Photographer & Videographer: Justin Ho
Ceremony Venue: Pacific Spirit Park
Reception Venue: Shaughnessy Golf and Country Club
Bride’s Dress: Action Liquidators
Bridesmaid Dresses: Tiffany’s Vancouver Bridal
Hair & Makeup: Lynnea Board, Lisa Hiebert
Groom’s Outfit: Tip Top Tailors, Kerf Accessories (wooden bow-tie)
Groomsmen Outfits: Moores Clothing, The Green Flamingo (bow-ties)
Bride’s Shoes: Miz Mooz
Groom’s Shoes: Aldo Shoes
Flower Girl/Ring Bearer Outfits: Winners, Sears (Ring Bearer pant/shirt), The Green Flamingo (Ring Bearer tie)
Décor Rentals: Bespoke Decor
Stationery: Maker Labs
Florals: Green Stems, Bootah Jardin
Catering: West Coast Buffet
Fun & Games: bigloveball.com
Officiant: Laurie Richards
Disc Jockey: DJ Tara
Music: Simon Russell
Groom’s Wedding Ring: Cavalier
It doesn’t get much more Vancouver than a rainforest wedding, but Simon and Jen Hewitt’s love story actually began far from home. After meeting during a student exchange to Australia nine years ago (she’s a B.C. girl; he’s from England), the two reconnected each year on trips to far-flung destinations like Japan and Greece. Then, during a 2012 Mexico adventure, Simon proposed taking their relationship to a new level. “He asked me, ‘If I moved to Canada, would you be my girlfriend?’” says Jen. “I just laughed – it took him long enough!”
The two settled down, officially a couple, in Vancouver, and two years later, during a hike to Norvan Falls, Simon made another proposal. “He got down on one knee to ask me to marry him, and I just assumed he’d tripped on the rocks by the waterfall,” Jen laughs. “It started pouring after that, and we ran back down the mountain, but we were laughing like idiots the whole way. I almost fell a few times because I couldn’t stop staring at my ring!”
Jen’s dream had always been to get married in a forest, so the couple started searching for the perfect spot right away as they dived into planning a summer wedding. “It was harder to pull off than I thought, with licensing rules and accessibility,” remembers Jen. But once she set her sights on Pacific Spirit Regional Park, there was no going back. Working closely with Tyler Langeloo, park operator for PSRP, over two months to jump through all the regulatory hoops, she and Simon managed to score a never-before-used clearing for their day.
The perfect venue required the perfect dress, and Jen wound up finding hers in an unlikely place: Action Liquidators. (“It’s so romantic sounding,” laughs the bride.) She tried on a dress a friend had picked out, and before she got to the mirror “everyone started crying,” Jen says. “It really was ‘the one.’” With a few tweaks – she altered the full-length ivory lace dress to achieve a backless design – she was set. For his own wedding outfit, Simon found a tweedy grey-green suit at Tip Top Tailors, with Jen giving the final sign-off. “It was the same colour as his eyes. I didn’t even try to barter.” A custom woodprint bow-tie from Vancouver designer Brandy Byhoffer and fern boutonniere completed the look.
Their “West Coast Woodland” theme celebrated all things local. DIY decorations – like laser-cut wooden place cards – utilized natural elements inspired by the coast. The catering menu, from West Coast Buffet, skewed local too: salmon on cedar planks, wild mushroom pasta and quintessential Vancouver sushi. (Simon’s British background wasn’t forgotten, though – roast beef and Yorkshire puddings rounded out the food options.)
A major challenge befell the two during the planning process when the florist pulled out last-minute for a bigger gig. Luckily, an even more local company from Mount Pleasant, Green Stems, wound up creating gorgeous floral crowns and bouquets of plumosa, Juliet garden roses and ferns last minute, while Jen’s mom and aunts sourced bulk flowers from Surrey’s Bootah Jardin and handled the table arrangements.
For the big day, the sun-dappled forest clearing was decorated simply and elegantly with a few gauzy white curtains – ideal for an intimate standing ceremony. Guests gathered in a horseshoe, and then closed into a circle to surround the bride and groom as they exchanged personalized vows. “It was better than I could’ve ever imagined,” says Jen. “Everywhere you looked, people were looking back at you with love.”
The good vibes continued at the Shaughnessy Golf and Country Club reception, where, instead of a bouquet toss, guests were invited to play an Ultimate Frisbee-inspired game outside, tossing inflatable Big Love Balls around in their finery as the sun set. Then, dancing and countless rounds of the couple’s signature cocktail (a twist on a michalada called “A Match Made in Mexico”) continued into the night.
Along with memories of a beautiful event, guests brought home a little local inspiration to call their own: a laser-cut wooden ornament in the shape of B.C. “This whole night was a celebration of where we became a couple,” smiles Jen. “We wanted to be all about where we were.”