Kathleen and Steve’s wedding at Oslerbrook Golf & Country Club in Collingwood
Back in Collingwood, but this time at a new wedding venue – new to me anyways. Oslerbrook Golf & Country Club set the scene for Kathleen and Steve’s fall I Dos. New venues always get me a little excited, I always do a little research ahead of time but there’s the rush you get when you drive in to a new location with your eyes darting every which way. With Oslerbrook, that drive in was along a looong laneway with a view of rolling fairways and a sleek clubhouse up on the hill. I was diggin it. We were going to have us a time here.
I met Kathleen and Steve a while back and was blown away with their globe trotting stories – especially the one where these two Toronto young’ins met for the first time on the other side of the planet. And it’s a testament to them as people and a couple that so many of the international friends they also met along their journey traveled all the way to Canada to see them get married (and a rowdy international bunch they were!). I’ll leave the story telling to them below, grab some popcorn… it’s a hell of a story!
HOW DID YOU MEET:
Kathleen: We first met in South Korea, where we were both teaching English, on a trip to an island called Deokjokdo. We met very briefly, introduced by a friend who went to University with Steve and who I knew from the expat circles in Seoul, but I was doing my own thing with girlfriends that weekend and didn’t think much of it. We re-met at the same friend’s going away “Wizard Stick” party a few months later, where one aims to drink their height in taped together beers. This involved a pub crawl of 7Eleven locations in the area (yes, 7Eleven serves beer in Korea). I hadn’t intended on coming out that night, but dropped into the first stop on the crawl just to say hi. When I re-met Steve, I decided to stay. At the second stop, Steve and I got to talking, and he told me he loved his little sister, spoke Italian, loved to cook, loved to travel, rode a motorcycle, once played Junior hockey, and grew up in Toronto. I was a goner.
Steve: Kathleen showed up at the first 7Eleven with a very good-looking Englishman, and she was quite affectionate with him, so I assumed they were dating. We ended up chatting and discovered we were both from Toronto and had a lot in common, but I thought she was with her boyfriend so thoughtwe were having a completely platonic chat. A few hours later, in the Wolfhound pub, the friend who threw the party told me that Kathleen was interested in me, and it turned out that the Englishman was her gay roommate and best friend (in fact, he did a reading at our wedding!). The rest is history.
WHAT DO YOU REMEMBER ABOUT YOUR FIRST DATE:
Kathleen: Our first real date was at the Wolfhound, an expat pub in Seoul. I had a ceasar salad and Steve was so weird and didn’t eat. Because we met through a mutual friend, we didn’t really date formally, we more spent time together within a larger group at common events. We did however go on vacation together one month into our relationship! The person who introduced us had since moved to Bali, so a bunch of expats in Seoul decided to go visit her, and we were coincidentally both planning to go. It made sense for us to share a room because we were kind of together, but we were only one month in. We experienced a full on flood, a door-free bathroom, broken air conditioning, and an afternoon spent lost on the outskirts of Kuta. We affectionately refer to it as the worst trip ever.
Steve: Yeah I had eaten too many ribs during the day of our first date – I actually stumbled upon a cross-dressing karaoke festival in the rural mountains outside Seoul while riding my motorcycle (I couldn’t even make that up). And the Bali trip was a nightmare, but we did get stranded in a random bar during a flood in Gili Trawangan on New Year’s Eve and had a really fun night just us. This was the first time it sort of felt like it was us against the world.
WHEN YOU KNEW:
Kathleen: I think for me it was probably when we moved to Australia. We were such a team, so there for each other, and we built a whole new life from nothing as an unstoppable duo. It was a tough transition for me from Korea to Australia – we went from having 30 best friends in the land of easy living, to a strange city where we were unemployed and lonely. Steve was endlessly patient, but offered tough love, and I realized he was my perfect fit.
Steve: I kind of always knew. When we met, we were both coming out of a phase in life where we were single for a while and ready to find someone to share the next phase of life with, so it was like we found the missing piece of the puzzle in each other, and it was easy to take leap after leap together. In our first year alone, we went on multiple overseas trips together, spent full weekends together, lived together, flew home to Canada together, and decided to move across the world just the two of us.
THE PROPOSAL, HOW DID IT GO DOWN:
Kathleen: Steve proposed at the top of a mountain in Big Sur, California overlooking the Pacific Ocean. That morning, he was being weird – he went for a 7 am run on vacation having just flown across the world, and I couldn’t understand why he was in such a rush to get moving. It turned out he had planned to propose at the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco at sunset so we were on a tight schedule! He ended up pivoting to a top-of-mountain hiking proposal because I took so long to get out of bed. When we finally started our hike, we spent the whole ascent talking about how great our life was and how lucky we were to have each other, so when Steve started waxing poetic about our relationship, I thought it was just part of the conversation – until he dropped to one knee. It was a perfect reflection of us – we were sweaty and disgusting and had conquered a mountain together. I had trouble getting down the mountain because I couldn’t stop staring at my ring, which is a stunning Australian opal, following in the tradition of my Mom’s engagement ring.
Steve: I will add that when we finally left the Airbnb in the morning, we stopped for a quick take-out breakfast at a café to tide us over, but Kathleen hated her food – I actually think she may have thrown the muffin out the window. She’s not pleasant when she’s hungry, and I knew that my plan wasn’t looking good if we didn’t properly feed her first. A few turns before the State Park we were going to for our hike, I noticed a cliffside restaurant, so I slammed on the brakes and swung in to the parking lot, very dangerously. We ended up getting a spectacular spot on a patio with a perfect view of the California coast. Kathleen had a chicken caesar salad, same as on our first date, and we met a lovely Dutch family at the table beside us. Meeting people like that gives Kathleen so much joy, and her happiness level went through the roof. Lucky for me, becaise I popped the question not much more than an hour later.
ONE THING YOU LOVE ABOUT ONE ANOTHER:
Kathleen: Oh I’m definitely not picking one. Steve is effortlessly likeable and endlessly capable. He sees opportunities for learning instead of barriers, and believes strongly in himself. He is introverted by nature, but would take a bullet for any of his friends. He is incredibly smart, and makes amazing connections between ideas at a rapid clip. He cuts through noise to get to the heart of an issue, or to the heart of what matters. He is the least materialistic person I have ever known, and focuses on experiences and family. He views the world with childlike excitement.
Steve: Kathleen is endlessly selfless. Her greatest joy is seeing those around her happy. She loves people more than anybody I’ve ever met, and I love how much love she has for those in her life. I love her passion for every day, and the way she squeezes every ounce of joy she can out of every moment. I love how deeply she wants to experience everything.
WHAT DID YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT YOUR WEDDING
Kathleen: I loved our ceremony. We worked hard to create a service that felt honest and true to us as a couple, which meant it was pretty unconventional. Our celebrant guided our guests through a bit of a story of our life together, and it was so fun to search for the people who were by our sides at the mentioned points in our relationship amidst the faces in the crowd. My Mom passed away a year before we got married, so my godmother read this amazing email my Mom sent to one of her girlfriends right after we got engaged, expressing how much she loved Steve and how excited she was. When I started crying, our dog, who was up at the front with us, ran over to comfort me, which was just such an adorable and honest reaction – he had no idea this was a fancy event, he just saw that his Mom was sad! We wrote our own vows, and they were funny and poignant and wonderful. It was the calmest point in the day, and it just felt so happy and serene and right.
Steve: First, I really enjoyed driving to the ceremony just Kathleen and me. Coming off the high of the first look and drinks with our friends and family at the house, it really sank in how many people were there to celebrate our love. Having that car ride gave us the chance to regroup and get some perspective in the middle of the crazy day to realize just how lucky we are. Second, holding Kathleen’s hands during the ceremony and looking out on these amazing people who have been there since the beginning of our relationship enjoying the day with us was amazing. And third, having a dance floor where we were bouncing from one of our favourite people from one side of the world to another one of our favourite people from the other side of the world was insane, like a bar full of your best friends, all there just for you.
A TIP FOR FUTURE BRIDES FROM KATHLEEN:
Kathleen: I should mention that I am a Project Manager so planning is my middle name – I apologize for the insane list below.
1) Learn to delegate – Everyone wants to help, but nobody knows how to help, so give them specifics – “I need you to pick up this item in this size from this store.” Same goes for on the day – ask your bridesmaids to get you food, or get you water, or steam your dress – you are not being bossy, they will be grateful to be told how to help you, and since everything is in your head and your head only, you need to download it to the people around you!
2) Get it all on paper – Create a timeline for the day with timing down the side and each wedding party member/ family member/ vendor across the top. Send it out in advance so people can come back to you with questions, and print copies to be kept wherever people are getting ready. This way, everybody knows exactly what is expected of them, and can consult the piece of paper to know what’s happening next without feeling like they have to bother you with questions.
3) Provide details – Guests never seem to know what to do with an invite that says “5 pm, formal.” 5 pm arrival or ceremony!? What is formal!? I recommend sending out detailed information, either as an attachment to your original invite, or on a wedding website, or in an email a couple weeks before the wedding. Some key info you may consider: what time the ceremony will actually begin, what the dress code actually means, the bus schedule (if applicable), how you would like to receive gifts, how parking works, what dietary needs can be met by catering, what part of the event kids are welcome to attend (if applicable), etc. We were told countless times that this detailed information made planning way easier for our guests.
4) Plan with your guests in mind – In the age of Pinterest, pacing and flow often lose out to cute table decor. Instead of focusing on candle holders, think about how the order of the event will work for your guests. Ideas: do your pictures ahead of the ceremony so guests don’t have to wait for you, keep speeches short because long speeches are only fun for the person speaking, feed people immediately after the ceremony because everybody seems to show up to weddings having forgotten to eat, etc. Think about weddings you’ve been to before and what would have made your night even more fun. Nobody will notice how many golden pinecones you put on tables, but they will definitely notice if they’re starving at 8 pm.
5) Speak your mind! – Don’t like your hair & makeup trial? Tell your artist, they will be grateful for the honest feedback. Not sure your dress is looking quite right? Tell your seamstress, they will have a bunch of little tricks to move things around. Don’t like the bridesmaids dresses that everyone else wants? Explain what you do want, illustrate your vision. Sure there is lots of room for compromise, but remember this is your day and if you have a clear picture of how you want everything to work, then fight for it.
6) Set the tone – A coworker of mine who got married a month before us told me “You set the tone for the wedding, if you’re flitting around looking stressed, everyone will take their cue from you.” She was very right. So have fun, have a drink, act like a guest, actually enjoy the event. You’ll miss talking to a couple people, but they will be busy talking to your other guests. Have a great time and your guests will too – you put all this time into planning, now enjoy it.
A TIP FOR FUTURE GROOMS FROM STEVE:
Find yourself a Kathleen to plan everything! Beyond that, take mental snapshots througout the day. There are just too many good moments to remember everything, so take the time to stop and sort of go “click,” take in that particular moment and remember it.
Wedding Venue – OslerBrook Golf & Country Club
Photography – Vaughn Barry Photography
On-the-day Coordination – Melissa Twist Events
DJ – DJ Classick
Singer – Mireille Giroux
Hair & Makeup – Blush Pretty
Florist – Leuk (bridal) & Erica Lee (tables)
Wedding Dress – Wtoo by Watters
Bridesmaid Dresses – Jenny Yoo
Groom Suit – Suit Supply
Groomsmen Suits – Moore’s
Celebrant – Jake McArthur
Transport – Sinton Transport
Rentals – Happenings Party Rentals
Wedding Favours – Osprey Bluff Honey Company