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Photo courtesy Brad Denoon

Bring your wedding to life with local PEC flair

The greatest decision an engaged couple has to make, aside from the decision to get married in the first place, is what their wedding will look like. Where will it take place? What sort of favours will await guests on their tables? What about a theme, colours, location, and, of course, the food?

There are few locations that offer one-stop shopping in terms of a wedding, but Prince Edward County, in our very own backyard, is the place for nuptial bliss thanks to a variety of service providers, venues, artists, and shops to help brides and grooms bring the on-trend local spin to their wedding day. Thankfully, the wedding market has taken off in Prince Edward County – or the County, as it’s known to locals – a place renowned for geographical beauty, great food, and a laidback atmosphere, making it a new hotspot location for couples seeking intimate occasions to remember.

Why Wed in the County?

While those familiar with PEC know all too well the beauty and benefits that makes it a great place to live, city dwellers are also making the trek to the County to bring their wedding dreams to life. Prince Edward County has become the new “It” destination, listed on many travel sites as one of the most picturesque places to travel, much less to get married, but there is also an element of community and togetherness that brings the area to life. “There’s a connection not just between people, but between food and the land, the wine and the land, the art and the land,” said Karen Palmer, Destination Development and Marketing Coordinator with Prince Edward County. “I think people are really trying to celebrate their relationship in a place that reflects the values they have as a couple.”

Karen’s statement echoes the sentiment of a recent PEC bride we spoke to, Shelley Ludman. “We wanted our wedding to be more of a weekend celebration and loved the idea of sharing our love for the County with all our friends and family,” said Shelley. Although Shelley and her fiancé lived in Montreal at the time of their marriage, the County embodied the kind of wedding they always wanted. The Ludman event, hosted at the Hayloft dancehall, was truly a local inspiration, drawing on County selected florists, caterers, and wine, with a rehearsal dinner at Hinterland Wine Company and day-after brunch at the Drake Devonshire. Wedding guests even had late-night local pizza, giving them a true taste of the PEC experience.

What sets the area apart is the laid-back nature of life in the County; activities here seem to slow down time, encourage us to stroll through shops and sip wine on patios. “They’re trying to recapture that feeling of romance and simplicity, that hedonistic feeling of being away from it all and being able to focus meaningfully on one another,” said Karen. That serene and relaxing atmosphere makes for low-key weddings that don’t disappoint in terms of beauty, services, and fun. “While couples may want a wedding that reflects the simpler, more purposeful life they want to lead post-wedding, they don’t want to compromise on amazing food, beautiful venues, best vintage bubbles, and serious comforts in their accommodations,” Karen said. “The County is a place where they can have the best of both worlds.”

But what exactly is it about PEC that makes it so special? Canada has countless stunning locations on offer, but it isn’t just gorgeous vistas that make for the perfect wedding day. Everything you need for your wedding day can be found in PEC, so read more to discover how to add local County flair to your special day.

The Food
The past few years have seen an uptick in County restaurants, food trucks, and catering companies that can deliver any request to any couple, catering to dietary restrictions and the edible dreams of wedded bliss. While some location venues can provide some excellent food service, a unique option is food trucks, which can bring the tastiness to you, with local inspiration like PEC Picnic or Vintage Pizza Pie Co serving up unique dining experiences without fuss but full of flavour. Isabelle Boisvert is co-owner of Vintage Pizza Pie Co along with her husband, Richard. Their food truck is actually a wood-fired oven that cooks traditional style pizzas in a snappy 90 seconds, making for quick service for hungry dancers, all served with style. “Couples like to choose pizza for their wedding because pizza is so universally liked by everyone, young or old,” said Isabelle. “It is a feel-good, laidback comfort food but can be served up in a chic and tasty way.” Many County food trucks are also making a commitment to bring in local ingredients to your head table!

The Drinks
PEC has become a respected region for award-winning wines, but craft breweries and small-batch distilleries are also all the rage for providing special drinks for that special day. Kinsip House of Fine Spirits in Bloomfield is producing vodka, gin, whisky, and more, all on their own farm, while the region’s forty wineries can provide local spin and flavour, often picking botanicals, fruit, and herbs grown right in the County. There’s also a new burst of hipster-esque breweries, creating liquid gold on tap, satisfying every family member in search of wedding dance floor gumption. Whether you’re hoping to have a signature drink on your wedding day or hope to sip and sample wines from a specific winery that is special to you as a couple, there’s something for everyone. Add to that the stunning locations, and you might just want to consider one of these wineries as prime wedding venues!

Local Art Love
Aside from wine, Prince Edward County is also known for being a central hub of art. Home to sculptors, writers, potters, painters, fibre artists, and so much more, there’s no shortage of beautiful art to add local spice to your wedding. A little research on the PEC Arts Council website will showcase much of the art on offer, so from there, visit galleries or artists directly to see if you can rent or buy some pieces as favours, décor, or even entertainment. A few options to consider would be hanging paintings or prints of the surrounding area or vases by your favourite potter to hold bridal bouquets. Many artists will make unique trinkets that would be cherished token favours to take home for guests, items like mini wine bottles, handmade shortbread, letterpress cards, or tiny glass orbs from glass blowers. Browse County shops and farmers’ markets for ideas. You can even consider bringing your wedding to the art! Check with galleries; many host events and might consider a wedding if the size and interest allows.

Location, Location, Location
Couples are spoiled for choice when it comes to gorgeous wedding venues in the County, making the hardest part about location simply choosing one! While some of the many wineries and breweries make for excellent locations, also think outside of traditional spots like recreation centres and churches in favour of galleries, museums, private homes, and barns. As one of the original Loyalist settler locations, there are many older, grand homes that could make for an intimate venue, and some barns could easily be set for summer weddings. Just bring the food and guests!

No matter the decisions you make about what your wedding will look like, remember that the most important part of the day is you and your new spouse. Without a doubt, Prince Edward County offers one-stop shopping for any wedding, no matter the budget.

A few tips:

Think Outside the Box

  • Host a special art practise for your bridal party or to provide entertainment sessions during the reception. Consider choices like glass blowing demonstrations, painting classes, or letterpress making.
  • Ask a local artist if they can develop a special favour, just for you and your spouse.
  • Think of interesting locations for your event, such as lavender farms, galleries, private homes, barns, or in the beautiful outdoors.
  • Get creative with transport too! County Carriage can provide equine options, with stylish carriages and horses to deliver the bridal party with style.

Plan Ahead

  • As the County grows in popularity, it’s wise to book your event early, and lock in service providers as soon as you have a plan.
  • The County has several wedding planners, who can help you access discounts, deals, and ease stress on the big day. Some venues even provide their own planner to assist.

Drinks and Food

  • Many caterers in the County are familiar with accommodating dietary restrictions. Ensure you check with guests to see if anyone has allergies or illnesses that prevent them from eating certain foods, then check with your chef to see what can be offered.
  • Consider buying wine in bulk from one of the dozens of wineries and breweries in the area. You can not only save money but offer a local lean to your drinks.
  • Lots of County wineries also offer small bottles (or big ones, depending on your budget!), for delightful favours that will make everyone smile.
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