Alexandra Teed and Mat Barker
September 29, 2018
Camp Fircom, Gambier Island, B.C.
Photographed by Shari and Mike Photographers

He was super off-limits,” laughs Alexandra of her now-husband, Mat. He was her brother’s best friend growing up, so she kept her crush from afar, but when they ran into each other in their 20s, it turned out the feelings were still there... and mutual.

Alexandra is an artist and Mat works as an environmental engineer, which made them the perfect pair to plan an elaborate and artful wedding weekend after Mat’s Kits Beach proposal. “We collaborated so well: I drew everything out, and he put it in a spreadsheet and dealt with the logistics,” says Alexandra.

They booked Fircom summer camp on Gambier Island to be the setting for their moody, West Coast fall wedding, and when the weekend came, it was all hands on deck to set up the remote 122-acre boat-access-only waterfront property. The bridal party came early to help set up the decor and kegs, and as guests started to arrive, they all began pitching in, too. “They helped with everything from tagging luggage to welcoming people off the water taxis,” says Alexandra. “Everyone was stringing lights and hanging lanterns.”

The weekend kicked off with a Friday night taco fiesta, where Alexandra and Mat gave their heartfelt welcome and thank-you speeches and new friendships were formed. “Having a weekend wedding where the first night was full of activities and time to hang out made the ceremony and reception extra-special because acquaintances had a chance to become friends before celebrating the big day,” says Mat. “It was really amazing to look around and see friends and family who, before the weekend, didn’t know each other and were now sharing a beer, playing a game of Spikeball or jamming together around the campfire.”

While planning the wedding, Alexandra and Mat were torn: “We wanted it to be intimate and private, but we still wanted to celebrate with everyone,” says Alexandra. So in the end, they did both. Mat’s uncle performed a ring ceremony in front of their 150 guests, but after dinner the couple snuck off with just the maid of honour and best man in tow to a candlelit gazebo on a cliff to meet their legal officiant, Jeremy Postal. (“He was such a good sport to take a boat at 9 p.m. and hike in the dark!” says Alexandra.) There they signed the papers to officially finalize their marriage, away from the crowd, before returning to the party and hitting the dance floor.

Of course, no wedding day is without a few bumps—on the Saturday, they woke up to gale-force winds that thrashed the florist’s boat around so much that half the flowers showed up broken, and the day-of coordinator got lost in the woods on her morning hike—but the couple took it all in stride. “Weddings are about rolling with it,” says Alexandra. After all, no matter how much planning you do, you just can’t predict everything... and that may even be a good thing, says the bride.

“Even though I drew pictures of how the ceremony was set up, down to where the candles would be, you just can’t design how 150 people’s love is going to feel.”

Photos from Alexandra and Mat's Wedding Weekend at Camp Fircom

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PURE ROYALTY The bridesmaids were asked to source their own floor-length dresses—several came from Lulus. Mat had a custom suit made from IndochinoThe groomsmen’s navy suits came from Black and Lee. Alexandra had detachable sleeves added to her dress from Bisou Bridal to suit her style. Aimee Cox of Punch Studio and Kelsey Dickson did hair and makeup, respectively. The velvet floral ribbons were from Honey Silks.

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THE DRESS Though Alexandra’s mom passed away before the engagement, Alexandra knew she had wanted to buy her a wedding dress some day. So when she heard her mom’s favourite song on the radio as she was trying on a layered, crocheted dress she’d at first been skeptical of at Bisou Bridal, she took it as a sign. (Other, more practical considerations: it happened to fit perfectly off the rack and was deeply discounted.) When the big reveal to Mat came on the wedding day, in a field of ferns, it turned out Mom’s pick was exactly right. “There is nothing that can compare to seeing my wife for the first time in her dress,” says Mat. “I’m not typically an outwardly emotional person, but that moment made a big impact.”fernsPhoto by Shari and Mike Photographers.dafsdPhoto by Shari and Mike Photographers.dfadasPhoto by Shari and Mike Photograhers.adsdasdasdasdasPhoto by Shari and Mike Photographers.

PRETTY PALETTE A palette of rusts and copper popped against the natural greenery here. Green Leaf Floral Design and Blossom and Vine Floral Co. teamed up to fill the dining hall with gorgeous blooms. “I’m obsessed with textures and contrast,” says Alexandra.

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LIGHT UP MY LIFE White candles and white lights brought a beautiful glow to the whole day. “Everything was about light,” says Alexandra. “We wanted to cater the day around the sunset and lighting.” But while they were meticulous with their planning, Alexandra and Mat also left room for vendors to do their own thing. “As an artist, I didn’t want to micromanage,” she explains. “I told Amanda at Green Leaf I wanted something moody, with contrast and texture, and she took it and ran with it.” And run with it she did, stringing up lush floral chandeliers over every table.

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KEEP IT SIMPLE The happy couple’s best advice? “Know your true priorities. Focus on what is important to the two of you, and don’t stress about the rest,” advises Mat. “Everybody has their own thoughts on what a wedding should be, but if you stay true to yourself you will be happy you did.” For him and Alexandra, that meant filling an island with their favourite people and not worrying about anything else.