An Ethereal Garden Wedding in Charlottetown and Its Surrounds
Some might say we waited a long time to tie the knot, but Craig and I just seemed too busy travelling the world and living in cities across Canada to set things in motion. Ten years after we met, having finally found our way back to the Island where we’d both grown up and met, Craig decided it was time to make his move. In true Craig style, he planned an elaborate proposal while we were on holiday in Peru, popping the question at the top of Machu Picchu (I know, right?!). It was the easiest ‘yes’ I’ve ever said.
Within a breath, our time became consumed with wedding planning and, surprisingly, it was fun, with venue visits, menu tastings, and décor making becoming everyday occurrences! The first and, arguably, the biggest decision was where we would have the wedding and fortunately, it was an easy one. We simply asked ourselves “Where is the most beautiful place we’ve ever been to?” and the answer was, of course, ‘PEI’.
Our love of Charlottetown, the Island’s rolling countryside and the ocean solidified our decision to include two venues in our big day. We arranged to have the ceremony at the PEI Preserve Company in New Glasgow and our reception in Charlottetown at the Confederation Centre of the Arts. We wanted our guests, many of whom would be visiting from the US, Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick, to be able to experience the beauty of PEI while enjoying the conveniences of staying in downtown Charlottetown, where they could easily walk back to their accommodations after the reception.
It was a perfect day in early summer – clear skies, a slight breeze and warm temperatures. The ceremony took place in the PEI Preserve Company’s Gardens of Hope, which sits along the River Clyde. I walked down the grassy aisle, which was lined with gold buckets brimming over with baby’s breath, and met Craig under a trellis draped in the lace I had collected.
After the nuptials, we were able to relax and enjoy a cocktail hour under the trees with sangria and hors-d'oeuvres prepared by the PEI Preserve Company. The natural setting lent itself to mingling and was the perfect place for the younger guests to play in the sun and the older ones to soak up some rays. It was then time to head out with the wedding party for some photography at the beach! We threw off our shoes and walked along Rustico beach, the red cliffs and blue ocean offering a striking backdrop for the pictures. Re-energized by the salty air and sand between our feet, we were ready to make the short 20-minute drive back to Charlottetown for our evening reception.
When we walked into the Confederation Centre’s Memorial Hall, where we would eat and dance the night away, we were in complete awe of what greeted our eyes. The marble-walled hall with glass roof had been transformed into a beautiful, ethereal space filled with greens and golds. It was exactly what I had envisioned and I was glad I had hired Colour Your Event to arrange all of the handmade pieces I’d created and collected.
We capped off the night in true Island-style by dancing to the beats of the Love Junkies, a local band that is well-known for bringing its energy and unique style to every gig. At the end of our spectacular, but exhausting day, we were thankful that our bed was mere steps away at The Holman Grand via the tunnel from the Confederation Centre.
When I look back on that day, all I remember are the good things. Sure a few things didn’t go according to plan, but we made a point to not dwell on those things. Planning a wedding has its ups and downs, but adhering to a ‘go with the flow’ attitude really saved us a few times. We tried to strike a balance between keeping our guests happy and entertained with what was best for us as a couple. In the end, our wedding far surpassed our dreams.
Stacey Leunes is a jewellery designer and goldsmith, who works from her open studio in downtown Charlottetown (Garnish Jewellery & Boutique, 89 Water St.), where she welcomes visitors to experience the collection. She lives in a beautiful yellow house in the city with her husband, Craig, their dog, Willow, and their 2 cats, Maui and Basil.