You could say the romance between HGTV Canada star Sarah Keenleyside and Juno Award–winning singer-songwriter Justin Rutledge started with a little help from Instagram. The duo met at one of Justin’s concerts and began following each other’s feeds. A few months later, Justin asked Sarah out via the app. “You can actually still see the conversation on my Instagram profile—I wanted to make contact but he beat me to it!” Sarah shares with a laugh. “We went on a coffee date the next day and then ended up on our second date less than 24 hours after that.”
What followed was a whirlwind romance. “We told each other we were falling in love with each other within the first week,” Sarah says. “We joked that we were both NOT playing it cool.”
For their laid-back nuptials, the couple chose a friend’s live music venue, The Hayloft Dancehall in Ontario’s Prince Edward County. “We took a cue from the red barn and worked with primary colours for the wedding-party attire,” Sarah explains. “We played off the heritage of the area with vintage accents, and the lush landscape inspired the wild, unfussy flower arrangements on the tables.”
Sarah also used her eye for design on the tablescapes: doilies she found at a church sale topped the tables, while white linens and mismatched salad plates at each place setting added a vintage vibe. “The beauty of this venue is the space has so much character you don’t need to add much to it,” she explains.
To play up the primary palette, the bridesmaids and bridesman wore mustard-coloured attire in different styles. “My bridesman wore his own grey suit and we found a yellow, floral tie that matched the dresses beautifully,” Sarah says. “The result was really eclectic, and I loved how each of them looked like themselves.”
After a heartfelt ceremony in the late afternoon, guests headed to the reception, where they found their seats via Polaroid portraits of themselves bearing table numbers on the reverse. “We were really happy with some of these little details,” says Sarah. “We loved the cake topper, which was a 3-D-printed sculpture of the two of us, set atop a homemade cake made by Justin’s mother. It suited us much more than a fancy, formal wedding cake.”
Following the reception, the dance party was led by the couple’s favourite cover band, Dwayne Gretzky. “The best part was when Justin surprised me by going on stage to sing my favourite David Bowie song, ‘Let’s Dance,’” Sarah reveals.
After dancing into the wee hours of the morning, guests were chauffeured back to their accommodations in a school bus. With Justin playing guitar, the newlyweds and their guests sang songs throughout the whole ride.
After the couple was dropped off, they began the walk to the inn where they were staying. “We found ourselves walking down an empty county road at 2 a.m., Justin with his guitar on his back, me wearing my grandfather’s Cowichan sweater with my dress train in hand,” Sarah recalls. “It was so silent after such a crazy day. We just kept looking at each other as we walked, asking, ‘Did that really just happen?’”
Sarah Keenleyside and Justin Rutledge, June 16, 2018, Picton, Ontario.
Photography courtesy of Paul Wright.
Ceremony and reception venue: The Hayloft Dancehall
Bridal gown: LoversLand
Groom’s tux: 18 Waits
Caterer: Seasoned Events
Flowers: Floralora Flowers, arranged by Tiffany Pratt
Hair and makeup: Natasha Apostolidis
Ceremony music: Joey Wright
First dance music: Doug Paisley
Band: Dwayne Gretzsky