It’s been a while, but we’re back with another amazing feature. Get ready to learn all about our incredible bride Nathalie, her groom Christopher and all the sweet details of their wedding, her dress, and their relationship!
How did you and your groom meet?
We met at my cousin’s wedding. I was wearing a red dress and he asked me to dance. That’s where our story began.
We created our wedding invitations as a little flip book with our engagement photos – ones we had taken in the same red dress I wore to that wedding. The first page said, “She wore a red dress”, the second page said, “He asked her to dance” and the third page said, “Now they’re asking you, together with their incredible families, to honour them with your beautiful presence as Nathalie Norris & Christopher McQuarrie celebrate love and join hands in marriage.” Then we had all the details. 🙂
I think it’s really neat to be able to see where someone’s story began, and I love the places that will allow for customization on their invitations to share those fun and extra-special moments.
How did you know Christopher was the one?
There were moments I knew he was the one; moments where I’d look across the couch at him, and just take in this wonder; how lucky I was, how great he was, how much in the simplest moments he just impresses me so much.
We joked that because we got through India together (our first beautiful and completely chaotic trip), or because we could peacefully put together Ikea furniture, that we were meant for each other.
But I’d say most in the stillness of a glass of wine on the couch and a life-transforming conversation. Those are still my favourite moments. And those as a sequence make up so many of the times I felt so fully that he was the one.
I asked Christopher this question, too. Here’s his answer:
There wasn’t one defining moment that made me realize she was the one. Thinking back, she just always was. She was always the person I wanted to share my moments with. When anything happened she was the one I wanted to tell. We never ran out of things to say, never stopped having fun and never stopped growing together as individuals. She was the person I wanted to spend all my time with.
When did you get married and where did you celebrate?
We got married on the amazingly sunny, beautiful slight-breeze-flowing day of August 6th, 2016.
We celebrated at “our love castle” as we called it in excitement every time we would go for a meeting in the lead-up to our wedding. We were SO excited to have found this incredibly grand, SO stunning, breath-taking most perfect place called Hacienda Sarria in Kitchener/Waterloo.
It felt like we looked at a hundred venues to find our special one. I’m not sure if that’s normal, but I remember friends and family almost having an unspoken wonder if we’d ever find what we were looking for.
I wanted to include that for any couples who have been discouraged. If you’re looking for a certain feel or certain elements or if there’s something calling you, and you keep going to see places that aren’t it, keep looking!
When we found Hacienda, it was like all of our frustration and all of the things we’d wanted from other venues were ALL in this BEAUTIFUL place!
There was an eco-garden that was community driven and becoming organic (something we massively value). There was a bridal suite and a grooms area. They had a backup ceremony room that was different from the main dining hall, which we loved (and it had reclaimed wood ceilings – something we’ve always adored!). And then, to our total shock because nothing could be more perfect, we walked into the bar area at the back, and our espresso-loving souls both jumped, “IS THAT A COFFEE ROASTER?!”
It was. And we knew we had found our place!
What was the most memorable part of your wedding?
I have so many moments that mean so much.
I walked with my flower girls in the morning to see what the dessert table looked like (they were *very* excited for the cakes!). That was such a special time, and I was so glad I either had or made the moment for that. It was so sweet to see their wonder and excitement.
All of the speeches at the reception were just perfect. They all expressed the people we love so much, and between laughter, crying and cheers, they just filled our hearts so much (even when we were getting busted 🙂 ).
Hugging every guest as they walked into the cocktail hour sticks with me. It was unplanned and just happened that way. But I had wanted to make sure everyone felt special. We loved so much that all of these special people in our lives could come together on this one day, and we wanted everyone to know how much we appreciated that love. So that feels like such a special moment.
And then lastly, though I could gush about a million more memories, my Husband and I had always done a shot of tequila before any special event. I don’t even know how or when that ritual was born. But we mentioned it to the venue and photographer and asked if they could set us up so that before the wedding, we couldn’t see each other, but we could do the shot together like we’d always done.
As funny a tradition as it is, I feel so grateful that it was in our day, because I got to hold hands around a door with Christopher, and I felt like all the busy-ness and excitement and heart overflowing feelings I’d had that morning melted away in that moment, and I kind of re-connected with him so that we weren’t each in our own states when we saw each other for the first time at the ceremony.
How did you know that your gown was perfect for you?
Oh my GOSH! What a whirlwind it was to choose a gown! I feel like we went EVERYWHERE. Special love to Debbie, Denise, Alice, Ava, Stella for coming to the first try on, and Jac, Hales, and Mum who zipped all over with me until I found “the one”!
I knew it was the one because I walked out of the room, this GORGEOUS piece of piano music came on, and for the first time, I looked in the mirror and didn’t have to be anyone else. I didn’t have to improve my posture or wear 8 layers of Spanx or try to be more anything.
I looked in the mirror and I saw myself looking so bright and fun and ready to celebrate and excited and that was everything I wanted to look and feel like on our wedding day.
I then tried on another two dresses, shuffled them back off just as quickly as I’d put them on, got back in “the one” and just LOVED it again.
Then, just to make sure it wasn’t my sister’s reaction I’d loved most, I went back to the store alone and asked to just be in that dress for a little while myself. I stood in the room, looking in the mirror, and just cried so excitedly and so much.
As maybe lonely as that sounds, I’m so glad I took the time, without anyone else there, without anyone else’s opinions, just to take it all in. Just to stand and make sure it was perfect. And then to collapse in the excitement that it really was all happening. Of course, I did that afterward with people around, too. I don’t know if it’s an introvert quality, or who knows what. But if you see yourself in this story as a bride-to-be, I just wanted to share that for me, those moments alone were really magical and really boosted my confidence that this dress was absolutely the one.
Sweet Detail about the Gown
When my dress was being altered, I asked the seamstress to take a few details off of my gown. A couple of sequins, a few small pieces of lace from the under-layers of the bottom pieces (nothing you would notice), and some of the pieces she was hemming, to put them aside for me.
I had been thinking about what Christopher and I could give each other on our special day. And one day while driving around for wedding stops, the most perfect idea hit me!
I spoke to a jeweller who LOVED the idea and was SUPER excited to create the pieces. He made cufflinks for Christopher and a necklace for myself and one for my Mum that had a piece of my wedding dress in it. They’re such special treasures, and I’d never heard of that idea before, so I wanted to share in case anyone was looking for a beautiful way to capture their day in a gift.
What made you decide to come to Grace Wedding Gown Specialists?
She had my dress in her room for such a long time (thank you Mummy!).
Our wedding was such a magical day for me, and it meant so much and said so much, I just wanted to be able to see my dress out forever.
My Mum got in touch with the beautiful store that my dress came from, and they recommended you. Of course, everything about the care you give to dresses emanated from your website and meeting with Nadine.
So it was a great fit. And now that I know there’s a window in the box that you preserved my dress in, and now that I see how shiny and pretty and clean my dress is, I’m so happy you took such great care of her!
What’s your favourite date night restaurant?
Planta in Toronto is our most over-the-top, we-rave-about-everything-the-whole-night date restaurant for us. The food is amazing and beautiful. The cocktails are stunning. The environment is energizing. The truffle oil on everything just makes us die. We just talk like that the whole night every time we go, “Oh my gosh, can you even BELIEVE this?!”. It’s the best.
What’s one thing you forgot to pack for your honeymoon?
Any knowledge of the Spanish language, in the least. At all.
I think in the busy-ness of the details for our wedding, somehow we overlooked the fact that Spain would be *very* Spanish-speaking.
Luckily we’ve placed ourselves in enough sink-or-swim travel places by this point, so once we got over initial jet lag and found some vegan food, we settled in and made the only decision we could: let’s learn Spanish!
I still have funny memories of Christopher speaking with Duolingo learning words like bananas and apples whilst we tried to piece together how to order food, wine or ask for directions.
Luckily one in every ten thousand people seemed to speak ten to twenty words of English, so we just bombarded them with massive amounts of questions about what’s proper, acceptable, why olives have two different names depending on the restaurant menu, and other wildly important questions we’d come across.
And then, just because the world has a fantastically silly sense of humour, it wasn’t until the plane ride home that the gentleman beside us mentioned that where we’d been (Valencia), they don’t even speak Spanish, they speak Catalan.
So, as it turns out, we still can’t pack Spanish for future trips, but damn are we impressive at ordering food and drinks in Catalan. 😉
Lastly, what had caught Nadine and Grace’s interest in our story was hearing about our rings. So here’s what made our day really happy to our hearts, beyond our amazing guests:
Our rings were all from Brilliant Earth. They are so beautiful, and we love them. It’s always been important to both of us that no one got hurt making a symbol for love. That company ethically sources gemstones from all over the world. My blue sapphire is from Sri Lanka, and Christopher asked that all the diamonds around it would be from Canada (I love this Country, and that’s so special to me).
Our wedding menu was completely vegan, topped off with Kelly’s Bakeshoppe Mile High Brownie Cakes (vegan and gluten-free and SO good). The look on so many of our guests faces who realized they’d be able to eat the cakes even though they had food allergies or intolerances was so joyful.
I remember one guest even running off to the bar over-joyed that she’d be able to have a latte! Hacienda Sarria brought in our favourite almond milk that steams so beautifully.
When we were looking at venues, we asked at every one if they could make amazing vegan food. Most places promised they could, and offered ideas like “fabulous salads”. We turned so many places down because if we were going to have a vegan wedding, we wanted the food to be extraordinary.
We’d both been vegan for 4 years by that point, vegetarian for a few years before that, so when it came to our menu, we knew it wouldn’t match up to serve our favourite people food that we weren’t in love with.
With every choice we made for our wedding, we kept thinking, “if we lived in our love castle, and we got to have everyone over for a fantastic dinner party, what details would we want to delight them?!”
When we found Hacienda, after being let down with so many places, we nervously asked if they could do a vegan menu for us. We’d already fallen in love with SO many elements there, and it was the very last question. They suggested dessert options like vegan creme brulees and peanut butter vegan graham cracker crunchy squares. They talked about brown vegan butter sage gnocchi and smoked Israeli couscous with fire-blistered summer vegetables as meal options. They worked so hard to make everything perfect, and we went to a few meal tastings ahead of time to pick our favourite meal options. On the food front, and absolutely everything else, they were 100% AMAZING.
We were even able to bring in our favourite vegan cheese rounds from Tori’s Bakeshop for the late night table. We’ve always loved having vegan cheese plates with pickles and fire roasted veggies, lots of olive oil and balsamic vinegar and crackers and bread. The fact that that could be our late night table was such a dream.
I was *so* nervous to run out of food. I wanted to make sure everyone was super-full, and happy even if they’d never eaten vegan meals before. I think we came home with 4 extra wedding cakes and a TON of vegan cheese. Of course, we didn’t complain! I think I thought maybe our stomachs had shrunk or maybe other people were used to eating other things, and they’d be ravenous after dinner, but to my absolute delight we still get compliments on the food.
We got to include so many of our favourite people and shops in our day. I’d love to thank them just in case anyone is looking for absolutely spectacular vendors for their wedding:
Flowers: FLOX on Danforth
Officiant: Jim Giles with Enduring Promises
Rings: Brilliant Earth
My Dress: Becker’s Bridal
Christopher’s Suit: Korry’s on Danforth
Late Night Cheese: Tori’s Bakeshop
Wedding Cakes: Kelly’s Bake Shoppe
Venue: Hacienda Sarria
DJ: Chris Mihas
Event Planner from Hacienda: Ashley McCumber (she coordinated everything, was an absolute pro and saved our butts SO many times, she’s OUTSTANDING!)
Photographer: Jesse Rashotte