When Shannon Lewis first met Fraser Macdonald on the squash court, she was immediately taken by his exceptional cross-court shot. Having worked up a good sweat, and with a plethora of competitive energy in the small space, the two soon realized that they wanted to know if they shared more than the love of a great game.
Fraser — a lobbyist and former lawyer — was immediately drawn to Shannon’s competitive spirit, and remembers his first impressions of her. “She was so glamorous and filled with adventure,” he recalls. As the two began to date, Shannon — a media executive and industry association president — realized that she had met her intellectual match in Fraser: “I loved his intelligence, charm and politically charged, caring soul,” she says. The couple discovered a shared thirst for travel and adventure, each having moved abroad early in their careers (she to London, he to Australia) for work and the chance to travel. Realizing they both loved tennis, squash, hiking and skiing, the romance accelerated.
Last January, after dating for two years, Shannon and Fraser were hiking up the trails of Georgian Peaks, a ski resort north of Toronto. As they reached the summit, Fraser proposed and the two made their way down the mountain to pop open a bottle of champagne and celebrate the news with friends and family.
Shannon and Fraser wanted to marry in a place that carried meaning to them, and they chose Shannon’s family cottage on Lake Muskoka. Having lived in London’s Notting Hill for many years, Shannon was no stranger to the magic of an English garden, and her dream was to create a romantic setting with lots of florals and vintage botanical prints. Though the wedding was intimate — the couple invited 35 of their closest friends and family (“These are the people we love to spend our lives with,” says Shannon) — the couple wanted to ensure their ceremony was nonetheless festive and fun.
On August 27th last summer, overlooking Lake Muskoka, Shannon and Fraser exchanged vows. As guests were seated and the groom awaited his bride under a floral arch of majolica roses and natural foliage, Shannon surprised the wedding party by arriving in a 1952 vintage wooden boat driven her father and accompanied by her 7-year-old daughter Olivia. Canadian artist Suzie McNeil set the scene by playing Landslide and Stand by Me, and the highly personal ceremony included a mixture of favourite poems and the reading of a letter written by the bride’s grandmother to her mother on her wedding day. On the groom's side, there was a nod to Fraser’s Scottish Macdonald heritage with a ritual handfasting by the groom's father and a family friend piping guests into dinner under the stars.
Post-ceremony, the wedding party sipped Aperol Spritz cocktails and enjoyed oysters served dockside as the sun set on Lake Muskoka. The wedding’s unofficial photographer – little Olivia — took polaroid photos throughout the evening. The outdoor sit-down menu and catering team was locally-sourced, and guests dined on Milford Bay trout, vine heirloom tomato salad with pesto, grilled beef tenderloin, basil lime sorbet and lemon raspberry macarons.
The tablescape was a focal point for the evening. Handmade acrylic menus, botanical prints, hanging florals and modern black taper candles lined the dinner tables. Hydrangeas, garden roses and ranunculus were kept low so guests could chat across the table, and the newlyweds also created a wax ‘F&S’ seal for the table seating cards, which included hidden questions to spark conversation throughout dinner.
As an ode to their British travels, guests were treated to vintage Pol Roger champagne. Though the product is French, this was a nod to Winston Churchill who is known to have drunk two bottles a day of Pol Roger and over 42,000 bottles in his lifetime. With Churchill’s quote in mind — “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” — Shannon and Fraser celebrated this notion to highlight love, unity and family.
“Surprising our guests with a choreographed first dance to James Taylor’s How Sweet it is to be Loved by You was one of the best moments of the day,” explains Shannon. The couple also revel in the memory of dancing under the stars with heart-shaped glasses to the seven-piece band Suzie McNeil and the Chain Reactions. Recalls Fraser, “by the end of the night, all our guests were still on the dance floor just jamming out to classics. It was amazing to see everyone so happy.”
The newlyweds delayed their honeymoon and will travel to Greece this June. Post-wedding life is full of playdates, school, skiing and easy entertaining at home with good friends. Shannon and Fraser plan to celebrate their first anniversary at the cottage this summer with a few of their nearest & dearest to relive the joy of their special day.
Shannon + Fraser's favourite gifts
“The star of our modern kitchen… it toasts sourdough bread to perfection for Sunday morning breakfast.”
Another kitchen favourite, this sits perched on our top shelf as a piece of art and is used daily to pour olive oil onto lunchtime salads."
"We love entertaining friends at home and find these glasses beautifully designed with the perfect balance in weight & silhouette."
"This beautifully crafted bowl was created by a Canadian artist; we added a personal touch with our wedding date and reminder that ‘Together is a beautiful place to be.’."