I can't say enough about Collin & Christa's stormy wedding that took place on their family farm, in Gem, Alberta. Most of the work was DIY, and it came together so beautifully it looked professionally done!!
COVID has been a real bummer. At the start of the year when Collin & Christa were planning their wedding, they had a larger guest list and big plans for the momentous occasion. Then COVID hit, and social gatherings were reduced drastically. For a time, it didn't seem like we'd be able to get more than 15 or so people together in an outdoor setting. Then a miracle happened and gatherings of 50 or more were permitted outdoors. This relieved stress for Christa, and made planning so much easier.
Fast forward to August 8th and the day was perfect!! Only close friends and family attended, the large wedding having turned into a small affair. They used the front yard for the ceremony, the arch placed under a gorgeous weeping birch. Hay bales with plywood on top were used as seating, and they cleared out part of their large shop to use for the reception space. It all came together so nicely, and I know Christa was pleased.
Our day started with the drive out. Gem is about a 30-45 minute drive from Brooks, depending on which route you take as there are two. It was sunny with some clouds here and there, and the forecast called for some rain later in the day. When we arrived, I went inside to immediately start photographing Christa's hair being styled. My good friend Jordan, who is also my own hair stylist, had made the drive out to Gem as well for Christa. My husband was my second shooter for the day, so he waited a little bit before heading to the Gem Fire Hall for Collin's photos. A short bit after, I went with Christa to her makeup artist's house.
By the time we had all returned, there was little left to do before the Ceremony. The hand-tied, self-arranged bouquets were put together with the final touches, and Christa's mom fixed two brooches onto Christa's bouquet. They had been her grandmother's and held a lot of sentimental value to them.
The Ceremony went by in a flash, and before everyone knew it, Collin & Christa were husband & wife. We took family photos immediately after the ceremony, followed by the bridal party. Then, after boosting the old, orange Chevy, and grabbing their dog, Titan, we drove off into a couple of the many crop fields for Collin & Christa's photos, starting with the Alfalfa crop. We spent some time in the purple blooms before driving off to a wheat field, which was Collin & Christa's very own field, making it important that we photographed there.
It began to rain as we headed to the Alfalfa field by one of the bee blocks for a few final photos, and then we drove back to the main yard for the Reception.
My parents drove up from Brooks around that time with our two-month-old, Lila, so we could see her. Having some time before their entrance, I was able to feed little Miss, which was so calming for both me and her. Of course, as this was happening, the clouds opened up for a full on downpour, while lightning flashed overhead, followed by loud claps of thunder.
The Reception started shortly thereafter, and I said good-bye to Lila as my parents took her back home. We raced through the rain to get indoors before Collin & Christa arrived. They had their grand entrance, then immediately went into the Shoe Game, where questions are asked and each of them hold up either their shoe, or their spouse's shoe, to say who they think better suited the question. Introductions were done after that, followed by the most delicious Ukranian dinner. Unfortunately I couldn't eat all of the offerings due to Lila having a Cow's Milk Protein allergy, but I know from others how amazing it all was.
Following dinner were speeches by the parents, bridesmaids, and best man. They then opened up the bay doors for their first dance on the decorated, cement pad outside. By this time the storm had passed on, so it was fairly dry. Cake cutting followed and their guests enjoyed their dessert while the rest of the dancing began.
At that time, we took a break from photographing so we could spend some time with the bride & groom. Then, as the sunset had passed and darkness settled in, a fireworks display was launched behind the old shop.
The night came to a close with the bouquet toss, and then the bridesmaids encouraging Christa to join them in a dance that had been choreographed in their school days (as they had all known each other for 16 years at least)!! It was the best way to end such a fantastic day!!
Collin & Christa, I am so thrilled for the two of you!! Your wedding was so beautiful despite the COVID restrictions. I wish you guys all the best, and can't wait to see your marriage flourish over the years of our friendship!!
Bride's Gown: Taffeta & Tulle Bridal
Hair Styling: Jordan Renaud, Prairie Extensionist
Makeup: Aronne (Bride's Friend)
Ceremony & Reception Venue: Family Farm
DJ/Entertainment: Matthew (Grooms' Brother)
Cake Artist: Natasha (Sister-in-Law)
Catering: Cindy Olinyk (Family Member)
Bridesmaids' Dresses: Suzy Shier