ten years gone

our first anniversary

 

celebrating milestones during covid-19

this summer brought so much to celebrate. not even a pandemic was going to change that. 

August of this year officially marks ten years since I walked into a movie theatre and met the person who was to become the love of my life. With this milestone coming up, we wanted to make our first wedding anniversary in June special despite limited options due to COVID.

I DO!

little ways to spruce up a celebration during covid 

SAFELY ENOY SOMETHING DELICIOUS FROM TASTY LOCAL BUSINESSES YOU WANT TO SUPPORT

Food is always a top priority. Originally we had planned to go back to our venue, Archeo, in the Distillery District for dinner on our wedding anniversary (it’s a full restaurant when it’s not used for events), but with COVID that wasn’t going to happen. At the time Archeo wasn’t open for take-out or delivery, so we chose to order via UberEats from Eataly, another local favourite Italian place.

We try to cook most meals at home and usually without dairy, so digging into a classic Margherita pizza with ooey-gooey, housemade mozzarella (Andy’s go-to) and fresh pasta stuffed with ricotta and spinach was such an extra-indulgent treat. The standout that we always reorder though is the focaccia classica – the tastiest pillowy-soft bread studded with sea salt and rosemary and subtle pockets of olive oil? My mouth is watering just rethinking about it.

And cake is definitely a good idea. I surprised Andy with a 6″ Mocha Chocolate Crunch Cake from Bunner’s Bakery (a short walk away in Kensington Market). Adorned with mini cookies and a glossy chocolate ganache drizzle, this dessert was a decadent (and vegan!) dream. My sister and brother also dropped off a surprise pink velvet Dufflet cake (another Toronto staple), so we spent the next few days eating cake for breakfast, a second lunch and for after dinner. Did I mention we’re desserts people? Zero regrets.

 

MASK UP AND GO TO YOUR FAVOURITE OUTDOOR PLACE

Taking inspiration from Jean Wang of Extra Petite , on the day of our anniversary (before dinner) we got dressed, clipped on Fritz’s leash and, armed with a tripod, took a socially distant walk to the scene of the crime – where we got married! The Distillery District has done a great job at making their whole outdoor area accessible and enjoyable during the pandemic, pivoting to allow the entire cobblestone and brick area to become one big (licensed!) space  for dining safely, instead of just specific patios. Our venue was closed, but the outdoor courtyard was open and empty, making it easy to get the perfect picture exactly one year later, standing in the exact same spot where we were married.  

To make things even better, our very sweet wedding photographer, Angie Choi, edited the photos for us to make them so much nicer than what we could have done on our own with just our tripod. It was a nice compromise since at that time she couldn’t be there in person with COVID restrictions on even outdoor photography.  

 

YEAR ONE – 2020

WEDDING DAY – 2019

GO OUT OF YOUR WAY TO DO SOMETHING SPECIAL YOU HAVEN’T DONE IN A WHILE

Early on when we first started dating, Andy surprised me one day with a handmade invitation to a “prom” at his apartment that weekend. When I walked into his living room, I was floored – it was dark except for all these twinkle lights strung up around the room, reflecting off a disco ball sparkling smack dab in the middle of it all. There were flowers and handmade decorations everywhere like a true “prom” and he was dressed up in a suit with a bowtie. Music wafted through the air as he asked me to dance. I didn’t used to be much of a romantic, and I think these types of thoughtful gestures began to change me –  it was very romantic and a lot of fun.  

So to top off our first wedding anniversary. we had a dance party in our living room, with our dog quizzically jumping around at our feet, wondering what the heck we were doing. Even sweeter was that he had enlisted the help of two friends who had sung at our wedding for help with two song requests for the music. Our friend, Hannah, who sang for our ceremony, sent over a recording of her singing  “Dancing On My Own” by Robyn which is song I’ve been obsessed with since Jujubee and Raven’s iconic lip sync to it on RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars 1. It’s this heartbreaking power ballad but it’s soo good to dance to! 

And then our friend Maddy, whose band Rapport played our wedding reception, sent over an entire music video she had made of her singing “Just What I Needed” by The Cars. The video had photos of us she had taken 10 years ago and she pulled off multiple costume changes throughout (and I really mean multiple – there were so many outfits!!).

It was amazing because that song had been one that played at our reception but it was when we had snuck away with Angie for some last photos under the twinkly lights in the Distillery so we had missed it. I still remember as we walked back to the venue after saying goodbye and thanks to Angie, we heard The Cars as we got close and both went OH NO and then ran to try to get back inside, catching just the end of it. Getting a do-over to dance to Maddy’s rendition of it was such a magical way to cap off our anniversary. 

All in all, our mini anniversary was literally just what we needed – and everything we could have asked for, in addition to our health, during this really wild, strange and pretty scary time in the world. It’s an unprecedented time but there is always something good to honour and enjoy so I hope you take time to celebrate your milestones, too.