Newfoundland and Labrador is becoming a popular wedding destination, thanks in part to the Doctor's House Inn and Spa in Green's Harbour on Trinity Bay — about 100 kilometres west of St. John's.
The owner, Jerry Byrne, has been hosting weddings for people from all over the world at his venue for the last five years, and is expecting to see at least 20,000 more people in the next year.
"The beautiful thing about the place, it was designed by a doctor of psychiatry, Dr. Boddie. He planted all the trees in the nursery and waited to see what they would look like in fall," said Byrne.
"The fall weddings out there are spectacular, beaten only by the winter weddings really."
The property began development over 50 years ago as a home for Charles and Mary Boddie. Today, it's a scenic getaway that plays host to intimate weddings, in addition to being a spa and restaurant.
Byrne said that it has seen a significant amount of international interest.
One couple from China even brought a film crew to their wedding which was a 68-person party, according to Byrne.
"The couple, Ray and Joy, beautiful couple, from China and living in China as we speak, they graduated from Memorial University, fell in love in university and wanted to get married back where they fell in love," he said.
"So they came out for a visit to see the Doctor's House, absolutely fell in love with it and chose it immediately as the place to get married."
Byrne said he was given full use of the wedding video to help to market his business, something he says will become a cornerstone for his advertising moving forward.
The Doctor's House has been gaining attention as the place to visit in Newfoundland.
Byrne attributes the success of his business to its social media presence.
"Especially this year, it's been amplified. We put a significant amount of money into marketing," he said.
And it appears to be working. So far, the business has hosted British, Irish and American weddings, among others from across Canada.
The venue closed out 2018 with six weddings and two corporate retreats on the books. By the end of 2019, it will have hosted 40 weddings and 20 corporate retreats.
But, interestingly enough, the Doctor's House has hosted a number of weddings for people who live in places generally considered to be some of the top wedding destinations in the world.
"This year we had a wedding from Hawaii. They got on the website … and were looking for something different in North America. You really can't get much further away from Hawaii in North America than St. John's, Newfoundland or Green's Harbour," Byrne said.
"We had a wedding from the Bahamas. Imagine, people coming from the Bahamas, looking for something totally different — something unique. So it becomes an exotic location."
Helping out your neighbours
Byrne said his philosophy is to help promote other destinations across the province. In turn, those businesses help his too.
What's more, Byrne said Memorial University helps to introduce people from all over the world to the province.
"We can leverage that and offer things like getaway destinations, like special honeymoons. We've done quite a few honeymoons, quite a few engagements," he said.
"We have a product. They come from all over the world.... That just becomes an amplifier for more opportunities, not only for us but up and down the shore, around the province and around the country."