Tory Bond – Age 25 – From Ontario, Canada
Our Love Story
Evan and I met in 2015 at an acquaintance’s stag and doe and were inseparable ever since! We became really close from the start and after only dating for a year we bought our first house and dog together!
Evan proposed to me when he woke me up on a Sunday Morning! It was around 4am so I was obviously super confused, he drove me out to a field where there was a hot air balloon waiting for us as the sun was coming up! Funny enough the wind ended up being terrible so we couldn’t go up – But he just proposed to me anyways!!! This was a total surprise to me, because we were in the process of interior designing our home, transitioning to new jobs (and new teams because Evan plays in the NLL) etc. so we were extremely busy in our personal lives. I knew marriage was in our future – but we always said we would focus on that once things settled down. Evan had been planning it all along – but he kept it a total secret from me for months.
My family and his knew for a long time and he kept the ring at my parents house. So this also meant that I didn’t end up choosing my ring or hinting at what I wanted at all……and let me tell you…..he chose the most beautiful ring that suited me totally. I couldn’t have chosen a better one if I tried!!! I highly recommend for women not to hint at rings/engagement ideas to their boyfriends …. it makes things so much more authentic when it comes from them 100% and such a better surprise and more meaningful when the time comes!
Let’s Talk Wedding Planning
Wedding Date, Geographical Location, Venue
Our wedding date was August 11, 2018 at my parents country home! We had our ceremony in the backyard by the pool and made all our own log benches for guests, topped off with large white umbrellas, and large planters full of wildflowers, greenery and blue thistles at the front of our ceremony. The backdrop was a massive field full of soybeans so it was so beautiful for photos!
We then had our reception and cocktail hour at the furthest part of the property, underneath a large white tent. It was absolutely beautiful ! Very boho and hippy style. We used a large wooden canoe to hold all our beers for quests to help themselves, had a long wooden charcuterie board station, and used lots of greenery, string lights, and old wooden chairs. We visited lots of venues before we decided on my parents property – and to be honest, nothing topped my parents place. We wanted a very natural, beautiful setting, and no venue was able to provide that to us that beat my parents place! We always wanted to get married at my mom and dads….. but we knew it would be a HUGE undertaking – after seeing all other venues we decided to jump right in and do it all ourselves! (we visited about 5 venues before my mom and dads and must have looked at over 60 online and none met our needs)
Our guest count was 165 (we sent out approximately 185 invites). Making the guest list was definitely hard – we would have invited 250 but then we really had to sit down and ask ourselves does that make sense? We want to enjoy the night and now have to mingle with 250 people ….. we wanted a somewhat intimate wedding so we decided to only invite people who had involvement in our lives. Sure …. we could have gone off the deep end and invited every single person we use to party with from school, played sports with on teams, etc. But we decided who is current and relevant to our lives now, and we went from there. We invited who we considered to be our closest friends and family and that is how we came up with our list!
What was your wedding budget?
Our budget was 30,000 originally … but after i started planning and purchasing it quickly jumped to approx 55,000 (total). That included everything from dress, to tent, to food, decor, alcohol, photographer etc. When i tell close friends the amount i spent on my wedding they are shocked – but it just goes to show how quickly things can get out of hand. we definitely could have kept within our 30,000 range ….. but for the things i wanted it wasn’t feasible. It also helped that both of our parents gave a set amount of money to assist us in the planning process. Without them – we would have definitely had to have stayed within our 30,000 range.
If there is 1 word of advice i can give …… HOSTING A WEDDING YOURSELF IS NOT CHEAPER lol. A Lot of people said to us: “oh you must have saved so much doing it on your own”. but the answer is no. When you do it yourself – you need to pay for a large generator for electricity, you need to pay for bathroom trailers, tables, chairs, flooring, etc. these are all things that normally come with a venue for no extra cost. so you totally DON’T save doing it yourself. haha. which is fine because i wouldn’t have had it any other way.
How did you prioritize your budget, what factors were most important to you?
I definitely had to make some cuts on things that were not necessary. for example: the best things you should have at a wedding are food, alcohol and music. As long as you have those 3 things to the best standard you can; all your guests will be happy. everything else is essentially for the bride’s enjoyment haha! So I made some cuts where I could on flowers and decor – the natural setting was already beautiful, so going over the top with elaborate flower arrangements just seemed silly. Instead we kept almost all table arrangements to beautiful garland and greenery (which tends to be much much cheaper than elaborate bouquets). We really balled out on food haha but that was fine with us! We also saved on money by buying all our alcohol ourselves. Alot of times people have private catering companies take care of the alcohol for them – generally these packages can be from 5,000 – 10,000. We had more alcohol than you can imagine! and we only spent 3000. So we saved big time there.
How did you ask your besties to be your bridesmaids?
Unfortunately i didn’t save any of my photos of this! But I gave an individual gift to each of them that included a personalized card, bottle of wine, hanger for their bridesmaid dress with their name on it, and a boa for the bachelorette! They all loved it!
How was your dress shopping experience?
This was actually the EASIEST process ever. I knew right away I wanted a fitted dress with sleeves. I was never the type for a big ball gown – and given the setting we were having our wedding it I wanted my dress to match the vibe. I ended up going to a boutique in Caledon Village called Sherry’s Bridal. I think I only tried on about 4 or 5 dresses until I decided the sleeve dress was “the one”. I brought my mom, mother in law, and maid of honor with me! They were all great to have there, and they truly loved every dress I tried on! But at the end of the day they just wanted me to get the one I loved most! I know some people may have thought it was odd I wore sleeves in July – but it was truly what I wanted so I didn’t care LOL
Additionally, I let my bridesmaids choose their own dresses! I love the idea of all different styles because everyone has different body types! It makes the wedding party look unique. I told all my girls the color scheme; which was grays, navies and slate blues and that all dresses had to be long. Each of them absolutely rocked the vibe I was going for!
What was your overall vision or theme?
I definitely didn’t want a ritzy / bourgis wedding. I wanted a romantic natural feel – which is sort of what I got. I will say it is very hard to implement an image but i think we did an alright job at pulling it off. Ours was very rustic chic / boho. But it sort of came together as I planned and began seeing / pinteresting decor options.
If you had to describe your wedding style in one word what would it be?
How did you find your vendors?
We have attended a lot of weddings in the past, and luckily got a ton of recommendations from our friends. The best recommendation was for our caterer and photographer.
We wanted our food to match our vibe – so we went with gourmet bbq by Feast Your Eyes Catering. My brother in law and sister in law had a beautiful wedding 2 years before ours and I absolutely fell inlove with their menu. They had panko mac and cheese, summer salads, pig roast, grilled veggies, you name it – and we decided to do the same!
We also wanted a moody type of photography (but not too moody) to go with our forest rustic theme. My best friend is in the photography business so she has dozens of contacts ! She highly recommended IronBragg Photography to us and the photos absolutely blew me away. I still look at them every day lol.
All my other vendors I found through research of what I wanted. I loved my tent from Guelph Tents – they did an amazing job and took care of my string lights, and rustic chairs and tables.
How did you design your table layout & decor?
This was something I strictly got from Pinterest (although my caterer helped me pick my glassware and plates). I decided to go with a big long harvest table for our head table so that all our wedding party dates could sit across from them. I then went with wooden crossback chairs for seating, and black lanterns and greenery for the centerpieces. Guests had garland wreaths at their tables, and the head table was long green garland. I then chose my charger plates, wine glasses etc with the caterer. It was tied together nicely with a customized note on each plate for our guests as well as customized boho name tags.
How involved was your fiancé in the planning process?
For the most part I wanted to do a lot of it myself, but Evan was absolutely wonderful with helping me implement my vision. He is extremely handy so he did all the woodworking and big projects. He cut all the trees for our log benches and assembled them himself, he took care of our electrical requirements, getting hay bales for our seating, etc. (you know… the man stuff haha) Without him I could NOT have done it myself. He has a great eye for things like this – he’s practically designed our whole home haha so I trusted him with the design aspect. But as far as planning and meeting with vendors about scheduling, centerpieces, colors etc that was my job! I am a fairly organized person so he let me take care of the bills and invoices, timing and scheduling etc. Men do not tend to care about the color scheme or little details – I know some brides tend to get upset about this but I LOVED that during the planning process because it meant I could choose ! Haha they just have to look on the brightside aka meaning they can totally rule their vision if their partner is indifferent. My husband is great with food, music and set up so we did those things together and the rest was left for me.
Did you guys do a “First Look”, or did your fiancé see you for the first time walking down to aisle?
We decided to not do a first look – we wanted to see each other for the first time walking down the aisle – and the photos were priceless ! We got all the photos we wanted and more and definitely had enough time to do them afterwards (pictures were one of the most important things to me haha so i can say without a doubt we had enough time even though we didn’t do a first look)
What would you recommend as “must have pictures” for future brides?
I would definitely say family photos and photos with just the bride and groom (candid are the best). But I know this is different for everyone. Family photos are something you will have forever, and can mean so much to your parents, grandparents etc. We were lucky and had enough time to do everything we wanted – wedding party, family, individuals, bride and groom, sunset photos etc. I think the key is chatting with your photographer before. Ours was wonderful and gave us a checklist of must haves. this really helped them with knowing what we wanted (we also had two photographers – 1 to capture us and family, and the other to capture details, guests, venue etc.)
Did you have a videographer?
We did not have one – we thought about it, but decided photos were more meaningful to us and they were what we would look at much more! a lot of friends of ours who had a videographer said they only watched their video once and that was it. So we thought it might have been a waste – where photos you look at over and over again and can show family and friends..
What song did you choose for your first dance?
We chose the song “Run” by George Strait. Evan chose the song specifically because it had meaning to him. My husband is a professional lacrosse player for the Saskachewan Rush, so we usually spend every weekend apart while he travels North America from Nov – April. The song run was meaningful to him given that the song is about a husband and wife missing each other while the husband is out travelling for work. I thought it was so cute he recommended it as our first dance because it came from the heart! so of course I said yes! Our second choice was harvest moon by Neil Young (so we played this as a “connect” song later in the night aka kind of like a second dance)
Cake or Desserts?
My wonderful mother-in-law, mom, and sister-in-laws did all the desserts!! They are wonderful bakers and have great contacts so they put together a massive spread of customized donuts, cupcakes, pies, cookies, squares, you name it! It was our guests favorite part! THERE WERE SO MANY OPTIONS! and they did it on a beautiful spread of rustic wooden boards and log cake stands.
Top 3 most memorable moments of your wedding day?
Walking down the aisle with both my mom and dad and seeing evan for the first time
The amazing entertainment the MCs put on
The after party!
One thing that made your wedding unique or something special and personal you added to your day that stands out from other weddings.
I think just the overall venue. It was so relaxed, people could wander the grounds, help themselves to their own alcohol and food – it really created a social and party type atmosphere which is what we wanted – we didn’t want a regimental structure of a wedding. So many people commented to us on how it was just a laid back good time to hang out with friends and family for laughs and catching up.
Total months planning?
Planned for exactly a year – most enjoyable months were the beginning months! These times were just ideas and brainstorming so it was fun! Most stressful month was about 3 months before (when everything started coming together)
One thing you wish you knew when you were planning your wedding?
That everything is going to be alright! If something goes wrong let it, at the end of the day all that matters is that you are having fun with everyone you care about. I got very worried about 3 months in advance that my vision wasnt going to work out… and in the end it was just fine! I wish i didn’t worry so much beforehand.
Anything you would have done different?
Shuttle service! We spent alot of money on having two large buses take guests to and from the hotel – and almost NOBODY used them. I would recommend just getting a bus for half your amount of guests – because chances are not everyone is going to use the service (because A) they want to leave on their own terms and no wait for a schedule and B) lots of older guests drive home!)
One thing that helped you stay stress free throughout your planning and on your wedding day?
Having fun getting ready with my bridesmaids! Have drinks and leave the rest of the stress for the day of coordinator!
Did you go on a honeymoon? If so, where to? Did you go right after the wedding or wait?
Yes! We went to Sandals Jamaica after. Super relaxing and we just wanted to lay on the beach after being so busy
Last but not least if you could give ONE piece of advice to a bride-to-be planning her wedding what would it be??
Just have fun. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in worry, stress, and little details – but at the end of the day, no matter what happens, it’s going to be the best day of your life. Also, take your time to enjoy the planning process – before you know it, it’s all over!
Tory & ‘s Happily Ever After
We are TOTALLY just sitting back and relaxing with the married life stage. We felt absolutely swamped by the purchase our new home a few weeks before the wedding, our renovations, my new job, evan’s work travel – you name it. It’s nice to finally sit back and enjoy all the hard work we put in this past year… and now Evan can finally get back to some much needed man time by spending his fall hunting and fishing haha.
Venue: Family Estate // Catering: Feast Your Eyes // Wedding Dress: Sherry’s Bridal // Hair Stylist: Aarts Hair Studio // Makeup Artist: Cara Evans // Photography: IronBragg Photography // Tent: Guelph Tents
Transport yourself to this intimate rustic backyard wedding by scrolling through photos Tory’s special day!
Congrats Mr. & Mrs. Kirk!