Years later, I discovered a beautiful wedding location on Vancouver Island by the name of Tigh-Na-Mara Resort ( http://www.tigh-na-mara.com/ ). I checked out the menus, the accommodations and was sold when I saw their amazing spa and grotto pool. I am very driven by the sea and for the short time I lived by the ocean in Vancouver, I felt like I was finally home. I could imagine a whole family and large group of friends really having the time of their life at this place; the photographic opportunities that were there as well as the relaxing atmosphere would be perfect.
Fast forward a few years later and I meet Josh. In exception to my two year stint in Vancouver, we are both born and raised Calgarians. When we started discussing marriage, we were both really into the idea of the beautiful Banff Springs Hotel (http://www.fairmont.com/Banffsprings/). We had spent a very special few days there together and we said those few days were the best vacation we had ever had. I immediately looked into pricing (probably one of the pricier venues in Alberta!), ceremony and reception rooms, menus and photographer’s blogs who had covered Banff Springs weddings. It is one of the most gorgeous places I have ever had the pleasure of staying at, and love to show it off to any visitors coming from out of town. We were fairly convinced this was the place.
Now, this all being said, I have attended a few destination weddings, one being in Cranbrook (okay, this is a destination for us, because we had to leave the city…) and my dad and his new wife’s wedding in beautiful Maui, Hawaii. From the beginning, they wanted to have a wedding in Hawaii, and make it more about the joining of families than anything. Sue has two daughters, my new sisters, and my dad has four daughters including me. We were so very lucky to stay at a beautiful mansion in the hills in Hawaii, and have perfect weather every day. I instantly fell in love with Hawaii, what a magical place, and what a wonderful atmosphere to commit your love to someone. On the day of the wedding, my dad and his daughters went to the beach and swam and snorkeled with the vibrant tropical fish and a famous sea turtle affectionately known as Volkswagen, what a sign that this day was going to be perfect. We went back to the house, got ready for the big show and drove to the hotel for the ceremony and reception. We had a quick rundown with the wedding coordinator there and then the ceremony got under way. The processional included a Native Hawaiian conch-shell blower and a beautiful fire maiden, we all walked in, representing my dad on his side, and Sue’s daughters by her side. When I saw little Brooklynn with her gorgeous dress tossing flowers, leading my dad in, the tears almost started right there, I am going to be a disaster at her wedding! My sisters and I were all very weepy the whole time, as it meant a lot to us to see our amazing dad so blissful marrying the woman that has done that to him, in such a breathtaking setting. As they were saying their vows, my younger sister Caitlin poked me in the back and said “look!” I turned around and there were whales breaching in the ocean. Wow. Could it be any more magical? My mind was officially changed for destination weddings. My dad and Sue had everyone (ok, there were people missing, but still…) they loved watching them in one of the world’s most gorgeous places commit their lives to each other, and then celebrate that night over a delicious dinner and some crazy dancing (had nothing to do with the Mai Tai’s being served!). The week was great with snorkeling, matching sister tattoos, a wonderful luau, and days of relaxation and celebration.
Leaving my city for my wedding will never be an option for me, but I know different things work for different people, and I now know how absolutely magical and fun a destination wedding can be.
On a side note - I think my dad has possibly breathed a sigh of relief that I have downgraded my wedding plans from a castle in Ireland, to a castle in Alberta…to a hotel in Calgary, what low standards I have, ha ha!