Jess & Doug are truly a match made in heaven! From the moment we met them, their fun spirit and friendly personalities made us so excited to start the planning process. Whether they were feeding off eachother’s energy during design meetings or bringing Harvey (their beautiful Golden Retriever) to visit the team, there was never a dull moment with these two. Jess is now pregnant with a little one due in May 2020, and we could not be more excited for them! Keep reading below to discover how all of the details came together for Jess & Doug’s big day at Aquatopia! #ReadySetAmes
A: What made you choose Aquatopia as your wedding venue?
Jess: This was an easy choice. I had Aquatopia as my chosen venue years before I got engaged,
but I did not want to scare my hubby away so I pretended to have just found them when we
got engaged! When we first walked into Aquatopia, the smell (I know that may sound weird
but you will know what I mean when you walk in), the overall vibe, and the natural beauty of
the space are just some of the many qualities that sold us on the venue. In addition, the all
inclusiveness of Aquatopia (more on that below) was what really sold my husband on the
A: How would you describe your style and/or theme?
Jess: Simple, elegant, fun and not overly complicated. The venue itself fit our style and theme so
perfectly that I did not want to over do it and cover up what the venue already had to offer. I
wanted to take advantage of all the greenery the venue offered, because we all know, in
order to recreate the greenery Aquatopia has to offer in another venue, you would have to
take out a new mortgage! Clean lines, crisp white and green colours, and simple details
made our day truly magical!
A: What were your top 3 priorities when starting to plan?
Jess: Good food was a must! Growing up I always watched 4 weddings on TLC and food seemed to always be a hit or miss and nothing really in between (I couldn’t let that happen). Chef
Reshad exceeded our expectations. We even went in for a 2nd tasting because we were still
on the fence with some of our choices and so we had the opportunity to taste even more
deliciousness and be 100% certain on our choices.
Good flow (no not the FLOW water we served at our wedding, but the overall flow of the
day). If this is not a priority on your list, it should be. We have been to several weddings
before where it got so awkward because guests do not know what is next, where to go,
where to stand, what to do that it rather throws everything off. One of the many compliments
we got from our guests after the wedding was that the staff really knows how to throw a
wedding and make sure everyone is where they are supposed to be without obnoxious
announcements or people shuffling etc.
Good entertainment – I do not think neither my husband nor I got off the dance floor. Our DJ
(Evan from Fresh Events – an in house DJ at Aquatopia, so everything is already set up …
BONUS) was awesome and created such an awesome ambiance all night and an even
better dance party!
A: What was your favourite design aspect?
Jess: Our favourite design aspect had to be figuring out the table settings. Aquatopia literally
gives you a blank canvas and says have at it. I thought we would be overwhelmed by this,
because my Pinterest board had thousands of pins of different ideas and styles, but
Aquatopia has THE BEST wedding coordinators in the biz (Madison and Chelsea). In the span of 5 minutes, I gave them my vision and voila, they nailed it. I wanted flowy
greenery with white accents, gold votives (as many as possible without burning my guests),
and unique table numbers (which I purchased from amazon for $20)! The table settings are
so important because your guests are seated at these tables for a significant amount of time,
therefore they WILL be looking at the details, so my 2 cents on table settings, nail it.
A: Describe your favourite moment/memory from your wedding day.
Jess: My favourite memory would have to be the moment I saw my husband-to-be standing at the
end of the aisle. We did not want to have a first look; I wanted him to see me for the first
time as I walk down the aisle. During that moment, I also looked around at all the people
who were there and present to celebrate our love and that feeling of love from so many who
make up who we are as individuals and as a couple today, is a feeling I will never forget.
A: How important was it for you to find a venue that was pet friendly for the
Jess: I mean this was not a deal breaker (but it might have been my second question when we
met with Aquatopia the first time, so maybe it was super important), but to have our boy with
us during the ceremony (standing with the groomsmen) and to take family pictures
afterwards was so special. I even had a quick moment with him in the bridal suite just
before I walked down the aisle to marry his second favourite hooman. Pets are such a big
part of our lives, so if you can include them, you will not regret it.
A: How would you describe your wedding planning process?
Jess: Absolutely seamless and stress FREE. We booked Aquatopia just over a year before our
chosen date and our coordinators were on point when it came to booking meetings (design,
food, tasting, florals etc.). Having chosen Aquatopia who I would describe as an all-inclusive
venue (ceremony, reception, bar, alcohol, food, DJ, floral, décor etc.), made the planning a
breeze. We would be notified when it was time to book meetings to discuss décor, floral,
food, etc. and so you just had to show up (with some ideas) but Madison & Chelsea were
able to make your visions come to life with little to no work on your part. The best part for
me was not having to present my fiancé with five different floral quotes to choose from (he
would say the cheapest).
A: What was your inspiration to give each guest a personalized note?
Jess: Oh boy, the famous personalized notes every single one of our guests received as they
found their seat for dinner. We thought it was crucial for us to address our guests personally
with funny stories and memories of our relationship with every single of one them. Your
wedding day is so busy, and goes by so fast, I knew that even though I walked by every
table during dinner to say hi and to thank everybody, it would be impossible to tell them all
truly how special and important their presence that day meant to us. We printed these notes
on smaller pieces of paper and stuck them in the folded napkin with the menu and watching
our guests read the notes (some laughed, some cried) was amazing. Even though it took
us 3 months to write 120 notes, I would do it again (they were extremely well received). I
think that was the cherry on top of our amazing day.
A: If you could go back, is there anything you would do differently?
Jess: Honestly? Not a single thing.
A: What advice would you give to future couples for their wedding?
Jess: Aquatopia comes with coordinators as mentioned above (Madison and Chelsea)… so my
advice to you, let them do the work – you will thank me later when your wedding is
everything you ever dreamed of and you barely had to lift a finger! If your venue does not
come with coordinators, invest in them (it is worth it). I can tell you right now that during my
wedding day, I not once (no lie) think of, are my flowers on the table, did they think of the
personal notes, did they forget the pictures, is my seating chart hung properly etc… not
once, I coasted through my wedding day taking it all in (as you should)!
The Wedding Team:
Photography: Agatha Rowland Photography
Planning: Aquatopia Conservatory
Florals: Aquatopia Conservatory
Catering: Aquatopia Conservatory
DJ: Fresh Events
Makeup: Emily Wood
Hair: Studio Me Hair Design
Dress / Bridal Boutique: Stella York / Made With Love
Suit: Custom from Indochino
Bride's Wedding Band: Stor by Margo
Rentals: Mastermind Event Rentals
Signage: Regimbal Promotions Ltd.