Briar + Clayton planned the most beautiful, relaxed and colourful wedding filled with so much emotion, incredible people, personal elements and one of the best dance floors ever.
We sat down with Briar and Clayton to talk about their wedding and how they went about planning the most epic day.
1. tell us a little bit about how you met
Clayton and I both grew up in Grimsby, which is the kind of town where everyone knows everyone. Our families lived down the street from each other, we went to the same high school, my grandfather and his dad knew each other from the gym... but our paths didn't cross until about 7 years ago when we met at a party hosted by a mutual friend of ours. We officially met then, but for the first couple of years we were just acquaintances that would occasionally see each other at social gatherings. I recall a couple of Halloween parties; Clayton insists we were at the same New Year's Eve party one year but neither of us can be sure. We even went on a big group camping trip one summer (during which I might have taken a motorcycle ride with a complete stranger, but that's another story). This was all in the first two years we knew each other, and during that time the most in-depth conversation we had was probably something like "hey, nice to see you" / "yeah, you too".
In April 2014, two days before my birthday, we both found ourselves in Grimsby hanging out with our friends Wes and Brennen, which was completely unplanned but wonderful. The four of us went out for a pint, and it was really the first time we ever had a conversation that was more than exchanging pleasantries. Pints at the pub turned into a backyard bonfire at Wes's, which eventually led to Clayton asking for my number. As I was giving him my number, he realized that it was already in his phone. Small towns, I tell ya. Anyway, he texted me the next day and we went on our first date about a week later, and have been inseparable ever since.
2. when it came to planning your wedding, what were three of the most important things to you
I'd say that the big three for me were the venue, the dress and atmosphere. We wanted an outdoor venue in Grimsby, and we fell in love with BFM right away. I knew exactly what I wanted my dress to look like and the lovely Caroline Yoon of Champagne and Cupcakes made it happen (I didn't go to a single bridal store and I have zero regrets). We both knew what we wanted the day tofeellike and the kind of atmosphere we wanted to create for our guests - welcoming, laid back, fun - and I think we accomplished that.
Clayton's were the venue, ceremony and food. Making our ceremony feel like "us" was really important to both of us, as was choosing a humanist officiant. We met Katherine Dimou of Lifetime Ceremonies and immediately knew she was our person. The food was one of the first things we decided on and we were both so excited about it. Chef Brad Rempel and his team are absolutely phenomenal - they took care of all of our rentals for the day including the tent, tables, chairs, linens, etc. as well as our bar, staff, set up and take down... seriously, wedding dream team.
3. What made you choose Beamer Falls? did you look at other venues?
In my early twenties, a friend of mine did catering and they needed an extra bartender for a wedding at Beamer Falls Manor. Even though I grew up in Grimsby and had been to Beamer Memorial Conservation Area countless times, I had no idea that BFM existed until then. Shortly after Clayton and I got engaged, I remembered BFM and we decided to look into it. We went for a tour with our families and met Brian, who was so lovely. He and his wife Nancy had just taken ownership of the manor earlier that year and had done extensive renovations that made it even more magical than I remembered. We loved it so much that we booked it right away - we didn't look at any other venues.
We loved that we had the venue for the weekend and that it included accommodations for some of our wedding party and their partners. We arrived on Friday afternoon and got our guests settled into their rooms before doing some decor set up and having drinks by the pool, followed by our rehearsal dinner. (We were going to have a bonfire but the weather had different plans.) Our hair and makeup team arrived on Saturday morning and met us in the parlour, where we had coffee and muffins... along with leftover and pizza and caesars. After the last limo left on Saturday night, those that were still standing who were staying at the manor gathered under the patio lights to drink the last remnants of wine and take literal bites out of our wedding cake as it got passed around to everyone, which was hilarious. It was all hands on deck on Sunday morning while we tidied up and got ready to head out, all the while exchanging stories of the day and night before. Having a venue for a weekend made all of those moments possible, and they're some of our favourite memories.
4. when it came to your colours and florals, you went outside the box (which I LOVE), how and when did you decide you were going to do it your own way
For followers of The Bridechilla Podcast, you'll be familiar with the concept of the FIB (fuck-it-bucket). Flowers were in mine. It's not that I didn't care about flowers at all, it's that they weren't a huge priority for me because most bridal bouquets aren't really my style. I set a modest budget and took on the attitude of "we'll figure something out".
Originally, I was going to go the wholesale-from-Costco route (which I still think is a great option) but then my mother-in-law expressed interest in growing the flowers for us at their home (I know, how sweet is that?). She suggested that we head down to the Grimsby Farmer's Market and inquire with the floral vendor, Jen from Wendalane Farms, to see if they had any recommendations before we dove into the project.
I hadn't been to the market in years, but when I lived in Grimsby I used to buy a bouquet from Jen every week. They'd most often be filled with colourful zinnias which I absolutely loved. So while my mother-in-law and I were down there asking Jen whether she thought we could take on the task of growing our own flowers, which unsurprisingly was starting to sound like quite a lot of work, I asked Jen if she ever did weddings. Thankfully she said yes, and that was that! I didn't provide her with a ton of instructions or specific requests - I just said that I liked what she does at the market and told her that we wanted everything to be bright, colourful and local. She did my bouquet, the bridesmaids bouquets, our centerpieces, our aisle flowers, the flowers for the arbour and all the boutonnieres and corsages. We were so happy with how it all turned out!
5. do you have any advice for anyone planning their own wedding right now
One of the best decisions we made in planning our wedding was having a 2 year engagement. This gave us our first pick of vendors and plenty of time, so nothing felt rushed and we actually got to just enjoy being engaged.
Use technology to help you plan - we used Wunderlist to stay on top of our to-do list, and had spreadsheets for our budget, weekend timeline, etc.
Don't be afraid to delegate. That was difficult for me but when it came to the week-of, the moms were on duty. Thank you, moms!
If you're in Toronto, I'd also highly recommend joining Bunz Wedding Zone. I scored some great trades including #thejustmarriedjacket and some bunting that we forgot to set up (lol) but more than that, I found a community of people who were so incredibly supportive every step of the way. Love you, bunz <3
I highly recommend booking a month-of coordinator. Jane of Jane Suh Weddings was absolutely phenomenal to work with and was worth her weight in gold. It was so reassuring to know that she was there to pull all the pieces together. We'll never be able to thank you enough, Jane!
Clayton said "Take everything step by step and don't panic, everything works out in the end. Also, marry someone who is type A because they'll be super organized." So there's that, haha.
6. looking back, would you do anything differently?
There really isn't anything either of us can think of!