Never the Bride: Goodbye Banquet Hall, Hello Luxury Hotel

My earliest memory of a wedding was my close relative’s nuptials (if only I could remember the bride’s name) wherein I walked the aisle as the cutest junior bridesmaid (yes, that’s a thing) you ever did see; ate the soup and porchetta at midnight; twirled my napkin around like a lasso when gli sposi were announced, bursting through the banquet hall doors to Hideaway’s What is Love; won the centrepiece because my birthday (August) was always the closest to the date and slithered meticulously through the dry ice, toilet paper roll in hand, circling the bride and groom in a two-ply embrace on the dance floor as the DJ emceed over Umberto Tozzi’s Ti Amo.

Truth be told, I’ve been to so many weddings that follow the above formula that by the time I actually felt comfortable talking about my own hypothetical wedding without throwing up a little in my mouth, I swore I would never ever subject my guests to the de rigueur Italo-Canadian bonanza. It’s just not my style.

Thankfully, there’s a new type of wedding in town. It’s called the luxury hotel wedding – void of porchetta tables and dry ice – it’s really quite an ingenious approach to tying the knot in this day and age. Hotels offer everything you’d ever need on your big day without having to send your guests on a Google Map quest to get from your parent’s house to the church to the luncheon to the reception to the nearest motel in Vaughan. Call me crazy, but I’m more of a one-stop shop kinda gal making the hotel wedding a very attractive idea, indeed.

A few weeks ago I was invited to a make-believe wedding (secretly I was envisioning it as a dress rehearsal for my big day) at the Shangri-La Hotel in Toronto. Let me tell you, was this ever a stylish affair. Diamonds by Birks, Palettera invitations, Stemz flower arrangements and a mouth-watering tasting menu by Bosk’s Chef Damon Campbell – all the things on the tip of every distinguished bride’s tongue. The soiree took place in the Museum event room, a two-story glass box overlooking University Avenue, set with 13 crystal chandeliers from Italy.

The evening ended with Michael Occhipinti’s live band playing – by chance! – what is slowly becoming my wedding song, Neil Young’s Harvest Moon. We can safely say that the era of the wedding deejay is – praise the lord – over. It was so romantic I just wanted to be held by someone. That’s when I was told of the Garden Suite upstairs. A magical retreat with a private outdoor garden that is the perfect place to unwind and make that marriage certificate official. I looked at my boyfriend who was busy doing a live Periscope of the evening at the other end of the table – maybe one day we’d be watching the Harvest Moon together on our wedding night. For now, I just play our song on repeat as I sit by the window harvesting my basil plant. What can I say, some Italo-Canadian habits die hard.

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Cover image by Krista Fox Photography. 

All other images by George Pimentel. 

Follow @neverthebride on Instagram for a single girl’s guide to wedding couture.