Photographer: Robin O’Neill Weddings

Venue: Riverlands Equestrian

Wedding Planner: Weddings by Bluebird

Bride's Dress: Romona Keveza, from Blush Bridal

Bridesmaid Dresses: J. Crew

Hair & Makeup: Brenda Bakker

Groom's & Groomsmen Outfits: J. Crew

Bride's Shoes: Christian Louboutin, from Nordstrom

Groom's Shoes: Antonio Maurizi, from Nordstrom

Décor: Pedersen’s Rentals, The Rental Network & Spruce Collective

Stationery: Bella Figura

Flowers: Billies Flower House

Catering: The Collective Kitchen

Cake: The Cake & the Giraffe

Officiant: Modern Celebrant

Live Band: The Hairfarmers

Ceremony & Cocktail Music: V&G Music

Jewellery: BHLDN

Transportation: Whistler Glacier Group

An engagement nearly 10 years in the making deserves an extraordinary proposal – and that’s just what Emily Forbes got from her longtime beau, Tristan Jenkin.

“It was a complete surprise – a total Bachelor moment,” Emily laughs, sharing that Tristan asked for her hand during a private helicopter ride between Vancouver and Whistler on what she calls a “perfect, bluebird winter’s day.”

“We were circling Black Tusk and, suddenly, he was down on one knee,” she says. “I was speechless… but I managed to say yes!”

The planning started immediately, with Emily taking the reins to create a wedding that reflected a very simple yet very romantic, elegant and sophisticated aesthetic.

“I’m very much a less-is-more person, but what we did do, we wanted to be outrageously beautiful,” she says. “Like Ralph Lauren in the country.”

First, she needed the right venue. Having grown up on a farm, her inclination was to seek a rustic setting – not a park, but someplace intimate, private and “of the earth.” It also had to host 100 guests, outdoors. Pemberton’s Riverlands Equestrian facility proved perfect.

“We knew we’d have to do a lot of the legwork to get it into shape, but the second I saw that red barn, the golden fields and the mountains beyond, I knew I had to get married there,” she says, adding that “boatloads of flowers” were brought in to soften the look of the place, with her father mowing the lawn himself on the morning of the big day.

Emily’s next step was to hire a day-of planner, Heather Odendaal of Weddings by Bluebird. Though the bride was committed to doing much of the work herself, she wanted, on the day itself, to “be free to soak it all in, without having to worry about making sure things ran smoothly. Having Heather there allowed me to just be a bride.”

A stunning bride at that, dressed in a Romona Keveza sample she picked up at a Blush Bridal sale and paired with a set of red-soled Louboutins. Tristan got his first glimpse at Emily several hours before the couple’s late-afternoon ceremony began.

“We knew we wanted quite a few photos, so we had to carve out time for that prior to our vows,” Emily explains, adding that she was willing to do “anything and everything” to get the most scenic shots, including swapping heels for deck shoes to navigate some of the trickier outdoor terrain.

At four o’clock sharp, Tristan took his place under a show-stopping canopy of garden roses, hydrangeas and magnolias, and watched his wife-to-be walk toward him down the aisle. After the “I dos,” the newlyweds joined their guests for signature his-and-her cocktails, a family-style supper of seasonal West Coast fare, a flower-adorned three-tiered cake (with a gluten-free top tier, to boot) and a rockin’ live band.

“It was a party to remember,” Emily says with a smile. “Marrying the love of your life is an extraordinary gift, and getting to share that with all of your family and friends – well, that’s pretty profound.”

Words of Advice

Go for a venue you love. Even if it’s non-traditional (or not 100 per cent wedding ready). Using plenty of flowers, Emily and Tristan softened the look of the equestrian facility they chose for their wedding.

Plan with Excel. “You really need a killer spreadsheet,” says Emily, adding that, when it comes to planning a party to remember, it helps to “think like a guest.”

Take notes. Get ideas from events you attend leading up to your big day. Emily and Tristan fell in love with the cake at a friend’s nuptials and hired the same baker.

Go live. Emily says their live band was what really made her wedding day. “It brought the party to another level,” she says. “The band members’ personalities really contributed something special to the ambiance.”