This couple. This family. So much love.
I’m so fortunate to know this wonderful family through Joanne, Chelsea’s sister, and was honored to photograph their Family Mini Session on Mother’s Day of 2013. At the end of the Family Mini Session, Willy (Chelsea’s mother), came up to me privately and asked me about my wedding photography services. Her intuition told her that something was brewing between Chelsea and Nate, and that they might be contacting me before long. Sure enough, in December of 2013, I receive an email from Nate saying that him and Chelsea were no longer dating… but that they were engaged! And it sounded like they had chosen me as the photographer before even settling down on a venue; I was just floored to hear that.
I have to start off by saying that when I arrived to the rehearsal of the wedding, I was floored that such an amazingly cute and beautiful chapel existed only a few kilometers outside of Calgary. Honestly, what a beautiful place and so perfect for this country-loving couple. The rehearsal proceeded as normal, and while the mothers got emotional, Bob (Chelsea’s dad), was solid and stoic – as I’ve grown to understand that is how he is. And so, I was not prepared for what happened while he walked Chelsea down the aisle on the big day. I see Chelsea through my lens, with a smile from ear to ear, and then look over at Bob… who is barely keeping it together, and I just break. I watch this father walk his daughter down the aisle with so much pride and so much emotion, that I’m barely able to blink away the tears myself. After that, it was all over as I watch the rest of the family, including Nate himself, become teary-eyed throughout the entire experience. Nate was trembling trying to compose himself, but he would not take his eyes off of his beautiful bride.
During her speech, one of the bridesmaids mentioned that on the car ride over to the reception hall, Nate had looked at his ring and said, “what a huge responsibility”. The fact that Nate acknowledges and respects the role he has chosen for his life, as he leads it beside Chelsea, is absolutely beautiful and very telling of his strong character.
I want to thank the amazing Chelsea and Nate who were so respectful and wonderful to work with and photograph. At the reception, Willy had told me that they had no doubt in their mind about having me as their wedding photographer, and I couldn’t be more humbled and honored. Thank you so much.
Thank you as well to Glen of Glen Co Photography for his amazing assistance and photography throughout the day!
Describe your planning process: “We had been looking in and around Calgary, plus west into Canmore/Banff for a couple months, when I (Chelsea) stumbled upon the Spring Valley Chapel on the internet. We called up the owners, went out to the location, and then it was just a matter of picking an available date! For the reception, we looked south of Calgary, and it turned out the location for the Millarville Farmer’s Market was the fit for us! The third big decision was the catering, and once the locations and food were decided upon, everything else came together. A lot of inspiration came from Pinterest, family and friends, and many items were stumbled up, or were things we had on hand already.”
What was your favorite part?: “The speeches at the reception were beautiful. Not only were the ‘planned’ speeches wonderful, but the spontaneous speeches were just as touching, even though they weren’t planned. We also loved how much our guests enjoyed the day; several people throughout the day and in the days following told us how much fun they had.”
Greatest advice?: “Focus on the big stuff first (location, catering, etc.), because once you get that all booked, the rest is much more fun! As a list person, I found a magazine called Real Simple Weddings that had a master list of pretty much everything, organized by months prior. I didn’t follow it to a tee, but it was a great way to see what should be done, and quickly eliminated items we didn’t need. Ask for help, everyone is excited and willing to help out. Don’t think that you need a perfect wedding, you’ll go crazy. You don’t need everything the industry tells you, what’s most important is that you’re marrying the love of your life, and you’re celebrating with those you love the most. In the end, it’ll happen how it happens! The day of will just flow, sometimes in unexpected ways, but it’s all wonderful.”
Anything else?: “I bought my dress from a consignment boutique and had it tailored; my husband’s custom suit cost more than my dress, tailoring and shoes combined! The linens were cheaper to buy online than to rent, and you don’t have to worry about returning them the next day. Pinterest is great for inspiration and ideas. There are two campsites at the Millarville Race Track, we booked several sites for our guests, and found out afterwards that several people had a really good time after the reception ended.”
Ceremony venue: Spring Valley Chapel / Reception venue: Krystal Meade from Millarville Racing and Agricultural Society / Officiant: Stan Block / Bride’s attire: The Bragging Bride Boutique / Bride’s tailor: Ingenuity Couture / Groom’s attire: O’Connors / Hair stylist: Scruples Hair Design / Makeup artist: Tanya Dolly (403-461-9386) / Florist: Silk Plant Warehouse / Stationary: Vistaprint / Decor: Linen Tablecloth / Caterer: Rocky Mountain BBQ Catering