The Okanagan Valley is not only pretty as a picture: the region is also tapped into all the latest wedding trends. Here are the top 10 must-haves to plan your big day
Planning your big day in a location where all your ideas and dreams can be brought to life is not only possible, it’s the norm in B.C.’s Okanagan Valley region.
A REAL WHITE WEDDING
"What better place to have a winter wedding than a ski resort?” says Amanda McKichan, wedding coordinator at Sun Peaks Grand Hotel & Conference Centre. The resort’s mid-mountain chapel is the ideal ceremony venue: the bride and groom can ski down to the base of the mountain in wedding attire. What a great photo op!
Professional photographers often bounce light into their photos using a white reflector. Sun Peaks’ local photographer, Gemma Harris of Alpine Images Photography, says, “Getting married in Sun Peaks is all about the backdrop, and we have lots of ceremony locations with outstanding views. In winter, many couples have the ceremony at dusk as it reflects beautifully on the snow.”
DINNER IS SERVED
Wedding dinners are becoming much more personalized. Lisa Jaager, sales manager of weddings, corporate groups and events at Summerland Waterfront Resort & Spa, says they offer “carefully curated menus where the bride and groom are able to choose their favourites, like slow-roasted short rib with a mashed potato and mascarpone cake and locally grown green beans, because it is the groom’s favourite vegetable, and his grandma used to make the best ones.”
Sun Peaks’ McKichan says guests need post-dinner fodder for cocktails and dancing. Mini grilled cheese, tacos, mac and cheese, chicken and waffles and crispy bacon slices fuel trendy weddings.
The Okanagan, with its bounty of world-class wine, cider and craft beer, savours the serve-local trend. For autumn or winter weddings, warm apple cider and pumpkin ale taste right. Summerland’s Jaager says, “Being situated in wine country means that our couples can choose gorgeous wines by tasting them, meeting the winemaker and the person who grew the grapes.”
Since wedding dates book up quickly, consider the mid-week wedding for value and availability. Watermark Beach Resort hosts plenty of weekday weddings where the couple and their wedding party check in the day before and spend time playing on nearby golf courses, touring vineyards or relaxing poolside on Osoyoos Lake. Pre-wedding nerves can be melted away at Illumination Spa.
Find laid-back, casual style in the rolling hills, beachy landscape, orchards and magical quality of light near Summerland Waterfront Resort & Spa. The beachfront lawn is framed with tall cedar bushes on one side and lush lavender bushes on the other: a great setting for personal, handwritten vows.
On the flipside, consider the Okanagan as a wedding destination with an “upped level of sophistication and elegance,” like a quick trip to France or Italy, says Lara Taylor, wedding sales manager at Watermark Beach Resort. Get the Euro look with monochromatic white-on-white or blush-on-blush colour schemes. Saber Champagne for a cosmopolitan touch.
CAPTURE EVERY MINUTE
It’s a hot wedding photography trend: drones capturing aerial shots. Taylor has seen “beautiful shots of the Okanagan Valley, the lake and the vineyards” – including of her own wedding – that you can’t get any other way. Videographers are using GoPro cameras attached to selfie sticks to grab candid reactions.
At a resort or outdoor setting, thumping music can’t go on late into the evening. Or can it? “Silent disco,” a trend at music festivals and clubs, has guests wearing wireless headphones and music pumped through a radio transmitter – no need to call it a night at curfew time!