A Ski-Themed Destination Wedding in Whistler, British Columbia
Alden and Steve
Alden Mitchell met Steve Budhill at a glamorous party in New York City back in 2006. At the time, she was living there, but Steve's home base was an ocean away in London. But they got to talking, and a few weeks later he flew back to visit her. The rest is history, and as Alden says, "several years, one transatlantic move, many adventures around the globe, and countless good times later," they tied the knot, on March 19, 2011.
The avid skiers took a trip to Whistler, British Columbia, a few months into dating and have gone every year since. When it came time to pick their wedding location, the London transplants knew a winter wedding at one of their favorite spots was the obvious choice. They set about planning a warm and welcoming affair complete with earthy tones, soft lighting, and cozy touches.
For the invitation, shimmery ivory paper was letterpressed and backed with chocolate card stock. It featured a compass rose motif brainstormed by Alden's mother, Jan Mitchell, that would continue throughout the wedding.
The Welcome Bag
Gift bags welcomed guests to their hotels. The natural jute tote contained a spiked hot-cocoa kit and a personalized aluminum water bottle marked with a cheeky tag inviting guests to fill it with "water or alcohol, whichever you need more." Local sweet and savory snacks, a drink cozy, a welcome note with suggested activities and sights to see, and winter-wonderland travel kits containing necessities (hand warmers, ibuprofen, Band-Aids, tissues, Emergen-C, a trail map, and lip balm) rounded out the bags' contents.
Most of the guests stayed in the same hotel, and were given a door sign to use for the duration of the weekend. "We wanted to show what a great time everyone was having," Alden said.
Alden and Steve hung their own sign on the door (its wording was from one of the bride's family's favorite tunes). What better way to let everyone know which room was their wedding suite?
A Little Bubbly
Upon arrival, guests were greeted with Champagne.
The Ceremony Site
The ceremony took place at Squamish Lil'wat Culture Centre. Guests walked through draped white fabric, which was tied back with clusters of pine sprigs, pine cones, tulips, and ranunculus.
A folded booklet with a stick binding to the outside housed the ceremony's program.
The Ceremony Decor
The aisle was flanked by low arrangements of cascading tulips and hurricane vases holding lit candles.
The Ceremony Decor
This wall of windows provided a view of the forest and mountains. It was accented by small glass vases filled with tulips, as well as votive candles that gave the ceremony venue a soft glow at twilight.
More than 100 guests witnessed the ceremony, which the couple personalized with help from their celebrant. For Alden, the combination of the spectacular setting, meaningful words, and presence of all of their loved ones made the ceremony beautiful and spiritual.
The bride and groom exchanged nontraditional vows, and at the end of the ceremony the celebrant shared letters the couple had written to each other. Afterward, the newlyweds walked back up the aisle to "All You Need Is Love" by the Beatles.
Alden carried a bouquet of white gardenias and looped grosgrain ribbon to match her gown. The stems were wrapped in vintage trim from Tinsel Trading Company.
Steve wore Richard James Savile Row and the bride wore a Vera Wang gown and veil, Christian Louboutin heels, and a DeBeers necklace. Her engagement ring, which had belonged to Steve's great-grandmother, and her own grandmother's engagement ring (on her right hand) served as a reminder of the importance of family.
The Bridal Party
Alden's bridesmaids wore Vera Wang dresses and carried bouquets of ranunculus, tulips, pine sprigs, and small pine cones. The stems were wrapped in grosgrain ribbon with an overlay of brown sequin trim.
A Young Attendant
Steve's niece Cassie served as the junior bridesmaid and wore a Pegeen dress. She carried a nosegay of ranunculus and pine needles.
All in the Family
The bride and groom posed with her family for portraits with photographer Liz Banfield.
After the ceremony, guests moved to the Four Seasons Resort Whistler for cocktail hour. Tables draped in natural linen were set with arrangements of pine, birch bark, tulips, and ranunculus in custom-cast wax containers.
A Warm Welcome
A self-serve hot toddy station was stocked with napkins printed with instructions on how to concoct the cocktail. The steamy beverage helped warm guests after their walk from the ceremony to the reception.
A Warm Welcome
Honey sticks and small flags made the perfect stirrers.
During cocktail hour, the wedding party slipped away for a treat: s'mores and Champagne.
A clever sign outlined the various drink offerings with ski slope symbols denoting the potency of each one. From the beginner slope, Kokanee beer, to the double-black diamond "margarita-in-your-mouth" shot, there was something for everyone.
The branches of two large cascading pine trees held compasses strung up by vintage ribbons. Inside each lid was paper calligraphed with guests' names and their seating assignments.
The ballroom was set with four long tables, each named after the couple's favorite ski runs on Whistler and Blackcomb mountains. Natural linen cloths and chocolate-brown runners draped each table, and tall, moss-covered trees speckled with gardenias were nestled between rows of ranunculus, tulips, pine; pine cones added flair.
The Place Settings
Napkins tied with a rustic tussie-mussie of local greenery were laid on top of letterpressed menus. In lieu of a charger plate, a Chilewich placemat anchored each seat and brought in a textural element.
The menu for the evening included beef filet with a blue-cheese flan and halibut with vegetables.
A curtain of hanging lights separated the dining area from the lounge and dance floor. White leather couches, custom pillows, and accent tables bordered the dance floor, providing a cozy area in which to relax.
Glass cylinders wrapped in paper cut with a floral design cast a patterned glow.
Instead of a guest book, family and friends were asked to sign a wall hanging.
The newlyweds danced to "The Way You Look Tonight."
The cake was decorated with the floral pattern seen throughout the wedding and was set atop a natural pedestal of birch and pine woods, tulips, and ranunculus. The four-tier chocolate confection was made by Rosalind's Desserts by Design.
A Late-Night Treat
Donuts and spiked coffee provided a sugary, caffeinated boost for the last dance set.
At the reception's conclusion, guests were given custom illuminated-paper lanterns made by Arak Kanofsky Studios with directions to the after party at the Four Seasons Private Residences. There, they enjoyed pulled pork sandwiches, chili con queso, tacos, and sliders -- and kept the party going until the wee hours.