Sandra Lopuch must have poured dozens of drinks for Daniel Sioui over the three years that he sat at her bar. Still, the relationship never moved past friendship.“I thought Dan was sweet; he’d stay until closing and wait to walk me out,” Sandra remembers. “But the timing was never right. I was always seeing someone.”“My friend and I would stop in for a drink weekly — okay, maybe more than that,” jokes Dan. “I was always disappointed when she wasn't working. Even the beer didn't taste as good.”After quitting bartending, Sandra lost touch with Dan. Randomly reconnecting two years later, she asked what he would think if she told him she was finally single. Dan didn't hesitate. Unfortunately, their first date didn't go quite as expected.“It was horrible,” says Dan, admitting he’d stood Sandra up several days earlier. “She was so standoffish. She sat with her arms crossed, staring me down. She claims I talked about myself the whole time, but that’s only because she wasn't talking at all!”After dinner, as Dan started to put on his coat, Sandra ordered one last drink, attempting to test Dan’s reaction and salvage the date at the same time.“He just said okay, ordered a beer and sat back down,” she laughs. “He pretty much rolled with my punch, which proved he deserved a second chance.”The pair soon became inseparable and, a year later, Dan was ready to propose. Playing to Sandra’s outdoorsy nature, he arranged a hike in North Vancouver’s Deep Cove, leading his lady to a stunning spot called Quarry Rock, overlooking the waters of Indian Arm.“I thought I’d know exactly when to do it, but the perfect moment didn't really present itself — so I just went for it,” says Dan. “As soon as I got down on one knee and asked her to marry me, 30 Korean tourists came over the hill, snapping photos. There are probably pictures of us all over Seoul right now.”He and Sandra began planning a September wedding with three months to spare. Searching for a breathtaking outdoor setting, the stars aligned when they stumbled across Evans Lake. Set by a clear mountain lake, surrounded by dense forest and boasting cabins, canoes, catering and even free firewood, the kids’ camp could easily accommodate 88 guests.“Nature doesn’t need a lot of extra embellishment,” says Sandra, who made most of her decorations by hand using mason jars, vintage lace, burlap and other materials for her Evans Lake Wedding. Her dress, custom made by Manuel Mendoza, was based on a vintage- inspired BHLDN design. Even the favours — sweetly scented soaps individually wrapped and stamped — were handcrafted in Maple Ridge.On the morning of their wedding, Dan and Sandra woke up early, ran down to the lake and jumped, hand-in-hand, into the water, unofficially “taking the plunge” before saying their “I do’s” in a mossy clearing in the woods surrounded by their loved ones.
After the ceremony, which included a First Nations blessing to honour Dan’s Huron-Wendat heritage, guests were invited to sip sangria and socialize on the dock while the bride and groom slipped away for a private photo shoot in the forest.
“We had to hike to some pretty precarious places to get these incredible shots,” says Sandra. “There’s one picture of us perched on top of this huge rock, taken from a distance. I don’t know how I got up there in heels. I guess I was just floating at that point.”Dinner was served outdoors, family style; a Tim Hortons walnut-crunch doughnut — the couple’s favourite treat — served as the wedding cake, alongside other homemade delights. A bonfire was lit, casting a rosy glow as guests danced through the night. Th e next day, friends and family joined the newlyweds for a joyful group cannonball into Evans Lake.“It was the best weekend of my life,” says Dan. “At one point I remember looking around the campfire and seeing people from every phase of my life swapping stories and sharing a drink — it was incredible how everyone came together to celebrate Sandra and I.”
His bride agrees.“As much as it reflected our personal styles, the wedding was more about everyone else and less about ourselves,” Sandra says. “When Dan and I think about how much each and every person there meant to us, clearly the wedding was a catalyst for bringing all of us together. In the end, that meant more to us than anything.”
Photographer Let’s Get Lost | Venue & Catering Evans Lake Forest Education Centre | Bride’s Dress Manuel Mendoza (custom design)| Hair & Makeup Ali-Su Osaka of Brackendale/Squamish | Groom’s Outfit Club Monaco | Bride’s Shoes Indigo by Clarks from Gravity Pope | Flowers Olla Urban Flower Project | Décor Pedersens Rentals (linens) | Wedding Favours Savon Patrice (soaps) | Disc Jockey &/Or | Jewellery Arielle dePinto (earrings)