Sarah & Riley TRUE LOVE. TRUE LUXURY.
Sarah and Riley’s love story began in 2004. The two met while attending university in Ireland and dated for seven years before Riley surprised Sarah with a proposal. “I had been suspicious for a few months, but he still managed to catch me off guard,” recalls Sarah.
Sarah (a family doctor) and Riley (an anesthesiologist) are two busy health-care professionals living in Manitoba. They decided to have their wedding in Vancouver since that’s where Riley’s family are located. This decision meant that Sarah’s family and friends would be flying in from Ireland—Sarah’s home country—for the joyous occasion.
Early in the planning process, the couple realized they needed to enlist a Vancouver-based wedding planner to assist with their “destination” wedding.
Almost a year before the wedding, Sarah contacted Genève McNally of DREAMGROUP PRODUCTIONS by phone.
“I knew I had found the right planner after one
phone call, and an in-person meeting that same month only confirmed that. Over the next year, Geneve helped us with everything. She found us incredible vendors. She made us a gorgeous inspiration board, scoured Etsy for deals on decor, kept our “to-do” list organized, kept us on track and kept us laughing (most importantly). Because of the distance, she managed to do pretty much all of our planning via email,” recalls Sarah.
On August 18, 2012 the couple were married in Vancouver and celebrated with a rustic yet luxe West Coast-inspired daytime ceremony and cocktail reception, followed by a formal, elegant evening affair.
Tyler and Jessie Thiessen of ONE PLUS ONE DESIGN in Winnipeg created invitations and save-the-date cards for the event. The boutique design studio also created the couple’s wedding programs which featured two poems that were read during the ceremony. The programs also featured a personalized crossword puzzle.
Sarah wore the “Audrey” gown by Vera Wang and a custom-made veil both purchased from BLUSH BRIDAL. Her accessories included pink shoes from BHLDN (Anthropologie’s sister brand), and crystal dangling earrings created by Elsa Corsi. Her diamond wedding band and engagement ring were from BIRKS. Melanie Tremblay, owner of MINK MAKEUP & HAIR provided hair and makeup for the bride.
The bridesmaids wore blush-hued dresses (that featured oversized bows on the back) by ALFRED SUNG. The dresses were accessorized with bracelets and earrings from JEWELIETTE. Riley wore a formal black morning jacket with a silver tie and grey pants from THE TUX STORE.
A mountaintop wedding ceremony was held in the newly-created ‘Hummingbird Garden’ at GROUSE MOUNTAIN RESORT. The space had never been used for a ceremony until planner Genève McNally suggested it while on an initial site inspection. Sarah and Riley’s ceremony looked so pretty that the staff at the mountaintop venue have since starting offering it as a bonafide wedding ceremony location. Since the area already had a few hummingbird feeders it came to be named “Hummingbird Garden.”
DELOVELY CREATIVE provided all of the floral and decor for the day and enhanced the garden setting with whimsically luxe decor elements. The outdoor aisle was lined with flower-filled glass jars that hung from ‘shepherd’s hooks.’ A wrought iron arch was custom-designed to serve as the couple’s altar. The structure was covered in fresh Jasmine and featured a hanging crystal chandelier. Guests were seated on thirty wooden benches during the ceremony, which was poignantly officiated by Father McGrath (Sarah’s childhood pastor who had travelled all the way from Ireland for the occasion).
To complement the casual outdoor setting of the ceremony, Sarah and her bridesmaids each carried bouquets by DELOVELY CREATIVE that consisted of the appropriately-named flower “Blushing Bride” along with assorted wildflowers. Sarah’s bouquet was wrapped in lace with pearl pin accents.
An outdoor cocktail reception immediately followed. THE MUSICAL OCCASIONS STRING QUARTET played modern favourites (Aerosmith & The Beatles songs) while the guests sipped on fresh lemonade served with striped paper straws. The rustic drink station was made with antique wooden barrels and wood slab tables. On display was the wedding cake by ANNA ELIZABETH CAKES that was inspired by scenic Vancouver. An assortment of cupcakes decorated with the couple’s ‘likes’ (butterflies/flowers for the bride, and running shoes/Vancouver Canucks references for the groom) were displayed on a bed of moss.
The entire wedding party moved from the relaxed mountaintop celebration to an elegant dinner reception at THE VANCOUVER CLUB. Here, the reception decor was decidedly more traditional.
The oval head table was positioned in the centre of the dining room and topped with an arrangement of pink and ivory florals juxtaposed with an abundance of candles. Guest tables featured centrepieces of bountiful flower arrangements in silver vases.
WINTONS SOCIAL STATIONERY created the seating chart and table cards for the wedding. The table cards featured different names of Whistler ski runs because Riley and his family have been skiing at Whistler since he was two years old.
THE YOUNG EXECUTIVES provided music for the night but the entertainment highlight of the evening was when Riley’s family gathered all 164 guests together to sing “When Irish Eyes Are Smiling” in honour of the Irish bride! Another huge hit was the yummy late-night poutine bar.
When asked if they would do anything differently, neither Sarah or Riley would change a single thing about their wedding but Sarah has great advice for other brides. “Do not attempt this without the support of a reputable wedding planner. I couldn’t have ever pulled off a wedding of this magnitude without Genève.”
The couple enjoyed their honeymoon in a luxurious overwater bungalow at the Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora and share that their tropical holiday was twelve daysof “pure heaven.”