Working Girl Wedding: Dina & Joel's Romantic Vintage Party

April 25, 2013 2:31 PM

Dina and Joel's Romantic Vintage Wedding

Amanda's recent engagement has sent us into a frenzy of wedding plans and so, in addition to a record streak of pinning, we've decided to tap the most stylish and creative new brides we know for their advice on how to pull off a fabulous wedding while working full time. This is the first entry in our new “Working Girl Wedding” series.

Modern brides have so many challenges to face: lack of time, a budget that is less and less frequently supplemented by parents, bridging the divide between old and new traditions, managing family, friends, vendors and all the opinions that come with them and, as a general rule, trying to lose weight, no matter how skinny they are to begin with.

In considering these challenges, we were first and foremost inspired by Dina Vescio. She's actually the reason we met (and the sister of Amanda's groom-to-be). She and her new husband, Joel Leger, recently staged a wedding event that answered all the challenges aforementioned with charm, class and delightful surprise.

The photos of Dina and Joel's Romantic Vintage Wedding Party speak for themselves – every little touch was perfection – but the standout lesson here is how the couple broke from wedding convention in ways that made their night unforgettable and left people wanting to copy them. Here are just some of the risks these trendsetters took that we loved:

The seating – During the ceremony, they didn't want to feel like we were “on stage”, so guests were seated to flank them on either side in a long room. For the reception, only older family members were seated at traditional tables while the rest of the party stood at cruiser tables or sat on couches around the room. The result was that it really did feel like a party – we were never tired or bored. And we can only assume that it also saved some money on rentals.

The food – A fun buffet offered amazing cuisine from both their cultural backgrounds: lobster rolls from the East Coast, Italian food and classic Montreal smoked meat and poutine from their shared hometown.

The entertainment – Traditional Italian dancers showed everyone how to move to the beat of the bride's heritage, her brother sang and a self-serve photobooth kept everyone obsessed with thinking up poses all night long.

Enjoy the photos (all by Vivian Doan and Mimi Zhou) and read our Q&A with Dina for more advice on how to plan an equally original and special wedding…

Dina and Joel Wedding Ceremony

Dina and Joel Romantic Vintage Wedding Decor

Dina and Joel Romantic Vintage Wedding Reception

Dina and Joel Romantic Vintage Wedding Dance Floor Decal

Dina and Joel Wedding Photobooth

The Stats

The Bride: Dina Vescio, Department Assistant, Concordia University
Married in: September, 2012
Wedding Theme: Romantic Vintage
Venue: Auberge Saint-Gabriel, Montreal, Quebec

How long did it take you to plan your wedding?
Joel and I dated for seven years before we got married so we wanted to keep our engagement fairly short: seven months.

Where did the inspiration for your wedding come from?
The inspiration really came from within. My husband and I love home decor, architecture, graphic design and contemporary art. We considered our interests in order to create the theme of our wedding. We also knew we wanted our wedding to take place in the Old Port of Montreal; we were inspired by its charm.

What was the biggest challenge in planning your wedding while working full time?
Easy one: time. Because I work 5 days a week, my evenings and weekends were filled with wedding projects. Finding the time to conquer the big tasks and little details can get tricky. Words of advice: use an agenda and make lists. As a bride, you can never have too many lists.

Who did you hire to help you?
In addition to the vendors I knew I would I hire – like a photographer and a graphic designer – I hired a professional wedding planner to decorate my wedding venue. I wanted to enjoy the morning of my wedding with my family and friends by waking up leisurely, eating croissants, getting my hair and makeup done and drinking champagne. I did not want to fight traffic, run up and down staircases, lift heavy boxes, climb ladders, etc. I did not want to stress out about all of the components coming together perfectly and on time. Elyna Kudish of Unity Weddings did that for me, gracefully.

What tasks did you take on yourself?
I'm a control freak. I did everything.  But my best friends and family planned my bachelorette party and bridal shower.

What tasks did you assign to friends, family and/or the wedding party?
My mother made my wedding cake. My brother was the host of our reception. Our witnesses – thanks to whom my husband and I met – gave the greatest speeches known to mankind.

What was the nicest thing someone did for you?
Our family and friends were so generous for the entirety of our seven-month engagement. The love we received from everyone we knew was unbelievably heart-warming.

What was your biggest Bridezilla moment?
When you invest your mind/body/soul for months to one of the most important events of your life, glitches or obstacles are upsetting. Very upsetting. I like to think I kept my cool during the wedding planning however, I definitely complained to my mother and closest friends about comments that were made which suggested I was planning my wedding all wrong. As a bride, you sometimes feel like you are constantly trying to explain the choices you and your husband are making in order to keep the people around you as happy as you are with your decisions. It's a completely normal, yet annoying, wedding project.

What websites or digital tools did you use to plan your wedding?
Etsy! There are so many inexpensive and original items available! I signed up for their weekly “Etsy Weddings” newsletter. And I gathered everything I loved on a Pinterest board called “Celebration of Love“.

What were your favourite wedding blogs for getting ideas?
There are SO many! But to name a few:
Offbeat Bride
Style Me Pretty
The Perfect Palette

When did you purchase your dress?
My mother suggested we begin wedding dress shopping immediately. We purchased my dress three weeks after I got engaged.

What was your best money-saving trick/idea?
To save money on designing, printing and postage of RSVP cards, I opened a wedding email account and had our guests RSVP by email. It was fast, efficient and didn't cost a penny!

What 3 things did you love about your dress, hair and makeup?
Like most brides, I was influenced by hundreds of wedding blogs and Pinterest images. I knew exactly what I wanted: a lace, open back wedding dress and my hair up. However, I purchased a beaded, silk, strapless gown and wore my hair down. I wasn't disappointed with my choices whatsoever. In fact, I felt like my best, truest self on my wedding day. Thank God for trials! You think you know exactly what you want. Until you try it on! You simply need to make the best choice for you, regardless of how you pictured yourself on your wedding day. I absolutely loved (1) the thick, high quality silk that my dress was made of, (2) my grandmother's vintage pin in my hair and (3) my simple, natural makeup.

Did you incorporate any cool or unusual traditions into your wedding ceremony or reception?
We did! At our ceremony, Joel and I incorporated a traditional First Nations “blanket wrapping” to symbolize our marital bond. The blanket's interwoven fibers represented our interwoven lives; our bond as strong as the fibers of the blanket.

At the reception, I threw a “breakaway bouquet.” My actual bouquet was comprised of 10 separate smaller bouquets which, when the ribbon that held them together was loosened, allowed them to separate in the air to be caught by several women in the crowd so that our “luck in love” could be shared amongst our guests.

What emergencies did you encounter on the day and how did you deal with them?
There is no way to put this gently: my cake and candy bar were destroyed right before our guests entered the reception space. Instead of falling to my knees and weeping, I directed the venue staff to keep what could be salvaged and throw away the rest. My heart was broken; I had no choice but to prevail. At the end of the evening, the venue manager said he had never seen a bride act so cool. I was proud of myself.

What would you change about the planning if you could do it again?
Nothing. The support I received, length of time allotted and budget available allowed Joel and I to plan efficiently and effectively.

What was your favourite thing about your wedding day?
The moment Joel and I were pronounced husband and wife. I started bawling from the intense emotion I felt. I'll never forget that feeling. I also really loved wearing my fancy dress.

What was your wedding photo/video strategy?
Joel and I didn't want camera lenses in our faces all day/night but we did want to capture the emotion and good times experienced by our family and friends. We therefore nixed the idea of a videographer and opted for two photographers, each of whom worked 12 hour days. The photographers had different styles, allowing for a variety of images and for all the right/important moments to be caught on film.

How did you organize and share your wedding photos?
Our photographers delivered our 1000+ photographs on a personalized usb key. I created a slideshow set to a few of our favourite wedding reception songs in order for friends and family members to view the images.

How did you deal with the stress of wedding planning?
I drank champagne. Lots of champagne. I also vented to my mother and a dear friend who was planning her wedding at the same time. But really, it was a very exciting and fun time in my life, way more so than stressful.

What advice would you give to newly engaged working girls?
Remember: follow a detailed time line. Check items off your lists as you attain them to feel productive. And enjoy every minute of this fabulous time in your life!

The Source List:

Graphic Design (invitations, posters, decals) – Megan Keough
Venue and Catering – Auberge Saint Gabriel
Decor – Unity Weddings
Flowers – Alain Simon Florist
Dress – Alvina Valenta from L'Atelier Perla
Hair and Makeup – Sophie Parrot and Sarah George from MAC Cosmetics in Montreal
Music – DJ Rollergirl
Photography and Thank You Cards – Vivian Doan and Mimi Zhou
Cake – Lee Ann Vescio
Wedding Favors – Le comptoir chocolat

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