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A Sophisticated City Wedding in Toronto

When he showed up at Camp White Pine back in the early ‘00s, Ryan Wood met a girl named Betsy. "She was super cute with the most adorable freckles,” he explains, "and I had an instant crush." Betsy Belzberg, three years older than Ryan, didn’t quite look at him the same way, but remembers him - even as a young tween - as “mature beyond his years.” Betsy and Ryan became friends and stayed that way for well over a decade. 

As young adults, Betsy and Ryan would bump into each other now and again at parties, and a recurring pattern took place. Betsy would think to herself: “Why can’t I find someone like that my age?” while Ryan likens his experience to "A magnetic field drawing me toward Betsy." Every time, the two ended up talking late into the night.

Betsy shares a moment with her parents Cathy and Murray Belzberg.

In 2013, Betsy, now a family lawyer, and Ryan, who works in real estate sales & development, both found themselves single at the same time. At this point, the two were in touch regularly, and when they realized they were both going to be staying at the same hotel in Miami over Christmas, they made a plan to connect. And connect they did: the two ended up spending every day of their vacation together, at the pool by day and over drinks at the hotel bar every evening.


Above: The couple exchange vows under a hand-made chuppah.

Once home, the two had their 'official' first date over coffee and a movie, and within three weeks of returning from Miami, Betsy knew Ryan was for her. As she explains, “I almost needed a muzzle to stop myself from blurting out ‘I love you’ every time we were together.” Ryan, who knew he loved Betsy from the day they met at camp, tried to play it cool for as long as he could, and clearly, his strategy paid off.


Above: The couple's Jewish wedding ceremony ended with a traditional bang: stomping on napkin-wrapped glass is a symbol of the finality of the marital covenant. Just as the broken pieces of glass can never be put back together and returned to its former state, so the covenant of marriage irrevocably binds the new husband and wife in their new state of marriage.

Fast forward three years. Ryan arranged a photoshoot with Toronto photographer Trish Mennell, telling Betsy it was gifted to him, when in fact it was part of his elaborate plan to stage his proposal. After 30 minutes of taking shots, Trish invited the couple to pose under a skylight, and asked Ryan to crouch next to Betsy. As she helped the couple get into their pose, she gently pushed Ryan into a kneeling position and handed him a box. The rest was up to Ryan, who, on bended knee, asked his beloved to be his wife.


    Betsy and Ryan decided to marry in Toronto, inviting 250 family and friends to the Omni King Edward Hotel for a black tie ceremony. As Betsy explains, “The King Eddy is a gorgeous and regal venue, anything less than black tie wouldn’t have done it justice.”


    With the help of wedding planner Karen Jacobs and the decor team at Stemz, the couple focused on gold hues to complement the gilded accents in the hotel’s Crystal and Sovereign ballrooms. Given the beauty of these rooms, there was little need for extensive décor, so they focused on creating a spectacular chuppah out of gold intertwining posts wrapped with twinkling lights and topped with gilded leaves.

    Above: Guests dance the hora, a wedding dance that symbolizes the rhythm of a healthy relationship. Below, the bride and groom are lifted up during the traditional Jewish chair dance, representing the king and queen of the night.

    Post ceremony, guests dined on a vegetable tower with marinated goat cheese, beef tenderloin with fingerling potatoes and roasted asparagus, flourless chocolate cake and apple pie à la mode. Late night snacks included grilled cheese sandwiches, fries, a smoked meat station with Belzberg family home-made pickles, and Haagen Dazs ice cream bars.


    Describing her wedding as “The best day of my life,” Betsy remembers not wanting the day to end. When it came to their honeymoon, the newlyweds flew to South Africa for three weeks, and explored Cape Town, wine country, Kruger National Park and Benguerra - an island off the coast of Mozambique. In their new life as a married couple, Betsy and Ryan love to entertain, hosting friends and family frequently. They prefer a non-traditional table filled with unique and interesting pieces such as their Jim Lorriman one-of-a-kind Spalted Maple salad bowl and Rablabs Agate coasters. When it comes to their style, their philosophy is all about contrast, believing entertaining can be both elegant and casual at the same time. 


    No two are alike: Among some of their favourite gifts, ANNA by Rablabs' Pedra Agate Coasters (left) and Jim Lorriman's Spalted Maple Salad Bowl (above).


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