Wedding Venues with a Unique Vibe in Kelowna and Okanagan
I’ve photographed dozens of weddings in Kelowna and the Okanagan, and hundreds of weddings in British Columbia, so I totally understand the challenge of finding the perfect wedding venue. Size, amenities and location are obviously first considerations… but what about the VIBE? How do you want your wedding to feel?
Finding the best Kelowna wedding venue is really personal. I know that for many engaged couples, it’s this dance between finding something that feels like YOU but still has enough working bathrooms to keep the guests happy.
Finding the right “venue with a vibe” can also be a challenge if you have a small wedding or a wedding with a more extensive guest list. While you may love that tiny winery location, slicing your guest list in half just might not be an option.
And let’s also keep in mind that “upscale” doesn’t have to mean traditional or stuffy. In this blog, I’m sharing some the best Okanagan and Kelowna wedding venues that you may not have seen all over Instagram because they fly a tiny bit under the radar, but I personally love working at these venues.
Each has its own key features, but all definitely have a feeling that I think is worth you checking out and considering as a Kelowna or Okanagan wedding venue!
The Sanctuary, to me, is a place that feels as if a vineyard wedding met an upscale art gallery. It has this feeling of being in an extraordinary place but without pretension.
Then there’s the star of the show; that view. This beautiful neverending field of wildflowers and desert grasses leads to the lake. It changes with the seasons and takes your breath away! Sunflowers, blue flax, dahlias, hydrangeas…it’s just astounding the amount of love and work Kirsten and her team have put into this property to keep the look and feel natural and true to the land. It’s incredibly grounding and just fills you with calm and joy!
The wedding pavilion on the property is an open-air chapel. Built of wood and stone with reminders of peace and love embossed on the pillars, it’s roomy and perfectly placed for the best sun and the best views. Outdoor structures like this often fail by being too dark, but Kirsten painting the roof white and built it high enough that your guests are in shade, but the light refraction is heavenly.
The big patio and wrap-around porch at the Gallery Winery reception site are a huge favourite for guests because who can resist sitting outside and taking in all that beauty? Inside, the rough-hewn wooden floors, again painted white for perfect lighting, and local art displayed on the walls give it that homey feel that I love.
If your thing is nature and art, book Sanctuary Gardens and the Gallery Winery. It’s pretty much perfect.
Check out Katarina and Brandon’s epically amazing wedding slideshow:
The Vendor Team:
Photography: @barbarichphoto @buffygoodman
Planning, Design, & Floral Artistry: @white.haven.weddings
Ceremony Venue: @sanctuarygardens
Reception Venue: @thegallerywinery
Décor/Rentals: @alloccasionspartyandevent @perspectiveeventdesign @glitzrentals
Oak Estate is one of those wedding venues that feels upscale–it’s a bit like a movie set! Oak Estate Winery is in Summerland, and there’s this presence of being in nature with amazing views and a lot of awe-factor. You can almost feel that delicious sense of vacation + deep soul rest in the air, and when you add a wedding celebration to the experience there, it’s just perfection!
And although you don’t have to love wine to get married here, but it sure wouldn’t hurt 😉
From the moment you go off the private road to Oak Estate, you’re treated to fantastic cliffside views of Okanagan Lake, surrounded by five acres of lush vineyard and sweeping mountain views. It’s a place where every angle takes your breath away, everywhere you look. It’s a place that makes a wedding photographer’s heart thump!
And can we talk about the weather for a second? We all love the idea of a wedding outside until we start thinking about the “what ifs.” And while we’d all like to be that person who danced in the rain, it really is helpful to have a plan B in case of weather (because Canada) on a wedding day. So, while an outdoor wedding is a perfect scenario here, they’ve got you covered if the weather takes a turn.
This is a fantastic place to host a wedding if you love the idea of being surrounded by beauty and all the people you love. It’s off the beaten path enough to feel like a getaway, but its got a jaw-dropping spot for the ceremony, an incredible patio for dinner, the perfect room for a dance party, and all the wine you’ll ever need.
But don’t let me tell you about Oak Estate Winery… watch Taylor and Rob’s slideshow to get the full vibe of their entire wedding weekend. I spent the whole weekend with them there–I do this for lots of my clients, so they can remember everything about their destination wedding. I hope the slideshow convinces you that Oak Estate is the best destination Okanagan wedding venue!
If you’re looking for a more intimate wedding venue in wine country, check out the fantastic Summerland Estate Winery. It can host up to 80 guests and has everything you need to host a gorgeous wedding overlooking the rolling hills about Lake Okanagan.
There are so many fantastic areas to photograph here, from the vineyards to the beachy feels, but I think my favourite thing about a Summerland Estate wedding is that it is perfectly set up to accommodate an intimate guest list.
The ceremony spot is perfectly set, giving you a full panoramic view of the vineyard cascading into the lake. And there’s a villa where you BOTH can get ready. I love encouraging my couples to get ready in the same spot–you can feel each other’s excitement all morning, but you can’t see them! With one of you upstairs and one of you on the main floor, there’s tons of room for you each to get in the zone without risking a pre-wedding look. Check out how Hayley and Hao did theirs in the slideshow below!
The Vendor Team
One thing is for sure, not everyone dreams of a wedding at a traditional location. And that’s okay! Do it your way! If you’re looking for a completely unique and different wedding experience, then a backyard or Airbnb wedding might be right up your alley.
Here’s what I love about backyard Kelowna weddings; every element of your photos will feel personal. Have you ever seen a photo of your home or grandparent’s home and said, “Oh, I remember that couch/painting/whatever”?
That’s what it will be years later when you look at your photos because you will be surrounded by things that are part of your home that contains so many memories!
Another alternative is an Airbnb wedding, which takes all the aspects of feeling like you are in a personal space but may have more room and amenities. There are some pretty incredible Airbnbs located in Kelowna and the Okanagan Valley, and you don’t have the added pressure of trying to get your own home “wedding-ready.”
If you’re having an intimate wedding with a small guest list, then a backyard or Airbnb wedding could be the perfect way to make it feel extra special. Your guests will feel like they are attending a private party at your home! How comfortable is that?
It may seem odd to include a golf club as a wedding venue with a unique vibe, and I can’t believe I’m saying this, but Harvest is not a stodgy golf club. It’s so pretty there that it makes me want to golf… well, not really. But the view over Kelowna from the course is pretty!
Besides the striking views, there is so much variation on the property for photos like water features, bridges, waterfalls, and pavilions to take advantage of, and we’re close to more rustic settings like the river valley and Black Mountain. The sunsets are breathtaking, and the entire place feels like it’s secreted away somehow–you drive up this long winding road to the parking lot, and it feels like you’ve completely left Kelowna. I know people who have lived in this area their whole life and never knew this golf course was here!
If you have a larger guest list, definitely give Harvest Golf Course a look for your wedding because they can accommodate up to 160 guests. It’s also a great choice if you still want that outdoor wedding vibe (because you can get married right on the property) but want a little more insurance against the elements for your reception.
Harvest Golf Club should definitely be on your list if you are looking for a Kelowna wedding venue with gorgeous views, plenty of photo ops, and a is a bit of a hidden gem.
The Best Kelowna and Okanagan Wedding Venues
Next to finding the best Kelowna wedding venue, finding the right photographer to tell your story is also a big choice! If you’re searching for a journalistic-style wedding photographer in Kelowna and the Okanagan, I’d love to know more about your day and your plans! I specialize in capturing the candid moments, the ones that you’re going to look to when you want to remember what your wedding felt like, and when you want to remember how much you love your people and each other.
If you’re looking for a photographer who deeply cares about creating photos that make you feel like you felt you felt on your wedding day…..then click here and let’s chat.