Mu­sic, din­ner and danc­ing make for a night to re­mem­ber.

Vancouver Magazine - - Gala Going - BY Do­minika Lirette PHO­TO­GRAPHS BY Brett Burns

É © Ð Ø Michael Har­ris and Kenny Park de­cided to get mar­ried in Michael’s par­ents’ back­yard, they didn’t ex­pect the event to be so much work. “A back­yard wed­ding sounds ca­sual, right?” asks Har­ris, a Van­cou­ver-based writer whose book, The End of Ab­sence, won the Gov­er­nor Gen­eral’s Lit­er­ary Award for non‘ction in 2017. “But, when we got into it, we re­al­ized it would have been a lot eas­ier to just rent a hall.” The chal­lenge was mak­ing the back­yard space work as a cer­e­mony space as well as a din­ing area plus bar, and also ac­com­mo­date a dance ’oor—but they did it. “At the end of the day we were pretty happy that it was there,” says Har­ris.

“I just wanted it to be a big party,” says Park, a sto­ry­board artist and il­lus­tra­tor. For him, bring­ing in a dance ’oor was es­pe­cially im­por­tant. “Know­ing my friends and fam­ily, we all love danc­ing and we love mu­sic, so I knew it was go­ing to be a big part of what would make the night spe­cial,” he adds. To bring their back­yard vi­sion to life, the cou­ple en­listed the help of plan­ner Christina So­brepena at Chat­ter­box Events for day-of co­or­di­na­tion, who Har­ris says saved the day more than once: “We would have had a woe­fully un­der­stocked bar with­out her.” They also hired servers to pour drinks from a self-made bar and de­liver din­ner from a Taco‘no food truck, as well as DJ Diz to spin beats all night long. “It was im­por­tant to us to throw the party, be­cause we wanted to give some­thing to our friends and fam­ily,” says Har­ris. “It was im­por­tant for us, too, be­cause we grew up in a world where [gay mar­riage] wasn’t le­gal. There was some­thing a bit spe­cial for us, be­ing able to stand in front of all of the peo­ple we love.”

FAM­ILY MAGIC In lieu of a ring bearer, Park’s dad made the wed­ding rings ap­pear with fire (top left).

SUIT UP Keep­ing things ca­sual with no ties, both grooms wore suits from J. Crew— Har­ris in grey, Park in tan (op­po­site, top).

SOLID GOLD Both of the grooms’ rings were made from gold do­nated by their moth­ers from their per­sonal jew­ellery col­lec­tions. “We wanted to have some­thing that felt a bit more sen­ti­men­tal, or con­nected to our past,” says Har­ris (be­low).

TACO TIME Both grooms love Ta­cofino—and it was eco­nom­i­cal. “We didn’t want to blow our bud­get on fancy cater­ers,” says Har­ris (left).

DANCE IT OUT “The dance floor was re­ally, re­ally fun,” Park says. All of the kids were groov­ing within min­utes, whip­ping out moves like the worm and show­ing o their mad floss­ing skills.

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