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The Cultural Wedding Planner - #getyoursfree
Suzanne and Chris
|Suzanne and Chris
Sometimes fiesty bickering between a man and a woman can mean something good could happen between them, too. That’s what Suzanne Schrader and Christopher Smith found when they met at BCIT while Suzanne was studying Marketing. She was organizing a concert for work experience and Chris was in the band performing at the concert.
“We had instant chemistry between us as we prepared for the concert,” says Suzanne. “I thought he was hot, but a little too high on himself and we began taunting each other back and forth.”
Chris says: “I thought Suzanne was angelic, but I was planning to set her up with my drummer in the band. I thought I didn’t deserve her.”
Better than the Big Apple
After the couple had been dating six years, Chris proposed.
“We had planned a trip to New York City for the following week and I was under pressure to get everything done at work before the trip. Chris asked me to meet him for dinner, and even though I was reluctant because of my long day, he managed to convince me, saying that he had just written some new music and wanted to share it with me. I knew how much this meant to him so I agreed.”
Chris took Suzanne to their favourite restaurant on the beach in White Rock, called La Baia.
“After a dinner so amazing that I should have known he was asking me to marry him, Chris said he wanted to show me something on his laptop. He came around to my side of the table and started playing a music video that happened to star him.
“The song was catchy and cute and throughout the video he was looking for something—in the couch, on the roof of our apartment, in the cupboards—finally, on the video he pulled out a jewellery box and as I looked over at him, in real life he was pulling out a jewellery box, too.
“I was stunned and completely surprised. I thought he was going to ask me while we were in New York. I never saw it coming!”
At first the couple wanted a winter wedding because Chris loves the cold and Suzanne loved all the decor options a winter theme offers.
With the timing decided, the couple then selected the venue and realized the best time of year at the Hycroft House is in spring, when the gardens are in bloom.
“When we found Hycroft House on the Internet, we immediately fell in love with it. We knew we both wanted to have our ceremony and reception at the same venue and this gorgeous turn-of-the-century home afforded us this opportunity. Chris fell in love with the Rat Pack bar in the basement, while I was mesmerized by the drawing room and gardens,” says Suzanne.
“We both love the 50s era and chose invitations, programs, and table decor that was blue and brown with stripes and polka dots,” says Suzanne.
The couple carried the look of the era through to the style of their wedding attire. The bride’s gown was white organza and strapless with a skirt tiered to the floor. She wore a blue sash around her waist fastened at the back with an antique-looking crystal brooch.
“My mother-in-law sewed my ‘something blue’ sash, while I designed and sewed my own white lace shrug,” Suzanne says.
Chris looked handsome in a black tux with a charcoal gray vest and tie. He also wore his signature earrings, but instead of hoops, he wore diamond studs to match Suzanne’s crystal accessories.
“I wore crystal jewelry and white short-heeled sandals with small crystals on the straps,” Suzanne explains.
The whole effect of the setting and the look we created helped wedding guests feel that they were stepping back into a simpler, more genuine time.
“Even our flowers were stunning!” says Suzanne. “My mom-in-law designed them for us and they were exactly what I wanted—classic and romantic!
Wet Hankies All Around
During the wedding ceremony, Suzanne also appreciated something unusual that their pastor: he asked all married couples attending the wedding to renew their vows, many guests were moved to tears.
Later in the ceremony, the pastor then said to Chris: “I’m going to ask you a question and if you answer incorrectly, it is my duty to get up and walk right out of here.”
Now that he had the couple’s attention, the pastor went on to say: “Given the choice of her life or yours, would you lay down your own?”
Chris replied: “Absolutely!” That was definitely the right answer.
More Wedding Highlights
Suzanne’s greatest highlight was when Chris sang her a song he had written.
“The song was gorgeous and it made everyone tear up again,” Suzanne recalls.
Chris’s favourite part of the wedding was when the couple left Hycroft House.
“After the wedding, a limo picked us up at sunset and drove us alone around Stanley Park. That gave us a chance to talk about the day before an intimate dinner for just the two of us at a revolving restaurant. Then we met up with friends at the penthouse suites of the Le Soleil Hotel. It was a casual party and a great way to end the day.”
A Noon Wedding
Guests and the wedding party had gathered at Hycroft House at noon for the wedding ceremony, which began at half past 12.
“During wedding planning, we had a budget challenge being that we have caviar tastes and champagne dreams,” Suzanne explains.
“My parents very generously paid for the wedding, but we didn’t want to leave them with a huge bill. In the end we restricted the guest list to only family and close friends and we spent most of the budget on the venue and the food. Hosting a lunch rather than a dinner kept the costs down, but the venue was costly, so it all balanced out.”
Other planning aids included The Cultural Wedding Planner.
“I used The Cultural Wedding Planner, attended various shows, including the Grand Wedding Show, and I used a binder to keep everything organized,” Suzanne says. As she collected inspiring photos, she sorted them into sections of the binder.
“It kept me organized and clear about what I wanted,” Suzanne says.
Still More Great Ideas
Here are more of the best ideas that Suzanne and Chris are glad they did:
1. Jones soda wedding favors. “We changed the labels to read ‘SMITH SODA’ and pasted on our own photos,” says Suzanne.
2. Polaroid guestbook. “This is something we look at quite frequently,” says Suzanne. “I love to remember how people looked on the day and it’s fun to see their comments and photo right side by side.”
3. Barbershop quartet. “This group entertained our guests before the ceremony.”
4. Video. “Chris created an outstanding video of our lives together,” says Suzanne.
5. Slide show. “We collected photos of all our guests and included them in a slide show that played during the dance. It read ‘For those who have shaped our lives ... Thank you!’ ”
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