If June is the most popular month to wed, it’s reasonable to assume that January just might be the least so.The point is arguable, of course, and Vancouver couple Kelsea Larson and Tyler Smith provide a solid case for their decision to host a dead-of winter wedding, which took place in Kelowna on January 12, 2013.“I love the winter,” enthuses Kelsea, who grew up in the Okanagan city known for its scorching summers and snowy winters. “We thought it would be romantic, the coziness of it all.”And the couple, who met while both employed in Vancouver’s restaurant industry, clearly weren’t keen to stick to the status quo. “Most summer weddings tend to be very similar,” says Tyler, “and we wanted to do something a little different.”Of course, no winter wedding is complete without snow, which was a reason the couple ruled out hosting the vow-swapping in Vancouver, where rainy, overcast winters are the norm, in favour of Kelowna. “For snow,Vancouver is pretty hit-and-miss for that time of year,” observes Tyler.And if it was a “wintery feel” that the twosome was seeking, a Kelowna definitely delivered. On the couple’s big day, the city boasted close to two feet of snow and teeth-chattering temperatures of -16 degrees Celsius. “In some of the pictures, taken outside the church, you can literally see our breath, it was so cold,” laughs Kelsea.It was the perfect counterpoint to the couple’s summertime engagement, which took place on the scorching shores of English Bay on July 13, 2012. Equipped with a picnic basket, a bottle of bubbly and a vintage engagement ring, Tyler proposed to his girlfriend of two years as a blazing sun melted into the horizon. Later, Tyler whisked his new fiancée off to a surprise engagement party, where they celebrated into the wee hours with 60 of their closest friends and relatives. “It’s a good thing she said yes; otherwise it would have been a disaster,” Tyler jokes.From engagement to wedding, the couple had just six months to plan the nuptials, with few ideas at the outset other than that they wanted it to be “classic,” “vintage” and “elegant.”It was a tight time frame but, as Tyler explains, their off-season wedding date “made the planning process so much easier.”The two found it a breeze, for example, to book their desired venues, which included the historic Hotel Eldorado, site of the reception, and the Benvoulin Heritage Church, where the couple exchanged vows before a pastor. “Growing up, I always thought that would be the place where I’d get married — there was no question,” says Kelsea, of the 100-year-old country chapel.And in January, the bride got her wish as she made her way down the aisle of the quaint church, preceded by a ring bearer, flower girl and a passel of pastel-gowned bridesmaids. Escorted by her proud father, Kelsea wore a fairy-tale frock of billowing snow-white tulle and held a matching bouquet of Old English roses to her breast. It was a vision of beauty that the groom, clad in a black Hugo Boss tuxedo, will never forget: “I got choked up seeing her walk down the aisle. Cliché, I know, but in that moment it all became real to me, and the magnitude of what we were doing really sunk in.”If Kelsea felt surprisingly calm at the altar, she would experience her own similar moment of emotional overload at the reception: “Having all of our favourite people in the world surrounding us and seeing them all together in one room, all having such an amazing, fun time was something we will cherish forever. It was just an amazing feeling.” And no wonder the guests were in great spirits: They posed playfully with a set of props as a roving photographer snapped shots; a hotel-catered buffet filled the hall with hearty aromas of beef tenderloin, roasted chicken and butternut squash soup; a candy table laden with jars of all-white sweet treats beckoned; and a two-tiered lemon-and-hazelnut-chocolate wedding gateau served as the day’s proverbial icing on the cake.It was a perfect day, both bride and groom agree. The only experience that might possibly match it in their married lives could be the couple’s plans to vacation each January in celebration of their anniversary.“After all,” says Kelsea, noting once again the practicalities of a winter wedding, “it is the ideal time of year to get away.”
Photographer Gucio Photography | Videographer Ryan Bouman Film | Ceremony Venue Benvoulin Heritage Church | Reception Venue & Catering Hotel Eldorado | Wedding Planner Petite Pearl Events | Bride’s Dress Lazaro, from Bisou Bridal | Bridesmaid Dresses Monique Lhuillier, from Bisou Bridal | Groom’s Outfit & Shoes Hugo Boss| Bride’s Shoes Vera Wang | Flowers Art Knapp Plantland & Florist | Cake Kakes by Kathie | Disc Jockey Jeff Hay of DJ Haymaker | Bride’s Wedding Ring Tacori, from Harling’s Jewellers | Groom’s Wedding RingTiffany & Co.