Matt and Chad
Oct 21, 2017
Robert H. Lee Alumni Centre at UBC
Photographer: John Bello

Number of guests 250

Describe your wedding in a few words 

A classy celebration of a love-filled community.

married menPhoto by John Bello

Walk us through the big day! 

First, we woke up early to attend a yoga class we organized to be taught by four of our favourite teachers who travelled in from across North America to be there. It was amazing to see them co-teach together and all our guests get to experience why we love them so much.

Later that afternoon, our guests gathered on the top floor of the UBC Alumni Centre for the ceremony where we got to declare our promises to love each other forever in front of all the people we love and who help make our love possible. The details of the ceremony mattered to us. Chad's mom and his long-time friend performed a traditional wedding hula paying homage to Chad's family background. Chad's uncle (the first openly gay man in the Clark family) acted as an officiant alongside his husband—a blessing of sorts from one generation to the next. We had a few speeches in the ceremony to give people's tear ducts a break before the vows were exchanged and the water works really turned on. Narai Dawn performed a beautiful rendition of "XO" by Beyonce and there was not a dry eye in the room.'vancouver weddingPhoto by John BellotuxedosPhoto by John Bello

We then had our guests head downstairs for cocktails and nibbles while we whirled through some family photos. When we joined the rest of the guests downstairs, we had a few more speeches that were quite hilarious. Chad's dad stole the night with a speech about how single Chad had been before meeting Matt, all in the name of holding out for something special. He then invited Matt up to the stage alongside him and said to everyone "meet special."

Once dinner service was ready, the guests headed back upstairs to an incredibly flipped room with long tables and family-style food already waiting for them. At each seat, instead of a name card, was a thank you card addressed to each guest. We wrote each attendee a thank you card—cause in a big wedding like ours it is easy to feel like a number, and we wanted everyone to know that they were there intentionally and why we were grateful to have them in our lives. 

wedding ceremonyPhoto by John Bellochad and mattPhoto by John BelloMatt and Chad weddingPhoto by John Bello

Our speeches during dinner were more like roasts—giving our best friends the opportunity to poke fun at us a little and give everyone a chance to laugh and relax. Matt's sister closed the evening with a gracious speech before we turned the mic over to our opening act for the dance floor: The Dirty Dishes. 

Believe it or not, Chad's mom and her friends started a rock cover band (called The Dirty Dishes) and they got everyone up on the dance floor SO fast that even our DJ was impressed. People were dancing to their favourites all night long and even requested an encore before our DJ took over for his set. 

We sweated, we cried, we laughed, and we danced to the very end of the night. 

It was a perfect celebration of love.

weddingPhoto by John Bellovancouver wedding dayPhoto by John Bellowedding venue vancouverPhoto by John Bello

What inspired the look and feel of the day?

We wanted the day to be a celebration of the Pacific Northwest (as many guests were coming in from out of town) and have the feeling of family. Big tables, shared family-style food, and both heartfelt and hilarious moments. The attire was black tie to give it a distinct sense of occasion—honouring the fact that not every gay couple gets to be as surrounded by love as we are—and that, in and of itself, is a big deal. 

wedding thank youPhoto by John Bello

What was your favourite thing about the wedding?

Our favourite moment (besides our vows being underscored by Beyonce) was watching everyone sit down and open their cards. Everyone had a little personal moment that night to receive some of the love they had given to us. 

What was important to you to include in the day?

Three things come to mind: movement, music, and memories. 

We did yoga in the morning, had a great musical program from the start of the ceremony to the end of the dance floor, and we also acknowledged the memory of our grandparents that were no longer with us. For the ceremony, we stood under five lanterns that symbolized the impact they had in guiding us growing up, and to bring their presence into the ceremony. 

wedding funPhoto by John Bellowedding matt chadPhoto by John Bello

What we splurged on

We splurged on the after-party! We took our wedding party and their plus ones up to Whistler after the wedding for two nights and three days of relaxation in an incredible Whistler chalet. We had the meals catered, drank all the leftover wine from the wedding, and just got to spend some real quality time with our favourite friends. It was magical.

What we saved on

Wedding favours. We didn't want to be wasteful so we didn't do any favours. Our thank you cards played that role instead.

What would your advice be to other couples planning their big day? 

Figure out what your non-negotiables are before you start planning. What are your firm yes's and firm no's. We didn't want slideshows, wedding favours, or either of us to break out into song or dance to surprise the other. We did want lots of (short yet meaningful) speeches, great music, and a wedding video. The other stuff just didn't matter to us (e.g. flowers, outfits, a first look, etc). 

Ask your parents what their non-negotiables are—especially if they are helping financially. Even if they say "we don't want anything," pry more and sooner than later so there are no surprises. We did this and it worked out perfectly in the end to ensure everyone was happy in both the planning and day of experience. 

Consider what your guests would want. Yes it's a big day for you two, but you are also hosting the party. Be gracious hosts and consider how to make the day and evening a fun experience for those attending.  
wedding at robert h lee centrePhoto by John BellokissPhoto by John Bello
SOURCES

Decor: Flowerz 
Food: Hawksworth Catering 
Music: Narai Dawn, "The Dirty Dishes" and DJ Rob Station
Wedding Planner: Sweatheart Events
Videography: Evan Bourque 
Photographer: John Bello