Photographer: Tegan McMartin Photography
Planner: Spotlight Events
Venue: Fraser River Lodge
Bride's ring: Cedar Root Gallery
Groom's ring: Cavalier Gastown
Ceremony & Reception Supplies: Fraser River Lodge
Florals: Floral Design by Lili
Bride's Dress: Morilee, from Champagne & Lace
Hair & Makeup: Jasmine Hoffman
Cake: Jean Lamont, from Dickens Sweets and British Museum
Officiant: Bobbi Salkeld, from Young Hip & Married
DJ: Tracey, friend of the bride
Ceremony Music: Janelle Nadeau
“Like many brides, I did much of the planning,” says Patricia. But she also hired some help: “Our planner, Paige from Spotlight Events, took over a couple of weeks before the wedding and then the day of,” she says, adding “she was probably the best decision we made.”
One of the couple’s top priorities was to incorporate Patricia’s Métis heritage into the wedding. They chose Fraser River Lodge, in part because of its Indigenous design elements, including a totem pole and other nods in the reception hall. “It was also extremely affordable, all-inclusive and in the middle of nature, with roaming bison and the river and mountains,” says Patricia. “We also wanted to be able to have the ceremony, reception and lodgings in one place and Fraser River Lodge is able to accommodate all of that.”
As part of the ceremony, Patricia’s mother’s friend Pam—an Ojibway woman whose father was a medicine man—performed a smudging ceremony; the ritual purifies and blesses the body, space and ceremony. Due to the wind that day, it took a few moments to light the sage, so Patricia and Andy took the delay to become present and connected. “We looked around at the mountains and our family, and we exchanged words about how grateful we are,” says Patricia.
The couple then exchanged rings: Andy chose a modern-looking hammered white gold ring, while Patricia found her ring at Cedar Root Gallery. It features a bear carving in white gold by Charles Harper, a prominent Northwest Coast Indigenous artist.
Patricia and Andy’s wedding style was vintage-woodland, incorporating both natural and antique elements in gold, green, lavender and yellow tones. “We wanted to use as many vintage, used and recycled items as possible,” says Patricia. “I started scouring every thrift store from Vancouver to Chilliwack right away.” She found the brass floral vases, seating chart easel and even the antique furniture, cigar box table, rugs and suitcases at various locations of Salvation Army, Value Village and at estate sales. Following the wedding, the couple sold nearly everything.
For favours, the couple made medicine bags—rabbit bags with buffalo sage inside from the Cedar Root Gallery at the Aboriginal Friendship Centre in Vancouver—for guests who do not drink or who are sober. They also gave homemade wine (Amarone della Valpolicella and Pinot Grigio), labeled with a custom design by Marina Narazova, who also designed the stationery suite.
From the bride:
Flowers — I can't say enough about our florist, Lili. She is absolutely the most beautiful person I've ever met and she's very patient and flexible. She's very affordable, accommodating and was willing to work within our budget. As part of the Canadian Barter Exchange, Andy and I were able to use some barter dollars to get flowers, which also saved us some money. Though I'm not a floriculturist and don't know every flower Lili sourced, she did bring in some rare ones!
Photography — We first met Tegan at a friend’s wedding in France in 2012. When we saw her photographs, we knew we wanted her to take our wedding photos when the time came. At our wedding, Tegan was very conscious of how she navigated the space, so we could barely tell she was there and we never felt awkward having our photos taken. Tegan is professional, kind and patient, and we LOVE our photos!
Dress — I actually first purchased a dress online, but it didn't work out; then I bought another one from an "underground" gown seller... still not the one; finally, I went to Champagne & Lace in Abbotsford. That day they were having a 50 per cent off sale and I found a beautiful Morilee by Madeline Gardner gown on the rack. It fit like a glove and since I had been looking for a classic gown with romantic lace (but not overdone), the only change I had to request was to remove the jewels on the neckline.
Hair and makeup — I found Jasmine online and went to her house for a trial. My makeup trial was perfect and she was personal and kind, so I booked her.
Cake — Our cake was baked and designed by my old babysitter and family friend, Jean Lamont. She works at Dickens Sweets and British Museum in Chilliwack and has made many professional cakes before!
Officiant — We found Bobbi Salkeld through Young, Hip & Married. Online, each officiant showcases their work with a video and we loved her personality. When we met up with her later, we fell in love. Event though Bobbi moved to Calgary before our wedding, she made the trop back.
DJ — Tracey is a former co-worker and friend, and also a professional DJ, videographer and artist. She makes incredible music, so we couldn’t imagine anyone else DJ'ing our wedding. Tracey went above and beyond, playing everything to accommodate our guests, from African to Albanian Pop—we have a diverse group of family and friends.
Ceremony Music — We initially hired a friend of a friend, but at the last minute she couldn't make it, so we had Janelle Nadeau play her harp with a cellist. It was beautiful!
Advice from the couple:
- Start early;
- If you want to do things yourself to save money, start even earlier;
- Get people to book their lodgings ASAP;
- Everything will cost more than you think, so if you have a budget, cut it in half and aim for that. You'll reach your initial cap, guaranteed;
- Don't be afraid to delegate and get people to do things for you. Ask for help if you need it;
- Hire a wedding planner for the day of the wedding;
- Some really good advice we got from a relative: take a moment, sometime during the ceremony, to stop and look at your partner and register that you are getting married to that person. Embrace that moment;
- Don't drink too much at the beginning!