When the wedding venue is almost as beautiful as the bride, you know you’ve picked the right spot. Today’s wedding from Shari + Mike, Filosophi, and Billie’s Flower House is a romantic boho-eclectic lovefest featuring an outdoors reception with the most spectacular mountain views you could imagine. Let’s jump right in, yeah?
The bride from today’s wedding describes her vision more perfectly than we could ever hope to — “a full day of love and laughter and beauty with our dear ones in a cozy, organic setting.” Erica and Andrew exchanged vows on picturesque grounds in Victoria, British Columbia, with the always-wonderful Shari + Mike Photographers and Rook & Rose making their vision a perfect reality. Could you imagine a more perfect ceremony spot?
From the bride, Erica: We wanted our wedding to be a holistic celebration – a full day of love and laughter and beauty with our dear ones in a cozy, organic setting. We loved the idea of being married on the Island, in amongst the trees, and when we discovered Starling Lane, we knew that it was the perfect fit. Every space was so full of life, character and color – the shaded groves, the lush rose garden, the tall grass field, the rustic barn covered in vines and, our favorite, the whimsical glass greenhouse. It was an ideal canvas for us to work with.
I curated the visual design of our wedding, handpicking every piece. I loved creating a romantic and intimate feel using soft fabrics, watercolors, vibrant florals, calligraphy, and candlelight. I wanted everything to feel intentional and cohesive, inviting our guests to feel at home. For months I collected vintage furniture and decor and worked closely with our florist. It was really important to me to have our flowers as a focal point. The exceptionally creative team at Rook & Rose captured our vision completely. It was absolutely magical.
We also had a strong vision for our ceremony. We wanted to design each element with our understanding of love & marriage at the center. After walking down the aisle, my parents blessed us rather than “giving me away”. We had two officiants. They shared the role of leading us through a carefully crafted liturgy that emphasized our empowering, peace-loving partnership. Andrew and I wrote a set of collective vows that we read to each other, allowing us to mutually commit to one another. We also wanted to show the importance of our relationship as part of a greater whole, a larger community. We made space to sing and partake of communion together with our gathered loved ones. From our entrance to our exit, music artistically tied it all together, giving us the opportunity to share another integral part of both our lives. Listening to an acoustic hymn performed by our dear friends, Jordan and Jocelyn, was one of my favorite sacred moments.
Feasting and fellowship followed. Andrew and I wanted to share our love of fresh food in a unique way. After an afternoon of cheese, loaves, honey and berries, we gathered for a time of meaningful toasts and a lively family-style dinner. Our caterer, The London Chef, helped us create a menu filled with our favorites prepared in a simple yet elegant manner. We wanted our food to be full of color, healthy and whole. Andrew and I also made a playlist of our favorite folk love songs to play while everyone relaxed and enjoyed the meal. We committed to mingling from table to table during the dessert. The evening of festivities concluded with dancing. It was the perfect way to end the day. Seeing all the silly moves and smiles gave us more joy than we could have imagined. We are so thankful that we were able to spend so much quality time with our guests. It was something we will never forget.
Any advice for couples planning their weddings now? Take the time to define your values and then allow them to guide you in your preparations. You can easily become swept up in the chaos of trying to do everything, please everyone, and achieve every expectation when you are not grounded in what is most important to you. When you align the details of your day with your values, you can infuse each moment with meaning. See each decision you make as an opportunity to be intentional. Despite popular opinion, your wedding doesn’t need to be trendy. It needs to reflect you and the one you love. It should reveal your heart.
Processional: Clair de Lune, Claude Debussy
Recessional: “Take Care,” Beach House
First Dance: “Cicadas and Gulls,” Feist
Hair and Makeup
Bridal Party Attire
Wedding Invitations and Graphic Design
So many words come to mind when viewing this wedding – hip, relaxed, intimate, in tune with nature, and most of all – just plain cool. April and Clarke originally planned a lavish wedding with 500 guests before completely rerouting their vision to a 28-person semi-elopement on the beach. I’d have to say they made the right move, because the result is nothing short of breathtaking. Thank you to Shari + Mike Photographers and Celsia Floral for your beautiful work on this one!
From the bride, April: I always envisioned a more polished, glam version of an outdoor garden party. We knew we wanted to be near forest and the water as we are both outdoorsy. We didn’t want a huge production with neon lights, satin, crystals and ballrooms. We stuck to a neutral palette of creams, blush, peach, greens and brass/gold.
Flower recipe: I don’t know all of the actual flowers that went into my bouquet but I gave the very talented Tahnee of Celsia Flowers a list of flowers I wanted and that I wanted a wildflower-esque, organic/natural looking. Colour scheme of pinks, peaches, corals and greenery/foliage. Preferred blooms which could be available: peonies, ranunculus, anemones, garden roses, lavender, dusty miller, lily of the valley, foliage.
I created the dream catchers with willow branches from home (Yellowknife, NT, Canada) to which we ruggedly tied with yarn in the theme colours. I also had ordered these beautiful blush coloured feathers off Etsy and I sprinkled the tips with a fine rose gold glitter mix I made. We made two curtain backdrops for the wedding dinner, one was made of different sized gold paper disks we just glued back to back onto string – turned out very glamourous and added a polished element to the dark grey/dramatic surroundings of the Wine Cellar we were in. The second backdrop was made with a mixture of locally picked greenery, gold discs and the blush feathers. We hung a banner with our names in front of it by Rifle Paper Co.
Any advice for couples planning their weddings now? Do what you want to do and don’t feel bad for doing it! We went from a local 500 person wedding to a very small destination, semi-elopement style beach/forest wedding of 28 people. Sure there were a few people who didn’t understand but at the end of the day, it’s YOUR day and YOU’RE going to need to look back at it in 20 years and you can either have regrets or beautiful, true-to-yourself memories. And delegate, delegate, delegate!
Well the original plan was for my brother in law (groomsman) to pull out the guitar from behind his back to play an instrumental Blackbird by the Beatles while I walked down the aisle. But since we ended up with our semi-elopement plan, we didn’t have any bridesmaids or groomsmen up with us and we had a completely natural ceremony with no music – just the sound of the ocean waves! In the hustle of the wedding day, we all forgot our iPods so we didn’t have a set playlist for the wedding dinner and we ended up listening to some Spanish guitar during dinner. We didn’t have a first dance as we wanted to keep the dinner very simple, like a big family dinner… albeit a very glamourous one! But if we were to have our first dance it would have been to “Holocene” by Bon Iver.
Wedding Location: Ucluelet, British Columbia, Canada / Photographer: Shari + Mike Photographers / Flowers: Celsia Floral / Venue: Black Rock Resort / Wedding Dress: Sarah Seven / Wedding Shoes: Jimmy Choo and TOMS / Groom’s Suit: Armani / Groom’s Shoes: Harry Rosen / Wedding Cake and Guest Treat Bags: Zoe’s Bakery and Cafe / Wedding Invitations and Banner: Rifle Paper Co
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
This wedding captured by Shari + Mike Photographers is everything. The vibrancy is felt from the pops of color to the energy from guests, bridal party and the bride and groom themselves. Andrea and Kane handmade their wedding with lots of personal touches with the help of family and friends. There’s so much to see, so let’s jump to it:
From the bride, Andrea: Our wedding was truly a one of a kind magical fun loving day! Working with a small budget, along with the help from our friends and family, we created our big day reflecting to our personalities and all our loves!
Any advice for other brides planning their weddings now? If you are having a mainly DIY wedding, ask for help from friends and family. They are going to be more then willing to help and it will keep your stress level to a minimum. We definitely couldn’t have done it on our own and were so thankful for all the help we received! Have a day-of wedding planner. We planned, designed and executed our wedding without hiring a wedding planner which was so fun because I really enjoy planning events and I am a designer in my day job, so it was a natural role for me to play. Saying that, we both wish we hired a day of coordinator to manage the day of needs/issues. You want your family and friends to enjoy that day for themselves and you don’t want to have to worry about everything on the day of your wedding.
We basically had everything go off without a hitch that day, but there came times that we were on the phone managing a couple small crisis. For example when our 1952 Cadillac overheated while we were getting photos taken and we were a bit late arriving for dinner, it would have been nice to have someone else notify the caterer and manage the guests already at the cocktail hour. It did turn out to be a funny story to tell afterwards and resulted in an even better entrance to the reception, which goes to show everything won’t go as planned but just roll with it. It is one of the biggest days in your life and when you are in the moment you won’t even notice.
Wedding Location: Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada / Photographer: Shari + Mike Photographers / Flowers: Fresh / Event Design: Bride / Ceremony Venue: St. Patrick’s Church / Reception Venue: Medalta Potteries / Wedding Dress: Martina Liana via Blush / Hair Accessory and Veil: Blush / Bridesmaids’ Hair Pieces: WCObyNancy / Wedding Cakes: Tara Lam / Madlibs: My August Press / Vintage Umbrella Rentals: Bella Umbrella / Wedding Invitation Design: Bride