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Real Wedding | Koren + Io

Tell us a little about yourselves!

Io: I was studying engineering at the University of Waterloo when I met Koren. It was your classic boy swipes right, girl swipes right situation. I remember spending time thinking of something fresh and engaging to message her hoping to get a response. While I was wasting time thinking about it, she sent me a “Hey”. Koren: Io is my perfect mix of thoughtful, intelligent, original and silly. I love how many facts he knows about birds. He was homeschooled growing up and had come from such a different world than mine. My obsession with him continues to grow.

Why did you decide to get married where you did?

Io: Hotel Ocho really was the perfect venue for both of us. Beautiful in the pictures and simple logistics. Everyone there was great to work with. Koren: Hotel Ocho, a boutique hotel gem, was very us! The location was perfect - central downtown Toronto and adjacent to Chinatown. The vibes were immaculate with their high ceilings and lofty aesthetic. Most importantly, it was low maintenance and practical. There was no way that I wanted to fuss over renting cutlery or traveling between venues!

How many guests did you have?


Tell us about your outfits.

Koren: Where do I begin?! The red dress I wore down the aisle was made by my late grandma for my mother’s wedding reception. I am so lucky to have had the opportunity to honour some of the most influential women in my life. I wish I could have seen the look on my grandma’s face that day, I miss her so much. My aunt also gifted me a jade bracelet which was from my grandma as well. Being enveloped in her energy at our wedding was an indescribable feeling. I was actually going to wear a white dress down the aisle but 2 weeks before the wedding I changed my mind. I had moments of uncertainty as the bridesmaid’s dresses weren’t planned to be next to a red dress but Gillie Bird, our photographer, put my mind at ease and told me to wear whatever I felt my best in. I’m so glad she encouraged me! The red cathedral veil was the exact splash of drama I wanted. I found fabric on Queen West and contacted a woman I discovered on Etsy that made veils. She put in a rush order for me and I’m incredibly grateful - the veil really completed the look! Io: My story is nowhere near as special. I wanted to get a tailored suit but keep things reasonable so I did the Toronto thing and got a blue suit from Indochino.

What was the most important aspect for you, in terms of planning your wedding?

Koren: Honouring love! I wanted the entire day to feel like I was receiving a giant handmade card with a heartfelt note inside. Every detail and part of the day had a purpose and impressing others was never the goal. I’m so lucky to have talented friends (I brag about them later!) who made all aspects of the day and space meaningful. Another important aspect in planning was to be chill. I let my bridesmaids pick their own outfits, I tried to be as organized and communicative to everyone involved as possible, and I wanted to be flexible as that is what kept planning low stress and enjoyable. Io: Koren really was the MVP in us planning the wedding, so I’d say the most important aspect was asking her to marry me. She gave me veto power which was used sparingly, and I got a large vote in the food and drink menu. Koren has great taste so I was happy to follow her decision for pretty much every choice that had to be made with the planning.

Were there any elements that were important for you to incorporate?

Koren: Our own vows. I spent A LOT of time on my vows. Distilling my feelings and commitment to Io in 1.5 minutes coherently was a challenge. And after 15 drafts…I nailed it ahah. Vows to me set the tone for the rest of the night. Everyone was there to celebrate us as a couple and words are so powerful. I didn’t want to regret a single word and I cry every time I read them.

Any tips for couples getting married, particularly during the pandemic?

Koren: The most non cliché advice I can think of is - bring blotting paper for your face lol. Io: Especially during the pandemic, remember that everyone’s coming together to celebrate you and enjoy the little things. Many people have said their favourite part of our wedding was the speeches, and hearing the love in our friends' voices. That moment is special no matter where you are or what you are wearing.

Are there any vendors that you would like to tell us a little more about?

Koren: Every minute and every detail was focused on celebrating friendship and love. There are so many of our friends that I would love to shout out! Wedding cake: My best friend of 25 years made our wedding cake. She loves baking and this was her first tiered cake! I left all creative control to her and she chose a Matcha + Chai flavoured cake because I don’t drink coffee. How sweet! We decorated it with leftover flowers from my bouquet. Flowers: One of my sister’s friends (who is now my friend of course) made all of the arrangements and bouquets. He has impeccable taste and I hope to be reincarnated in my next life as him. First dance: I’ve always been enamored by my friend Ewnet’s voice. We met in high school but only became closer during the pandemic. She has the most calm and rejuvenating energy. I was ecstatic she agreed to sing our first dance song - While We’re Young by Jhene Aiko. Something borrowed: Jannell is a friend that I met after she got married. I wish I could go back in time to have been there for her the way she was at mine! Borrowing her tea set and candle holders from her own wedding was a detail that kept her close to me on the day. Table numbers: My dad has a million hobbies and 3D printing is one of them. I found a design that he could make table numbers from and they turned out great! Not really vendors but… Officiant: One of our close friends Akash was our fake officiant. It was important to have a familiar face at the altar and there was no better person for the role. MC + Hosts: Ashna is a friend of ours that exudes charisma and having her as our MC made for such a special night. Cynthia hosted our wedding games in both English + Cantonese. They both did such a great job! I love that all of these wonderful people wanted to help us create the perfect day for us. Forever riding the high of that day and forever feeling blessed to be in love!

Photographer : Gillie Bird @gilliebird_ | Ceremony + Reception Location : Hotel Ocho @hotelocho | Singer : Ewnet, a friend of the couple | DJ: Berma @_berma | Flora : by friend Jason | HMUA : Maggie Ng @themaggieng | Cake : by friend Jade | Koren's Wedding Dress : her Mother's | Io's Suit : Indochino @indochino | Wedding Rings : Chinese store in First Markham Place | Veil : Etsy @etsy with fabric from Queen West


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