Are you ready to tie the knot and looking to create a unique event? An outdoor wedding can be the perfect solution for a truly memorable experience. We’re lucky enough to have so many stunning locations in British Columbia that are perfect for special moments, so we’ve listed some of the best outstanding outdoor and forest wedding venues near Vancouver, BC.
Outdoor and Forest Wedding Venues Around Vancouver
Island Lake Lodge (Fernie)
Find mountains, 800-year-old trees, and a beautiful lake to set the scene for your wedding in historic Fernie, available for use year-round. This outdoor wedding venue near Vancouver has everything you need for an elevated experience, while still feeling connected to nature with its epic surroundings.
Make use of the spa and massage options, as well as nearby hiking and biking trails to make the most of your time here. Yes, there’s only one wedding day, but if you can afford a few days away with some of your favourite people, why not? They also have yoga with goats, if you’re that sort of person.
Maan Farms (Abbostford)
Maan Farms is a perfect place to celebrate your love during spring, summer and fall, where you can choose between a ceremony by their strawberry fields or a heritage walnut tree. Alongside the scenic backdrops for the ceremony, your reception can take place in their antique barn which has been restored to create a special space that can hold up to 150 guests.
Earthwise Society Agassiz (Delta)
Earthwise Society is an organic working farm with endless possibilities for your special day. Whether you say ‘I Do’ beneath their forest canopy or with their mountain backdrop, the friendly team love to accommodate your requests to make the day truly about you and your loved one.
There is also wonderful seasonal produce for delicious meals and appetizers, providing a quality farm-to-table experience. This outdoor wedding venue is a more affordable option for hosting.
Exchange vows at a family-run venue with boutique accommodation, all set within a five-acre woodland in Squamish. Even though the location feels totally remote it is only an hour drive from downtown Vancouver. Sunwolf has been praised for its relaxing and festival atmosphere, tied in with the perfect balance of down-to-earth luxury feel.
Nita Lake Lodge (Whistler)
Head to the snowy mountains in Whistler to wed at a nationally recognized wedding destination with various outdoor ceremony spaces to choose from. Not only will you have your wedding in a striking outdoor landscape, they also have bridal spa services and an executive chef to create a personalized menu for the event. For a true luxury event, Nita Lake Lodge has everything you need for the ultimate outdoor wedding.
Bodega Ridge (Galliano Island)
Tie the knot on the bluffs of Galliano Island to celebrate in serene surroundings with ocean views. Part of the incredible location also boasts coastal cuisine using organic ingredients from a Galliano farm, and a BC-centric wine list. If you’re looking for something secluded and intimate, they also have a lovely option of a fully private space just for elopements.
Outdoor and Forest Wedding Venues on Vancouver Island, BC
Sea Cider (Vancouver Island)
Close to downtown Victoria on Vancouver Island, Sea Cider offers panoramic sea views and a woodland, creating a magical scene for a west coast wedding day.
The team has access to many quality local resources for catering assistance, and to suit different tastes and budgets, making it a popular place for an outdoor wedding venue. Don’t forget to sample their very own award-winning organic cider!
Cedar Haven Weddings (Vancouver Island)
If you’ve dreamed of a true forest wedding with a wow factor, then look no further! Cedar Haven Weddings is a private property nestled within an old growth forest on Vancouver Island. With everything you need to create the perfect rustic setting, this forest wedding venue has all the magical vibes for a memorable experience and perfect setup for your wedding day photographs.
Creating forever memories is what we’re most passionate about, and that all starts with organizing your dream event! Contact us for a free consultation to learn about how we can take care of your wedding day from start to finish. We can’t wait to hear from you!
If this article got you thinking, you can find our earlier article on Vancouver wedding venues too.
Congratulations, you’re planning a wedding! There are many things about your day that you can delegate to your partner or event planner, but (luckily) wedding dress shopping is not one of them. Odds are you already have an idea of what kind of dress you like, whether you have been scouring pinterest since you were 14 or you ended up watching Say Yes to the Dress when you claimed there was nothing better on TV.
It is so exciting to think that your perfect dream dress is out there waiting for you, but there are so many choices that it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Wedding dress shopping should be a day (or weekend!) where you feel happy, loved, and absolutely beautiful. To make planning this event as stress free and fun as possible, we’ve done the research and put together the top 6 most important tips from brides and wedding planners to have the most success finding your dream wedding dress.
Research Types of Wedding Dress
We don’t mean staying-up-all-night-writing-your-thesis type of research, just spend a bit of time on pinterest and online dress websites so you have an idea of what kinds of dresses you like. Knowing the difference between a mermaid-style dress and a fit and flare dress is much simpler than trying to describe (or draw!) a shape when you get to the bridal shop.
Bring some photos, know what you like and what you don’t like, but don’t overplan and certainly don’t rule anything out. Let yourself be surprised if you end up liking something that looks nothing like what you thought you wanted. Being open to trying different styles and colours will help you feel more confident that when you find the one, you’ll know.
Plan Your Hunt for the Perfect Wedding Dress
Making an appointment with a bridal consultant 9-12 months before the big day ensures you have enough time not only to find your wedding dress but also to alter it, which is often what takes the most time. Planning appointments within days of each other (or making a weekend out of it!) is recommended so the dresses you have tried on are fresh in your mind. You will also want to call the bridal shop before your appointment to let them know what styles you like. That way, they can have some dresses ready for you before you arrive. If you have a specific gown in mind find out if they have it ahead of time and let them know.
When you call the bridal salon, make sure you also ask about their COVID-19 precautions and protocol. Ask how many people you are welcome to bring, whether or not you need to wear a mask the entire time (and if they offer complimentary neutral-toned ones) and whether or not they have sanitizing wipes available for you to use.
There is nothing worse than getting somewhere and realizing you forgot something you needed. This is why packing a special “dress shopping” bag is so important and will help ease your stress. In it you want to make sure you have:
—underwear and a bra similar to what you think you’ll be wearing on your wedding day
—heels similar in height to the ones you will be wearing
—a simple neutral-coloured mask that won’t draw attention away from you or the dresses
—any accessories you are thinking of wearing on your wedding day, especially if you want to build your look around a specific item or piece of jewelry
—your favourite snack
—any hair products you might need to touch up your look
—your favourite hand sanitizer—preferably one that does not leave residue on your hands
—anything else you think you might want to bring
If there is a remote chance you might need something, bring it. You’re always better safe than sorry. (Better make it a big bag!)
This day is all about you, so if you have the opportunity to plan an entire day for yourself, do it!
Have your hair and makeup done in a way similar to what you would like on your big day. Accuracy is not important here, it’s more about the style (hair down/updo/half up, half down etc.) and feeling confident and beautiful. You don’t want to be hungry when dress shopping so make sure to eat and to do something fun before your appointment. It is so important to be in the right mindset and to feel good about yourself when you’re trying on dresses. You also want to choose your posse carefully; bring people you have fun with who have your best interest at heart.
Document Each Dress
Take pictures! Take notes! Have someone take one or two good pictures of you in all the dresses you try on and don’t delete any. As you are trying them on, sort them into different folders so you can show bridal stylists which you like and which you dislike. It also helps to come up with nicknames so you can refer to dresses quickly within your group.
Trust Your Gut
This is the most important piece of advice you will ever receive about your wedding. Trust your gut. No one knows you better than you know yourself and if you get a good or bad feeling about any dress, trust it. At the end of the day your feelings and opinions are the only ones that matter. Your wedding, your dress, your decision.
Unfortunately, trying on wedding dresses and feeling beautiful is not the only thing you need to do before getting married. (How amazing would that be though?!) Thankfully, YouForever is here to guide you step-by-step with ideas and planning because we want to make sure that the day you marry your forever person will become a forever memory.
Wedding planners wear many hats, and one of the most vital is that of day-of wedding coordinator. This role is essential in making sure your special day goes off without a single unplanned surprise.
What is a Day-of Wedding Coordinator?
Your big day is about you and your partner. The coordinator’s main job is to make sure you do nothing but enjoy the day in whatever way you choose. They achieve this by planning and coordinating the wedding in advance and being there on the day to see it happens in the correct sequence.
A Wedding Coordinator’s Duties
- Oversees the wedding rehearsal.
- Creates a detailed itinerary and floor plan.
- Acts as your point person on the wedding day.
- Addresses any last-minute details and additions.
- Checks in with the vendors to review their contracts and confirm logistics.
- Helps to organize and transfer items from the ceremony to the reception.
- Does a final walkthrough of the ceremony and reception venues.
What’s the difference between a wedding coordinator and a wedding planner?
While a wedding planner helps you plan the whole affair from the get go, a wedding coordinator will be there with you from four to eight weeks before the wedding. They check all of the details in the lead up to the wedding, confirming vendors, seating plans, timings, and anything else either you or your event planner have decided on. They will then attend on the day of and coordinate the wedding so that your only job is to have an incredible day.
When to Hire a Wedding Coordinator
It fits your budget
Budget naturally plays a role in all aspects of wedding planning. Hiring a full-service wedding planner means someone is by your side at every stage of planning and on the day. But, if you can’t afford a full-service planner, a coordinator can be more cost effective. If it’s within budget, hiring a wedding coordinator will make the event effortless for you. You part with the money so that any last-minute problems fall on someone else’s shoulders.
You just want to relax on the day
You can start your day relaxing, having an easy breakfast, getting your hair just right, taking the time to enjoy a drink with your bridal party or groomsmen as you get ready, then allow yourself to be guided through the day carefree.
Your wedding calls for it
If you’re having an intimate backyard wedding and your uncle is manning the bar, you probably don’t need a coordinator. However, if you’re looking to wrangle over a hundred guests at a large venue, have a bunch of musical cues, multiple hired caterers, or a handful of musicians, you may need someone to spin all those plates.
You’ve chosen an untraditional venue
The staff at traditional wedding venues know how to go with the flow of a big day with little supervision. If you’ve chosen a location that doesn’t regularly host weddings you might need a coordinator to organize the staff.
You’ve planned the event yourselves
Some couples will opt to plan their own wedding and then pass off the logistics to the day-of coordinator a month or two before the wedding. Despite your best efforts, you probably haven’t thought of everything and this is where a coordinator can tie up and last-minute loose ends.
So, do you think a coordinator fits with your plans, or a full-service wedding planner? At You Forever, we can do both. Get in touch with us today and let’s get started!
And, if you’re newly engaged, take a look at our next article on choosing the perfect wedding dress.
A backyard wedding may be your ideal choice if you are wanting a simple and somewhat intimate event. If so, there are still several things to consider. First, remember that you are not limited to your own or a friend/family member’s yard. There is a big difference between getting married in your backyard and having a “backyard wedding.” If you know someone who has an idyllic yard or garden then by all means ask if they’ll let you host your wedding there. If you don’t have ready access to a great location, you might consider renting an estate property that has the charm and style of a wedding in your own backyard. Of course, the location depends on what is available to you and how many guests you are planning on having, but there are some important things to keep in mind that can apply to most backyard celebrations. Read on to get some tips, tricks and advice on the benefits and logistics of a backyard or garden wedding.
Budgeting a Backyard Wedding
Many people think that a backyard wedding saves a lot of money – and it can – but this doesn’t automatically mean you can splurge on everything else. If you don’t budget properly you can end up spending a lot of money that you simply don’t need to. That being said, when you don’t have to pay for a venue (or can substantially reduce the rental cost) or worry about security deposits, you’re saving roughly 50% of a typical wedding budget. So, with careful planning you definitely have the opportunity to spend a little bit more here and there. Keep in mind that the cost of your wedding will generally be decided by how many people are attending. More people equals more food, more chairs, more glassware, more alcohol; more of everything means more money spent.
Related: How Much Does A Wedding Cost?
Can you think of anything more disruptive and embarrassing (not to mention the additional unexpected costs) on your wedding day than having your party crashed by the cops for bylaw infractions? Though your own/your friend’s/your parent’s backyard is private property, there are still fire codes, health regulations, zoning issues, parking permits and noise ordinances that you must comply with. We recommend contacting your city through its municipal website plenty of time in advance to find out exactly what permits and paperwork you need to have before your big day.
You will also want to let the neighbours know about your wedding day a month or so in advance. If you are going door-to-door, it is nice to provide them with a schedule of your day so they can rearrange their plans if needed, and maybe even plan a night away! Give them as much information as you can to ease their concerns, such as where people will be parking and how late you are planning on playing music (according to the municipal bylaws). Don’t forget that showing appreciation for your neighbour’s patience can go a long way and offering them some treats, baked goods or a bottle of wine doesn’t hurt either. Here’s one of those areas you might want to spend a little of the savings from lowering your venue cost.
Lighting & Electrical
Not many homes are equipped to power catering companies’ food prep equipment, DJ sound systems or outdoor light fixtures that stay on all night. You definitely have to look into renting a generator (or many!) so you don’t risk leaving your friends in the dark and putting the entire neighbourhood into a power outage. You’ll have to figure out how much power each of your vendors and rental companies need, then find a generator rental company that will help you choose the (quietest and lowest-emission) power source to accommodate.
The idea of having complete control of your decorations, free of the somewhat restrictive colour or style of a traditional wedding venue, and creating your very own design and colour palette can be overwhelming. Keep it simple by drawing from the organic colours surrounding you – earthy tones can be quite stunning – or you can be a little more bold and pick an accent colour to sprinkle into bouquets, linen or decor. What is wonderful about a backyard wedding is that it can be anything you want. You don’t even need to decorate if you don’t want to. Simple strings of lights, whether whimsical or a little more sophisticated, add to the sparkling excitement of your wedding!
Your wedding should represent you. It ought to be a reflection of you and your partner’s relationship, of your favourite things and what the two of you value most. When you take a step back and consider what is really important to you, the answer is often spending quality time together with family and friends. And where better to do that than in yours or a family/friend’s backyard?
Whether it’s a wedding, rehearsal dinner, engagement, or anniversary, get in touch with You Forever, and let’s plan your perfect day!
Deciding to make a commitment to your significant other, to love and grow with them every day, is life-changing. Your wedding engagement should reflect your love and your life together so you can look back on this day and remember exactly why you chose your partner. Here are some tips to consider when planning your wedding proposal to ensure the day is as special and unique as your relationship.
Will Your Proposal Have a Theme?
When thinking about the theme, consider important dates you have both shared, such as your first date, the first time you knew you were in love with your partner, or the first time you said: “I love you.” You want your significant other to feel special so think of five things to describe your significant other and incorporate those qualities in items or symbols. Also, think of your partner’s two favourite things – these could be anything: astrology, nature, sports, animals, Disney, etc., and try to incorporate them into this special day.
Where to Pop the Question
Think of favourite places you have both shared and love. Preferably a location where something significant to the both of you has happened. An example could be the beach, a restaurant, a stadium, the mountains, a specific city, etc.
Choosing an Engagement Ring
Rings are a symbol of commitment to one another and a symbol of eternal love. When picking out a ring, there are a few things you have to know.
- What type of ring do they like? The best way to find this out is by observing their day-to-day jewelry or walking by stores to see what catches their eye.
- What type of stone do they like? Do they like the traditional diamond ring, or do they like emerald, sapphire or pearl? You could also opt for a classy white gold or more traditional yellow gold band if they have a simpler taste.
If you really do not trust your own judgement, don’t be scared to ask your partner’s friends and family! They are a great resource to find out this type of information, and if you’re lucky, they might find out exactly what your partner likes.
Other Considerations for Your Wedding Engagement
It can be hard to decide whether or not to have an intimate or a social engagement. There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to a wedding proposal because every couple and every person is different. You know your partner best, but if you are struggling to decide what to do, these are the questions you should be asking yourself:
- Does my partner like surprises?
- Are they shy or outgoing?
- How close are they to our friends and families?
- Is this milestone in your relationship something you would want to share with others at that moment?
Remember, these are just guidelines; this is ultimately about you and your partner. This next step in your life is a special milestone. Don’t forget that this is as much your partner’s day as it is yours. Don’t forget to also think about how you imagined your wedding engagement when you first found THE ONE!
If you would like to plan an engagement dinner, event or party, You Forever can help! We are event planners in Vancouver, specializing in various events, like weddings, engagement parties, and more. We would love to help you make this moment one you’ll never forget, get in touch with us today!
Whether you are planning a lower-budget wedding or throwing a huge party, keeping track of your costs is key. You will find that expenses add up quickly (think minimum five figures… minimum!). Even the “smallest” of weddings can turn into a very expensive event if not planned strategically. Here you will find the most important things to consider when creating your budget, common budgeting mistakes, where hidden costs will often turn up and how to save yourself some money so you and your partner can tuck some away for other big expenses coming up in your lives.
So, how much does a wedding cost…really?
Things to Consider in a Wedding Budget
It seems silly to say, but when planning your budget you need to know how much money you have to spend. This can be harder to figure out than you may think. You need to consider you and your fiancé’s individual savings and how much you can save before your wedding month, plus any contributions you will realistically receive from parents or loved ones. Once you have this total amount, decide upon your venue or banquet hall (this will be your biggest expense and you can expect to spend around 50% of your budget on it). Then determine you and your partners’ non-negotiables. This could be your wedding dress, the number of guests, open bar etc. Once you figure out these three things you’ll know how much you can spend on everything else.
Reminder: Finding a venue requires a lot of research. Some require you to use their fittings i.e. chairs, dishware, glassware, etc. Determining exactly what is included in the venue and any extras you included is key to budgeting accurately. You Forever has a wide variety of venue suggestions suiting any style and size of wedding you are planning. We’ll discuss all of these options with you if you wish to book a wedding consultation.
Wedding Budgeting Mistakes
When budgeting, most couples can usually find their ballpark wedding budget. However, they forget to keep track of the money they are actively spending. Creating a spreadsheet with 3 expense columns labelled “estimated cost” (for how much you are anticipating on spending before speaking to vendors), “modified cost” (which you’ll have a better idea after meeting with vendors), and “actual cost” (that being exactly what you’re spending). Your actual cost will often look very different from your estimated and modified costs because of hidden fees and gratuities. Financial calculators can be great tools to help you keep track of (and stay on!) budget.
Planning your guestlist is another aspect that often generally fluctuates greatly until you are looking at exactly how much your dream wedding is going to cost. Remember: you do not need to invite your entire extended family! Your number of guests determines the amount of food, alcohol, chairs, invitations, etc. that add up to your wedding cost. Keep in mind that taking even 10 people off your guestlist will often save you over a thousand dollars. This is why it is important to sit down with your fiancé and make 2 guest lists. The first one should be as ruthless as possible (think only your dearest and closest family/friends that you have seen within the last year). The second should include everybody you would like to invite. From those 2 lists you should be able to meet in the middle to figure out your final guest list.
Prepare for Hidden Wedding Costs
A hidden wedding cost can be extra vendor/caterer/photographer fees that you haven’t anticipated, or simply costs that you have overlooked or not even considered. Wedding vendors know people are willing to spend big bucks on their wedding day, so they will often tack on extra fees (and often gratuities) to different services. When meeting with vendors, make sure they outline every single cost for you so you know exactly how much you are spending on each aspect of your wedding.
Commonly overlooked costs can be guest transportation, setup and cleaning fees, custom cocktails, digital access to photos, envelope stuffing, extra decorations, hair and makeup trials, overtime, etc. The best way not to miss any costs is to map out exactly what your wedding will look like. From invitations being sent out to the day itself, imagine you’ll have to pay for every single thing. Also, open communication with your vendors (and reading the fine print!) will ensure that you have budgeted for every aspect. Just in case some things pop up unexpectedly, which they always do, set aside 5% of your wedding budget. This will be a safety net for extra little splurges and these hidden costs you might not be expecting.
Saving Money on Your Wedding Where Possible
When it comes to planning your wedding, you can put a dollar amount on literally everything. The magical world of wedding planning has made it so easy for you to not do anything yourself – for the right price. If you are willing to spend some (a lot) of your own time putting in the work, and if you are willing to compromise in terms of venue and season, then you can save yourself a lot of money that you can spend elsewhere!
If you spend anywhere under 50% of your entire wedding budget on your venue, congratulations you’ve saved money! The season and even the day of the week can also make a big difference. Choosing a smaller, maybe less “aesthetic” venue on a weekday in the winter can save you A LOT of money. You can then spend this money on decorations to make it as simple or extravagant as you’d like. Making your own decorations will also save you a pretty penny here.
Some companies will charge you upwards of $7 per invitation (and that’s not including calligraphy!) If you order all of your own paper items and address your invitations yourself you can save close to $800-900. So get some friends together, open a bottle of wine (or 3), and get to work!
It is so easy to get overwhelmed when planning your wedding costs. Don’t forget, this is going to be one of the best days of your life. You are committing to a lifetime with your partner. When it comes down to it, the most important thing is that the two of you are happy. You definitely cannot put a price tag on that.
Whether it’s a wedding, rehearsal dinner, engagement or anniversary, get in touch with You Forever and let’s plan your perfect day!