In conversation with Jessica Auvray lead planner & creative director of Bisous Events about the planning and design of Katie and Micah’s beautiful romantic wedding at Berkeley Church wedding venue Toronto captured by Niv Shimshon Photography.

What were the first conversations with Katie and Micah like about their beautiful wedding day?

Katie and Micah were such a wonder to work with from the beginning. They both always knew that they wanted a very inviting and fun wedding for their guests. They initially came to me looking for partial planning but realized that with their jobs, they needed more help executing their perfect day. Katie and Micah also knew from the very beginning that they wanted their wedding to be a reflection of themselves as a couple so I took my time to get to know them both first.

How did you achieve a cozy atmosphere while at the same time creating an elegant statement in the Berkeley Church?

The fact that they picked such a perfect venue for the look they wanted made my job a lot easier! The bride, Katie really loves vintage touches so we incorporated favours that the couple made, hand torn place cards, and made the floor plan very cozy.

The wedding flowers had a luxurious and romantic feel to them. What was the strategy for arriving at this design?

Katie loves that beautiful feminine touch so lush florals, trailing ribbons on the bouquets, and hints of pink florals worked well in the space. We wanted to bring in that garden feel to an elevated level with lots of greenery, some modern grey touches, and some metallic gold accents. We had lots of candles and gorgeous arrangements on the stage on mantles, as well as florals and decor on the fireplaces.

The wedding reception took place during daylight and the Berkeley Church has such beautiful light source in the venue. How did you maximize this in your planning and design?

Since the couple wanted everything to remain bright and airy the fact that there was lots of natural light (especially at that time of the year) and white walls really helped achieve that look. The stained glass windows added some really beautiful light as well.

Katie and Micah welcomed the guests with a beautiful personalized reception table that set the mood and style of the wedding. How did you arrive at this design and beautiful vibe?

We incorporated a lot of hand-written calligraphy on deckled paper on the place cards and in the programs so for the welcome sign, we also used the same calligraphy style on the signage to welcome guests when they arrived. At the welcome table the bridesmaid helped with taking polaroids of the guests since the light was so great, and putting it into the guest book for the couple where guests got to sign, it was fun and interactive for everyone. There was also a music ensemble that played during cocktails which really added to the ambiance.

There was a unique understanding of the Berkeley Church’s architecture and the design fit so beautifully into the historical setting. How did you achieve this?

Having a vintage themed wedding in the historical Berkeley Church couldn’t be a better fit! Since the church has 2 levels, we wanted to make sure we used the entire space thoughtfully, so we decided to have the cocktails upstairs so guests can really see the beautiful church from a different perspective; It also helped that it gave me a little time to tweak the finishing touches and get the photographer in there. This kept the guests busy while they also got to see what went into it behind the scenes a little bit. Afterwards, all the guests got to come downstairs and encircle the couple for the rest of the night.

What choice did you make for this wedding that paid off the most on the big day?

I just wanted to be sure that the fact that we used the natural architecture of the building to our advantage only made sense. So for example, for their welcome table we situated it in the centre of one of the stained glass windows and same with the seating chart. We also centered the couple at the head of the table so for the wide shots, they were centered in that beautiful arch on the stage; we also had Katie and Micah get on stage for their first dance in that arch with the back lighting.

What were the top priorities for the wedding day experience of the couple and how did these priorities affect the planning and design choices?

An important part of their day was to be sure not to be above their guests but be with them in the moment. I think bringing the couple’s table off the stage and using the space to have the couple sit with their entire head table and so close to the other guests was a great part of the day. I always chat with the couple first to ensure what is most important to them and how they’d like the floor plan to look before seeing if it fits once it’s to scale. 

The table styling had an exquisite design with romantic graphic touches. How do you break down the planning of this ?

The couple really wanted the feel of an elegant family dinner so instead of chargers, we actually used dinner plates with gold rim which worked perfectly. We also incorporated more gold details in the tea lights, the stationery and the gold-rim glassware. We wanted to make sure all the tables felt warm and inviting.

Greenery is on trend for weddings right now and this wedding design had a beautiful take on this with a unique perspective. What were some of your best approaches for achieving this design?

I love greenery because it really makes it feel like summer and fresh. However, we did also incorporate some gorgeous blooms to break up all the greenery and add some depth. Instead of even more flowers, we did get to utilize the bouquets on the head table but instead of just placing them in simple glass vases, we brought in some gorgeous gold ones with beautiful detailing so once the bouquets were inside, it looked like another arrangement.

The dessert table had a beautiful personalized setting that was a fresh romantic boho style. How did you arrive at its design and implementation?

The dessert table was one of my favourite of 2017 because of the cake; it wasn’t an ordinary cake but it was entirely made of cheese wheels! We topped it off with fresh berries and some foliage, it was so pretty and different. The rest of the desserts were colourful and in keeping with the Italian heritage (such as tarts) which everyone loved. We also had a cake designer make a small cake for one of the groomsmen since it was also his birthday… he had no idea it was coming out so it was another special moment that day!

Tips for planning your wedding at the Berkeley Church from Bisous Events:

-Think about using both levels and how you could use some decor upstairs and bring it downstairs after cocktails to cut costs. 

-Think about the time of year and how that affects the amount of light you’ll have during your wedding. 

-Signage: If you’re using multiple floors, make sure to supply signage for your guests that are inkeeping with your theme.

-Explore the neighbourhood beforehand and scope out some nice photo locations. There are so many alleys and streets all within a 10 min walk. 

Happy planning!

Venue: Berkeley Church, Planner: Bisous Events, Photography: Niv Shimshon Florist: Flower 597,  Dress: Pronovias, Video: One Heart Films, Hair & Makeup: Jen Evoy Studio, Day-of Stationery: Little North Company,