Never in my lifetime have I seen a more beautiful DIY wedding. For one, it’s a tough thing to pull off. There are so many moving parts to a wedding that you really need to enlist help from friends and family and be well organized.
The bride and groom got married at the groom’s family cottage and retreat, where you can also rent cabins year round to camp, hunt, hike, explore, and relax. I didn’t know what to expect, as I drove the two hours from Ottawa to the Bonnechere Valley. Highway turned into winding roads, which turned into a dirt road leading into the Red Wolf Retreat.
Things were relaxed as the bride was finishing up her hair when I arrived, while the groom’s family was eating lunch in the kitchen.
Can we talk about how beautiful this ring is?! Also, Jackson’s wedding band was his grandfather’s…making it an even more special ring.
After the bride was dressed, I went down to the pond to meet Jackson, where the couple decided to have their first look. With Jackson in place, Christina made her way down to see her groom!
The bride and groom had such a relaxed wedding day planned that we had ample time for photos – about an hour following their first look, an hour or so after their ceremony, plus some time at sunset. AH-mazing!
It was a pretty hot and humid day in the sun, but nothing like the extreme cold we went through during their winter engagement session this past year. I kept reminding myself how frigid my camera was throughout their engagement shoot and that nothing, not even this heat at 5 months pregnant, could be worse!
Before we knew it, we were ready for the ceremony to begin! Have you ever seen a more beautiful ceremony site?
Button, the dog, was getting prepped for his big duty as ring bearer, while family tied the wedding bands to his collar.
A tribute to Jackson’s grandfather, while the bride put on the groom’s wedding band, had a few guests shedding some tears.
Following the signing of the marriage license, the bride and groom had a tree planting ceremony, where they added earth and water to an apple tree that would later be planted to represent their union and growing love.
Like, honestly. This bouquet!! Precious Flowers, you are a wizard!
Ok, now prepare yourself. While the bride’s sister has helped set up a few weddings in her day, this do it yourself wedding is beyond breathtaking. I am blown away. You will never believe it, but the reception took place in the garage of this family’s home. Yes, a GARAGE where you park cars and do man things. Our garage will never look this nice, I can tell you this much.
Button did not hesitate to take a quick nap on the cool concrete floor of the garage, as we prepped for the reception to start.
The photo above is one of my faves…it expresses true love and a moment captured in time. The photo below is also one of my faves…but I wish that someone had a camera on me to show you the sheer excitement on my face when I saw the goats running towards us as we entered the goat pasture for our last few photos at sunset. Goats + a bride a groom = my dream wedding. Cuteness overload.
While this may not have been a complete DIY wedding, because the bride and groom had loads of help from family and friends, it was a wedding day that reflected their personalities and their relationship. It was simple yet elegant. Small but with no shortage of love. It was perfect. Congratulations to this beautiful couple.