Videographer: Artifizz Films
Venue: Family residence
Planner & Decorator: White Events Studios
Day-of Coordinator: Megan Parker
Hair & Makeup: Laura Murray
Stationery — Invitations: DIY, with paper from Paper-Ya
Stationery — Décor details: Emma Allen
Florals: Society Floral
Catering: Joy Road Catering
Desserts: Granny's Fruit Stand
Macarons: Bon Macaron
Jewellery: Davie & Chiyo
Officiant: Heather Bryer
Music: Aiden Mayes and Mandy Cole
Rentals — tent: Westminster Party Rentals
Rentals — chairs and games: Perspective Event Design
Butterflies: Monsieur Papillon
Beer: Moody Ales
Wine: Poplar Grove Winery and other Okanagan wines
“It was a given that our wedding would be held in the Okanagan,” says Melissa. Shaun grew up in the area and his parents still call it home; the couple has spent many a summer eve basking in its sunshine. With much of Melissa’s family coming from Ontario for the wedding, the couple wanted them to experience the magical setting of the Okanagan. “We looked at wineries in the area,” says Melissa, “but when Shaun’s parents offered their lakefront property we felt honoured and excited.”
Set in the garden at the lakefront property, Melissa and Shaun chose a secret garden theme for the wedding. Not only is the movie a childhood favourite, Melissa says the theme of love and acceptance resonates with them, especially coming to a new place and at the beginning a life together. They chose a blue and peach palette to reflect their lake- and fruit-filled setting.
Since they were having the wedding on a private residence, Melissa and Shaun were able to be flexible with the date and choose vendors based on their openings. They chose Joy Road Catering because they wanted a spectacular meal; with only two dates open that summer, Melissa and Shaun’s August wedding date was set.
Melissa found her wedding dress at Cachè Couture Atelier in Vancouver. For an August wedding in the Okanagan, the bride wanted something form fitting and detailed, but that wouldn’t cause her to overheat. “The ladies at Cachè were amazing,” says Melissa. Her tulle Carezza gown was breathable and comfortable, but also had impeccable detailing. Made in Spain, Melissa was glad to know it was ethically made.
Her bridesmaids chose their own blush dresses with some guidance and from the bride. Each bridesmaid carried a custom clutch and wore pearl earrings and necklaces from Davie & Chiyo.
“We chose all our vendors because they’re artists in their field,” says Melissa. Together with her vendors, the bride collaborated wither her wedding team, sharing her vision and allowing each artist creative freedom.
About the vendors:
Melissa and Shaun were referred to photographer Henny from Hennygraphy. They liked her organic, authentic, in-the-moment style and rich, deep coloured finished photos. “She was incredible for both our engagement shoot and our wedding,” say Melissa and Shaun.
A friend of the couple, Melissa Campbell made the cake, including the sugar flowers. She also made individual plated mini cakes for the guests.
For a local taste, Melissa and Shaun brought in sweets and coffee from nearby Granny's Fruit Market and a coffee house in Summerland.
Wanting natural-looking hair and makeup for the wedding, Melissa first did a trial with Laura Murray. While she had originally chosen another team from the Okanagan, she was worried by a lack of communication and ultimately found Laura instead. “Laura knew exactly what would work best for my skin,” says Melissa.
Melissa ordered her hairpieces from Davie & Chiyo, appreciating both that they were made locally and that she could customize the pieces to her liking.
To embrace the Okanagan, Melissa and Shaun trusted Joy Road Catering to create a custom menu. “With our share of some favourite foods we let their culinary expertise help decide on the canapés and menu. We wanted the meal to be incredibly special — an intimate dinner full of bold flavours, organic and local produce and meats and plated to perfection,” says Melissa.
For music, the couple chose Okanagan-based singer-songwriter duo Aidan Mayes and Mandy Cole. “They did an incredible job and their voices captivated our guests throughout the day,” says Melissa.
Melissa asked Society Floral to provide florals to complement her peach and blue reception palette. The arrangements were unstructured and asymmetrical and the bouquet complemented the peach and blue theme. Society Floral also arranged the rose and leaf arbour.
As a teacher with a penchant for DIY projects, Melissa wanted to make a lot for the wedding. “I have a creative and artistic nature, and I like to take risks and have big ideas,” she says. Tanisha from Society Floral introduced the bride to Aranza Grant of White Events, who helped spark ideas and support the bride throughout the planning and design process. “We went searching for décor items and the collaboration was amazing,” says Melissa. They share a love for keys and both envisioned fruit along the table. Arenza also worked with calligrapher and designer Emma Allen for a few décor aspects kept hidden from the bride until the wedding day.
Melissa designed her own invitations with watercolour illustrations on thick cotton paper from Paper-Ya. “I wanted to give it that vintage look, as though I was writing a letter from the ground of the Secret Garden itself,” says Melissa. She also painted a map of the area and the RSVP card. She created a wax seal for the invitations, and completed the look with a gold hemp string and a rustic key.
Melissa’s DIY projects:
- Wedding website through wix.com
- A word search made from a glass frame, glass ink and stencils
- Ceremony programs, designed and made out of seeded paper for guests to plant at home
- Confetti cones with butterfly closures and geranium petals from flowers from the garden itself
- Labels for paper fans
- Personalized welcome bags placed in guest hotel rooms, with local treats from Grannies, fresh fruit, eye masks, maps of the area and a weekend itinerary
- Favour tags placed on Summerland Sweets Jams
- Locket chain of pictures Melissa’s my dad to hang from my flowers
At the reception, Melissa and Shaun served Moody Ales brews as well as wine from many local wineries, including Poplar Grove, Dirty Laundry, Thornhaven and Haywire.
To honour the guests who could not attend (both those afar and those in spirit), Melissa and Shaun did a butterfly release. “I researched the ethical aspect and contacted David Suzuki foundation to ensure that the butterflies were not harmed and would be able to populate the area we were in,” says Melissa.
“Our wedding was a celebration of our love but also a celebration of the fabulous people that we surround ourselves with.”
Advice from the bride:
“Pick a location that has meaning to you and that can be accommodating to your needs. Also think about nearby hotels for your out-of-town guests.”
“Find a makeup artist who can also do hair; it will save on cost. Do a hair and makeup trial.”
“Go to as many stores as possible and pick the dress that you love and that is comfortable to wear. I knew it was my dress when I started dancing in it in the store — something I didn’t do with any other dress.”
“If you don’t want to spend an astronomical amount of money, think about what is important to you and what you value most. For example, I wanted hand painted invitations but we didn’t have the money for it in our budget. Instead, I found a way to make them myself.”
“A Co-coordinator or decorator (even just day-of) is very helpful, especially if you have to set up the venue on your own.”
“Search for your vendors and meet with them in person. If you don’t have a connection, keep looking.”
“Wedding preparation takes a lot of hours; it became my day job during the summer after school finished, and I worked day and night researching and creating.”