Today’s real wedding had us wondering – how can a big day this laid back be SO pretty?? There’s something to be learned from letting go of worry and doing things exactly as you want to do them – it will work out perfectly on its own, because it will be everything you truly want.
Asha and Matt’s four-day Jewish wedding camping extravaganza took place in Ontario Canada. Bursting with color, life and what looks like an extraordinary amount of fun, the couple and their guests shed their shoes for a chilled-out extended celebration.
With dreamy, romantic floristry and a whimsical, bohemian look (including a wow-factor wooden chuppah, adorned with floral arrangements) the whole day looked like something from the pages of a Midsummer Night’s Dream!
Gorgeous bride, Asha, found her perfect dress by Dress The Population at Nordstrom, and finished it off with a beautiful bespoke sari veil and a fabulous flower crown. She looked like a fairy princess – and a ridiculously happy one at that.
Guests lay on blankets for storytime speeches, and were treated to an ice cream van mid-afternoon. The whole thing sounded so wonderfully relaxing, we wish we’d been there!
Outstanding Recommended Vendor, Niv Shimshon, made the most of the stunning scenery, capturing some truly epic images that we just CANNOT stop staring at! And Keren Rosenberg‘s film below is SO beautiful. An absolute must-watch…
It’s Asha’s turn to take over the blog for the full writeup of her and Matt’s fun-loving Jewish wedding day. We’re pretty sure you’re going to want to steal every last detail, so don’t say we didn’t warn you, and enjoy!
How we met
Asha, the bride: How we met is a favourite story of mine! Matt is the best friend of one of my cousins. I used to come to Toronto every summer (from when I was about nine) for a family camping trip.
When I was 17 and Matt was 19, he came over to hang out with my cousin, and we met for the first time. That day, Matt loudly announced in front of everyone that he would marry me one day. We remained friends for years, always chatting through instant messenger apps every few months, and always hanging out at my family’s house when I visited Toronto.
Seven years later, we started speaking more seriously and lo and behold, I moved to Toronto. We were engaged and had bought a home together within six months… when you know, you know.
We got married at Matt’s family cottage in Collingwood, Ontario. We’d been trying to find a provincial park where we could go on a big camping trip with our friends and family and then do the ceremony. We had a few options, but weren’t pleased about the restrictions on noise and alcohol in the provincial parks (we wanted a party!).
We realized there was a campground (Craigleith Provincial Park) just a 15-minute walk from Matt’s family cottage. We organized a four-day camping trip leading up to the wedding and then everyone just walked along the Bruce Trail to get to the cottage where we had the actual ceremony, party, meal etc. for the day of the wedding.
We ended up having 120/200 of our guests camping with us, which was amazing!
A fun, outdoors-y theme
I guess if we had a theme, it was that it was super casual and outdoors-y. We were committed to being outside. If it rained, we had decided we’d get a ton of slip-n-slides and make it waterpark themed. No matter what, we were going to have fun!
Everything we did was really low key. We encouraged people to be barefoot, to bring bathing suits (for the pool), and a change of clothes so they could be comfortable.
We didn’t use a planner to organize the wedding, but we did have a planner there as the point person the day of. Esther Marcus was amazing.
We did e-vites. I’m from London, England, so couldn’t bear the thought of dealing with international postage. We also needed to get info about people’s camping plans, so we could book accordingly. Plus, it’s good for the environment!!
We used Greenvelope – super easy and fun.
Natural hair and makeup
I did my own hair and makeup. One of my bridesmaids French braided my hair the evening before, so it had some intense waviness. Other than that, it was a regular hair and makeup day.
Similarly to choosing my dress, the most important thing for me was that I felt like myself and totally unencumbered. I did not need everyone telling me I looked exquisite all day, rather that we could celebrate the most incredible day together and I’d be comfortable and happy doing that until well after midnight.
A Dress the Population dress
I bought my dress off the rack at Nordstrom. It’s made by Dress The Population. At the time, we were still unsure where we were doing the wedding, and I wanted something that wouldn’t be a hassle if we were going deep into the woods.
I knew it was ‘the one’ because it was totally elasticated, which meant I could fold, roll, and stuff it in a backpack with no worries about it wrinkling. And the fact it was all sequins, and not lace or silk, meant it was that much less delicate.
I tried on some more traditional dresses, but realized I needed something I could move freely in and felt like myself in. Plus, this one was only $350CAD (which was still more than I’d ever spent on a dress!).
A custom-made sari veil
I did go all out on my veil. I had it tailor made from a white and gold Indian sari. I bought the material from a little shop in East Toronto and then took it to Megan at Shoppe and Tailor, who made a masterpiece out of it.
I didn’t have shoes, but I did have gold anklets from Anthropologie. My earrings and necklace were from Nordstrom.
The handsome groom
We actually bought all the groom’s and groomsmen’s clothes from Lululemon. They have some really great ‘smarter’ attire that is more breathable and sweat wicking.
They all wore white shirts and beige pants. They were free to accessorize however they liked. Matt had a boutonniere and cuffed his pants. Also no shoes.
Perfectly accessorised bridesmaids
The girls wore very pale pink silk dresses (mid thigh) from ASOS. My girls were coming from all over England and Canada, so trying to get anything more complex would have been tricky.
Similarly, their dresses had a natural wrinkle, so we also didn’t need to worry about them being pristine. I got them each a little chain crown or flower crown (their choice) and a colourful silk/embroidered scarf. The scarves tied in with my glitzy, Indian veil. Mostly they were barefoot too and wore whatever jewelry they loved.
A simple wooden chuppah
We decorated the chuppah with flowers and used simple white netting as the material. We wanted woodsy, natural, and simple.
A touching ceremony
Two of my favourite things about the ceremony were:
- We used the chuppah that our one of our friends got married under and that another friend would be getting married under three weeks later. It was handmade by a friend’s neighbor out of birch trees that grew on their property.
- Our rabbi asked all of our immediate family and bridal party members to come and have a moment with each of me and Matt between the document signing and the chuppah ceremony. It was unplanned, but so special to look each of them in the eye for 10-30 seconds and hear their good wishes and feel their overflowing love and support.
And the ketubah was the $2.99 one from the local judaica shop.
We did a daytime ceremony (2pm) which allowed everyone to take their time. We served lunch when everyone arrived, had the ceremony, first dance, hora, activity time (pool/volleyball/soccer/hooping/ice cream eating), speeches, dinner, dance party, fireworks, bonfire.
Eclectic music choices
Our first dance was to Someone Like You by Van Morrison.
I used my friend’s little sister, Maia, for our flowers. She has a summer job at a florist Seasons In The Country, and so was able to get us flowers at cost and gift us her time.
Matt and I love flowers, and always have fresh flowers in the house. It was really important to us to have vibrant, wild-looking, seasonal flowers. I wasn’t too fussed about colors or types. Maia did the most amazing job of taking the direction I did give and delivering above and beyond on our chuppah decoration, bouquets, table decorations, and flower crowns.
Our fabulous photographer…
My husband is actually a wedding photographer, so he knew Niv Shimshon from the industry. We loved his style and personality, so it was an easy decision.
We used Keren Rosenberg for video. She’s the sister of my husband’s video partner. She is actually based in Israel, but agreed to come out to capture the day.
Alternative sweet treats
Simple and fun entertainment
We had a couple of guys playing guitar, a musician friend of ours, and then some really well-curated Spotify playlists (put together by me). We wanted to keep it simple and fun.
A four-day camping trip
I think having the four-day camping trip was really great for all of our friends and family to get to know each other and be comfortable before the day itself. It meant we got to spend time with everyone, so we could be a little more relaxed on the wedding day too.
Our speeches were pretty special. We ended up doing them mid-afternoon, a while after the hora and before we ate. We had speeches by our parents, siblings, the best man, groom, bride. It was eight in total and took up about 1.5hrs.
We weren’t expecting it to be so long, but everyone was totally captivated. Everyone that stood up spoke from the heart and so eloquently. A lot of people came up to me and said they wished they’d have gone on and on. I felt totally the same.
We had everyone sit on blankets in the middle of the cottage property and just lay back, and enjoy. It was special to not have them squeezed between courses and to make an activity out of it. It looked like a giant adult story time with 200 people sitting in a semi circle shape listening intently… crying and laughing galore.
We didn’t have any specific seating – lots picnic blankets and picnic tables scattered around. It allowed people to move freely and eat/sit whenever it was best for them.
Advice to couples currently planning their wedding
- Don’t be afraid of a daytime wedding, especially if you’re doing it outdoors. It will go on and on and is honestly so much fun. Everyone says the day flies by (and it does), so you might as well use as much of it as you can.
- I was out, mingling and eating with everyone before the ceremony. Unless you’re really attached to everyone seeing you for the first time as you walk down the aisle, it’s really special to be able to greet people and spend time with your guests. Of course, not all schedules allow for it, but if yours does, don’t think you can’t go and have fun with everyone!
- We didn’t get too caught up in the details. Anything that was more money than we thought reasonable, we left out or worked around. Ultimately, the wedding part is getting married. The rest is just a fantastic party. So let it be that. It seems like the more you spend, the more expectation you have and the more potential stress there could be. Of course, if you’ve always dreamed of a princess dress and a big, white day then you should do EXACTLY that. But be so so so happy about it. Yes, there’s lots to think about in the lead up, but remember, busy doesn’t need to mean stressed. Plan the day you want, be excited about it, and don’t forget to leave a little room for the naturally-occurring magic of the day to work its wonders.
Asha & Matt’s little white book
Photography – Niv Shimshon
Videography – Keren Rosenberg
Bride’s dress – Dress The Population purchased at Nordstrom
Bride’s accessories – Anthropologie and Shoppe and Tailor
Groom’s attire – Lululemon
Bridesmaids – ASOS
Flowers – Seasons In The Country
Catering – Wild Thyme
Ice cream truck – Collinwood Ice Cream Company
Invitations – Greenvelope
Rings – Yuliya Chorna