Fifty Shades of White

It was the Ragtime era, when the phonograph became available to consumers. The first time guests were dancing at weddings; and in spite of high waists and high collars, long trains and long gloves it was the bopping head and flailing arms and legs of the Turkey Trot that was coveted by the youth and considered scandalous by polite society.

In 1914; the start of World War I the Toronto cityscape was dotted with horse and buggies as the population pushed 200,000. It was the year of the opening of the Old Mill Tea Room, the future venue for a legacy of weddings that would define the iconic Toronto landmark.

In 1929 the Old Mill Tea Room added a dance hall; and a nine piece orchestra that played six nights a week. It was the Depression so although couples continued to exchange vows brides were exchanging silk for rayon gowns or their Sunday dresses that could be worn again.

In the thirties with women supplying ¼ of Toronto’s workforce the world was introduced to mac ‘n cheese, instant oatmeal and canned soup varieties. The invention of kettles that whistled when they boiled and blenders for home use made it easier for women to go to work.

Amid World War II even more women were employed and weddings were planned with haste to young men in the forces. Vogue magazine wrote (1942) “Weddings nowadays hang not on the brides’ whim, but on the decision of the grooms’ commanding officer.”

Grooms were increasingly wearing wedding bands as visual reminders of their nuptials.

This era of rationing and practicality forced shorter hemlines (above the ankle for bike-riding ease) and lacy sweaters to get the most mileage out of a ball of wool. Brides were not exempt from frugality often using furnishing fabrics and lace curtains to fashion their wedding attire.

Life was better in the fifties. Toronto got a television broadcast system, TV dinners were on grocery shelves and portable dishwashers were being wheeled into kitchens.

Brides were wearing ballerina-length dresses with luxurious poufy layers and short fingerless gloves made of lace. Bolero jackets were in demand for ceremonies, covering strapless or laced dresses with sweetheart collars for the reception.

In the sixties women were making up 1/3 of the Canadian workforce and ¼ of the Canadian engineering profession. They were learning that ovens could (and should) clean themselves.

When they were grooving down the aisle brides were choosing short skirts or dresses and hair worn long, dotted with flowers or veils popping from pill box hats.

Toronto enjoyed architectural successes in the seventies, with Ontario Place, The Eaton Centre and The CN Tower being erected. Microwave ovens hit the Canadian market but the decade is generally associated with flower power and the peace movement.

Blame it on the hippies, but seventies brides had their own fashion senses. From pantsuits to smocked gauze gowns to Bohemian frocks this was an era of recreational duds.

O Canada became the official national anthem in 1980 kicking off an era of formality and tradition in wedding styles.

If one person can define the decade it was Diana, Princess of Wales who set the tone for puffy hair, puffy sleeves, long-distance trains and veils and the return to bodacious bouquets. Brides among the non-nobles dressed as princesses nonetheless.

The nineties were digital; as in cameras, answering machines and video discs. People were still using coin booth telephones but mobile phones were introduced to the marketplace.

In fashion, the ‘designer look’ was desirable. Brides were wearing strapless, sleeveless and sexy gowns. Cleavage was in (or out?) and dresses were form fitting.

At the turn of the century the vowels were ahead; with the arrival of iPhones, e-tickets, e-books, USBs and ATMs.

Drinks are frothy and wedding gowns more so. Pick-up skirts and asymmetrical hems fall from form fitting bodices.

Mermaids may be mystical in the sea but on the aisle the Mermaid dress is genuine and sought after, as is the Pandora, Princess, Sabrina or Tulip dress.

A century of changing styles, fashions and trends; yet the Old Mill Toronto is unwavering in their dedication to their brides and their special days.

You might say that the Old Mill Toronto will go to great lengths to seek perfection.

And as a toast to the brides, every 2014 wedding dinner package booking will be entered into a draw to Win 1 of 2 Romantic Cruises and, a first Anniversary stay in a luxury King Room at the Old Mill Toronto, as well as an engagement digital photo session Free!

 

 



Let Them Have Cake

Dorothy and Jim were married at the Old Mill Toronto in 1957.  When asked to describe their wedding cake, Dorothy remembered a two tier structure with a first layer of roses and the second with cherubs.  They both described the decorative piece on top.  “It was a bride and groom under an arbour” reflected Dorothy.

“I was going to say cage” giggled Jim.

The couple is but one of a number of couples reflecting on their wedding day at the Old Mill Toronto.  The iconic landmark near the banks of the Humber River in Etobicoke, is celebrating its own anniversary; 100 years and it still has the VOW factor.

Barry and Patsy exchanged their vows in the sixteenth century chapel at the Old Mill under the dappled light of the stained glass windows and candlelit chandeliers.

Most men might not remember the finite details of their wedding day 34 years later, but Barry was a banquet captain at the Old Mill and Patsy worked in catering. Barry remembers vividly.

“When the ceremony was finished, the wedding party was about to take their pictures, the Old Mill surprised us with a complimentary pre-reception for our guests.  I will always remember my cousin coming around the corner and yelling out ‘hey everyone, they’re serving sandwiches in the Mill Room.’”

The ‘sandwiches’ were in fact labour intensive canapés and hors d’oeuvres hand prepared by the chef for their 120 guests.

Barry reflects on a perfect reception in the Brule Ballroom (think hardwood floors and wood-burning fireplace). “There was a strolling musician; a violin player who went to each table playing requests accompanied by an accordionist.”  Barry’s request was Flight of the Bumblebee and he is still in awe with the memory of that performance.

Baked Alaska was always an event for weddings at the Old Mill. “Before serving, the lights would be dimmed, then the band would start up and the servers marched in with sparklers on the dessert plates and placed them in front of their guests at the same time.”

Henny and Leo’s wedding in the Old Mill Chapel was in 1988. Henny had been introduced to the Old Mill Tea Room by her sister when she immigrated to Canada in 1975 and it held a place in her heart ever since.

“We had the same minister as my sister did nine years earlier.  He was a really nice man.  He took his time and made us feel special.”

“We liked the idea of having everything in one place.  It was easier for our guests. After the ceremony we went to take pictures in the garden and our guests could get some fresh air and go for a walk as well.”

Henny described a European style reception; hors ‘oeuvres in the Mill Room for 60 people.

“They couldn’t do enough for us.  Everything was perfect.  On our first anniversary they sent us a card and offered us a complimentary cake to celebrate at the Old Mill.”

When Lori and Mauro got married at the Old Mill their cake was something of a showstopper.

Lori surprised her groom with a custom cake replicating his 40’ Silverton powerboat. She said “all the bartenders and servers wore captains’ hats.  My husband loved it.”

Lori and Mauro had 250 guests at their wedding in 2005. “After the ceremony in the chapel we went straight to a tent set up in the garden for cocktails.  It was April so there were heaters.  We had a martini bar and oyster bar.”

Dinner was in Guildhall with musical accompaniment by the Downchild Blues Band.

Lori said they stayed in the honeymoon suite, “it was gorgeous.  It had two rooms, giving us a separate bedroom.  And we had a fireplace!”

If there is one thing that the Old Mill has been doing the same for a hundred years it is making every guest experience unique.

Natalie Bauer, director of marketing and events for the Old Mill Toronto said “we are fortunate to have a selection of different banquet rooms to accommodate large groups or intimate settings. We have the beautiful gardens for picture taking and a patio for outdoor cocktails.

“There is a florist on site who can take care of all the flower details”.

“Our spa has been so popular we had to give it larger space.  Our brides like to come the night before the wedding with their attendants, get their aesthetic treatments and then go back to their rooms to enjoy a glass of wine.  It’s a lovely way to be pampered the night before the big day.”

Any couple booking their 2015 wedding at the Old Mill will be automatically entered to win $10,000 toward their wedding. This includes a wedding night stay in a King Suite. Contest details are at oldmilltoronto.com.

Isn’t that the icing on the cake?

Pam Stellini



Planning Your Wedding, Simple or Complex?


Planning your wedding can be very simple or very complex. Many things need to be decided from the number of guests to invite to the location, food service, entertainment, invitations, decor, photographer & flowers.

As soon as you have a sense of your guest list this will help dictate what size room is required.  It’s always a good idea when possible to view the room while it’s set up for a wedding reception or similar event.  Then you can see how the room “flows” with a particular set up to determine the best location for your head table, dance floor, table set up etc.

Once you have selected your reception facility there are many questions to ask, however your facility probably has their own FAQ (frequently asked questions). Everything from what items do you need to rent or what do they provide, i.e. tables, chairs, chair covers, linens, special glass ware or plates, when can you set up the room, do they allow next day access for retrieving personal items? on and on…

Entertainment is a big decision! Do you have a live band or a D.J.? Should a jazz trio play during guest arrival? of course depending on your reception facility this may dictate what you can have. Is there a stage, how big is the area? Does the facility have a sound system? Is there a dance floor?

Do you have a buffet or a sit down service? If you choose a buffet option, it’s always a good idea to see where the buffet line can be placed in your room. Will the wait staff be able to serve from behind the buffet table? If your buffet is for 50 people or 250 people of course the set up structure of the buffet line will be very different.

Often one of the last things but not of least importance is the restrooms, changing, coat check, parking and security.  Where is the location of the restrooms to the reception hall? Do they provide bridal change rooms? Does the facility offer coat check services? Does the facility offer valet parking or self-parking? Is the parking lot patrolled? Does the reception hall have its own security staff?

Its a very exciting time for you and your family and with so many decisions to make from the all-important selection of your bridal gown and your bridal party, to the ultimate wedding ceremony and honeymoon. A wedding planner will help you make the planning of your wedding venue as simple as saying “I do”. However grand or intimate you want your wedding day to be an Old Mill Wedding planner can create a package to fit every bridal budget.

Achieve the idyllic day of your dreams with a romantic wedding at the Old Mill Toronto and enjoy a lifetime of memories.

 



The Importance of a Girlfriend Getaway

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s truly a gift to have wonderful friends and it’s important to take the time to nurture your relationships and enjoy each others company away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life!

There are many experiences that you can choose from when searching for a perfect Girlfriend Getaway, but first you should ask yourselves what type of an adventure are you looking for:

Relaxing by a pool
Spa going
Wine-tasting
Shopping
Outdoor Adventure and exploring
Yoga Retreats
Cocktail Celebrations

There are endless choices for that long awaited getaway with your girlfriends. So grab the girls and pick a date! Friends are nurturing and feed our soul, leaving us energized and inspired to take on the world.

Did you know that July 30 is International Friendship Day, a time to recognize your friends and their contribution to your life. Friends come in many different shapes, sizes and guises: school friends, work colleagues, siblings, partners, parents, pets and neighbours. Pull out all the stops and let your friends know they are truly appreciated on International Friendship Day!

The Old Mill Toronto celebrates friendship with The Girls Great Escape.  This unique weekend exposes you and your girlfriends to unique workshops, wonderful food, wine tastings, Luxury room accommodations and spa services. Every Escape is different from the next and many of the girls come back to try out new experiences.

If a getaway is not in the cards for you at this time, why not spend time with the girls at home. Catch up over some take out, enjoy the beverage of choice and watch a good friendship movie like; Fried Green Tomatoes, First Wives Club, An officer and a Gentleman and of course Beaches with Bette Midler…make sure to have a kleenex on hand though when she sings Wind Beneath My Wings!

The best of friends can change a frown into a smile when you feel down. The best of friends will understand your little trials and lend a hand.  The best of friends will always share your secret dreams because they care.  The best of friends are worth more then gold, they give all the love a heart can hold.



How to say “I Do” and have a Green Wedding

DECOR & MATERIALS

Branches: Used in their natural form, branches make the perfect Ceremony or Reception table decor. Hanging colored ornaments from the branches is a elegant decor touch and your guests can take them home afterwards as keepsakes.
Leaves, Rocks & Acorns:  Scatter them on the middle of your tables to add a splash of color and texture and save on overlays and runners and the soap and water that would go into washing them afterwards.
Candles: Soy and Beeswax are definitely the eco-friendly way to go. Avoid candles made with petroleum by-products along with lead based wicks.
Flowers: Use flowers that are in season and local or where possible, organic. Flowers made of enviro-friendly man made materials are also a great option. These materials include: Hemp, Wool, Organic Cotton, Soy Silk and Bamboo. Potted plants/flowers (annuals) make great center-pieces and can later be planted in your guest’s gardens to enjoy year after year.

STATIONARY

Plantable Paper:From invitations to favor tags, this paper will add a rustic look to your special day and you can rest easy knowing that this paper can be planted to eventually turn into compost.  Emailing invitations and creating a web-site with your wedding details including the details of the venue will also reduce your carbon footprint.

FAVORS

Instead of another decorative dust collector, opt to donate that money to charities that support the environment; greatergood.org, WWF and the David Suzuki organization…to name a few.  If you like the idea of giving your guests a gift, bamboo coasters and frames are a nice idea and gentle to the earth.

ATTIRE & TRANSPORTATION

*Hemp, Wool, Organic Cotton, Soy Silk and Bamboo are  materials that can be used in your attire.
* Transportation can be difficult and by hosting your ceremony & reception in the same place, you will save time on planning and spend less gas and other transportation costs.

Many of these ideas, can not only be found in your own backyard but they aid in preserving our earth, and save you money .