Cathy & Jon's magical romantic hideaway elopement

Updated Oct 12 2015
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Photos by Stephanie Rae Hull

The offbeat bride: Cathy, Graphic Designer

Her offbeat partner: Jon, Account Manager

Date and location of wedding: Sooke Harbour House, Victoria Island, BC, Canada — December 1, 2010

What made our wedding offbeat: Our families were amazing. They agreed to let us run away to Canada and get married, just the two of us.

Screen shot 2011-03-26 at 16.09.29Neither of us wanted a big fuss and I hate lots of people looking at me, so the idea of a big white wedding just made me feel really, really scared, and not excited like it should.

We both have small families but are lucky to have lots of friends, so a small local family wedding was not an option really. We thought about doing the Vegas thing but the face my Mum pulled put a stop to that idea… 🙂

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Screen shot 2011-03-26 at 16.15.26Then fate intervened. After spending hours on the internet, we found the most magical special place called Sooke Harbour House. Our whole wedding was found and booked over the internet with people we wouldn't meet until the day of the wedding! It was so easy, and everyone was great — we were very very lucky!

Screen shot 2011-03-26 at 16.13.48We had a party three days after we flew home, and it was great to celebrate with our friends and families. It was a wedding with none of the formalities — perfect, perfect!!

My dress was pink (I got to wear it twice — yay!) and I wore boots, much to a lot of my friends' disgust!

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Screen shot 2011-03-26 at 15.55.59Tell us about the ceremony: Jon gave me an hour to get ready while he waited in the garden. My hair went frizzy, but oh well. The day before it had been pissing down, but we had blue skies — it was amazing. We could see the ocean and the mountains.

It was just the two of us, two witnesses and the officiant — and they were all lovely.

We both nearly cried. I promised to give Jon a lifetime of friendship, randomness, and adventure. Then, at the end of the service, a huge eagle flew above us!

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Screen shot 2011-03-26 at 16.17.18Our biggest challenge: Telling our families what we wanted to do. We both did feel really guilty as a wedding is usually a family event. It wasn't easy, but they did understand that neither of us would enjoy the big white wedding thing, and amazingly they said we should do what makes us happy, not everyone else. We are very lucky!

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Screen shot 2011-03-26 at 16.15.00My favorite moment: My favorite moment was our vows exchanged in the most beautiful garden next to the ocean. It was magical and seemed a bit like a dream, which is how I hoped it would feel. And an eagle flew out of the tree just as we finished saying them, which apparently is lucky in Canada.

Another favorite moment was seeing all our friends loving the fancy dress box and photo shoot area at the party!!

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My funniest moment: I ran along a marina pier for a photo, through bird shit and all kinds of dirt, but I just didn't care. Then I tried to climb down rocks in my dress. It had to be dry cleaned — put it that way!

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Screen shot 2011-03-26 at 16.18.13Was there anything you were sure was going to be a total disaster that unexpectedly turned out great? I was a bit worried about all the things we arranged over the internet as you never know how it's really going to turn out. But I think Canadians are the most chilled out people in the world, and it was all amazing — the venue, the officiant, the flowers, the photographer, the food, (and amazingly the weather). It couldn't have been any better.

The photographer, Stephanie Rae Hull, was especially BRILLIANT. I have a squint so am very self conscious about having my photo taken, but she was so relaxed and good fun. I ended up really enjoying myself. I didn't expect that to happen!

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My advice for offbeat brides: You have to do what makes you happy. It's hard as you feel a bit selfish, but it's the only way you get the wedding that is you — the wedding you really want.

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!

  1. This might be one of the most beautiful weddings I have ever seen. The photos are amazing! And the reception looks like it was a a blast! Congrats!

  2. Glorious, beautiful and perfect. The joy is all there in the photos.

    Oh, and: It's Vancouver Island, not Victoria Island, but yeah… regardless of what you call it, the whole island — and Sooke especially — is lovely. 🙂

    • It's a Temperley Dress from Bicester Village in the UK – her dresses are all gorgeous!! 🙂 xx Thank you sooooo much for all the lovely comments – i've been smiling all day – Thank you 🙂 xx

  3. love love love the daft hat photobooth and may steal it for our party.

    Thanks for the inspiring photos!!!

  4. AHHHHH! Your cupcake display is brilliant! I've been looking at homemade towers, and I didn't think I could pull it off without looking chintzy… but that little ladder is perfect, easy to create, and could be used to display knick knacks or photos after the wedding. PERFECT! You've saved me!

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