Click!

10Apr09

After many months of research, emails and phone calls, and a few “first dates,” we’ve finally signed a contract and submitted a deposit to a photographer! You’ll remember that this was one of our most important items, so I am relieved to finally put a big check mark on this to-do item.

We thought we had found a photographer in March, but due to a gut feeling I had right before we signed the contract, that fell through. My gut is usually right, so I just had to trust it.

Last Sunday, after I spent the weekend at a Guiding camp, we drove out to Langley to meet Lorena and Danielle, the sisters behind Soltura Photography. I am SO excited to have booked them! I hadn’t come across them during my original search for a photographer, but saw their name pop up on WeddingBells. Once I loaded up their website, I was hooked – I love the feeling in their photos! Adam and I both felt really comfortable after we met them last week, so we signed the contract on the spot. We’ll be arranging an engagement shoot with Lorena in a month or two, and I can’t wait!

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Flower power

09Apr09

We’ve known from the beginning that we don’t want a lot of flowers at our wedding. I have mild pollen allergies, but we also just don’t see the point in spending hundreds on flowers for one day. I do want a bouquet, though, and boutennieres and corsages for our closest loved ones.

Though I won a gift certificate to a local florist at the Wedding Fair in January, we’ve chosen not to go with them. I can use the gift certificate on a plant or something for our apartment, and I just didn’t get a good vibe from the store’s owner when I was there recently. We got talking about our vendors and budget, and he outright told me that I “couldn’t possibly” find a vendor I have yet to hire for the budget I have set, which would be rude enough if it wasn’t also inaccurate!

This weekend, I met up with K, part of my bridal posse, so we could share a shopping trip to check out florists and dresses. We wandered around a few shops, and after getting quotes at a couple of places, I stumbled across a small shop in the Granville Island Public Market.

The V&J Plant Shop has a remarkable selection, and their working area is tucked in among the buckets and buckets of flowers. They were the most welcoming, friendly and honest of all the florists I visited, as well as being patient with my laundry list of questions. In a month or two, I’ll head down to the Market to visit them and start planning out our flowers. We’ll make an “A” and “B” list of flowers, so that there is some flexibility depending on what is in season, looking good, and affordable around our wedding.


My bridal posse

08Apr09

At the end of March, I asked three of my favourite women to be my bridesmaids, and luckily they all said yes!

Laura, my cousin, will be my maid of honour. We were born 6.5 months apart, and we’ve lived on opposite sides of the country our whole lives, but I couldn’t imagine getting married without her at my side! When we were little, we’d write letters back and forth, and now that’s progressed to MSN and long-distance phone calls. I called Laura to ask her to be my maid of honour, and she answered while driving on the highway. After I asked her, she said “ARE YOU SERIOUS?” followed by “I’m pulling over!!!!!” Love it!

The fact that Kristen and I survived sharing a 200sq ft dorm room together for 8 months in first year is a testament to the strength of our friendship! We lived together again for another year, and until last year, we hadn’t lived more than 5minutes away from each other for 4 years. Kris is a firecracker – hilarious, honest, and the most loyal person I know. She’s been rooting for Adam and me all along.

Lindsey and I are strikingly different and painfully similar. Adam knows not to expect me home for 2 or 3 hours when I say I’m meeting Linds for a “quick” coffee date, because she and I are chatterboxes together! Guaranteed to make me laugh or recommend me a new favourite book, Linds is adventurous and always up for a party.

For both Kristen and Lindsay, I wrote them a silly rhyming card, and paired it with a RingPop in gift bag. I gave them to the girls while we were out for dinner, and I was screamed at, hugged, and smacked on the arm.

My girls are all silly and serious, smart as hell, and I know they’ll have my back through anything that comes along in the future. I’m so lucky that they’ve agreed to stand up for Adam and I when we say our vows!


Vows

18Mar09


I got confirmation from the coordinator at our ceremony site today, so I can finally reveal where we’ll be saying our vows!

After we booked the Sequoia Grill, we were hoping to have our ceremony there too. There is a great public greenspace right outside the restaurant, but the City won’t allow tents or chairs there, and the weather in October is just too unpredictable to forego a tent! We couldn’t figure out a way to make the ceremony work indoors, so my Google-fu and other research skills got another chance to shine.

We needed room for about 75 people, indoors, and not at a church. Pretty simple, right? Once again, our simple requirements turned out to be exceedingly difficult to fulfill! The Celebration Pavilion was an early contender, until we found out that their prices had jumped drastically. We looked at hotels, theatres, community centres, art galleries, lounges, and heritage buildings. I emailed and phoned and Googled my little heart out. I asked everyone I knew for their suggestions.

Somehow, I came across the facilities rental page on the Vancouver Museum website. I got in touch with their rental coordinator, and we emailed back and forth all through February. After arranging a site visit, Adam and I knew we’d found a winner!

We’ll be having our ceremony in the Joyce Wally Learning Centre, a large room in the Museum, with 13ft windows looking out at a park, False Creek, Stanley Park, and the North Shore mountains. You can actually almost see our reception venue across the water, even! We’ll say our vows in front of the windows, with the view and the fall foliage behind us.

It’s going to be comfortable and casual, and the view will showcase some of the best of Vancouver in the fall. I’m so excited to have this confirmed!


So after outlining our criteria for a venue, and knocking out some great venues because of our budget, we ended up with 3 fantastic venue options.

The first venue we visited was the Uber Lounge at Steamworks Brewing Company in the Gastown area of downtown Vancouver. The Uber Lounge is a swanky private room off the bar and restaurant, with its own bar area. We would have held our ceremony in the attached atrium (with a view of the trainyards and North Shore mountains!), and our reception in the lounge. The event manager was very helpful by email, and delightful in person! Ultimately, the minimum we were quoted was reasonable, but the bar costs were a little high and the menu wasn’t quite what we wanted.

The second venue we checked out was the Dockside Restaurant at the Granville Island Hotel. This venue had a great menu, good customer service, and a very “Vancouver” location. The downsides were that there was a very, very limited view (small windows, lots of boats in the way), and that the room we could afford would have been very cramped for 75 guests.

After seeing these first two venues, we were pretty sure that either one would work for us, but I just wasn’t convinced that they were the right places. The downsides weren’t huge, but they were just enough to make me keep looking a little more.

The extra hunting I did turned out to be completely worth it, because I stumbled across the Sequoia Grill at the Teahouse, which meets (exceeds!) our requirements, and the few downsides are totally workable. The food is delicious, the minimum is very reasonable, the view is to die for, and the location is going to be a real treat for our out-of-town guests.


I often hear that brides don’t eat at their weddings out of nerves or lack of time, or both. I want to go on record saying that I refuse to skip the meal or the cake at our wedding! It’s all going to be much too good to miss out on!

One of the vendors I found at the Wedding Fair was Tartlets Bakery. Their displays were impressive, and the reps they had at their booth were candid, funny, and knowledgeable. Since Adam wasn’t with me, I couldn’t committ to anything on the spot, but I did book us an appointment for a consultation.

A few weeks later, Adam and I drove out to North Van, promptly got lost, and eventually found our way to Tartlets, a tiny bakery tucked away in a laneway behind a boxing gym! Nina, the owner and baker, met us with fresh cake samples and steaming mugs of tea. She chatted with us about her work, our wishes for our cake, and talked us through the tasting flavours.

After the first bite, I knew we were going to book her!

Adam was equally convinced, so the three of us talked through all the details – the colour, sizes, and flavours that will make up our cake. I’m going to leave it a surprise, but I promise it will be absolutely delicious!

Vendor: Nina at Tartlets in North Vancouver.