When Keith Gawronski and Darcy McNinch announced their engagement they admit few were surprised by their news. “Our family and friends had been expecting it, but what they didn’t know was we kept our engagement a secret for three months,” Keith confesses with a smile.
He proposed to Darcy in December 2011 while the pair was away for a weekend in Chicago, and went public with their engagement on the occasion of their three-year dating anniversary in February. Once the news broke and the celebrations began, so too did the plans for their incredible wedding fête.
As huge fans of the performing arts—particularly opera and ballet—Keith and Darcy knew they wanted to include elements from both in their day. “Our reception was presented as a series of acts. Between courses we treated our guests to performances by dancers and opera singers,” Darcy reveals. “We created a play-bill for each guest which was presented during dinner, and it wasn’t until then that they knew what was in store.”
The pair enlisted wedding planner Melissa Andre to help bring their highly creative vision to life. The day began with “I dos” at the First Unitarian Congregation of Toronto in front of 200 family and friends. As active members of the church, Keith and Darcy had an open-door policy for their ceremony—anyone who was part of the congregation was welcome. The service, which the two describe as having a “lush, rustic and pastoral theme,” was performed by Reverend Shawn Newton and featured music from Handel’s famous opera Semele.
“The aisle was lined with lanterns and beautiful florals as we walked down it, to the song ‘Where’er You Walk,’ crowned with wreaths,” Darcy says. “It was an amazing moment.”
Following a mini-reception at the church where guests were served cake and espresso, Keith, Darcy and 100 of their guests moved to Canada’s National Ballet School for a luxurious and theatrical reception. Incredible arrangements of flowers in pastel rainbow colours abounded as ornate table settings. The party opened with a cocktail hour complete with a ballet performance from The Nutcracker. After the dance, billowy white curtains were raised to reveal the decadent dining room.
“We heard gasps of joy and surprise from our guests when we did the big reveal,” Darcy reminisces. “It was so magical.”
Keith and Darcy admit it’s hard to pick a favourite detail, but it seems the sweet table took the cake for both. “It was like no other display we’d seen before,” Keith says. “There were mini-cakes, macarons, nougats and so many other treats, and each dessert featured a bit of rose gold to complement other design details.”
As the party played on, guests enjoyed their treats and danced to the sweet sounds of a playlist curated by the grooms. “Every song was picked by us for the party and had everyone dancing," Keith volunteers. "It was so much fun!"
Keith Gawronski and Darcy McNinch, August 18, 2012, Toronto, Ontario.
Photography courtesy of Michael Grills from Ikonica.
Ceremony location: First Unitarian Congregation of Toronto
Reception location: Canada’s National Ballet School
Cake: I Do! Wedding Cakes
Caterer: Arpi Magyar at Couture Cuisine
Groom's attire: Jil Sander (Keith); Raf Simons (Darcy) Music: DJ Brent Miller from Maximum Music DJ Service
Performers: Hit & Run Productions
Wedding planner: Melissa Andre from Melissa Andre Events
See more photos from this elegant, theatrical wedding in Toronto, Ontario.
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