Kendall Gray knew exactly how her wedding would look long before her now-husband Mark Allen slipped a ring on her finger. “Before we were engaged, I knew I wanted an elegant vintage wedding that was very old-fashioned but glamorous,” she shares. “I had a definite vision!” Mark was more than happy to let his bride run with her inspired ideas. The pair had been dating for five years when he proposed on a quiet Saturday while they were relaxing at home, watching movies and eating snack-packs of Smarties. “I had enough candy, but Mark insisted I have one more box. He had put my ring inside and glued it back together. He got down on one knee with the box of Smarties and I opened it up and found a beautiful surprise.”
Because she knew what she wanted for her elegant vintage wedding Kendall hired a planner for day-of co-ordination only, and took on the task of wedding planning herself. “I wanted everything to be all black, or all white, but I didn’t want a checkerboard effect—everything was tone-on-tone. For instance, Mark and his groomsmen wore black with black pinstripe suits; our table linens were white with white pinstripes. I even asked our guests to work with our colour theme—ladies were asked to wear all black and men to wear black and white.”
Kendall arrived at Toronto’s Cathedral Church of St. James at 2 p.m. on Saturday, October 15, 2011 in a white 1954 Rolls-Royce. She stepped out of the car in her Vera Wang gown to the glare of flashbulbs and TV cameras. “The Occupy Toronto protests started in St. James Park right around the time of our wedding ceremony so there were tons of media there. I actually made it on to the evening news with the protestors cheering and clearing a path for me to get to the church. It was an interesting and very unexpected moment.”
After a 40-minute ceremony, the new mister and missus were chauffeured to a few different spots on the historic University of Toronto campus for photos with their six bridesmaids, seven groomsmen and three flower girls. From there it was on to the Windsor Arms Hotel to join the couple’s 158 guests for the grand unveiling of Kendall’s dream elegant vintage wedding celebration.
“When you enter the Windsor Arms, you can see the main ballroom, but I had it draped off because I didn’t want anyone to see the space initially,” Kendall says. “There’s a balcony on the second floor overlooking the ballroom where we had cocktails and that’s where everyone had their first glimpse.” What they spied was the gorgeous art deco room filled with twinkling candles; lavish white floral arrangements containing roses, Hawaiian orchids and calla lilies; and small touches of gold at each table, such as 24-carat-coloured chargers.
Every guest had a personalized menu placed at their seat (some in English, some in French, a courtesy to Mark’s French Canadian family and heritage) and all tables were named after fashion designers…or country singers. “I know that is a very odd mix, but it was a nod to my love of fashion and Mark’s love of country music.”
Mark’s musical taste was also evident in the pair’s first dance song, “Then,” by Brad Paisley. “We didn’t really have a song that was ours, so I let Mark pick a perfect one for us.” The couple’s inaugural twirl kicked off a killer dance party which Kendall says had their guests boogieing into the wee hours until the venue literally had to give the DJ the boot. “When I think about it now, the day went by so fast, but it was so perfect,” Kendall smiles.
Kendall Gray and Mark Allen, October 15, 2011, Toronto, Ontario.
Photography courtesy of Gillian Williamson from Ikonica Images (www.ikonica.ca).
Ceremony location: St. James Cathedral
Reception location: Windsor Arms Hotel
Day-of wedding planner: Tara O’Grady from Bliss Events
Dress: Vera Wang from Vera Wang Toronto Store (416-927-9094)
Groom’s tux: Freeman Formals
Bridal party attire: Priscilla of Boston from Ginger’s Closet
Hair: Lady Lynn
Makeup: Jackie Gideon
Music: DJ Liban Hassan (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Glen Cain (416-388-3199)
Cake: Bobbette & Belle
Caterer: Windsor Arms Hotel
Favours: Donation to the McMaster University Neonatal Department
Others: Bridal jewellery from Tara Fava; Candy bar from Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory; Rolls Royce from Magical Moments
See all of the photos from this elegant vintage wedding.