Allyson Wickham & Kyle Chang
September 1, 2018, Affinity Guesthouse, Cowichan

Entrées hadn’t even been served at Ally Wickham and Kyle Chang’s wedding dinner when one of the guests suddenly stood up, grabbed a microphone from under his chair, and belted out the first line to “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.” Another guest joined in, then another, then another, until a whole chorus was serenading the couple with an enthusiastic sing-a-long. “It was totally like a movie—it was hilarious,” says Ally of the surprise karaoke session that summed up perfectly how the couple’s inclusive and ever-so-slightly unconventional wedding was as much about their loved ones and close friends as it was about them.

When you’re not ballroom hotel kind of people, the sprawling 26-acre property at Affinity Guesthouse in the Cowichan Valley is an outdoor wedding dream come true. Not only was it a special place for the couple, who met at nearby UVic, but no curfew or styling restrictions meant they didn’t have to leave the property for anything. “We took all the photos there, had the ceremony there, the reception” (and a raging dance party until 3 or 4 a.m.).

During the festivities, Ally and Kyle managed to sneak away for a few special moments (like taking a photo in a wood-beam teepee made by her dad), but the most important part of the wedding was sharing it with their favourite people: it was a close friend who handmade her wedding gown, the brother of the groom who officiated, friends who MCed the wedding. “Our friends always say that Kyle and I are the connectors amongst people,” says Ally. “We like when our friends and family are around. A big part of the day was having all of our closest people around us; that was really special.”

ally and kyle weddingPhoto by Taylor Roades. 

Lucky for Ally, her close friend Stesha Ho designs wedding gowns. “She knows my personal style and just knows what looks good on me,” says Ally. The long-sleeved romantic gown had creamy Italian lace that paired perfectly with the groom’s inky blue suit, designed by Vancouver’s Blair Shapera. To finish the look, the bride opted for a Davie and Chiyo hair pin.

ally kyle wedding real weddingsPhoto by Taylor Roades. 

“Our personal style is very natural, very organic,” says Ally. So the couple didn’t want the decor to be over the top. Simple bent-wood chairs and hand-crafted woodwork accents let the wind-swept island grasslands of the Cowichan Valley backdrop speak for itself.

kyle and ally wedding2Photo by Taylor Roades. kyle and ally wedding 3Photo by Taylor Roades. ally and kyle wedding cowichanPhoto by Taylor Roades. 

Thorn and Thistle kept florals simple with all-white blooms paired with a spectrum of dusty and dark greens, while gold cutlery from Party Mood injected a refined note of sparkle to the tablescape. To seamlessly dress the large family-style tables, Ally and her mother sewed the 60-foot tablecloths themselves.

wedding b.c. ally and kylePhoto by Taylor Roades. 

Bridesmaids wore jumpsuits from Aritzia in shades of off-white, while the grooms kept things sharp yet relaxed with tie-free navy suits from Moores. One of the bride’s best friends, Tina Eriksen, styled her hair, with Brittany Tims taking care of the bridesmaids. Kira Kreativ created a natural but elevated makeup look.

cowichan wedding vancouver islandPhoto by Taylor Roades. grey napkin weddingPhoto by Taylor Roades. 

When guests sat down, they were greeted by table settings of dainty scallop shells on soft grey linens. The groom works for a Vancouver seafood distribution company, so the shells brought in an under-the-sea element. 

vancouver island wedding photoPhoto by Taylor Roades. 

For the wedding invitations, understated stationery from Minted tied in the botanical theme.

vancouver island wedding ally and kylePhoto by Taylor Roades. 

The couple have been together for seven years, so their friends and families are so intertwined that “family-style” was the overarching theme for the event. The bride’s and groom’s guests were mixed in at three large tables with dishes from Toque Catering served, of course, family-style, with everyone sharing stories and laughs like old friends. “It felt natural, like a regular dinner that we would have with friends and family, but just maybe a little bit nicer,” laughs Ally.

Photographer: Taylor Roades,