A Classic Toronto Love Match
As Riona Mohan watched her new boyfriend spend their precious cottage cocktail hour with her 94 year-old grandmother, she knew she'd found someone she could spend the rest of her life with. Riona, who had met Philip Goad three years earlier when their fathers dragged them both to a business meeting, had come a long way since that initial meeting. “It was friendly chatter,” she recalls, “but we both forgot the other existed.”
One fateful evening in 2015, three years after that initial encounter, Riona’s sister dragged her for one last birthday drink at their local pub, The Quail. She recognized the affable young insurance broker she had met back in 2012, who was there with friends, and who she describes as having “a smile that lights up every room.” The two began chatting, and so began their story.
Phil & his groomsmen - who all traded in tuxedos for kilts - got ready in the Toronto Golf Club's elegant locker room.
Their first official date was at the iconic Rosedale Diner, and the pair quickly bonded over how much they had in common, including a love of travel, golf, cooking, entertaining and going up North. They were also surprised and delighted when they realized their family cottages in Muskoka were just a lake apart. Just two weeks after their first date, Phil brought his new girlfriend to his mother’s 60th birthday celebration. Riona, who thought she was on her way to an intimate dinner, walked into a 200-person surprise party and was left to her own devices as Phil was pulled in to support his brothers. Embracing the situation, the young Marketing consultant quickly made friends, and Phil, who describes Riona as both bold and beautiful, was not only relieved, he knew she was 'the one.'
Two ears later, over a cozy spaghetti dinner at home, Phil got down on one knee and proposed. As Riona describes it, “the proposal was intimate, relaxed and totally us.” Given it was just prior to St. Patrick's Day, it added an additional layer of celebrations for Riona's Irish family.
The newly engaged couple began planning their wedding, and chose to marry in early December of last year. Their ceremony at Rosedale United Church was followed by a reception at the Toronto Golf Club. They decided on a ‘festive’ black tie event, given the time of year.
The groom wore his traditional Scottish kilt in his family's tartan, while the bride’s dress was from Toronto designer Rita Vinieris. Her Spanish lace-trimmed cathedral-length veil was a gift from her mother-in-law. Topping off the look were furs from Caroline Furs and Lyndsay Borschke from the Tuck Shop.
The wedding party pose outside the Toronto Golf Club. Riona's bridesmaids chose their own gowns, three of them being vintage dresses they borrowed from their mothers.
With the help of Phil’s mother Elspeth Goad, whose catering company The Moveable Feast has been running events for over 20 years, and support from wedding planner Shealyn Angus, the couple played up the time of year, creating a festive backdrop to both the ceremony and reception. Evergreens were placed on each church pew, twinkling Christmas trees flanking the aisle and a gospel choir serenaded the couple.
For the reception, the couple wanted to create a festive yet elegant look for their black tie affair that complemented the club’s old world interior. They created a luxurious and organic environment using evergreen wreaths, mistletoe, pinecones, oxblood taffeta tablecloths and lots of candlelight. Astilbe, polo roses, white ranunculus and silver berries were uniquely placed in silver urns, trophies and cups. The roaming style dinner reception included seven passed courses for the couple’s over 300 guests.
Among the many personal touches that brought intimacy to the large gathering were church programs hand-tied with winter greenery and silk ribbon by Riona's bridesmaids, framed photos of the couples' parents and grandparents at the guest book table, and the wedding favour, homemade butter crunch, a Moveable Feast specialty.
The reception went into the wee hours of the morning, and the couple hosted a 'Recovery Brunch' the next day at the Quail, where their romance began. The brunch extended into the evening and what the newlyweds describe as a Sunday night fondue party. They were having so much fun they simply 'didn't want the fun to end.' Looking back, they recall some of the day's best moments, which included Riona surprising Phil by having a gospel choir sing Stevie Wonder's Signed, Sealed, Delivered as the couple walked out of the church. They also fondly recall the intimacy of reading out their promises to each other, something their minister suggested as an alternative to traditional wedding vows.
The couple chose to spend their 'mini moon' in Niagara-on-the-Lake, which was followed by a longer trip to Argentina & Uruguay a few months post-wedding. As they settle into married life, the newlyweds enjoy entertaining in all forms, from casual game nights to more formal sit-down dinners. They embrace their large families and friend groups and believe 'the more the merrier' philosophy, noting that much joy in their lives includes bonding over great food and wine.
Riona & Phil's Favourite Gifts
"I'm obsessed with the deep blue on this plate."
"Love the lines of this pitcher."
"We love how unique yet sophisticated it is. It’s formal enough for the city but could also be used at the cottage or in a rustic setting."
"They can be dressed up or down."
"Phil uses these for his Gibbys."
"Christmas morning means caviar in our family."