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These brides made everyone feel like family.
It wasn’t cutlery or a colour scheme that mattered to Jessica Regan and Shelley Moore when they began planning their wedding—it was about creating space that everyone felt comfortable in. Everything from the long tables at dinner to the seating chart was designed to help people mingle and have a great time. “It kind of felt like you were coming for Sunday night dinner,” says Regan, a teacher and facilitator of an apprenticeship program in schools. Moore put her professional skills as a consultant on inclusive education to work, by creating an elaborate colour-coded seating chart for 280 guests. “We re-arranged the whole wedding seating plan so that every table had a combination of Jessica and Shelley people and a connector,” says Moore. Guests said they loved it and got to meet new people comfortably. “Mission achieved,” says Moore with a smile.Both brides made a list of their top three priorities for their wedding, but beyond that they didn’t have a big-picture vision for the day. Moore and Regan valiantly attempted to plan on their own for four days, but it didn’t quite work out. “The reality hit of the school year and there was no way we were going to do it without help,” says Regan. They enlisted the team at Smitten Events–who were “worth their weight in gold,” according to Moore–to create their dream wedding at the Pipe Shop. With the directions to keep things simple and incorporate greenery, planners Jordan Maxey and Devon Dunn exceeded the brides’ expectations, bringing in string lights and lots of greenery from Our Little Flower Company to enhance the natural beauty of North Vancouver’s Pipe Shop.“When we saw the venue all set up, it was almost like one of those home and garden television shows, because we didn’t know what we were expecting. It was like they moved a bus,” says Moore. “They just nailed it.” To top it off, there were fireworks at the end of their July 1 wedding day. “We totally hijacked Canada Day,” laughs Moore.
“Because we are a same-sex couple, it’s really wonderful that we weren’t necessarily tied to a lot of traditions that people feel that they have to do,” says Regan, who eschewed the classic white wedding dress in favour of a custom-made gold skirt and white top by Pure Magnolia. When it came to priorities, her top three were flowers, food and the dinner layout.Flowers: Instead of having lots of flowers, Regan was the only one who carried a bouquet. “I wanted minimal, but really beautiful.” Regan wanted the venue to speak for itself, so they used mainly greenery with only a few flowers for pops of colour.Food: “I am the cook of the house,” says Regan, so food was a top priority. Truffles Fine Foods put on an impressive buffet that included mushroom risotto and butternut squash dishes. For dessert? Fresh, handmade pies from Savoury Island. Regan says cake was one of her number one things out the door. “I feel like no one eats the cake at weddings, especially in the summer.”Dinner Layout: Having a family-style dinner with long tables was important to Regan. “I wanted people to feel like they were coming over for dinner with us.” The cost of family-style serving was “astronomical” so they made do by serving dinner buffet-style, but kept the long table seating arrangement.
For Moore, it was the venue, photography and her suit that mattered the most.Venue: They fell in love with the minimalist look of the Pipe Shop and all of its natural lighting. For Moore, the design also appealed to their backgrounds–Regan is from B.C. and Moore grew up in Alberta and lived in New York City. “It had a B.C., West Coast-feel, but it had Alberta heart, and it had New York City class. It kind of brought everything together.”Photography: Moore chose Sara Rogers Photography for their special day.Suit: Moore really wanted a suit she fell comfortable in, so much so, that she flew all the way to Brooklyn several times to have one custom made. “I have a hard time with suits, because they don’t really make suits for women like that,” says Moore. Both brides loved the work by Bindle and Keep so much, Regan also got a custom-made suit that she changed into for the reception. “I’ve never had that feeling of putting something on and it fitting my body,” adds Moore.
Regan and Moore opted to have a custom ceremony by Marcia Thompson from Modern Celebrant. Thompson met with them a few times before the wedding and then created a ceremony that told the story of how they met. “I thought that was so lovely just to have that moment—that entire ceremony be about us and our connection and our families,” says Regan.The couple was mindful that same-sex marriage only became legalized within their lifetime and wanted to acknowledge that without making their wedding political. “If it could be a catalyst for change, that’s fantastic. But, I didn’t want my wedding to be a demonstration,” says Moore. “All I felt that day was love.”
Neither Regan or Moore wanted many speeches, so they kept it short with two welcome from the family speeches performed as songs. “It was ridiculous and amazing,” laughs Moore. The brides then played a short film by Moore’s cousin that shared the story of how they met.
Queer as Funk was a no-brainer for their wedding band. “We wanted Queer as Funk because they are very much a connector. They make people comfortable,” says Moore (who also happens to be friends with the band). After tearing up the dance floor until about 11 p.m., everyone went outside to watch the Canada Day fireworks over the water.They had such a great time that Moore became emotional the next morning. “She was bawling her eyes out, because she was so sad it was over. She wished it could have been longer,” says Regan. For Regan, the tears came before the ceremony. “I think it shows how well matched we are as a unit. We are always on either side of things, helping each other out.”
Guests: 280Budget: $80,000Planner: Smitten EventsPhotographer: Sara Rogers PhotographyVideograpger: Paul MadsenVenue: Pipe Shop VenueDecor: Bespoke DecorDress: Pure MagnoliaSuits: Bindle & KeepHair and makeup: Missy Clarkson Hair/ Denise Elliot Beauty Co.Flowers: Our Little Flower CompanyCatering: Truffles Fine FoodsCake/Dessert: Danish wedding cake from Elite Bakery/ pies from Savoury Island Pie CompanyMusic: Queer As Funk / Colin Matson-JonesOfficiant: Marcia Thomson from Modern Celebrant