Real Weddings

Jillian and Benjamin


Rooftop Romance

August 9, 2014

On a cold December night, Jillian met Benjamin at the Heart & Crown Pub in the Ottawa ByWard Market. Jillian was ready to forgo the pub completely, but her friends convinced her to join them for a drink. After a friend of Benjamin’s failed attempt to strike up a conversation with Jillian and her girls, Benjamin decided to bail out his friend. “We got to talking and exchanged numbers to go on our first date.”

A winter’s night would once again become a moment to remember when Benjamin asked Jillian for forever during the Christmas holidays. “My plan was simple – entice Jill for a walk downtown in the city core and surprise her with the ring in Confederation Park, the site of many memories from our time together during my posting in Ottawa.”

Due to a drop in temperature and falling snow, the plan was almost derailed as Jillian was ready to forfeit the walk for a cozy movie at home. “Not to be done in, I forced her into the car, only to find the closest parking spot was a mile away from the planned site, meaning Jill was soon frozen to the bone on the ‘romantic’ excursion.”

Upon reaching the fountain in the park, Jillian excitedly twirled, and by the time she turned back to Benjamin, he was on one knee with ring in hand. “Jill – you’re my best friend in the whole world. Will you be my best friend forever?”

A jubilant “yes” from the bride-to-be was followed by exuberant applause from onlookers. “The homeless men on the park bench clapped us off as we walked hand in hand from the park.”

A rooftop ceremony was scheduled for August 9, 2014. “We wanted a central location in Ottawa, but also wanted some sort of outdoor aspect to our ceremony, so the National Arts Centre rooftop was an easy choice, with arguably the best view in the city.”

The natural setting of this outdoor oasis called for little additional décor. “The views alone were breathtaking, so I just wanted to add flowers and minor details to the space to enhance it, but not take away from the natural beauty.”

The bride appeared on her father’s arm donning a two-piece Monique Lhuillier gown. The trumpet style design was accented by a beaded belt and a floor-length veil. “She was absolutely beautiful and the dress enhanced all of her natural features,” says Benjamin. “I could not take my eyes off of her.”

The bride’s something blue was found around her bouquet – a swatch of blue lace from her grandmother’s wedding dress. “When she got married to my grandfather, she was not able to wear white, as they both were not Catholic, so she wore blue.”

Upon the announcement of husband and wife, their 130-plus guests, who travelled from every province in the country, were surprised with a bagpipe procession played by the groom’s father, former chief of defence staff, Tom Lawson. “Anyone who knows Tom knows he is an extremely talented and busy man and it meant so much to us that he took the time to practice playing the bagpipes [which he has not played since his university days at the Royal Military College] and play them for us on our wedding day.”

Cocktails and a reception followed that featured soft shades of gold, pink and navy blue. Dahlia Wedding Décor provided all floral arrangements for the day, which included centrepieces of lush hydrangeas and delicate roses. “Both my grandmother and my father are avid gardeners and I have many memories of playing in gardens filled with beautiful hydrangeas, so I knew I wanted these to be showcased.”

The couple’s wedding cake, created by Luvvly Cake Co., was the result of a contest the bride had entered to design her own cake. The special delivery from Toronto represented the couple as individuals, but also as man and wife.

To leave their mark on the day, guests were encouraged to snap a Polaroid pic and leave a message for the bride and groom. “I’m so happy we went this route as it is not very often you print pictures these days, so it is nice to have a book filled with all of our friends and family who celebrated our day with us.”

A stunning moment for the couple occurred when they took to the floor for their first dance as husband and wife. “We danced our first dance to an acoustic version of Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros song, Home, by Luca Fogale. That song means a lot to both of us because we have moved a few times already and will be moving a lot in the future with Ben’s job as a pilot in the military, but no matter what, ‘Home is wherever I’m with you.’ W

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