dr sun yat sen garden weddingSachin Khona Photography1. Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Garden

A sanctuary in the middle of Vancouver’s cosmopolitan core, the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden has proven an ideal wedding location for over three decades... though its ever-changing aesthetic proves a constant draw. “The outside world falls away the moment guests enter the garden’s white walls, creating an intimate and captivating atmosphere for both traditional and non-traditional weddings,” explains Debbie Cheung, the venue’s marketing and communications manager. “Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden evolves with the seasons, with lush greens in the summer shifting into deep reds and golds in fall. Open-air courtyards allow guests to enjoy the beautiful weather and views, while covered walkways and pavilions offer shade and shelter.”

When completed in 1986, the garden stood as the only full-scale Chinese garden outside of China. “The location offers a wealth of exquisite cultural, natural and architectural elements designed to delight and inspire,” says Cheung.

chinatown wedding vancouverRonnie Lee Hill Photography

Citing both the venue’s cultural significance and its unique symbolic elements, including stunning mature trees and a jade pond with colourful koi adding a special touch, Cheung says couples that wed on-site are often sophisticated but adventurous. “Couples are passionate about culture and heritage, with tastes that reflect simple, yet refined elegance,” she says. “They enjoy blending the traditional and modern, and are always looking for new, enriching experiences.”

Meticulously cultivated greenery, scenic pathways and the glow of evening lanterns are all popular with wedding parties. “In the middle of a modern metropolitan city,” muses Cheung, “it is an oasis of culture, elegance and natural splendour.”

wedding in dr sun yat senRonnie Lee Hill Photography

PREVIOUS WEDDINGS: More than 2,300

CAPACITY: Maximum of 300 guests for an entire garden rental

MINIMUM SPEND: Determined by need

LEAD TIME: Dependent on time of year, but agreements must be signed 30 days from date

PLANNING: An events manager will aid, but independent planners are encouraged

A/V: Rentals available at added cost

INSIDER INFO: “A traditional tea ceremony or guzheng (Chinese zither) performance is a memorable highlight for receptions,” says Cheung.

chinatown wedding vancouverRonnie Lee Hill Photography

“Utilize the different spaces to capture photographs in a minimalist way, or combine nature with an urban feel and get creative with the colours, architecture, light and lines. The venue really has it all.” – Sachin Khona, Photographer

dr sun yat sen wedding venueRonnie Lee Hill Photography

hatley park national historic site weddingLushana Bale Photography2. Hatley Park National Historic Site

As treasured venues go, Victoria’s Hatley Park National Historic Site—resting on 565 acres of waterfront property—is one of the province’s most grand. Offering wedding parties a truly historic spot for picturesque ceremonies and portraits to cherish, the iconic Hatley Castle was built in 1908 and was, at one time, the country estate of Premier James Dunsmuir and family. “Many couples choose to incorporate a tour for guests to highlight the rich history and create a sense of place for those present,” explains Lorraine Burtoi, manager of campus services at Royal Roads University.

Trimmed with sandstone from local Gulf Islands and finished with oak, rosewood, teak and more indoors, it’s a venue that exudes sophistication and evokes emotion. “Romance is in the air from the minute you arrive at Hatley Castle, which makes every bride feel like a princess,” concurs Burtoi.

hatley park wedding photosLushana Bale Photography

Even Hollywood has caught on, selecting the venue as a preferred destination for productions ranging from the blockbuster Deadpool to the TV classic MacGyver. Installments of the X Men cinematic franchise have also made use of historic structures and impressive backdrops, but it’s the intimacy and scale of the rooms inside that truly shine on special days. “The grandeur of the castle is represented in every room and makes it easy to accommodate groups of all sizes,” says Burtoi.

Sweeping down grand staircases, relaxing into cozy corners and dancing under the stars, wedding parties at Hatley Park enjoy the best of variety. “The uniqueness truly offers something for everyone,” Burtoi adds. And its proximity to downtown Victoria makes it ideal for visiting guests.

Both the Italian garden—with symmetrical pathways and boxwood hedges—and the croquet garden provide unique opportunities for celebration, while the option to host a reception indoors is always available.

With historic charm and majestic touches, the space is obviously adored by Hollywood royalty and, certainly, an impressive spot for romantic nuptials.

hatley park weddingLushana Bale Photography

PREVIOUS WEDDINGS: 50 weddings annually

CAPACITY: Varies by space selected, from 50 to 250

MINIMUM SPEND: Determined by need

LEAD TIME: Minimum one year

PLANNING: Independent planners should be hired

A/V: In-house A/V included with select packages

INSIDER INFO: “At Hatley Park, couples are actually able to celebrate their entire day on-site. From photography in the gardens to lavish receptions inside, you and your guests can relax and celebrate knowing everything is taken care of,” says Burtoi.

“To give guests the full experience of Hatley Park, we encourage using the unique areas for different portions of the celebration. The Italian gardens can often be overlooked so utilize the beautiful loggia and pergola for a group photo or a champagne toast. The loggia provides a cool space for guests to find shade and is a perfect spot to have your musicians play.“ – Emma McCormick, Wedding Planner

gods mountain estate weddingLisa Catherine Photography3. God's Mountain Estate

With gorgeous outdoor grounds and a dedication to relaxation and creativity, Penticton’s God’s Mountain Estate provides a wedding locale for couples who want romance and beauty without the hustle and bustle. “A place to do nothing and rest afterwards.’ This is our motto,” explains Judith Hass, general manager of “the Department of Various Things.” “God’s Mountain is quintessentially Okanagan. Our ceremony site is sandwiched between Skaha Lake and the wilderness, with vineyard and fruit trees you expect in the Okanagan, juxtaposed with a Santorini-esque building.”

With the Mediterranean-style villa and over 100 acres of pristine Okanagan nature, God’s Mountain certainly offers both expansive possibilities... but also intimacy. “We offer a very personal touch since God’s Mountain is not only a bed and breakfast and a working vineyard, it is also—foremost—our home. We are inviting couples and their loved ones to be part of our family for a moment in time,” says Haas.

god's estate weddingLisa Catherine Photography

With such easily accessible accommodation, the estate provides the unique opportunity for guests to stay in the villa for a minimum of two nights, allowing for a relaxing evening prior to the party, added ease with preparations and, of course, a moment to sit back and steep in the new memories afterwards. “Our villa is also an eclectic bed and breakfast—filled with a lifetime collection of antiques, books and oddities—so the couple and up to 28 guests have the opportunity to enjoy a relaxing time together with their families before, during and after the wedding celebration,” Haas explains.

god's estate penticton weddingLisa Catherine Photography

“We are inviting guests to immerse themselves in the peace and serenity that we try to preserve at God’s Mountain,” she continues. With additional options like al fresco dining and winery experiences, God’s Mountain Estate may not be a sacred spot, but its bounty is certainly blessed.

penticton weddingLisa Catherine Photography

PREVIOUS WEDDINGS: Over 150 in the past 15 years

CAPACITY: From two to 100

MINIMUM SPEND: $8,800 for one-day option, $15,800 for two-night option

LEAD TIME: One to two years

PLANNING: Independent planners should be hired

A/V: Rentals required

INSIDER INFO: “Take advantage of the property; a short hike up the mountain provides stunning scenery and views for photo shoots,” says Haas.

photography spots pentictonLisa Catherine Photography

“Shade sails or funky parasols are a fun complement, and drinking water is equally important. Encourage guests with fun water-based beverages: sparkling water with local lavender, lemon and a touch of Similkameen honey, or strategically placed icy water with fresh mint sprigs.” – Dana Ewart, Joy Road Catering

woodbridge ponds secret garden weddingTeryn Lee Photography4. The Secret Garden at Woodbridge Ponds

Showcasing the same whimsy as its namesake children’s tome, the Secret Garden at Woodbridge Ponds provides an exquisite outdoor setting, nestled into the grounds of an active blueberry farm. “The gardens—although not so secret anymore—are second to none,” says Caroline Mostertman, the site’s owner. “Complemented by ponds filled with fish and water features, you will find some awesome building structures and storefronts on the cobblestone courtyard,” she continues.

secret garden weddingTeryn Lee Photography

The locale offers over 25,000 square feet of ponds and foliage, and acts—during business hours—as Western Canada’s largest grower of floating pond plants. But a collection of associated businesses also adds incredible value for wedding parties. “A great assortment of businesses support the wedding venue,” says Mostertman. “Ripples Winery, adjacent to the wedding venue, boasts both an indoor and an outdoor patio with tables and chairs, more gardens and decorative structures. Guests have opportunities to find special relaxing spots to entertain themselves during wedding photos and between the ceremony and the reception. No one ever gets bored!” Woodbridge Ponds and New Wave Distilling are also close by.

As the lush nature of a country setting abounds, couples feel incredibly welcome and at peace. “The whole venue just enfolds people and makes them feel like they are the most special couple ever to have set foot on this journey,” says Mostertman. “It’s a unique experience, providing memories to bask in for years to come.”

woodbridge ponds weddingTeryn Lee Photography

PREVIOUS WEDDINGS: 75 per year

CAPACITY: 140

MINIMUM SPEND: Determined by need

LEAD TIME: Depends on day and time, but heavily booked for 2020 weekends

PLANNING: Wedding lead assigned, though initial planning not included

A/V: Indoor and outdoor sound provided

INSIDER INFO: “Each guest will leave feeling like they spent the day in paradise, given the gardens and water features. They won’t soon forget this day!” says Mostertman.

“Trust the staff to help make their day perfect. I have witnessed the staff go above and beyond to tie up any loose ends and ensure every detail is beautiful and every event runs smoothly." – Bonnie Boes, Dogwood Designs

horticultural centre of the pacific weddingThe Nickersons5. The Gardens at the Horticulture Centre of the Pacific

The Horticulture Centre of the Pacific, located just 12 kilometres from Victoria’s historic downtown, houses the Pacific Horticulture College and provides an exceptional—and romantic—garden experience. “The ceremony site sits underneath a fragrant eucalyptus tree, and the waters of our habitat conservation park sparkle in the background,” explains Megan Stacey, the location’s events manager. “You’ll never feel more at ease and unplugged.”

The venue boasts the largest outdoor bonsai garden in Canada (and the only such example in Western Canada), so photo ops are varied and plenty. “Our spaces don’t require a ton of decoration, so the more pieces we can include for our clients, the smoother their day will be,” says Stacey. “The knots in the wood combined with the unfussy lines create a simple, rustic backdrop that clients can make their own with fabric and floral installations”

wedding in victoriaThe Nickersons

Nine acres of gardens await guests, who can stroll down an aisle of roses to make their entrance. “It is simply magical,” states Stacey excitedly. “The lush gardens and rich colour combinations make the Gardens at HCP an ideal venue.” The variety of themed areas include the tranquil Takata Japanese garden, complete with a ceremonial teahouse and a traditional moon-viewing bridge that is a popular spot for wedding portraits. A mixed border garden reflects modern design trends with expertly curated plants and foliage grouped together in a picturesque manner.

The variety in the foliage also proudly reflects values of wedding parties. Stacey concurs, “Couples here feel at ease in nature and are looking for a peaceful place to celebrate their union with an intimate group of family and friends.”

PREVIOUS WEDDINGS: Over 200

CAPACITY: 96, plus the head table

MINIMUM SPEND: Determined by need

LEAD TIME: 12 to 18 months are recommended, but “it doesn’t hurt to ask”

PLANNING: A venue coordinator is provided, but independent planners are recommended

A/V: Indoor A/V is included

INSIDER INFO: “You can’t go wrong with a garden party theme! Local blooms and natural elements are an eco-friendly way to dress up your celebration,” says Stacey.

“HCP has the most romantic and beautiful rose-covered walkway, which your guests will enjoy on the way to the ceremony location. Make sure you make use of the garden trails for intimate photos after your ceremony!” – Annise Lorel, Bespoke Blossoms