You can tell from the way that Ilana and Josh approached the planning and styling of their Jewish wedding that they’re a creative, authentic, laid-back (and eco-friendly!) couple.
They chose to hold their ceremony outdoors, a brave move with the sometimes temperamental weather, but it definitely paid off as it meant that they could marry underneath a beautiful outdoor chuppah, created by Ilana’s dad using her grandmother’s floral table cloth, surrounded by greenery and with a breathtaking, uninterrupted view of the rolling hills.
I adore this wedding for so many reasons — it’s full of natural and rustic details, from the seasonal handpicked wild blooms, to the incredible cakes lovingly made by Josh’s sister-in-law, to the meaningful family heirlooms for the chuppah and kiddush cup, and the homemade jam favours that doubled up escort cards.
I also love Ilana’s delicate, pretty Pronovias dress — perfect for a daytime wedding — and Josh’s dapper sartorial choices, and of course the dreamy portrait shots by Ash Nayler. Ash also put together a gorgeous wedding film, shown at the end of the post, which I must admit brought a tear to my eye.
I think you’ll love it too…
Ilana and Josh have written their wedding report together — it’s really lovely to hear from a Groom who had so much input into the big day.
An outdoor venue with a relaxing’ day-trip in the country’ feel
Ilana, the Bride, and Josh, the Groom: When we first started talking about getting married, we both felt it was important to have our wedding outside. We really wanted to find a space that was surrounded by nature and where our guests could feel as though they were away from the city for a relaxing day-trip in the country. After the ceremony and meal, guests really took advantage of the space — wandering the property, spending time by the pond, jumping on a trampoline, even starting a pick-up Frisbee game! When we found South Pond Farms near the town of Pontypool (just over an hour from Toronto) and spoke with Danielle French and Amy Hall, we knew we had found the place for us. Not only was the setting absolutely breathtaking, the staff were incredibly down to earth and genuine. South Pond’s commitment to staying green was also a huge selling point: food is seasonal and sourced from local farmers and vendors, leftovers donated to shelters, everything is recycled and flowers and herbs are grown on site.
A paperless invitation
Wanting to make an effort to keep things environmentally friendly, we decided early on to go paperless instead of having printed invitations. We chose an elegant invitation with the farm inspired theme in mind.
An elegant dress for a daytime wedding
Ilana, the Bride: My dress was from Becker’s Bridal and I wore Uzquita by Pronovias. I wanted an elegant look that would suit our country venue and daytime wedding. I chose my dress because I have always been drawn to lace and intricate patterns. To incorporate a splash of playful colour, I chose robin’s egg blue shoes and mint green aurora borealis earrings from the 1950’s (purchased on Etsy).
hair + make up
Aniya Nandy did my makeup and hair. She really listened to my vision by using natural colours for my makeup and adding baby’s breath to a classic hairstyle. I felt amazing the entire day!
the handsome groom
Josh, the Groom: My outfit was from a store called Theodore 1922 in Toronto. The shop’s owner, Miranda, was amazing. She spent a lot of time helping to narrow down a look that was both stylish and comfortable. I really felt like myself! It was important to me to buy from a shop that was local and made every effort to carry Canadian made products. The jacket I wore was not only made in Canada, but was made out of bamboo, a sustainable resource.
Ilana, the Bride, and Josh, the Groom: There were so many wonderful moments during our ceremony. We had a private Badeken ceremony in a separate tented area under the trees with our closest family members before the wedding ceremony. Each person was asked to share words of wisdom or good wishes for our future. The wedding itself was held in the middle of a field overlooking a pond and the forest. We were so lucky it turned out to be such a sunny day with a perfect breeze and white clouds. It was beyond beautiful! We were honoured to have the Sheva Brachot sung by one of Ilana’s closest friends, Rebecca, who is an opera singer.
We decided to honour our siblings by asking them to carry in our Chuppah and to stand by our side during the ceremony. We wanted everyone to feel comfortable on our wedding day and encouraged our family and friends to wear something that would make them feel their best! Our dress code was ‘Garden Party Attire’ and everyone looked stunning and so well coordinated!
We feel so fortunate to have such wonderfully talented family and friends and wanted to involve them in our day wherever possible. Ilana’s dad skillfully designed the Chuppah, using Ilana’s grandmother’s floral table cloth attached to four bamboo poles surrounded by cattails to complete the natural look. The site of the chuppah blowing in the wind under the clouds and sunshine was really incredible!
honouring family members who are no longer with us
It was really important to us to honour our family histories, ancestors and those who are no longer with us during our wedding day. During the ceremony we used meaningful family heirlooms for the chuppah and Kiddush cups. Ilana’s sister put together a display of photos of both of our parents, grandparents, great and great-great grandparents in vintage frames. This was displayed in the barn’s silo, a small separate area where guests could look at the photos and sign our guest book.
music for the ceremony
We were honoured to have two of our closest friends play the music for our ceremony. The processional began with Ely and Eric guiding our guests from the barn down the long pathway to the ceremony space singing Dodi Li and Yachad. This was reminiscent of past summer camp experiences that we both cherish. Once everyone was seated, we walked down the aisle to melodies that we love from female Canadian artists: Sunrise by Norah Jones and Cicadas and Gulls by Feist. Immediately following the ceremony, guests were led right into the Hora that happened outside in the sunshine.
our wonderful photographer
We wanted a photographer who was familiar with photographing outdoor venues and who would capture the candid moments of the day. Ash Nayler had photographed a number of weddings at South Pond Farms in the past and we loved her ability to work with the natural setting at any time of day. She has an amazing ability to capture the connection between couples.
local, wild flowers
After meeting with Danielle French (the owner of South Pond Farms), we quickly learned that everything she touches is gold. When we found out she creates floral arrangements using wild and local flowers and herbs, we knew there was no other choice! We were blown away when we walked into the barn and saw the tables with mixed vases of mason jars filled with stunning arrangements.
home made cakes and desserts
One of the first things we did when we started to plan our wedding was ask Josh’s sister-in-law to make the cake. Ashley’s baking is famously delicious and beautifully designed. The incredible cake display that she put together was well beyond what we could have imagined. The lemon vanilla and chocolate orange cupcakes were both gorgeous and delectable. She was able to incorporate our wedding vision by using lace icing and pearl candies on the tops of the cupcakes. Ashley used vintage serving pieces to tie everything together and the fresh flowers were a beautiful touch!
A bluegrass band
We had the Foggy Hogtown Boys, a local bluegrass band, play after the meal. Knowing that we were having a daytime wedding on a beautiful farm, we were looking for entertainment that would fit the laid back country motif. The band was fabulous! Even though nobody knew how to dance to bluegrass, our guests quickly figured out how to stomp their feet, clap their hands and move their bodies to the high paced, quick tempoed strumming of the banjo!
homemade jam favours
Over the summer, we made several batches of strawberry rhubarb and peach jam to give to our guests. We used these small jars of homemade preserves instead of escort cards to let guests know where they would be seated.
advice to other brides
We found that as soon as the day started it was easy to let go of any worries — we were just so excited and filled with the love we felt from our closest family and friends. Before the wedding, a close friend shared some advice that she had received on her own wedding day: no matter what happens, your wedding day is your wedding day and it will be perfect as it is. We took this to heart and let ourselves get swooped up into the energy of the day!
We also made sure to take some time to spend a few moments where we could be together, just the two of us. We knew how fast the day would go by and these moments really let us step back and take it all in! It was so special to see the crowd of our loving family and friends gathered to show their support and celebrate our marriage.
Lastly, don’t forget to eat the food! You put in so much thought and effort into selecting the right menu, enjoy it!
Ilana & Josh’s LITTLE WHITE BOOK
Photography — Ash Nayler
Venue — South Pond Farms
Bride’s Dress — Uzquita by Pronovias from Becker’s Bridal
Hair + Make Up — Aniya Nandy
Groom’s Attire — Theodore 1922
Flowers — Danielle French at South Pond Farms
Entertainment — Foggy Hogtown Boys
Jimmy + Sonya Bender says
Beautiful wedding! Love this venue!!!