This is a love story set in the mountains. It’s where our newest Patchwork couple met, and where they now live and play. Matt and Chesa met in the summer of 2015. Chesa had signed up for a week-long Intro to Mountaineering Camp where Matt was working as a Mountain Guide. It didn’t take long for Chesa to develop a little crush on Matt which she did her best to hide. Lucky for Chesa, Matt felt something too! Long story short…when the camp ended, they had dinner, and have been together ever since! They now live just outside of Banff National Park, in Canmore, Alberta. Matt’s work takes him away for long periods of time, so Chesa says “we really cherish the time we have together. We love to be outside, cook meals together and drink too much coffee!” We chat to Chesa to hear more about their DIY wedding and the amazing honeymoon adventures that followed.
How did you get engaged?
The year before we got engaged, Matt and I moved out of our home, put all of our stuff into storage and travelled India for 5 months. During that time, we only spent one day apart. While in Rishikesh, he said he was not feeling well and wanted to stay at the hotel to rest. He insisted that I go to yoga and lunch without him. Unbeknownst to me, he snuck out and bought 2 gemstones – a diamond and an emerald. When we got home from India, he worked with our friend Kari Woo to design a one of a kind ring. The actual proposal was perfectly simple and sweet. For my birthday, he surprised me with a night at the iconic Emerald Lake Lodge. We were cozied up in front of the fire in our cabin with a bottle of wine when he proposed.
What kind of wedding did you plan?
From the very start we knew we wanted to plan a low-key DIY wedding weekend that would include good food, good wine and lots of quality time with our loved ones. We rented a beautiful house in Fernie, British Columbia and invited all of our favourite people to come celebrate with us! We wanted to get married on the summer solstice, which happened to land on a Friday. Never ones to be afraid to do things a little differently, we planned a small ceremony and dinner on the Friday evening. On the Saturday, we extended an invitation to our wider circle of friends to join for Matt’s “famous” burgers and dancing. The DIY wedding venue was ideal for the type of wedding we wanted because we got to host all of our family and friends, it felt very intimate and we weren’t tied to any particular timeline (which allowed the party to go all night, every night…we were so tired by the end of the weekend!!)
What was your first dance?
Our first dance was very impromptu. We didn’t include a dance on the night of the actual wedding, but had a DJ for the Saturday night party. I didn’t really care about having a first dance but Matt consulted one of my best friends to pick a song. Together, they picked Superstylin’ by Groove Armada. When the DJ played it, he grabbed my hand, pulled me to the centre of the dance floor and proclaimed it our first dance. It was untraditional and I loved it!
What was your favourite part of the day?
It’s too hard to pick just one so here’s my top three! We did a first look and photos before the ceremony. In between the photos and the ceremony, Matt and I snuck off to grab a coffee in town, just the two of us. It was hilarious being in a coffee shop in our wedding attire, and also really sweet to just have a moment together before the emotion of the ceremony. At the ceremony, we did a “ring warming” in which both of our rings were passed around to the guests to be “warmed up” and blessed. We loved including everyone in the ceremony in that way and it makes our rings even more special. Finally, the speeches from our friends and family! They had everyone laughing and crying. Their words came straight from the heart and left us feeling so loved and supported.
Beautiful! And what made Patchwork the best gift registry for you?
We chose Patchwork for several reasons. First being, we liked the option for guests to contribute their time and energy to the DIY wedding weekend rather than purchasing us a gift. We had many friends travel for our wedding and we didn’t want them to feel obligated to give us anything other than their love and support. On the other hand, we knew that many guests wanted to give us something. As individuals, and as a couple we aim to fill our lives with experience. We love to travel and explore and we value time spent together. Also, we live in a very small house and can’t really accumulate more stuff, so we wanted to find a platform that guests could contribute to our future adventures!
Sounds perfect. So, what did you invite your guests to contribute towards?
As the wedding weekend was very DIY, we gave guests the option to help out over the course of the weekend. We also gave the option to contribute to our honeymoon fund and other adventures such as a first anniversary weekend and ski passes.
What was the best bit about using Patchwork?
I loved the look of our Patchwork page and that it was so easy to personalize! I think our guests could really get a feel for the experience they were contributing to, rather than just giving us cash or writing a cheque. Patchwork was very customizable and didn’t feel generic, like many wedding related websites. It represented us, the wedding and the honeymoon we wanted to create, very well!
What did your friends and family think?
It was very well-received! I think that people appreciated that they were not expected or obligated to give anything at all, and that there were options ranging from donating their time, to giving 5 dollars for beach beers to giving more for bigger ticket items. Many of our friends and family made pledges using the “make” and “do” options on our page. They pitched in over the wedding weekend, helping cook breakfast, prep salads, set-up and clean. We couldn’t have done it without out our crew!
How long were you away on your honeymoon(s) for?
We didn’t book anything before the wedding but had talked about doing a 3-week trip to Portugal and Morocco at the end of the summer. We both share a love of exploring beautiful places, spending time outdoors, being active, and enjoying interesting food! When we started planning, Europe was in the middle of an ongoing heat wave. We soon realized it was much too hot to do the hiking trip we were planning the trip around so we started exploring alternatives. In a matter of a couple hours we had flights booked to Iceland. We spent 12 days camping, hiking, soaking in hot springs and taking in the surreal beauty of the country. Iceland is a truly magical place! Just 6 weeks later, we fulfilled our original plans. We hiked a portion of the Fisherman’s Trail on the rugged west coast of Portugal, enjoying wine and fresh seafood along the way. Following the hike, we relaxed for a few days in the Algarve before hopping over the Alboran Sea into Morocco. Five days in Morocco wasn’t long enough and we definitely wished for more time to explore. We both agree that we will have to go back one day!
How did you feel when you set off on your travels?
Grateful. The love and support we felt so strongly at the wedding extended into these trips!
And finally, would you recommend your honeymoon to other couples?
Absolutely! Iceland is a natural wonder and I highly recommend it! We soaked in natural hot springs everyday and saw more stunning waterfalls than we could count. Portugal has something for everyone and is more laid-back and less expensive than a lot of Western Europe. We spent our days on the beaches, and the evenings enjoying fresh seafood and local wine! As for Morocco, we wished we had more time to venture out of the big cities. Our time in Marrakesh and Fes was overwhelming and fascinating. We wandered through markets and admired the unique architecture.
Thank you so much Chesa and Matt for sharing your lovely story and gorgeous DIY wedding and honeymoon photos with us. Congratulations again from all of us at Patchwork!
Here are some of the amazing suppliers who helped make Chesa & Matt’s day even more special:
Venue: Elk View Lodge, Fernie, British Columbia
Photographer: Michel at Ampersand Grey
Dress: Truvelle, Vancouver, British Columbia
Purchased at: Pearl and Dot, Calgary, Alberta
Bridesmaids Dress: Azazie
Day of Wedding Planner: Lush Kootenay, Fernie, British Columbia
Catering: Fork and Farm, Calgary, Alberta
Desserts: Pretty Sweet, Calgary, Alberta
P.s. listen to Chesa and Matt’s first dance song on our Spotify playlist, made up of lots of our Patchwork Couples’ first dances.