In recent years the South Okanagan has become an increasingly popular destination for couples to tie the knot. The region has always been a favourite vacation spot of ours, so choosing to host my wedding there was one of the easiest decisions of the entire planning process! From sun-kissed beaches, sprawling lakes and 40-plus wineries to choose from, our guests were in-store for an epic weekend. —Jorden Hutchison
the venue. A fourth-generation farm run by Gene and Shelly Covert, Covert Farms Family Estate is an organic farm and winery situated in Oliver, B.C. The 650-acre property is surrounded by unique desert landscapes, dramatic rivers, mountains and lakes and lush vineyards. Having visited the farm a number of times before—and with my soon-to-be husband having grown up on his grandparents farm—we knew this was the perfect place to host one of the most important occasions of our lives. We went for a September wedding to take advantage of fall harvest and the juicy grapes nearly exploding off the vine. The farm hosts spring, summer and fall weddings and, in addition to overseeing the farm with her husband, Shelly also assists couples with their wedding from start to finish as the full-time onsite wedding co-ordinator.
the ceremony. Our early evening ceremony took place in a field situated between lush vineyards, along with expansive water views below and nʕaylintn (also known as McIntyre Bluff) in the backdrop. Surrounded by our closest family and friends, it was one of the most special moments of the entire experience (and, as our photographer remarked, one of the most beautiful). There’s no need for spending much money on décor here: the magical views speak for themselves, and our floral arrangements strung along the wood-beam arbour were all that was needed. Insider’s tip: take advantage of the Coverts’ cherry-red ’52 Mercury truck. Wedding packages include access to the open-air truck and a driver for two hours, which we used for our ceremony arrival (talk about an entrance!) and for photographs after the wedding.
the cocktail hour. After exchanging our vows, our guests made their way to the reception area (a short walk from the ceremony site) where they played a variety of lawn games ranging from bean bag toss to bocce and jumped on the Covert’s massive bouncy pillow. They also snapped plenty of selfies with the resident farm animals, including roaming llamas, sheep and cattle. Here we served up a variety of cocktails at the self-serve station, along with long boards of artisan charcuterie, a variety of B.C. cheeses and pickled farm vegetables.
the reception. The Coverts' open-air, log barn strung with glimmering white lights makes for an awe-inspiring night. Easily accommodating our 130 guests (parties of up to 180 can be hosted here), we went for a long-table communal-style dinner reception. Our guests dined on a menu of casual farm-to-table eats prepared by acclaimed local chef Campbell Kearns of The Wienery, featuring Two Rivers smoked roast beef with chimichurri, adobo and honey-braised chicken, vegetarian croquettes and a selection of farm-fresh salads and sides—all complemented by the Coverts’ 100 per cent estate-grown wines. We danced the night away under the twinkling stars, and the barn’s sliding canvas walls were also a huge perk for keeping our guests cosy once the sun had set (not to mention it provides the couple with a stress-free, weather-proof wedding).
the south okanagan intel. Oliver and Osoyoos offer a number of accommodation options to choose from, ranging from quaint winery guest houses and B&Bs to luxe hotels. We stayed at Osoyoos-based Watermark Beach Resort—we love the resort’s beachfront location right along Osoyoos Lake, the condo-style accommodations and outdoor pool. The South Okanagan is also easily accessible to visiting friends and relatives; it’s a quick five-hour drive from Vancouver, and accessible by air via direct flights to nearby Penticton and Kelowna airports. Make the most of your stay by checking out sites like destinationosoyoos.com, oliver.ca and oliverosoyoos.com—all excellent resources for mapping out accommodation, activities, restaurants and wineries in the area.
To learn more, or to book your wedding, visit covertfarms.ca.