The Canadian sports world's rather small, so it's notable when two of its participants get married, and Olympic gold medalist Ashleigh McIvor and Vancouver Whitecaps' captain Jay DeMerit elected to tie the knot in such style that their wedding last fall was just featured on the 2014 cover of Wishes, the Whistler, B.C. wedding magazine published by The Whistler Question newspaper. The Vancouver-born McIvor, who had a long and successful freestyle skiing career from 2003 to 2012, including the first-ever Olympic gold medal in women's ski cross in 2010, a 2009 world championship, an X Games silver in 2010 and four World Cup podium finishes, and DeMerit, a Green Bay, Wisconsin native who's had an impressive (and improbable) soccer career in England, the U.S. and now Canada, got engaged in the fall of 2012 when he proposed to her at the top of a waterfall near Pemberton, B.C., and they elected to take their wedding outdoors as well, celebrating with 350 guests in the woods outside of Whistler on August 25, 2013. Their wedding actually took place where the Nordic skiing events were held at the 2010 Olympics. From the magazine article (by Alyssa Noel):
After choosing a secluded spot in the woods just outside of Whistler, they treated their preparations as a giant art project. The pair hung mirrors in vintage frames on trees in the area, gathered antique furniture to create an ethereal living room setting and even set up a chandelier to hang over them at their ceremony.
The result was whimsical. “We didn’t want to over-decorate because the natural beauty of the location was so breathtaking in itself,” Ashleigh says. “The mirrors were a great little touch for pulling it all together by framing certain details to help our guests just focus on the natural beauty. Everybody wore glamourous wedding attire and we had elegant furniture and classy décor, much like you’d find in the Hotel Vancouver, but in the middle of the forest.”
Afterwards, the 300 guests moved up to Whistler Olympic Park in the Callaghan Valley where they enjoyed dinner. Then around 50 more guests joined them before they trekked back into the woods for the party. “One of the reasons for picking that location for both the ceremony and the party was the dramatic backdrop of moss-covered rocks piled below an overhanging rock face,” Ashleigh says. “This was the backdrop for our vows and later doubled as the natural atrium that the DJ booth backed on to.”
The guests used wedding favours that included flashlights with Jay and Ashleigh emblazoned on the side to light the way. They also received sightseeing or bike park passes along with rings to make their own wine glass charms using beads that were placed on each table.
While it was a difficult choice between a mountain-top celebration or a forest wedding, Ashleigh says in the end, they made the right decision. “I grew up in Whistler and although most people know me for my accomplishments on the mountain, my favourite place to be is in the woods, typically on my bike, but more frequently on foot now that I’ve met Jay and he’s not allowed to do things as dangerous as mountain biking,” she says. “We really wanted to showcase this beautiful province and help guests recognize what it is about this area and the lifestyle that Jay and I have fallen so in love with.”
That's an impressive wedding, and its outdoor theme seems like an appropriate one for two people who have contributed a lot to Canadian sports. Here's to McIvor, DeMerit, and their life together.