I’m Kayla Sotoadeh (Donato), 29 years old, born and raised in Oakville but now living in Toronto. My husband and I are Toronto real estate agents and we absolutely love our jobs! It gives us the freedom to spend the majority of our time with our fur-baby Koda, a mini-husky!
Our Love Story
Michael and I met through mutual friends on a night out in Toronto. We instantly clicked as we were both real estate agents and loved singing/dancing to Drake! For 2 years we were best friends and talked on the phone often. Fast forward to 2013 – we decided to give a shot and went on our first date. It was obviously the best date ever even though we simply went to the movies. We laughed non-stop and talked for hours after the movie.
It was a random Wednesday night, Michael and I were watching TV and cuddling on the couch. He made me a tea and told me to drink up. I found that odd as usually I’m the one making us tea! It was getting late so I head up to bed while he stayed downstairs and watched TV. I fell asleep right away! Michael had put melatonin in my tea to make me extra sleepy so he could get everything set up! Haha!
He was busy at work setting up the roses petals downstairs saying “Marry Me?”. At 1:00am he came up to bed while I was still completely asleep, and slipped the ring on my finger. It wasn’t until 5:30am that I woke from my slumber and felt something on my finger. I never wear jewellery to bed so I was very confused. I could hear him giggling, I jumped up and turned the light on. To my surprise, my gorgeous dream ring was on my finger and he said “So, will you?!”. I was in complete shock but of course said yes. As I went downstairs a few minutes later I saw the gorgeous display he made with the roses.
Let’s Talk Wedding Planning
Wedding Date, Geographical Location, Venue
June 17, 2017
Liberty Grand – Toronto, Ceremony & Reception.
We chose this venue for our wedding because of the size! We knew our wedding would have approximately 500 guests. We did not want to get married in a hall, we were hoping for a unique setting where we could have the ceremony and reception in one location. The simplicity of both being at the same venue was #1 for us when securing a venue. We visited a few places that we loved but none of them were going to be able to house 500 guests. The decision was quite easy!
Guest count ended up being 416. We knew our wedding would have a large guest count due to both of our background and we have a big friend group! We had guests from all over Toronto, California, Washington and Iran!
What was your wedding budget?
When it came to the costs for the wedding we were extremely organized. We created a spreadsheet and had calculations for each cost, including the deposits paid, balance owed and date it was owed by. We didn’t know what to expect when it came to the final numbers but all I can say is the price per plate is only half the cost of a wedding!
How did you prioritize your budget, what factors were most important to you?
We thought the photographer, videographer & florals were the most important for us.
How did you ask your besties to be your bridesmaids?
I met up with all of them separately and gave them a bottle of champagne with a customized label asking them to be my Bridesmaid or Maid of Honour (I had two MOHs!) And a pair of Bridesmaid undies!
What was your overall vision or theme?
I didn’t really have a theme when I was first planning. I think what made me fall into a theme was after I chose my bridesmaid’s dresses (Lulus). They were rose gold sequins dresses with a low back. After seeing them, I knew I wanted a very elegant, neutral coloured wedding. As we were planning, I kept everything very neutral to ensure it would all piece together nicely!
If you had to describe your wedding style in one word what would it be?
Elegant / Summery
How did you find your vendors?
Photographer: off Facebook, someone in a community Facebook group recommended her. Videographer: Our friends used them. Florals: Our family friend used them. Decor: Venue recommended we use them. Wedding Invites: Family Friend used them. Cupcakes: This is one of our fave places to go so we knew they would turn out! We were very very very relaxed with our vendors, we never even met our decor lady! We just through all our trust in everyone and hoped for the best haha.
How did you design your table layout & decor?
The week before the wedding I decided to reach out to our venue to see if they could recommend anyone to decorate our head table, we only wanted a table cloth and a few plate risers. I had no expectations at all, sent a couple photos to them and they blew my mind! They also supplied us with the white aisle runner for our ceremony. It was a very last minute addition that we were very happy with!
Did you have a Day-of Coordinator present on the day of your wedding?
Our day-of coordinator was provided to us from our venue and she was incredible! We were so lucky to have her. Sara from Liberty Grand.
Did you guys do a “First Look”, or did your fiancé see you for the first time walking down to aisle?
We did a first look since our ceremony and reception were at the same venue and we wanted to enjoy cocktail hour with our guests. We were so happy we did as we got to spend even more of the day together.
What would you recommend as “must have pictures” for future brides?
Lots of photos of you and your husband during the first look. The reaction is so priceless! Photos with your family. A photo of your accessories. Its easy to forget the little details that really make the day what it is.
Did you have a videographer?
We had an incredible Videographer that did a same day edit for us. They played it after dinner when we were all on the dance floor and it was probably my favourite thing about our wedding. Money very well spent.
Escort Cards or Seating chart?
Our seating chart was designed by the VERY talented Candice Kaye, we are so lucky to have her as a friend!
What song did you choose for your first dance?
Ed Sheehan – Perfect. Michael chose this song for us and that was all the special meaning I needed!
Buffet or sit down meal?
We had a sit down dinner, I believe it was 3 or 4 courses. I did not eat anything at all haha. I picked at my food but was not hungry. Too busy taking everything in, taking photos and spending time with our guests. I did however eat a cupcake!
Live music or DJ?
We had a live string quartet for our ceremony, live singers and a DJ for the dinner/dancing. Our MCs were the two best men. They did a great job!
Cake or Desserts?
Mini topper cake and cupcakes. We have always loved this little shop in Vaughan called Lavish. We stop there…often.. haha
Top 3 most memorable moments of your wedding day?
- First look
- Walking down the aisle and being very overwhelmed with emotion, crying…I was not expecting that!
- My father/daughter dance
One thing that made your wedding unique or something special and personal you added to your day that stands out from other weddings?
Im not sure how unique this is, but we had a table of McDonalds for our guests as part of our late night station.
Total months planning?
1.5 years for planning – could have done it in less time though, I felt like we were waiting for the day to come for way too long!
What was one thing that you had difficulties with during your planning and how did you overcome it? & What was one of the easier things for you to plan?
The hardest part of the planning hands down was the seating chart. THANK GOD THATS OVER! lol
One thing you wish you knew when you were planning your wedding?
The weather is completely unpredictable. We had tornado warnings on our day. Our plan b for the ceremony was never an option in my mind but definitely having a solid rain-plan is important. Luckily it cleared up just in time to walk down the aisle!
One thing that helped you stay stress free throughout your planning and on your wedding day?
Faith that everything would work out perfectly, and it did!
Did you go on a honeymoon? If so, where to? Did you go right after the wedding or wait?
We left for our honeymoon at 4pm the next day – we went to Santorini and Amalfi Coast.
Last but not least if you could give ONE piece of advice to a bride-to-be planning her wedding what would it be??
The day goes by way too fast. Have a videographer capture everything. Have a photographer capture everything. Enjoy the process, don’t stress because when its all over its a little sad! Mostly relieving, but just a little sad!
Kayla & Michael’s Happily Ever After
We are finally settled into our first home together, we moved 5 months before our wedding so things took a little longer for us to decorate and really feel like it was home. We are working away, just bought our 3rd investment property and February 2019 we are expecting a baby girl!!!
Venue & Catering: Liberty Grand // Photography: Caitlin Free Photography // Videography: Goody Cambay //Hair Stylist: Courtney Bower // Makeup Artist: Amy Pigeon // Florals: Martin Flynn @ VonMar Floral // Decor Stylist: Dream Creation Designs // Wedding Gown: Mona Richie Bridal // Bridesmaid Dresses: Lulus
Keep Scrolling for more pictures of Kayla’s fairytale wedding!
I am OBSESSED with this floral backdrop! Different vibe than a floral arch and doubles as a photo-op wall!
Congrats Kayla & Michael! Wishing you lots of love and happiness in your next exciting chapter in life together!