PHOTOGRAPHY BY FERNANDA SHIN OF FERN SHIN FINE ART PHOTOGRAPHY

Wedding photographer Nadia Hung and her husband Victor Lai brought a taste of the Amalfi Coast to Vancouver

Victor planned to propose to Nadia in Positano, Italy, with a ring ordered from New York. Unfortunately, the jeweller’s package didn’t arrive in time to board the plane with the couple.

“Victor was distracted and upset during the flight and I didn’t know why,” Nadia recalls. “But the morning after we arrived he asked me to marry him anyway, on the balcony of our villa against a backdrop of olive trees, with a flower ring. I still have the dried petals in a box today.”

In fact, the moment made a lasting mark on the bride-to-be, who immediately began planning an Italian-inspired wedding.

“I wanted something just like Positano—lots of greenery, olive branches, outdoors,” she says. “I loved the arbour at UBC Botanical Garden but was told it can’t be used for a reception because it lacks a power source and offers no rain cover. But I decided, it’s my wedding, I’ll make it work. So we brought in a generator and hoped for clear skies.”

Though her big day started off on a damp note, Nadia didn’t allow it to cloud her mood.“I trusted my vendors, including my day-of coordinator, Jessica Minnie of Petite Pearl Events, to pull off my vision, which was to make our guests feel like we were in Italy,” she says, adding that the sun, against all odds, made a surprise appearance later in the day. “From the al fresco dinner to dancing under the stars, it was absolutely magical how everything came together. I have my amazing vendors to thank for that.”

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Vancouver’s Myrtle Et Olive added an Italian touch to the arch sourced from Bespoke Decor with the bride’s favourite Free Spirit garden roses, seasonal summer flowers, olive branches and wild vines. The Vineyard chairs from Pedersens Rentals kept with the theme.

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Boasting a mesh neckline, ornate beading and a high waistline, Nadia found her Watters Jacinda gown at BHLDN in Seattle. She wore jewellery from The Borrowed Collection. Victor ordered his custom-tailored tux and bow tie by Austin Reed online.

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Vintage furniture from Spruce Collective created a whimsical and welcoming space for mingling and photo ops. Echoing the Italian-inspired décor, Nadia’s one-of-a-kind custom-designed ring is engraved with delicate olive branches.

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Written Word Calligraphy And Design created much of the day-of stationery, including the mirror-hung place cards and pictorial table cards inspired by Victor and Nadia’s travels—the latter now hang as artwork in the couple’s home.

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A pasta dinner by Savoury City Catering was served family-style under a vine-choked arbour, where a polished oak harvest table showcased the beauty of Myrtle Et Olive’s floral centrepieces and the glowing taper candles. The honey-flavoured cake by Cake By Nicole also honoured the Italian theme, with an elegant garnish of olive leaves.

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Nadia and Victor sent each guest home with a personal potted succulent—something that, like their marriage, would continue to grow long after the “I dos” were over.

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The Romance Between—a bespoke paper-goods company based in California—created frame-worthy menus with a watercolour olive leaf design.

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A contractor who’d worked on the couple’s home built the dance floor; it featured vertical wood beams from which café lights were strung.

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Nadia, herself a professional wedding photographer, offers couples this advice: “The planning process can be overwhelming. I think the most important thing is to work with vendors that you trust, who really ‘get’ your vision. If you can, let go and give them the freedom and creative licence to make your dream a reality.”

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