A Garden Wedding in Vancouver with the Prettiest Décor Inspired by Flora and Fauna
When Jackie and Ben met at a New Year's Eve party in 2015, Ben didn't make a strong impression: "He was quiet all night and he had a serious face," she says. "But he did catch my attention!" They continued to run into each other when they were out with mutual friends, though, and soon realized they had a lot in common. "He turned out to be a very talkative person with a great sense of humor," says Jackie.
Three years later, Ben pulled off a surprise proposal for his bride-to-be—no easy task, since she's a proposal planner who was always on the lookout for hints. When Jackie and her best friend stopped at a mountaintop café on a spur-of-the-moment girls' weekend, Jackie was greeted by a handful of other friends who had flown in from all over the world, each holding flowers. "The next moment, I saw my mom there and my tears just bursted out," she says. "She gave me a wreath and asked if I was ready for the next stage of my life." Then her future husband appeared: "Ben just couldn't stop laughing," says Jackie, "because I was crying so hard! Then he held my hands, gave me his vows, and proposed, and I said yes."
The couple planned a destination wedding at Hycroft Manor in Vancouver, Canada, for March 23, 2019. Their 86 guests flew in to celebrate their nuptials, which unfolded on a warm spring day; the ceremony and reception had what Jackie calls a "fantasy garden" theme. Oversized floral arrangements, an outdoor, five-course dinner, and a recurring watercolor illustration gave the entire event a dreamy, fairy-tale atmosphere that played into Jackie's personality: "My dream life," she says, "is having a fancy garden with all kinds of flowers and bunnies and dogs, where I can just lay back and do my drawings and paintings in it."
A custom watercolor illustration on the invitation suite from illustrator Ella Jackson set the scene for the rest of the garden-themed event. "In the colors of the invitation, the envelopes, and the monogram design of our initials," says Jackie, "there were shades of lavender and plenty of greenery to tie it to the overall design of the decor."
Jackie's search for her dream wedding dress started out slow—but when she finally saw her beaded, bell-sleeve gown with its plunging back, she didn't hesitate. "I tried on more than 30 gowns, but none 'felt right,'" she says. "At last, I saw this this piece from Dana Harel on Instagram and I knew that was it. I ordered it without trying it on, and it turned out perfect."
Her sparkling wedding day shoes from Rene Caovilla included stones in shades of blue and taupe. She completed her look with a set of bridal jewelry that she designed herself and asked a jeweler friend to produce.
Lovely in Lavender
Jackie's bridesmaids wore Jenny Yoo gowns in a variety of purple tones that complemented each other—and the theme—without looking too uniform. "We chose purple because it's a dramatic color," she says.
Ben wore two different suits—one blue and one brown—both custom made by China-based store Peonia, where he also sourced his shoes, shirt, and tie.
Circle of Friends
Jackie and Ben's bridal party, a group family and friends who traveled to Vancouver to celebrate with them, posed for portraits under some of the property's most dramatic trees. The gray Zara suits the couple chose for their groomsmen created a neutral palette that allowed the bridesmaids' gowns and colorful bouquets to stand out.
The bride's asymmetrical bouquet from Myrtle et Olive included dark purple, pink, and mauve blooms in a variety of shapes that contrasted with lighter blooms and greenery.
With This Ring
Jackie's father walked her down the aisle to "Can't Help Falling in Love," escorting her to the altar where she and Ben exchanged traditional vows and rings. During the signing, Musical Occasions performed Yiruma's "River Flows in You," and the couple then left as husband and wife to "Come Fly with Me."
Tiny flowers frozen in spherical ice cubes added a pretty accent to the couple's signature cocktail, a sparkling drink with lavender syrup called The Violet Hour.
Passing the Bar
Between the ceremony and reception, guests had the chance to make their own custom scent at a perfume bar Jackie and Ben set up from Aromatears. "Scent was an important element of my wedding," says Jackie. "We built a DIY section for guests as a special event so they won't get bored while waiting for dinner to start. They all had fun making their own perfume!"
Up in the Air
Oversized floral garlands wound their way around the grand columns of the terrace where the couple held their reception, where draped fabric, greenery, and blooms created a secluded garden atmosphere.
The meal was served at long tables decorated with low centerpieces in shades of dusty purple, peach, yellow, and pink. "We added in yellow to balance out the feminine feeling of purple," says Jackie, "and to make the color palette more lively and fashionable." The five-course menu from Savoury Chef included roasted cauliflower soup, tuna crudo, mushroom risotto, an entree choice of strip loin, herb-crusted salmon, or chicken, and a lemon tart for dessert.
Linens and place settings were designed to let the floral elements take center stage. "Creamy white tablecloths and linens were used to create a clean background for the colors in the centerpiece," says Jackie. "Glass candle holders and charger plates were used to complement the chairs."
Love in Bloom
Floral arrangements in front of Jackie and Ben's seats ran along the length of the table, with draping branches and blooms creating a focal point in front of the newlyweds.
The couple's dessert from Cake included "airy butterflies and sugar flowers" to coordinate with the garden theme—two design elements that reappeared throughout the rest of the dessert decorations. Before the reception, Jackie traded her ceremony gown for a slim, strapless sheath with a delicate cape.
An elaborate dessert table included cake, cupcakes, macarons, and cookies to suit a wide range of tastes: "Flavors ranged from raspberry and lychee cake to a lavender-scented buttercream-filled vanilla cake," says Jackie.
Individual cookies on the dessert table were mini works of art: "All the cookies were hand-painted to match the designs on the invitation," says Jackie, "and some had sugar flowers to create more texture and add to the beautiful designs."
Their Two Scents
Each guest took home a box that included a bottle of ice wine and a handcrafted nod to the bride's love of aromatherapy: "I handmade 100 candles and soaps as gifts," says Jackie. "I am a big fan of aromatherapy and I wanted to share it with my guests."
Photography, Jen Huang
Location, Hycroft Manor
Event planning, Honour and Blessing
Catering, Savoury Chef
Flowers, Myrtle et Olive
Officiant, Kevin Leung
Stationery, Ella Jackson
Calligraphy, Maurelle Calligraphy
Rentals, Eclat Decor
Bride's shoes, Rene Caovilla
Bride's hair and makeup, Edison Zhang
Bridesmaids' hair and makeup, Carol Hung
Bridesmaids' dresses, Jenny Yoo
Groom's suit, Peonia
Perfume Bar, Aromatears