When fashion girls wed: 7 inspiring summer weddings of some of the most stylish girls in the biz

Amy Burstyn Fritz Graham Smith
Amy Burstyn Fritz Graham Smith

While most of the female population breathes heavy during episodes of Say Yes to the Dress, us fashion folk have, shall we say, finer taste. For those who a layer cake of taffeta doesn’t exactly scream “fantasy,” look no further than the summer weddings of these seven Canadian stylemakers. From a larger than life ceremony at the Art Gallery of Ontario to a City Hall visit in Doc Martens and dark jeans, these inspiring gals prove that thinking outside of the box pays off.

Britt Barkwell Aaron Kreaden
Photography by zofiaphoto.com

The couple: Britt Barkwell, 30, social media, online editorial manager, Holt Renfrew
Aaron Kreaden, 30, Lawyer

How they met: We’d been together for seven years when Aaron proposed. We met at McGill University where Aaron, always the studious one, had organized several study groups in the hopes that I would attend (which I never did) so he had to craft alternative, non-academic schemes for a chance meeting.

The location: I’m from Winnipeg, Aaron is from Toronto, and we’ve lived together in many different cities so our friends are spread out all over the place and a destination made sense.

The concept: Aaron grew up going to Nantucket and after my first trip I absolutely fell in love with it. It is a very special island—it is incredibly beautiful and quaint. It became a very special place for us and we wanted to share it with our friends and family.

The dress: I wore Wayne Clark. I wanted to wear something simple and minimalist that I would feel like myself in. I also loved the idea of wearing a Canadian designer. As soon as I put on this dress I knew it was the one. I also wore white silk Manolo Blahnik bootie sandals that I didn’t take off the whole night!

The bridesmaids:
My bridesmaids wore J.Crew bridal dresses in a mix of colours and styles—it was fun to see them all come together and how they each reflected everyone’s personalities. They also each carried different bouquets with a mix of flowers from a wild flower farm on the island.

The rings:
We have matching Cartier classic wedding bands that we had engraved with each other’s initials and our wedding date. I guess you could say that my engagement ring is a bit of a rebellion against tradition. The band is gold with an Alexandrite stone. Alexandrite is a rare stone that is known for its ability to change colour. Depending on the light it will change from a reddish orange to green—I often joke with my husband that he can predict my mood by my ring! It is also my birthstone and fittingly enough Aaron proposed to me on my birthday. I love that it’s a conversation starter and has a story behind it.

Amy Burstyn Fritz Graham Smith

The couple: Amy Burstyn Fritz, 30, managing partner, Knot PR
Graham Smith, 32, sales representative, Ashlar Urban Realty

How they met: The first time we met was in high school at a bar in Toronto called The Brunswick House. I was playing pool and caught Graham’s eye. He chatted her up briefly and then continued the courtship over numerous gatherings and parties, as we shared a communal group of friends. We officially started dating at an event a friend of ours was throwing on May 4, 2001. Graham proposed on May 4, 2012 and we got married on May 4, 2013.

The location: We are both staunch Torontonians and knew we wanted to get married somewhere in the heart of the city. Graham loves architecture and I am very passionate about the arts. We chose the Art Gallery of Ontario for its rich cultural ties and it’s stunning build. We were also the first couple the AGO officially allowed to use the Galleria Italia for the cocktail portion of the evening (Graham was adamant about “The Trifecta,” with the ceremony on the main floor in Walker’s Court, cocktail in Galleria Italia on the second floor and reception on the third floor in Baillie Court). Before the wedding, we met privately in David Pecaut Square which was named after my late stepfather.

The dress: My mom and sisters took me on a trip to New York where I fell in love with a gorgeous Reem Acra number from the Resort 2013. Since the dress was not bridal, the veil needed to be custom made to match. The shoes were sourced on a summer trip to Rome from the Prada store overlooking the Spanish Steps. Graham rented a tux from Freeman’s.

The bridesmaids: I enlisted Kaelen designer Kaelen Haworth to custom design the bridesmaids dresses, matching the colour to our Smythson wedding stationery and creating a special silver foil splatter that evoked painterly tones inspired by the gallery setting for the wedding.

The rings: Graham knew through subtle investigation that I liked emerald style diamonds. He met with a diamond broker that custom designed a ring consisting of an emerald cut stone surrounded by smaller diamonds. Graham let me choose the band, which was made up of a string of smaller emerald cut diamonds I like to call the babies of my engagement ring. Graham chose a classic white gold band.

Erin Kleinberg Mickey Lungu

The couple: Erin Kleinberg, 28, designer and co-founder of The Coveteur
Mickey Lungu, 31, Lawyer

How they met: We have been together three years. We met at The Sinai Soiree, a charity event in Toronto. Took me a while to catch him, but once I did, we fell hard.

The concept: The day is supposed to reflect you and your relationship together so we wanted it to be fun and super carefree. We stayed together the night before, I wore a sale dress, Mickey marched down the aisle to Biggie… you get the point. I wouldn’t say I am anti bride, but I seriously love some of the mantras of Stone Fox Bride.

The location: The Parker Palm Springs, which was beyond epic. Jonathan Adler decorated the entire hotel and it’s so quirky and different. When you walk in there is a massive piece of art that says “Drugs” and a huge Tom Wesselman smoking lips piece. We love it there!

My grandparents used to own a place in Palm Springs and my family has been going there for 50 years. Once I brought Mickey there, he fell in love as well. We knew right away that this special place was where we should get married.

The dress: I wore a dress from Prabal Gurung that I got on sale at The Room. This had been in the works for a few years, ironically enough. I had seen it on Moda Operandi and said to myself, if I ever get married, that is the dress. It was very simple, white jersey with tons of gathering and a peplum, very Grecian. Only problem was I was not engaged! Once Mick proposed I headed to The Room where I had seen the dress a year or so earlier and it was still there My mom was not into me buying the very first dress I saw, but I knew. She held me back so I could peruse a bit more. Two weeks later after I had searched to no avail we went back to The Room, and it was gone! I called Prabal’s team and they had no more. Two days later a woman called from visual merchandising, and had found the dress! It was meant to be.

The bridesmaids: I had seven bridesmaids. They all wore the black dress of their choice. Why make girls wear something they hate and will make fun of behind your back anyhow? We’ve all been there. I wanted everyone to be super comfortable, happy and feel like themselves. I gave them gorgeous 14k gold Zoe Chicco arrow necklaces as a gift—we got married Valentine’s Day weekend, after all.

The rings: The story of Mickey’s ring is very near and dear to our hearts. About a month after booking the wedding, Mickey’s father let us know that it was the same exact date as his grandparents were wed 71 years prior. He gave Mickey his grandfather’s thin, yellow gold band, which meant the world to us. I got married with my mother’s wedding band as well. We are nostalgia freaks!

Jenna Marie Wakani Jeffrey Bercuson

The couple: Jenna Marie Wakani, 30, photographer and photo editor
Jeffrey Bercuson, 31, professor of political science

How they met: I met Jeffrey in the dorms at Western when I was still in high-school. I was 17 and visiting my boyfriend at the time. I remember him being very kind even though I was a total stranger; he took me to an art history lecture (which I ended up studying at McGill) and on a walk around London to take photos—I had told him I was interested in photography. Two years later when I was at university in Montreal he looked me up when he was in town for a festival, and we started dating. That was 11 years ago.

The location: Austin, Texas, in the garden at the Saint Cecilia Hotel. We planned a trip to Texas and Mexico for a month and decided to get married in Texas while we were there, so that the rest of the trip would be an extended honeymoon.

The concept: We had been very happily unmarried for a decade and expected to remain so permanently. Then last fall we had a serious conversation about it
and realized we did want to be married to each other, but what we had been avoiding all this time was the act of having a wedding. I love shooting weddings, and going to other peoples weddings, but I never saw myself having my own, and he felt the same. Eloping was the right decision for us, we truly wanted to just be together and have it be simple and quiet. You don’t even need witnesses in Texas!

The day itself was relaxed and happy. We went out for a late brunch, helped each other get ready, had a shot of bourbon, and got married at 4pm under a tree with a judge wearing a ten gallon hat. Amy Poehler was at the hotel and came over after and congratulated us, so it was basically the best Thursday ever. Six months later we had a reception in Toronto with our family and friends which was a great, loud and crazy party.

The dress: I had Toronto-based Beaufille designers Chloe and Parris Gordon make my dress. I love their clothes and they totally understood what I was looking for. It was a simple cream, long sleeved maxi dress with a long skirt and a fitted torso. They did a beautiful job, and the fabric didn’t wrinkle when I had to roll it up in a tiny carry-on for a month. They made me a short version to wear to the reception which was perfect, to have them both be similar but for such different occasions. A florist in Austin made me a flower crown of tiny white flowers, olive branches and succulents.

For our reception here I wore blood-orange suede Aquazzura heels and white converse sneakers for dancing. For both occasions I also wore my favourite Jenny Bird necklace.

The rings: Seven years ago we went backpacking through Europe for a month. In Florence there is an old bridge where all the gold merchants are, the
Ponte Vecchio, and we bought a matching pair of white gold bands there. They weren’t at the time meant to be worn as wedding rings, it was more of a gesture of commitment, and it was very romantic. I have always worn mine on the right hand since then, and I still do. We used those rings for our marriage ceremony in Austin.

My engagement ring Jeffrey designed knowing that I am a bit jewellery averse—it had to be something very simple. He chose an emerald cut diamond and had it set very low with a thin band. I have an eternity band of horizontal baguettes underneath which were a gift from Jeffrey’s mother.

Jordan Porter Alexander Mimran
Photography by Kate Harrison Photography

The couple: Jordan Porter, 31, former FASHION editor and owner, The Annex Kitchen
Alexander Mimran, 32, founder, Minbox.com 

How they met: We’d been together just shy of 10 years. We met once at a party in Paris during a summer trip abroad in high school, but reconnected in Toronto while on winter break from university. He invited me to his New Year’s party. I didn’t go.

The location: We never actually planning on getting married, but after a surprise proposal we thought it’d be fun to do the whole dress-up thing! A no-fuss, no-stress, no-frills day at San Francisco City Hall was our perfect fit.

The dress: I had actually picked up a very pretty Narciso Rodriguez sheath dress, but was at Alexander’s mother’s house visiting a couple months before the wedding and discovered an ivory raw silk Alberta Ferretti dress from the ‘80s hidden in the back of her closet. It took a ton of work to smack the ‘80s out of that baby but there was something so special about it that I just had to find a way. Tara, an alterations genius at M-Clara’s in Yorkville, made my wish come true!

The rings: Alexander designed my ring completely solo. To say he’s a perfectionist is a bit of an understatement. I couldn’t have chosen a more perfect nor beautiful piece. For our bands we both wanted something very simple and very thin—we have identical ones, in different sizes of course, from Tiffany & Co.

Tatiana Read Joe Callaghan
Photography by April Maciborka of Olive Studio

The couple: Tatiana Read, 32, managing partner, Knot PR
Joe Callaghan, 38, partner, Brilliant Move Inc.

How they met: Our “love story” began ten years ago. We met at The Madison Avenue Pub as University of Toronto students.

The location: We eloped on Valentine’s Day at City Hall–we booked it last minute so they squeezed us in for a 15-minutes-only-no-guests appointment. In May, my parents hosted a wedding party for our friends and family at their home.

The concept: Fun. Simple. Meaningful.

The dress: For City Hall I paired Doc Martens and black jeans with a Jeremy Laing “Windowpaine” tailored tee I bought the day before (also black). For our wedding party I wore Prabal Gurung sourced from my mother’s amazing closet. My mom has a legendary closet and gowns are her “thing.” She invited me to choose from a selection of her favourite candidates (insisting that I wear white). I knew immediately that the Prabal Gurung was special, and very me. The dress has a thigh high slit, sheer cut-out side panelling and the back is entirely sheer with a column of covered buttons down the spine. It was nice to feel chic in a wedding gown (my black Jimmy Choos helped with that).

Barbara Ann Solomon Trevor Negin
Photography by Bri and Titus of Mango Studios

The couple: Barbara Ann Solomon, 26, design specialist at Hudson’s Bay
Trevor Negin 26, Business Development Branch Services at Scotia iTRADE

How they met: We had gone to high school together and met back in English class. We didn’t start dating until we were 19 though. We had been dating six years we when he proposed and we got married.

The concept: We had planned to get married this September and spend the spring of 2013 planning our summer engagement party. We had a venue picked and invitations were ordered for the August 18th affair. But when sitting with some of our bridal party over the Canada Day long weekend and discussing the details, we joked about getting married at the engagement party. The joke became a serious idea when we mentioned it to my parents the following day, and a new plan was in the works by Sunday: a surprise morning wedding in place of the engagement party. Invitations were sent out as is, and only our bridal party knew the secret until 10am that morning, when the guest arrived to a valley with a chuppah at the end of an aisle.

As a blogger I share my life with everyone daily, and not sharing the 40-day planning of my wedding was one of the most difficult things. It’s crazy to think that if we hadn’t changed our plan, we still wouldn’t be married!

The dress: Due to the timeline I had, we knew it was going to be something off the rack and altered. The following day, after work I met up with my maid of honour and parents down at The Room at Hudson’s Bay and fell in love with this Spring 2013 J. Mendel bridal dress. As it was late in the season the gown was reduced in price and fit perfectly. I had the magical “say yes” moment filled with tears.

I wore Erickson Beamon earrings, Pierre Hardy heels; both from The Room at Hudson’s Bay and Trevor wore a custom suit from Brooks Brothers and Happy Socks, with a pair of blue suede Florsheim shoes.

The bridesmaids: I had four amazing and beautiful bridesmaids; my two best friends, my sister-in-law and cousin. It was a morning affair, and so a little more casual, and I wanted my girls to love their outfits. We spent a fun Saturday at Yorkdale styling the four looks with complete freedom, and a colour palette for the wedding was formed quickly from their dresses. The dresses were from Hudson’s Bay, Topshop, Mendocino and ASOS.

The rings: He proposed to me with his grandmother’s ring, and asked me to design whatever I wanted with it. Giving me the best gift and most difficult project of my life. We worked with an amazing local jeweller who created both of our bands and the engagements, which I’m beyond obsessed with. It is a daily reminder of how unique our love and our special little morning was.

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