Karen Clark & David Poole
The original plan was a wedding in England with family and friends from around the world. The revised plan? An intimate wedding in which the doggo groomsman steals the show. Bride Karen gives us all the details.
Tell us a bit about your love story: I am originally from Devon, England. I was living in the Cayman Islands for 7 years and then left to go to Whistler, BC on a 1-year Working Holiday Visa. Dave, grew up in Toronto, but was out in Whistler for the season to play in the mountains.
We both worked at neighbouring restaurants and began chatting, hanging out, playing darts and pool. After spending time together for 3 months in Whistler, Dave had to leave to head back to Ontario for his brother’s wedding and my Visa was expiring and I was heading back to Grand Cayman. Dave visited me in Cayman for a week and I flew back with him to Muskoka for 2 weeks.
After a few months, realizing we wanted to be together, Dave moved to Cayman to give our relationship a shot. After 6 months of living together in Cayman, we made the decision that there was more opportunity and growth for our future in Canada. We packed up our lives with my Cayman Potcake dog, Zeke and flew to New York, followed by a road trip to Toronto.
I was on a tourist visa and unable to work so began getting papers together to apply for permanent residency. It was a long, gruelling process. Our relationship had its ups and downs, but we knew we were meant to be together. During the waiting period I went to school to become a Registered Massage Therapist (RMT).
August 2019 I had finished all my exams, and we had a month long trip planned to Peru. Before we left, Dave woke me up one evening and proposed. I said yes, obviously. During our trip in Peru, we got the news that I passed all my exams and my permanent residency was approved. Needless to say it was an amazing trip, but we couldn’t wait to get back to Toronto so our lives together could begin for real.
What were your original plans for your wedding day? We were supposed to be getting married in Devon, England. This is where my family are from and where I grew up. We had all of Dave’s family joining us and our friends making the flight(s) from Ontario, Vancouver, USA, Barbados & Grand Cayman. We were having the ceremony and reception at The Berry Head Hotel in Brixham. The hotel overlooks the sea and it is just stunning.
When you had to change your plans, how did you feel before and after? It was an emotional rollercoaster. Upset, mad, heartbroken, disappointed.
After a long chat, Dave and I decided we wanted to be husband and wife and not wait. Wedding planning is stressful and not easy (especially on the other side of the world), but the hardest part was coming to terms with not having my family there with us. I wasn’t going to have my Dad walk me down the aisle, have a dance with my 91-year-old Nan, or be able to drink champagne and get ready with my mom and bridesmaids. It broke my heart. Luckily, I have the best family and they fully supported our decision and encouraged us to have the best day, which we did.
I knew that we were going to be celebrating in England, with my family as soon as it was possible. The fact I can wear my wedding dress twice is the icing on the cake.
The silver lining to all of the changes was that we were able to have Zeke (our 14-year-old Cayman dog) with us.
Will you be having a larger celebration? We are planning on flying to England as soon as possible to have a celebration with my family, wedding dress and suit included. What bride wouldn’t want to wear her wedding dress twice?
What was your favourite part of the day? Having my dog Zeke with us. He is 14 and I adopted him from the Humane Society in Grand Cayman and he has been my sidekick since he was 10 months old. Having him in our photos is something I will cherish forever. (I probably should say, my favourite part was marrying the man of my dreams!)
What will guests remember most? As soon as we had said “I do” , Zeke stood up (he was lying down like such a good boy between us for the whole ceremony) and walked all over my wedding dress train with his dirty wet paws (Did i mention it rain/hailed for a couple hours before?). My white dress now had my fur baby’s paw prints all over it. (If that had been a human, I don’t think I would have thought it was that cute.)
Or the fact that they were invited to our wedding via text message a week before!
What advice can you give to couples planning a wedding? Make it about you and your partner! Do what makes you both happy. Get yourself an amazing photographer, (I sure did) because that is what you are going to look back on and see all those photos that captured the pure love and happiness you felt on your special day. Of course I wished to have my family and friends around me, but ultimately all I wanted was to marry the man I love, look amazing for him and have our photographer capture our relationship.
Number of guests: 15
Ceremony/reception location (including city): Mill St Beer Hall, Toronto
Dress designer: Blue by Enzoani “Juri”, purchased at Jealous Bridesmaids, Toronto
Suit designer: Indochino
Photographer: Hayley Palmquist-Dundas
Flowers: Gingko Florists
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