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.
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!