Jillian and John woke up to rain on their wedding day — but they had no reason to worry, as the clouds soon parted and the sun shone through. “The day was really calm and peaceful and nothing went wrong,” says Jillian. “We were just able to enjoy and laugh and savour each moment.”

And savour it they did. After all, they had spent months putting together the wedding of their dreams. The couple and their families made everything themselves, including the favours of homemade strawberry jam and CDs of their wedding songs. John’s father built the cedar planter boxes that served as centrepieces, while his mother baked the wedding cake. Jillian’s mom made the burlap table runners and helped out with the invitations, among numerous other items.

The couple spent months scouring antique stores for accessories to complement every aspect of their day. “We wanted people to walk in and know instantly that this was John and Jill’s wedding,” explains Jillian. “We wanted them to see a part of us in every detail.”

Although the couple didn’t choose a particular wedding theme, it was important to them to find a setting that showcased the beauty of the West Coast. For them, the UBC Boathouse offered the perfect venue for a riverside wedding, with its natural tones and floor-to-ceiling windows providing stunning views of the river. “Since the location did a lot of the talking,” the couple chose soft colours and natural materials, as opposed to blacks and jewel tones. The bridesmaids were given a palette of colours and simply told to find dresses that made them feel beautiful.

As for the menu, the couple just had to go with their personal favourite: southern barbecue. Keeping with the relaxed feel, they also set up a popcorn bar on the Boathouse deck and a late-night poutine bar. “I’m pretty sure all of our guests left full and happy,” says Jillian.

“When we got our photos back,” she recalls, “they highlighted how magical the day was. I felt like the most beautiful bride thanks to my glam squad. If I had to pick my favourite moment, it would be when we gathered on the roof of our hotel to take photos before the ceremony, and I got to see John for the first time.”

Photographer: Jennifer Kirk | Venue: UBC Boathouse | Bride’s Dress: Alfred Angelo, from Isabelle’s Bridal | Hair/Makeup: Jayna Marie | Groom’s Outfit: IKE BEHAR | Groomsmen Outfit: Perry Ellis | Stationery: Homemade with paper from Paper-Ya | Flowers: Garden Party Flowers | Catering: Drew Cooks! | Cake: Homemade | Officiant: Brent Sheppard