Travel has always been part of Joanna Li and Paul Chan's relationship. They met through mutual friends in 2008 — "We actually met a number of times before and didn't even realize it," says Joanna — and officially started dating that March. When Joanna moved from British Columbia to London, their relationship only grew stronger, and when Paul visited, they pair enjoyed weekend getaways, visiting everywhere from Tuscany to Croatia. In 2013, while in Croatia on one of these trips, Paul surprised Joanna with a proposal while sightseeing in Split.
When it came time for their August 23, 2014 wedding, Joanna, who was still living abroad, was already a pro at communicating across the Atlantic and planned the wedding primarily through emails and FaceTime calls. The couple chose La Stella Winery in Osoyoos, British Columbia as their venue and invited 80 guests to their Tuscan-inspired event. "We loved the venue's Mediterranean style and the views of the lake and mountains," says Joanna. "It was exactly what we envisioned for our wedding." Keep reading to see all of Dallas Kolotylo Photography's stunning photos of their day.
Joanna worked with a circle of creative friends to DIY their wedding invitation suite, which consisted of hand-sewn vintage handkerchiefs and a folded map.
Since Joanna had to shop for her dress without her mom or bridesmaids, the bride-to-be enlisted the help of several friends in London to help sound off on a style. Luckily, they found her dream gown, a Annasul Y. strapless number, without any trouble. "I knew I wanted lots and lots of lace," she says. "I could just picture myself walking down the aisle at the vineyard in that dress!"
The bride accessorized her strapless gown with Elsa Corsi tear drop earrings, a J. Crew statement necklace, an embellished hair pin from BHLDN, and blush Jimmy Choo heels. For the ceremony, she added a lace-lined Cathedral veil by Promise Couture.
The well-dressed groom topped off his gray three-piece suit with a burgundy bowtie and a rustic rose boutonniere. The bride carried a full bouquet of garden roses, spray roses, dahlias, and greenery tied together with pink silk ribbon.
Paul's groomsmen matched him in gray suits, while the bridesmaids stunned in silver beaded dresses that Joanna found on sale at Topshop.
Joanna walked down the aisle arm-in-arm with her mother and father to meet Paul at the altar. "I'm not great in the spotlight but I felt so beautiful knowing that Paul was at the other end waiting on me," she says. "It was almost surreal!" With 180-degree views of the vineyard, the couple exchanged vows they'd written themselves before exiting to The Verve's hit song "Bittersweet Symphony."
Next, the party moved to a clear-top tent that was decorated with greenery-wrapped chandeliers and garlands. "We arranged the farm tables in a U-shape so our guests could mingle easily," says the bride. "Our favorite memory of Italy was eating al fresco with family and friends so we wanted to recreate that fun, relaxed environment."
After a family-style dinner of caprese salad, polenta, and wild salmon, the newlyweds cut into their three-tiered fondant-covered cake, which was filled with three flavors: red velvet, vanilla, and chocolate.
Looking back on the wedding day, Joanna has this advice for brides-to-be: "It's rare to have all the people you love from around the world there just for you," she says. "Remember to take it all in!"
Ceremony & Reception Venue: La Stella Winery || Wedding Coordinator: Lele Chan || Officiant: Ted Allen || Bride's Wedding Dress: Annasul Y || Veil: Promise Bridal || Jewelry: J.Crew; BHLDN; Elsa Corsi || Shoes: Jimmy Choo || Hair: Jade Kugelman || Makeup: L'nielle Joy Makeup & Style || Bridesmaids' Dresses: Topshop || Engagement Ring & Wedding Bands: Kim Phuoc Jewelry || Florist: A New Leaf Floral Design || Stationary Graphic Design: Elinor Riley || Handkerchiefs: Melinda Lee; Spoonflower || Music: Air Waves Music || Catering: Joy Road Catering || Cake: Whisk Cake Company || Rentals: Westminster Party Rentals || Videographer: Tomasz Wagner Photo & Video || Photographer: Dallas Kolotylo Photography
Did you love this Tuscan-inspired wedding? Then check out another couple's Italian celebration in the video below.