A summer Shawnigan Wedding

Wedding Planning: Alicia Keats | Photography by: Adam + Kev Weddings

I emailed Karen + David on their anniversary this past summer asking them if we could do it all again, there are not enough words for me to describe how much I loved planning their wedding and I would do it again in a heartbeat.  Karen + David’s wedding took us to the beautiful campus at Shawnigan Lake School in the Cowichan Valley on Vancouver Island. It was a very logistically challenging wedding to plan and I loved every second of it.  We could have opted to play it safe and stayed in the city with a venue that wasn’t a school, had a hotel attached, and a full service catering team, but Karen and David opted to take their guests on a once in a lifetime adventure instead and I was so excited to make it happen for them.

Karen + David are the epitome of dinner party hosts and it was important that their friends and family to feel that their wedding was an extension of a dinner party that they would host in their home. It needed to be intimate, relaxed, fun and filled with great wine and food.

Shawnigan School was the perfect location. It had personal meaning to David and allowed us the freedom to design the wedding specifically for them. There were many logistics to work through and I looked forward to each meeting with Karen and David, as they were every bit as organized and detail oriented as me and each meeting felt like a puzzle project as we built the wedding together. They fully understood and appreciated all the moving parts in play. One of the biggest hurdles that we faced was that the venue was a boarding school which we were going to utilize as a ‘hotel’ for the guests. Without a concierge or front desk team, we created our own plan for ‘checking guests in’ and showing them to their dorms (that part involved a lot of golf carts so no one would get lost). We had to work out what amenities where needed in the rooms, who was going to say in which room etc. It really made me appreciate the convenience of having a hotel team that helps book guests into hotel rooms and manages this part of a wedding. Another large hurdle was while the school had a crazy talented Chef, (can’t say enough good things about him-we were so lucky to have him!!!), the school did not have a service team to serve our custom meals, so we worked with an outside company to help facilitate the flow of service, which needed to happen in a few different venues on the campus over the wedding weekend.

The wedding spanned three days. On Friday afternoon, guests began to arrive and were greeted and shown to their dorm rooms on campus, once they were settled in, family skating at the ice rink kicked off the festivities. After a quick change from skates to skirts and casual dress, the welcome dinner at the Rugby Pavilion began, complete with a selection of seafood and an ice cream sundae station! The welcome dinner set the tone for the wedding and was a highlight, the food was phenomenal and more than one bottle of rose was consumed.

The wedding day began with a casual breakfast, a free morning and afternoon for guests to explore the campus, go swimming in the lake or skate. Late in the afternoon, they were welcomed to the ceremony with a glass of sparkling rose and escorted to their seats with a view of the pond in front of the school. The top of the aisle was framed by two large floral arrangements from Verbena Floral Design made with white flowers and loose greenery and set upon two antique wine barrels. Karen wore a custom dress by Alison at Manuel Mendoza. SideOne provided all the music, for the ceremony, cocktail hour, dinner and of course dancing. After the ‘I Do’s,’ cocktail hour commenced outside of Marion Hall with passed canapes and drinks.

Inside Marion Hall , which is reminiscent of Harry Potter’s Hogwarts with it’s peaked ceilings, exposed wooden beams and a large stone fireplace – we used harvest tables and silver metal ‘Portland’ chairs to create a relaxed atmosphere. Garlands of lush greenery scattered with candles were used in lieu of tall floral arrangements to ensure conversation could flow throughout the dinner portion of the evening. The Verbena team dressed the large stone fireplace with hundreds of flowers and greenery garlands. After dinner guests were invited to partake in Adam + Kev Photography’s Portrait station and dance the night away to SideOne.

The next morning, guests made their way to brunch which had everything from eggs benny to fried chicken and waffles, to fill up before the ferry ride home.

I still think we should do it again for a vow renewal… just saying! ;) Below are a few captures by Adam + Kev.

With love,

Alicia

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