In all of my 10+ years’ experience of photographing weddings, I had never had the opportunity to photograph a First Nations wedding. When I got an inquiry from Courtney, who found me through my Instagram, I got super giddy at the notion of witnessing this amazing union! It was fantastic to see the traditional clothes some guests wore, as well as all of the beautiful songs we experienced – from Courtney’s dad who sang while walking her arm-in-arm down the aisle, to a beautiful traditional song sung at the end of the ceremony, to a very old and rare traditional song sung by three young men that not many have had the fortune of hearing. At the reception, there were many speeches and I really felt the love in the room. Most of all, I felt really lucky to have been included in such a rare ceremony for this community and to have been given the honour of documenting it. It was a beautiful experience and everyone was incredibly welcoming and kind. Thank you so much to Courtney, Nevin, and their entire families for allowing me into your lives like this. It was a truly unforgettable day!
Describe your planning process!
Courtney: I always wanted to honour my culture as much as I could when I got married and so I wanted a more earthy vibe. My wedding favours were probably one of my favourite. It’s four elements that are sacred to us–sage, sweet pine, sweet grass and rocks from timber limits. We give thanks for blessings and we ask for guidance from the elements. It was really a sign of respect and love to our guest. Thanking them for coming and being a part of our special day. A prayer of love and happiness from both Nevin and I and our families.
What was your favorite part of your day?
Courtney: Getting ready for the ceremony was one of my favorites. Being with my bridesmaids, getting my hair and make up done and putting on my dress and moccasins. I felt incredibly blessed, and soo ready to go marry my man!
Nevin: One of my most favourite parts of all was hearing my new father-in-law welcome me into the family. I won’t lie, I was almost in tears.
What is your greatest advice for brides and grooms getting married?
Courtney: Just breath and trust that everything will turn out, and try to enjoy the process.
Courtney: One of the most beautiful and memorable experiences we will never forget is our traditional blessing. Receiving that eagle feather was truly an honour for the both of us, it is something we will both cherish in our hearts forever.
Ceremony venue: Reader Rock Garden // Reception venue: Grey Eagle Resort & Casino // Officiant: Don Steel of Arnold Mountain Horse // Bridal attire: David’s Bridal // Groom’s attire: Derks // Transportation: AMPM Limousines // DJ: Joni BOM // Hair & Makeup: Larissa Tail Feathers of Cree-ative Hair & Makeup // Florist: Avenida Grower Direct // Cake: Teddi Cakes // Decor: Louise Healy