Real Weddings

A Modern Boho Backyard Wedding In Ottawa


Four years ago, Max and Julia first met at a bar in Ottawa. “We connected pretty much instantly over our love of dogs and dry humour,” adds the bride. “Soon after, our sisters realized that they had played hockey together as kids and that our families knew each other. Despite that, Max and I had never met.” Later, it was with the help of his sisters, that Max planned a very dreamy starlit proposal at a Japanese-inspired spa with private hot pools overlooking a river. “I can vouch for it being the most romantic thing he’s ever done to this day,” Julia shares.

Their micro-wedding, held in the groom’s parent’s backyard, took on a modern boho theme. Julia explains their choice: “I love modern design and decor, but I wanted our wedding to feel laid-back and have lots of natural materials and colours. Our wedding planner, Shannon Kennedy, helped us execute everything beautifully. When we realized the wedding we had originally planned would likely not happen due to COVID-19, Max and I decided to downsize instead of postpone. I contacted Shannon immediately after seeing her Petite Weddings posts on Instagram. She worked with many of our existing vendors to adjust the contracts that had already been signed.”

In keeping with the bohemian theme, the bride’s flower crown was the same one her mother wore on her wedding day. “Carla from Love in Bloom added dried flowers to it to make it more modern and I loved it!” As for her gown, Julia describes the dreamy frock: “My dress, made of raw silk, was lightweight and so comfortable, and I’d added an art-deco-inspired sash.”

The ceremony itself was one of the couple’s favourite moments of their big day. “Reciting our vows was really special,” remembers the bride. “It was also so personal to have a very close family friend co-officiate the ceremony.”

As a surprise for the newlyweds, their families created two videos. One featured clips from their childhoods and another starred family and friends who were unable to attend because of the pandemic. “Seeing them on the video was really emotional!”

As a bookend to Max’s sisters helping to plan the engagement, one of his sisters also made the wedding cake in their family’s favourite flavour: sour cream chocolate chip. Julia added, “it’s pretty much the only flavour Max likes. Kennedy is an excellent baker and it turned out amazing!”

Julia & Max Upton, June 13, 2020, Ottawa, ON

Photography courtesy of: Rob Lloyd

Bridal Gown: Saja Wedding from White Satin Bridal Couture
Wedding Planner: Shannon Kennedy
Catering: Thyme & Again
Flowers (bouquet & boutonniere): Love in Bloom
Decor & Flowers: The Gathering Event Co.
Stationery: Wishtree Invitations & Design
Hair: Marie-Line
Officiant: Robert Francis from All Seasons Weddings
Groom’s attire: Suspenders, JMB Canada in Chelsea, QC. Boots, Red Wing Shoes. Pants, Lululemon. Shirt & bow-tie, Indochino

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