Pacific Northwest Rainforest Wedding
Few things pique my interest quite as much as the idea of a rainforest wedding. As a wedding planner, bride Kira knew she wanted her wedding day to Brendan to be unique, relaxed, and one heck of a party, and we got on board with that pretty quickly. Thank you to Shari + Mike Photographers and Filosophi Events for doing their wedding beautiful justice!
From the bride, Kira: When planning our wedding we sat down and thought about what was most important to us on our wedding day. We wanted to be with each other all day, we wanted to say our own vows, and we wanted to throw one heck of a party. We didn’t want a super flowery, girly wedding, but wanted something raw, different, and relaxed. Working in the wedding industry as a wedding planner, I’ve seen almost everything under the sun and so I knew right away what kind of vibe I wanted for our wedding. It was important that we got married in the winter (we’re lovers of snowboarding and met at a snowboarding event – he an athlete, me as event staff), so it just seemed fitting. With the date set we then choose our venue, the Cheakamus Centre in Paradise Valley, just outside of Squamish, BC. It is a unique green-built ‘tree house’ set in a mossy rainforest with snow-capped mountains found in the distance. Being there made us feel like we were in another world and it hardly required us to do anything to make it look phenomenal.
We decided to forgo some traditional elements to our wedding day and spent the morning with our wedding party in a rental house cooking breakfast, getting ready, and… writing our vows! On a day that goes by so fast, it was really nice to be able to spend all day with the man I was going to marry. One of my most favourite moments was when I was able to straighten his tie and have a few moments together as he got ready. We may or may not have exchanged a couple high fives at this point. Another element that we left in the dust was starting a wedding with the ceremony. Instead we started with cocktails and hugs! We wanted to get the party started right, so we mingled with our friends and family over some beverages and then headed outside for our ceremony. It was so amazing to be surrounded by friends and family right from the beginning of the wedding. We then got hitched in the freezing cold, rainy covered area under the Cheakamus Centre and I got to tell the man that I love that I wanted to get really, really, really old with him. We then celebrated further with a second cocktail time, a gourmet dinner buffet and capped the night off with dancing, ‘life-size’ Jenga and foosball!
The style and decor of our wedding was industrial chic and elements of cedar wood 4×4 beams, glass bottles and candles showcased down long tables could be seen. Charcoal grey, oxblood and gold were the colours that also played with the theme. Brendan and I agreed that we didn’t want to focus on florals for decor, but wanted to use items that were raw/industrial yet played with the background of being in a forest. We wanted simple. So what started off as simple turned out to be a whole lot of DIY. Brendan cut 4×4′s into various heights which were used on long tables as centerpieces. I then taped and spray painted over 200 votive candles which would then be placed at various levels among the 4×4′s. Between the blocks, clear glass bottles filled with cotton and greenery and helped break up the length of the tables.
FYI – The glass bottles with flowers were something I had talked about with the girls at Filosophi, but at the end of the day our budget wouldn’t allow for it. But to my surprise, they appeared on our tables as a very generous gift from some people ‘in the know’ and I may have shed some tears upon seeing the room and the generosity of some pretty amazing ladies. Brendan also cut a small cedar block which we used to hold each place card. The place cards were cut from plexi glass and rounded corners were sanded. I then hand wrote in calligraphy each guest’s name. While we spent a great deal of time making the perfect pieces for our wedding, it really was the girls at Filosophi, the wedding planning company I work with who set everything up, made the venue look incredible and made sure that our wedding was one of the best days of our lives. I may have shed a few unexpected tears when I walked into the room and saw how it had all come together. It was more amazing that I’d ever had imagined in my head!
Any advice for couples planning their weddings now? Your wedding day goes by incredibly fast. Too fast! Get ready together if you’re not into doing the traditional thing, sneak away with your new husband after the ceremony for a few minutes and revel in the fact that you’re actually married(!) and hire a wedding planner so that you can focus on mingling, dancing and partying. Definitely mingle. dance. and party. Oh and just one more thing – stay true to yourselves throughout the planning process. Take in stride the advice you will get from family and friends and work as a couple to determine the must-haves. It’s your wedding day. Make new traditions, leave old ones behind, and make sure you have fun throughout the planning process.
Processional: “Your Song,” Elton John
Signing License: “Sea of Love,” Phil Phillips
Recessional: “Life is Better with You,” Michael Franti
First Dance: “Who We’ve Become,” Joey Cape
Father/Daughter Dance: “Fathers and Daughters,” Paul Simon
Wedding Location: Paradise Valley, Squamish, BC, Canada / Photographer: Shari + Mike Photographers / Event Planning: Erin Bishop and Corinne College of Filosophi Events / Floral Design: The Flower Factory and Delovely Creative / Venue: Cheakamus Centre / Wedding Dress: Vera Wang White Collection / Hair and Makeup: ML Makeup / Bridesmaids’ Skirts: Express / Wedding Bands: Grimson & Sons / Wedding Cake: Sweet Bake Shop / Ceremony and Cocktail Hours Musician: Martin of Side One / Rentals: Flowerz and A&B Party Time Rentals / Wedding Invitations: DIY / Transportation: Squamish Party Bus