Wednesday, December 29, 2010

2011 Bookings

Hope you all had a fabulous Christmas! I know we had a great (but hectic) Christmas and have swimming in a sea of toys and chocolate at our house ever since!

As the end of 2010 approaches I thought I should update the blog.
We are currently taking bookings through the end of 2011. We are already booked about 40% of our schedule so if you want to request some info and check our availability please send me an email at

We've had a few really fun winter weddings so will try to update the blog when we can with some of the details.

Wishing you a happy and safe 2011, filled with some wedded bliss ;)

Sunday, November 14, 2010

DateBank iPhone App Getting Great Buzz

The DateBank app I helped write is getting all kinds of media attention...

From bloggers like Erin at My Urban Suburban ("Because while Bub and I still have fun on dates, we’re often challenged to come up with new, creative date ideas. So this is awesome! And how cool is it that local Langley residents are the bright minds behind this innovative idea?? LOVE it.")...

From college papers like TWU's Mars Hill ("As a girl who has always been a hopeless romantic and has high standards for an extraordinary date, I can confidently tell all of you men out there that every option in the DateBank will sweep your lady off of her feet. This app is a must-have. Rated 5 stars in the app store, the DateBank is a practical and affordable tool to spice up your romantic relationships.")...

From community newspapers like The Tri-City News: ("It's called DateBank and features a year's worth of date ideas for couples looking to get to know each other, rekindle their romance or do something different than dinner and a movie. Ballard, who graduated from Fox in 2005, said the app is easy to use — even for Babyboomers who are just learning to use their iPhones, iPods and iPads. Dates are organized by mood, time of day and price, and are so creative, Ballard said, couples are sure to find something to suit their budget and interests.")...

Even the big mainstream media like The Province ("Ballard said the 150 DateBank date ideas are categorized by style, time and budget. “They’re sort of written in the tone of the hopeless guy, but we’re not that old-school,” he said. “We’ve had feedback from some women who use it to plan fun events with a group of girlfriends.” The date ideas were written up by Jordan Bateman, a wedding chaplain and Langley Township Councillor. “A great date is one where you discover something about one another,” Bateman said. “Being in love is the greatest thing in the world.”).

Download DateBank now in the App Store for 99 cents! You'll be glad you did!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Harmony Farm Retreat

As officiates we get to see a really wide range of venues and we have been at most in the Lower Mainland. But every year there are always new ones that come to our attention.

The venue that I was most struck by this season was Harmony Farm Retreat which was nothing short of stunning!

It is located in Surrey, just off of Hwy 10 (which makes it pretty accessible, no matter where you're from) but it seems like it's tucked hours away in the middle of serene and sprawling farms. It is a private property that has a sloped lawn for the ceremony, gorgeous greens and gardens, a private pond complete with a rowboat and 2 swans (think 'the Notebook'), a swing hanging from the willow tree and an adorable log cabin suite where the bridal party gets ready.

The reception is held under a huge white tent on the property and was set up to look very elegant. Caterers brought food in and the dance floor and lights were all set up when I got there. The couple often stay in the log cabin on the wedding night (has bed, bathroom, tv and kitchenette).

It's also a photographers paradise as the shots pretty much set themselves up with all of the outdoor options.

I realize I am swooning (we are in no way affiliated with these guys, nor are they aware of us, I'm sure), but I was just really impressed by the classic beauty of the property. I enjoyed doing a wedding here for Jeff and Jen this summer and would happily officiate here again. I have heard the owners only book it out occasionally (also rented for movies and other events).

It's true that there is no indoor alternative here- although the reception was completely covered. But if you're looking for an outdoor venue that is unique it would be worth checking out!

Pics above are of of the log cabin and the entrance to Harmony.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Simple Things

It wasn't a big affair this weekend when I married off Kyle and
Cashmere- just them and a dozen or so family and friends. But it was

We did the wedding at Sendall Gardens and the sun was shining so
brightly we all had to squint. The one thing that was apparent is that
these two loved eachother deeply. It was a simple wedding, but a
personal and beautiful moment as these two became husband and wife.

I was so honored to be a part of it. I love my job :)

Whether you're having a big event or a simple ceremony, creating a
beautiful, meaningful exchange and capturing a moment to look back on
is so important. That's what we try to do for the couples we marry.

All the best to Kyle and Cashmere!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

DateBank iPhone App

I'm often asked what I do in "real" life--you know, when I'm not marrying people off. Well, I'm a writer. I was a newspaper reporter for several years, but have spent the past eight years doing freelance writing of all sorts--everything from short articles to ghostwriting books. And now, I can add an iPhone/iPad app to that list.

A few months ago, three local guys (Jason Ballard, Josiah Peters and Darian Kovacs) tracked me down and got me involved in writing DateBank, an iPhone app that helps guys plan fun, creative dates. The lads had brainstormed a number of ideas, and I helped them flesh them out (and popped in a few dates of my own). It was a lot of fun, and a chance for me to use all of he crazy pop culture references that bounce around my head. This weekend, the DateBank app launched in the iTunes app store. It's fun, easy-to-use, and full of great, wholesome date ideas.

It's important for any couple--whether they have been dating for just a few days, or have been married for a hundred years, to stay creative and proactive in making plans together. Hopefully, this little app will help couples keep that spark alive!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Thanksgiving Weddings

Jenny and I had a busy weekend, with four weddings between the two of us.

Thanksgiving is a great day to get married. I've done a few on Thanksgivings now, and they have all been memorable. A few years back, I married a couple in Williams Park (in Langley) on Thanksgiving Saturday. It was a beautiful fall day, sunny and warm, but with that crisp autumn wind we all love. Big orange maple leaves fell behind me as I pronounced them. It was perfect.

Last Thanksgiving, I married off my friends Kareem and Heidi on the beach in Tofino. This was another amazing day, and the best sand ceremony I had ever been a part of. Kareem's father brought golden, shimmering sand from his home country of Egypt, while Heidi's relatives brought dark, rich sand from Holland, where her parents were born. Then they added a scoop of Tofino beach sand--where they had got engaged and married. It was meaningful and richly symbolic. (Happy anniversary, by the way!)

This weekend, I did a wedding at the White Album Chapel in Chilliwack for the first time. It's a great spot--a 125-year-old country church. Courtney (the bride) and the girls were a little bit late, but I think Mike (the groom) felt it was worth it.

Later Saturday, I married off Joe and Leah. They had hoped to do the ceremony outdoors, but the weather at Newlands wasn't great, so we moved inside. It was still a lovely ceremony and the two of them giggled and teared up--all the great emotions of a wedding rushing to the surface at once.

Finally, yesterday, I did a ceremony at Chateau Cargill for Zaher and Sheena. They hit a weather home run--yesterday was beautiful. Sheena looked like a wedding princess in her beautiful dress (with a long train and tiara). It was a good day.

Jenny did a wedding at the Peace Arch, but I'll let her tell you her border story another time.

Anyway, Thanksgiving is a great option for people who want to get married at a different time of year. The weather is usually pretty good, and it's a natural time for friends and family to gather.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Old Fashioned Charm

There are few venues that have as much old fashioned charm as the
chapel at Burnaby Village Museum.

The museum is really built like an old fashioned town, complete with
storefronts, a blacksmith and a ice cream shop. Part of the town is a
tiny chapel that seats about 60. That is where I just did a wedding
for Adam and Leah. In fact, since today was technically 'off season'
they had the whole little town to themselves!

It is charming and it makes for some great photos!!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Joy of a Good Wedding Coordinator

After having been in the business for 5 years now we have worked with our fair share of wedding coordinators. Not everyone needs one, but for people who are getting married and need a helping hand to oversee the details a wedding coordinator can be a great asset. There are also some venues that come with a wedding coordinator as part of the package.

For weddings that DO have a coordinator, I can not say enough about the joy working with a capable, warm, and professional wedding coordinator.

We have had a chance to work with a real range of coordinators and really see the effect their style and personality have on the wedding. I did a wedding this summer where the coordinator was bossy, abrasive and really domineering. She was upsetting the other vendors working on the wedding, alienating the family and even scaring the groom a bit! I appreciate someone who is all over the details, but when you let the details dominate over the flow and celebration of one of the most amazing days of your life, it kind of overshadows everyone's enjoyment of the day. She had to control everyone and there was no room for error!

On the other hand, coordinators that have wedding parties assembled and decorating/ music/ arrival questions taken care of really seems to give the bride and groom peace of mind and makes our job that much better!

One of the best coordinators Jordan and I have ever worked with is Jill at Redwoods Golf Course in Langley. (I promise they didn't pay us to say that!) Redwoods is one of our favorite venues to begin with, but working with Jill is what makes it great! She is so well organized and the ceremony and reception always look flawless. I have seen her calm jittery brides, comfort weepy parents and help organize disorganized groomsmen. But this summer she impressed me most when there was a HUGE rainstorm at 1pm on a day when the wedding was supposed to start at 3pm. Anyone else would have set up 'back-up venue' under the tents and just moved on, but she let bride and groom make the final call. They wanted to use the outdoor venue and by 2pm the rain had stopped and she had her team out on the outdoor deck brushing away the rain and setting up chairs. The whole thing was set-up and decorated without a problem by 2:30pm! The wedding went off at 3pm without a hitch. And no one ever sensed there was a concern. She seems to love what she does and couples who book with her seem to love her back. She really deserves a kudos for being talented, hardworking and really sweet!

We have worked with many other great coordinators too (Jill just happens to be someone we've had ongoing relationship with as we've done a number of Redwoods weddings). It's fun and really neat to work with other vendors who are as passionate as we are about making a wedding something that is so truly special.

My advice: choose vendors (especially a coordinator) that make you comfortable, that understand your vision and that truly want to make the day enjoyable and unique to you! Working with professionals who love what they do and make your wedding experience a great one is what is going to allow you to enjoy your day to the fullest!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

A Real Pleasure

All of our weddings are a lot of fun, but every once in awhile we have
the pleasure (and honor) of doing a wedding for someone we know.

This weekend I married my cousin Erin and her sweet new husband
Matthew at UVic. Their wedding was sweet and so personal. As a cool
touch they wrote love letters to eachother and locked them in a box
with a bottle of wine to be opened in their first anniversary.

Here's a pic of us together at the reception. Cheers to Matt and Erin.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Mid Week Wedding

Scott and Crystal live in AB and came to beautiful BC for their
wedding. The cool thing is they decided on a Wednesday wedding, which
meant I was able to fit them in our already full summer schedule!

The wedding is at the beautiful (and relatively new) Eagle Tree Lodge
in Agassiz, a great peaceful spot ideal for an intimate outdoor wedding.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Good Day, Sunshine

So grateful this morning when I looked out my window to see the
gorgeous sunshine!
Here is the view at Redwoods where Colton and Jocelyn say 'I Do!' in

It's a Jungle Out There!

Once in awhile we get invited to do an unusual wedding, which is
always fun. Today's location was the falconry at the GV Zoo!
I just married Tim and Christine admist the lions and tigers and
bears....oh my!

I will have some better pics later on as these were just taken w
iPhone camera (why don't they zoom?) but you get the idea.

The best part....their rings were FLOWN in by a HAWK! Crazy!

It was a ton of fun and the couple had such a great sense of humor
there wedding was a real treat!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Long Distance Can Work

This weekend, I did two weddings, and both of the couples were long distance success stories. On Saturday, I married off Rob and Emily at Brock House in Point Grey. It's a beautiful spot, overlooking the ocean, the mountains and the beach. Rob and Emily had met in the summer of 2006 while working at UBC. They were falling in love, but that fall, Emily went back to school at the University of Victoria, on Canada's left coast, and Rob went back to Dalhousie, on Canada's east coast. Geographically, you could not have put these two further apart in Canada.

On Sunday at Redwoods Golf Course in Langley (one of my very favorite spots for a wedding), I married off Joel and Jen. They met in Calgary in 2008, and Joel lived there for many months before finally joining Jen here in Vancouver. (Joel is a pilot for Westjet, so there was uch flying back and forth seeing one another.)

You always hear how long-distance relationships are tough and don't work out. But these two couples bucked the trend, overcoming distance and time zones by emailing, texting, phoning, Skype, cheap flights, and good, old-fashioned hard work. They built trust and communication skills which will help them in their marriage.

So to Rob and Emily, and to Joel and Jen: congratulations! Thanks for having me at your weddings... I had a great time and wish you all the best!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Hire a Great Photographer

Jenny and I got married waaaaaaaaay back in 2000, before the digital camera revolution and before the development of the incredibly talented photographer community we see now in the Lower Mainland. I look at some of their websites and I'm amazed at the work they are doing. Beautiful stuff!

Our wedding photos are good, and we always advise couples to spend the money and hire a great photographer. Those photos will hang around your house forever--so find someone whose style and artistic eye you appreciate.

Don't rely on amateurs... as this potty-mouthed bridal photo from demonstrates:

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Built for Love

This weekend I had the pleasure of doing a wedding at lovely Milner Chapel. Milner is a small, non-denominational chapel here in Langley that hosts a number of weddings each year. Jordan and I have done quite a few here and it's always a great spot.

Nice things about the venue:
-It's gorgeous on the outside, as are the gardens that surround it and it makes for GREAT photos
- Inside is classic chapel with wooden pews and a small stage, it's air conditioned in the summer and heated in the winter. (MAJOR bonus- nothing worse than a stuffy chapel!)
- It's looks great with no decorating OR amazing with some flowers and little flameless candles.
- Sound is great. Speakers are in if you want to run music, but it also has a piano (wedding this weekend had a piano and violin and sounded beautiful!)
- It's a year round venue. These can be hard to come by and fall/ winter/ spring weddings are really underrated. They can be so lovely!
- When the bride leaves they ring the bell in the bell tower. This is my personal fav!

Our church, Springbrook, holds our annual Christmas eve morning service and we love it. It looks STUNNING with snow and Christmas lights!

A little (TRUE) story we always tell as part of our Milner weddings:
In the early 1880s, a Milner farmer named Henry Davis wanted to marry a girl from back east named Elizabeth. Well, Elizabeth’s dad gave his approval, subject to one small requirement—Milner had to have a church of its own. After all, he couldn’t send his daughter to some barbarian town that didn’t even have a church! So Henry got on his horse, rode around the Fraser Valley to all of the new landowners and residents, and raised money to build a church. Singlehandedly, he raised $919.50 and a few years later, in 1886, Milner Methodist Church, led by Rev. RJ Wood, opened its doors. The church was built so those two could get married and it’s been a local landmark ever since. Henry married Elizabeth, and their great-grandchildren still live in Milner. This Chapel was built for love—a perfect place for these two.

If you're looking for a wedding venue in Langley it's worth checking out!

Whatever Floats Your Boat

We love weddings, and we've done all sorts: themes, costumed, elegant, casual. We've done them in parks and on beaches and in churches and in pubs and pretty much anywhere else people can gather.

But we have never done a Titanic wedding. CBC has a story of a couple, Maryann Morin and Jamie Kovacs, who met five years ago on a cruise to the Titanic site, about 600 kilometres south of Newfoundland.

Jamie and Maryann now work together on a research ship mapping the Titanic wreckage. It seems Jamie has been carrying a ring around for about a year, waiting to propose.

Now the research mission has been unexpectedly cut short, as a hurricane bears down on the area. So Jamie popped the question, and as their boat sped back to the safety of harbour in Halifax, the young couple were married at sea. The bride reports: "Coming in, the fog broke, actually just when we were getting married... The fog broke, the sun hit land, and it was just... it was beautiful. It's just a magical place."

Moral of this story: if you love each other, if you want to get married, don't let the hurricane and storms of life keep you apart. There may never be a more perfect time than right now. If you know in your heart that it's right, pop the question!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Milner Chapel

Today I had the chance to marry off Dan and Danielle at lovely Milner
Chapel! Milner Chapel is such a great year round venue- cozy and
charming, classic and great in photos! It has a great story (which I
will save for another post).

Patricia and Wayne

I'm about to marry off Patricia and Wayne in their lovely backyard in Coquitlam...

It's the neighbourhood I lived in until age 12. It's fun to come back to my old stomping grounds.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

What A Great Crowd Adds To A Wedding

I've done a lot of great weddings over the past five years, but I don't know if I've ever had a better crowd than Joe and Cherie's, Sunday afternoon, at the Langley Golf Centre.

Those people were so excited for their couple that they actually applauded the groom when he walked his parents in. Then they applauded the bride as she was walked in by her mom and dad. It wasn't rowdy or crazy, but it was a genuine outpouring of their affection for Joe and Cherie. I loved that.

A great crowd is an underestimated part of the wedding experience.

Happy wedding watchers tell me, as a chaplain, several things: that they feel invested in the couple's life, that they love them, and that they genuinely want them to be happy together. They want to have fun on the wedding day, because they are so full of joy for their couple.

Joe and Cherie's friends and family were excited for them. They spontaneously showed that excitement with their applause, grins, cheers, and, yes, even tears.

I remember when Jenny and I came back down the aisle, lo those many years ago, and our friends and family high-fived us the whole way out. It was awesome, and fun, and we felt very loved. Our photos show people with big, silly smiles on their face: they were genuinely happy for us.

So some free advice to couples: if the people you're inviting aren't going to be that way, why put them on the guest list? Invite the people who will be thrilled to celebrate with you--it will add more to your day than you expect.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Still in Love with Love

Welcome to our blog! Jordan and I started this blog as an addition to our website so we could have a chance to talk a little bit more about what we do, share some of what we love and pass on a few of the great ideas that we get to see.

First, a bit about us-
We got married on June 3rd, 2000 and have an amazing family. We were married young, and our marriage has been amazing! We're passionate about what we do because we love being married ourselves and believe in the idea of two best friends who are deeply in love sharing their lives and having a blast doing it!

We have a great life, our three kids, Indiana 7, Danica 3.5 and Jackson 5 mos keep us busy, crazy and so happy! We both have 'regular' jobs but do weddings as a side business because we really love it.

Jordan and I are both experienced and licensed wedding officiates who have been in the wedding business since 2005. We do weddings in our extra time and we really love it. We believe we have a young, fresh and easygoing approach to weddings and really enjoy meeting and getting to know the couples that we work with. In fact, the novelty of standing up at the front with a bride and groom in front of their family and friends is not lost on us. We still love marriage, we love love and we love sharing in the wedding day. There are still times when we will get a little misty as the groom sees the bride start down the aisle or when the couple gets choked up during their vows. We really consider it an honour to be invited to share in that moment.

In our 5 years we have been a part of some fantastic weddings. We have great stories from our experiences and look forward to sharing some of them here.

Looking forward to having the blog to share a bit more. Feel free to share your ideas or questions and maybe I can include them in a future post! If either Jordan or I have been the officiate for your wedding, would love for you to send me a pic so I can start including those too!

We are booking 2011 now, so if you want some info or to check our availability send me an email and I will get back to you. THANKS!