Lisa and Holly were married in Fernie in the fall of 2014. They chose September long weekend, and an outdoor wedding ceremony and reception.
“We wanted to embrace the warmth of the afternoon sunshine, the not yet too cool evenings, and the hues of early fall native grasses and the ironic beauty of the invasive ‘wild’ flowers that grow out of control each year along the trail, and open spaces from our home to the river where we were getting married.”
The ceremony took place on a gravel bar along the Elk River with the Lizard Range as the backdrop. The day before, they arranged river rocks and driftwood to create a circle to encompass their family and friends and an aisle to highlight their path together.
“It is amazing how we take for granted the beauty in the places we spend time in everyday. We were struggling to pick a place to get married that felt right and then one day while floating the river we came around the bend of the river near our home and realized it was the perfect spot.”
Holly wore a long and elegant swooping cowl back dress and Lisa, who was interested in a dress with vintage lace look wore her grandmother’s wedding dress with alterations that embraced its history with a modern touch. Even more special was the confetti found within the lace from her grandparents’ wedding in 1953. Both Holly and Lisa’s hair was done in town by Sparrow.
The couple chose their home for the reception, calling it a ‘blockyard’ party. “It was the perfect marriage between a block party and a backyard gathering. We had already spent countless hours transforming our outdoor space into a great place to spend time.
It was also really important to us that our big community of family and friends from across the country share in the celebrations, and hosting the party at our home was very much conducive to ensuring many could attend. All told there were 150 people, including 20 kids.”
How did they make this happen? Holly and Lisa got a permit to close the road adjacent to their home, and placed party tents in the street. The garden shed was transformed into a bar, a taco buffet and potluck salad bar was set up in the garage, and they created ‘hang out spaces’ throughout the yard, complete with a bonfire and yard games.
They kept the décor pretty simple, choosing to, “highlight our shared appreciation for bringing together the old with the new with a natural feel. All our décor was created with items that were borrowed, found, or bought second hand with exception of the beautiful flowers and greenery from Green Petal.”
Music was a focal point throughout the day, including a violin playing as the guests were led to the location, friends singing them down the aisle, the couple singing “Ho, Hey” as they danced down the trail and onto their scooter, and the Amelie soundtrack playing over dinner. A friend made a playlist that kept the party going late into the night.
While a theme for the wedding was never discussed, looking back the couple can see that the common thread was, “having a really good time with family and friends amongst the beauty of our everyday places and spaces, and ensuring it authentically reflected who we are as women and how we have and continue to grow our life and love together within the lifestyle we choose to lead here in Fernie.”
Why did you choose to get married in Fernie?
We have built our lives together here in Fernie. We love this community. We never even considered getting married anywhere else. Plus Fernie looks pretty sharp in photographs!
What is your favourite moment of your wedding day?
Though we were nervous, reciting our own vows was really special. It’s one of the few times you can share special moments, memories and feelings with the love of your life and your friends and family don’t have a choice but to sit and listen ha.
Also, the moment we rode away in our dresses on our 81 Honda Scooter. It was a great symbol of our journey as it was the very first purchase we made together as a new couple years ago only months into dating.
What advice would you give those planning their own wedding day?
Have fun and take all the moments you can to pause and enjoy your special day, it goes by so quickly. Don’t sweat the small stuff and don’t forget to put drinking water out on a hot day! Oh yeah, and print your wedding photos so you can enjoy them!
What were some unique elements to your wedding that really stand out - things you tried to do differently?
We walked down the aisle together rather than one of us waiting at the front for the other, we wanted to share that experience. Being ‘given away’ seemed like a tradition of the past that was not relevant to us.
Photographer: Kyle Hamilton Photography