Weddingapalooza Tour Highlights: Canada & The Pacific Northwest

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Welcome to the second post in a series sharing some highlights from our wedding party tour! It features a water park, a shooting range, climbing a mountain, a beach at sunset, and even a party in a former elementary school!


As detailed here, we are an international couple, and so decided to take our wedding on the road and tour like a rock band, bringing our celebrations to as many of our friends and family as possible. We dubbed this our “Weddinagapalooza” and even had t-shirts made with the tour stops on the back (yes, we like to run with a theme…). Here are just 5 highlights from our Canada and Pacific Northwest leg of the tour:


1. West Edmonton Mall

Our Canadian leg of the tour started in Edmonton, Alberta, at the mall that has it all: a giant water park, a full-size pirate ship in a lake, live sea lions, an ice hockey rink in the middle of the shops, and even a shooting range!


Ice hockey in the mall!!


Some of the slides were very serious: like rollercoasters, but with the added risk of drowning…

We spent the afternoon at the waterpark in a private cabana booked for us by family as a very kind gift. The date coincided very nicely with Avery’s birthday, so this was a great opportunity to reconnect with our inner children. This manifested as bombing down slides on rubber rings, and facing-off with the waves in the wave pool, screaming at the top of our lungs as we went! 


Some of the slides were very serious: like rollercoasters, but with the added risk of drowning. On a few of them, you had to enter a plastic chamber (suspiciously reminiscent of a dystopian sci-fi cryo-chamber trope), which they literally locked you into before a countdown began and the floor just disappeared from underneath your feet. Terrifying! I left Avery to tackle these behemoths while I bobbed along happily on the “Caribbean Cruiser”, designed for toddlers and the elderly.


The water park of dreams!


After the water park, we met up with some more friends and had a quick visit to the shooting range. I’ve never shot a gun before and, frankly, I hope I won’t again. The team and set-up were very professional, but I found it scary in terms of how powerful the guns are and I couldn’t shake the thought of them being used in violence between people *shudder*. It was certainly a memorable experience, though, and I’m glad we did it- wearing our wedding tour jackets, of course!


Very much NOT at home on the range!


We swung by the hockey rink to have a quick look at a practice game (an obligatory commitment in Canada) and then headed to a restaurant for dinner with a big group of family and friends from all over the Province. People travelled for many hours to meet us for dinner and we were so grateful for their efforts! It was lovely to meet so many loved ones and connect over awesome burgers made from legendary Alberta beef. We de-camped to a nearby dive bar for some drinks and enjoyed a live singer playing classic rock tunes. She even took our request and played our first dance song, Tennessee Whiskey, so we had a little recreation dance in the bar before calling it a night in Edmonton.


Last standing in Edmonton!


2. Vancouver beach party

This has to be on anyone’s top-10 list of fantasy party locations! Courtesy of Avery’s Mum, we were treated to a wonderful sunset party in Stanley Park, right by the beautiful Second Beach.


Epic confetti toss in Vancouver


The party was held in a permanent marquis construction managed by the park service, complete with several large picnic tables, a covered roof, nearby parking and toilets- what a fantastic facility to have! We were lucky with fabulous warm, sunny weather and enjoyed a mild sea breeze and spectacular views out over the bay to the mountains beyond.


Vancouver ROCKS!


The set-up was incredible: Vera had organised gorgeous pizza, loads of drinks, fabulous decorations (including framed photos from our wedding ceremony), a photo station with accessories, games for all ages, and most of all, an epic invite list of Avery’s school/university friends, neighbours, family friends, and many more. This all made for the most wonderful party! At sunset, we pilled down onto the beach to enjoy the view and take some iconic photos.


3. The Grouse Grind


Climbing a mountain as part of our tour was definitely on my must-do list… Perhaps not so much on my husband’s, or anyone else’s though!


It’s GRIND time!


Grouse Mountain is a ski/activity mountain just outside of Vancouver. The aptly named, “Grouse Grind” is a particularly challenging, almost vertical 800m fitness challenge trail up the side of the mountain. Locals take this seriously, with many capable of running up the trail’s 2,830 steps in under one hour, and the trail record is an astonishing 23 minutes! Having done this once before, my only target was to beat my previous time, of which I was relatively confident as I’d been distracted by taking photos of a cute squirrel (not this time, buddy!). Happily, I bettered my time by 20 minutes, completing it in a respectable, 1hr 12 minutes.


Survivors reach the summit!


Once we recovered from the sweat-fest of a hike, we met up with other, more sensible, party people who had opted to take the scenic gondola to the summit. We got in some recovery beers and settled down to watch the world-famous lumberjack show. The talent on display was incredible, in many ways, and I even got to live out my hen party dreams after the show 😉


Incredible talent on display at the lumberjack show…


Next, we took the chairlift up to the very top to take in the views and spy the black bears in their enclosure from above. We finished off our evening with a drink in the restaurant overlooking the beautiful city and waterfront of Vancouver. Magic!


4. Seattle BBQ

Throughout the tour, I’ve been so humbled by the generosity of friends and family, and the fabulous BBQ hosted and catered for us in Seattle was a shining example. On a gorgeous June afternoon, friends from many different groups gathered in a lovely garden to enjoy some juicy BBQ and great company.


BBQ crew in Seattle!


Again this was another event with an eclectic invite list, and one of the highlights was seeing everyone mingle! I met so many of Avery’s awesome friends, even some of their precious pets, and I loved being in such a fun and caring atmosphere. We got to enjoy a super impressive opera recital by one of the guests (what a special gift!) and closed the evening by toasting marshmallows on a campfire. 


5. Back to school in Portland


We concluded our tour of the Pacific Northwest with a visit to the suitably quirky city of Portland. I’ve never been before and, from only a short blitz around central downtown, I know that it’s a bit of me! I found a hat I had wanted for ages and bought a very cool purple, chartreuse, and black unisex shirt from an equally cool boutique. We also picked up a coffee (an obligatory activity in this region) and took a short tour of some residential areas to appreciate the iconic witchy-style wooden houses.


Back to school party!


For our official wedding event, we chose a branch of the chain of eccentric pubs, McMenamins, called The Kennedy School- literally a converted elementary school building from 1915. This was such a fun venue with several bars hidden away in different rooms across the site, a cinema, and even a large hot tub. We ate al fresco at one of the lovely restaurants with our party and then explored the site together, visiting the bars, playing shuffleboard, and enjoying some time in the pool.


My school didn’t have a hot tub, but I’m glad this one does!


We stayed in one of the on-site hotel rooms in the converted English faculty building.  We went for a midnight reconnoitre after it was closed to visitors, which was actually kind of spooky and thrilling! We got told off for running around with no shoes on (a very flashback-to-school experience) and finished the night with a final cocktail.


This part of our tour was so rock ‘n’ roll that I didn’t even have space to cover our gorgeous lunch on a private rooftop terrace in North Vancouver, a brunch and exploration of downtown Victoria, AND travelling by jet helicopter and hydrofoil between cities (photo below for extra hardcore points!).


Helijet: the most rock ‘n’ roll way to travel 🤘


In our next and penultimate instalment, we journey to California, Nevada and Arizona for more Weddingapalooza adventures…


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