Finding Green in Red


Finding Green in Red …
Chloe + Casper Wedding Reception  


Being a responsible event/wedding planner and coordinator doesn’t just mean jumping on the bandwagon and embracing the green, not the color but the, concept in general.  On a warm and beautiful September 4th, 2010, I had an opportunity to help create a wedding reception for a frugal bride + forester groom. (I meant frugal here in a good way – synonymous to a sensible person who makes informed choices about where money will be spent based on own set of values + needs). Chloe (the bride) grew up in Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, while Casper  (the groom) was born in Denmark.  How did they meet?  … thru University Exchange Program.  Casper came to University of British Columbia (UBC) and then later Chloe went to Kgl. Veterinær og Landbohøjskole (KVL) in Copenhagen.  After 5 years of dating and sharing happy moments watching movies, going on picnics or to favorite restaurants, or just going for drives, Casper popped the most important question … just practically but was followed with much discussion.  Finally, the civil wedding took place in Aarhus Radhus (City Hall) in  Denmark on July 9th, 2010.  The ceremony was followed by a reception with close family and friends at a local restaurant.  Danish weddings are typically kept quiet in terms of the number of guests.   While the wedding preparations are underway in Denmark, I have been picking my brain with Sharon (mother of the bride) on getting things together for the wedding reception of Chloe in Penticton, BC. 

The initial idea laid on the table was sort of picnic at the Okanagan Lake with friends and families gathered for some sort of afternoon tea party.  While Sharon is a very organized person, she felt the need for someone to infuse creativity and planning, to carry out a successful event.  For social functions involving guests coming from out of the country and town, it is essential to draft a plan and organize the logistics to pull all the strings together.  I am happy that the family enlisted my services to help her in the planning and coordination of a beautiful and memorable wedding reception for Chloe + Casper.  

Budget was set.  Ideas were presented.  Vendors were chosen.  Inside my pocket is a note that constantly remind me of making careful choices to make any event sustainable, conserving resources and mindful of its impact on the environment.    (The note looks like one that you usually get from a fortune cookie, but this one makes sense!)  As I endeavor in this wedding reception, I always find myself clasping this note inside my pocket, which goes —

“Sure, we reduce, reuse, and recycle, but now it’s time to re-imagine.  The brighter future we dream of, calls for inventive solutions that go way beyond sorting bottles and cans.” – Oprah

The venue is the Bradburn’s pristine picturesque farm on Upper Bench, Penticton, which in itself is a paradise any couple could ask for an ideal outdoor setting for a wedding + reception.  Chloe practically grew up on this farm.  Whenever she’s not home, her parents knew where to find her – either riding horses or just hanging out with whom she considers her “other” family up on the farm. 

I always say “I love weddings!”, but in this particular scenario, my heart and mind is screaming “I love this wedding reception!”  Here are the reasons why … 

 Truly a farm experience with horses giddiyappin’ and enjoying the sunny Okanagan weather. 


The sunflowers brightened the already bright, warm and GORGEOUS day! 

 The color scheme we came up is a tapestry of vibrant tones from the outdoors (bright, sunny such as the sunflowers combined with red Gerbera Daisies – one can’t go wrong! Smiles were constant and inevitable, indeed!)  A splash of red represents the dominant color of the bride + groom’s flags (Canada + Denmark).  We were aiming for a blend of southern sophistication and rustic charm, which equals to a refreshing relaxed atmosphere.  

Lovingly gathered forest woods were formed to newlyweds’ first letter of their names + Heart-formed wire wrapped with yarn & embellished with flowers + Chicken Wire Board with clothespinned pictures of the happy couple during their wedding in Denmark –  all utilized as Entrance Boards to welcome guests and give them something to talk about as they take a sip of the Okanagan wine. 


 The words on this sign were taken from the couple’s website. An adage that describes about the love that they both share – loving without fear! 


 I like signs!  They are not meant as idiot boards … but rather “indicators” where things are happening.  Immediately you feel the excitement and fun atmosphere brought by the charm of this farm, barn, outdoor, and country element. 


 Yes!, the wedding was in Denmark, but the celebration and “Happily Ever After” starts on this farm wedding reception in Penticton! 

 Chalkboards!!! – Another eco-friendly element that was part of the wedding reception.  The beauty of it is that, one can easily alter the seating plan if need be.  I personally made these chalkboards, if I may brag.  It was my Carpentry 101 Project!  I had the chance to meet and greet with the table and mitre saws, cordless drill, hammer, screws, foam paintbrush, and chalkboard paint.  (They’re all fun to hang out with.  Now I know why boys like them! – cuz they don’t screw you, rather, you screw them!) I also had a quickie with a local hardware store paint guru for a bit of orientation about the different types of paint and finishes.  What sort of lessons did I learn? – I did remember in a short encounter what paints are for interior and exterior, latex, alkyd, primer, and crackle, as well matte finish or eggnog(???) (Hmmm, I think I meant to say Egg Shell finish!) But let me emphasize this – the wood that I used in building all the entrance and chalkboards were from an Ikea bed that my mom had just chucked.  Finding a purpose to recycle, rather than dump to an already mounting landfill, the opportunity presents itself while I was hanging out in our backyard and thinking about the details that make up a farm wedding.  In no time, the bed was turned into boards.  It earned its second life. 


The table setting – Rose Folded Red Table Napkin + Guest Wish Card + Wheat Grass Place Card 

I remember the many times I had to stick my bum up in the air on Highway 97, to pick wheat grass.  Tony & I went all the way to Keremeos, B.C., first thing in the morning to find, without invading other people’s property,  the right kind of wheat grass that are perfect as place cards – ones which are not too dry but not too green.  If not for this little project, I would have not learned to appreciate the beauty of nature and the value of the saying, “Stop and Smell the Roses!” 


The Guest Wish Cards were a hit, I must say!  They were put on each base plate of the table setting, as well as on cocktail tables.  Special marker pens were provided on a separate Gift Table.  People had a great time filling up the form and drawing themselves on the space provided for their pictures.  I guess, especially because most guests are either from out of the country or town, that they find it fun to state on the card how far they’ve travelled from, to become part of the celebration.  I imagine that this activity warm the hearts of the newlyweds, as much as the uber excitement the guests had as they sealed the day with their special wishes to the couple. 


Picnic tables and mason jars with fresh farm flowers are on top of the Bride’s list – Check, Check! 




Paper Lanterns, in white and red, turned out not to be a bad idea. 


The lounge area was furnished befittingly with hay seats – another quaint farm charm and green (color + concept) element! 

 The old-fashioned table skirting – love it! 


 I know, it could have been easier to just set the table, lay the white linen and wrap around a skirt using clips and velcros – effortless! But, nothing compares to the amount of labor put in to skirt it with art and LOVE! 


“Cuisine du Terroir (ter-war)”, which means “food of the earth” – a concept for which Joy Road Catering lives by when they do business.  We really lucked out with this caterer – indeed a perfect choice! They use only the freshest and locally produced seasonal ingredients available.  Want to find out more about this fab caterer … click this link, 




In this photo, Executive Chef + Fabulous Baker + Owner of Joy Road Catering, Dana was introducing the menu to guests, including the purple potatoes and orange beets picked from the owner of the farm and used as ingredients.  Colorful, tasty … very organic … and how divine! 



 Kids’ play area … 

 Adults’ reception area … 


The best man proposing a toast … 


Newlyweds  … such a lovely couple  … they’re full of love and destined for each other. 


 And the most important part of any event/wedding planning – one that shouldn’t be missed! When the wedding dress & tux are all packed away, and wine glasses are washed and turned upside down, the only lasting memory that will remain are the ones that captured the best moments of the event/wedding – the photography! …On Casper + Chloe’s farm wedding reception, I sure had the pleasure of working with the best in town! – Voth Photography.  Want to see more pictures professionally done? … Check out this link – 


Part of the Danish customs that are always played out during a wedding are – 

1.  When guests clang on the plates or glasses, it signals the bride + groom to climb onto their chairs and kiss each other in front of everyone. 

2.  When the bride leaves to go to the washroom during the reception, all the ladies (guests) can run over to the groom and kiss him, and vice versa! (Paul, the bride’s brother took this opportunity to give his new bro-in-law a peck on the cheek!-awesome!)

We’ve seen this happened during the reception, and it was a FUN tradition that not only Danish guests enjoyed, but everyone in general!

3.  There was no dancing that have taken place during the wedding reception … but just to note another Danish custom is the dancing of waltz by the newlyweds.  Thereafter, male guests would lift up the groom and cut the tip of his socks on both feet to symbolize that he now should no longer walk in the footsteps of other women. 

With the combination of all the elements infused on the occasion, utilizing sustainable materials and organic ingredients with utmost sense of respect to the environment, I believe, that not only did we naturally achieved in finding the “green” in red, but also putting smiles and contentment in the hearts of the frugal bride + forester groom.    

Again, congratulations Chloe + Casper!  


In addendum for the travelling guests during Chloe + Casper’s wedding reception, whether you flew in/out or drove to/from.  In order to mitigate the environmental footprint consumed with your travelling, carbon offset is encouraged to compensate for the emissions.  This can be done by funding an equivalent carbon dioxide saving somewhere else.  Available solutions are – 

1.  Visit and make a donation to help protect the special places you care about in B.C.; 

2.  Check if you have used an airline company that has a Carbon Offset Program in place, such as Air Canada;  If you did, then you’ve made a contribution yourself by flying with them! 

3.  Due diligence – Plant trees! 

Compliments to – 

[Venue] – The Bradburns’ Farm on Upper Bench, Penticton 

[Caterer] – Joy Road Catering 

[Photography] – Voth Photography 

[Sound System] – Skaha Sounds 

[Flowers] – Farm + Friends + Art Knapp’s 

[Picnic Tables] – Skaha Beach Resort 

[Event Rental Equipment] – Real Events 

[Event Planner/Coordinator] – Malou Mabalay



  1. Very Very nice Malou! I love it!

    • Thanks, Ms. theardentone! Well, spring roll! – that’s how we roll! But seriously, I appreciate the comment. Looking forward to being your audience … while you’re doing a california roll!

  2. Congratulations Malou for a job well-done! You may have maximized all your effort, creativeness resourcefulness and mind twisting to turn this event to a very successful and enjoyable celebration. You’re a world class event planner of the century with focus on environment. Keep up!!!

    • Thanks for the kind words. It warms my heart when someone appreciates what I’m doing.

  3. Hey, Malou! You are world class!! Congratulations! I knew you had so much in yourself to unravel. Thank the good Lord you found a niche to express your great self!

    • Thanks, Jan! Yes, of course, to God be the Glory! Please send my best regards to Tita Ireen & hugs to Noelle!

  4. Wonderful! Great attention to detail! Love the unique decor, venue ,food.

    • Thanks, Bonnie!

  5. Loved the signage and how you got right in there and recycled your old household materials. Very inspirational. Thanks,

    -Vintage Origami

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