Therese Balleza and Raphael Samaniego
July 29, 2018, The Pipe Shop, North Vancouver
Photos by Lucky Studios

Hiking, cycling, skiing—couple Raphael “Ralph” Samaniego and Therese Balleza love everything about the outdoors. “Living in Vancouver all our lives, you really get into that lifestyle,” says Therese. So when Ralph proposed, the couple’s first thought was to plan a grand outdoor, midsummer wedding. However, this being Vancouver, they were also a bit nervous a surprise midsummer rainstorm would make an appearance on the big day. “We decided to bring the outdoors inside,” says Therese, and the Pipe Shop in North Vancouver was the perfect venue for recreating the look and feel of an al fresco garden wedding.

The building itself is gorgeous, with big cedar beams and modern concrete floors, and, most importantly, the large space is surrounded by windows, so the North Shore mountains become part of the natural backdrop. To create that romantic garden look indoors, event designer Heather Siu from Myrtle et Olive Floral & Event Design packed the wooden rafters with draped smilax vines and leafy tree boughs. Centrepieces with herbs, locally grown strawberry greens, cream Yves Piaget garden roses, dahlia and light blush ranunculus adorned the neutral-palette tablescapes, while a bountiful jasmine vine, smilax, wildflower and salal half-moon altarpiece was that extra touch to transform the space. “It felt like you were in a lush, Italian vineyard,” says Therese.

And while it ironically ended up being one of the hottest heat wave days in Vancouver last
summer, the bride only remembers the whole day as perfect, how happy she felt when she first locked eyes on her husband-to-be, and the special send-off from their loved ones at the end of the night—cheers from grandparents and best friends lined up and holding sparklers high as the couple left hand-in-hand to start their new life.

pipe shop wedding floralsLucky Studiospipe shop wedding north vancouverLucky StudiosBride Therese Balleza found her BHLDN dress south of the border on her first trip out. A big train and romantic lace details added special touches to the delicate silhouette. “I wanted to keep things pretty simple,” says Therese. “I wore my hair down, with my mother’s veil and her diamond earrings—there were a lot of special hand-me-downs that day.”

seating chart floral themeLucky Studiosmyrtle et olive floralsLucky Studiosthree layer wedding cake flowersLucky StudiosWatercolour leaf place cards from Minted matched the outdoors theme and the bridesmaids’ sage dresses. The cake, made by 3 Sweet Cakes, owned by a close friend of the bride, had an Earl Grey filling covered in coconut buttercream—another element kept simple to let the flowers stand out.

wedding greenery industrialLucky StudiosThe couple was shocked when they first saw the space on the day of. “When I walked in I just started crying. I thought my makeup was going to get destroyed!” laughs Therese. Mascara restored, the bride walked down the aisle to the Dolce Music string quartet playing “At Last” by Etta James. The groom opted for an Indochino suit in light grey.

romantic table setting wedding vancouverLucky StudiosTo put the focus on the nature element and the bevy of flora, Siu amped up the greens and kept the decor delicate and neutral. Table settings in creams and taupes got a refined injection of glitz from gold cutlery and vintage candlesticks and votives in aged mercury and antique brass.

wedding place settingLucky Studiospipe shop wedding floral ideaLucky Studios

The couple loved the venue, but the Pipe Shop doesn’t have a kitchen on-site. Savoury Chef Foods however had done quite a few events in the venue previously, so Therese and Ralph knew they were in good hands. Saley crafted a West-Coast-inspired feast with local fish and lots of organic fruits and veggies.

pipe shop wedding therese and ralphLucky StudiosUnderneath her dress, the bride was hiding a pair of dark blue suede Christian Louboutins, a gift from her mother-in-law. But that’s not all. During the ceremonial garter toss, Therese lifted her skirt to reveal a Smirnoff Ice under her leg, so the groom had to drink the Iced surprise right then and there—much to the uproarious crowd’s delight.