{reality wedding story) West Coast Nuptials

Photo: Chelsea Dawn Photography

Family, Friends and Lots of Love…

James & Teresa may have met by chance but they didn’t leave anything to chance when it came to their wedding day!

Photo: Chelsea Dawn Photography
Photo: Chelsea Dawn Photography

James and Teresa met in Victoria though it was a little while before James worked up the courage to ask Teresa out.They went on their first date in late August and, since James wasn’t from Victoria, Teresa decided to take him to a few of her favorite places. They started at Mount Doug where there was the most beautiful sunset and then moved down to the beach where they spent hours sitting on a tree growing sideways from the shore. They spent three weeks together before James moved back to Alberta for work. Six months later, Teresa joined James in Alberta where they lived together for a year before moving back to Vancouver Island.

The proposal

In late August of 2013, James and Teresa drove up island to Campbell River to celebrate their fifth anniversary. After spending the day in town they headed to one of their favorite spots, Elk Falls, where they walked down the trail to a beautiful waterfall. At the top of the waterfall, where it cascades down towards the river, James took Teresa’s bag then turned around and went down on one knee. He asked Teresa if she would be his forever and she, of course, said YES!! After the proposal they spent some time walking around the waterfall and exploring the small pools – just enjoying the amazing day. As they drove home they called their parents to share the exciting news!

Teresa and James chose Tofino as their wedding destination as it is their favourite place to get away on the west coast; they always knew that when the time came they would marry there!

Photo: Chelsea Dawn Photography
Photo: Chelsea Dawn Photography

The Wedding Day

Fast forward one year later and it was time for Teresa and James to be married on what was their six year anniversary, August 25th, 2014. The day started early with the girls going to Studio One Tofino for hair and make-up, they opened the salon just for the wedding party. Acoustic covers were playing, which are a favourite of Teresa’s while the girls sipped on mimosas in their custom robes Teresa had made from an Etsy shop. Chelsea Banwell, the photographer and friend of the bride, did airbrushing make-up for Teresa and her Maid of Honour Airdrie. Cassie O’Neil joined for some video shots of the girls getting ready.

While the girls were at the salon James went for a surf with his brother. After the surf, it was time to trade the wetsuit for a Calvin Klein suit from Moores Clothing for Men. James gave his groomsman their gift which were personalized Zippo lighters, cigars and their suspenders. James read a card from Teresa and opened his gift which was a groom emergency kit, groom socks and a tie clip she had engraved with ‘Forever and Always.’

Teresa, her bridesmaids and Mother moved from the salon to a room at The Tin Wis Hotel on Mackenzie Beach. Along with their robes, Teresa gifted her bridesmaids with pearl earrings from Bekah Anne Jewellery, personalized hangers from Etsy and MAC lip gloss. Her two adorable flower girls arrived and were dressed in their cream and white tutu dresses from Twinkle Twinkle Tutus. The mother of the bride wore a beautiful pink dress with lace details from Hudson’s Bay with matching pink pearl earrings from Bekah Anne Jewellery. Once everyone was dressed they left the room leaving Teresa and her mother Rosa who helped Teresa into her Sorrento and Midgley dress from Blush Bridal. It was altered to perfection by Lily Kennedy Custom Gowns. Lily also made the custom jewelled headband Teresa wore. Her white pearl and Swarovski earrings from Bekah Anne Jewellery finished off the simple look. She read a card from her soon to be husband and opened her gift, a ‘Mrs’ necklace from Kate Spade.

Before driving to the ceremony location, Teresa did a first look with her bridesmaids, father and brother, then it was off to the ceremony on the south end of Mackenzie Beach. Two of the brides cousins swept the beach of seaweed and debris and helped Smashing Glasses Event Rentals set up the beautiful wooden chairs. The bride and groom decided not to have an archway, instead their backdrop was the beautiful west coast scenery. The couple also decided to haven ‘unplugged wedding.’ No cameras, cell phones or devices during the ceremony. They wanted to see their guests faces on the wedding day, and in photos without the obstruction of technology.

‘Outro’ by M-83 played while the groom, groomsmen, ring bearer, bridesmaids and flower girls walked down the isle. Teresa then walked down the isle with her father to ‘Something’ by The Beatles. Their commissioner, June Hanton, began the ceremony which was written entirely by the bridal couple. The ceremony paused as a plane flew overhead, June joked that ‘usually only the queen gets a fly-by.’ Then it was the best part, the kiss!! Instead of the traditional unity candles the bride poured sand from her favourite beach while the groom poured soil from his hometown in Alberta into a mason jar.

Photo: Chelsea Dawn Photography
Photo: Chelsea Dawn Photography

After the ceremony the party went for photos on the beach. Teresa and James were joined by their Blue Heeler puppy, Luna, who managed to stay still enough for one perfect photo. Teresa and her bridesmaids had photos in the water with their Hunter Boots, a must have when living on the West Coast!! James and Teresa took a few minutes before the reception to be alone and enjoy being newlyweds!!

Everyone arrived to The Tin Wis hotel for the reception where the decor was all handmade by Teresa and her bridal party. The simple rustic look of mason jars and wood rounds were topped off with fresh flowers from Teresa’s grandmother’s garden. A candy bar with mason jars was filled with the bride and grooms favourite treats. Teresa and her Maid of Honour made a beautiful ribbon and tulle backdrop for behind the head table. Once everyone was seated, the bride’s father played a song he wrote for the newlyweds with a little help from the guests! Before dinner a slideshow of the bride and grooms favourite memories played. The buffet catered by the Tin Wis was outstanding only topped by the deluxe desert spread they put out. The bride and groom were surprised during the speeches by a video message from James’ father in Florida. His younger sister in Michigan also sent a video message where she sang a beautiful song. There was not a dry eye in the room after her video!! The couple cut their adorable naked cake made by one of Teresa co-workers.

Soon it was time for dancing! The bride and groom shared their first dance to ‘Northern Wind’ by City and Colour. A moment that Teresa said was her favourite of the day. For the mother son dance all the mothers and sons were invited onto the dance floor to enjoy a special dance together. Around this time, Four Frames Photo Booth opened where all the guests enjoyed all the amazing props! Once the sun set, the guests gathered outside for a sparkler send off for the bride and groom. It was a perfect ending to a magical day.

Photo: Chelsea Dawn Photography
Photo: Chelsea Dawn Photography
Photo: Chelsea Dawn Photography
Photo: Chelsea Dawn Photography
Photo: Chelsea Dawn Photography
Photo: Chelsea Dawn Photography