Planned by Senior Planner, Jamie-Lee Clooten

“Sydney and Daniel’s modern farm-to-table wedding in the heart of Vancouver was a joy to plan and bring to life — and I’m so excited to tell you all about their concept, the design, and some of the very intentional decisions they made as we put everything together. 

When I first met Sydney and Daniel, they had recently got engaged. They had a unique story in that they had known each other through mutual friends for years, but they only started dating a few weeks before the pandemic started. As they hunkered down together during lockdown, their relationship flourished.

When we had our first meeting, they were looking for someone who could help support them with the planning as they had a few competing priorities including Sydney’s full load of classes for her interior design course. Immediately, Sydney and I bonded over the various things we had in common, including a shared love for design, our dogs, farmer’s markets, gardening, and trying new restaurants. From the get go, it was clear that this couple was passionate about intentional design with sustainable practices behind everything they chose. They wanted to work with vendors that took zero waste practices seriously, with food, flowers, and other produce sourced as locally as possible.

With these two priorities in mind, we set out to find the ideal venue within Vancouver for this wedding. After reviewing a few outdoor options, the couple were excited to move forward with JW Marriott Hotel Parq Vancouver. While it is quite a modern space, I knew that the event space provided a blank canvas for us to incorporate all of Sydney and Daniel’s design must-haves. Plus, the 30,000 square-foot outdoor garden on the hotel’s sixth floor would provide the perfect urban oasis for the ceremony and cocktail hour, giving them that touch of the outdoors they craved. Not only that, the hotel also had a number of sustainable policies in place, and the chef, Chef Kunal, stole the couple’s hearts with the promise of a completely custom sustainable menu. 

When it came to choosing the vendors for this wedding, I wanted to be intentional about putting together a team that would reflect the couple’s values and their vision for the day. For the photographer, we wanted someone who would be creative in their angles and composition, and who could really capture the fun, warmth, and community of the day. Amber Hughes fit all those criteria and she was an absolute delight to work with. 

For florals, Sydney wanted big blooms that were sustainably sourced — and she wanted a lot of colour. Michelle from Blossom and Vine took on the challenge of finding the right colourful florals in May, and she really knocked it out of the park. Plus, she was also able to find locally grown strawberries, vine tomatoes, and figs to do little fruit-filled compotes on the table. I also enlisted the support of the team at Repeat Floral, an organization that repurposes flowers from events and takes them to senior homes or hospitals, to give the blooms a second life after the wedding.

For the decor, we knew we wanted furniture and textures that were approachable and comfortable, really leaning into that farm-to-table vibe. Bespoke Decor had everything we needed, including tables with exposed wood and sage green runners, and they were instrumental in helping us bring the concept to life. 

Sydney and Daniel planned a traditional Jewish ceremony, which was held in the hotel’s outdoor garden space, facing the greenery. The chuppah had been previously custom-made for the wedding of a friend, and the fact that it was then passed on to them added a lovely sentiment to the ceremony. In addition, the couple felt it was really important to honour their friends, family, and community in the ceremony — and that was evident throughout. The tallit that was draped over the chuppah was Daniel’s father’s, which was a lovely touch, and for the seven blessings, the couple had seven groups of people come up and read each blessing.

For the cocktail hour, guests were invited to stay in the garden area, which had been set up with games and a colourful lounge area. We had a corn hole game that the groom made himself, which guests could play while sipping on the custom “Maya-rita” cocktails, named after the couple’s dog, Maya. It’s important to note that there were puns and plays on words all throughout the wedding as Daniel is a big fan of puns! (Their wedding hashtag was #SheSydYes.)

Guests were then shown down to the Kitsilano ballroom for the reception. The event space was set up with a number of beautifully decorated tables for a plated family style dinner. Because this couple loves to dance — and we were so fortunate that the pandemic-induced dancing restrictions were lifted a few weeks before the wedding — the focal point of the space design was the dance floor. All the tables were there to frame the dance floor, and that just helped build the anticipation for what turned out to be a fantastic night of dancing. They danced like they hadn’t danced in years, and the hora remains one of my favourite memories of the night.

For dinner, Chef Kumal created a menu that carried local sustainability at its core. He took a root-to-shoot approach, using every part of the produce (both vegetable and animal) across the menu, and it really spoke to the sustainable theme of the wedding. Before guests got to try their appetisers, Daniel’s parents started the meal by cutting a massive challah bread they had brought in. This symbol of “breaking bread” with all of the couple’s family and friends was a beautiful gesture of community that set the tone for the meal. 

There are a lot of wonderful things I have to say about this couple, but the thing that stands out the most is how intentional and community-oriented they were in all the decisions about their wedding. As individuals, they are inherently aware of the impact they have, and that showed up not only in their preference for sustainable practices, but also in how they managed wedding gifts. Instead of gifts, they asked guests to make donations to Vancouver Food Runners, and made a commitment to match any donations that were made. This was a beautiful gesture that I look back on often. 

To say I loved working with this couple is an understatement. I became close not just with them, but also their family, and it was truly an honour to be part of their journey as they planned this beautiful wedding. I’m looking forward to staying in touch with them and following along as they begin new chapters in their story. “

xo Jamie-Lee

Have you started thinking about your own Vancouver wedding? We’d love to hear what you’re thinking!