Last summer, my lifelong dream of having the perfect East Coast wedding in beautiful New Brunswick came true.
On August 6th, 2021, in the dreamy coastal town of St. Andrews by the Sea, we said I do surrounded by 50 of our closest friends and family at the Algonquin Hotel & Resort. Not a day goes by that I don’t stop and think about all of favorite moments from the day. From our first look on Minister’s Island, to giggles with my bridesmaids while getting ready, to dancing the night away in the ballroom.
Planning a wedding is never easy and as I’m sure you can imagine, planning a wedding in a pandemic came with its own stresses. Not to mention, we were initially planning to get married in August 2020. When it became very obvious in May of that year that there was way too much uncertainty in the air, we made the smart decision to postpone until August 2021.
You know what? It was totally worth it and our wedding was even more magical in 2021 than we had originally planned. Thank you, universe.
But none of it would have been possible without the incredible East Coast vendors and small businesses from the Maritimes that helped bring the vision we had for a coastal but classy wedding to life.
And because I know there are many bride-to-be’s out there planning weddings for 2022, 2023 and beyond – I thought I’d take the opportunity to create a three-part East Coast Wedding Series sharing a behind the scenes look at the amazing humans that were a part of our wedding day, as well as some of my tips for creating a dreamy coastal wedding in the Maritimes.
Are you ready to meet the first group of East Coast Vendors?
The Algonquin Hotel and Resort
Where do I even begin when talking about the Algonquin Hotel and Resort?
When I was a little girl, I dreamed of the day I would get to stay at the world famous Algonquin. My mother and father would go to the resort every year for conferences and spring socials, and I was always green with envy! My father would bring home post cards, notepads and souvenirs from the hotel and I’d neatly display each card in my mirror and throughout my room.
Never in my wildest dreams had I imagined I’d get married there one day.
But when we first got engaged in November 2019, we were back and forth about where we wanted to get married, both agreeing we wanted it to be near the ocean and we wanted it to feel like a destination wedding without leaving New Brunswick. So without telling my then fiancé, I sent the Algonquin an email to see if by some chance, they had any dates available for August 2020. The sweetest human being named Kate responded and the rest, including a pandemic, postponement and new 2021 date, was history.
Working with the Algonquin was a dream. Kate, Pooja, and the entire team made us feel like family from the first meeting until we drove into the sunset as newlyweds. Kate was a gem and so good at her job, she felt like a honorary bridesmaid. I mean, she even fluffed my dress for me before walking down the aisle!
Our wedding ceremony was held on the stunning Rooftop Garden at the hotel, with ocean views, and I remember at one point during the ceremony just looking out at the ocean and taking it all in. It was MAGIC. And if you’re looking to save on decorations, the Rooftop Garden is so picturesque in the summer, you really don’t have to add much to make it photo ready.
Though we did opt for the most unbelievable arbour designed by our florist, Peony & Pear which was an excellent decision!
You’ll learn more about Peony & Pear in my Meet Our East Coast Wedding Vendors – Part Two coming next week!
Immediately following the ceremony, we held a cocktail reception right there on the rooftop patio and served complimentary champagne for our guests, followed by a bar service. Our Officiant kicked things off with a beautiful toast and our amazing DJ Mark Downey played a mix of tunes we’d selected including Frank Sinatra, the Rat Pack, Charles Aznavour, Bobby Darin, Henry Mancini, and more.
I would 100% RECOMMEND having an après ceremony cocktail hour over a receiving line ANY DAY. This gave us an opportunity to say hello to each and every one of our guests and thank them for being there. We all shared some laughs, snapped some selfies, and took in those epic St. Andrews views together before we slipped away with our bridal party for sunset photos down on the waterfront.
Our reception and dance was held in the Van Horne Ballroom. If you’re familiar with the Algonquin, it’s the ballroom down by the pool and it’s beautiful! And again – it’s so picturesque on its own, you really don’t need to add much to make it photo ready.
Our reception and dance began at 8:00 pm, so instead of serving a plated dinner, we had canapés served ALL NIGHT LONG. I’m talking mini lobster rolls, seafood chowders, an oyster bar, smoked salmon, charcuterie boards and so much more. Everything was DIVINE.
And yes! We did actually get to enjoy some of the food, which is something many brides warned me is sometimes impossible!
Around 11:00 pm, we served pulled pork sandwiches and at midnight – we served pizza. You have never seen a happier bride than me scarfing down a slice of pizza in my wedding dress, barefoot, still clutching my bouquet at 1:00 am when the night came to an end.
THANK YOU to everyone at the Algonquin for bringing our dream to life. And if you’re an East Coast bride considering the Algonquin for your destination wedding, trust me when I say – it’ll be the best decision you could ever make!
Bella Promessa Bridal & Formal Wear
Next, let’s take it back to the beginning. THE DRESS! Oh my gosh, did I ever love my dress!
Back in January 2020, before we’d even decided on a where to get married, I said yes to the dress on our first shopping outing.
When we got engaged in November 2019, corona was just a beer and we thought we were getting married in August 2020. Saying yes to the dress was top priority in order to have it in time for our 2020 wedding.
Even before we got engaged, I knew that I would find THE dress at Bella Promessa so we booked an appointment that January and the moment I saw the dress, I knew. I think it was the second or third dress I tried on and every single one after that, didn’t come close to tempting me. I said YES that night with my mother and bridesmaids by my side, and even a year and a half later when we finally did say I do, that dress was my everything.
I cannot say enough about the team at Bella Promessa. They not only helped me find my dream dress, but we purchased our bridesmaid dresses there too and had the most amazing experience.
The Bella Promessa team was also VERY helpful when one of my bridesmaids learned that she was expecting last spring and might need some extra special adjustments. Bella Promessa knew her secret before any of us did but boy oh boy, they can keep a good secret! We love them and I think I speak for all of us when I say – they make you want to get married over and over again!
BELLE by Joëlle
Remember how I said waiting until 2021 was totally worth it?
Well, it’s because there were some magical aspects of our day that weren’t part of the original 2020 wedding plan, that were made possible in 2021. One of those being the incredible Joëlle Martin, makeup artist and owner of BELLE by Joëlle.
Now I don’t want to break any hearts, but Joëlle has since moved on from makeup artistry to focus on her career as a visual artist and her new business Mon Pré Collection. But I couldn’t do a post about the people who helped make our day so special without giving her some love because she was a big part of our day.
From helping me, my mother, and bridesmaids each feel like J-Lo, to joining us for the first look on Minister’s Island for touch ups (and sunscreen application given it was a baumy 30 degrees on the ocean) – I can’t imagine our wedding day without her.
And if you’re curious about her new business – Mon Pré Collection – we used these vintage crystal champagne coupes all weekend that I won from a Mon Pré Collection giveaway in the spring before the wedding. They were a hit and totally gave off Gatsby vibes!
She also lent me the perfect vintage clutch for the day which I later realized was the something borrowed I was missing from the day. I know she’ll be a friend for life and I’m so happy the universe worked in mysterious ways to have her be a part of our special day.
Halifax Paper Hearts
Unless you’re new around these waters, you know that one of my besties is the owner of Halifax Paper Hearts – only the cutest, coastal card company based in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The minute we got engaged, Dan said “I know they don’t do wedding invites, but we can convince them, can’t we?” Convince them we did and the end result was everything I had dreamed they would be.
We are OBSESSED with how they turned out and our guests told us they loved them too. Stefanie and her team also helped us design a beautiful seating chart for the reception that we had printed and displayed in a vintage frame that belonged to my grandmother.
McGuire Chocolate Company
Let’s talk WEDDING FAVOURS! (And our favorite chocolate company in the world!)
When we started planning the wedding, we knew we wanted to have our friends at McGuire Chocolate Company involved in some way. We had first fallen in love with McGuire’s on a trip to St. Andrews in October 2020, while in St. Andrews meeting with the Algonquin and starting to plan for our new 2021 date. We popped into the shop and left with bags of goodies, including their delicious chocolate bars, fresh baking, and ice cream.
Instead of doing party favours on the table at the wedding, all of our guests received a gift basket of locally made goodies made in New Brunswick, including Covered Bridge Chips, handmade flower pots by our friends at Purdy Pots, wine made by a family friend, and various postcards with details about our wedding weekend.
And of course, we included these awesome custom chocolates from McGuire Chocolate in each basket for our guests. A big thank you to Mark and Victoria for being a part of our special day.
heir shop for a few photos after the wedding!
If you loved this post, there’s plenty more to come when I hit publish on Meet Our East Coast Wedding Vendors – Part Two next week.
If you’re a bride-to-be, don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions about planning your special day in New Brunswick. We can’t say enough incredible things about the people and small businesses that made it a dream come true. I’ve made sure to link to each, so definitely check out their websites, social media, etc.