It goes without saying that Tara and Ryan’s wedding was one of the most anticipated highlights of my year. I have known these two for a very, very long time – and, as they were reminded mercilessly on their wedding day by their guests, everyone had also been waiting for this day for a very, very long time.
Tara and Ryan battled with the request to have me as their wedding photographer because they wanted me to come as a guest. I assured them that nothing would be a bigger honor than to document this day for them, and to put me at ease that this part of their day is in good hands. (Cause, really, I would have been stress-watching the photographer like an angry mother bear.)
Tara and her bridesmaids got ready at The Ranche‘s upper room listening to the soundtrack to Brave (and also Wreck-It Ralph – this is my kind of girl), as they viewed guests arriving and the ceremony site assembling. Everything seemed to come together at a good pace until suddenly, it was showtime. Now, anyone who knows me well enough knows that if the groom cries during the ceremony, I am basically a goner. I’m right there with him. In the same respect, anyone who knows Ryan knows him to be a logical and stoic engineer of a man. He’s well composed and pragmatic… except when it comes to Tara. This man becomes a big softie, and this day was no exception. The moment he saw Tara being walked down by her parents, he broke down in tears. He couldn’t contain himself. Cue the photographer crying. It was a scorcher during the ceremony but I hardly noticed – in fact, I had to take a tissue from a mutual friend to pat my eyes down and continue to shoot.
These two amazing and unconventional people read beautiful poems to each other, including “The Day The Saucers Came” – which I have heard at two weddings this year, much to my delight. Many tears were shed and the two of them had their day as they wanted to – as stress free and fun as possible. Finishing up at the beautiful Teatro Restaurant for their reception, I put my camera down after my coverage was finished and enjoyed the end of the evening with them.
Tara and Ryan, words can’t really describe what it means to have been a part of your day. Thank you so much for trusting me as a photographer and as a friend to be there for you.
Thank you as well to Glen of Glen Co Photography for the assistance during the day!
Describe your planning process!
Tara & Ryan: We wanted an outdoor wedding ceremony with the option to go indoors if we encountered any inclement weather. Since there aren’t many places like that in Calgary, we chose the Bow Valley Ranche at Fish Creek Park – an absolutely beautiful old ranch house with gorgeous gardens and an amazing restaurant. We began planning early enough (almost a year and a half in advance!) that we were able to secure the venue. It’s very popular, and books up quickly! We wanted our reception to be downtown to make it easy for our guests to take a cab or a train home. We chose the beautiful Chicago Chophouse… at least we did until they disappeared with our $2,000 deposit and closed up shop. We scrambled a little, and ended up going with our second choice, Teatro. (They would have been our first choice had they been a bit less expensive.) We couldn’t have been happier with the switch – Teatro is absolutely amazing, and the staff there was very accommodating and easy to work with.
What was your favorite part of the day?
It was very special that Tara’s uncle Ian Trigg was able to perform the ceremony. It was very meaningful to have someone who knows us so well to be able to do the deed! It was also completely amazing that Tara’s dad did all the flowers! It was an insane amount of work and the end product was absolutely breathtaking. We had champagne after the ceremony and got to socialize with all our friends and family while also trying to get photos taken. It was just so much fun, and amazing to see all the people we love and care for gathered in one place. When we were finished socializing and photo-taking, we took off in our little green convertible with the goal of dropping it off at our house before getting back in a limousine with our wedding party. We spent a few moments alone at home, just taking it all in. It was a lovely quiet luxury in the middle of a rather hectic day. It also allowed us to spend a very short five minutes getting photos taken in our backyard! Those photos are extra special – just us in our own space on our wedding day. We also really enjoyed rolling the 20-sided die instead of kissing when glasses were clinked! If a guest rolled 11 or higher, we had to kiss. If they rolled 10 or lower, they either had to kiss someone, or perform an act of physical humour. Our emcee, Kevin Bowes, took it and ran – he had us up from our table, touring around all the other tables in the restaurant, rolling the die to make either us or someone else kiss. It ended up being a lot of fun. Also, our DJ Rémi Sauvé was amazing – he worked with us to cue up the exactly perfect part of the Superman theme song to walk out to. It was a blast! And the doughnuts were amazing. Very easy to just order off their menu and have them available – less fussy than cake. Looking back, it was such a special day, and so meaningful to stand up in front of our friends and family to make that commitment to each other. Even though we have been together, and living together for a LONG time, it was an amazing and emotional experience.
What is your greatest advice for newly engaged couples planning their day?
Start early, and embrace spreadsheets. From the very beginning, we used an Excel spreadsheet to compile our guest list and begin filling in contact and mailing information. That ended up being key, as we printed envelopes for invites, arranged the seating plan, and kept track of RSVPs in that document. It saved us so much time and frustration. DELEGATE. Accept help. Tara had a silly idea to sew up a multi-coloured bunting to have as the backdrop for the ceremony. It got partially made, then left on the back burner. A couple days before the wedding, Tara’s mom and aunt finished the whole thing! It ended up making a stunning backdrop, and wouldn’t have been completed if the project hadn’t have been handed off to someone else. Also keeping an accurate and current budget is essential. Again, spreadsheets work perfectly.
Don’t let anyone tell you that certain traditions simply *must* be included. We ignored a lot of wedding traditions, made up some of our own, and just allowed the day to be about us. As a result, we felt the whole day was authentic in every way. We weren’t playing lip service to anyone or doing anything we didn’t think held meaning for us. Also, above all else, make sure you take a moment to look at each other and let it all wash over you. And make sure you eat food and stay hydrated! One last thing would be to use your own talents as much as possible – with Ryan doing much of the detailed planning, and Tara handling all the wonderful printables like signage, invites, place markers etc. we saved time and a LOT of money.
Ceremony: Bow Valley Ranche Restaurant // Reception: Teatro Restaurant // Pastor: Ian Trigg // Bride’s dress: Ethos Bridal // Groom’s apparel: RW&CO and Hudson’s Bay // Transportation: Cascade Limousine Service Limited // DJ/Entertainment: High Fidelity Entertainment // Hair stylist: Breanne Sinclaire // Makeup artist: Jill Rollefstad // Florist: The bride’s dad! Alan Trigg // Wedding doughnuts: Jelly Modern Doughnuts // Stationery and design: The bride!