Sanja Kovacevic and Ian Levine
December 31, 2018
The Settlement Building, Vancouver
Photographed by Aileen Choi

At the Mission: Impossible wrap party back in 2009, stylist Sanja Kovacevic was focused on a critical mission of her own: get that cute camera operator’s number.

Though she spent the whole party scheming on that night 11 years ago, she never got to execute her plans… because Ian Levine walked right over to her and asked for hers. “We’ve basically hung out every day since then,” laughs Sanja.

After a proposal in a Hawaiian rainstorm (“At first I thought it had just popped into his head, but then I realized he had a ring and had actually planned it,” says Sanja. “I didn’t know a ring would mean so much”), the two set to work organizing a vintage-Paris-meets-urban-cool wedding in Railtown’s Settlement Building. New Year’s Eve was an easy choice for a date: everyone had the next day off and was looking for something fun to do. Why not throw a wedding?

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The couple gave Bespoke Decor free rein for the interiors (“I handed her a Pinterest board and full control,” says Sanja), so they were as surprised as anyone by the art deco-chic look when they walked in the door of the warehouse. “If I could do it all again, I don’t know if I would do a surprise,” says Sanja. “It was almost too much to take in on a day where so much else is going on.”

But more important to them than decor was that everyone have a good time. “For us, the biggest part of the night would be the party,” says Sanja. With a day-of coordinator from Smitten Events on hand to help make sure everything ran smoothly, they kicked off the intimate ceremony at 8 p.m. with their 80 guests, then went straight into a cocktail party reception, with canapés from Belgard Kitchen and homemade cocktails instead of a big sit-down dinner. At midnight, a balloon drop rang in the new year—and a new decade of love for Sanja and Ian. Mission accomplished.

Photos from This Chic NYE Wedding

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DAZZLING DETAILS  Inspired by Parisian style, bespoke decor pulled out all the stops with café seating, custom signs and menus and cozy lounging areas, all surrounded by romantic candlelight. Aileen Choi snapped gorgeous shots all night long.

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FRIEND PARADE “I didn’t have bridesmaids,” explains Sanja. “It didn’t make sense to me to play favourites, and I didn’t want to give anyone responsibilities to stress over during the holidays.” Instead, she invited her friends to drop by her dressing room as she was getting ready to share a drink and wish her well. The bride’s hair and makeup were done by Trudi Egerton Ball, and De La Flore crafted her bouquet.

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RAISING A GLASS “We love good drinks,” says Sanja. “There’s nothing I hate more than highballs.” While the venue provided the wine, beer and bartending staff, Sanja and Ian were able to bring in their own pre-made cocktails: a barrel-aged Negroni and a big batch of Paper Planes, both with cute handmade labels. Food from the Settlement Building’s own Belgard Kitchen made the rounds.

adfadfadsfdPhoto by Aileen Choi.GETTING PERSONAL The couple exchanged rings from Cavalier during a ceremony officiated by Jane Halton from Young, Hip and Married, who asked the couple to take a pause to look out at their guests and soak in all the love that was in the room. “It gave us the opportunity to actually look out and take it all in for a second,” says Sanja. “It was such a great thing to include.” (Another key ceremony tip from the bride: “Trust me: you have to have a mic.”) Sanja hired a translator from Upwork to transcribe the whole ceremony in Serbian to give to her non-English-speaking grandparents after the wedding.

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COSTUME DEPARTMENT Sanja wore an elegant white boatneck dress with a train from Rituals of Love for the ceremony; the floor-length veil was custom-made from fabric Ian’s sister found in New York. The groom, meanwhile, dressed to the nines in a black Gucci blazer and a classic black bow-tie. But once the ceremony was done, Sanja immediately switched into her real dream dress for the reception: an all-sequin number sourced online from Shopbop.

dfadfsdfPhoto by Aileen Choi.dfsdfsdPhoto by Aileen Choi.SPECIAL TOUCHES Ian’s sister, a fashion designer, sketched a portrait of the couple that was 3D-printed into a topper for the cake by ganache patisserie. A midnight balloon drop from Balloonatics was a festive addition to the dance floor.