Purple Lilac Spring Wedding…Sam + Jessie and a surprise wedding in the Gardens of HCP. It started as a design shoot and ended in a real elopement. That is not something that can be said by too many vendors! A truly magical experience of helping a couple fulfill their dream of marrying each other in a real-life secret garden.
In mid-March 2020 the entire wedding industry and all the couples that were planning their beautiful days came to a screeching halt. The days and weeks that followed involved a lot of tough decisions, rescheduling, and pivoting. Hattie, an Island photographer, and Rad, a Victoria wedding planner, were chatting over Instagram about their new elopement packages. Somewhere in the conversation, they excitedly decided to pull off a socially distanced elopement photoshoot and the creative sparks flew! A design idea was chosen that was intended for a pre-COVID frame of mind but was adapted with input from Megan at HCP Gardens and Reay the florist.
The Horticulture Centre of the Pacific (HCP Gardens) was thrilled to welcome the small group of vendors onto the grounds to appreciate the spring blooms after being closed to the public for seven weeks and counting. The abundance of wide-open spaces was essential for social distancing, but the tranquility and magic of having the place empty elevated this picnic and ceremony to something truly special. As a small nonprofit organization, the sudden loss of wedding revenue has been painful, but Group Sales Manager Megan Stacey looked forward to welcoming more couples for intimate elopement-style ceremonies.
Reay, the florist, whipped up a beautiful foam-free lilac chandelier as the focal point. Reay had to source all of those lush lilacs so she put the call out on Social Media and foraged, not only in her back yard but friends of friends’ yards as well. After some trial and error, the lilac chandelier was placed delicately with many strands of fishing wire!
The bold blooms in the Gardens, as well as the hues of purple that tied the whole day together, inspired the hand-drawn invitation suite by Addison at Petite Paperie Design Co.. She also spent a fair time referencing photos of the couple and the dress designer’s social media pages to create an illustration that would be a beautiful keepsake for their day. The vows themselves were sourced from a reading from the shoot designer’s own wedding day – a quote from the poet R.M. Drake that seems to speak volumes during this time more than any other time.
The beautiful cake was lovingly made by a classic French bakery, La Roux Patissiere, where Chef Lynn created yet another edible masterpiece inspired by all of the different hues found in a dusky evening. The chocolate sponge cake was layered with vanilla buttercream and fresh raspberry cream for a truly delectable combination as Rebecca, the owner, was insistent that we have a real cake for this occasion and that was even before she found out about the elopement which are the occasions they feel they best serve.
Jessica and Tom of Farmer’s Daughter, who met and fell in love while working at a wine shop, thoughtfully curated the mouthwatering cheese and charcuterie board. As they say, “Like every great cheese and wine pairing, it’s about making two things that are good on their own, become great when paired together.” With this amazing spread, they paired a bottle of Charme De L’Ile from local winery Unsworth Vineyards. The bright, green apple and citrus notes lend themselves effortlessly to the welsh cheddar; French Brie, and Four Quarters Calabrese salami.
As everyone was acutely aware of the situation with COVID it was ensured that the vendors on-site that day had been practicing social distancing guidelines by working at home, only going out when needed, and practicing good hygiene prior to the day of the shoot. The shoot itself was socially distanced and everyone wore masks/gloves as was necessary.
As hairstylists and makeup artists work very closely with a bride it was simply out of the question to have some on-site for this aspect of the day. So the bride, Sam, did her own hair and makeup including the floral hairpiece that pops in her dark, wavy hair.
As things started to come together, a couple was found who was willing to model and suddenly everyone started to realize how much more this was meant to be. For one, Sam + Jessie had been directly affected by COVID-19 as they had found themselves rescheduling their June 2020 wedding on Salt Spring Island. It turned out that the ring designer who was to be featured had also made their wedding rings and the Reclamation dress that the bride had canceled was the exact same dress we had for the shoot. Hattie then asked the couple if they would be open to eloping once the shoot was over and they very happily agreed to this! All of the wedding vendors were excited to be on board to make someone’s wedding day a reality!! What an exciting turn of events!!
As the sun set, the couple was wed by Amanda Tarling, a local Victoria celebrant, under the serene presence of the eucalyptus tree. The only people present with the couple, other than vendors, were the groom’s parents via Facetime. However, in the couple’s hearts and minds were all their loved ones. They enjoyed a wonderful picnic under the lilac chandelier amid a newlyweds paradise.
This purple lilac spring wedding photoshoot turned real-life elopement for Sam + Jessie was born out of necessity – the necessity to feel connected, for normalcy, and for a magical and beautiful moment between two people when they are declared officially married.
Editorial written by Hattie Root Photography and Rad Occasions!
PHOTOS; Hattie Root Photography | PLANNING: Rad Occasions | VENUE: HCP Gardens | FLORAL: Paloma Floral | PAPER SUITE: Petite Paperie Design Co. | CUISINE: The Farmer’s Daughter | OFFICIANT: Amanda Tarling | CAKE: La Roux Pâtisserie | RINGS: Emma Glover Design | GOWN: Reclamation Design Company BUBBLY: Unsworth Vineyards