Bridal portraits at a rustic barn
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Real Navy and Yellow Rustic Vineyard Wedding in British Columbia

I have an amazing real wedding for you today. Not only is the venue incredible, the photography amazing, and those yellow carnations are perfect! But beyond all that amazingness, is the Bride’s advice. Jill is a different kind of bride. She originally didn’t want a wedding; she wanted a house, a relationship, and a small, private, meaningful ceremony. Read more about her two-year engagement and the choices she and her groom made.

BC Wedding Bridal portraits in a vineyard

Briefly tell us a bit about your wedding, the planning process, what inspired you and/or any special elements you incorporated.

I didn’t want a wedding. Early in our more than two year long engagement, when the stars of wedding magazines had faded from my eyes, I begged my then-fiance to elope with me. I mean, I really begged. I wanted simple. I wanted meaningful. More than anything I didn’t want a hundred people staring at me while I did something I considered the most private thing of all – pledge my commitment to my favourite person in the world. He wanted the big family wedding, I wanted an escape to a far-off place and privacy. I dreaded the planning, the effort, and most of all the bill.
As you can probably imagine, the first year of our engagement was very hard. I started planning a wedding I resented. He watched me spiral into depression over it, which made him hurt too. That first wedding never happened. We canceled our venue, the only vendor I’d bothered to book, and bought a house with our wedding money instead. Best. Decision. Ever.
After we bought our house, we took time to just be. We took time to build our new home together (the first one that had ever been truly, truly ours). When I threw around wedding ideas, he told me to slow down, and I did. We held a housewarming party. We took cheap folding chairs onto our deck and watched the sun set. And that summer we slowly started planning a wedding we could both love.
In deference to my desire to travel, we moved the wedding from our current locale of Edmonton to beautiful Kelowna, British Columbia. We trusted the guest list to regulate itself. I budgeted what we could save in the time we had and that’s what we spent. I still wanted simple, so I made simple decisions. Food? Lots, and good stuff. Flowers? Don’t care, go cheap. Centerpieces? Let’s throw some extra flowers in booze bottles and call it a day.
I won’t say I never again had wedding stress. But I tried my best to let go and let it happen. And it did. And it was wonderful and beautiful and I totally cried.
BC wedding with yellow carnations and a rustic barn
Bridal portraits at a rustic barn
What are three things you’re glad you did?
  • I’m glad I didn’t buy new jewelry. I wore two necklaces – a set of freshwater pearls that was a gift from my husband and a toonie (Canadian $2 coin) with the centre popped out my brother made for me. They looked beautiful together and I didn’t spend a dime on “bridal jewelry”. Most of which I hate anyway.
  • I’m glad I wore hair extensions! I am very vain about my hair, but it’s quite fine and doesn’t do “fancy dress” styles for long. I felt fabulous and confident.
  • I’m glad we skipped the endless combinations of family photos. We did six family shots, the bridal party all together, and a few bride and groom shots. We were back from pictures with plenty of time to mingle with guests. I guess this is sort of a joint entry with ‘I’m glad we did a day-after shoot’, because that also allowed us to really cut down on picture time.

Black and white of bride and father at a BC wedding

Three things you wish you had done?
  • I wish I had somehow figured out a way to fly to Kelowna and back. That ten hour road trip each way was a killer.
  • I wish I had thought to put our camcorder on a tripod and tape the speeches. An aunt of my husband’s did it, which is lovely, but there are several parts obscured by wait staff etc, as there tend to be in amateur videos. It’s not a huge deal (you can still hear everything, and only a minute or two is lost) but I still would have liked that.
  • I wish we had a bit more of an exit. We sort of piled into our own car with a spare groomsman, which was lovely in it’s own way but a bit smooshy with the dress and all.

Navy and yellow BC Wedding Ceremony

Sunset in a BC vineyard wedding

Three things you wish you hadn’t done?
  • I wish I hadn’t let the hairstylist who bailed on me six days out control when I got my extensions. They were sent Purolator to my hotel room the day before! So stressful.
  • I wish I hadn’t bought so much beer. We had 80 bottles which was way too many for 30 people. Luckily we were able to take three cases back to the liquor store, but we still ended up with quite a few open boxes in our fridge.
  • I wish I hadn’t worn regular mascara, even though I was totally convinced I would not cry. I did cry, messily and often, and it was only tissue and sheer force of will that stopped me looking like a raccoon.

BC Wedding Bridal party portraits in a vineyard

Three things you wish you hadn’t worried about?
  • The flow of the wedding. My brother was a fabulous MC who kept everything on track, herded people and was basically my awesome DOC/right arm/cheerleader. I am still amazed and grateful.
  • Pictures, see: being pretty in, getting enough, going smoothly. What I have seen so far turned out fabulous and I’m really looking forward to the rest. It was also the most relaxing part of the day.
  • Doing my own makeup. Great decision. High five, Past Jill.
Bride and a groom kiss in a wine cellar
What is your very best hindsight advice?
  • Surround yourself with wonderful people.
  • Never hire anyone you don’t really really like as a person, or who doesn’t show a ridiculous amount of enthusiasm for your wedding.
  • Have a Plan B for everything – you probably won’t need it but it will make you relax just knowing it exists.
  • Remember to laugh.
  • Figure out your most annoying picture habit and consciously don’t do it (for me – hunching and pointing my chin way up).
  • Don’t worry about dieting.
  • And most of all remember – air guitar on the dance floor is NEVER a bad idea.

Trash the dress in a vintage Truck

Bride trashes the dress in a public fountain
Bride and Groom trash the dress and tux in a public fountain

Team Wedding:

Post Script:

Jill was also an active participant on The Wedding Bee boards. You will find bits and pieces of her wedding planning journey here.