{Real Weddings} Erin & Ryan's Beautiful Oyster Bay Wedding

Today we are excited to share with you Erin & Ryan's lovely wedding! We not only are able to view the stunning imagery captured by Greg Howard Photography, but we also get to learn from the bride herself how everything came together for their perfect day.  Please enjoy Erin & Ryan's beautiful Oyster Bay Wedding, as told in Erin's words. 

Ryan and I met when we were both 19 while working together at a dead end job. We started out as friends and as our friendship grew, I knew really early on that I definitely wanted more. We started dating about six months after meeting and we have been inseparable since. We started talking about marriage early on in our relationship and always knew that one day we would, but being in our early 20's, we were too busy having fun to settle down and plan the big day. 

As 30 approached, we decided that we wanted to be married before that milestone and before our 10 year anniversary arrived. Ryan proposed one night in January 2011 and it came as a complete surprise to me as I was laid up on the couch fighting a nasty head cold. His original plan was to wait, as a few weeks later we had a trip planned, however his excitement got the best of him. I wouldn't have wanted it any other way.

We decided that we would plan for the following summer.  On September 2, 2012 we were married on a beautiful beach, in Oyster Bay, on the coast of Vancouver Island.

Ryan and I are very simple in our tastes and we wanted our wedding to reflect that in every detail. I had a color in mind for our accent color which was a vibrant raspberry pink. I wanted this color to pop throughout our wedding and the venue décor. I had picked up a sample of ribbon at the craft store that was the exact color of my vision. I used this ribbon to go around the bridesmaid's waists as a suedo-belt and I was able to find ties for the groomsmen in the exact same color. My bouquet had roses of this color and the centerpieces on the head table and guest tables also contained roses and gerbera daisies that were raspberry in color.

My Maid of Honor was my best friend, Laura, and my bridesmaid was Tara, also a really good friend. My third was my brother, as a "bridesman".  The girls bought their dresses from David's Bridal. I wanted them to have a dress that they would wear again, so we picked a simple black satin, strapless dress.

My gown was from David's Bridal. I knew I didn't want to break the bank when it came to my dress, so I checked out the David's Bridal website and chose a few styles that caught my eye. My mom, mother in law, and two bridesmaids came with me to aid in the dress selection process. I tried two on initially, both of which didn't have that wow factor. With the third dress I tried on, without even looking in the mirror first, I knew right away it was the one. It fit perfectly and just felt right. I had the neckline altered slightly to create a sweetheart neckline and I kept my accessories very simple, with only earrings for jewelry.

We knew we wanted to get married on the beach in a very simple and casual setting with only our nearest and dearest friends and family in attendance. We kept out guest list small - 50 people, as we envisioned an intimate wedding. Above all, we wanted our guests to feel relaxed and comfortable all day long, so we made sure we had enough food to satisfy their appetites, drinks to quench their thirst, and a warm, inviting atmosphere to generate heart-felt conversation. This was to be a day not of Ryanand I's union, but of our two families officially becoming one.

The ceremony we had always envisioned was to be on the beach on a beautiful sunny day with the waves crashing behind us and 50 of our closest friends and family in front of us. We hired a Justice of the Peace and collaborated to plan our a very short, simple ceremony. Our guests were seated on drift wood and logs that had washed up on shore. My uncle and musician, Craig Northey, along with my cousins, his eldest daughter and youngest son, played an original song which Craig wrote as I walked down onto the beach and as we exited. 

Ryan had three groomsmen in the wedding party, his two best friends and his brother. I decided on my two best girl friends as my maid of honor and bridesmaid, but I needed one more person to stand beside me. I chose to ask my brother if he would stand with me as a "bridesman". He was absolutely the best choice as my third and it was such a privilege to have him up there with me.

The venue, Oyster Bay Resort, was spectacular. The resort was beach front and had lodging for our guests as well as the reception hall. It was very relaxing to be able to wake up in the same place I was to be married, have my aunt style my hair, as well as my bridesmaids, and then walk across to the beach for the ceremony. We stayed on the beach after the ceremony to have pictures taken. Greg Howard and his wife Vanessa were such a pleasure to work with. We wanted to keep our pictures simple and natural and they hit the ball out of the park. I have never seen such amazing pictures as the ones that Greg captures. Stunning, breathtaking photos that we will have for our lifetime. 

The reception hall was fantastic and it allowed our guests to relax and enjoy the evening even more as many of them were staying on premise and could really let loose.

Ryan's Mom had a fabulous idea for a Wishing Tree, something she had seen done at other weddings. She spray painted willow branches white and placed them in a vase. Small pink tags with black ribbons were placed next to the vase along with a write up about how the wishing tree works. The idea was for our guests to write a wish for us on the tags and then tie them to the tree. At the end of the night, the branches were loaded with well wishes, advice for the future, and loving thoughts. It was beautiful. We plan on reading the tags every year on our anniversary as a reminder of all the amazing people we have in our lives and how special they made our wedding day.

The décor was very simple. I wanted centerpieces on the guest tables that had a burst of color but were slightly understated. I decided that a bud vase with a single pink gerbera daisy, lanterns with tea lights, and a mirror tile would be perfect. The head table had low-lying flower arrangements which were absolutely spectacular, from Bird of Paradise Florist in Campbell River, BC. 

Our wedding favors were very unique. Ryan and I scoured the local beaches, hunting for oyster shells which we could scrub clean, put a coat of shellac on and create place "cards" for each guest. We also included a small jewel in each, which resembled the pearl that you would find in the oyster shell. 

We bottled our own wine and gave that to the guests as they were leaving at the end of the night.

We opted for cupcakes and a small cake instead of one large wedding cake. We had two flavors of cupcake: white chocolate/raspberry and carrot cake. 

In other words

The planning process

The planning process was very straight forward and stress free. I started in September of 2011 and I had a lot of help from my parents, in-laws, and friends. I booked our venue, Oyster Bay Resort, right away as Ryan and I had stayed at this resort a few times prior and knew it would be absolutely perfect. The resort itself had cabins where our guests could stay, a banquet hall just the right size for our wedding, and was right on the beach. 

My game plan was to check the big items off my to-do list first. I booked our photographer, Greg Howard Photography, and our cake maker, Coastal Cake Company, next. Both companies are based on North Vancouver Island and are absolutely amazing at what they do. The catering was also done by a local company, Plates Eatery & Catering in Courtney, BC. My sister-in-law offered her DJ-ing services, which was a huge help for our small budget. Booking the party supply company, All In One Party Shop, also based out of Courtney, BC, completed the last of the big items on my list.

Now it was time to tackle the small items: flowers, table decorations, guest favors, tux rentals, invitations, oh yeah - and my dress.

Honeymoon plans

We are avid campers so for our honeymoon we traveled to Texada Island, which is one of the Gulf Islands just off the coast of Vancouver Island. We camped for one week, relaxed on the beach and enjoyed the first few moments as husband and wife. We also scratched an item off of our bucket list, which was to kayak into Desolation Sound, which is a protected marine area north of the Straight of Georgia. It was incredible to be able to experience such spectacular beauty in an area that remains mostly pristine and untouched.
Erin shared with us such great insight on how she and her groom planned a stress free wedding.  Giving themselves a year to pull it together helped the stress levels stay at a minimum, as well checking off the big "to do" items first.  

The color palette and choice of flowers really made the aesthetics of their wedding just pop.  The location is stunning, by the way.  Yet another spot to put on my "bucket list"to visit! 

Our thanks to Erin for sharing with us all that went into your wedding day.  And our sincere thanks to Greg Howard Photography for sending Erin & Ryan's wedding our way! 

Photographer: Greg Howard Photography//Venue: Oyster Bay Resort//Floral Designer: Bird of Paradise Floral and Wedding Boutique//Cake Designer: Coastal Cake Company//Dress: David's Bridal//Caterer: Plates Eatery and Catering
Submitted via Two Bright Lights

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