When you don’t want to compromise your love for the outdoors, but also don’t want to compromise the party – why not combine the two?
E + V are avid hikers, climbers, and runners in the mountains and around their home in Alberta. So they knew they had to be outside, and at least have a view of what they love most about Alberta – the landscape. But, their families mean a lot to them, so they knew they had to be included – especially because almost everyone who was at the wedding came from out of province! So they wanted to make it intimate and special.
Willow Hill Lodge was the perfect setting for their intimate wedding. With it about an hour drive from downtown Calgary, is out of the city, but close enough to make things easy- especially if you have people coming from outside of Alberta! Not to mention it has everything you need: a space to get ready + to crash at the end of the night, a ceremony spot, a reception area, room for extra accommodations if needed, and amazing views of the foothills with the mountains lining the horizon!
(FYI- all vendors are listed at the bottom of the blog!)
The one thing this day had that I think all weddings should have – is a relaxed feel to the day. We took things slow and easy leading up to the ceremony. Having snacks, sharing drinks, and writing vows. E getting ready in the front room with her sisters + parents and new MIL, while V got ready in the room right next to them with his brother + his best friends. One of them being their officiant!
Fun fact – you can have a loved one perform your ceremony in Alberta, if they have a temporary marriage commissioner license. If you want to learn more, head to Alberta’s info page here!
After E put on her wedding dress with her sisters and her mother, and of course their dog Luna (yes… you should 100% include your dog in your wedding), we headed out for a first look with her dad, and the first look with her soon-to-be-husband. With a storm rolling in, we took advantage of the good weather, and headed out.
Ok grooms – if you’re not gunna cry when you see your bride, you better be hyping them up like V is here!
We spent the time before their ceremony doing their portraits, and allowing them to have fun together before they had their ceremony. This was an important aspect of their day, because they wanted to be able to have time together before having the rest of their day with friends + family. Not to mention, neither of them are big on being the centre of attention. So seeing each other and being able to share some laughs + take things slow together before the ceremony allowed for the nerves to melt away, and for the excitement to take over.
And to add a personal touch to their portraits, they brought their trail runners to wear for some photos – to show their love for running + the mountains! (and yes, we are totally exploring the mountains again so they can get the wedding portraits they truly dream of. They’re using an adventure session– so stay tuned!)
These two were all about the fun + party. And they brought good vibes + big laughs and smiles all throughout the day! It was easy because we got along so well, and it was like hanging out with friends the whole day. This is a big part of my experience when working with couples on their wedding day!
It was so much fun just running around the field with them, because they didn’t take anything too seriously. Such a fun light-hearted couple who deserve this perfect day.
And keeping the easy-going-relaxed vibe for the day, their family was waiting for them when we came back from portraits to start the celebration before the ceremony.
Heads up – if you’re wondering if I’ll judge you if you do a shot before you ceremony…. I won’t. I’ll do it with you if you don’t want to be alone LOL.
E + V’s ceremony was sweet and simple. With a close friend officiating, their family sitting front row, and the storm holding off just for them, we celebrated their love + story and made everything official!
A unique idea that I thought was absolutely AMAZING about their wedding, was also how they decided to do their first dance + parent dances directly after the ceremony! This was the first I’ve seen a timeline change like this, but because they wanted to focus to be more on their guests, the good times + the party! Plus, they knew they didn’t want to be the centre of attention, so having their dances while they were already in front of everyone anyway allowed for such an easy going transition into their reception!
To see more unique ideas for your wedding, I post a lot on social media- check some out here!
And now, the REAL party begins!
A post-ceremony shot is also always welcome …
Here’s you sign to have fun with your guests during cocktail hour- another benefit to having a first look + portraits before your ceremony!
For the reception, Willow Hill had a tent set up where they had bench style seating, a bar close by, and the buffet leading right into their reception. The food from Visionary Catering was probably one of the best wedding meals I’ve ever had! So if you’re looking for delicious food with a buffet style for your small wedding – these are the ones to contact.
Like- I can’t say I’ve ever seen a groom running around his reception chewing on a steak bone- thats how you know it was good.
Everyone shared good food, good stories, celebrations of others, a lot of drinks, and a lot of laughs.
Beside the reception area, the venue had heaters set up with lights + carpets, as an outdoor dance floor. Even with the rain and cold wind, the dance floor was wild, which was the perfect way to end E + V’s wedding day. As two people who just wanted to have a good time with their friends + family, I think it was the perfect way to end such a wonderful windy wedding day.
If you’re looking to have your day captured where you get all the beautiful moments, without compromising all the candid fun ones, then fill out my contact form here and we can talk about your adventure!
Photography: Sun Peak Photo
Venue: Willow Hill Lodge
Dress: Park + Fifth
Catering: Visionary Catering
Bartender: Drake from True Spirits Mobile Bar