Raquel and Brian – Cordova Bay Beach Wedding

Cordova Bay Beach (Victoria, BC) wedding, with a reception at the Beach House Restaurant

Raquel and Brian are a couple with an amazing love story.  Brian, a Canadian, met Raquel, from Spain, while studying in Denmark.  They instantly connected and spent time travelling together after studies.  Their love brought them together in Canada, and they came to Victoria to get married.  Wow!  So guests at this wedding were from Victoria, Ottawa, and Spain, as well as elsewhere.  I love their story and when I met them, I loved them as people even more.  I was thrilled they chose me to capture their beautiful romantic story.  The wedding day was a lovely day on the beach… I could not have asked for better light!  Then we went off to the woods for some photos, and came back to the Beach House for their lovely reception.

We started with getting ready.

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And I’m sorry but I just have to say, Raquel you are breathtakingly beautiful! bridal portrait fun unique vancouver island wedding photographer

Then on to Cordova Bay Beach for the wedding ceremony.  In a cool twist the officiant was a teacher at the school Brian went to as a child here in Victoria. bride walking fown the aisle groom \It was such a beautiful day!  And the couple was absolutely beaming with love. cordova bay beach wedding photographer vancouver island A big part of the day was the ringbearer, MONTY! He was breaking hearts with his cute furry face!
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Monty had to get in on some photos too! wedding photos with puppy dog victoria bc wedding phootgrapher

They got some smiles from the rowers… and maybe even checked out? elk lake rowers wedding photographers victoria bc

Then we went to the Beach House for the reception.  Here is a look at their first dance. first dance at beach house retaurant wedding photographer victoria bc

Raquel was a big backstreet boys fan growing up.  When those songs came on, the dancing and singing was insanely awesome! beach house restaurant wedding victoria bc cordova bay

One of the most amazing parts of the evening was when Brian serenaded Raquel.  He sang the song “Heaven” by Bryan Adams.  In case you need to refresh your memory: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3eT464L1YRA

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Let’s hear from the bride and groom:


Tell me how you first met? Who what when where why? Give me the details.

In 2007 Brian and I ended up randomly living in Denmark as a part of an exchange program. I arrived right at the beginning on January 2007, and he had been there for 6 months already. To this date we can’t agree on when we met. Let me explain: I went to a party to a big residence at the end of January. Most people there knew each other, but my two friends and I didn’t know anybody. I ended up spending a long time chatting in the hallway with a guy from Montreal. During that conversation, several people would stop and say hi, but to me they were all strangers. Brian was one of them. He apparently had eyed me already chatting with his friend, and he came over to say hi. I don’t remember that! That’s how Brian met me!

Two days later I went to see my program coordinator. When I arrived to the sitting area outside her office, there is this guy sitting there waiting looking at me with a huge smile on this face. I had no idea why. We started chatting and he said we had met at the party the weekend before, and although I said I had no recollection of that, we started chatting for a while.

For the next few weeks we would continue to bump into each other at random get-togethers, but never got a chance to know each other well enough. I had just broken up a very long relationship, and wasn’t at all looking for anything, so I never thought about him in any other way. One day in March, he put together this plot where he left his bike at my place and bused downtown with some friends instead, so he could come back home with me to get his bike. When we came back, I invited him inside, and that was the first time we actually had a chance to get to know each other. We started talking about all our trips. I showed him my pictures, he told me his stories…  And all of a sudden we connected. He stayed there until 3 in the morning, even though I had an 8am class the next morning. On his way out he thought about kissing me, but nothing happened, and I am glad of that, because I think it would have been too soon for me.

Soon after that we had a ‘date’. It wasn’t officially that, but we went to the movies, then went for tea, and had a great time. At the end of the night we went to pick up my brother, who was coming from the airport to visit me. After Brian left, my brother said to me: ‘I really like my brother-in-law!’. Apparently there was something in the way we looked at each other that gave it away before we even knew.


When did you know he/she was the one? Was there something he/she did?, etc.

Raquel: Two days after meeting my brother, we went to a birthday party and at some point in the night Brian ended up sitting by himself. I think it was actually planned so I would go to sit down with him, as it was mostly my friends on that party. I remember looking at him from the distance talking to a friend of mine in a conversation that went like this:

Me: I think he is waiting there for me to come and talk to him

Friend: Well, do you want to go?

Me: I don’t know, I wasn’t planning this…

Friend: Tell me about him

Me: Well, he loves to travel, he has been in so many places. He plays guitar and sings, he does scuba diving, photography…. Honestly, he is the perfect guy!

Friend: Look Raquel, I always end up liking guys who end up hurting me and are just simply not good people. He sounds amazing. Honestly, if you don’t go there right now, I WILL!

So it wasn’t until I started putting together all the things I liked about him that I realised something I already knew! So it suddenly clicked in that he was the one!

So I went there, sat down beside him, and as we were in an exchange program where every 10 min you are introducing yourself to somebody new, I pretended to be a new person. I introduced myself as if it was the first time, and said I was Raquel from Belgium. He said he was from Spain, and a while after joking about it, I said: well, if you are indeed from Spain, tell me something in Spanish (knowing his lack of any Spanish). All of a sudden he says to me in perfect Spanish: Quisiera besarte (I would like to kiss you). My jaw dropped. That was out first kiss 🙂

 Brian: I had noticed her long before she noticed me, and I saw the way she held herself and how she spoke to people with such keen interest and kindness, and I knew that I had to meet her. We spent a long evening looking at all her travel pictures and talking about adventures that we’d had, and that’s when I knew I wanted to have her as my life-long travel companion, even before I had worked up the courage to ask her out!


Tell me about the proposal.

We had been going out for about 5 years, and although we had talked about marriage, we always thought it would be impossible to plan, as we had been moving countries pretty much every year of our relationship.

It wasn’t until the summer of 2010 when we went on a cruise to Alaska with Brian’s family. We went to a karaoke night, and Brian, liking singing so much, decided he was going to give it a shot. He looked at the book to find a song for a while, and all of a sudden he closed the book and said: I’ve got it! We asked what it was, but he wouldn’t give it away. There was something in his behaviour that was odd, like all of a sudden he was really quiet.

When he finally went up to the stage, the music started and I was so surprised to realise it was our song! (Chasing cars by Snow Patrol). It is not a common karaoke song at all, and there he is, singing it for me! My first thought was: I should record this! I realised how deeply he was looking to me while he was singing, and he was actually so nervous, his voice was shaky, which is not normal. So anyway, I decided not to make him even more nervous by recording it, so I just enjoyed it. When he finished, he called me up on to the stage, and proposed in Spanish! I was shocked, because I knew it wasn’t planned. Everybody was clapping and cheering, his family was there… It was amazing!

He had no idea he was going to do it until he saw the song in the list!


Tell me the one thing you love most about each other.

Brian:  Her ability to amaze me, with how much love she has to give, and how enthusiastic she is to enjoy life to its fullest.

Raquel: You know what they say about Golden Retrievers, how they are most gentle, honest and loving dogs, and how they just love life? That’s Brian, a golden retriever. I love the way he makes everybody feel around him, and I love who I am when I am with him.


Share with me something silly or quirky the other person does.

Brian: when I tease her, and she pretends to be upset, so she puts her hands on her hips and taps her foot, and puts on her “that’s not funny” face, then promptly cracks a silly smile because she finds it too funny.

Raquel: He is world known for being a pain in the butt perfectionist for the most useless stuff! Like the way he spends 5min buttering toast because the spreading must be perfectly even. I particularly like how he will divide food in even portions so that he can perfectly combine a bite of one with a bite of the other. I love taking one of them when he is about to finish and messing with his count! He gets this expression on his face, with his eyes popping out and his mouth wide open in shock!


Besides getting married –‐ what was your favourite thing about your wedding day?

Coming from two different cultures and from countries from so far away, we have always found so difficult to enjoy special moments with both of our families. We have always had to spend Christmas either away from everybody, or choosing one family. Same with birthdays, etc. So this day had to be the time to bring as many people together as possible. That was truly the best, having so many people we love there to share that moment. Of course there were so many people missing, especially from my side, but it was incredibly memorable to have so many friends and relatives there at the same time.


What inspired your décor or theme?

We never planned a theme, really. We were living in Ottawa for the entire time that we were engaged, and made it to Victoria only once for Christmas. In the few days we were focused on what was a priority: photographer and venue. The rest it was just a combination of simplicity, rustic, and personal and hand made stuff. We pretty much decided on a couple of things we liked without worrying about if they would match this, or go with that. I like colourful daisies, so we had daisies. I made my own bouquette. Brian’s aunt lent us the mason jars as flower pots. Brian’s sister painted the announcements. Some other relatives volunteered to decorate the beach where we were getting married and they did an amazing job. Brian’s mom got the cake. Besides being in Ottawa, I also had to plan and take care of a whole group of Spaniards that were coming to see me, so there was no point on worrying about little details.


 What’s one thing you wish you would have known earlier in regards to planning?

How much little details don’t matter. When we started planning, we talked with a bunch of people about how much money you need to spend on this, how much time to spend on invitations, favours, even the colour of the napkins! I even remember spending a week trying to find an ivory shirt for Brian because I was told repeatedly that a white one would not match my dress! How silly!

Also, if we had listened to the average amount of money people spend on weddings, there is no way we would have ever been able to plan a wedding. Even planning things a year in advance seemed silly. So instead we just went with the flow, not worrying about it.

When we actually started planning things, venues were taken for the Saturday – so we moved it to a Friday wedding. Invitations were sent by email,  favours were substituted by donations in our guests’ name to the SPCA and Mustard Seed, and napkins, well, napkins were plane and white! (And so was Brian’s shirt!).


What I would recommend to the next couple getting married is setting up priorities before you even get started, and don’t let the whole wedding brain get you. For most people (it certainly was for us), this is the most especial day of your life, and it will fly by soooo quickly. So there is honestly no point on worrying about dashes, cake toppers and limo rentals. Enjoy the people, the food; enjoy your new husband or wife. Have fun!


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