A high alpine celebration

Ashley and Collin Neal remember their party on the side of a mountain

Ashley and Collin Neal said “I do” tucked beneath the stunning trees in Whistler’s Rebagliati Park. A simple garland of alpine wildflowers hung across the park’s stunning arbor and Fitzsimmons Creek flowed nearby, creating a sense of simple reverence.

The couple’s mothers completed a Celtic hand blessing, setting the tone for their intimate ceremony.

“There wasn’t a cloud in the sky and it was warm, but not sweltering. We lucked out with the best weather possible,” Collin said. “We were really happy to have such a unique venue for the wedding.”

The park is tucked beside the covered bridge between the Upper and Lower Village and bordered by Fitzsimmons Creek, the perfect spot to kick off Ashley and Collin’s Whistler celebration.

While the couple slipped away for photos with Jennifer Findlay of Findlay Photography, the guests were shuttled to one of Whistler’s most epic reception venues, the Whistler Sliding Centre.

The 2010 Olympic Winter venue is now one of Whistler’s most exciting wedding spots in the beautiful Fitzsimmons Valley on the southeast slope of Blackcomb Mountain, just minutes from Whistler Village. The venue offers spectacular views of Whistler Village and the surrounding mountains.

“When we viewed the sliding centre venue we agreed with the sales pitch, it is the best patio in Whistler,” Collin said. “We instantly had the same vision of a giant awesome party on the side of a mountain.”

Before making their grand entrance at the sliding centre, Ashley and Collin did something very unique. They took a chairlift up Whistler Mountain followed by their photographer.

“We had a ‘just married’ sign on the back of our chair and spent an hour in the alpine taking pictures. It was a really nice break to be together one on one,” Ashley said. “On the way back down the mountain all of the tourists were cheering us on.”

As 140 guests wrapped up the cocktail reception, Collin and Ashley arrived ready to celebrate. Guests sat themselves according to their ski run-themed seating chart and soaked in the venue’s panoramic views.

Lived edged slabs of wood served food, and as bar tables, while wildflowers completed the decor, giving the reception a true alpine feel. Whistler Cooks served up West Coast-style food, including locally sourced salmon and Pemberton potatoes.

“We took group photos with every table before they lined up for food, which was a lot of fun,” Ashley said.

With the alpine glow setting the surrounding mountains ablaze, Whistler’s DJ Rosco kicked off the dance. Collin said some guests never left the dance floor thanks to the quality of the DJ’s set.

“DJ Rosco brought his whole set up from the bar and everyone had an awesome experience. It was the number one comment over and over. We danced the whole time,” Collin said.

High above Whistler Village, the celebration continued until the wee hours of the morning, sending the beats high into the alpine. For Collin and Ashley, their wedding was the perfect celebration of their love and Whistler, a place special to their hearts.

-BY: KIM VANLOCHEM