On August 25, 2012, Stephanie Lam and Christopher Nelson were wed with a beautiful and grand backdrop of British Columbia — with magnificient treelines, regal mountain peeks, golden fields, and an ancient castle. Their wedding was published in Weddingbells Magazine’s special real weddings publication in 2013…
Steph and Chris first met in Edmonton, where they were both completing their Master’s degrees in Physiotherapy at the University of Alberta. Stephanie was born in bustling Toronto, ON and Christopher hailed from the small but magnificent valley of Bella Coola, BC; finding a place to live that would fulfill both their interests and desires was difficult. However, after several short holidays in Victoria, it became very apparent that the Island was where they wanted to begin their lives together. With its vibrant green trees, snow-capped mountains, and deep blue oceans surrounding its shores, Vancouver Island is steeped with natural beauty. Therefore, it was only fitting for Chris to propose outdoors – during a hike in East Sooke Park on a quiet vast stretch of beach and walking their dog Oscar.
Because their journeys began from opposite sides of the country, Christopher and Stephanie knew that many of their friends and family would not get a chance to meet the other partner until the wedding day; it was important to create a day that would express who they were as a couple, but also honour the love and support of those people around them. Stephanie fell in love with some antique floral wallpaper in Christopher’s family farmhouse, and romantic vintage theme was envisioned, incorporating those very shades of cream, rose, lilac and soft periwinkle.
This intricate detail was careful woven into all aspects of their stationery, beginning with their invitations. In keeping with the old-world vibe, Stephanie and Christopher selected Victoria’s stately Hatley Castle as their ceremony site, where they said “I do” in the breathtaking Italian Gardens. “It was a beautiful day,” Stephanie recalls. “The flowers were blooming and there were butterflies all around us.” Most importantly, having an outdoor ceremony meant the couple’s “child,” rescue dog Oscar, could attend. “We couldn’t imagine our wedding without him,” Stephanie and Christopher agree.
Steph called on close friend Deborah Lau-Yu, our Art Director and Principal Designer, to create one-of-a-kind invitations, as well as a series of day-of stationery including a seating chart and table settings. “Working with Deborah was so special,” Stephanie says. “She is a brilliant designer.” Indeed, Deborah poured her heart into creating unique invitations with a romantic vintage vibe—she even hand-painted watercolour flowers in the wedding’s palette.
Including Oscar in their day was just one of the couple’s personal touches. For her bouquet, Stephanie worked closely with local gardener Eiddwen Thomas to pick in-season organic flowers, such as dahlias, daisies, roses and eucalyptus seed pods. “It was very relaxing walking through her garden a week before the wedding to finalize everything we had talked about,” Stephanie admits.
Stephanie and Christopher’s favours—personalized bags of coffee beans—were a nod to Discovery Coffee, one of their favourite spots in Victoria. “They are an admirable company that believes in waste reduction and sustainability,” Stephanie notes. “They only source their coffee beans from sustainable farms.” The two chose beans from Costa Rica for their favours and packaged them in burlap bags made from the larger bags used to transport the coffee.
Deborah’s custom creations looked right at home in the Fireside Grill, the site of Stephanie and Christopher’s reception dinner. “We originally chose this venue because it was a Tudor-style house steeped in Victorian history. It was beautiful and romantic and created the whimsical atmosphere Chris and I wanted,” Stephanie reveals.
The couple’s guests raved about the delicious food (filet mignon, sablefish and stuffed chicken breast), as well as the incredible service. “The staff at Fireside Grill were a dream to work with,” Stephanie confides.
Looking back, one memory stands out for Stephanie above all the rest. “Walking through the wisteria archway with my father and seeing Chris with Oscar at his feet was my best moment,” Stephanie recalls with a smile. “I knew my life was becoming complete.”
Photography courtesy of Claudia Hung.
Ceremony location: Hatley Castle
Reception location: Fireside Grill
Bridal gown: Allure Bridals from Shades of White Bridal Fashions
Bridal party attire: BHLDN
Favours: Discovery Coffee
Flowers: Eiddwen Thomas from Cartref Gardens
Groom’s attire: T-Concept by Tombolini at Outlooks for Men
Hair: Salon C
Hairpiece: Madame Lilas
Makeup: Artistry by Alexa
Music: DJ Bistro (Dan Charles)
Stationery: Palettera Custom Correspondences