You gotta love a couple who thinks outside the mason jar for their completely handcrafted, Canadian farm fairytale of a wedding. I give major props to anyone who plans and crafts their big day all on their own (with the help of family and friends, of course) but casting personalized ceramic jars for centerpieces just goes above and beyond in my opinion. Being a firm believer that the engagement should be just as much fun as the wedding and, though it must have been a lot of hard work, I can see these cuties made the most of every moment! There are DIY details galore in the images by The Other Angle Photography in the full gallery!
From the moment that Adam got down on one knee (in a puddle) on a rainy day in England, we envisioned our wedding as an expression of community and family, rather than “our big day”. When we arrived back home (Vancouver, Canada) we sat down and imagined the experience that we wanted for our guests through the five senses; what they would see, smell, taste, hear and feel. We both imagined somewhere rural, where we could show off the natural beauty of the region and give our local and international guests a new experience. Pemberton, a tiny valley nestled in between massive mountains, was our top choice. We packed some of our friends and family into a car and did several hilarious road trips – granny in the front seat, my super-tall brothers squished in the back – to scout out the local farms, ready to plead our case. When we came across the Pemberton Meadow Farm, we knew we’d found our place. A little river runs through it, with a willow tree, and ducks and a random peacock, a huge hay bales, and colourful tractors…sigh! Marty and Andrea, the farm owners, were the warmest people we ever could have imagined, and they loved our ideas, so that was one thing off the list. We read about Nick and Deb from The Other Angle Photography, and although I could rave about them for weeks, their photos are really the best testament to their extraordinary vision and skill.
In terms of food, Adam was adamant that a farm wedding needed a spit, and even my vegetarian persuasion couldn’t convince him that veggie skewers would suffice; it had to be meat! We did some research and found a local, organic, free range, super-ethical butcher, so we had lamb on a spit, wild salmon caught from the river down the road, Alsatian onion tart (a shout to my father’s French heritage) and a whole tonne of veggies, brought from Marty and Andrea’s children who run an honour stand to save extra college money. Dessert was what we called “Pemberton Mess” – a local twist on the British classic, Eton’s mess – with meringue, chocolate, fresh fruit, whipped cream and yogurt, as well as wedding cake and a midnight delivery of hot-out-of-the-oven chocolate chip cookies for the more inebriated guests.
Going back to our original idea of a community and family wedding, we really wanted our guests to feel involved. And that’s where crafting and DIY came in. Adam’s a PhD student, and I work for a humanitarian organization (where we met), so we don’t have a background in the arts, or tons of time or money, but we do have lots of friends and family, who also have friends, who, in turn, also have friends, and that’s the network that we pulled on. I put out the word that we were going to get married on a farm and wanted ideas, and researched my heart out (I spent tons of time on SMP!), and the inspiration piled up.
I wanted to replicate a mason jar that I found with the words “Crown” (British, like me), and “Made in Canada (just like Adam), so I phoned up the local potter’s guild, and was referred to Russ, who made us a 3-piece mould of the original and sat down with me to teach me how to make ceramic castings. I taught Adam, and he taught some friends, and before I knew it we had a ceramics casting factory in our kitchen (and a fair amount less beer in the fridge). Adam became a pro, turning out 5 a day, pushing his PhD along while the castings set. Russ fired them for us, we researched how to seal them, and bingo, we had our centrepieces, and a new friend (albeit one who thought we were crazy!). I found a rad antique-style set of letter stamps and picked up some mailing labels at Staples, and whenever friends would drop in for a cup of tea, they’d stamp a few seating cards while we chatted. I found every dainty teacup in Vancouver’s thrift stores, and Adam’s sister, Margot, became a teacup candle wiz-kid, infusing them with eucalyptus-oil to get rid of bugs (they worked like a charm!), while her fiancé, Mike, bunkered down in the corner to paint in my tracings on a Japanese paper umbrella. We brought fleece blankets at IKEA and another friend taught me how to felt our initials on to the corners, and I poked away while watching TV in the evening. When the local government told us that we were only allowed to drink inside after 1am, Adam’s Best Man, Kyle, and my brothers, Theo and Alex, helped turn an old cabin on the farm property into a little prohibition-style speakeasy, with pictures from the prohibition era, and bottles of beer in hand-stamped brown paper bags with the word “juice”, and other fun little details. Our house became a hub, and not a single weekend went past where there weren’t guys in the back alley, spray-painting wooden chickens into chalkboards for table numbers, or girlfriends doubled over in hysterical laughter while we got tangled up in the meters of tulle intended for the favors.
More and more people pitched in; my grandmother’s best friend cut and dried lavender from her garden in England and sent them over to place on our napkins; my aunt Anita in Portugal brought hundreds of traditional European sugared almonds and sent them back with my mother; my brothers, not exactly wedding enthusiasts, joined Adam in his quest to find the perfect micro-brewery craft beers…the list goes on and on. My Maid of Honour, Zara – a lawyer who views ribbon and glue sticks with the kind of distaste normally reserved for people she’s prosecuting – pulled it all together, coordinating every single aspect of the actual event, making sure that the infinite details that we’d created all arrived and were organized into place on time, while distracting me at the spa.
Photography: The Other Angle Photography / Wedding Venue: Pemberton Valley Farm / Bride’s Shoes: Aldo Shoes / Wedding Dress: The Bridal Galley from Maggie Sottero Destinations / Wedding Cake: Isabelle Li at the T Room Bakery / Band: The Usual Suspects Band / Catering: The Pony / Pottery Instructor: Russel Hackney from Russel Hackney Ceramics