How did a couple from San Antonio, Texas, wind up having a Grouse Mountain wedding? For Alyssa Vargas and Luke Abrameit, it all started when the pair was visiting Vancouver and hiked up Grouse together. Alyssa remembers wanting to give up several times along the way, but when they finally made the climb to the top, they discovered an amazing view — and an experience they couldn’t wait to share with family and friends. Still, it took some time to convince their wedding guests. “Getting your family and friends to get a passport and book a flight is a large request,” explains Alyssa. “Especially when that destination is not a beach . . . But once they left the gondola, they understood.”

The outdoorsy couple didn’t want a stuffy wedding and worked to create a relaxed feel and rustic look for their day. They even treated their guests to a trolley tour the day before the wedding, and hired a limo bus to bring everyone to the wedding and back. Some special touches included wooden centrepieces that were cut during a lumberjack show right before their wedding, and a Grand March (complete with polka music!) in honour of Luke’s German roots. Alyssa and Luke’s friend Sara performed the ceremony that the two had put together over several Sunday dinners, not realizing atfirst how hard it can be to write an entire ceremony from scratch. “Hearing the vows we wrote for each other was one of the best parts of the day,” they now say.

Photographer: Focus Imaging Photography | Venue & Catering: Grouse Mountain | Wedding Planner: Spotlight Event Planning & Design | Bride’s Dress: Vera Wang, from David’s Bridal | Bridesmaid Dresses: Elie Tahari, from Saks Off 5th | Hair & Makeup: Larissa Boland | Groom’s Outfit: Hugo Boss, from Saks Off 5th | Stationery: Invitations by Dawn | Flowers: Blooming Aisle Floral Design | Cake: Confections by Christine