Laid Back and Beautiful
Compiled by Pam Dillon and Photos by Phillipa Maitland Photography
“A handsome man with some serious dance moves caught my eye,” says Tamara. It was November of 2011 at the Crazy Horse in Kanata. That’s when Tamara met Jeff. They chatted, they danced, then Jeff asked for her number.
The next day, he called. Six weeks later, Jeff invited her to fly to Victoria, BC to spend New Year’s. “It didn’t take long for me to realize that he was the person I wanted to wake up with each morning and say goodnight to each night,” Tamara says.
Three years later, after dinner at a downtown restaurant, as they admired the sunset by Parliament Hill, he got down on one knee and asked her to marry him. The answer was an enthusiastic yes.
They planned their wedding for September 10, 2016, and they chose The Mill Street Brew Pub as their venue. Both wanted a big party. “Our goal was for everyone to have fun. From incorporating little bits of humour into our ceremony to keeping the speeches short and lighthearted and everyone on the dance floor, we hoped to have the greatest time with our friends and families.”
Tamara had an additional priority: her dress. She discovered it at With Love Bridal Boutique. “Despite having no clue what I wanted when I started shopping, I fell in love with a full lace fit and flare gown.” It was the Pierce design by Maggie Sottero.
She had her makeup done by Shanna Brazeau and had unique bracelets made for her bridesmaids via Katye Landry Designs. The couple tapped Ottawa Flowers, Suzy Q Doughnuts and Morris Formalwear for other aspects of their day.
The wedding’s style is best described as “laid back, simple and beautiful,” Tamara says. Gold, white and ivory were used for decor and accents, and the team from Sage Designs created ceiling draping/lighting that led to a backdrop. Flowers and tea lights were incorporated into the look, and rather than a guest book, the couple had a large wooden C painted white for guests to sign. “It is now displayed in our home.”
The day had many personal elements. At the ceremony, members of the wedding party passed Tamara and Jeff’s rings down the line, telling them what they wished for their future. The couple wrote their own vows, and danced down the aisle after the ceremony.
“We decided not to have any communication the day of, leading up to our ceremony, so we were like a couple of kids in a candy store when we first got to see each other,” Tamara recalls. “We were so focused on one another that our officiant (Trudy Garland from All Seasons) actually had to call us to attention. It was slightly embarrassing, but our loved ones got a good laugh at us.”
At the tables, another traditional detail was replaced with a unique expression of caring. “Most of our loved ones know how much we adore our one-eyed rescue dog Sunshine.” So in lieu of wedding favours, a donation to the Ottawa Humane Society was made in honour of the guests, and at each place setting there was a personalized post card with photos of Sunshine and a message from the couple.
At the reception, Jeff happily took the lead on tapping a cask of beer for the guests, but there was another, unanticipated highlight. “A mariachi band showed up to serenade us,” Tamara exclaims. “One of Jeff’s groomsmen is Mexican and had secretly arranged for a surprise visit from the band. We had a great time on the dance floor enjoying their performance.”
From start to finish, she describes the day as incredible. “I didn’t want it to end. I got to marry the most incredible man and have all of our family and friends from across Canada there to celebrate with us. What more could I ask for?”