Reaching new heights

The Sea to Sky Gondola offers a stunning backdrop for a wedding

Sometimes it takes an illness to lead to a celebration. When Leigh Righton was struck with appendicitis years ago, her boyfriend Brock McFarlane nursed her back to health. It was somewhere between seeing him sneak into her room and sleep in a chair at her bedside and watching him research every drug she was given that she knew he was the one.

“In many ways it was the worst week of my life,” said Leigh. “Brock was so caring, supportive and thoughtful. He made that awful experience bearable.”

And when Brock proposed a few years later on a hike out to the Eagle Bluffs with a ring made from meteorites, Leigh had no hesitation. In fact, although the engagement was a surprise, plans to get married were already underway.

As a photographer, Leigh was drawn to the vast landscapes of Iceland and initially wanted to get married there. But once the Vancouver couple visited the Sea to Sky Gondola in Squamish they knew they’d found their perfect venue.

“We love hiking, and nature, and getting to exchange vows in such a beautiful setting was exactly what we had been envisioning,” said Leigh.

The pair wanted an intimate wedding that reflected their personalities so they decided to have brass dappled throughout the tables. “We seem to be drawn to a mix of vintage and modern and also a kind of quirky aesthetic in general,” said Leigh. “This naturally spilled over into our wedding planning and décor.”

They began collecting the brass in December and relished in thrifting for all the unique pieces, including the brass bells that rang the couple in on their wedding day. Leigh’s photographer eye for details emerged in the elegant and vintage décor woven throughout, from the funky vintage dog and cat illustrations that became the name cards to the amber glass bottle of sunscreen. Leigh’s artistic brother painted custom artwork for their programs, and Leigh’s best friend owns Living Lotus, a plant-based dessert company, which supplied the wedding cake.

And although the celebration was elegant it also showcased the couple’s sense of adventure and individuality. A pair of Vancouver designed Fluevog boots accented Leigh’s romantic satin dress, and underneath Brock’s fine suit were brightly coloured socks.

On the day of their wedding, the September sun shone brilliantly, warming the rocks and air that would set the stage for the afternoon vow exchange. Leigh and Brock had their first glimpse of one another against the majestic Shannon Falls, which helped to quell nerves over the upcoming ceremony. From there they walked over to the gondola and then crossed the suspension bridge to the tinkling of their brass bells. Against the stunning backdrop of Howe Sound and jutting peaks, surrounded by 38 friends and family, Leigh and Brock were united.

The evening took off from there, with a buffet dinner on the expansive observation deck of the Sea to Sky Gondola, overlooking picturesque views of Howe Sound. Leigh’s father wrote a song for the pair and performed it with his guitar — one of Leigh’s most touching moments. Speeches and dancing followed, but not before Leigh and Brock escaped just as the sun was about to set.

Their foreheads touched and although the sun was setting, they knew the light between them would not.