23rd Jan 2013

Lisa & Greg's Big Day

Greg and myself met through a mutual friend Carlie. I worked with Carlie in my first job in London after leaving college. Even though we went separate ways through work we stayed friends and I was her bridesmaid at her wedding. Carlie had met Greg through her work and thought we would be a good match. So she took us both on a lunch to see if we liked the look of each other. A few weeks later Greg and myself went on a date to a bar by Tower Bridge and have been together ever since.

Our time together has been a whirlwind. Greg was offered a job in Canada only a few months after we met and told me he wanted me to go with him and would not take it unless I was with him. I knew he was the guy for me and said I would go. So we were both going on the biggest adventure of our lives together. We survived all the stress of moving to a different country and have now been in Canada for 2 years. It was hard to start out with as we did not know anyone so were in each other’s pockets, but in a way that was easy as we love being together. We have had the opportunity to see wonderful new places and discover new things and have done it together.

As I had agreed to move to Vancouver with Greg he wanted to propose to me before we left. He said I was more important than a girlfriend and wanted to show he was serious about me. After only 10 months Greg surprised me and took me to a small hotel in the countryside. It had snowed that weekend so the scenery was very romantic. Greg proposed with a ring I had fallen in love with a month earlier that I had seen on a birthday shopping trip; Three perfectly cut Hearts On Fire diamonds on a diamond band.

I knew I did not want to get married in church so I thought maybe a country manor house somewhere or maybe in Europe. Little did I know I would be getting married in a beautiful park in Canada!
I wanted something different from the regular run of the mill strapless dress. I wanted people to think wow she looks great but also to be interested on my gown and think it was something they had not see before.
I knew I loved Jenny Packham dresses. I think my first look at one was in a magazine when Denise Van Outen got married. They were beautiful and floaty. Then a friend got married and she also wore Jenny Packham. She let me into a secret that she purchased her dress on ebay and it was in perfect condition. So I started to look on ebay and there it was my dream dress only problem I was not even engaged at that point! When Greg did propose the dress was still in my head and I had to find it to just try it on. It was out of season by then but after a few telephone calls I found White Mischief. After a two-hour drive around the M25.

I wanted a special pair of shoes but as costs mount up you start having to prioritize. So I got a strappy jewelled pair from Next. However on the day, my gift from my husband was a pair of dream Jimmy Choo peep-toe shoes. I’m afraid the next shoes could not compare and the Jimmy's were rocked on the day.

My veil was a long cathedra type. I felt it was floaty just like my dress. It was plain as my headband and dress had quite a lot of beadwork and I did not want to over do it. My Nan brought it along with my headband, which was extra special as she was unable to fly out for the day.
I did not wear lots of jewellery as the dress and headband did all the sparkle work. However I had an old ring passed down from my grandma made into a simple diamond pendant. For Christmas Greg brought me a bracelet with a bit of an art deco feel. The design was called Marion which was my Grandmas name - perfect!
My headband was also by Jenny Packam and was the  Acacia Bridal II; Slightly different from a tiara and just stunning.

As I was new to Vancouver I did not have many people to ask for recommendations. I got myself a wedding directory magazine that is released every year and they had services that had won awards. I chose Mink Make up who brought a team of hair and make up artist with them on the day. Their aim is to have you ready in 3 hours and the bride has a dedicated hair and make up artist to herself. I took a picture of Adele with me when I went for my trial. I loved her smokey eye and long lash look. For my hair I knew I wanted some of it down to cover a tattoo on my neck. I feel more girly with my hair down and went for volume and curls.

I chose a navy colour for my bridesmaids. As I was in Canada and had limited visits home it was easier to buy something off the rail so we went to Coast.
The groom and boys all wore rental Calvin Klein suits in a light grey colour. They had a navy tie, which was a last minute emergency buy from BHS! The navy went perfectly with the bridesmaid dresses.

I chose yellow and white flowers on the day. We decide on this colour because when myself and Greg looked at both of our parents wedding albums it was like looking at identical weddings from the 70's both with yellow flowers so that is why we went with the colour. I wanted a wild flower look like the flowers had been picked from meadow. My bridesmaids had a wrist corsage as I gave them all a handbag to hold so they got the best of both worlds. Also good to have a free hand for a glass of champers!
I did not go in with a theme to begin with. I just looked for ideas and things that I liked to try and make it all work together. In the end I would say maybe vintage shabby chic.
Our invites were in a boarding pass style as lots of people were travelling via plane for the wedding. They were a vintage style and ordered online so we could print them up and cut them ourselves.
We had about 60 at our wedding about 30 from the UK and 30 of friends we had made in Vancouver. Obviously we would have loved more people to come but not everyone could travel so far from the UK. I still feel like even with that number the day is so busy and that was plenty of guests.

Our wedding was in Queen Elizabeth Park in Vancouver. The park looked out onto downtown and the mountains with lush quarry gardens. In the park is Celebration Pavilion; a spectacular contemporary floor to ceiling glass building that features a retractable glass wall, unveiling a natural outdoor backdrop as we said our wedding vows.  For the reception we chose Seasons in the park restaurant, which is a perfect venue to show off the beauty of Vancouver. The food was crazy delicious here too!  
Poised at the peak of Queen Elizabeth Park, the glass-wrapped restaurant had stunning views of Vancouver's shimmering city skyline, North Shore Mountains and the Pacific Ocean. In the restaurant we dined on the top level and then moved down via a spiral staircase to our dancing and photo-booth.

The venue had such a beautiful view I did not want to over do it with decorations. So things like tall centerpieces were out as I wanted everyone to see out of the windows. Etsy gave me plenty of ideas and I purchased lots of creative things made by other people which takes away some of the pressure and time of DIY. One of my favorite things was the giant teacup style centerpiece on the tables. We had pictures around of our parents and grandparents’ weddings and old bottles with flowers in on the ledge of the windows.

I liked the fact the wedding was at 4pm that meant we were not up at the crack of dawn having our hair pulled about and faces painted. So the morning was pretty chilled as everyone was arriving at my apartment building. I had hired the even lounge in our building so there was plenty of space for girls to be getting ready in. We had music on champers and a nice lunch that we got delivered in and were totally pampered by Mink Make Up. I had my dad running around after us all who was fab and my brother was around taking pictures. Getting ready went pretty quickly I was actually ready early so had a few butterflys until the trolley bus came to pick us all up.

The service was quite modern. We had a pianist who played cold play when the wedding party entered and then I had starlight by Muse played when I walked down the isle with my dad. This horrified my mum when I told her but it did sound really pretty and was music myself and Greg enjoy together. We were able to select our own vows and changed them up a little without being too out there. I wanted people to be interested in the service and not switch off. My Aunt read "The Art of Marraige" and our friend Pete read lyrics from Johnny Cash song "I love you because". When we signed the register 'Your Song’ was played by Elton John. As everyone left they were given bubbles to blow rather than confetti and we all walked out to Kings of Leon "Use somebody" on the piano.

My own personal taste is that I don’t like limos and all they seemed to rent at a reasonable price in Vancouver is limos. I would have rather walked than get in one. My mum was visiting on vacation and a vintage trolley bus drove past her. As a joke she said you should get one of those. It’s exactly what I did! It was different, fun and was great for the out of town guest. It took guests up to the park where we married then came back to collect my wedding party and me.

For the reception we had a sit down meal in the top dining room. To start we had a Caesar salad, next a choice of main steak or blackened Cod and for desert a chocolate cake. After the speeches we moved down the spiral staircase for the evenings entertainment. Our friend Jeff warmed thins up and played a set on his guitar and went down a storm. While this was going on the photo-booth opened and everyone had great fun dressing up and posing for pictures. They were instant print so everyone got something extra to take home with them. After we had our first dance we had our own playlist on with DJ equipment Jeff had helped us hire. It turned out so well it was one of my big worries deciding what music to play but everyone danced the whole night. At Greg’s request there was a late cheese selection that came out for guest to nibble on. We did not have an evening buffet as the wedding was at 4pm so people had already eaten quite late in the day.

I felt relaxed on the build up and was just enjoying having everyone around me. The nerves seemed to kick in after the service, as I so wanted everyone to have a good time as they came so far to be at our wedding. After a ‘pull yourself together everyone is having a great time’ talk from my groom and best man (and a glass of wine) I settled down again and enjoyed dancing away in the evening.

We had cup cakes and a top cutting cake. The tasting was one of Greg’s favorite things to do and we were able to mix up a few options. To fit in with the yellow and blue them there were some lemon and blue coconut flavors and of course chocolate was in there it’s the law! People could help themselves throughout the evening as and when they fancied cake. On top was a small flower arrangement to fit in with the other meadow style wedding decorations.
We had shot glasses as favors. The idea came from the thinking we wanted a kind of tourist souvenirs as favors as so many people had travelled to be with us on our day. Greg ended up designing our own logo to go onto the glass and we ordered them online. I used Etsy a lot for my wedding and placed the glasses in a rustic burlap bag to put onto the tables. I think there were a few bottles of Sambuca purchased at the reception so they were used!

My photographer was actually my brother. He was also groomsman but juggled the position completely well. My brother is a motor sport photographer but he takes great people pictures. I basically told him he was my photographer because I had faith that he had a great talent. He did not let me down my pictures were beautiful. Plus I think people were more relaxed in front of the camera as they knew my brother and were totally relaxed.

Greg and myself are not a couple who have a song. We danced to Cold Play - Paradise. We chose it because we loved the song and had been to a Cold Play gig not long before the wedding. Now it’s extra special to us.
We were buzzing after the day and just reliving how well everything went. It was more of a week event than a day lots of hard work but totally worth it.
The advice I would give to all brides-to-be would be; try not to get bombarded with all the ideas there are out there and stick to what you like. Don't watch too many bridal TV shows like ‘Four Brides’ where they all bad-mouth each others’ wedding - it will give you nightmares! Don't worry if everyone is enjoying themselves they are all capable of having a good time if they want to and everyone who is there wants to be so they will have a great time.

Venues: The Chapels, Seasons Park




























Photographer: Steven Knightly
Dress: Eloise by Jenny Packham at White Mischief
Location: Vancouver, USA
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