'twere a magical night in the forest

I used to live next door to a lady who basically walked me through the process of being pregnant. She had adorable kiddos who I immediately took to, and eventually I was lucky enough to basically get adopted by the entire family. Fast forward, and she is an even more amazing Gramma than pregnancy coach.


I have a photo of this beautiful bride (the lady's daughter) holding my firstborn son when he was literally hours old, and it was a happy coincidence that our travel plans and her wedding plans matched up.



Somewhere far far away near a crazy little village called Lillooet, where the local Greek restaurant makes the best saganaki around and the big fancy hotel where the bride and groom got ready sports quirky decor reminiscent of when the west was won, this bride and groom decided to have a magical forest wedding.






After hours of primping and preening...


(and maybe a bit of failed fashion...)


One of my favourite things is the putting on of the dress, which regardless of how simple or complex is always an ordeal of sorts.


The bride's Gramma (who was also a bridesmaid) came in as the pinch hitter to add the finishing touches to this unique DIY convertible 2-in-1 dress.


The bride has always had a very special relationship with her Gramma and it's only fitting that she was the one to tuck and tie the final look.


And then it was showtime.



When I say magical forest wedding, I mean Magical. Forest. Wedding. The bride and groom (and their henchmen of beloved family and friends) managed to convert this tiny campsite into an oasis, replete with hand-crafted touches like the balloon garland (which got hung upside down momentarily haha!) to celebrate the groom's disgustingly adorable and completely romantic proposal on a hot air balloon.


There were picnic baskets instead of catering, and a communal "share your favourite poison" bar which all the guests happily contributed to.


The groom and his Dad waited by the riverside to make sure the bride would have her moment.


Setting the tone for this day, which was deeply imbued with the couple's commitment to family, their adorable sprogs were the first down the aisle.



Followed by their bridal party...


and then the groom's wife-to-be. (Have I ever mentioned I cry at most of my weddings? When the groom's chin started scrunching up and his eyes started stinging, I had to think of dump trucks and fishing gear to keep from losing it - so hard to focus a camera when your eyes are full of wet...)



When the ceremony began, you could hear birds chirping and water rushing, and everywhere you looked, you could feel the love.



Then there were vows...


The minister (also the groom's Poppa) had some special gifts and words of wisdom to impart...



Rings were exchanged...


The bride and groom then built an inuksuk from rocks they had gathered from the riverbed instead of doing a sand ceremony...


Papers were signed...


And then this epic kiss happened:



So much love, so much joy.


and so much family to shower them with love.









There were many guests from Edmonton, some from BC, and even some who travelled from the Netherlands to celebrate this special day.


When family pics were done, we tried to sneak off and get some bridal party and couples pics done...



but we were temporarily interrupted by this crazy awesome vehicle containing some globetrotting foreigners who had shipped their uber-cool truck to North America to be professional adventurers!


We had mentioned to the bride and groom that we had a canoe and they asked if they could borrow it. "You want to get photos done in a canoe in a lake in the mountains?" I asked. Like it was even a question!


OF COURSE YOU CAN BORROW IT!!!



Pics of the entire bridal party were followed with...








More pics of the bride and groom.






And then it was time to get the party started!









The bride and groom knew that as the sun set they'd need some lighting so had also asked if they could borrow our backyard lights. Which are already magical. So OF COURSE we said they could!


Speeches included the couple talking about how amazing their family and friends were (and are.)


And the wedding cake was a birthday cake for Grampa!


Then the dancing began in earnest.




Show offs.


(Isn't there always one person with a kid stuck to their leg during the dances? I think it's a prerequisite of a successful wedding dance...)


At last there was the garter and bouquet...



followed by the the the newlyweds walking through a canopy of sparklers (a perfect way to celebrate their bright future!) to spend their first night together as Mr & Mrs.


I am always so grateful to my husband for learning to shoot so he can come with me on weddings. I think he is finally starting to understand why I love weddings so much. Or at least see why he has to tolerate my obsession. I love weddings. I love love.