My love and I got married on the second floor of a historic building in Winnipeg's Exchange District. It has beautiful hardwood floors, huge windows, and black ceilings. It may look like a hip art gallery, but is actually a really cool church. We couldn't have been happier with the space! However, it was a rather unconventional wedding venue, so there were a few bumps along the way...

When Mike and I started dreaming up ideas for our ceremony and reception, we decided we wanted something with an art gallery feel. I set off emailing every art gallery in the Exchange District of Winnipeg. Alas, they all emailed me back and said they didn't do weddings. Finally one gallery suggested Exchange Community Church. As soon as I saw it online, I thought, "This might be it!"

Mike and I quickly went to check it out. It was probably more amazing in real life than in the photos. Amazing hard wood floors, huge windows, and cool black ceilings and lights. Also, the church has the most amazing staff. They told us we could do whatever we wanted with the space (I think they had no idea what that would mean for us!). It also presented some interesting challenges - the tiniest kitchen ever (with no faucet!), only two bathroom stalls, and limited space. We decided the pros outweighed the cons (plus they rented it to us for dirt cheap), so we decided to have our ceremony AND reception there.

We thought it made sense to have the majority of the reception in the larger side of the space, and decided to have the ceremony on the smaller side (tough to explain, but it's sort of L-shaped). There are some poles that sort of acted as dividing lines between the two spaces. So we decided to create a horizontal ribbon wall divider  since I didn't want everyone to see the reception space during the ceremony.

Sometime in June, my friend Kari and I went to the church and did a trial run (the real version ended up being a lot thicker). The final product is what you see in that second photo in the collage. We cut many, many curtains and tablecloths and then tied them all together. It was a labour of love, but worked out perfectly!

The biggest twist in wedding set-up was the big black stage you can see in some of the photos. As you can see sort of in the first photo, it looks like it's a bunch of different pieces. I had talked to someone from the church, and mistakenly thought we could take the pieces apart and store them in the back.

Oooh no. When we were setting up, we realized that huge black stage was not going to go anywhere. Unfortunately it was right in the MIDDLE of where everyone would be sitting during the ceremony. We weren't able to really move it around because of the darn poles. It was a terrible dilemma. In the end, someone from the church let us cut out (!) a section of the stage so that we could push it against the windows. That big old stage cost us five rows of seating, so the ceremony ended up being a lot squisher intimate than previously planned.

Other ceremony details:
-The table we used to sign the registry cost 25¢ (yard sale find!)
-We got the three old doors behind us on the stage from an amazing antiques store called Old House Revival
-The two old windows came from my grandparents farm in Iowa
-My nephew Xavier pulled my other nephew down the aisle in this ancient old wagon (later used to hold flowers at the reception). Shaela, my niece, followed them and threw flowers down the aisle.
-We hung small mason jars with baby's breath at the end of each aisle.
-We hung doily bunting down the aisle (à la Julia & Yuriy - thanks for the inspiration ;)
-Mike's suit is from H&M, his shirt is from Club Monaco, and his darling bow tie is from American Apparel.
-My dress is Alfred Angelo.

There is more than you ever wanted to know about our ceremony! :)
Tomorrow - the photoshoot (some of the prettiest photos of the whole day, I think!!)


  1. wow, you guys did an incredible job. that space is seriously the coolest ever, i am in love with the windows and floors.
    favourites: ribbon wall + the doors. yay old house revival!

  2. your dress is absolutely beautiful! And I don't think there's anything wrong with an intimate wedding :) Getting cozy with family and friends is one of lifes simple pleasures!

  3. the very last photo. oh my goodness. you guys are just so beautiful together. :))
    -jocee <3

  4. these are my favorite. so beautiful, sweet, and cozy. what a lovely wedding! :)

  5. Really enjoying this series. Thank you for sharing.

    ps - My husband and I were also married by Jamie. :)


  6. What a beautiful and intimate wedding! I love your husband's suit, would you mind telling us where it was purchased?

  7. @Cait: Of course! :) We bought the suit from H&M in Seattle. His shirt is from Club Monaco and that gosh darn cute bow tie is from American Apparel.

  8. everything was so beautiful! congrats again!

  9. oh my, this looks absolutely perfect. really love that first shot too. congratulations! :)

  10. you both look perfect. we really need to do a meetup :)

  11. Woah, what a cool ribbon wall! It's always fun to hear what things went wrong during the wedding day (because something unexpected always comes up)... I'm so glad your stage dilemma was resolved. You certainly can't tell from the photos that anything went wrong!

    Thanks for the little shout-out! :)

  12. oh so beautiful. I love juxtaposition of vintage touches with a modern venue. It manages to have enough quirky detail while still feeling clean and stylish. LOVE! P.S - you two look positively gorgeous...and so in love!! x Congratulations :)

  13. i'm so in love with your pixie hot/strapless dress combo! your wedding looks divine in every way. xx

  14. I have no words...so beautiful. I'm loving this series so much.

  15. I'm almost certain that Andre has the exact same suit from h&m. He uses it to photograph with me. Such a great looking suit, and you, my dear, look fantastic!!! XO

  16. oh my your dress is to die for!!!! aaaaarrrrrrrkkkkkkkkggggggghhhhhhhhh!!!! love love love love love!!!! the whole setting, styling, venue and photography is just perfection!

  17. Janis, your look fabulous! Great choice on the gown! ( he's one of my favorite designers) Your venue was awesome...what a great idea! Love seeing your photos! Thanks for sharing :) Aunt Karryn

  18. I'm loving everyone of these wedding photos. You look like a modern Julie Andrews :)

  19. What a fantastic job you guys did! Love it all! And I especially love the detailing on your dress in that close up shot. Fabulous.

    Maria xx

  20. This is beautiful!!!! How many people did you have at your wedding?


thanks so much for writing! i love hearing from you!