Deep in the Rockies near Golden, far off the TransCanada Highway, there is a beautiful resort called Beaverfoot Lodge.  It’s far off the beaten path miles up a forest service road, but the drive is more than worth it.  Kory and Dusty rented the Lodge for a weekend in July to host their Alice in Wonderland themed wedding.  The huge space and facilities were perfect for what they had planned, and they definitely made use of the whole area.  These two creative minds put together quite the weekend getaway for their friends and family.

Kory and Dusty put an incredible amount of work into this wedding, and along with the help of Callandra and her team at Cherry Tree Occasions, every aspect of the wedding was DIY and customized to their vision.  Kory and her sister Kelly made their dresses, shoes, and hats, as well as hats for the gentlemen.  The guests were able to make their own hats from a wide range of materials during the long afternoon of games and relaxation.  Kory also spent innumerable hours designing all the details and table arrangements that built the theme of her wedding day.  Dusty worked hard building signs and putting together an absolutely beautiful arch for them to get married under.  So much time, creativity, and love went into bringing this day to life.  The family and friends who gathered had an incredible time, and it was nothing but smiles all weekend.  These photographs show only a fraction of the magic that happened.

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Venue:  Beaverfoot Lodge, Golden BC

Wedding Planner:  Cherry Tree Occasions

 

– Brian

 

I had the pleasure of meeting Kory and Dusty through Callandra over at Cherry Tree Occasions.  Callandra got in touch to see if I’d be available to photograph their date in July, saying that the couple was planning an Alice in Wonderland themed weekend wedding in Golden.  Needless to say my interest was sparked, and when I sat down with these two to chat about photography and their wedding plans in Canmore my excitement grew.  From what Kory told me of all the handmade pieces she was putting together for the wedding (including her own dress) I could tell that she was an incredibly creative person.  Both she and Dusty’s foremost concern, however, seemed to be making sure that their guests had an incredible weekend.

I wanted to try something a little bit outside of the norm for their engagement photographs.  They wanted something fun and different, and they seemed like the adventurous type.  So we geared up; me with my camera, tripod, and firewood and they with a couple of drinks, and we hiked up Cougar Creek and had a campfire.  I’d been scouting this specific fire pit for over a year because it has some interesting vantage points, but I needed the right conditions and an interested couple to suggest going there.

Kory and Dusty turned out to be the ones.

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– Brian

Kory and Dusty wanted blue skies for their engagement photographs.   We ended up postponing the session numerous times, until finally the weather cooperated with our schedules only a few days before their wedding.  We climbed up a grassy ridge on the base of Grotto Mountain in Canmore to get some views over the valley.  This is what we found.

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– Brian

 

 

Kim and Tristan had a beautiful summer day to get married at the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge here in Jasper.  Although rain clouds threatened from a distance, Whistler’s Plateau remained a sunny patch of green grass and yellow flower petals.  Beauvert Lake was at it’s sapphire blue best and was complimented by the bright summer yellow that Kim had chosen for their wedding colours.  Kim looked absolutely stunning on her wedding day, and the team at Wild Orchid did their usual awesome job on the hair and makeup.  I accidentally left my spare camera batteries and charger at Wild Orchid while the girls were getting ready, and when I got to Jasper Park Lodge before the ceremony my jaw dropped at the realization.  However it was no problem thanks to the amazing network of wedding services here in Jasper.  Nadia from Wild Orchid personally delivered the batteries to Whistler’s Plateau within minutes of me calling her up and telling her my mistake, and in the middle of a busy summer Saturday no less.

I met with Kim and Tristan a few months prior to the wedding, and was impressed by their grace, professionalism, and wry sense of humour.  This carried through in the ceremony at JPL, and in the time we spent together with the wedding party during the portrait session.  They made a very beautiful request during the ceremony and it was the first time I had seen this done at a wedding, although I would see it once more later in the year.  They asked that as the ceremony was unfolding, the rings be passed around hand to hand through each person in the assembled crowd.  Everyone was asked to give place a little blessing on the rings, giving their best wishes to the couple.  Once the rings had moved through the rows, passed around in a small wooden box, they reached the front row in time for the exchange.

It was a pleasure to spend this beautiful summer day in Jasper with Kim and Tristan and their group of family and friends.  They chose a great crew for their wedding party.  I wish these guys all the best in their future together.

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Hair + Makeup:  Wild Orchid Salon + Spa

Ceremony:  Whistler’s Plateau, Jasper Park Lodge

Reception:  Golf Clubhouse, Jasper Park Lodge

Flowers:  Elysion Florals

Cake:  Cakes by Kim

Photography: White Leaf Photographs

 

– Brian

 

 

There are so many incredible things I could say about Sarah and Paul, and about their wedding.  It’s been over six months now and I still don’t know where to begin.  I’m incredibly lucky to live in the Canadian Rockies, and photograph in the beautiful mountain towns of Jasper and Canmore, Alberta, Canada.  Every day I am thankful to be surrounded by such natural beauty.  Australia’s landscape is far different from Canada’s, but no less stunning.  It was such a privilege to be able to photograph in such a unique place as Kangaroo Valley.  Sarah and Paul showed their good taste in every aspect of their wedding.  They chose an amazing location, and the perfect venue.  The Bush Retreat had all the necessary comforts to accommodate all of their guests, and it had all the rustic, fun, laid back appeal that is so suited to their demeanours.   It was the perfect gathering place for two families and a solid group of friends to meet and build new relationships.

The day before the wedding, Paul drove myself and my Aussie brother Lloyd out to Kangaroo Valley.  It was about a two hour drive from Sarah’s parents’ house in St. Georges Basin where we had been staying for a few days prior.  Approaching the turnoff to the Retreat, we came across two Wombats standing stoically on the side of the road.  They didn’t move, just stared at us as we passed.  We had seen plenty of Kangaroos and a multitude of different bird species, but Lloyd informed me that it was much less common to spot a Wombat.  Later on as we were chatting with some of the people working at the Bush Retreat, they told us that there was a Wombat den just down the hill from the Retreat.  Apparently the night before we arrived, one had gotten into the reception hall and couldn’t find it’s way out.  In it’s confusion it got a bit panicked, and wreaked havoc on the room.  When the staff found it in the morning, it was hiding under the bar counter in the corner of the room, tables and chairs askew.  I felt pretty fortunate to have seen the two animals on the road, and it was a funny coincidence that one had found it’s way into the wedding venue the night before we arrived.

During my time in Australia I had been doing a fair bit of reading, as usual, on a number of rather obscure topics.  Two of those topics included Native American Animal Medicine, and the Australian Aboriginal Dreamtime.  Australian Aboriginal mythology speaks of the Dreamtime as being the time of creation, in which different totemic animals or beings created different aspects of the land and laid out the patterns of life by which the aboriginal people would form their societies and ways of life.  There are different types of ‘Dreaming’, featuring lessons from different animals found throughout the Australian landscape.  When a person experienced the Dreaming, they would be given knowledge that they could use to apply and to inform different physical and spiritual aspects of their life.  There are a lot of similarities between the Australian Dreaming and Native American Animal Medicine.  Animal Medicine to the Native Americans is rooted in the belief that an animal will cross our path to bring about a new awareness, and to bring opportunity to make changes in our lives based on that awareness.  Animals reveal themselves to us not out of pure coincidence of location, but rather to bring us a message of some sort.  The medicine they provide may be in the form of anything that strengthens us, restores us, or empowers us on our path.

What does any of this have to do with the wedding?  Probably nothing, but our encounter with the Wombats had me thinking about what message they would be bringing if indeed they had a message to share.  I did a (very brief) bit of research on the Wombat as a totem animal, and what meaning or animal medicine they would bring as such.  What I found, coincidentally, was very clearly in line some of the prominent themes that I noticed in Sarah and Paul’s relationship over the weekend in Kangaroo Valley, and the time I spent with them elsewhere.  Of the themes I found on the Wombat, the ones that most resonated with me were those of resourcefulness, stability, and foundation.  The love that Sarah and Paul share is deeply rooted.  They have such a strong bond, and it is clear that through the wide range of experiences they have created together in the past few years they have built a solid foundation.  Just like the Wombat with his sturdy legs rooted close to the ground, the bond between these two will not be shaken by any tremors or obstacles in their path.   Their love has a stability and reliability that can be seen in their exchanges, through the look in their eyes, and in the way they speak of eachother when they are apart.

The Wombat Dreaming also teaches themes of having the tenacity to drive for success, and the determination to reach any goal.  These two are a smart and resourceful couple, and I know they will be successful in all of their endeavours.  In addition, the Wombat pushes you to awaken to yourself, and use your natural gifts to the best of your ability.  Sarah and Paul empowered me with an incredible opportunity, and a challenge to use my own gifts in a foreign place.  I am eternally grateful for that challenge, and for the lessons I gained from my time with them and their families.

So without further ado, I am honoured to share their wedding photographs from the weekend in Kangaroo Valley.  I hope that through these images you will be able to see the foundation of love, respect, and stability that these two share.  I can’t wait to see these two again, wherever that meeting may be.

And no unfortunately, there are no photos of Wombats.

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P.S:  If you’re getting married in Australia and liked these photographs, my passport is always valid and I can pack my bags in a matter of minutes!

– Brian

 

 

Sarah and Paul know how to have a wedding.  They packed up all their friends and family and shipped them off into the wilds of Kangaroo Valley in New South Wales, Australia for the weekend.  It was winter down south, and for the greater part of the past few weeks it had been raining.  The crew at Kangaroo Valley Bush Retreat had the means to look after everyone regardless of the weather, but rain would make it much more difficult to take advantage of the beautiful property the Retreat featured.

I must say I’ve become a big fan of weekend weddings over the past few years.  This was the first of a couple that I photographed in 2013, and I’m looking forward to more in 2014.  While driving out to Kangaroo Valley from the coast I was like a kid in a candy store, wide eyed at the beautiful forests, steep rocky hillsides, and plentiful wildlife.   After most people had arrived, the parents cooked up a giant barbecue dinner giving everyone a chance to mingle and have some drinks as they settled into the Retreat property.  After dinner we piled wood on the bonfire to keep the drizzling rain off.  As you’ll see it worked pretty well.

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It was early to bed for myself and many others, but a few kept it going long into the night.  The next morning came fast however, and I’ll be sharing that unfolding later this week.  It was a pretty special day, so there might be a few photos to show.

 

– Brian

 

This past summer two amazing friends of mine flew me halfway around the world to New South Wales, Australia to photograph their wedding.  Sarah and I worked together in Banff a few years back, but I had only corresponded with Paul by email prior to arriving in Australia.  We narrowly missed eachother in New Delhi earlier in the year, so spending time with them in their hometown was a great chance to get to know Paul, and both of their families better.  Whether we were sitting in their backyard, walking the beautiful beaches and shoreline of Jervis Bay or driving through the countryside, Paul was always telling me the names of the birds and plants and interesting characteristics of their nature.  I appreciate that knowledge and awareness of one’s surroundings in a person.  The more I got to know Paul over the next week or so, the more my respect grew.

We took these photographs after the wedding while walking in Jervis Bay.  This area was only a short drive from their home, but the wedding took place a little bit off the coast in Kangaroo Valley, which was a few hours away.  Sarah + Paul rented a bush retreat in the valley that had enough cabins to fit their awesome crew of friends and family for a weekend getaway.  I’m excited to share their wedding story in two parts next week.

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– Brian

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