Creating a Dream Wedding in Drayton

Angela & Corné Koersen

February 6 |  Drayton

Rooted in family and grounded in faith, Angela Poot and Corné Koersen always knew they would exchange their vows in the town that brought them together.

“It was pretty important to have the wedding in Drayton, because Drayton was a centrace for my family,” Angela said. “Growing up in the Drayton Reformed Church is important to my upbringing and my community.”

Corné attended the Bethel Christian Reformed Church in Listowel, the same town where Angela attended high school. Despite their close proximity, the pair had never crossed paths.

“Without our faith communities, Corné and I probably wouldn’t have met,” Angela said. “Though we grew up ten minutes apart, our paths didn’t cross until we both signed up to be part of a team that was organizing a young adults ministry in Drayton, with the goal of connecting young adults from various towns in the surrounding area.”

The location of those ministry meetings was the renowned local landmark, the Drayton Festival Theatre. It would also be a backdrop for some of the couple’s wedding photos, to honour the memory of their first meeting.

Corné proposed to Angela in August 2015 and the two became one on February 6, 2016, which gave them just over five months to plan their wedding.

“I didn’t want to drag the engagement out,” Angela said, admitting winter was the best season for the two to wed.

“One of the biggest reasons we decided to get married in the winter was due to the fact that it’s one of the least busy times in the year for farmers. Besides Corné and his immediate family, who are dairy farmers, we have quite a few relatives and friends who would be affected by this as well,” Angela said.

“We were also mindful that February is a much nicer time to take a sunny vacation than the summer, and we figured everyone is ready for a party in the dull days of winter.”

Angela notes there were several benefits to having a winter wedding. Vendors and caterers were more flexible with dates and requests, and people were available to attend the event.

“My wedding dress was bought off the rack at a very reasonable price after the prime wedding season had ended,” Angela said, adding with a laugh, “And we were able to thoroughly enjoy a tropical honeymoon in St. Lucia while everyone in Ontario suffered through the coldest week of the season.”

When it came to picking a theme for the wedding, nature inspired Angela as to create a simple yet charming motif from the invitations to the ceremony and reception.

“I have always been a lover of nature — often taking pictures of landscapes and the intricate details found in plants and trees,” Angela said. “I’ve spent time living in the city, where you realize how much you take for granted being surrounded by nature when you grow up in the country. Spending time in the forest is very peaceful both alone and with Corné.”

Angela explained, “When looking for inspiration for the invitations, I was drawn to examples that included trees.”

She took her design concept to Fergus Printing to have all invitations and signage produced. Supporting a local business was important for the couple.

“Since we were getting married in the winter, the tree silhouette was appropriate, and we continued to find other ways to incorporate it into our décor.”

 

There was a deeper meaning to the symbolism of the tree too.

“Trees are often viewed as a family symbol,” Angela explained. “When we get married and start our own family, we are both adding onto our parents’ trees as well as starting our own. I like to think of our faith and our communities as the roots which keep us grounded and help us to weather the storms that life will bring.”

Wellington County remains steeped in rural traditions, including small-town values that persist in a changing world.

“Since I’ve grown up living in one house and attending the same church my entire life, I feel strongly connected to both my neighbourhood and faith communities,” Angela said.

“The people surrounding me have always been full of encouragement and willing to help. From lending wedding decorations, to helping set up the church and reception hall, to sharing their musical talents during the ceremony, to cleaning up everything once our special day was over – our lives are made so much less stressful when we ask and allow people to help us.”

That sense of simplicity and nature’s beauty resonated throughout the wedding plans. Angela credits her family and community at large with helping make the day everything she hoped for.

“Gathering all the trees and hydrangeas was a family affair,” she said. “Corné cut down the trees from the edge of his field, and he worked with my dad to fit them into stands made from larger slabs of wood.”

For Angela, this made for beautiful and affordable décor.

“I decided to bring the nature indoors by lining the aisle with trees and having a cluster of them on the stage along with some other rustic items,” she said.

Angela’s mother, future mother-in-law and aunt worked together to collect dried hydrangeas.

“Our centrepieces had branches that were sprayed with fake snow, and we dried many, many hydrangeas that were spray painted gold for the centrepieces and that were used throughout the wedding,” she said.

It was faith that brought Angela and Corné together and that is central to their lives going forward, as much as it was the most important part of their wedding day.

“Getting married in the church I grew up in has always been part of my wedding dreams,” Angela said. “Not just because it is a beautiful
space, but because it was important to make our promises to each other before God and the community that came together to support us.”

As the Sunday piano player, she admits she wasn’t used to being front and centre in the church.

“It was a very familiar place, but also a very special place … which made it less nerve-wracking, it was very comfortable,” Angela said.

While the indoor ceremony was all she hoped for, Angela admitted having wedding photographs taken outdoors was a challenge.

At the recommendation of a family friend, the couple’s wedding photos were taken at the Samis’ family farm just outside of Drayton.

 

“It was conveniently close to our church and hall,” Angela said. “The barn was undergoing some renovations and was partially used for farm equipment storage, however there were still areas inside and several spots around the property that worked perfectly for our needs.”

The shelter of the barn and a little cooperation from Mother Nature made for a lovely landscape for the photos.

“The night before we received a fresh dusting of snow which made everything look fresh and clean,” she said. “To keep warm, we took breaks in cars and we had a space heater in the barn. My mom and grandma made faux-fur shawls for all the ladies, which gave the photos a unique wintry flair.”

Angela adds, “We had our photos taken before the ceremony, and I made sure there was a ‘warm up’ time with coffee and tea so that we were all functioning well before needing to be centre stage.”

Not far from the church, the reception followed at the PMD Arena Complex in Drayton.

“The PMD had recently been renovated,” Angela said. “It was nice and spacious, and clean. And they set up the tables, chairs and stage for us before we got there.”

The couple selected both square and rectangular tables, just to make the room less formatted. The head table was centred in the room and the couple invited the spouses of the bridal party to join them for dinner.

To add a personal touch, Angela’s father crafted a large, layered chandelier out of wagon wheels, lights and dried flowers that hung over the head table. Ceiling swags, lent to the couple by friends, added elegance to the room. The colour scheme for the event was lapis (a deep purple), gold and ivory.

“It didn’t feel like an arena at all,” Angela said.

Angela liked the hall’s options for lighting, as well as the big screens with projectors that allowed guests to enjoy a slide show about the couple. Family from Holland also sent a video message for all to watch.

Dinner was also an important part of the reception and a tribute to the couple’s heritage.

“Our caterer, Carolyn Freeman, was part of my larger family community as well. She is married to my mom’s cousin, and she prepared a wonderful Mennonite-style meal that many people raved about later,” Angela said,  “Many brides and grooms don’t really enjoy their meals due to the stress and excitement of the day, but both Corné and I were able appreciate the great food prepared for us.”

Corné and Angela celebrate their first anniversary this February, but they are also celebrating the addition of a new leaf on the family tree, due in July. When they look back at their wedding, they have only fond memories of a celebration that Angela insists took a community to build.

“I loved working with my family, pooling ideas and talents to create a unique and special day where we were surrounded by people that loved us and who will continue to support us as we figure out life together,” she said.