A SPARKLY START
Grace and Ryan were introduced by a mutual friend and right away, they hit it off (Ryan immediately asked Grace for her number). After three years of dating, Ryan proposed with a stunning engagement ring that was inspired by an Audemars Piguet design. The wedding took place on May 28, 2011.
When it came time to plan the wedding, Ryan gave Grace carte blanche to design the day of her dreams. “He said, ‘do whatever you want and you decide on everything!’” laughs Grace. So, without hesitation, she enlisted Event Planner Cindy Johnson of PLATINUM EVENTS GROUP to plan, design and coordinate the wedding day of her dreams. “Cindy did the most incredible job on my wedding, leaving me with the most memorable moments! She was always thinking about my feelings—and the most important thing—was always supporting what I wanted and what I needed. She was there whenever I needed her as a planner or as a friend. A wedding planner is the key to a great wedding,” Grace says.
Together, over a two year period, Cindy and Grace planned an all-white urban modern and glamourous wedding with what Grace describes as her ‘dream team’ of wedding professionals.
First on the planning agenda was the venue. The objective was to find a
very luxurious hotel downtown to accommodate the ceremony and reception as well as a large number of out-of-town guests. The venue that immediately came
to mind was the RITZ-CARLTON TORONTO (which was under construction when the planning began). The hotel opened a few short months before the event. (In fact, they were the second couple to ever host their wedding at the hotel.)
Deborah Lau-Yu of PALETTERA CUSTOM CORRESPONDENCES was commissioned to create an invitation suite that would immediately set the tone for a red-carpet worthy wedding day! The invitation was printed on platinum paper cut to the same shape as Grace and Ryan’s wedding bands. Their favourite quote was foil-pressed on the back. The piece was enclosed in a lucite case studded with Swarovski crystals. It was presented in a handmade silver slipcase that was set with 350 Swarovski crystals and tied with thick satin ribbon. A second edition was made as a boxed keepsake. The handmade hardcover book designed with sans-serif typefaces and tight-rope inspired modernist lines reflected the luxury of the Ritz and the cirque performances at the wedding. Throughout the book, their favourite quotes appear rhythmically, ending with Grace’s favourite line on the hardcover’s back: “Me and you, just us two.” The cover is also covered with a rainfall of Swarovski crystals that represent the stars in the sky.
On the day of the wedding, Grace wore three gowns. The first was a custom Romona Keveza strapless ball gown made of silk organza. It featured delicately appliquéd silk organza flowers, petals and Swarovski crystals. She later changed into a traditional, Vietnamese “ao dai” gown and finally, a blue Zuhair Murad dress.
Ryan wore a Tom Ford tuxedo from HARRY ROSEN. He also wore a pair of custom cufflinks that featured the initials of their son Kayden.
Outstanding floral and decor was a top priority for Grace. The dynamic husband and wife duo of Tamara Mutter-Slagter and Kevin Slagter from FUSCIA DESIGNS was hired to provide full service design, floral and decor. They worked with an all-white and crystal palette to achieve a contemporary luxe design aesthetic throughout the day. “Tamara and Kevin made me very relaxed and happy. They both have a lot of style and charisma,” notes Grace.
The evening ceremony was held in the salons of the Ritz-Carlton Ballroom at 5pm. White Louis Ghost chairs lined a custom monogrammed aisle runner. At the end of the aisle, a small ceremony tent with a dramatic architectural floral display marked the place where Grace and Ryan would say their “I Do’s.” Their son Kayden joined them in their recessional, stopping for a few giggles along the way!
"The best moment of our wedding was when Cindy opened the reception doors for us to see the room for the very first time. Two years of meeting after meeting and planning my dream wedding—not knowing how it would turn out until the day of. When the door opened, happy tears came rushing to my eyes. Seeing Ryan’s expression was priceless and he told me how happy and proud he was of me.” -Grace
PUTTIN' ON THE RITZ
A cocktail reception took place immediately afterward, in the Grand Foyer. A step-andrepeat wall with the couple’s monogram was displayed for ‘red-carpet worthy’ souvenir photos. A raw oyster bar & sashimi was available for guests to enjoy before dinner.
At 7:30pm, the doors to the entire ballroom opened, revealing a spectacular all-white oasis of imported Vietnamese orchids, crystal and candelight. Giant crystal floral chandeliers (part of the hotel) were a perfect match to the rest of the decor.
Cake designer Lori Hutchinson of THE CAKETRESS designed what Grace later described as the tallest cake she had ever seen! “To top it off, the cake was delicious. All of our guests wanted seconds,” Grace recalls. “There was no wedding cake left on a eight-tier cake!”
A host of special details amped-up the luxe factor at Grace and Ryan’s wedding, starting with the thoughtful touches that were part of each guest’s place setting. Menus, (by Palettera) were placed on shimmering silver charger plates. The menus featured an engagement photo of Grace and Ryan and their monogram pressed on the front with a large Swarovski crystal detail. The inside outlined the extravagant seven-course meal catered by The Ritz-Carlton Toronto, along with a program detailing the evening performances which included a vocalist and the A2D2 Cirque Troupe.
Custom stainless steel chopstick favours were crystallized with Swarovskis to match the invites and placed into custom silver sleeves (pressed with their names and wedding date) and wrapped with a silk bow.
Tables had self-standing lucite slabs with crystal-detailed table numbers mounted in the shape of Grace and Ryan’s wedding rings. Each table also had a bottle of Rémy Martin XO Excellence (fine Champagne Cognac) for guests to enjoy during the toasts.
A custom big-screen movie theatre was created inside the ballroom and was the centre of attention when a Same-Day-Edit video was played for the guests and couple to enjoy after dinner. The video had been captured and produced by Bruce Patterson and his team from CLOUD NINE CREATIVE. Other fun touches included a late-night chocolate soufflé station, candy bar, a photobooth and unlimited bottles of Armand de Brignac champagne which was served throughout the night.
The only problem? The wedding was so much fun that the day went by in a flash for Grace, Ryan and their wedding party—many of whom didn’t get to eat much of the seven course meal because they were so busy at the reception! “The day went by so fast, I wish we could have slowed it down! It was an epic night,” Grace recalls. Ever the problem-solver, planner Cindy arranged for the Ritz-Carlton to recreate their wedding menu a few weeks later so the bridal party could finally enjoy each and every course. Epic, indeed!
The Ritz-Carlton, Toronto
Romona Keveza Studio
Groom Formal Wear:
Tom Ford, Harry Rosen
Cindy Johnson, Platinum Events Group
Palettera Custom Correspondences
Decor and Floral:
Platinum Events Group
The Ritz-Carlton, Toronto
Cloud Nine Creative
Jenna Kang, Holt Renfrew Salon
Hair and Make-up:
Mila Victoria (Bride) and Jackie Gideon
Music, Sound & Lighting:
DJ Floh Back Productions