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Going the Distance Theressa Szeto and Damon Evans

August 22nd, 2009 Ceremony: Van Dusen Gardens, Vancouver Reception: The Roundhouse Arts and Recreation Centre, Vancouver Written by Diana Stein Photographed by Melia Sorenson


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n Victorian times, specific flowers held certain meanings: red roses signaled passionate love while daffodils conveyed chivalry, and so on. So what meaning should be taken from smiley face and football balloons on a second date? For Theressa Szeto, 32, the message was clear: this one’s a keeper. Theressa, a flight attendant, met Damon Evans, 33, at a mutual friend’s Canada Day party in 2003. The two hit it off and exchanged numbers at the end of the evening. A few days later Damon, a transit power technician with the Coast Mountain Bus Company, called but did not leave a message. Armed with caller ID, Theressa was “not going to wait a couple more days for him to call a second time,” so she phoned him. That led to a first date—lunch and a stroll down Vancouver’s Commercial Drive—which in turn graduated to dinner at a trendy martini bar. On this date Damon brought Theressa the two helium balloons—a gesture that she found charmingly unique. And, as Damon points out, the balloons last about as long as flowers. The couple’s relationship continued to thrive and grow over the next five years. Also growing was outside pressure to get married. But Theressa and Damon felt they would know when the time was right–and that time turned out to be spring of 2008. Damon knew he was ready to propose. The problem was that Theressa also knew—they’d chosen a classic, round-cut solitaire on a trip to Hong Kong together. So Damon searched for a way to make the expected memorable, if not an outright surprise. A motorcycle outing to Point Roberts produced several romantic moments, but no proposal, somewhat mystifying Theressa. Soon after, the couple visited the Capilano Suspension Bridge and atop stunning Lookout Point, Damon found his perfect moment... and waited for Theressa to get off her cell phone. After what he describes as “the longest phone call ever,” Damon popped the question and Theressa, of course, said yes.

Theressa changed into another couple of gowns during the reception—simply, she says, because “it’s just a day to be beautiful.”


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The couple gave themselves over a year to plan the wedding, slated for August 22, 2009. They chose Vancouver’s VanDusen Gardens for the ceremony but, to protect themselves against the risk of inclement weather, they chose the covered walkway into the restaurant. Its open layout offers a beautiful view of the gardens as well as refreshing breezes. One of Theressa’s coworkers acted as wedding decorator and, at the bride’s suggestion, draped white billowing fabric from the walkway ceiling—all the decoration needed in an already scenic setting. For the reception, Damon and Theressa chose the Roundhouse in downtown Vancouver, in part because the venue’s rustic feel needed little extra ornamentation. They simply added paper lanterns in purple, pink and white along with centrepieces of Manzanita branches topped with pink and white orchid blossoms. While the flowers were provided by Proline Trading, friends and family put the arrangements together. One of the wedding’s most unique elements, in homage to Theressa’s Chinese heritage, was the Lion Dance. Theressa’s parents found the lavish costumes and her brother, who belongs to a martial arts club, was one of the four performers. One lion is meant to be male, the other female, and they perform a courting dance. This colourful and energizing spectacle kicked off the reception, right after the bride and groom’s entrance. But the dance was just one of the Chinese cultural touches incorporated into the festivities. Theressa, Damon, and the wedding party played traditional Chinese wedding games such as trying to collide and break eggs hanging from strings tied around each person’s waist. Before the Western wedding ceremony, the two families had gathered at a friend’s Coal Harbour apartment for a traditional tea ceremony, preceded by games in which Damon had to prove himself “worthy” before the bridesmaids would even let him through the door. Both Theressa and Damon wore traditional Chinese ensembles for the tea ceremony. In a turnabout from the usual scene in which the bride needs help dressing, Theressa helped Damon, who is of Japanese and Hungarian descent, with his garb. The two later changed into Western wedding attire—Damon in a Ralph Lauren tuxedo with ivory tie and Theressa in a crystal-embroidered, tulle Mori Lee gown she found in a New York bridal shop. Theressa changed into another couple of gowns during the reception—simply, she says, because “it’s just a day to be beautiful.” It’s also a day to be emotional, of course, and this couple was no exception. Damon Top One of Theressa’s favourite moments was when she helped remembers his reaction to seeing his bride Damon with his traditional attire walk down the aisle: “It was exciting—the and they locked eyes, realizing the full impact of their wedding day. anticipation… I was really, really happy.” Theressa describes it as “overwhelming. You Middle The bridesmaids watched as Damon and his groomsmen just feel so much love from everyone.” But fish scrabble letters out of a bowl of it was a slide show of their lives, from early water with their bare feet to prove Damon’s dedication to his bride. childhood through the progression of their relationship that affected Theressa the most Right With such a full schedule deeply. “That made me cry the most,” she and many gown changes, Theressa was thankful for the support of her says, “realizing ‘Wow, we’re finally here after bridesmaids. six years.’” rw

Clockwise from top left Billowing white fabric provided all the adornment needed in the covered walkway at VanDusen Gardens. A snap from the wedding slideshow shows Theressa seated on the tricycle holding her baby brother Nelson, with her sister (and maid-of-honour) Wanda beside her. The couple toasted their guests in traditional Chinese silk robes. Bubble wands were intended for the ceremony, but forgotten until the reception, where guests made good use of them anyway. Theressa’s brother, Nelson, performed as a Lion Dancer at her wedding.

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The Details 6


How they did it 1

Theressa wore a crystal-embroidered, tulle Mori Lee gown with a deep V-neckline she found at RK Bridal in New York. The tulle was light, and it had a small train.


Theressa and Damon’s colour palette was wisteria purple and soft pink. The satin bridesmaids’ dresses in wisteria purple featured a deep V-neck, with soft pink trim and fabric flowers. Theressa ordered them online from The flowers were from Proline Trading. “I gave them the flexibility to make my bouquets,” says Theressa. “I wanted my bouquet to be ivory, with minimal greens, with some roses and orchids.” For the bridesmaids, she wanted soft pink flowers to go with their dresses.


The banana sponge cake was layered with white chocolate and walnuts, with a cake topper from Hong Kong that matched the traditional Chinese wedding gown Theressa wore at the reception.


The cellists were from Strings For All. For the entrance they played Te Deum, What a Wonderful World for the signing, and finished with Canon in D.


Theressa loves candy. “I knew I had to do a candy buffet,” she says. “All the candies were imported from Haribo in Germany. One hundred and twenty five pounds of candies were brought home all in one trip from Hong Kong. The candy buffet was so popular, they were all gone even before our first dance.” The candy buffet featured lychee, mango, and blueberry gummies, black currant worms, cola pacifiers, and strawberry sours.



Damon wore a traditional tux from Western Tux with a wing tip collar shirt. “I wanted him to look sharp and classic,” says Theressa.


The Dream Team Venue - Ceremony: Vandusen Botanical Gardens vandusen/website Venue - Reception: Roundhouse Arts and Recreation Centre Photographer: Lucida Photography Disc Jockey: Fusion DJ Event Rentals: A&B Partytime Rentals Bride’s Dress: Mori Lee, RK Bridal, New York Bride’s Veil: Brenda’s Bridal Veils Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Bari Jay Hair/Makeup:  Hair - Tanya Yeates, Aura Salon Makeup - Grace Cheng Groom’s and Groomsmen’s Outfits: Western Tux Cake: Kreations Artisan Bakery Cupcake Stand: Cupcaketree Music: Ceremony Cellist - Strings For All Wedding Minister: Danny Enright

Real Weddings - Theressa + Damon  

Our August 22, 2009 wedding held at VanDusen Gardens and Roundhouse Arts and Exhibition Center