When Laura Van Sprang married her husband Sean two years ago, she wanted the ceremony to be in a place of meaning and celebration, a place where family, friends and community gathered together.
Having worked with many families through their celebrations of life and memorial services, the Sands Victoria funeral home manager and former wedding planner could think of no better place than a funeral chapel, in particular the Eden Brook Funeral Chapel in her home town of Calgary, where the wedding photos could be also taken in a beautiful, park-like area of the on-site cemetery.
While some asked about having a wedding in a place also home to funerals, many of our most cherished spaces play both roles, Laura notes. “It’s an opportunity for family and community to come together to celebrate someone’s story or a new chapter in someone’s life.”
Anthony Black, assistant manager at Sands Victoria, was inspired by Laura’s story while planning his own wedding to partner Vedran Karl.
Following a weekend ceremony at nearby St. John the Divine and photos at Beacon Hill Park, family and friends gathered at Sands Victoria on Quadra Street for the reception.
“Our spacious reception centre is just so elegantly appointed, and with everything right on site it’s the perfect space for a wedding reception,” Anthony says. “From beautiful flowers to amazing food, everything we provide for a funeral or celebration of life are the same things we wanted for our wedding reception.”
Part of the Victoria community since 1912, Sands’ chapel also offers seating for 200, for those who might want a service or ceremony on-site as well, Laura notes.
For Anthony, the sense of community Sands provided was also key.
“When I became a funeral director, this became a second home to me. I came of age here and it’s a really important part of me,” Anthony reflects. “My husband-t0-be liked it as well and the more we looked around, the more we were drawn back here.”
Laura and Anthony’s co-workers couldn’t be more thrilled, from floral designer Erin Evans, owner of the on-site Petals Plus, to in-house chef Michael Williams, and everyone who helped with the decorating.
“We’re so excited about being part of such an important event for Anthony and Vedran, and bringing the community together. We like to say that at Sands Victoria we do things differently but really we are a place to celebrate people, at all life’s important times,” Laura says.