Sarah & Elle ~ A Modern Love Story
The day Elle Scott joined the online dating scene, she received a message from Sarah Bryson. “It was very serendipitous,” says Elle. “Sarah was about to delete her account but decided to give it one last try. For our first date she took me to the lookout on Cypress Mountain. We sat up talking until two in the morning. It felt very easy and right from the start.”
A year later, while houseboating on Sprout Lake, Sarah popped the question. “We’d gone for a walk in the woods—just the two of us—and the next thing I knew she was down on one knee. It took me completely by surprise,” Elle recalls. “Back at the boat, our friends had lit candles and put out champagne and were ready to celebrate.”
Planning started almost immediately, with Sarah chancing on the venue online. “It’s this beautiful century-old space in downtown Vancouver that used to be a bank,” says Elle. “Originally we were thinking of something more rustic but as soon as we saw the chandeliers, mosaics and stained glass—and realized that we could hold the entire event in one place—we were sold.”
Remaining true to their vision of “old-world vintage charm” and their desire to host a wedding that felt very inclusive, warm and inviting (in Elle’s words, “elegant but not cold”), the couple worked to create a day that neither themselves nor their 85 guests would forget. “There was a moment when we walked into dinner after the cocktail hour and the DJ was playing “Dreams” by Fleetwood Mac, and everyone had their hands up and were swaying and singing along,” says Elle. “The entire room was aglow with love. It truly encapsulated the moment and the day for both Sarah and me.”
Though the more complex pieces—the bridal party’s bouquets, for instance, plus two ceremonial candelabras—were created by the pros at Quince Fine Florals, the remaining arrangements were completely DIY-ed by Sarah and Elle, with blooms (and hoards of eucalyptus) obtained from The Latest Event.
Elle matched her Bridal Gallery-obtained Maggie Sottero “Patience” gown with a second-hand capelet while Sarah paired her custom suit from clothing designer Blair Shapera with rose-gold Calvin Klein pumps. Elle’s bouquet, by Quince, was bursting with Cafe au Lait dahlias, Juliet roses, red scabiosas and—Sarah’s favourite—eucalyptus.
Elle learned calligraphy and wrote all of the signage, place cards and table runners for the day by hand—no small undertaking, but it added a wonderful personal touch. Sarah and Elle’s officiant cleared the space by burning Palo Santo before the ceremony, and each and every guest performed an individual blessing on the rings.
Today, when the brides light the same candles that were set on each table during their reception, it brings back sweet tobacco flower, patchouli, orange, clove and cedar-scented memories of their big day. Foregoing a cake, the couple had a close friend (and talented baker) create individual apple pies in mini mason jars for all to enjoy.
A lion’s share of the furnishings, like the gold Chiavari chairs that were repurposed from ceremony to reception, were part of The Permanent’s own collection. Spruce Rentals and Koncept Event Design provided other key pieces, including two dusty green high-backed velvet chairs for the sweetheart table.
The centrepieces—tangles of eucalyptus leaves, candles and more than 200 vintage books procured from Craigslist and online wedding boards—were kept low so guests could converse. Pieces of rose quartz symbolized compassionate love. Pennies, donated by family, friends, colleagues and acquaintances, were scattered throughout the table settings to pay homage to the former life of the venue and for good luck.