Deep within a lush Whistler forest of towering cedars and Douglas firs, 350 guests are seated below a raised altar built into an overhanging rock face and bordered by a canopy of serpentine white wisteria. A crystal chandelier suspended between trees illuminates the couple as they say their vows. This was the fairytale setting for the wedding of Canadian Olympic ski-cross gold medallist and World Champion Ashleigh McIvor and Jay DeMerit, captain of the Vancouver Whitecaps FC.
Though their wedding day was incredibly grand, it was not a celebration stacked with event planners and ostentation. Ashleigh and Jay (with help from 40 great friends) were the set designers, prop makers, painters and food suppliers—catching 80 pounds of British Columbia wild salmon for the wedding feast. In doing so, the couple shared their love for the outdoors, their families and each other.
Jay (who studied industrial and product design in university) proved to be a decor expert for the couple’s wedding, scouring Vancouver’s second-hand shops for furniture to create a forest “living room”. “I spent months making signs, centrepieces, even the cedar bar of our Iceberg Vodka martini lounge,” he says.
The groom also created the couple’s bridal suite, a large tent draped in lace with a cedar bed, two tree-stump night tables and an antique pedestal mirror. The couple spent their wedding night inside snuggled under furs and handmade quilts. “Jay made the ‘Bridal Suite’ sign that flipped over to read ‘Honeymoon Suite’ at night,” Ashleigh laughs.
With family and friends flying in from all over the world, the celebrations began the day before the wedding when the couple chartered a bus to take everyone to a Whitecaps game at BC Place. Later, guests were shuttled to Whistler for an overnight stay at the Lodging Ovations properties where the 2010 Winter Olympics alpine events took place.
On the day of the wedding the sky was sunny and bright as Ashleigh walked down the forest aisle on the arm of her dad Brent wearing an exquisite lace Cymbeline gown. A classical violinist and a pianist played “You’ve Got the Love,” “A Beautiful Day,” and Pachelbel’s “Canon.” Following their vows and the exchange of rings, the couple signed the register while “I Believe”, the theme song for the 2010 Olympics, was performed.
Their dinner reception at Whistler Olympic Park featured a sumptuous buffet, which was complemented by Granville Island Beer, Growers Cider and wines from the Okanagan’s Nk’Mip Cellars and See Ya Later Ranch. Post-dining, guests headed back to the woods where they danced the night away to music by The Hairfarmers, and American Idol finalist Kimberly Caldwell performed “From This Moment On” for Ashleigh and Jay’s first dance.
Reflecting on their day, the newlyweds were thrilled to share their home with their guests. “We’re passionate about the beauty of B.C., and I think our wedding really accomplished that,” Ashleigh smiles.
– Laura Goldstein
Ashleigh McIvor and Jay DeMerit, August 25, 2013, Vancouver, British Columbia.
Photography courtesy of Blake Jorgenson.
Reception location: Whistler Olympic Park
Bridal gown: Cymbeline from Petrov Bridal; design created by Malene Grotrian
Catering: Jeff the Chef
Flowers: Kirby Signature
Groom and groomsmen attire: Indochino
Bride’s jewellery: Rare Investment
View more photos from this enchanted wedding in Whistler.