makeup: One Fine Beauty // Florals: Presh Floral // DJ: Professional Entertainment

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Tornado Warnings & Lightning Storms at a Lakeside Wedding on Otter Lake

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Tornado Warnings & Lightning Storms at a Lakeside Wedding on Otter Lake

You might remember the photos of the 125-foot-long table that I designed for Janice & Romulo's lakeside wedding at the family cottage on Otter Lake last year. What you might not know is the backstory. It was one of the most memorable weddings of my career for a few different reasons.

There are two very distinctive things you notice about Janice and Romulo when you first meet them. First of all, they are completely and unabashedly head over heals in love with each other. Second, they are both incredibly calm humans. Janice's soul belongs on a beach, and Romulo is Brazilian and the ocean is a part of who he is (you'll see that the design is inspired by soft beachy tones). What mattered most to them was that they have all of the people they love surround them and celebrate with them on their wedding day.

They live together in Toronto but wanted to host their day at Janice's family cottage on Otter Lake near Perth, Ontario, when they decided not to do a destination wedding. The lake was a good compromise, but the cottage posed some very serious problems. While the house itself was a jaw-dropper and the property was lovely, there wasn't enough open space to have a standard tent to shield their 120 guests from the elements. They badly wanted to dine al fresco with no tent, but Ontario's ridiculously unpredictable weather makes it impossible. My solution? Line up 10 individual 20x20' tents all the way down the very long driveway leading up to the cottage and have everyone sit at one long table. It took a little while to convince everyone that it would work, but eventually I brought them around.

Then we had some more issues. Would there be enough room for a dance floor underneath the tent? No, not with tables under there, and the couple wanted to avoid tenting the entire property because we would lose the beautiful sightline of the trees and stars. They decided to have the dance floor in an open-air space where the ceremony took place knowing the risk it would pose if there was rain. The bride's family painstakingly hung strand after strand of lights through the trees and meticulously pruned the gardens around the cottage to really give the space there more ambiance.

All was well and everything was looking beautiful... it was hot and sticky though and you could feel a storm rolling in. We didn't realize just how bad it would be. Turns out, it was the one day last year that the region had SEVERE THUNDERSTORM AND TORNADO WARNINGS all day, all night. Just my luck.

The rain held off just long enough for the couple to have a beautiful, emotional ceremony in the open air right beside the cottage. Following which, I sent the wedding party on a little boat cruise to putt-putt around for 20 minutes and celebrate privately together before dinner. Little did I know that they'd bring so much booze on the boat that the boat would start to SINK. After some very fast thinking, the wedding party dispersed their weight evenly around the boat and they were able to stay afloat, although when the beer tub just about slid off the edge and a groomsman dove after it and soaked himself (and almost tipped the boat). It's not every wedding planner that can say the entire wedding party sank in a boat right after the ceremony.

After they returned, dinner was served under the tent. Contrary to popular opinion, I firmly believe that long rectangular tables lend themselves much better to conversation than round tables because it's just like you're at a family dinner table, elbow-to-elbow with all the people you love, and it is easier to engage with those around you than trying to yell across a formal round. With 120 guests seated at a 125' long table, the conversation was booming and it felt like a giant family reunion. It was brilliant.

Their first dance happened just after a beautiful firework show that the father of the bride had arranged. Somehow, the rain held off until after the show, after their first dance, and after the parents' dances. But then the downpour began. I don't know if I've ever been in a rain storm that bad. Again, the dance floor was outside, without a tent, and you know what? It didn't matter at all. Everyone danced in the rain. But it wasn't like a sweet summer little dusting of rain and romantic dancing... it was like someone was taking a firehose to a bunch of ravers at a club. Shoes were off, shirts off, music was pumping and it didn't matter at all that we were in the middle of a torrential downpour with lightning cracking all around us. The party was BUMPING. Check out the last shot that Janice took of a polaroid from the night and you'll see what the mood was like.

Of course, by this point my planner mind is screaming "The tornado is going to rip the tents out of the ground!! The bar is going to be an ocean of mud!! Her dress is destroyed!!! Someone is going to wipe out on the dance floor!! The DJ equipment is going to blow out from the water!! Lightning is going to hit one of these soaking wet dancers!! This is chaos!!! AAAHHH!!!!" The tents stayed down but the speakers did blow out, the bar did become a trench of mud, the lightning got dangerously close, and the power even went out a few times too, but generators kicked in, there were backup speaker, and everyone was too busy having fun to care too much. It was an extremely hard night on me and my poor assistant as we raced around trying to catch tables flying away in the wind, tying down tent flaps, covering speakers with tarps, starting generators, flipping breakers every 20 minutes and lord knows what else, but what a night. The real lasting memory was seeing the utter joy on everyone's faces as they danced under lightning in the pouring rain in all the chaos.

Janice said it best: "We got married and the cosmos exploded!"

Photography: Grace & Gold Studios // Planning & Styling: Satin & Snow // Florals: Sylvia's Plant Place // MUA: Radha Subramani Makeup // Hair: Lindsay Welton-Olotu // Catering: Temple's Sugar Bush Ltd. // Rentals & Decor: Rebel Tents & Event Rentals // Entertainment: Terence Lam // Officiant: Jill Turnbull

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HUGE NEWS! WE GOT A STORE!!!

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HUGE NEWS! WE GOT A STORE!!!

We got the keys to our very own shop in Wellington West in Ottawa! We are so very pleased to introduce:

SATIN & SNOW WEDDING BOUTIQUE, 1367 Wellington Street West, Ottawa, ON K1Y 3C2

Wedding Boutique Ottawa

Our boutique has 3 key functions:

(1) WEDDINGS: 

We'll continue serving as one of Ottawa's top wedding planning companies, helping couples with everything from design, planning, coordination and styling their day. Now we'll also be selling gorgeous wedding decorations, favours, resources and more. It's Ottawa's first wedding store! 

(2) FLOWERS: 

We already do full-scale florals for weddings and now we're expanding! We're taking orders for everything from daily bouquets to birthday parties, bridal showers and more. 

(3) WORKSHOPS: 

We're connecting with creatives across the city to host spectacular workshops in our new store. Not only will we be promoting local entrepreneurs but we'll become a hub for accessible, creative education.

We officially opened on Saturday, May 13th (the day before Mother's Day) and it was a HUGE success. We brought in doughnuts and cake and a whole lot of flowers for our guests to enjoy and make bouquets for their Mamma's the next day. It was a terrific time and we had lineups from 9:30am to 6pm. I can't get over the response from the community. I may have cried a few times. 

Here are some shots of the Grand Opening, taken by my wonderful friend Melanie Shields of Melanie Shields Photography.

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Our First Flower Installation

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Our First Flower Installation

Florals and Design by Satin & Snow, Photo by Laura Kelly Photography.

Florals and Design by Satin & Snow, Photo by Laura Kelly Photography.

Featured in Weddingbells Magazine and Online! An up close shot of our giant floral display of blush, peach and cornflower blue flowers on the top beam of our huge custom-built ceremony arch. Love how it turned out!

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Welcome to Our Arch

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Welcome to Our Arch

Photo by Laura Kelly Photography, Styling by Satin & Snow.

Photo by Laura Kelly Photography, Styling by Satin & Snow.

We had this built early last year as a giant 9x9 ceremony arch of solid wood. It’s the perfect dramatic but natural frame for your ceremony. I can’t wait to decorate this in a million different ways. This was for Sarah & Pascal’s wedding at Britannia Yacht Club with Laura Kelly Photography. We added a massive display of blush, peach and cornflower blue on the top beam. Perfection! Featured in Weddingbells Magazine and Online!

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We're On Vacation!

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We're On Vacation!

Photo from an unknown source.

Photo from an unknown source.

Exactly one year ago today, I was coordinating the set up of my first television production… from my plane to Florida. I had to get hooked up to their wifi and I found myself Facetiming my team from somewhere above New York. Now, I’m heading to Cuba today with Jordan for a romantic, completely work-free vacation. The first one in 5 years. I travel a lot but I work through my travels. I’m so fortunate that I have a job that I can work abroad from for part of the year if I want to. This year though, it’s been my busiest, and I don’t think I’ll get to do this again for a while. It will be our first real vacation together. We’re spending 5 days in a private casa in Habana Vaija (Old Havana), right in the heart of the old city. We’ll eat at the best restaurants I could find, wander the streets and get lost with good drinks, candy-coloured buildings and latin music playing in the background. The last 4 days of the trip will be spent at a resort in Varadero where we’ll really get to put our feet up at the beach and get a little relaxation and pool time before heading home to chaos. I’m so happy I have Virginia and Becca holding down the fort while I’m away! Thank you ladies, this wouldn’t be possible without your hard work. 

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It's the Little Things...

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It's the Little Things...

Design and Photo by Satin & Snow.

Design and Photo by Satin & Snow.

This year, I'm really putting serious effort into customizing the "little details" in wedding designs. I want our events to be really polished and well-thought out (they usually are but I tend to be a minimalist and try to reduce everything I can at a wedding). 
One of the small details I love to include is a matching ring box. Ring boxes can be so ugly but with @the_mrs_box you can't go wrong. They are famously beautiful, dainty velvet boxes that come in dozens of complimentary shades for your day. I have had the blue box for 2 years and still looks amazing. I just bought the blush and burgundy ones too and just love them. 
If you're married, what did you end up putting your rings in? Were there any little details in your wedding that really stood out?

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Honest Thoughts On Veils

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Honest Thoughts On Veils

Photo by AMBphoto, Design by Satin & Snow.

Photo by AMBphoto, Design by Satin & Snow.

I can't tell you how many times I've watched someone step on the veil and rip the bride's head back moments before walking down the aisle. Or how many veils I've scooped off the ground with footprints and wine stains on it after it's taken off to dance and cast aside. They can be a real headache: literally, those things get heavy and cause headaches too.

Historically, the veil is meant to signify a bride's virginity but not because it's white. White... represents purity, but the long veil itself is actually symbolic of long, healthy hair falling down the bride's back, which is how brides used to wear their hair because it was indicative of their fertility. Covering of the face was also meant to shield the pure, fertile and virgin brides from the eyes of sinners until she is revealed to her groom. When her groom lifts the veil, it's meant to symbolize the consummation of the marriage. #themoreyouknow

Clearly I'm a bit cynical. But then I see images like this one where the couple is wrapped up in this dreamy cloud of tulle and I think: "oh, that's why." Veils are utterly romantic. They are undeniably feminine and although traditional, they do add a wonderful layer of texture to the bridal outfit. Ultimately, I know they can be a pain and it's steeped in outdated traditions, but I do love how they look in pictures and I don't think that will ever go away. I'd love to know what you think of veils too.

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Winter Blooms

Photo by Grace & Gold Studios, Florals & Planning by Satin & Snow.

Photo by Grace & Gold Studios, Florals & Planning by Satin & Snow.

A beautiful shot captured by Tracy while she was slipping on ice - that's talent! Tracy snapped this of our bride Megan during her winter wedding at the Royal Ottawa Golf Club a few weeks ago. ❄️ Our winter has been so insanely busy with weddings every other week. I thought I wouldn't like working in the cold or that I'd feel burned out after a long season, but it's actually really... nice to be working on these big productions when nothing else is happening. After the holidays, there isn't much to look forward to until Valentine's Day and March Break, so I love that our girls are willing to brave the cold to host their wedding in a season that doesn't get enough love. I look forward to doing many more!

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