Pennie from Maple Leaf Weddings will be returning to the Tiny Weddings Fair for our second fair in Birmingham on 10th March. Come along to chat with her about the many and varied options you have when getting married in Ontario, Canada.
Tell us a little about your company?
Our company, Ontario Inspirations Ltd is owned by the family – Pennie, Hannah, Rob and Oliver. Between us, we have years of experience and have run large public outdoor shows, concerts, smaller corporate events, birthday celebrations, and even a music venue! All that without even mentioning weddings! Just let’s say we ‘do’ events. The company is registered in the UK with a license to trade in Ontario and it’s most definitely a passion not just a job.
Why did you choose to focus on weddings in Ontario?
Rob grew up here and the rest of us have been in love with it since the 1990s, when he took us to see his house, his school and his friends. Our lives changed – just as lives do when you fall in love. After several years of visiting we bought a house in a small Ontario town and began to merge into its community. Truth be told, we were know as ‘those mad people who visit from England’. As the years passed, we made friends of all ages – from a toddler to our neighbours in their 90s. We were asked out to dinner, to local fundraisers, to watch the local hockey and baseball teams play and that’s where, gradually, we learnt the words to ‘Oh Canada’. The first time we were invited to a wedding the seed was sown and Maple Leaf Weddings began to evolve. We began with one location and a wedding in the snow but soon added to our portfolio. Some places we’ve always loved and others we’ve found in response to client enquiries.
Do you have a mission statement for your company?
Maple Leaf Weddings are committed to providing a detail perfect wedding to create a magical memory. Our locations are all unusual venues, fun destinations or romantic getaway places. Sparkling white in the snow, gloriously golden in the fall and sun kissed in summer, they all represent Ontario at its best. Whether you choose a waterside gazebo, an open summer sky, a carpet of freshly fallen leaves or a blanket of crisp snow with just the two of you, a small intimate group or a larger party, Maple Leaf Weddings is right for you.
Why should our visiting couples consider having their tiny wedding in Ontario, Canada?
I am often asked, why Canada, why Ontario? Because I LOVE the place and want you to, as well however there are lots of other good reasons to get married in Ontario
– the scenery
– the weather
– the ease of actually getting married
– same sex weddings have been legal since 2003 and that is weddings not civil partnerships
– there are no citizenship or residency requirements; blood tests or medical certificates are not required
– you can get married anywhere [as long as your feet are on dry land to sign the marriage license], inside, outdoors, parks, gardens, castles, forests, boardwalks, bridges, in a canoe on a lake, a deserted beach, on the Edgewalk of the CN Tower, at the foot of Niagara Falls in the spray – literally anywhere you want.
– the ceremony can be held at any time, dawn to dusk or through the night
– you can write the ceremony yourself and the officiant will ensure that the words required to make it legal are incorporated
What do you love about tiny weddings?
The focus is more on the couple making a commitment.
What are the major differences when working with a large wedding versus a tiny wedding?
I only organise “tiny” weddings – twelve is a large group for me!
Can you give us an example of a tiny wedding you have worked on and what you did for the couple?
All my weddings are tiny. One particular ceremony was actually a renewal of vows. The couple had been married for ten years and had seen lots of friends’ marriages end in divorce. They had come through some difficult times and wanted to celebrate this. When they had originally planned to get married, their intention was to elope with no fuss however due to family circumstances, they decided to have a larger ceremony. The bride’s mother went into “wedding mode” and they had a very large, very beautiful wedding. Ten years later, they came to me and asked for an elopement in Ontario.
We talked through what they wanted which was to fulfil their original plan. Did they want to be away from the hustle and bustle – yes, did they want suggestions of vows to personalise or to write their own – write their own, did she want flowers? yes, did they want photos – yes and no, did they want a cake – yes. I looked for pretty, quiet outdoor locations which in one of the major tourist areas was not quite as easy as it could have been, I contacted a celebrant who I knew and thought would give their vows an expressive yet dignified delivery, spoke with my favourite florist to replicate the original bouquet (albeit in a different colour), searched out a photographer whose style I felt would match the couple and found a baker who didn’t think I’d gone mad when I asked to a top tier only wedding cake! One final detail, the bride would be wearing her original wedding dress! Yes, that’s right, ten years on she wanted to wear the original dress and hoped I could help her dress! I have to say I was amazed but not only did she fit into it, I had the lace it extra tight as it was a little on the big side (and that after ten years and two children!!!!!)
Their day was perfect every way – it was very sunny with a gentle breeze, the bride arrived on time, their vows were beautiful with a touch of irony added to reflect their 10 years together and the photographs were amazing (even the reluctant-to-be-photographed groom enjoyed himself!).
My part in this was to check, check and check again all the detail to ensure that the couple had the elopement experience that they missed first time round. We did talk about doing it all again at their fifteenth anniversary when they would include their children – watch this space!
If you could work on a tiny wedding anywhere in the world, any theme, any couple; where or what or whom would it be?
I did have ideas about suggesting to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle that they might like a tiny wedding in Toronto (which is where they spent loads of time together before their relationship became public here in the UK) but they had other ideas. I think we could have had fun!
For more information on Maple Leaf Weddings, check out their website. Or, come along and join us to chat about your options for a wedding in Onatrio, Canada at the Tiny Weddings Fair. Get your tickets here…
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