Tag Archives: wedding planner

Celebrating 10 Years of Aurora

Photo by Lucida Photography on Aurora’s wedding day

Today’s post was mostly written with tears running down my face because today we are celebrating Aurora’s tenth anniversary with Alicia Keats Weddings + Events.

I remember vividly the first time I worked with Aurora. We were working at another planning company and she was my wedding day assistant. She arrived at the church early and knew the entire timeline by heart, knew all of the families names and who was related to who. Each time I turned to her to ask her to help me or to do something for me it was already done. I was blown away. As we quickly ate our dinner in-between speeches that night I told her that she was born to be a wedding planner and she had the gift that can not be taught. She was passionate, kind, attentive to our clients and their guests, was graceful under pressure with a smile the entire time.

A little while later I made the decision to open up my own company and one afternoon I got a message from her asking if we could go for coffee and catch up. I held my breath praying that she was wanting to meet because she wanted to join the company. I don’t remember anything about our small talk over coffee other than I felt like I was going to faint the entire time until she finally said, “It would be my dream to work with you, are you at all open to having me join your team?” I jumped up and down in the middle of the coffee shop screaming and clapping my hands shouting YES!! Of course!!! Then I immediately sat down and laid out to her that it was a very new business, it may not work, and shared with her how she was taking a huge risk and asked her if she was sure this was a good idea.  Aurora looked at me and said “Alicia, I believe in you, I am not worried”. And I cried.

And here we are, 10 years later.

Alicia Keats Weddings + Events is eleven years old next month and I could not have done it without Aurora. Over her tenure not only has Aurora brought her creativity, her brilliance and talent to our team and to our couples, she has always pushed me to believe in myself, to dream bigger, value myself more, take risks and helped to create this company and dream of being able to do what we love while living the life we could only have dreamed of back then in that Starbucks.

I have lost track of how many weddings Aurora has been a part of. She has planned a wedding in a furniture showroom what barely had any power (or washrooms!) and required a moving truck to clear out the showroom and re-set it after the wedding. She was a finalist for Best Event Planner from the BC Professional Wedding Awards for her wedding in the snowy backcountry which required her to snowcat in everything and I mean EVERYTHING.

Aurora took the challenge of creating an elegant pirate themed wedding and created a magical beautiful celebration. Aurora is also the kind of planner that you want to be best friends with after the wedding. Just ask Tedi and Ben who are now some of Aurora’s closest friends. There is the time she created an elegant ballroom wedding at the Vancouver Convention Center and Dora and James’ Hotel Vancouver Wedding or working with Courtney and Chris long distance on their wedding and the very first wedding she had published in Wedluxe Magazine. She is the queen of home weddings like she did for Corinne and Jamie and Shannon and Steve.

We coordinated each other’s weddings and of course we had to get married in the same year. If it wasn’t for her, I am not sure my own wedding would have happened because I was so scared of moving forward with the plans and she pushed me to let her help. She also let me cry the day before my wedding when we made the rain plan call and moved my wedding to plan B. Her own wedding was featured by Martha Stewart and Wedluxe Magazine and was one of my post stressful weddings to date. I was so scared of letting her down and of course, as luck would have it, there were so many behind the scene fires to put out on her wedding day!

There are not enough words to properly express my gratitude and appreciation for Aurora. I feel so lucky to have worked with her all these years, to have learned from her and watch her shine. I think any of her couples would agree, she was born to do this and we are all so lucky to have been able to experience her passion, care and creativity. Happy 10th anniversary my dear friend. Thank you for taking the risk all those years ago, I can’t wait to see what the future has in store.

Love Alicia

Photography (not in order) by Sakurka Photography, Lucida Photography, Shari + Mike, Jonetsu, Jenn Best, Union Photography, Ophelia, John Bello, Guccio, and Sweet Pea Photography.

Outdoor Wedding Venues Vancouver and Whistler

Outdoor weddings are becoming more popular as we find ways to celebrate during a time of our lives that require extra precaution towards keeping ourselves and our loved ones safe. I thought it would be helpful for those in the starting stages of planning their wedding to provide a list of our favourite outdoor venues, most of which allow tenting to protect us from the West Coast elements!

 

UBC Botanical Gardens Contemporary Lawn + Arbour

Photographs by Shari + Mike

UBC Botanical Garden’s Contemporary Lawn and Arbour has been one of our top choices for an outdoor wedding in Vancouver since Mari Toni and Tal’s wedding in the Summer of 2014.

The space boasts an amazing 110’ Arbour covered in climbing greens that is often used as the stunning location for a long table dinner or a ceremony. Right next door to the Arbour is the Contemporary Lawn. This can be used for cocktail hour, games, dinner, or dancing and can be tented. Be sure to ask the team at UBC Botanical Gardens about their preferred tenting company!

In addition to these two spaces, the Amphitheatre is an amazing space for a ceremony and can be integrated with the other spaces to create a seamless flow between the ceremony, cocktail hour, dinner, and dancing!

 Stanley Park Pavilion

Photographs by Melia Lucida Photography

Stanley Park Pavilion is a stunning venue located just inside Stanley Park in Vancouver. Generally recognized for its classic tearoom and ballroom, you can also rent out the Bar + Grill in conjunction with the large lawn just off the patio!

Nestled amongst the coniferous trees of the park, an intimate reception will transport your guests to a magical forest just a few steps away from Vancouver’s downtown core. With catering by Stanley Park Pavilion, the team will also help you with shuttles to downtown at the end of the night and, with permission from the City of Vancouver, this space can be tented!

Here are a few more photos from a wedding we planned in August 2019 for Penny and Will!

Riverland’s Equestrian Centre (Pemberton)

Photographs by Blush Photography

As seen in Wedluxe

I was introduced to this venue by a couple I worked with for their 2019 wedding and fell in love. Nina and Martin, the couple, wanted to host their wedding reception at a place that they had a personal connection with, and, as they boarded their beloved horse here, Riverlands was it hands down!

For Nina and Martin’s wedding, we set up a large reception tent for dinner and dancing that also housed two bars, a portrait station, and a lounge. We also had two tents from Wild Havens Popup Tents – one for a kids tent and the other a tasting tent for Pemberton Distillery – and a few tents for catering and storage. Needless to say, the space is very flexible so that you can see your dream wedding become a reality! In addition to this, the team at Riverland’s is so accommodating and we cannot recommend them more.

 

Fairmont Chateau Whistler 

Mountainview Lawn and Woodland’s Terrace 

Another amazing venue along the Sea to Sky Corridor is the Fairmont Chateau Whistler. Outside the hotels stunning ballrooms, the Woodland’s Rooftop Terrace is a flexible space that can host an outdoor ceremony and cocktail hour and a tented reception while boosting incredible views of the mountains surrounding Whistler Village. The best part (other than the views)? The tent is included with the venue!

Another hidden gem that the Fairmont Chateau has to offer is their Mountainview Lawn. This location, just minutes away from the hotel, has a three-tiered space that is an amazing space to utilize for an event and feels like an oasis from Whistler Village surrounded by dense evergreens. Many couples decide to tie the knot here on the upper-most lawn that has unbeatable mountain views – so West Coast!

 

Fairmont Pacific Rim Hotel | The Chairman’s Terrace

Photographs by Blush Photography

Just around the corner on the terrace of the Chairman’s Suite at the Pacific Rim Hotel, there is a secret location for an intimate ceremony for those in love with a city backdrop for their ‘I Do’s.’

With an amazing events team, the Pac Rim can make your dreams come true with amazing venues to host your wedding to delicious food and beverage. The best part? Hard to put your finger on one thing, but spending the night in this stunning suite must be up there!

Hart House Restaurant

Photographs by Hera Studios

Hart House is a great selection for an outdoor tented wedding. They are located in a park with lots of greenery, and the lake just nearby. It’s a perfect place for photos, and a beautiful backdrop. Not only do they have a wonderful location, but their food and service are sure to please your guests. With Hart House, you have the perfect combination of natural beauty and sophistication.

 

Brock House Restaurant

Photographs by Walker Studios

If you want an oceanfront venue, you cannot beat Brock House on Jericho Beach in Vancouver! Most couples host their ceremonies on the grass facing the water and views of the North Shore Mountains and then move to the tent (included in the rental) for dinner. With the tent, tables, chairs, tableware, and catering organized by the team at Brock House, it is a great option for those looking for a stunning ‘one stop’ venue to make the planning process a bit simpler!

 

Hycroft Manor

Photographs by Lucida Photography

Hycroft is a classic venue located just in Kerrisdale off of Granville and 16th Avenue. Overlooking the mountains, this venue is so close to the bustling of the city but you’d never know it as you are transported to Europe when you enter the property.

Hycroft does not allow tenting on their property, but most couples use the terrace on the north side of the building for their ceremony and to host a dinner amongst the grand Corinthian pillars and classical garden. For those looking for a timeless elegance, Hycroft is perfect.

Cecil Green

Photographs by Lucida Photography

There are so many options for wedding ceremony locations at Cecil Green, rain or shine which is one of our favourite features. If you want to be married in a garden setting or with a view of the ocean, Cecil Green offers both options. My favourite part of Cecil Green is the terrace where an intimate wedding can dine under the stars without any worries about rain as it is covered with glass.

To recap for you:

The Best Outdoor Wedding Venues in or near Whistler are:

  1. Riverlands Equestrian Center.
  2. Fairmont Chateau Whistler, Mountain View Lawn and Woodland Terrace.
  3. North Arm Farm

The Best Outdoor Wedding Venues in Vancouver are:

  1. UBC Botanical Gardens
  2. Stanley Park Pavillion
  3. Fairmont Pacific Rim Chairman’s Terrace.
  4. Hart House
  5. Brock House
  6. Hycroft
  7. Cecil Green

There are so many amazing outdoor venues that all have a different aesthetic, from rustic to classic, we hope that this list helps you to find your perfect wedding venue!

Alicia xo

Rena and Paul’s Rosewood Hotel Georgia Wedding

Wedding Planning and Design by: Alicia Keats | Photography by Blush Wedding Photography

Featured in Wedluxe Magazine, Rena and Paul’s wedding was a grand romantic affair set in the stunning Rosewood Hotel Georgia’s Spanish Ballroom. A soft colour palette of whites, pinks and touches of gold set the stage, while lush floral arrangements, luxurious linen, and a signature scent by Jo Malone set the stage for a wedding that appealed to all the senses.

The ceremony was set with neat rows of white and gold Louis Chairs on either side of a white aisle. At the end of the aisle, tall lavish floral arrangements of white hydrangea and blush roses by Granville Island Florist were set on varying sized clear pillars adding height to the room. The aisle was lined with elegant floating candles and led to an extravagant draped four-post arch full of fresh blooms from the top plinth to the tie backs and even down the inside of the posts.

For the ceremony, Rena wore an exquisite fishtail Berta gown with delicate beading and embroidered detailing and wore sparkly Christian Louboutin pink ombre heels. Rena’s bridesmaids were dressed in soft pink floor-length gowns. Paul was dressed in a black Tom Ford tuxedo with a bow tie and pocket square from Holt Renfrew. Even their teacup poodle was dressed to impress in his tuxedo!

After the ceremony, guests were welcomed onto the promenade for the cocktail reception as the Ballroom was reset for dinner and dancing. The promenade was dressed with tall cocktail tables with light pink satin tablecloths. Bud style arrangements with peonies and roses in white vases decorated the tabletops and an oversized floral arrangement topped a round white seatee. Guests enjoyed passed canapes such as Hazelnut Crusted Scallops with Basil and Red Curry while finding their name on the impressive seating chart designed by Love by Phoebe or waiting for their picture from The Collective You.

The ballroom was set with round guest tables dressed with blush linen embroidered with white flowers and set with gold charger plates with neatly folded white napkins. Lush floral arrangements were placed on each table in extra tall clear glass vases adding height and drama to the room. One of my favourite details of the room was the head table which was set in front of the altar structure that now housed the tiered wedding cake by Ganache on a pink sequin table. The head table was set with the same elegant embroidered tablecloth as the guest tables but was lined with an abundant floral arrangement of white roses, orchids, and light pink roses. At the centre of the head table, where Rena and Paul sat, there was an incredible floral ‘waterfall’ that was the perfect piece de resistance for the reception.

During the reception, guests enjoyed a five-course dinner that concluded with a slice of the wedding cake from Ganache. After dinner, Rena and Paul danced to ‘You are the Reason’ by Calum Scott and Leona Lewis and then guests were welcomed to the dance floor for the bouquet and garter tosses. DJ Colette from Girl on Wax kept the party going as the Rosewood served the late-night snack of poutine and Japanese hotdogs. When guests departed, they were welcome to take a delicate mini orchid in a gold planter home as a keepsake.

Enjoy!

xo Alicia

Tammy + Chris’ Pacific Rim Wedding Celebration

Wedding Planning by Alicia Keats | Wedding Photography by Melia of Lucida Photography

Tammy and Chris wanted their wedding to have a whimsical feel, with natural West Coast elements and be a celebration of the union of not only themselves through marriage, but of their families (including their pet lizard) too. Embracing these elements as inspiration, we used light décor elements and plenty of activities to create an evening that was authentically Tammy + Chris.

After getting ready at their family homes (thanks to Denise Elliott and her team), they arrived at St. Andrews Wesley Church in Downtown Vancouver. Other than the simple floral arrangements tied onto the pews with pink ribbons by Celsia Florist, the architecture of the church was left to evoke a certain transcendental air for the ceremonial portion of the day. Balancing this formal atmosphere was Tammy + Chris’s light energy as they smiled, laughed, and gave out high fives to celebrate the occasion in their own special way.  Concluding this portion of the day was a Unity Candle ritual that ceremonially tied the two families together, a truly special way to express the joining of Tammy + Chris through marriage and the devotion that they have towards their loved ones.

Following the ceremony, guests made their way to the Fairmont Pacific Rim Hotel where they were greeted by sparkling wine and passed canapes as the Cocktail Hour commenced. Before guests entered the main ballroom for the dinner portion of the evening, they found their seats on a mirror seating plan that was inscribed in gold ink. The décor in the ballroom was kept light and airy with crisp white linen, gold chivari chairs, clear cylindrical vases with white floating candles, and an abundance of greenery dotted with blush and white roses. Behind the head table was a magnificent backdrop made of hanging greenery garlands set against a lush white drapery. This backdrop helped to make the head table more of a focal point for guests as their eyes were drawn to the couple and those in the wedding party – it also made for amazing photographs!

After a three-course dinner was served that included an amazing three-tier cake from A.Elizabeth Cakes, the dance floor opened up after the first dance. DJ Aimee kept the party going late into the evening and everyone of all ages celebrated the union of Tammy + Chris.

Enjoy!

Alicia xo

Angela + Eric’s Vancouver Club Wedding

Wedding Planning by Alicia Keats | Photography by Lucida Photography

Angela and Eric wanted an elegant wedding that was light, refreshing, filled with flowers and that radiated the feeling of their love for one another. Hosted at The Vancouver Club, the wedding seamlessly infused the classical architecture of the building with whimsical touches to create a soft and joyful atmosphere.

The ceremony, held in the University Room, set the stage for the rest of the evening. Lined playfully with white flowers, the aisle led up to the beautiful fireplace decorated with white pillar candles and a dramatic arrangement by Celsia Florist.

The dreamy atmosphere of the ceremony was brought into the Ballroom for the main reception. Greenery garlands ran the length of the long tables and were interspersed with centerpieces with white and pink flowers. We added hints of gold through candle holders, gold-rimmed charger plates, and chivari chairs. ‘Natural’ floral arrangements were used at the foot of each table and to line the bay windows making the Ballroom feel as though it was being overtaken with a fanciful garden. A.Elizabeth Cakes provided the beautiful (and yummy!) cake and Love By Phoebe created all of their stationary including a custom band for their guest favors, chocolate bars from BETA5.

Angela wore three dresses for the evening. For the ceremony, Angela wore a sleeveless white Vera Wang with a mermaid silhouette and a cathedral train, and for the reception, a beautiful red lace dress with three-quarter length sleeves that called attention to the couple’s Asian heritage and she changed into a black evening gown once dancing started.

One of my favourite things about Angela and Eric’s wedding was the late-night snack. Using their Asian culture as inspiration, the couple opted for two Cocktail Stations – one Dim Sum Station and another with a variety of Noodle Cups. In addition to this, we arranged a ‘Make-it-Yourself’ Bubble Tea Station provided by Ninja Bubble Tea. Not only was this a way to celebrate their culture and fun personalities, but the stations offered an interactive and memorable experience for their guests!

With love,

Alicia xo