Today I have for you a real-deal bona fide Smashing The Glass wedding. It’s a genuine do-it-yourself abundance of unique and creative perfection. Everything is handmade (with love!) by close friends and family.
Sydney and William chose to have their wedding at the bride’s grandparent’s country house in the Laurentians (about a hour north of Montreal) and the wedding rings, invitations, bride’s dress, floristry, hair + make-up, ketubah, kippot, cake, and favours were all handmade and created by close family.
There are many, many personal touches incorporated into their W-day (in particular into their Jewish ceremony) that really make it stand out. Let’s take a lovely look…
A COUNTRY HOUSE WITH FAMILY HISTORY
Sydney, The Bride: Our wedding was held at my grandparent’s country house in the Laurentians. I haven’t been to many weddings but my favourite wedding was my aunt’s that had been held at the same house almost exactly 11 years earlier. I was open to doing the wedding in the city but after checking out venues there was nothing I loved, and I always had the country house in the back of my head.
RESTORING THE HOUSE BARN
We didn’t want to rent a tent though, so we ended up spending the summer cleaning out the barn and installing a floor. Before it was basically just a giant dirt pit being used to store old wood, furniture and lawn mowers. Now its an actual space that can be used for a party. We had the actual ceremony outside under a tree, with the barn in the background, and then the party and dancing was in the barn. Luckily we also built a big awning coming off the barn because it rained.
We hung big chinese lanterns in the barn, and I arranged some of the barn tools tastefully. Family friends made my a ton of bunting as a shower gift, so that hung around the edges of the awning coming off the barn.
We had no colour scheme, but my mother used a lot of oranges, peaches, yellows and greens in the flower arrangements, and those colours were mimic’ed in our invitations. We also used similar colours, along with purple, for the lanterns hanging in the barn. There was no firm theme, but the country really informed the style. Everything was pretty rustic style, we had cutlery in old troughs and old barn tools hanging around the barn.
My aunt designed our invitation but it was heavily based off another design we saw on Etsy. The artist on Etsy couldn’t make modifications to the original design, which incorporated a wreath of flowers, so my aunt made them for us with flowers from the country house and then roses and sweet williams to represent our names. The invitations were also stuck to a piece of woodgrain paper, and then I designed a logo which was our initials carved into a tree (which we have, and is where will proposed). We had the logo made into a debosser and debossed the paper so it looked like it was carved into the paper. Our save-the-dates were my great grandmother’s pickle recipe, along with some facts about pickles, I guess pickles were sort-of a theme. There is a story in my family that when Will told my mother he had never had a homemade pickles she responded “you are so lucky to be dating sydney” so the joke is that he is only in it for the pickles.
A WEDDING DRESS MADE BY MY MOTHER WITH A VERY PERSONAL TOUCH
My mother made my dress. Its my dream dress, very 60’s style in silhouette, which I love. It also has a million pleats so its super flattering and super full. We bought the fabric in New York and it’s exactly the dress I wanted to be wearing. For the actual day I tied my late grandmother’s hanky to the waist.
My shoes were from Geox so they were very comfy. Because we got married outside I needed the heels to be thick, but because my dress was short, they had to be heels and they pretty much had to be white. Its hard to find white shoes with a sensible heel so we turned to old-lady shoe stores.
Will asked my mum to make our rings. She had made her and my father’s wedding rings and we loved the idea of her creating ours. She used 18 gauge, 14 carat gold wire, designing each ring to wrap around the ring finger seven times (a number of great importance in the Jewish wedding ceremony).
HAIR+ MAKE-UP BY MY SISTER
My sister did all my makeup and hair. I wanted my makeup to look super natural and she did a great job. I also used a lip stain which was a fantastic idea because I didn’t have to worry about it coming off, and waterproof mascara, which was great because I cried A LOT. For my hair, she was at camp all summer so we never actually tested it beforehand, but I knew I wanted a low, full, bun and she did an amazing job on the first try!
WEDDING PROGRAMS WITH PUZZLES, RIDDLES, PHOTOS AND STORIES
We included some pretty detailed info about the Jewish ceremony in our wedding programs, but we also set it up like a zine, and had family members contribute puzzles, riddles, photos and stories. I also included a giant family tree so everyone would know who was who.
WALKING DOWN THE AISLE
We walked down the aisle to “Mrs. Robinson” by Simon and Garfunkel. WIll’s last name is Robinson so it was sort of a joke, but my cousin did a beautiful job playing it so it was pretty subtle.
COMBINING A TRADITIONAL JEWISH CEREMONY WITH OUR OWN MODERN ELEMENTS
In Quebec anyone can marry you so we had Will’s half sister marry us. We knew we wanted a jewish wedding, but with almost no mention of God because we are both atheists. She is involved in her synagogue and did an amazing job combining the traditional Jewish ceremony with more modern elements. For the Seven Blessings we asked our parents and my grandparents to each write a new blessing to say to us, and when we drank the wine, we each first drank from glasses from our own homes, and then poured the wine into a new glass that we shared. We said “dodi li” instead of the “haray at”. There were a million special touches but the whole ceremony was a perfect blend of the Jewish wedding I always wanted and our shared beliefs.
Our chuppah was my great great grandfather’s tallis attaches to four trees cut down from the property. We had four of our siblings hold each of the poles during the ceremony.
We had a local print artist, Todd Stewart, design something for us using the barn and country house as inspiration. Its super beautiful.
CROCHETING OUR OWN KIPPOT
My mother, bubbie and I crocheted all 120 kippot for our guests, and we sewed labels on with our names and the date.
FLOWERS BY MY MUM, AND SAPLINGS WITH PAPER BAGS AS FAVOURS
My mum did all the flower arrangements. We used goldenrod and queen anne’s lace from the fields and then we bought dahlias and seedham.
We also had little sapling from the field potted on the tables, and gave people paper bags to take them home in as favours.
Originally for favours, my grandfather and I made 140 jars of pickles but they all went rotten so we had to come up with a new idea. We decided to pot all the saplings from the field and then have people take them home. On the bags we told people to plant the tree and then “when it is big enough, carve your loved ones initials into it” .
Our photographers, W2 Photography, were amazing. We were actually their first wedding shoot but they did an incredible job. Elaine (half of the duo) went to school with Will and as soon as she found out he was getting married she asked him if he was looking for a photographer. They ended up being perfect choices.
CAKE – A FAMILY AFFAIR
My mother made the cake and my aunt decorated it. it was a chocolate cake with buttercream icing. In the end there were 7 pounds of butter in the cake. Our caterers, Back of House Catering, were also amazing and a perfect choice.
My cousin is part of a progressive funk band from Minnesota called PHO, and as a wedding gift from my aunt, all nine of them drove up just to play. They were unbelievable and did an incredible job covering all the songs we asked for, as well as playing their own stuff.
ADVICE TO OTHER BRIDES
The best advice I got was to take a moment during your wedding that you promise to remember. The whole day was crazy and amazing but as I was walking down the aisle I stopped for a second to remind myself that this was my wedding and this was actually happening. I will always remember that moment and how it felt.
SYDNEY + WILLIAM’S LITTLE WHITE BOOK
Venue — Bride’s grandparents’ garden and barn
Photography — W2 Photography
Bride’s dress — Designed and made by her mother
Bride’s shoes — Geox
Hair + make-up— Bride’s sister
Florals — Bride’s mother
Entertainment — PHO
Catering — Back of House Catering
Stationery — Bride’s aunt
Ketubah design — Todd Stewart
Isn’t that picture of grandmother and child adorable at the end? There are lots of special shots here form the uber-talented W2 Photography They captured everything beautifully.
So D.I. Why? Well a Do-It-Yourself wedding is certainly not for everyone, but Sydney and William’s total smasher of a day shows what you can achieve if you decide to jump in with both feet and get yourself involved with every aspect of W-day design and planning. Call on the talents of your friends, family and loved ones and you will more than likely find that they will be only too happy to help.