Sunday, October 21, 2007

Next stop, Thetis Island: Overbury Farm Resort

In my search for the perfect venue, I came across a lovely lodge resort on one of the lesser known southern gulf islands. With a population of approximately 350 people, Thetis Island can be reached by ferry from Chemainus on Vancouver Island, or by seaplane. Entirely privately owned, with the exception of the public roads and a few miles of public shoreline, Thetis is mainly forested, with some farmlands, meadows and wetlands. Island life is relaxed, rural, peaceful and crime-free.

Overbury Farm Resort is a scenic 10 minute walk, or a quick 2 minute drive from the ferry terminal. A popular family resort in the summer, Overbury only rents the premises for weddings during the "off-season". Depending on the year, this generally means that the last two weekends in July, and the first 3 weekends in August are unavailable. Of course, this still leaves plenty of opportunities for a beautiful outdoor summer wedding.

We enjoyed a quiet night at Overbury Farm resort this past September; while doing so, we took some pictures and spent some time discussing wedding related business with the one of the owners: Arlene.
One of the fabulous things about booking your wedding at Overbury Farm Resort is that everything from the decor to the flowers to the cake to the food is included in the rental of the resort, allowing you to spend less time stressing over the details. Pictured to the right is a view of the back of the main house with all the beautiful gardens.

Rental costs include personal use of the grounds for the entire weekend, use of the glass enclosed pavillion for the reception (tables, chairs, stereo system, dance floor, and bar tender), catering (food, dishes, white linens, cutlery, and glasses), flowers, decor, ceremony set up, tent set up for cocktail hour, and use of the large room in the main house for bridal party preparation. We were quoted an approximate rental price of 6000.00 - a very reasonable price for all that's listed above! Of course, this was only an estimate. If one has grand ideas with regards to the decor or the type of flower, or a specialty menu, the price may alter accordingly.

It was love at first site when we took our first tour of the glass enclosed pavillion. Regardless of whether the doors are open or closed, one always feels close to the outdoors in this gorgeous reception area.

The floors are heated which provides warmth on a chilly night, and the doors can be left open to the cool breezes on a warm summer evening.

As you can see, the venue is quite large and could easily seat 100 people or more. With such a stunning view of the water and the vancouver island shoreline, and the high beamed ceilings of the pavillion, there really isn't much need for further accoutrement!

There were a couple settings for the ceremony, the most obvious being the back lawn with it's white arbour and healthy green grass. The other option was to have the vows on the beach.

There are two main items that are not included in the cost of the rental: alcohol, and accomodations. For most, the knowledge that one can buy and bring their own booze is an added bonus as this is a huge budget saver. Overbury has a "serving it right" certificate, so a bartender is included in the rental costs.

The accomodations range from 165.00 a night for 4 people (extra adult = 35.00 each) for the crescent point cottages, Dad's house, and the Batchelor's Quarters, and 100.00 a night for 4 people (extra adult = 25.00) for the summer cottages. Altogether they can accomdate 60 people overnight. If you plan on inviting more than 60 people, there are a number of B&B's on the island that can help house the rest of your guests.

The crescent point cottages are modern, clean, winterized, and self sufficient. They have a full kitchen with the necessary pots, pans, dishes, cutlery, and cooking items, a bathroom with shower and towels, wrap around deck, and BBQ. All four cottages are situated close together and make for a great gathering area for a rehearsal dinner on the friday night.

Dad's house also has a kitchen, and bathroom with shower. Although it's a bit more rustic in appearance, it's no less lacking in charm.

The summer cottages are definitely the most rustic out of the bunch.

They were very clean, and each had an enclosed porch with a double bed, which would make for a cool evening sleep on a hot summer's night.

No running water, and no electricity mean outhouses and a shared shower house for these four cottages.

Overbury Farm Resort is an outstanding setting for a wedding. The resort is a family owned, family run operation, and it's obvious they take great pride in all they have to offer. Their "all in one" pricing is very reasonable, and provided a stress free option for planning one's wedding. Arlene seemed very open to suggestions and ideas, and was happy to show us pictures of previous weddings, and letters from happy couples that had married at Overbury. Although we very much wanted this venue for our "dream weekend wedding extravaganza", there were a few things that just didn't work for us.

*With over 75% of our guests flying in from out of town, the logistics of getting everyone to the island, and placing everyone in appropriate cottages seemed a bit overwhelming. Making all these arrangements would most definitely add to the stress of wedding planning.

*Finding vendors such as photographers, hairstylists, and make-up artists who will travel to the venue might prove to be costly, or may limit our choices if we went with those nearby

*4 cottages without electriciy and water means 20 sleeping spots without electricity and water. On a normal cottage weekend, this probably wouldn't bother most of my friends and family, but on a wedding weekend, it seems a wee bit lacking.

*Relying on two different ferries to transport ourselves, our cars, our parents, the bridal party, the alcohol, the extra decor, the rehearsal food, the tuxes and gowns, and any other necessary items is not a good idea. Our trip back from Thetis island on sunday afternoon took 8 hours due to crazy line-ups at the departure bay terminal - and that was in September (we're planning our wedding for July)!

*The "all in one" rental price would seriously limit my personal invovlement in the decoration/flowers/party department. For most, this is probably a good thing; for a crafty DIY person like me, not so much!

*The peaceful island life lacks a bit of oomph! Again, with so many of our guests coming from out of town, we want a few more options for site seeing, recreation, and shopping. not that thetis island is devoid of any of these things, just somewhat lacking compared to vancouver or victoria.

And so we keep looking!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi How many people were at your wedding?