Story by Michelle Hopkins
KELOWNA, BRITISH COLUMBIA — When TJ met Amy over drinks with mutual friends in 2010, it was love at first sight. Because TJ (McCluskie) had many happy memories of holidaying in Penticton, it was only natural that he proposed to Amy in the Okanagan Valley.
“We got engaged in the Naramata Bench in the spring of 2013 so the Okanagan holds a special place for us,” adds the Vancouver police officer. “Literally, it was 30 minutes after Amy said yes that we started looking at venues in the area for our wedding.”
“We both wanted an outdoor ceremony and we love being near the water, but we wanted a private venue,” says Amy. “My wedding planner had seen the Sanctuary Gardens and sent me photos. … TJ and I both loved the gardens — it was breathtaking and overlooked these amazing lake views.”
The ceremony took place on a brilliantly sunny September afternoon inside the open-air chapel-inspired gazebo.
“It truly was my dream wedding and it exceeded my expectations,” says the newlywed.
Then, it was off to the Hotel Eldorado, which played host to the couple’s evening reception. With the lights glittering off the water, the Lakeside Sunroom and Terrace were transformed into an oasis of Victorian beauty.
“My mom and I came here to check it out and felt like we were in the Hamptons,” says Amy. “No matter how many emails or phone calls, the staff at the Eldorado was amazing with us.”
In the end, Kelowna gave the happy couple the lake, the sun, and time with loved ones from across the province and beyond to celebrate their special day.
Weddings Are a Drawing a Crowd to Kelowna
It doesn’t come as a surprise that the Okanagan Valley keeps garnering rave reviews on Wine Enthusiast‘s list of top travel destinations. With 131 wineries, and counting, as well as more than 8,000 acres of vineyards and a fabulous selection of wines to choose from, the magazine went on to proclaim the British Columbia region as a “shining jewel.”
With so many venues affording such natural beauty, it’s easy to see why Kelowna is fast becoming a wedding destination for many a bride and groom from all over North America.
The Okanagan Valley has all the ingredients for a perfect destination wedding — world-class wineries, spectacular views, outstanding venues and award-winning cuisine.
Here is a list of a few of Kelowna’s wedding venues:
Summerhill Pyramid: Last year, more than 130 weddings took place at Summerhill Pyramid Winery, Canada’s largest organic vineyard. The winery offers a variety of venues for wedding ceremonies and receptions. There is the Summerhill Sunset Veranda, Vineyard Ballroom, Heritage Lawn and Vineyard Lawn, all with their own unique style.
[box_light]Address: 4870 Chute Lake Road, Kelowna
Reservations: 1-800-667-3538 ext. 131 (toll free) or email email@example.com.
Rates: Wedding fees range from $1,000 during the weekdays to $2,000 from Friday to Sunday. For a full package, including all food, beverages, venues fees and services, the price ranges from $5,000 to $20,000.[/box_light]
CedarCreek Estate Winery: Last year, the winery saw 40 wedding ceremonies on its grounds. Typically, the venue accommodates a maximum of 150 guests. The Pavilion and Rose Garden’s private grounds, lush vineyards, and breathtaking views of the lake and mountains provide an exceptional setting for an intimate wedding ceremony. The Rose is open for wedding ceremonies only between the middle of May and end of September.
Address: 5445 Lakeshore Road, Kelowna
Contact: Leigh Varga, wedding coordinator, can be reached by telephone at 1-250-764-8866 or email firstname.lastname@example.org, or through the winery’s website.
Rates: $3,000 for Saturdays; $2,500 for a Friday or Sunday date (the price on long weekends goes up to $3,000); or $2,200 for a mid-week date. Price includes private use of the gardens for a three-hour period, set up and set down of white padded garden chairs and a one-hour rehearsal the day before the ceremony.
Hotel Eldorado: A lakeside boutique hotel, the Eldorado dates to 1926 and is proud of its heritage as one of the Okanagan’s earliest lodgings. The hotel boasts that its rooftop has 360-degree views of the lake and valley.
[box_light]Address: 500 Cook Road, Kelowna
Reservations: 1-866-608-7500 (toll free)
Rates: Wedding packages range $750 for the rental of the property’s Lakeside Sunroom and Terrace for a dinner with 50 or more guests to $1,000 for a rental of the Lower Boardwalk for the ceremony. The latter option does not include the cost of food or alcohol.[/box_light]
[box_light]Address: 3792 Carrall Road, West Kelowna
Reservations: 1-250-878-2116 or email email@example.com. Call for pricing.[/box_light]
The Lindon House: Built in 1905, the Lindon House is a stunning heritage mansion boasting English-inspired gardens. Owners Linda and Don McDonald only accept two weddings per month during the wedding season. Off-the-beaten track, this beautifully restored building is set on over half an acre of sprawling property. Brides using the Lindon House for their wedding, rehearsal dinner or reception can also stay at Lindon House overnight in the two beautiful guest rooms and wake on the wedding day ready to prepare for the ceremony.
Address: 1449 Ethel Street, Kelowna
Contact: Telephone 1-250-317-8296 or email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit the property’s website.
Rates: Five hours for $1,800 or $2,300 to include the kitchen rental. Guests must provide your own catering services. The maximum number of guests is 150.
More Info: Visit Tourism Kelowna’s website for further details.