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The Wedding Resource for Bruce, Grey, Huron & Simcoe

China and Charm

Nicole Egan
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Midday Wedding Tea
Midday Wedding Tea

When I was planning my own wedding, I had visions of garden parties and vintage tea sets, cocktails and cake stands, a romantic bohemian and relaxed event. We wanted to get married outdoors, somewhere special to us, but we also wanted a dance floor, and a respite from the bugs that Grey Bruce can offer up on August evenings.

A midday afternoon tea style garden party, post ceremony and pre dinner and dancing reception, was the perfect solution, not to mention a great way to keep the masses entertained during our photos, and of course – something absolutely us. Keppel Croft Gardens in Big Bay provided the flexibility we wanted, with owners Dawn and Bill Loney just the most laid back delightful couple, providing us a ceremony space, and allowing for the garden party setup as well, it was truly the perfect fit. A wedding veteran long before planning for my own big day, I would estimate conservatively that myself and my now husband had been to dozens and dozens (and dozens) of beautiful special days before our own. From destination weddings in the Dominican, to low-key stately affairs in the Irish countryside, to restaurants in Spain, and halls outside Toronto, I had seen it all! Faced with endless decisions, never-ending lists and actual life to deal with I wanted to take the best elements of guest experience, and of course, I wanted to focus on the things that would provide a beautiful look and feel, without breaking the bank.

Enter The Search for Vintage China
Enter The Search for Vintage China

I have always loved afternoon tea, was just crazy about tea parties as a child and have maintained a love for Alice in Wonderland-inspired looks, so I figured vintage china would provide the perfect solution to décor and serve as a no waste approach to serving drinks and snacks in the garden too. As clear as my vision was it seemed impossible to fulfil with local vendors, and so I set about the task of buying china, so much china. 
I reasoned that if I couldn’t rent it at a reasonable cost locally, I might as well scour local thrift shops and markets to buy pieces I loved, and then share that love through events afterwards (and so China & Charm was born).

Incorporating my passion for recycling and repurposing, in a truly me way, made my wedding even more special. The only wedding regret we have is that we didn’t spend more time with our guests in Keppel Croft, sipping from pretty patterns and listening to a barbershop quartet. We of course were otherwise indisposed with bridal party and family photography (though we did manage a quick trip to the Big Bay General Store for a much needed ice cream!).

Planning a wedding can be overwhelming, while recruiting help can ease the burden it can be out of reach for many budget conscious brides. Finding the right vendors, locals who’ve been there themselves and can navigate all the niggly bits, can really make all the difference. So if you’re thinking local, and thinking vintage, reach out – I’d be delighted to help!


Top 3 Ways to Showcase Your Vintage Style
Top 3 Ways to Showcase Your Vintage Style

Table Centerpieces – vintage teacups and saucers served as the perfect vases for my centerpiece arrangements; with flowers sourced from Serendipity Florals - these were one of my favourite touches!

Cocktail Hour – we hosted our cocktail hour in Keppel Croft Gardens following our ceremony, and used vintage china teacups and saucers for lemonade, iced tea and a few spiked options as well; the photos of guests and their china teacups are swoon-worthy!

Accent Décor – hunting through endless thrift shops, trudging through online auctions and trading with brides all over Toronto, resulted in more than just teacups and saucers; from gorgeous Royal Albert tiered cake stands, to birdcages stuffed with flowers and the vintage luggage used as our card box, subtle vintage accents were incorporated across both venues. At Cobble Beach, I really believe it’s what made the difference – from stuffy and not us, to relaxed and bohemian, it was truly just a few teacups away!