When Fred proposed to Shawna, she knew exactly what their wedding day would look like, not because she's been obsessing about it for years, but because she's a wedding planner! She already knew just the right venue, and all the right vendors to hire, the only thing that could get in their way was an unexpected worldwide pandemic that took us all by surprise. Like the pro that she is, she didn't let that stop them, she picked right back up and started planning again with the COVID restrictions and the health of their loved ones in mind. In the end, these two had the well-deserved, gorgeous outdoor wedding of their dreams!
The bride and her team at Sweetheart Events designed and planned the entire wedding. The very first thing she did was book the venue, Fraser River Lodge, which has always been one of her favorite spaces to work in. She worked with Justyna Events to design the custom floral arbor to bring a bit of their church into their outdoor ceremony. Taliah Leigh Photography captured all of the details from the day and the crazy beautiful woodland scenery and mountain views. Hello Tomorrow Films was also there to get every special moment on video including the couple's fourteen-year-old pug flower girl walking down the aisle! To see even more from this stunning wedding, check out the full gallery. Keep scrolling to read more from the bride and planner, Shawna Spooner, to get some tips and tricks for when you're planning your own wedding.
THE ONE WHERE THE WEDDING PLANNER GETS ENGAGED
Fred and I have been together for 16 years and he is the love of my life! We’ve been through all the highs and lows of life together which has made our relationship stronger and one we’re both so proud of. He popped the question while we celebrated a night away at a local cabin, drinking wine by the fireplace with a beautiful custom engagement ring designed by my best friend. The song playing while he got down on one knee was what we ended up choosing for our recessional song at our wedding: "You Are the Best Thing" by Ray LaMontagne. I’ve been a Wedding Planner for 12 years and through that time I have helped countless couples dream up, plan and execute their special day. Pairing couples with their vendor team and creating a personalized day that truly reflects their love story and who they are as a couple is my passion. I absolutely love what I do, so when it came time to plan our own wedding I was excited to put together our dream vendor team and looked forward to celebrating with our loved ones while they witnessed our marriage.
FINDING THE PERFECT VENUE
Selecting our venue was easy. We knew we wanted a gorgeous BC backdrop, an outdoor ceremony location, and somewhere where we could dance the night away! Fraser River Lodge has always been one of my favorite venues. Each time I work there the views of Mount Cheam always take my breath away and I couldn’t wait to share the mountain views with my husband-to-be, who is an avid hiker! Family is a strong pillar in both of our lives so having an intimate day was important. Being so close with both our families, they were just as excited to celebrate this next step in our life together as we were. We wanted to be able to spend as much time with our loved ones on the day as we could and treat them to a fun celebration.
EVERYTHING GOT PUT ON HOLD
We were about to send out invitations in March 2020 when the reality of the pandemic sank in that we were likely going to need to postpone. It was quite the planning journey, to say the least, dealing with the flood of constantly changing provincial COVID restrictions. But, with our loved ones' health and safety at the forefront, we made the difficult decision to postpone our wedding. It felt very defeating, but love conquers all and we knew the best decision was to postpone, wait, and plan again when it was safer to do so. We then set a new date for 2021.
A CHURCH IN THE WILD
Designing our wedding was a lot of fun. We chose a modern color palette of earth tones and terracotta (before it was trendy) to compliment the venue with a balance of boho and modern details. We wanted the reception space to feel romantic, warm, and welcoming which we accomplished with the florals, candles, and string lights. The detail I was most excited about was bringing our florist on board to design a custom chapel-inspired arbor for our ceremony. As the first in our families to get married outside the church, but still wanting to reflect our religious backgrounds, we thought this was a lovely detail to incorporate to give us an outdoor chapel vibe.
DANCING THE NIGHT AWAY
The music and dancing were a HUGE priority for us. A unique idea I haven’t seen at weddings before but will now suggest to all my clients: When we had guests RSVP, I asked those that were married to share what their first dance song was, and we played those songs throughout dinner. It was so special to look around the room as guests enjoyed dinner and they heard their love song play. The last song of the night was an easy choice “I’ve Had the Time of My Life” from Dirty Dancing. The friends and family who made it with us to the last song of the night made it such a memorable moment singing at the top of their lungs and re-enacting those famous dance moves. My maid of honor captured the sweetest video of me and my new husband dancing to one of our favorite songs!
FINDING "THE ONE"
I was so stuck on wanting to try on a dress and it to just be the most perfect, easy, YES however that was not the case for me. I decided to speak to the ladies at Kathryn Bass Bridal about designing a custom dress. It ended up being one of the best decisions I made throughout the planning process. I’m VERY visual and detailed so although it was difficult to not fully be able to “see” the final product it was rewarding to have so much say in how it would turn out. Kelsey was so patient and has a great eye for detail. She made a lot of great suggestions and even surprised me with pockets in my dress and made me a custom veil! I had purchased a second dress to wear on the dance floor, but my gown was so comfortable I ended up staying in it all night!
SOME ADVICE FROM THE PRO
I’m going to sound biased but the advice I’d share for couples planning their wedding day is to hire a wedding planner or wedding month coordinator at least. Being able to wake up the morning of our wedding and know that I had a fabulous team there to ensure all the details were being taken care of allowed me to fully relax and enjoy the day. Secondly, consider your guest experience. We wanted everyone to enjoy the dance floor and, with COVID restrictions, we knew we’d be dancing outside on the patio. I ordered enough flip-flops for all the ladies to change into when the dance floor opened. This was a detail all our guests commented on and loved! We also made coasters for each guest’s place setting that read “please don’t take my drink I’m dancing” that way if they heard their favorite song, they could leave their drink and get on that dance floor!