I had the privilege of visiting Vancouver Island many years ago and it is one of the most picturesque spots you’ll find. So naturally this gorgeous affair snagged at my heart-strings immediately. Stylish, sophisticated and with west coach beach flair, this pretty Vancouver wedding brought guests together all the way from Ireland and beyond. Vivid Photography captured all the beauty of the beachfront celebration and every last detail of this destination affair. It’s a beautiful fresh burst of Canadian style you’ll want to drink right in!
FROM THE BRIDE ANDREA:
How Did The Two of You Meet?
Des and I met in Ireland while I was travelling abroad! He is from a small village called Enniskerry in County Wicklow, Ireland. My sister married a man from the same village (followed by her best friend marrying Des’s best friend after visiting Ireland and my best friend meeting Des’s good friend at our wedding who are now in a serious relationship and she has moved to Ireland to be with him!) Needless to say, there is definitely a connection between ladies from Saskatchewan and men from Enniskerry! It must be something in the water.
Why Vancouver Island for your Destination Wedding?
After the proposal we spent 6 months travelling the world together and then returned to Canada where we live now. As a prairie girl, I have always adored the west coast of Canada and my mom and step-father have retired on Vancouver Island so we decided it would be a fabulous place to have our wedding. We lived in Victoria for 6 months and discovered Tigh-Na-Mara resort in Parksville at this time which we fell in love with.
What was your Wedding Vision?
Our vision for the wedding was an outdoor ceremony that incorporated west-coast rustic elegance. Because of our common love for the outdoors and adventure, we wanted to bring the outdoors in and Tigh-Na-Mara definitely was the place for this, not to mention the name itself is in Irish Gaelic meaning “house by the sea.” It seemed like fate.
Tell Us About Your Day. .
The day itself was amazing. I had 6 bridesmaids and Des had 5 groomsmen (4 of which were from Ireland). We had nearly 40 guests come from Ireland and the other 60 were from all over Canada and the USA. Our flower-girls and ring-bearer were all from Ireland as well. They all wore match ivory dresses and head bands and our ring-bearer’s suit was rented from Moore’s to perfectly match the groomsmen.
Wedding Style & Colour Palette
Our colour scheme was bright yellow (my favourite colour) and colours from the surroundings at Tigh-Na-Mara – including tan (sand), greens and white. The bridesmaids wore bright yellow sweetheart, strapless short dresses which they ordered online from J-crew with tan heels and the men wore black suits with bright yellow vests and ties which matched the shade of the ladies’ dresses. I got my wedding gown in Ireland from a little local store. It was the “Dakota” dress by Enzaoni which I had altered to have a deeper sweetheart.
I gave the girls matching sand-dollar necklaces with their initials and a coin-pearl with coin-pearl earrings. I found these on “Etsy” which is a great website for wedding gifts! My bouquet was filled with bright yellows and oranges with roses, orchids and calla-lilies. The groomsmen wore the same yellow orchids in their boutonnieres and I surprised Des with a passion-flower for his, as this is his favourite special flower. The girls had white orchids with beautiful long green grasses as their bouquets. There were also sprays of yellow orchids framing the gazebo at the ceremony.
The ceremony took place late morning and we were lucky to have pleasant sunny weather as it had been lashing rain all week! The girls and I got ready in the “Grotto Spa” at Tigh-Na-Mara where we had our makeup and hair done as well as a glass of bubbly and breakfast. Meanwhile, the men went swimming in the ocean and Des saved a Canadian goose from the mouth of a dog – a great way to start his wedding day as a believer in good karma!
Suzanne Hedges was our wedding coordinator and did and absolutely amazing job. She picked all of us girls up in a golf cart and we made our way down to the ceremony sight that was surrounded by arbutus trees, log cabins and overlooked the sea. The tide was out that day so it was even more beautiful with the sand stretching on for miles! My wonderful step-dad and uncle (who was also our masters of ceremony) ushered everyone in and gave each person bubbles to blow after the ceremony. For the reserved seats I made small signs out of cart paper, white marker and placed them in pine cones, incorporating the natural elements of the setting. We also made the wedding programs ourselves using tan cart paper, twigs and yellow ribbon.
My gorgeous mom and wonderful Dad walked me down the isle as we had traditional live Irish music play. We had a fiddler who we saw play down in Victoria several times, a guitarist and an Uillean pipe player (a traditional Irish instrument which is my favourite instrument of all). Among others, they played a Celtic version of Pachabel’s canon. It was a very emotional and exciting day and I couldn’t have been happier to see Des standing smiling at the end of the aisle.
After saying our vows, having his sister do a traditional Irish blessing, having my sister speak words of marriage wisdom and getting bright pink lipstick all over Des’s face after our “I-do” kiss, we signed the registry where I had made a vase using the bark of a birch tree from my Dad’s backyard and a vase. I engraved Des and my initials in a heart and we placed wild flowers we collected in it. Everyone blew bubbles as we made our way back up the isle where we shared champagne and gorgeous appetizers (made at Tigh-Na-Mara) which people enjoyed on the grass at the ceremony location.
The Beach Photo Shoot
We did the photo shoot on the beach at Tigh-Na-Mara. For the beach photo shoot, I gave my bridesmaids red, yellow and pink polka-dot “wellies” (rubber boots) to wear which I brought from Ireland. The men wore bare feet for this. After the first shoot, Des and I (and his awesome best man, Barry) did another one which was a little drive away from the ceremony sight. It was full of giant pieces of driftwood and unique stone and I loved the creativity Vivid used with their photos!
Decor & DIY Details
The petal and kettle helped with our decorations and we also incorporated a lot of DIY’s. They made us a wishing tree using natural curly sticks which was a lovely way for people to send their best words and wishes. They provided bright yellow sashes on the chairs to match the same yellow of bridesmaids dresses. We incorporated burlap and lace table runners on top of white linens and we made table names ourselves using mason jars, sand, burlap and lace, small chalk board squares from Michael’s which we stuck in the sand and then photos of the two of us from our travels around the world to name our tables.
I have a true love for beach combing so we incorporated lots of driftwood and sand dollars and small yellow starfish which I found myself and got from a shop on the island. I also made (with the help of my family) napkin wraps out of baby sand dollars and hemp…very simple and beautiful! The centerpieces were gorgeous up-lit yellow orchids in jelly bubbles which varied between tall and short vases on each table.
Our cake was a one tier, very dense chocolate biscuit cake (traditional to Ireland) covered in thick beautiful bright yellow icing and pearly white drops. It was placed on a tree stump that the Coastal Cake Company made at our request to incorporate the rustic element and the cake was topped with simple white orchids. We also had yellow, white and brown cake pops with sand dollar decals on them each with different flavours including: white chocolate raspberry, passion fruit vanilla and chocolate.
Our reception was so much fun. We started early with appetizers and drinks in front of the stone fireplace. We had seafood martinis (a collection of crab and other seafood served in martini glasses) as well as potato martinis to bring in the west coast feel by providing fresh seafood.
We had a kids craft table set up with colouring books, craft paper and hats to create. We had a buffet dinner, lots of touching speeches and a slideshow. Our music was amazing for the night. The same musicians played in the evening–incorporating traditional Irish and Canadian songs while they led dances. We followed this with a DJ and had a midnight snack of vegetarian pizza, wings and veggies and dip.
The party went on all night as we danced the night away (our first song being Etta James’, “At Last” which Des and I first danced to in Ireland at a “silent” disco). The gang then made their way to the beach for a bonfire as we retired to our honeymoon suite overlooking the ocean. It was a truly magical day!