There are a lot of things the wedding couples and our wedding industry lost during the pandemic. For over two years, we postponed big days, gave up on original plans, and missed out the wonderful human interactions. These were all things that impacted me on a deep, personal level — but one thing I didn’t realize until we hosted Jaclyn and Friedrich’s wedding in October 2021 was how much I had missed the sound of joy.
As a wedding planner, my job means that I’m constantly surrounded by joy. Every event I plan or coordinate is filled with celebration, hope, applause, cheering, and music — and up until the pandemic, I had taken this for granted.
Jaclyn and Friedrich’s event was the first larger wedding we had hosted since March 2020, and even though there was no dancing allowed, the ballroom at the Fairmont Chateau Whistler just overflowed with the sound of joy. Everywhere I looked, there was laughter, glasses clinking together, and words of encouragement and love being shared with the bride and groom. After months of quiet, it truly made my heart sing. It reinforced something that I had been thinking about a lot in the months leading up to this wedding: we are inherently social creatures and we crave that human connection.
I still vividly remember the first conversation I had with Jaclyn and Friedrich. We instantly connected and started daydreaming about what their wedding would look like during that meeting — and I was so grateful when they chose to work with me.
To start, they hired me for both Design and Wedding Day Management, but after the pandemic hit, the AKWE team really wanted to make sure we were supporting our clients as they navigated pivots and regulations. During that time, we became really close, and Jaclyn and I worked together to make their wedding day a reality.
The day started with a gorgeous tented ceremony on the hotel’s Woodland Terrace. The bride and groom read their own vows, and had guests captivated throughout the whole ceremony.
After the ceremony, guests were invited to cocktail hour on the terrace. Despite being an October day in Whistler, the weather held just long enough for evening photos in the garden. Tara Lilly Photography did an excellent job capturing the couple as they beamed alongside their family and the wedding party.
For dinner, guests were asked to join the bride and groom in the Macdonald Ballroom. The space reflected the couple’s black and white colour scheme, and each detail was luxurious. Working with Koncept Event Design and Flowerz we created tables that were filled with beautiful contrasts of cream, gold, and black. Black velvet ribbons on the menus complemented tall black candles, and the gold rim of the plates stood out in contrast to the luscious white blooms at the center of the smaller tables. The long tables also had tall floral features that caught your eye as soon as you entered the room.
It was the ideal setting for a group of people that were filled with joy and excitement for the couple. During the meal, guests were regaled with a series of speeches from parents, members of the wedding party, and the couple.
Guests also had access to a photo booth so they could leave with a memento of the big day.
During the dinner, the couple popped out briefly for a private photo session. They had decided early on with their photographer that they wanted a night-time shot of the two of them. What they hadn’t necessarily counted on was that it would be pouring with rain. That said, with a clear domed umbrella and the light from the hotel driveway around them, the result was absolutely magical. By far, these are still some of the coolest couple photos I have ever seen.
Every time I look back on this wedding, I’m grateful. In the midst of all the chaos of the last two years, it reminded me of something that was so important to me. It gave me hope that we were on the way towards reawakening our industry. And while there were still some hiccups and roller coaster dips in the months that followed, it served as a wonderful reminder that things would get better.
Are you thinking of Whistler as the destination for your big day? I’d love to help. Reach out so we can chat about what you’re thinking.