One of the most memorable days in a couple’s life together is their wedding day, which is why we’re excited to provide inspiration for our readers and registered couples with our series of wedding posts. Our first featured wedding is from Giorgio and Amanda. Amanda is the co-founder and owner of The Hot Plate, where she provides food styling, recipe development and other online resources for food lovers. Given Amanda’s profession, it’s no surprise that food and wine were two major considerations when she and Giorgio married in Toronto at sunset on November 3rd, 2012 at the Berkeley Field House. Let’s take a peek at their gorgeous ceremony and reception and hear what Amanda has to say about her wedding day.
Can you tell us a little about you and your husband?
“Giorgio is one of the most caring people I’ve ever met. When I met Giorgio, I knew that I’d never meet anyone nicer and more sincere than him. I’m very outgoing, definitely a big A-type personality here. Giorgio supports my ambition and entrepreneurial spirit, and helps to keep me grounded and balanced.”
How did you meet?
“Giorgio is from Peru and works as an associate at Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board. I’m from Ottawa and I run an online cooking resource for food lovers and professional recipe development and food styling company called The Hot Plate. We met at a Halloween Party in 2010. I was dressed as a zebra and Giorgio was the most interesting man in the world. After walking off the elevator, Giorgio was the first person I met, and we’ve been together since that night.”
How did you get engaged?
“A week I’ll never forget . . . Giorgio and I are two peas in a pod so he knew that with my keen sense for surprises, I would probably guess what he was planning. Anticipating this, he sent me a week of calendar invites. Starting on Saturday Giorgio organized full days and nights of events. We visited art galleries, went to incredible restaurants and even revisited the first place we said ‘I love you.’ I started to think that just maybe he would ask. Four days in, I was pretty sure, but night after night no BIG question. Finally, Thursday night I came home to find Giorgio there with a drink in hand. He said he’d booked us a table at SPiN Toronto for a game of ping pong and then a surprise dinner at an intimate restaurant. Giorgio had intended to hide the ring box in the basket of ping pong balls, but when we were assigned a table next to a rowdy office party, Giorgio had to reconsider. Minutes later, Giorgio said that ping pong wasn’t a good idea and rushed us out into the alley. Unable to contain the nerves/excitement, he looked around anxiously in the alley. Although it was raining, Giorgio got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. Excited, teary-eyed and all smiles we headed to an intimate French restaurant. On the table was the most impressive bouquet of roses and orchids I’ve ever seen. The husband and wife who owned the restaurant asked if it was my birthday and when we told them we’d just gotten engaged they brought out champagne for all 25 patrons. It still makes me smile when I think of the care and thought he put into planning the proposal.”
What was your inspiration for the feel and look for the wedding?
“I’m not a lover of fall foliage. So when we opted for a November wedding we wanted to skew winter. Giorgio and I wanted a downtown wedding with a modern yet rustic twist. We opted for birch bark and pine cones because of their versatility and elegant look.”
What was most important to you when planning the wedding?
“Food! Well, food and culture. Giorgio is from Peru and food is definitely a big part of their culture. Also, my work in the food industry meant that we wanted to impress guests with elegant food that appealed to the season. Our mains included cornish hens with bourbon mash and braised beef short ribs with glazed root vegetables.”
What details really stood out at the wedding?
“I’ll have to thank my mum for this. My mum hacksawed 100 pine cones so that we good use them as place card holders. Everyone loved them, and people even took them home as keepsakes.”
How did your occupation affect the menu and décor at the wedding?
“My work at The Hot Plate is all about making cooking fun and simple for home cooks. For the wedding, I wanted to keep decor simple and seasonal just like the food. Our menu included phyllo wrapped brie, foie gras with pickled scapes and other tasty bites. Our mains included cornish hens with bourbon mash and braised beef short ribs with glazed root vegetables. We were lucky with decor. The Berkeley Field House is renowned for its seasonal dishes as well as its impeccable service, gorgeous whitewashed walls and vintage looking chandeliers.”
What fun details did your guests really enjoy and respond to?
“Our guests loved the pine cone place card holders and mercury glass vases. The woodsy touch added warmth to the room. Our guests also loved what is known in Peru as ‘hora loca,’ also called ‘crazy hour.’ Hora Loca starts about an hour into dancing and usually involves costume pieces and the music taking it up a notch. For ours, I’m an experienced sailor and grew up on sailboats so it was only natural that we embraced the pirate spirit. We passed around eye patches, fake parrots, pirate hats, hooks and plastic swords. Guests got really into the party.”
Did you have a live band or a DJ?
“Giorgio is the music buff of the couple. He organized a string trio for the ceremony and reception. Instead of classic music we opted for contemporary music like Jason Mraz, Bruno Mars and even some Elvis Presley. For dinner and dancing we moved over to a DJ that kept the party going until 2 AM! Giorgio spent months organizing the music. We started by picking favorite Spanish and English songs and then broke it down to dinner and dancing. Every weekend, Giorgio and I would listen to the playlist while cooking for the week. We were able to edit down the list to favorites without any last minute stress.”
What do you think is important to splurge on?
“Definitely wine! The food was important, but when it came to wine Giorgio and I knew we wanted to go for quality. My parents, also wine lovers, had no problem indulging us in a number of tastings. We chose bottles that we loved, and would complement the food beautifully.”
What about where you can save money?
“We saved money with DIY invitations. With a little trial and error on Illustrator I was able to craft up a simple and elegant invitation that saved us hundreds of dollars. We also opted not to rent limos for the day.”
What advice do you have for other couples planning their wedding?
“Book the big stuff early to reduce stress. We booked everything early and enjoyed a stress-free summer. In September, we picked up where we’d left off and finalized last minute details. Also, make couple time. Even though you’ll be planning your wedding it is important that as a couple you carve out non-wedding talk time.”
Photos by OliveStudio