Wedding flowers-in fact 27 acres of wedding flowers-were the order of the day last Sunday as Bill and Amanda (Callin) Young tied the knot at Minter Gardens.
Bill Young's grandfather Jim helped build the Chilliwack show gardens, so it was a bittersweet day as the photogenic young couple strolled the garden on its picturesque final weekend before it closed Monday.
"It's the seventh anniversary of our first date. We met on Friday the 13th," joked Bill, joined by a large group of wedding guests.
"It's our lucky number. We're going to Vegas and let it ride on number 13."
The Youngs were the last in a long line of couples to choose the meticulously manicured garden property -now up for sale-to spread their wedding joy.
"It's just an honour to be the last after the thousands of weddings that have happened here," said Bill.
"My grandfather Jim Young built many of the buildings here, so there's that family connection."
Amanda's special day was also sunny and warm-a fitting, picture perfect way to start a marriage. "We had chosen to get married here. Then they phoned to tell us they were closing," said Amanda.
"We decided to carry on. It's a beautiful place."
But keeping the place beautiful was also a lot for the Minter family to look after, along with the nearby 18-acre Country Garden Store that will remain open even after the gardens property finds a buyer.
"We've been very busy making sure all our commitments are met," said Lisa Minter-Bustin, whose father Brian Minter first opened the gardens in 1980.
"What's been truly amazing is the outpouring of affection-cards and letters and emails and phone calls. We're just so encouraged by all the goodwill and support."
The garden's future is in doubt. Presumably someone willing to buy the property will also want to turn at least part of it into housing.
"There are a lot of question marks right now," said Minter-Bustin.
"That's not our skill set- developing the property."
As she walked the grounds, many visitors approached her, some with thanks, some with regrets, some with sadness, but all appreciative of the decades the gardens has been a lovingly cared for refuge from fast-paced urban living.
The family announced the closure in June, so with time the shock of selling has subsided.
"It's been tough," admitted Minter-Bustin.
"I was five when we bought the property, and my kids have been born and raised here.
"We've had a number of months to think about it, so it's not so difficult any more.
"What I'll remember most is that the people who come here are just cool people."
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