An unforgettable experience

Like you, who would remember your first day of school, your first-ever kiss, or meeting
your newborn child for the first time; I’ll forever remember my first wedding that I
coordinated. - Blog by Rebekah Kenway / Day of Coordinator 

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I first “met”, Kristen, a month out from her wedding day, via a Facebook Messenger
video chat - to meet, introduce ourselves, and get the scoop on what she had planned so
far for her and Brandon’s big day. What I quickly realized was that this bride was a
strong, go-getter type, who took planning to a whole other level and was a highly detail
orientated person. Thankfully, despite being new to the job, I felt up for the challenge and
wanted to make sure that every little detail that Kristen had deliberated over and
gathered together in the prior months, that I would see it played out in a seamless and
beautiful manner. Being detailed orientated myself, I was more than happy to take as
many emails as Kristen sent my way; even to the last email sent the morning of, with an
11-point list of last minute requests and details she needed to let me know. While I
wondered if Kristen would be able to let up enough and hand the wheel (so to speak),
over to me, so that she could simply sit back, relax and enjoy every moment of her
special day, I was pleasantly surprised to see a happy, relaxed and peaceful bride sitting
in her bathroom getting her makeup done and being prepared and pampered for the day
ahead. Yet, in her true, ever-caring Kristen-style, she still took time to check on me and
asked how I was doing and feeling. It was meeting Kristen and getting to know her, that
first made this wedding day so special for me. Not only is Kristen a remarkable person
with her excitable spirit, her joyous attitude, and massively kind heart but she’s super
inspirational. See, this wedding day came with a twist and added difference. At age 20,
Kristen was in a car accident that resulted in her being a quadriplegic and would see Kristen
to be in a wheelchair for the rest of her life. Yet, where her body failed her, her mind and
attitude overcame.

Brandon, the groom, came onto the scene and met his wife-to- be on Tinder in 2014. He
quickly fell in love with Kristen for her many amazing and beautiful qualities. I got the
wrong first impression of Brandon as being a quiet and timid guy, as our first meeting
was with Weddings and Events Manager, Sierra,  and our catering coordinator, at their
reception venue, the stunning Tigh-Na- Mara Resort. Brandon was faced with a four-to-
one (women-to- men) situation and was immersed in a conversation about details for the
wedding that, primarily, Kristen had been organising. No wonder the guy seemed out of
his element. He was! Yet, even in that situation, I could see he was a kind and sweet
person. It wasn’t until the actual wedding day did I see what great strength and dignity he
also possessed. While I could see he had nervous-excited- expectation for the day, I could
also see he was determined to make sure that Kristen had the most wonderful day and
that he did all that he was required to do - which, I told him, was simply to turn up and
enjoy his day. If he needed to be anywhere or do anything, I was there to guide him, so he
didn’t have to think about it. Right throughout the day I could see his love and care for
his bride and the fact that he would be there for her through it all; not just on their
wedding day but for the rest of their lives. It was a truly beautiful quality to see. 

Having chosen venues that catered for wheelchair access and usage, what could have
been seen as a 'spoke in the wheel'; for some, Kristen being in a wheelchair only added a
rare aspect to their day that they used to bring unique, sweet, and fun details to their
wedding. 

With the gorgeous backdrop provided by Milner Garden’s perfectly-set seaside garden,
overlooking the Georgia Strait and over to the coastal mountains, Kristen, holding onto
her father’s hand, wheeled her way down the Grand Lawn to the man of her dreams. A
last minute decision, made at the Wedding Rehearsal, was that Brandon should be seated
for the ceremony so as to be eye level with his bride. So, when Kristen met him in front
of their Darling Vintage wooden arch, Brandon moved one of the wooden logs - initially
used as part of their display and decorations - next to Kristen and sat facing his bride. It
was a simple decision that created such a beautiful picture and experience - both for those
witnessing the ceremony and for Kristen and Brandon themselves. 

At the reception, back at Tigh-Na- Mara, the staff had made sure that the tables had been
set far enough apart to allow Kristen ability to wheel around and visit all of their guests;
which they did. I had heard Kristen and Brandon make a remark at one point, only the
day before their wedding, that they had not had time to practice or plan what they would
do for their first dance. Knowing that the couple both shared in having a good sense of
humor, I was preparing myself for a humorous experience of watching Brandon
awkwardly dance around Kristen and pull or push her around in her chair. However,
rather what I got to watch was a romantic and special moment between the bride and
groom, as Brandon switched it up between sitting on top of Kristen, facing her, with one
leg on either side; to standing, holding Kristen’s hand and giving her a twirl. It was a
truly beautiful, intimate and romantic first dance.

While I was there to oversee everything and make sure that all the pieces came perfectly
together (which, thankfully, they did), it was Kristen and Brandon’s fun, easy-going and
positive personalities that allowed the day to be such a success. 

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Chanel Skea