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An Eclectic Outdoor Wedding at Small Talk Vineyards, Ontario

An Eclectic Outdoor Wedding at Small Talk Vineyards, Ontario

Fun colorful gay wedding in Ontario Canada captured by Cara Chapman Photography (1)
How long have you been together, and how did you meet?

We had been dating for five and a half years on our wedding day. Like many queers in the 2010s, we met on OkCupid. Our first date was at a bowling alley/arcade in London, Ontario, where Emily was going to university. Tarisa Gabe was studying in Toronto, so the first stage of the relationship was long-distance. After going on a few dates to the movies, miniature golf, and craft fairs, we officially started dating in December 2015 – and the rest is history.

Tell us about the proposal.

Emily– While we knew pretty early on in our relationship that we would end up married, we started talking more seriously about getting engaged once we had begun to settle in our careers and knew exactly what we wanted from our future. Our close friends came to visit us in December of 2019, and we decided to see the holiday light display at Royal Botanical Gardens in Burlington, Ontario. Unbeknownst to me, Tarisa Gabe knew they would pop the question and was conspiring with our friends to find the perfect moment and capture it on photo and video. When we turned a corner and saw an arbor draped in Christmas lights and hung with mistletoe, I asked if we could get a picture – and Tarisa Gabe went down on one knee. I felt like I blacked out for a second. It was perfect. 

Tarisa Gabe– I worked hard to earn the cash for the perfect ring for Emily, selling baked goods and cookie dough to friends and family leading up to the holiday season. Many plans went into creating that perfect moment! Emily’s proposal was just as sweet for me; during a quiet evening at home on our fifth anniversary, she presented me with a bespoke wooden watch with “Will you marry me?” engraved on the back. It was perfect.

Talk to us about your experience finding the perfect outfits.

Tarisa Gabe– I wanted something dapper, classy, and in earth tones with a splash of mustard yellow, my favorite color. While I initially wanted a custom tweed suit or perhaps a waistcoat, that wasn’t really going to work in the dead of August in Southern Ontario. So I instead took inspiration from the phrase “gay hobbit,” which led me to suspenders, a floral yellow bowtie, and light fabrics in green and blue. 

Emily– I agonized back and forth on what I wanted for my wedding outfit. Most wedding dresses are too feminine for my taste, but a jumpsuit didn’t feel quite right either. I knew I didn’t want the hyper-feminine experience of visiting a bridal shop and stressing myself out with multiple dress options.

Finally, I came across my two-piece set from the Australian fashion brand Lover the Label not long after we got engaged and knew it was perfect right away. It had the vintage-y lace details I wanted and a crop top that mimics how I usually dress in the summer but in an elevated way. It perfectly straddled the line between casual and dressy in a way that I knew would feel very “me.” Plus, it had pockets! I found the dress used on for a steal, and it fit like a dream – no alterations needed! It’s the only wedding dress I ever tried on, and I have 0 regrets.

Talk to us about the big day! 

Emily– We always planned on an outdoor wedding, which meant that the week leading up to the big day was spent freaking out about the weather. It was supposed to be stormy and rainy on our wedding day, and we initially set up for the ceremony inside the winery since it was overcast in the morning. However, while we were getting ready, the weather took a turn. The forecast showed clear skies for the rest of the day, which led to us texting our family at the winery to move everything outside a couple of hours before the ceremony began. By the time we walked down the aisle, it was a beautiful, sunny day. Everything fell into place perfectly after that.

What does marriage mean to you?

We have been through a lot throughout our relationship. We have been to far too many funerals together, and yet the first wedding we ever attended together was our own!

We’ve navigated long-distance, grief, questioning gender, house fires, floods, and career burnout.

It simply felt right for us to celebrate our incredible love with a lifelong commitment to each other in front of our favorite people.

There are a lot more challenges the world can throw at us, but we know we’ll always have each other.

Advice for other couples planning a wedding?

We found that thinking about our day as a capital-W Wedding put a lot of pressure on the event. Like every decision we made would always be carved in stone.

We had a much easier time making decisions when we framed it in our minds as a really special party with our nearest and dearest. Suppose you’re stressing about your wedding or experience decision fatigue. In that case, we really recommend reframing your thoughts.

Instead of asking, if I was throwing the perfect party, what would I Include? What would I leave out? How would I want to feel? How would I want my guests to feel?

Tell us about how you chose a brand new last name for yourselves.

When discussing what we wanted to do with our last names after marriage. Rather than hyphenating or one of us assuming the other’s name, we decided to choose a new last name for ourselves.

We knew we wanted something inspired by nature, and when we came across the name Linden.

We knew it was perfect for us.

It’s a name we decided on years before we were even engaged. We learned much later that there’s a Linden tree at the winery that had been there since Tarisa Gabe’s grandparents were using the property as a farm.

It stood tall over our ceremony and reception – it was clearly destiny.

Photography by Cara Chapman

Accommodation Toad Hall
Catering The Dirty South
Ceremony Music The Fox Duo
Charcuterie Boxes Sandwich Society
Dress Designer Lover the Label
Engagement & Wedding Rings Etsy
Florist Euro Style Flower Market
Hair Lindsay Chambers
Officiant Joy Johnson
Robes Dusen Dusen
Shoes DSW, Tomboy Toes
Signage & Stationery Canva
Suit Designer Indochino
Venue Small Talk Vineyards

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