PHOTOGRAPHY BY CHRISTINE PIENAAR PHOTOGRAPHY

High-school sweethearts Andrea and Ken celebrate a 12-year courtship with a sophisticated summer ceremony surrounded by blossoms


Who the heck is that?” thought 17-year-old Andrea spotting Ken across the courtyard of North Delta Senior Secondary. Having a “thing” for guys with red hair and freckles, she was determined to make a connection. But Ken was clueless until a mutual friend took him aside one day to say Andrea liked him and he should ask her out.

“I [was] surprised someone that beautiful actually liked me,” Ken recalls. That first date eventually led to a 12-year courtship that spanned careers and continents.

“I’d given up on him proposing by about year four or five,” says Andrea with a laugh. Ken is quick to add: “I always just assumed we’d end up together, so I wasn’t in a rush.”

It wasn’t until somewhere around the 10-year mark that Ken popped the question, while Andrea was visiting him in the U.K. where he was studying Economics at University College London.

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Andrea took a leave from her job as an operating room nurse at Vancouver General Hospital to move to London, but the pair wanted a hometown wedding. Luckily, the team at Smitten Events helped with the long-distance logistics, including finding the perfect ceremony and reception venue at the Vancouver Club.

Andrea, also a fashion and lifestyle blogger (AndreaClare.ca), knew exactly what she wanted: a classic, sophisticated event on a backdrop of soft, romantic blooms in shades of white and blush. “I didn’t want anything trendy, anything I might look back on and regret,” she says. The veritable garden of florals provided by Myrtle et Olive were right on target, right down to the greenery garlands and the light blush draping behind the head table that filtered the summer sunset as they sat down to dinner. “It was pure magic.”

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Ken wore a midnight blue suit by Giorgio Armani with a slightly oversized bow tie. Andrea paired a sweetheart Paloma Blanca A-line gown from Champagne & Lace with a “cheap” lace bolero overlay she found online. Denise Elliott Beauty Co. kept to the classic and sophisticated theme with a fresh and uncomplicated look.

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“We didn’t know the Vancouver Club was an option, and even if we had, we never would’ve thought it was within our budget,” muses Andrea. But Devon Dunn and Jordan Maxey of Smitten Events knew the club’s elegant Georgian Room and Conservatory were exactly what their clients were looking for.

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The couple bucked tradition and met for a “first look” before their guests arrived. It helped calm Andrea’s nerves and gave them the opportunity to take pictures alone in the space.

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An asymmetrical arrangement of white and blush blooms and cascading greenery by Myrtle et Olive was draped across the mantel of the Georgian Room fireplace.

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Ken’s groomsmen (older brother Andrew, best friend Chris Kimball and boss Jake Steele) were outfitted by The Tux Store in navy suits with a hint of sheen that coordinated with the convertible Henkaa gowns of Andrea’s bridesmaids (little sister Katlyn and best friend Elena Babor).

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The Conservatory was transformed into a botanical garden with clusters of white and blush florals and garlands of greenery festooning the glass ceiling. Blush draping was raised behind the head table as a dramatic focal point.

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A mix of votives and tapers were used on the tables in complementary shades of light pink. The three-tiered, micro-quilted blue wedding cake by The Cake And The Giraffe was a Pinterest find, according to Andrea. “They had to order in special equipment to get the quilting just right. And it was.”

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DJ Morgan from Girl on Wax and an open bar kept the dance floor moving and well-lubricated; so much so that the late-night snacks of poutine and Vancouver Club’s signature “fancy” truffle aioli hot dogs were snapped up before the bride and groom could get a bite!

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The couple’s first dance was accompanied by an acoustic version of Ed Sheeran’s “How Would You Feel” sung by Andrea’s little sister, Katlyn.

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