Geena and Mark approached me last summer for an Okanagan Destination Wedding. They are residents of Edmonton and I must say they have been exceptionally easy to work with. Due to Mark's profession, they travel extensively and find their time split between Canada and the U.S. but Geena has put her keen sense of classic yet simplistic style and lots of dedication into pulling off this wedding. A romantic tale of two school sweethearts now tying the knot after several years together. I've been their go-to person locally and assisted them in bringing their ideas together. Their wedding day vision was a semi-formal comfortable but fun day celebrated with family and friends, including children. Thanks to Geena and Mark for allowing me to share their planning through this blog.
Wedding Date: July 23rd, 2011
Guest Count: 150, with 35 children under 12
Wedding Day: Summer reflection, simple, elegant, semi-formal, casual charm
Bridal Party: (11) Br, Grm, 3 BrMaids, 2 GrM, 2 Flower girls, 2 Ring Bearers
Color Palette: Black/White/Yellow, with touches of damask (Damask is characterized by a background of lustrous fabric against which raised designs appear. Patterns are generally geometric or botanical in theme)
Typical geometric Damask fabric!
Style: clean, simple, modern, fresh, some DIY
Venue: This couple have been coming to Kalamalka Lake in Vernon for many years with their families, camping. It was very important to them to get married in this area because the Okanagan held strong memories for them all. Originally they were looking at an Orchard location for a tented wedding close to the lake. Unfortunately the selection of venues for this purpose and that would accommodate their guest numbers made this near impossible. I hate that word as I always say anything is possible, we just have to make it happen. None the less we honestly couldn't find the appropriate venue on Kalamalka Lake so the couple opted for my 2nd selection which all in all has turned out to be most suitable for them. The criteria was to have guest accommodations on site, lots of activities for guests during their stay, and a close by location for camping. Final choice was the LAKE OKANAGAN RESORT. Although on Okanagan Lake, not Kalamalka Lake, all their wishes are fulfilled in this one resort. 300 Acres of mountainside parkland with golf course, stables, boating, hiking etc. It was looking a little tired and dated, but new ownership has made considerable changes over the winter and spruced up some areas that needed the most attention. So now we are excited about the freshness of the resort and the beauty is absolutely outstanding there.
Ceremony: " The POINT ", is a location where the ceremony will take place on the sand, lakeside, steps from the waters edge. 2 white pillars with tall cylindrical vases full of flowers will grace the site where the couple will stand. Geena is still toying with the idea of being boated in to say her vows, rather than the traditional walk down the aisle. This would be perfect as her dad owns a boat and would naturally be escorting her anyway. I'm still focusing on how we can get her from the boat, dry and dress intact, in a gentile manner.
"The Point" ceremony location at the Lake Okanagan Resort
Photo credit: www.realbigtours.com
Reception: After the ceremony waterside, the guests will walk back up the hill to the patio of the main building where Cocktails and tapas will be served. Slide Presentation and afterward a plated dinner service.
Decor: With Geena's love of damask she opted for clean and chic black and white theme. Crisp white linen cloths with a black and white damask runner, black napkins. Chairs will have black form fitting lycra chair covers. The yellow accents brought in with the addition of yellow flowers. Lots of twinkling candlelight. Since there will be a whole team of eager family members wanting to help with setup, we opted to rent these items and decorate ourselves. This will be loads of fun and give all the waiting hands something to do.
Florals: calla lilies, snapdragons (hold a special meaning for her). Simple, modern, uncomplicated designs highlighting the modern sleekness of the calla flower itself. Table top vases will be tall cylinders in staggered heights, one swirled with white calla lilies inside, the other filled with bright summery yellow lemons and and topped with a floating candle and submersible LED's inside the vase to create a warm glow. Fun, fresh and modern.
Cake: Again a simple, clean design in black and white. 3 layer stacked, square cake covered in white fondant with geometric patterns piped in black frosting. Of course the addition of yellow callas to accent.
The cake based upon this design!
Photography: to add a whimsical, fun element to the evening, the couple chose to go with a photo booth provided by their photographers, Abby Photography. Chris and Elisha will bring the props and take professional photos of all the guests throughout the evening. Terrific mementos for everyone.
DIY: Geena is very creative and thrifty at the same time, so she has opted to put her hand to creating several elements in her day. She had made the invites (see below). Also made the flower girl baskets adorned with sea shells on the rim (perfect for a beachside wedding). She made the ring holder from a star shaped shell and attached ribbons to tie the rings onto. She's also produced some small logs for the table number holders. The earthy Logs bring out the couples love of nature, hiking and camping which they often do with family members.
Handmade invites, made by the bride!
Favors - again to save a little, they have opted to do chocolate bars with custom labels that say the table number and have a matching picture of the couple on them and the table they number they are sitting at. This way they double as escort cards and favors.
Gift Table - They opted for no gifts, rather donations to the Humane Society. They had the photographers take a picture of their two 4 legged friends (at the engagement shoot) with a top hat and veil on them. They'll blow this up on a canvas and put it on the gift table along with a card/donation box in the shape of a doghouse. How cute is that!
Children's tables - there was some debate here. Geena didn't want flowers on these tables, but something more appropriate and fun for the kids and all the children were going on tables with similar age groups. After speaking with some moms, who would prefer to have their children under wing, she decided against special children's tables. However to keep the children occupied she is making up gift bags for every child, with crayons and coloring books and a few simple things to entertain them. Also, in the bags, disposable cameras and photo scavenger hunts for all the kids. Obviously a lot of thought and preparation has gone into making sure the children as well as the parents can equally enjoy this celebration.
(sorry this is getting to be a long blog, but feel free to come back to it to finish reading it another time)
Apparel: Geena initially was looking for a plain destination style dress. When she sent me the picture of her selection - well like many brides they start out with one style in mind and end up with another. However her Allure Collection gown is so fitting for her petite frame and soft demeanor. The gown features beautiful organza that wraps asymmetrically thoughout the fitted bodice while Swarovski crystals adorn the one shoulder detail. The skirt is constructed from organza with three dimension effects and accents of feathers. Soft billowy ruffles and chic chic chic. She will look gorgeous in this. Accenting with a birdcage veil with flower hair pin, pearl earings and pearl bracelet. Flipflops for comfort and suitability on the sand. Bridesmaids are wearing sunny yellow, off shoulder dresses.
The boys will be semi formal and comfortable in the heat. Wearing khakis and white shirts. They are struggling a little to match with their very different sizes. They're going shopping together and I am sure they like the girls will have loads of fun and come back with them all dressed perfectly.
Now at the 8 week mark before the wedding date, several things are in the works and although the planning is completed the detail work continues. Stay tuned for updates!
The girls are so excited, at just 10 days before their June 3rd wedding date in Kelowna. They hope to arrive a few days before so we can go over last minute finalizations, but here's where we stand today.
CAKE: Their fabulous hand made customized cake topper was the inspiration for their custom designed cake by Lorena Wood (the Cakediva). Because the girls work at a remote camp getting the tastings done has been a bit complicated. They still have to look forward to choosing their flavors, and that's cutting it close. None the less the tastings will be shipped to them this week. The cake topper has been shipped to Lorena and has arrived.
Bakers design draft: inspiration for their 3 layer cake
came from the customized cake topper above.
There will be an extension from the base of the topper and will include different tones of rocks, dirt, sand, grasses and mud all made from edible gum paste. The extension will fall down one side of the cake with tracks created in the mud from the base to the top of the cake, creating a 3D effect. The cake topper and cake are absolutely a true personalization of their hobby of Dirt Biking. I can't wait to see it in person.
TRANSPORT: We've rented two stretch limos. A Lincoln Sedan for the girls to take them around for their photo shoot and a 10 pax stretch Ford Excursion SUV for the bridal party. 30+ feet of rolling luxury in an SUV, with fibre optic lights, mood lighting and twinkle ceiling. As a last minute thought they are considering bus transport for their guests to and from the ceremony. I am presently searching hard to fulfill this request.
STATIONARY: I had to share this. There invite is so sweet and appropriate for a same sex marriage.
FLOWERS: The girls knew right from the start, which flowers they wanted to incorporate. They love orchids and calla lilies. Both unique and elegant flowers, with somewhat of a tropical style to them. So the bride (Ashley) and all her attendants will carry similar styled bouquets and all of Nikki's attendants will carry bouquets similar to hers. Each of the girls chose a distinctively different style one more traditional than the other, but both equally gorgeous. Here's a peak at them. Guess who will carry which style!!!!
DETAILS, DETAILS, DETAILS: So very important to bring these personal and unique touches into the day. Elements that are personal to share with family and friends and impress your guests with sweet memory.
Ceremony/Vows: The girls wrote modern, heartfelt and unique vows suiting their partnership and commitment. They've added eloquent verses of love that speaks to their life long sharing. Also they wanted a spiritual quality to the ceremony, so they have added a Sand Ceremony. Two vessels of sand are poured together either into a third keepsake vessel, or into the wind to represent the coming together of your lives. It is both beautiful and a unique unification ceremony to seal their relationship. Combining them as one, never able to be separated, is a powerful metaphor for the lasting legacy of the marriage. There won't be a dry eye amongst the attendees.
Table Numbering: Rather than basic numbers the girls have chosen to continue with their "Bikers Theme" with a twist, for their table numbers. The cards will be shaped like motocross number plates, white lettering on navy blue background, which are actual colors for numbers when racing. Or they will make the colors match with the bike manufacturer's colors. Let's wait and see which way they sway on this.
Favors: As busy as the girls are, they managed to make homemade jam, in small individual jars. They've attached a double sided card with a thankyou and quote on the back with colored ribbons matching their color scheme. Very appropriate for an Okanagan wedding, since this area is a fruit producing region and preserves and jams symbolize the sustenance of the harvest.
Gift Table: To further enhance their hobby theme, they will use a bike helmet as a vessel for Cards and Envelope drop offs.
Guest Sign In: The girls will use their Engagement Photo album for guests to sign. A great memento for years to come. They will also have several framed photos of the two of them dirt biking and with their pooch "Bailey"
Slide Presentation: Nikki's sister Jenn has prepared a slide show. I bet this will be hilarious and loads of fun.
So meanwhile the girls are busy with their last minute"To Do" list. Working on seating plan, final RSVP's, list of dietary restrictions of their guests, song lists for the DJ, and so on. This won't seem at all like a chore as they are presently bubbling with excitement and anticipation. I am only hoping that our Okanagan weather warms up a little, so their outdoor ceremony and waterside reception will be sunny and glowing for them. Can't wait!
Pastoral Swiss countryside!
I've just arrived back from a very short 12 day vacation in Europe. All too short but with lots of wedding planning still to do, it was all the time I could manage to be away. I got to visit my birthplace (Budapest), gorgeous cosmopolitan city and spent some time touring Switzerland. I never get tired of returning to this splendid country of pristine green, lush, manicured and orderly countryside. It helps to settle my mind. Perfect warm weather, stunning scenery and visits with wonderful friends.
( Buda on one side, Pest on the other!)
I did need to recharge before the busy wedding season, and it's something I highly recommend for those planning a wedding. Wishing that my couples have time for short getaways especially as they get closer to their wedding dates and the stress level builds. Of course with me at the helm I hope to lessen that stress.
I don't know about you, but in this crazy busy world we all live in, one needs to stop once in a while to regain perspective of our lives. To look inward and focus on what's important. I know this holds true for all of us but especially those planning a wedding. It's important to stop and smell the roses, treat yourself to a break and some indulgent interlude before tackling that To-Do list again. So save your sanity and take that much needed break. You'll come back refreshed and energized to tackle the rest of the list!
I'm happy to be back and ready for the summer Wedding season!!!
AGATHA SOROS, Kelowna, B.C.
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