Dramatic formations of blooms set the tone of this elegantly refined wedding. After exchanging vows on a beach in tropical Seychelles, Elina and Rick celebrated their marriage in a contemporary Toronto art gallery. Blending neutrals with rose-gold color palettes, the venue was the perfect blank canvas for them to make the space their own.
Playing with the art of minimalism, light shaded roses stretched across a long dining table with ghost chairs bathed in natural light. The day ended perfectly with guests dancing the night away, whilst photographer Inna Yasinska artfully captured every moment.
Names / Rick Clark & Elina Chow-Clark
Wedding Date / June 25th 2022
Guest Numbers / 80
Budget / $175,000 USD
“We originally wanted to fill Walker Court with flowers to mimic a field, but more practical minds prevailed! We only had 80 guests at our reception and our planners/stylists did a fabulous job at making sure the space, which fits 300 people, didn’t look bare.”
How We Met
Rick is from and was living in Vancouver and Elina, Toronto. We met at a work conference in Colorado. At the time, Rick was the CEO of a gold exploration company and Elina was running a boutique marketing and investor relations agency that serviced companies in the mining industry. The night we met, Elina was actually supposed to be at a dinner that was organized by a different company but she was late and ended up joining the dinner Rick was part of and was sat next to him.
After that meeting, Rick and Elina met up on a few occasions to discuss business. Rick often suggested going for dinner, but Elina insisted on keeping things professional and limited their meetups to a lunch or coffee meetings. On one occasion, after nine months of pursuit, Rick told Elina he was going to Toronto for work and insisted they have dinner. Elina finally agreed and after another few months of serious consideration, they started dating. Years later, Elina found out that Rick never had work in Toronto and he often just flew to Toronto just to meet up with her.
Our Engagement Story
It was the ultimate example of Murphy’s Law – nothing went as planned. In 2019, Rick had an engagement ring made and planned to go to Geneva to pick it up after we got back from one of our holidays. But upon our return, London went to a full lock-down due to Covid — everything was closed and all flights were grounded.
The lockdown was in place for much longer than we anticipated. Determined to figure out a “work around” and make his proposal as romantic as possible, Rick planned a “date night” at home. Unfortunately, his plans were interrupted and “date night” didn’t happen. He got very upset but couldn’t quite explain to Elina the reason; that led to a major communication breakdown, which resulted in Elina leaving the house and taking a rather long walk (a 6-hour walk!) around the empty streets of London.
Rick reached out and said he could explain everything. When Elina got home, Rick led her into the garden where he presented her with an 8.5×11 envelope. Still very confused, Elina thought Rick was giving her a work-related document. When she opened the envelope, she found a photo of a ring, at which point, Rick revealed that he had spent the last number of months looking for ways to get the ring from Geneva. His ingenious plan to propose with a picture on date night would see at least having the two of us dressed up with one of his delicious home-made repast, but when that didn’t pan out, he lost his cool. Rick is not a planner and is not very good at keeping things under the wraps so his strange behaviour and frustrations finally made total sense to Elina! Although the engagement didn’t go as planned, it was perfectly imperfect and it’s a story that is exclusively and uniquely ours. In retrospect, we wouldn’t have had it any other way.
Marriage To Us Means…
A commitment that goes beyond romantic gestures and happy times. It is a commitment where your love for each other is never questioned, even when you are having the most wicked fights. It is a safe place where you can be your authentic self and communicate your inner thoughts and troubles, not only without judgement, but with the willingness and determination by both parties to work out a solution together. It is not a commitment that is to be taken for granted, but one that requires continuous work.
It is HARD WORK and only worth persevering for the right person.
We actually had our ceremony at the Six Senses in the Seychelles in March 2021. Like many others, we had to delay our celebration in Toronto by a year due to Covid. We finally had our reception in June 2022. The Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) was always our choice for a reception location. We were initially draw to the AGO by the beautiful Frank Ghery staircase that made up the focal point of Walker Court. It was a non-traditional wedding venue for a reception that truly allows you to make the space your own.
Inna Yasinska was our photographer. We love the mood and aesthetic of her style. I (Elina) am super awkward in front of a camera (think Chandler from Friends), never know where to put my hands or how to stand. Inna made us feel incredibly comfortable and we loved how she captured the special moments that we shared where nothing looked “posed.”
Flowers, flowers and more flowers. We originally wanted to fill Walker Court with flowers to mimic a field, but more practical minds prevailed! Jackie O and Bliss Toronto were instrumental in working with us to decorate the reception area. We only had 80 guests at our reception and they did a fabulous job at making sure the space, which fits 300 people, didn’t look bare.
We decorated the space with gorgeous and dreamy white and green clouds of flowers that ended up even better than we envisioned. Our dinner was held in AGO’s Galleria Italia. To take advantage of the long space, we incorporated one long table for our guests. Tara put together a tone on tone décor, using Elina’s favourite rose gold colour. We had rose gold chairs, plates, cutlery, and menus! It was important to Elina that the table didn’t have high centrepieces that would block the interactions with guests seated across from each other. The table was lined with small vases of single stem blooms with dusty pink roses in each, which created a dramatic and stunning effect.
Wedding Planner & Stylist
Tara from Bliss led the planning and styling of our reception. To call her the best would be an understatement. She planned, and replanned, our reception. She was always patient and not only was she responsive but also provided a lot of insights and ideas that we didn’t think of. We both lived in London, UK so it was not easy to plan something from afar. Tara made the process smooth and we couldn’t have done it without her and her team.
We provided our guests with illustrations of them by Lauren P. We were in an art gallery after all! We wanted our guests to leave with a memento of that evening. Something they can have that is both special to them and to us.
We found Sona from Lima Cakes on Instagram. Her wedding cakes are serious works of art! Rick studied geology and have a passion for collecting mineral specimens. Sona created a breathtaking cake where the top was made to look like a real crystal formation using sugar crystals that Sona grew herself over two weeks! The stand that the crystal would go on was the most delicious chocolate espresso flavour. Neither Rick nor Elina likes really sweet things. Sona definitely went above and beyond and hit all the marks.
Fashion & Beauty Notes
Both dresses (day and evening) were by Toni Maticevski, an Australian designer know for his brilliant draping and ability to accentuate a woman’s body, no matter her size or shape! Sequins and sparkles are not my cup of tea. I love the clean lines of Toni’s designs. He really knows how to give you drama without embellishments! In fact, all three dresses I wore over our weekend of celebration were by Toni.
Wedding Rings & Accessories.
Rick was a director of a diamond production company and purchased the stone as an investment long before he met Elina. Knowing Elina love of clean design and wanting to highlight the beautiful stone, he had a jeweller in Geneva design a simple solitaire design with a knife edge band. The engagement ring was paired with an eternity ring that Elina’s personal friend, Victoria Cho, a jewelry designer in Toronto, helped her make. Rick’s wedding band is a white gold love ring from Cartier.
Elina complimented her dress with a pair of pearl earrings from Linneys in Australia that Rick gifted her early on in their relationship.
Rick originally had a custom burgundy tuxedo from Ede & Ravencroft in Saville Row in London, but his checked bag was lost en route to Toronto and he ended up wearing a black on black tuxedo from Saint Laurent. Thank goodness for the Saint Laurent team in Holt Renfrew in Toronto for pulling together and getting the tux fitted and altered in record time so Rick could have something to wear!
Hair & Makeup
My makeup was done by glow by Joan and Toronto Make-up and Hair. At the make-up trial, Joan quickly picked up that I don’t wear a lot of make-up and prefers to have a natural look. Joan gave me all-day make up without making it feel heavy. She also makes her own lipsticks and I still use the lipstick she gave me on my wedding day. My hair was seriously a game time decision. It was originally meant to be a pull back wavy pony tail, but my hair wasn’t long enough to pull off the look so Jasmin pulled a rabbit out of her hair kit and give me a Kim K inspired look.
We picked Seychelles as the place for our ceremony because we had been a number of years ago and absolutely fell in love with the place. Rick had always wanted a “beach wedding” so it worked out. Seychelles is magical place and extremely underrated against the more famous honeymoon spots around it like the Maldives. We highly recommend taking a catamaran out and going snorkelling. It was unreal. The people are extremely hospitable.
Our guests were asked to donate to The University of Toronto Scarborough Campus’s Women’s Initiative of The Hub, an accelerator on campus that support women founders. Elina is the lead donor and supporter of the initiative.
First dance: “Make you feel by love (Adele’s rendition)
We had a saxophone player to entertain guests for the cocktail hour, a six piece jazz band for the dinner, and the band/DJ playing our favourite dance tunes for the party!
One thing I wish I knew before I started my wedding plans…
Everything went up in the air because of Covid. We really had to adjust and at times, throw out our expectations on how things would turn out. Perhaps because our plan was overshadowed by something much bigger that was not within our control, changes and adjustments for our weddings were muted or at least diluted.
For the day, I wish I had planned to take more photos with my guests…and I would not let Rick check his bag for the tip! Otherwise, I honestly would not have changed a thing.
If I could give other brides to be one piece of advice…
Take time on your day to pause and take the celebration in and do not worry about logistics on the day! Time will pass by MUCH quicker than you think and the day will be over before you know it. You don’t want to look back and remember fretting over seating plans and silly things that won’t matter in the long run.
Sources of inspiration…
We drew inspiration from the places we travelled to together. We used our photos from our trips, Instagram and google to find ideas. Our planner was the most important resource for ideas and contacts.
Wedding Venue / Art Gallery of Ontario
Wedding Stylist & Planner / Tara O’Grady, Bliss Toronto Inc.
Photography / Inna Yasinska
Bride’s Dress / Toni Maticevski
Bride’s Shoes / Christian Louboutin
Groom’s Formal Wear / Saint Laurent
Hair & Makeup / A Glow By Joan
Stationery / Polka Dot Paper Shop
Florist / Jackie O Florals
Cake / Lima Cakes
Catering / Art Gallery of Ontario
Entertainment / Miles Raine & the Collective
Illustrator / by Lauren P
Furniture / Detailz
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