Jackie Penner designed and planned an elegant wedding at Berkeley Church wedding venue Toronto in two of Berkeley Events five unique venues.

The beautiful wedding of Heather and Dan was in December. Having chosen a winter wedding what are the benefits of an event this time of year?

The benefits of a winter wedding are definitely the uniqueness of the images and less competition for booking your dream venue and vendors.

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The wedding spread across two venues. The wedding ceremony was in the Berkeley Fieldhouse and the wedding reception was in the Berkeley Church. What inspired this decision?

There were a few things that brought the couple to this decision including the desire to have a great party (the reasoning for hiring a band!), family mobility issues and their love affair with the Berkeley Fieldhouse. Their guest count was too large to host a reception in the Berkeley Fieldhouse so as soon as they found out it would be an option for the ceremony, they jumped at the chance. The best part of these logistics was being able to give their guests their full experience of both spaces and allowing their guests to have the “Oh-My-Gosh” moment when they stepped into the beautiful Berkeley Church for the reception.

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The wedding ceremony had a very classical romantic feel to it. How would you describe the look and feel of the Berkeley Fieldhouse and how did you achieve this effect?

I believe the ambiance the Berkeley Fieldhouse provides is simple and modern elegance. It is a space which does not require an excessive amount of décor in order to exude beauty. Lighting in this space is extremely important and simple pieces can bring the space to life, which we achieved through the large pillar candles and lite branch trees.

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What decor elements were the most essential to the overall look of the wedding?

Simple but statement centre pieces paired with a neutral colour palette.

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What did your creative process look like for this wedding?

The creative process for this wedding was based on ensuring the décor we choose enhanced the venue and its natural beauty rather than take away from it. Heather and Dan loved the uniqueness of both the Berkeley Church and the Berkeley Fieldhouse in its raw form. Instead of overpowering the space with excessive décor, patterns or colours, we kept it simple to complement the very thing the couple loved about it: its raw beauty and uniqueness.

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If you were to name three inspirational sources for this wedding what would they be?

  1. The calla lily was an inspiration for the wedding in its classic elegance. It is a timeless flower and has symbolic meaning to the bride and her family. Her grandmother and mother walked down the aisle with calla lilies as their bouquets and Heather wanted to continue that tradition.
  2. The season itself was an inspiration.
  3. The bride’s dress

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The shots of the couple outside of the Berkeley Fieldhouse are so fantastic and whimsical were these photographs planned ahead of time?
These images were spur-the-moment courtesy of a true, professional and amazing photographer.

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How closely did you work with the photographer?

I worked very closely with the photographer when it came to ensuring the detail shots the bride and groom wanted were done, however other than that I leave them to do their thing.

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What was your favourite part of the whole wedding?

My favourite part of the whole wedding was the first few moments of the ceremony when the bride arrived at the front to her soon-to-be-husband. Without even thinking about it, the couple greeted each other with a kiss! Now normally you don’t see the kiss until near the end when they are pronounced but it was so second nature to them to do that. It was so cute and really set the tone for the rest of the evening.

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The wedding florals are stunning. The choice to do the dramatic orchids and accompanying arrangements worked so well. How did you arrive at this design?

The calla lilies were an obvious choice for the bride. Her grandmother held calla lilies when she walked down the aisle and so did her mom, so the choice to continue this family tradition was easy for Heather.

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The design of the wedding highlighted the natural features of the historic Berkeley Church. How did you achieve this balance?

I’m glad you noticed that 😉 This was done intentionally and we achieved this through keeping the colours neutral and décor pieces simple but curated. The drama of the simple calla lily matched the Church so perfectly and adding touches of sparkle into the centerpieces and on the head table brought out elegance.

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What three words describe the wedding?

Elegant, romantic, and modern.

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The head table created an intimate setting in the Berkeley Church. What was the idea behind this set up?

The aim behind the u-shape head table was to do just that: create an intimate feeling amidst the large bridal party. Being that the Church is quite large and with just over 200 guests at the wedding, the bride wanted to ensure there was still a sense of intimacy for her and her guests.

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How would you describe your style and process of wedding planning?

Planning weddings, my process is to listen to the couples’ wants, needs and desires and develop a unified way to achieve their vision. Being that I love almost all wedding themes and designs, I try to bring my clients vision to life in a way that ensures when they look at their wedding photos 20 years from now they will say “yea that was really US wasn’t it!” Classic and beautiful but unique to each couple.

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The photographs of the wedding party getting ready are beautiful. Each stage of the wedding has its own special place. How do you plan for each part of the day to work smoothly and have that special quality?

I work with my clients to ensure each part of their day has meaning. I encourage them to think about themselves as a couple, what has meaning to them and what is representative of them. With this in mind, we brainstorm locations for photographs, special details, and the flow of the day as a whole.

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The dresses of the wedding party and their bouquets have a stunning classical beauty to them. What was the process for creating this seamless look?

The neutral but commanding colour of the bridesmaids’ dresses with a touch of added sparkle in the brooches were chosen to maintain the concept of enhancing beauty. The bouquets were simple and did not take away from the beautiful bridesmaids but instead accented them.

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What was the soundtrack to the wedding?

The soundtrack to the wedding included Jack Johnson, Cold Play, Soul Sister… The Truly Band was hired to play for the evening and they kept people on the dance floor all night.


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What would your next dream event look like? 

My next dream event is my own wedding! I’m still working on the look and will be blogging about the process and the decisions of a Planner Turned Bride.

Wedding Coordinator: Jackie Penner
Venue: Berkeley Church & Berkeley Fieldhouse
Photographer: Brian Reilly Photography
Band/DJ: Trust, 416.402.9152, thetrulyband@ymail.com
Limo: White Shadow Limo, Mike,
Flowers: Burlington Blooms
Hair: Amore Hair Lounge
Makeup: Pretty Me Makeup
Cannoli’s: Holy Cannoli
Videographer: Willow Creek Studios