Winter Wonderland, Part 1

Well, winter has finally come to Southern Ontario, so I thought it only fitting to have the last post of 2011 be a look back at a gorgeous 3-day winter wedding weekend we planned last April at the Chateau Lake Louise in the middle of Banff National Park. However, this post isn’t about the wedding itself at all, but about the skating party we threw on the Friday afternoon — a quintessentially Canadian event, if ever there was one…

Every guest received a Wedding Scarf that we asked them to wear throughout the weekend. We thought this was a good idea to a) keep people warm and b) to help them identify themselves to one another in a very large hotel… And it worked! Strangers met strangers and new friendships were formed, just because of the reversible houndstooth/plaid scarves! I was thrilled to see everyone turn up to skate on the frozen lake, proudly sporting their new wedding attire…

When planning for this skating party, one of the things I really struggled with was what kind of music to play, mostly because of the magnitude and majesty of the setting. Whatever we played had to have some kind of presence and drama. So I decided that it could only be opera… however, not snobby, elitist opera, but easily recognizable arias. Not being any kind of expert, I snooped around on iTunes and found “The 66 Most Beautiful Opera Arias.” It couldn’t have been easier — the selection was perfection. Yes, with the click of one button, iTunes made me look like a GENIUS (not to mention a true aficionado).

We set up 4 massive speakers, turned them towards the lake and pressed ‘play’ on the trusty iPod…

Holy Crap.

I tell you, I have seen a lot of cool things over the course of my career, but listening to that big, bold, beautiful music booming out of those speakers while watching the little specks (relative to the size of the mountains, of course) glide around on the ice was one of the most amazing things I’ve ever witnessed. And so simple, really. Dramatic Music + Stunning Setting = Overwhelmingly Profound Experience.

I love this photo, taken by the man who so expertly captured the mood out there, Michael Greenberg of Phototerra Studio. This guest, wearing a vintage Toronto Maple Leafs sweater (and wedding scarf, of course!), lost in the music and the moment…

We served lots of yummy things out there, including hot cocoa, coffee and tea. We stuck custom labels on the cups with the tag line “To Warm Your Tummy.” (FYI, in case you’re wondering, the sticker on the bag with the scarves for each guest read: “To Keep You Warm and Cosy.”)

We had our own little wedding crasher! He was everywhere! Michael even managed to catch him mid-flight, overseeing the guests twirling around the lake below him; take a look at the next shot and the dire warning on the signpost: