Featured Wedding: Toronto Wedding at St. James Cathedral Centre & Chinese Restaurant Transformation for a Grand Reception

Leslie and Matthew’s wedding is very special to us and is one of our favourite weddings in 2017.  Not only because of their story, it is also one of more challenging weddings that we’ve planned.  Leslie and Matthew had known each other since kindergarten in Calgary, but in grade 2, Leslie moved to Toronto while Matthew stayed in Calgary.  They both went to the same university at different times and destiny brought them together in Toronto a few years ago and they have been together ever since.   How cute is that!

We took their love story as an inspiration and used that as an illustration on their invitation and wedding day stationery.

Here are a few get ready photos from the morning of the wedding.

The wedding ceremony took place at the St. James Cathedral Centre where the couple tied the knot under the cherry blossom trees.

The reception took place at Dragonboat Fusion Cuisine, one of the best Chinese restaurant in Toronto.  Leslie is a foodie and she wanted the best Chinese banquet for her wedding.  We took on the challenge to transform the restaurant so that they can have the best of both worlds.  If you have ever dined at a Chinese restaurant, you probably know that there is very little downtime between dim sum hours and dinner.  Most dim sum ends at 3:00pm or some even 4:00pm.  We don’t do that many Chinese restaurant weddings, but we definitely know the tips and tricks on how to transform the space in a very short amount of time.


Most of the restaurants have a lot of decoration. Sometimes, it’s overwhelming.  To transform the look into something more bridal, the easiest way is to cover the walls with drapes. Even so, it comes with a challenge.  Draping the walls during day time is impossible due to the dim sum service.  It took a lot of negotiation with the venue to let us to start draping the night prior.  We were on site to coordinate and facilitate issues between the restaurant staff and our decor team.  Although, most restaurants also do wedding banquets, the kind of setup that we did is not common to them.

We also re-designed the floor plan.  Most restaurants have a “stage” for the head table, and it may not be the most ideal location for head tables at times.  For this wedding, the stage is located at the farthest end of the restaurant and it is hard to be seen when you first walk in.  Head table is the focal point of the reception space and it is where most of the decor budget goes to.  Relocating the head table allowed us to create a wow factor as guests can see it as they walk in to the venue.

Linens and chair covers played an important role in adding an elegant look to the venue.  If budget allows, upgrade to chivari chairs or other fancier chairs.  It will elevate the look of your event.  For this wedding, there wasn’t any storage space at the restaurant to store their own chairs and we had to go with chair covers.  Some venues may charge a removal fee for their chairs or a fee to remove their existing chair covers.  There are a few styles of chair covers and make sure that the size you are getting fits the venue’s chairs.

I hope you enjoyed our journey of how we transformed a Chinese restaurant for a wedding reception. Photos were beautifully captured by Joee Wong.  Floral design by Sara Baig Designs.





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