An English girl and a Canadian guy meet, fall in love and decide to get married.
So, of course, a romantic, afternoon tea wedding in Vancouver is the plan. With the help of family and friends, Rachel and Chad created a celebration capturing their shared passions and life together in a setting that’s downright storybook.
How did your sweetie propose?
“Chad got down on one knee while we were snowshoeing at Manning Provincial Park in Canada. There was no one around apart from us and a lot of snow and a few bunny footprints. It was a complete surprise, he picked a great moment and a breathtakingly beautiful place.“
How did you choose your gown?
“While I was in Nashville, TN, my friend and fabulous clothes designer Leah Teague took me and my bestie Fiona to Wedding Wonderland in Knoxville, TN. Lisa (owner of Wedding Wonderland) is an absolute dream, she had picked out a few different dresses in different styles, it was so fun to try them all on. Lisa is an expert at knowing what will suit you and pinning you into each dress to give you a proper idea of how you’re going to ‘feel’, and I felt like a proper woodland fairy tale princess in mine.
Odette was the only dress I had tried on (out of many in many other stores) that really resonated with me…I had a beaming smile as soon as it was on my body. Beautifully elegant, perfect for my woodland wedding!
Lisa also picked out great accessories that matched my gown, even a veil made in England (later appliquéd by Eliza Dean). It was so special to have all of the elements of my life in my wedding outfit, a veil from England and a dress made in Canada found in Tennessee.“
Tell us about your day! Did you have a theme or style in mind?
“Chad and I wanted to incorporate all of our elements of our lives together, music, storytelling, and our English and Canadian backgrounds. (Chad is from Canada and lived in London, England and I’m English and lived in Nashville, USA).
A Vancouver forest wedding with an afternoon tea to follow seemed like perfect way to go.
We found a delightful little park in South Surrey, BC with redwood trees that made a natural aisle plus a wooden picnic shelter for our afternoon tea.
My parents bought over lots of vintage teacups and saucers from England in their suitcases that they had sourced from UK thrift stores.
Chad’s mum Dawne designed all of the floral arrangements, including my bouquet and the flower girls’ head dress.
My mum Julia and sister Anna made all the treats for the afternoon tea. Homemade English scones, chocolate brownies and our family tradition, ‘coffee kisses.’ Anna has her own baking business in England and even made our naked wedding cake, which was beautiful and very yummy.
We wanted our wedding to be a time of celebration with the people we love, even though we are performers, we wanted a beautiful wedding with heart and without the show. Having said that, I couldn’t help getting carried away with finding all the fun bits and pieces of decor, designing the stationery, writing a song for Chad and generally getting creative.
We were both so blessed by our friends that are so talented and made our day so special. Our friend and pastor Luke Knight officiated the ceremony.
My friends from Nashville and London came especially to Vancouver and performed a song or two at the evening reception. Ashley Martens is a longtime friend and professional photographer, she took amazing photos and captured the day beautifully. So, so, many people made the day so very special just by being there and having their talents for the day made us feel very blessed indeed.“
What’s your funniest wedding day memory?
“Getting up in the big tree to pose as elegantly as possible for the epic shot taken by our fantastic photographer Ashley Martens. The pic was amazing and was totally worth the scramble up the tree to get it!
And making sandwiches with my bridesmaids and brother-in-law in the morning of my wedding…got to love a production line!”
Five words that best describe your significant other (you or both of you can answer!):
“Dreamers, creatives, introverts, adventurers, risk takers.”
Any advice for future brides/grooms?
“Always plan more than you need to but let it all go on the day as something will probably not go to plan somewhere in the day, and it’s ok. This advice was given to me before the wedding and I held them close when a few things were going astray on the day.“
Rachel + Chad’s Afternoon Tea Wedding Vendors
wedding dress: Lea-Ann Belter Odette via Wedding Wonderland | photographer: Ashley Martens Photography | veil embroidery: Eliza Dean | ceremony benches: Fort Langley Vintage Rentals | harpist: Mia | florals: Dawne Ellis | make up: bride | hair – Ariana | musicians: Fiona Culley, Jonathan Dean, Ashley Robertson, Nicola McAteer | flatware: A&R Party Supply | vintage decor: Dawne Ellis’ Private collection with the exception of a table cloth embroidered by great Aunty Dora (104 years old) | stationary, place settings and signs: bride