Bride Feature: Guest Blog Anica Alcide-Drake

My name is Anica Alcide-Drake, I live in Ajax Ontario with my new husband, Joseph Drake. I am a marketing professional working in Toronto, my husband is a graphic designer.  We both enjoy the outdoors, boardgames, all things vintage and tea! 

Ceremony at South Pond Farms. Photograph by Ryanne Hollies

Ceremony at South Pond Farms. Photograph by Ryanne Hollies

Joseph and I actually met at work. I was a new hire in a marketing department at corporate office in Toronto and Joseph had been with the company for some time working as a designer.  Being in the same department, over the course several weeks we made casual conversation here and there or spent our lunch hours within the same social circle.  Joseph was always funny and kind toward me.  After about 2 months, it seemed that we spent more time together as a pair, outside of the office circle. We just clicked, it felt like we knew one another for a long time and we told each other so.  Joseph asked me on a date around this time and I accepted.  On the one hand, I was taken aback as I was not expecting anything beyond friendship. On the other hand, I think I was downplaying the fact (truth) that I was secretly attracted to him but believed that any office romance would not end well.  As it happened, Joseph accepted a job closer to his home in Barrie and he left shortly after we started our relationship.  On our 3 year anniversary, he proposed.

South Pond Farms Guest Cottage. Photograph by Ryanne Hollies

South Pond Farms Guest Cottage. Photograph by Ryanne Hollies

After being to countless weddings together, we knew we didn’t want a banquet hall or country club setting. As nice as these venues were, they just aren’t us.  We wanted our guests to feel comfortable as if they were at a large family gathering and not somewhere confined or overly fussy.  We wanted something rustic, but still elegant and showcased the outdoors. We wanted something that felt like a cottage escape or weekend getaway…and we found that in South Pond Farms.  After doing a little bit of online research and great reading reviews, we thought we would come out for a viewing. The day we were scheduled to meet Amy Hall in October of 2015, we actually had another appointment at a barn venue further away later that day.  After about 10 minutes walking around South Pond, we immediately decided to cancel our next appointment. We fell in love with how gorgeous the property was and how welcoming the barn setting was. Every detail was impressive I think we said “wow” about a dozen times as we were shown each area.  Joseph and I were eager to put down a deposit as quickly as possible. South Pond just suited us to a T and we booked our wedding date within the next week.  

Alcide-Drake Wedding at South Pond Farms. Photograph by Ryanne Hollies

Alcide-Drake Wedding at South Pond Farms. Photograph by Ryanne Hollies

The planning process with South Pond was quite easy. Having the catering, recommended DJ, Reverend and ceremony site all in one place took a huge load off us, as these elements did not have to be coordinated on our own.  It was only a matter of securing a date, choosing a dinner package, etc, and reaching out to confirm availability of any individuals required.  We were not disappointed.  We were kept in the loop at regular intervals, were sent handy email reminders and this really took the guesswork out of wedding planning. All we had to do was stay on track and the staff was very helpful with all of our questions. We loved that we could visit South Pond months before the wedding to have another look around. Of course, it was as lovely as we had remembered from our first visit.

Alcide-Drake Wedding at South Pond Farms. Photograph by Ryanne Hollies

Alcide-Drake Wedding at South Pond Farms. Photograph by Ryanne Hollies

My advice for newly engaged couples would be to; 1) keep an open mind and 2) make sure that you choose a venue that suits your personality and style. Keep an open mind because we often have a very specific vision only to find that there are better or different options out there.  Don’t stress over little things or try to force everything to work because you had one idea. We kept a very open mind in our planning and weren’t rigid in our vision. Both being creative individuals Joseph and I had an idea to work toward but we were grateful for all suggestions offered and our day evolved into something wonderful.  Choosing a venue that suits your personality and style is a big one for me. Too often weddings come with the unnecessary stress of having to please everyone else when really it should be about the bride and groom.  We have been to weddings where the couple seemed out of place because the day was designed FOR them and not BY them and it felt like they were just role-playing. This is your day, and you want to look back on it with fond memories, not 100% compromise on all of your dreams and things you wished you did. 

Anica and Joseph at South Pond Farms. Photograph by Ryanne Hollies.

Anica and Joseph at South Pond Farms. Photograph by Ryanne Hollies.

Joseph and I were married on Sunday, September 18th, 2016. We were the last wedding of the season. It was a perfect day. The weather the day before was dark, dreary and raining heavily and while the forecast was favourable the next day, we were quite nervous that things might change.  Due to the heavy rain we feared that the grounds would be too wet. We knew that South Pond had expertise in plan B if the weather didn’t hold out so at least we had options. Mother nature was on our side and we were blessed to have sunny skies, and perfect weather. Our guests were absolutely impressed with South Pond Farms. Many had no idea what to expect but they were blown away. Almost every couple asked us “where did you find this place?” as they had no idea that this was so close to the city and so peaceful. They could not get over the scenery, the barn, the food.  It was nothing but praise and no one wanted to leave.  Many guests expressed that it was the best wedding they had ever been to and wished it was a 2-day affair. Everything went exactly as we had hoped and we were so happy to hear our guests genuinely express how much they enjoyed everything. Our stand-out moments were the ceremony (of course), the amazing food and the guest cottage.  It was nice to have a beautiful and quiet place to freshen up and stay after the wedding that beat any 4 star hotel. Again, like the rest of the South Pond, the cottage suited Joseph and I to a T.  We ordered a food hamper for breakfast the next day that had the most amazing freshly baked goodies for breakfast.  We really wanted to stay another day. Now, some 4 months later our families still comment on wanting to go back to South Pond. To be honest, I would not have changed a thing.

We will definitely be back.  South Pond is too beautiful a place to only visit once. We plan to attend a supper club dinner, come for lunch and take part in a few workshops.  Our plan is to see South Pond in every season. Danielle French is a wonderful and gracious hostess and the staff were very helpful and attentive to our needs. A++ experience.