Photography by Chelsey Cunningham
We're finally at the big wedding day post! I can't believe it was two months ago yesterday that I married Brandon, after seven exciting years together. You can read about all the food allergy preparations we took leading up to the wedding day here. From our romantic dinner after he proposed, to the shower, bachelorette weekend, and choosing a venue, we've covered every corner of this event!
Both of our families were staying at The Ritz Carlton in Toronto for the weekend of the wedding. We arrived the day before and used the spa in the afternoon, then checked in to our rooms, changed, and went straight into the rehearsal dinner which went off flawlessly thanks to the amazing catering team at The Ritz. Brandon and I stayed apart the night before the wedding to build suspense before seeing each other at the ceremony. Coincidentally we had been watching My Best Friend's Wedding that morning and when we went to bed at night and turned on our TV's, the movie was playing from nearly the same spot we left off at. What are the chances? We immediately messaged each other so we could watch it "together" and I fell asleep cherishing this good sign the universe had sent us.
The morning of the wedding I woke at 5 am so I could shower and have coffee and breakfast before people started flowing into my room for hair and makeup at 6 am. I had brought a pack of Starbucks Via's (I always order a kettle when I get to my hotel room), my favorite coffee that I bring everywhere with me.
My mom and I had placed a room service order the night before so that food and coffee would start arriving in waves at 6:30 am. I ordered boiled eggs and fruit for myself; not as exciting as everyone else's breakfast special and pastries, but I was adamant that I didn't want to try anything new that day. The event manager had coordinated with the room service kitchen ahead of time so that they understood my allergies and would be prepared to make me something safe. I supplemented that with a batch of homemade scones and a bunch of bananas, and my parents also brought a bag of oranges and a bunch of bananas, so there was plenty for me to eat. I also had a few cups of the room service coffee which was a nice dark roast. I knew I'd need a lot of caffeine to get me through the day.
At 6 am my hair stylist, Chloe Griesman, arrived. At the trial run a few nights prior she had me read the labels of everything she planned to use so I could approve the products. The last thing we wanted was a mist of hair spray with almond oil or some other allergen swarming around my face. I found a makeup artist that was willing to use my own products so there were no surprises there either. The only products of hers that she used were lashes and lash glue. I love having my hair done but I've only had my makeup done professionally once in the past so this was a really nice treat.
The whole morning was a bit of a blur with lots of people coming and going from my parents' and my adjoining rooms. Fortunately my parents had a suite with a living room that my mom had set up like a buffet. Eating my meal first was not only efficient for time (I have a ton of hair that had to be blow dried) but helped prevent cross contact with the pastries and other breakfast foods that were present. I made sure to wash my hands really well because our nephew, the ring bearer, is allergic to eggs.
Suddenly the wedding planner and her team had arrived and it was nearly time for the ceremony, which was also over in what felt like the blink of an eye. It was very surreal. We had a couple hours of photography at The Thompson following the ceremony, where we all froze our asses off on the roof. But it was worth it for the shots! When the bridal party and our families started getting hangry the guys and gals headed back to their respective camps for food. We ordered another round of room service for everyone. I ate some of my own food that I had brought. My older brother ate a sandwich that was the size of my head (seriously) and he passed out on the couch in his suit, only to be snapped and posted on Instagram.
After about two hours of down time we had to dress again and head down for the Baha'i ceremony which was taking place at The Ritz in their smaller ballroom. It was a beautiful ceremony and a nice contrast to the very traditional Catholic ceremony that we had in the morning. The moment it was over we all proceeded down to the main ballroom where the oyster bar disappeared in minutes, and the antipasto bar was vanishing before my eyes as I shook hands and kissed familiar faces. I was starving!
One thing I didn't fully realize was that the bride and groom barely get to eat during the wedding. I had heard this but always thought it was a dramatic exaggeration. But no, this is 100% accurate. Never have I worked so hard to source a safe meal that I would barely get to touch. I managed to eat the entirety of my first course salad, about two spoonfuls of my pasta, and the beef from my main course. The barolo jus on my tenderloin went untouched, and I still want to cry just thinking about it. The special sorbet the dessert chef had prepared me drowned in its own melted juices. And the late night bar of speidini, kebab, fries, and focaccia, for which we bought specialty Persian skewers, was set up and dismantled before I even had a chance to sample a bite. And the coffee and tea service, you ask? I didn't even know it had happened until the following day.
We didn't have a wedding cake and there was very little debate about it. We couldn't find a bakery that could make something peanut, tree nut, dairy, soy, and legume free so we opted out. Eating cake isn't a normal occurrence for me anyways and Brandon doesn't like cake, so it was a no-brainer. Many people referred us to Sorelle & Co but they use chickpea flour which I cannot have. Our guests were served vegan coconut panna cotta for dessert and it got rave reviews.
But I think this is a good thing. We were so wrapped up having fun with our family and friends that we didn't stop. We partied until 3:30 am, I was hoisted onto someone's shoulders, we danced with our bridal party to Everytime by Britney Spears with such emotion that I will remember that moment for the rest of my life. It was a perfect night. Brandon and I got back to our bridal suite exhausted and exhilarated. I ordered him chicken fingers and a ginger ale for myself and we consumed our treats happily and silently; completely wiped out.
And the next morning when the chef came out at the brunch buffet to bring me my special plate, I ate every single thing on it and then asked for more.
Planning an allergy-friendly wedding can be stressful, but with advanced preparations and considerations for the flow of your big day, it can be done. My biggest takeaway? I should have packed another sandwich.