Stephanie Lam, a Toronto native, and Christopher Nelson, who was born in Bella Coola, British Columbia, first met in Edmonton, where both were completing Master’s degrees in Physiotherapy at the University of Alberta. Since Stephanie was dating someone else at the time they started out as friends, but eventually a relationship blossomed, and before long the two were making a life together in Victoria, B.C.
Stephanie and Christopher wanted to share the natural beauty of their adopted home town with their loved ones, so they planned their wedding in Victoria. Inspired by the wallpaper at Christopher’s family farmhouse, the duo decided on a romantic vintage theme, incorporating soft shades of pink, blue and purple.
In keeping with the old-world vibe, Stephanie and Christopher selected Victoria’s stately Hatley Castle as their ceremony site, where they said “I do” in the breathtaking Italian Gardens. “It was a beautiful day,” Stephanie recalls. “The flowers were blooming and there were butterflies all around us.” Most importantly, having an outdoor ceremony meant the couple’s “child,” rescue dog Oscar, could attend. “We couldn’t imagine our wedding without him,” Stephanie and Christopher agree.
Including Oscar in their day was just one of the couple’s personal touches. For her bouquet, Stephanie worked closely with local gardener Eiddwen Thomas to pick in-season organic flowers, such as dinner-plate dahlias, daisies, roses and eucalyptus seed pods. “It was very relaxing walking through her garden a week before the wedding to finalize everything we had talked about,” Stephanie admits.
Stephanie and Christopher’s favours—personalized bags of coffee beans—were a nod to Discovery Coffee, one of their favourite spots in Victoria. “They are an admirable company that believes in waste reduction and sustainability,” Stephanie notes. “They only source their coffee beans from sustainable farms.” The two chose beans from Costa Rica for their favours and packaged them in burlap bags made from the larger bags used to transport the coffee.
For the couple’s stationery, Stephanie called on close friend Deborah Lau-Yu, the owner and designer of Palettera Custom Correspondences, to design one-of-a-kind invitations, as well as a seating chart and table settings. “Working with Deborah was so special,” Stephanie says. “She is a brilliant designer.” Indeed, Deborah poured her heart into creating unique invitations with a romantic vintage vibe—she even hand-painted watercolour flowers in the wedding’s palette.
Deborah’s custom creations looked right at home in the Fireside Grill, the site of Stephanie and Christopher’s reception dinner. “We originally chose this venue because it was a Tudor-style house steeped in Victorian history. It was beautiful and romantic and created the whimsical atmosphere Chris and I wanted,” Stephanie reveals.
The couple’s guests raved about the delicious food (filet mignon, sablefish and stuffed chicken breast), as well as the incredible service. “The staff at Fireside Grill were a dream to work with,” Stephanie confides.
Looking back, one memory stands out for Stephanie above all the rest. “Walking through the wisteria archway with my father and seeing Chris with Oscar at his feet was my best moment,” Stephanie recalls with a smile. “I knew my life was becoming complete.”
Stephanie Lam and Christopher Nelson, August 25, 2012, Victoria, British Columbia.
Photography courtesy of Claudia Hung.
Ceremony location: Hatley Castle
Reception location: Fireside Grill
Bridal gown: Allure Bridals from Shades of White Bridal Fashions
Bridal party attire: BHLDN
Favours: Discovery Coffee
Flowers: Eiddwen Thomas from Cartref Gardens
Groom’s attire: T-Concept by Tombolini at Outlooks for Men
Hair: Salon C
Hairpiece: Madame Lilas
Makeup: Artistry by Alexa
Music: DJ Bistro (Dan Charles)
Stationery: Palettera Custom Correspondences
See more photos of this romantic and intimate wedding in Victoria, British Columbia.