Who doesn't love a farm fresh fête?! If you want to keep your celebrations close to the amenities of a city, but want a feeling of escape, the UBC Farm should be on your radar. This venue is a working farm: supporting research, producing food, and engaging the local community through various events and farmer’s markets. It’s located on the University of British Columbia campus where you’ll find hidden trails to secret beaches and acres of west cost rainforest to wander in and, is only a twenty five minute drive from the heart of Downtown Vancouver.
The Venue Setting
UBC is not to be confused with the Old Mc Donalds 'e-i-e-i-o' farm. This research venue couldn't be further from Mr. Mc Donald. In fact, this farm is all about supporting sustainable fresh food fare, so host a grandiose garden party with a cause!
The UBC Farm is a farm-tastic place to celebrate a wedding or throw a dinner party. Picture a massively long feasting table down the center of this Vancouver venue. Perfect for posh picnics, retreats, BBQ bashes, field dinner parties and rolicking games of bocce ball and beer. The stars will be your twinkle lights as you dance amongst rolling rows of lavender and greenery.
The UBC Farm was the only spot for Amy & Jacob’s nuptials; it’s actually where they met and fell in love. Caring for the earth, tilling the soil, and supporting food sustainability is something that is super important to them and is embodied in this venue. Amy described her vision for the wedding before the planning started in full force; she wanted to have an event that felt like Bilbo Baggin’s birthday party (from 'The Lord of the Rings' movie)—lots of merriment, dancing, twinkly lights, and a feeling of magic in the air. The poplar grove was the perfect backdrop for their ceremony as the party bunting they hung danced in the wind and a warm afternoon light filtered beautifully through the tree leaves.
For their 200+ guests, the field next to the apple orchard was a natural choice to host the reception festivities—there was more than enough room for their party tent and for guests to sprawl out on the property during cocktail hour. They were able to bring their favorite Vancouver chef to the farm to prepare a completely custom, fancy, family-style food for the guests which was important to them as they are total foodies. They also created a custom cocktail menu with Amy’s favourite: rosemary gin fizz and Jacob’s preference for local craft beer. The open-air dance floor strung with globe lights sat beside the apple orchard and all of the guests enjoyed getting down to the live Bluegrass band brought in to lead several rounds of square dancing. It was the perfect evening of magic and merriment.
The Apple Orchard
There are two main spots on the farm where people have hosted their celebrations: in the field by the apple orchard or by the poplar grove. The field is an ideal spot for large events and weddings: there is plenty of room for people to roam and to put up a party tent. Imagine a cocktail hour at sunset with the sun dipping below the trees that lie to the west, a golden glow settling over your celebration.
The Poplar Grove
To the west of the field, the poplar grove is a magical little spot, perfect as a backdrop for a wedding ceremony with a large guest list. If you’re electing to keep things on the intimate side instead, the poplar grove can be used as a natural aisle and you can have your guests seated under the canopy of leaves. When night falls, the poplar grove can transform into the perfect spot for a long table dinner—string some globe lights from branch to branch and enjoy the ambiance of dining al-fresco.
It is important to understand that the UBC Farm is a working farm, and with a working farm, there are tilled fields, compost piles, and seedling experiments happening here and there. It has a decidedly rustic feel. The staff won’t tuck away these things for your event. Personally, though, I don’t feel like this takes away from any party you’ll have here if you’re the kind of laid-back soul inclined to dine beneath the foliage of a poplar tree.
Another consideration is that you’ll need to bring some great vendors on board who know their stuff: renting portable washrooms is a necessity for events here as is a wedding planner who can take care of the setup logistics and a caterer who can prepare a remarkable meal without a built-in kitchen. This is a little more work on the logistical end of things, but it means that you don’t need to have a cookie-cutter event or wedding; you can bring any food and beverage you like to the farm as there is no required caterer and you can decorate however you see fit.
A Magical Evening
Not only will you support the working farm by having an event here, but you will support the sustainable food movement. You will do this without sacrificing the magic and beauty of your dinner party, event or wedding. The farm is a veritable blank canvas with a tree-filled backdrop and pink hued skies. The perfect setting for sparkling twinkle lights to work their magic. This venue lends itself to a glamorous Midsummer’s Night Dream bash — decked with glittering candles and over-flowing glasses of chardonnay while also being perfect for a rustic country hoedown. Live music and a tented dinner reception included.
Whether an intimate party of 20 or a glittering grandiose affair of 400 revelers, you can go so many directions at this farm venue under the moon lit sky.
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