Blog TopicsEventsNewsInspirationFeaturedWeddingsNetworkLearnShowcaseShareCelebrateGive BackBusiness Info
The Sweetest Morning Possible, Thanks to the Teahouse at Abkhazi Garden
Posted By Victoria WoW January 16th, 2015
Thanks to our hosts The Teahouse at Abkhazi Gardens, WoW kicked off 2015 with love, friendship, and renewed goals for the year to come. The 'Garden that Love Built' provided an intimate setting to reconnect with our fellow wedding professionals, while we were treated to Afternoon Tea and more at this beloved Victoria landmark.
The romantic history of the Garden provided the perfect backdrop for our perfect morning. WoW Members and guests alike converged on an elegantly arranged tearoom, overlooking the gorgeous gardens. Owner Page Loten welcomed us warmly, and shared the charming story of the royal family that built the Abkhazi Garden.
As WoW Member Alison Froom from The Butchart Gardens commented, we all felt like royalty – sipping tea while being regaled with princess stories. If you fantasized about tea parties when you were little, this is probably what you had in mind!
Romantic Love Story
The Abkhazi's story is touching and unforgettable. Marjorie (Peggy) Pemberton-Carten met exiled Georgian Prince Nicholas Abkhazi in Paris when they were both young, in the 1920s. Sadly, they lost touch and both experienced tragedy in World War II prisoner of war camps.
After, Peggy made her way, alone, to Victoria in 1945, and in 1946 bought the property that would eventually become the gardens.
That same year, she received a letter from Nicholas – neither at this point knowing if the other had survived the war. Excited, they met in New York and were quickly engaged. They married in Victoria in 1946.
As their love blossomed, so did their gardens, which became the focus of their artistic creativity. They lovingly and carefully chose plants to enhance the land's natural beauty. For 40 years, they worked side by side to create the landmark we all love today.
After we learned the Abkhazi's story, Page gave Members free time to share their favourite love story of the year. And since we all work in the wedding industry, we all have plenty of stories to choose from! WoW Founder Sharon Rai remembered a couple in their 50s, together for 25 years, who decided to elope at WoW Member Inn at Laurel Point. She described how in love they were, how much their wedding still meant to them, even after all those years, and how much she was moved by their passion.
These are the stories we love. It's why we do what we do.
A Must-Do Victoria Indulgence
Everyone in Victoria must visit the Abkhazi Garden – and when you do, you must indulge with their exceptional afternoon tea. Their seasonal menus showcase local and Abkhazi-grown produce, as well as a long list of divine, handmade creations.
We enjoyed freshly baked scones, savoury mini quiche, croissants, free range organic egg salad, smoked salmon profiterole with caramelized shallot cream and dill, and, of course, a delicious selection of fresh baking – and that's just to name a few of the many treats!
And from Angelwater, a sweet tea made with lavender blossoms, spearmint leaves and elder flowers to the graceful, black tea-blend Royal Abkhazi, we sipped delicious, refreshing teas that enhanced our treats.
After tea, we grabbed our coats and headed out to explore the property. Page guided us through its crooks and crannies, pointing out the Garden's amazing foliage and design. He showed us where wedding ceremonies take place in the Spring and Summer and we could easily visualize how gorgeous they must be.
After, we came back indoors, and formed a circle, for what turned out to be some of our most heart-felt WoW networking yet – clearly, we were inspired by the love around us!
We all took turns, opening up about our most important business goals, and appreciating the insightful advice we received. It was great to see Members comfortable enough with each other to share intimate details about their businesses, and to see how much we all valued each other's feedback. As we approach our 2 year anniversary, it means so much to see an engaged community supporting each other and growing together.
Our networking circle also helped us make some concrete connections. For example, Alison from The Butchart Gardens and Page from The Teahouse at Abkhazi Gardens both realized an area they could work on together, to the benefit of each business. Which is a reminder – WoW works, when you work WoW. We facilitate networking with the best wedding businesses in the city, but Members need to reach out and network to make the most of their membership.
After our morning together, some members stayed and lingered in The Teahouse at Abkhazi gift shop, which features a variety of unique, quality gifts crafted by Vancouver Island artisans. Truly, every corner of this place offered a new delight. Remember that they offer catering, too. Our hosts also sent us home with delicious lavender jelly - a sweet way to cap a sweet morning.
Thank you again to our absolutely lovely hosts, the Teahouse at Abkhazi Garden. We can't imagine a better start to the new year. We have so much coming up this year, it's hard to know where to start. So make sure you're following our blog to stay up to date with all of Victoria's top wedding service providers!
And please let us know in the comments - have you been to the Teahouse at Abkhazi Garden? What was your favourite part?