Valerie Bruno and Kory Benvenuto
This beautiful love story resulted in a gorgeous mountaintop wedding in Whistler, BC.
Tell us a bit about your love story (Valerie): We began as acquaintances in our hometown of Richmond Hill, Ont. eight years ago, where I worked at Mexican Amigos, a grill and tequila bar owned by one of his best friends. We never knew each other beyond a friendly hello but were always happy to see each other.
Five years later, I left that job and we didn’t cross paths again until three years later at that same bar. It just so happened to be the first day of summer in 2018.
It was busy there; everyone had come to watch the Argentina vs. Croatia soccer game in the World Cup. We were each sitting with our own groups of friends on opposite sides of the restaurant, but made a point to say hi to one another. I remember going back to my table after that hello and telling my friends I was completely infatuated by him. Before he left, I ran up to catch him at the door, our ‘goodbye’ felt more like a ‘hello’. It was in that moment, at the entrance of the place we had first met eight years ago, that we both felt sparks fly, but we were both caught way too off guard to act on it in that moment.
Within an hour we were both asking mutual friends for each other’s contact information and by the end of the night we had our first date planned. The very first thing we talked about when he picked me up for our date was that he had gotten a job offer that very day for a position in Vancouver, BC.
Immediately following our first date, which lasted 12 hours, I told my roommate I was going to marry him. Within a week or two of dating we each told our families we had found “the one”. We spent a little less than a month together in Toronto, but it was the best month either of us had ever spent in our home city. It felt like a vacation, discovering hidden beaches and beautiful private spaces in the big city.
Our staycation ended abruptly after a little less than a month when Kory had to leave for BC. By that time, we were so in love, nothing could stop us from being together.
We did long distance for six months after only being together in person for less than one. It was hard but we spoke every day and made a point to see each other at least once a month during that time. We found out early on that we worked well together both as a couple and as business partners. We operated a business together long-distance and loved the idea of working together.
While Kory was living in BC, I moved into his house in Richmond Hill and took care of his (now our) three beautiful cats. Shortly after moving to Vancouver, he rescued two puppies! Everyone except the two of us thought it was crazy, but we knew right away just how special our furry family would become.
I moved to BC in February 2019 and together we have created our dream-home with our three cats and two dogs. The stars aligned when we got there together, and we manifested our dream home on Burnaby mountain with gorgeous views of the water from our backyard.
We always knew we wanted to marry one another but first said it aloud to each other in March of 2019.
Kory proposed the idea of a very intimate wedding, just the two of us somewhere beautiful. I loved this idea and together with Jeremy from Whistler Wedding Pastor, we planned the most perfect ceremony. It involved a helicopter tour up to a snowy mountain top where we had our ceremony, our Prosecco toast, our first dance, and a photoshoot! After the ceremony we flew back down, signed the paperwork, then took a walk to the valley at the base of the mountain where we had another photoshoot. We spent the rest of the week in Whistler enjoying the wilderness, the Village, the restaurants, the hotel, the Scandinave spa, and each other!
The dates we have marked our relationship with are very important and significant to us:
The day we (re)met was June 21st, 2018, the 1st day of summer, and our wedding ceremony was August 8th 2020, which is Lion’s Gate, an astrologically significant, powerful cosmic alignment as well as our 777th day together.
What were your original plans for your wedding day? This was our original plan, we both wanted to do something very intimate somewhere beautiful in nature. With the help and guidance of Jeremy from Whistler Wedding Planner, we planned the wedding in January and were married in August!
Will you be having a larger celebration next year? We planned to have a huge party with friends and family from all across Canada, Italy, and the USA at Hart House on the University of Toronto campus on our 1stanniversary. We have the date on hold, but are still not sure if it’ll be this summer or not, we know we want to wait until we can have a proper party full of hugs, kisses, and dancing so if not this summer, maybe next. We’re not too worried about when that will be though, since our families are already very close, and we have already had the wedding of our dreams!
What was your favourite part of the day? Our favourite part of the day was reading our vows. We both wrote our own vows and sharing them with just each other on top of a snowy mountain was the most warm and magical experience of our lives. It felt like the most perfect moment, a moment where we were both changed forever in the most amazing way.
What advice can you give to couples planning a wedding? Remember the whole point of a wedding is to marry the love of your life, so the ceremony should be the biggest focus of the day. We would recommend making the ceremony it as intimate as possible. Our ceremony, being just the two of us with no audience, allowed us to be our truest selves without any feeling of shyness or self-consciousness especially when reading our vows.
It is also very important to have time with just each other after the ceremony. Go for a walk with a bottle of Champagne and absorb what just happened (pro-tip from our photographer, Helen: bring your photographer along for an intimate walk to catch the post-ceremony high with some candids). Feel all the warm feelings of love that pump through your veins, and just be close to one another. It’s a day for you and your spouse, as long as that is the focus, it will be a magical day!
We definitely think having a big party with friends and family is a great idea, too. A marriage is first and foremost about a union between two people, but a bonus is that it’s a union of two families. If you can, make your reception party on a separate day so that you can really enjoy everything that the ceremony and the reception have to offer. As for the party, bring your comfy shoes, hit the dance floor, and don’t forget the open bar!
Location of ceremony: Rainbow Mountain, Whistler, BC
Gown designer: David’s Bridal
Suit designer: Calvin Klein
Planner & officiant: Jeremy Postal, Whistler Wedding Pastor
Photographer: Helen Sarah Photographer
Videographer: Calling Mountains Productions
Florals: Senka Florist
Transportation: Blackcomb Helicopters
Hair & Makeup: Lidia Baker, Dolly Makeup
Lashes: Kiauna, The Brow Girl
Nails: Haven Nails & Spa, Burnaby, BC
Heart Tattoo: Rachel Hofer, Vancouver