Real Weddings

A Romantic, Opulent Black-Tie Winter Wedding In Toronto

Erica had always wanted to visit the Pont des Arts, also known as the “love locks” bridge, in Paris—what a perfect spot for an  engagement! In  2015 the city took down all the locks, but Hanley arranged for Erica to have an equally romantic experience at home in Toronto: He proposed to her in the Distillery District at the famous Love Installation, where earlier he had placed a lock with the words “Will you marry me?” written on it.   He had arranged to have the whole experience captured  by  a  photographer,  who  followed  the  couple and did a mini-engagement shoot when Erica said yes.

The couple decided to embrace winter and throw an elegant, magical celebration at Toronto’s York Mills Gallery, in January 2020. “Summer weddings are more popular, but we wanted to be less traditional and give our family and friends something to look forward to,” says Erica. “We decided to go with a rustic winter theme using a combination of browns, golds and greens. We incorporated white f lowers and winter woods and tinted pine greens with gold throughout, and we lit over 500 candles to set the mood.”

The elements were definitely on board with making the couple’s event wintry and wonderful: An unexpected blizzard dropped a record amount of snow on their wedding day, and the bridal party literally had to shovel their way to the venue. “We actually found ourselves stuck in the snow at times, but we had a great laugh about it all and managed to capture some incredible photos,” says Erica. “It was the most beautiful day we’ve ever experienced.”

The couple chose to start their marriage by sharing a traditional tea ceremony with three sets of parents. At each individual ceremony, Erica and Hanley received well wishes, words of  wisdom  and meaningful gifts. Hanley also received a vintage Rolex that had belonged to his late grandfather, who had asked that it be given to his grandson on his wedding day. “Until the moment Hanley received this very special gift, he was very anxious about wanting to make sure things were going to schedule,” smiles Erica. “After it was presented, he said he felt at ease—like his grandfather was watching over us and he didn’t need to worry anymore.”

For the tea ceremony, Erica wore a bespoke red Ana Koi gown; she wore another equally stunning gown by the designer on their wedding day. The couple made sure to carve out moments to be together, alone, and soak in all the details of their day. “During the cocktail hour, we slipped away to take a peek at our reception space,” says Erica. “It was our first private moment as a married couple, and it was magical.”

Another highlight of the night was a copycat kissing game the couple created to have a bit of fun with their guests. “The idea was for guests to come up with a fancy way to kiss and we would have to copy it,” laughs Erica. “Not knowing how the rules worked, Hanley’s five-year-old nephew Jack asked if he could participate. With his younger sister, Vivienne, by his side, he leaped onto the dance floor and started to breakdance. Seeing how much fun he was having, Vivienne joined in. After they finished dancing, Jack remembered it was a kissing game and gave his sister a kiss on the cheek. We clearly were not able to compete with this—they stole the show!”

Erica Chan & Hanley Koo, January 18, 2020 in Toronto, Ontario.

Photography courtesy of Anna & Marta, Amsis Photography.

Bridal Gowns: Anna Koi Bridal
Groom’s Tuxedo & Groomsmen Attire: Harry Rosen
Hair & Makeup: Ford Beauty
Flowers: Ashton Creative
Cake: Love In Bloom Cakes
Favours & Stationary: Nib And Bone
Catering: Catertrendz
Music: DJ Nakz
Videography: Ray Kwok Films
Dance Floor Design: Dance Floor Graphics
Wedding Planner: Mallory Cheung
Venue: York Mills Gallery—YMG

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