Wedding Venues in Victoria BC
I had a great visit and tour of the Gardens At HCP with Megan Stacey the other day and learned a lot about this wonderful location.
In addition to their event space, the Gardens At HCP has nine acres of demonstration gardens that are a valuable resource for the local community and a tourism destination for the rest of the world. They offer community workshops, children’s programs, professional training through the Pacific Horticulture College, and maintain an additional 90 acres of a habitat conservation park.
It’s also a popular wedding venue in Victoria, BC that hosts an average of 35 weddings a year.
In speaking with Megan, I learned the following:
How long have you been in charge of events at the Gardens?
“I have been the Event Manager at the Gardens At HCP since January 2017 and I’m into my third wedding season here. Before moving to the west coast, I was the Catering Sales Manager/Assistant F&B Manager at GreyHawk Golf Club (just outside Ottawa) for four years.”
What’s the difference between the Gardens At HCP and other venues?
“What makes us different than other venues? Because the Horticulture Centre of the Pacific is a not-for-profit society and a
registered charity. The Gardens At HCP offers clients the opportunity to support an eco-friendly venue and put a little bit of their budget toward a good cause.”
What do you enjoy most about events at the Gardens?
“Because we offer our clients so much flexibility, my favourite part of the events we host is that no event is the same. There’s so much room for creativity and it’s a lot of fun to see all the ways our clients and their other vendors dress up the space.”
What is the most interesting/ fun thing you have seen or experienced at the Gardens?
“The most fun thing I’ve experienced here was a potluck pizza party wedding! Close family members were invited to bring a salad, side dish, or dessert, and the couple ordered in 40 pizzas from a local pizzeria. It was the perfect meal for a casual summer evening and the unfussy atmosphere allowed guests to stay at their tables or take their plate out onto the patio and soak up the sunshine.
Another standout idea was a recent wedding that skipped the wedding cake and surprised their guests with an ice cream truck!”
What are some of the most favourite creative new trends or tried-and-true styles you’ve seen at the venue?
“My favourite tried-and-true style is to keep things simple and elegant with crisp white linens, lots of greenery, and other
natural/organic elements. The Pavilion has white walls and exposed red cedar beams, so leaning into those Pacific Northwest and/or garden party vibes is a surefire win in my eyes.
My favourite creative new trend is including Southwestern elements like warm terracotta, bright pinks and oranges, cacti and other succulents — though I’d warn everyone not to appropriate indigenous fabrics or prints if you can’t recognize the significance. When in doubt, focus on the natural landscape and colours over actual cultural elements. This advice holds true for many themes!”
What are some of the most common ways that wedding clients use your spaces?
“The most common way clients use our spaces is to hold the ceremony on the Gathering Place, cocktail hour on the patio, and then
dinner and dancing inside the Pavilion, allowing the patio to transition into a quieter lounge for folks who want to get some fresh air and have a conversation.”
What is the most important consideration couples should make when choosing a venue?
“When choosing a venue, clients should determine their guest list first and then narrow down the venue hunt based on what’s going
to be a comfortable fit. It’s super tempting to shop for venues first and assume you’ll just make it work (there are SO many gorgeous venues on Vancouver Island!), but that can lead to a lot of heartaches over the invitation list and then again when it’s time to do the seating plan. It’s a much smoother experience when a couple knows how many people they’re inviting and can eliminate venues that don’t meet their needs.
What’s the question that clients usually don’t ask you but you wish they would?
“One question clients don’t usually ask is what I recommend for
decorations. I’ve actually gone ahead and made a list of suggestions in our contract packages now because I’ve seen what works and what doesn’t. I’ve been in the wedding industry since 2012 and I’m constantly daydreaming about different themes and ideas — I would love for some clients to bring them to life!”
For more information on booking your event at the Gardens At HCP, call Megan at 250-479-6162