Our Send-Off Celebration

Alright, folks. This is a little overdue. I've had lots of wonderful women currently planning their weddings reach out to learn more about the setup of our send-off celebration, so here it is! Note we did not hire a photographer - and I, unfortunately, took way fewer photos than I originally planned, but we were present and joyful, and that's really all that matters! 

When Mike & I first started talking about planning the celebration, we had three core goals in mind: 

To be surrounded by the ones we love

To serve great local beer and

We wanted to party!! 

I'll admit, as former wedding photographers, I really wanted to shake things up! I had a pretty cool vision in mind, but it meant putting the pieces together. Knowing we weren't looking to spend a ton of money on decor and that I didn't want to throw a bunch of stuff out after, we started venue shopping. The goal was to find a space that required little to no dressing up to feel like an elegant, yet trendy event. Earlier that year we had watched Leaving Thomas sing at Festival Hall. I adored the wooden beans and lights hanging from the ceiling. I also loved the cement accents. It felt like the perfect space for us. 

Upon meeting with the coordinator, I discovered the tables they already had. Four long wooden tables and seven high tops with chairs. I was thrilled about this! This definitely laid the foundation for our very non-traditional setup. I put together the four long wooden tables and scattered the seven high tops at the back of the room, surrounding the stage and dance floor. Not having a proper ratio of guests to seats meant the dance floor was full and our loved flawlessly floated around chatting with one another. 

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When it came to table decor, I knew I wasn't going to be the bride that handcrafted matching centrepieces. I'm honestly the least crafty person I know - and remember I also didn't want a bunch of waste afterwards. I started collecting beautiful candles and geometric holders with gold and cement accents from stores like Anthropology and Urban Outfitters. The hope was that the table decor would work both in Calgary and Tofino, and could later be displayed in our home. For the table runners, Mike and I went to Fabricland and picked out the most beautiful frabric, which Mike's mom then sewed into long runners. Lastly, I went to Rona and picked up a variety of succulents and cactus, because let's be honest, who doesn't love plants!! Because I failed to take photos of the space, you can see a lot of the decor on our Tofino wedding blog

I'll admit that I'm a sucker for the slideshows during weddings. As much as I love them, I knew it didn't align with our plans for the evening. Instead, I sourced six photos of Mike and I as kids, edited them to black and white, blew them up, and framed them in dollar store frames. I hung them in the hall across from the pizza and bar. You can spot them in the background of a few photos below. Now they hang in our home. 

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Lastly, not unlike our wedding, we wanted to keep everything very intimate and personal. Our friend, groomsman, and the founder of The Well Brewery, Quinn, brewed us two custom beers across the street at Cold Garden. Our guests LOVED it! Our friends Ozzy and Zac did one hell of a job bartending. Una delivered pizza for our guests to snack on! I'm drooling right now thinking about their cheese pizza with truffle oil. Yes, we had pizza delivered!! We stacked 30+ pizza boxes on a pop-up table and our guests helped themselves. And last but certainly not least, we invited our friends and extremely talented artists, Leaving Thomas to sing live. Annika & Bryton absolutely blew our guests away with their talent. You can see a clip of our first dance here and read why it meant the world to me. 

I suppose the last question you are probably still asking yourself is why host the celebration before the wedding? Mike and I have previously shared this on social media, but the primary reason was that once we got to Tofino with our immediate family, we wanted to have zero stress. Hosting it prior to meant we didn't have to worry if we ordered enough pizza, if we had enough beer, or cups! Also, I really didn't want people to assume I'd be wearing the same dress twice. A nitpicky personal preference. 

Well, if you've made it this far thank you for listening. The main reason I share is that I really enjoyed shaking things up and making the celebration truly personal. I think all too often we plan weddings the way we think we should because that's the way it's traditionally done. I said f*#k it to the rules, and I wouldn't have had it any other way!! 

To our friends and family who celebrated with us, we love you!

A very special thank you to the following people/vendors: 

Our MC, Alistair! We love you! 

Our bridal party for being the most amazing friends and family. We also love you!

Ozzy for being the best bartender ever! Zac for stepping up to help bartend. We love you both! 

Our neighbours for taking the group shots and photos at the venue! And for the most beautiful chalkboard drink sign. 

Flowers: Flowers By Janie 

Lashes: London Heritage Hush Lash Studio 

True Buch Kombucha for brewing the best damn tea to mix a little gin with for our signature drinks, MacKombucha + Macito! 

Spotify for making a kickass platform so we could pre-select music then hit play and dance the night away! 

Dress: BCBG - 50% off due to store closure {insert happy dancing emoji here} 

Grooms Pants: Volcom 

 

Jennifer Evelyn-Ann