Jenelle and Vanessa aren't quite sure who introduced them, though they know it was in July of 2011 at the University of Prince Edward Island. "We have a dozen mutual friends who all claim to be 'the one who started it all,'" says Jenelle. In fact, even Vanessa claims responsibility for their love's beginning: "She says that I didn't have a choice in the matter, and that she was going to make it happen no matter what. I have been thankful every day since that 'this' is still happening," Jenelle explains.
The two women became an item on November 1, 2011, and three years later, Vanessa proposed with a scavenger hunt that led to the restaurant where they had their first date, and eventually to a beautiful bed and breakfast. There, Vanessa popped the question with a letter she'd written to Jenelle, interspersed with many tears.
Jenelle grew up on a farm on Canada's Prince Edward Island, and the women knew the gorgeous homestead would be the perfect location for their July 4, 2015, ceremony. "Our guests took a hayride out to the field — it was a huge hit!" Jenelle says. For the reception, they headed into town to the PEI Brewing Company, serving delicious food (and beer!) in a relaxed atmosphere. Their wedding was a lighthearted country celebration at its finest — check out the photos by Wonky Eye Photography, assisted by Sean McGrath, below.
Jenelle and Vanessa had to really trust their bridesmaids when choosing their wedding gowns. "We knew we wanted our dresses to complement one another, but we didn't want to see them before our wedding day," Jenelle, in a veil above, explains. "Vanessa knew exactly what she wanted, so she went shopping first. Then our bridesmaids had a heavy hand in picking what I was going to try on!"
Vanessa's lace and English net Allure wedding dress, with a high neck and a keyhole back, inspired Jenelle's tulle and lace Couture Collection gown. "Luckily, every dress I tried on was a winner, and they kept getting better every time. I would have been happy with anything, as long as it looked beautiful next to Vanessa," says Jenelle.
The brides' paper flower bouquets were handmade by Jenelle while Vanessa, a Royal Canadian Mounted Police Officer, was away for work for six months. Jenelle used pages from their favorite books (Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, and Game of Thrones for her, Frankenstein, Shakespeare's works, and Anne of Green Gables for Vanessa) to customize each bouquet, as well as love notes the two had written to one another over the years.
The bridesmaids also carried paper bouquets, with some sheets dyed lilac and rose hues to match the "I Do Crew's" muted chiffon gowns.
Jenelle took on a number of DIY projects, getting creative when she couldn't find suitable options for their two-bride wedding. A crowd favorite? This sign at the entrance to the ceremony, which reads "Choose a Seat, Not a Side, Either Way It's For a Bride."
Vanessa and Jenelle didn't want to have one of them miss walking down the aisle with her dad by waiting at the altar, so they solved the problem by arranging the ceremony seating in a semi-circle with two aisles, allowing them to meet in the middle.
They'd planned on having their two grandmothers serve as flower girls, but Vanessa's grandmother was unable to attend at the last minute, so the brides' mothers stepped in and preceded their daughters down the aisle.
Jenelle's brother was ordained online so that he could marry his sister and future sister-in-law. "We wanted him to play a big role in our female-dominated day," Jenelle explains.
Knowing how much they cried during the proposal, the women opted against writing letter-style vows to one another, instead deciding to each make five promises. They couldn't find a reading they loved (and didn't want to swap "he" for "she" in anything that caught their eye), so Jenelle took it upon herself to write a lighthearted piece about their fairytale for her aunt to read.
At the Prince Edward Island Brewing Co., round tables were topped with slices of logs, milk glass bottles full of paper flowers, and stacks of cupcakes.
Instead of a signature cocktail, the brides placed growlers of Sir John A's Honey Wheat Ale on each table, and toasted while dining on pan-roasted chicken supreme. Around midnight, they surprised guests with fresh pizza cooked in the brewery's wood-fired oven.
"We entered the reception to Icona Pop's 'Girlfriends,' and had our first dance to 'Mean to Me' by Brett Eldridge," says Jenelle, alluding to the brides' eclectic taste in music. Toward the end of the evening, they snuck away from the crowd for a few minutes alone. "I think we ate half a dozen cupcakes!" laughs Vanessa. Who could resist the red velvet, cream cheese brownie, carrot spice, mint chocolate, vanilla and strawberry, cookies and cream, and cookie dough confections?
They put their honeymoon to work, turning their move across Canada a week after the wedding into a road trip full of minimoons along the way. "We didn't have a wedding planner, so our best advice is to get as organized as you can before the wedding day, then just enjoy yourself once the day comes," says Jenelle. "Do everything you can to enjoy each other's company and take it all in!"
Ceremony Venue: Private Residence || Reception Venue: Prince Edward Island Brewing Company || Jenelle's Wedding Dress: The Wedding Place || Vanessa's Wedding Dress: Allure Bridals || Jenelle & Bridesmaids' Hair: Tangerine Hair || Jenelle & Bridesmaids' Makeup: Larissa Faith || Vanessa & Bridesmaids' Hair: The Dry Bar || Vanessa & Bridesmaids' Makeup: Glam You || Bridesmaids' Dresses: Alfred Angelo || Engagement Rings: Charm Diamond Centres || Wedding Bands: Peoples Jewellers || Flowers: Jenelle's Mother || Invitations: Grog Tag || Music: Maximum Volume Entertainment || Catering: Murphy Hospitality Group || Cupcakes: Lovely Day Desserts || Photography: Wonky Eye Photography, assisted by Sean McGrath
Want to see more Canadian weddings? Then check out another couple's Toronto celebration in the video below.