Hope + Jonathan's intimate and charming wedding in Alberta, Canada

Feb 25, 2010

Hope and Jonathan wed in the small mountain resort town of Banff in Alberta, Canada, and chose to keep things extremely intimate by inviting only 25 of their closest friends and family. Together, they focused on lots of special DIY elements to create a beautifully organic and homespun look. Let's take a look:

Tell us about your wedding style:
Classic with a whimsical twist; we both love vintage and antique treasures but we like to mix those elements with the unexpected so that it doesn't come off as stuffy or too old fashioned. We picked the Banff Springs Hotel for the ceremony and reception so we could be surrounded by an elegant and historical venue throughout the day. It was important to us that our wedding be relatively simple and intimate. We wanted to have the chance to spend time with all our guests, so we had only 25 of our closest friends and family there with us.

Personal Touches:
My personal style is ultra feminine with a sexy sweet twist and it was very important to me to find a wedding dress that perfectly represented that. My dress had a sexy silhouette but the most beautiful lace detailing that looked as though it could have come off of an antique gown. The dress came with a cream colored ribbon but I had it changed to that gorgeous faded-pink champagne color because I was determined to have a touch of color on my gown.

I've always been making things, and my wedding was going to be no exception! I made everything I was capable of making: favors, votives, invitations, programs, boutonnieres, bouquets, flower arrangements and my feathered fascinator. Our main decor element was born out of a sweet story from our dating relationship. I once commented to Jon how I loved pussywillows because they reminded me of the bush that had grown in my backyard when I was a little girl. He said as a child he'd liked to pop the soft buds off the branches and rub a handfull of them against his face. Several months later for my birthday he brought me a bouquet of my favorite flower, pink tulips, and rather than the typical greenery he'd asked them to add some sprigs of pussywillows. When it came time to talk about flowers for the wedding, we both agreed that we didn't want to spend a fortune and we wanted something unique. I got the idea to make pussywillow bouquets for the bridesmaids, the flower girl and for the reception room tables. The only exception was the bridal bouquet as I had always wanted to hold a lush pink bunch of flowers on my wedding day. I tied my bouquet myself the night before (I'm not sure I'd recommend this to anyone but a control freak like myself as it is quite stressful!) and incorporated bunches of white feathers instead of greenery and the antique cameo I inherited from my late great aunt.

I also made the guys' boutonnieres out of pussywillow sprigs, feathers and vintage millinery stamens I found on etsy. Those were one of my favorite elements...the soft silvery pussywillows fit perfectly with our pink, grey and black color scheme and they didn't look like any other boutonnieres I'd ever seen. These various pussywillow projects were the result of Jon and I going out several times in his truck to the woods around our house and cutting down massive swathes of pussywillows in waist high snow (and by we, I mean I sat in the truck and pointed which bushes were good, and Jon waded out and cut them!) I then spent the remainder of the spring and summer sorting, clipping and pruning pussywillows and turning them into various creations. This was a HUGE job and not for the faint of heart, but it saved us a ton of money and looked so whimsical and fun. Other vintage elements of the day included the feathered hair fascinator I made for myself using a vintage rhinestone brooch, and the vintage tie pin I found for Jon after hours of searching on ebay. I also ordered him a pair of dirtbike cufflinks (his own personal passion!) engraved with his initials as a surprise.

We didn't want to light candles, or pour sand or write our own vows. We went with a mix of traditional ceremonies that had a nod to our religious roots and families' beliefs, but we also wanted an element that spoke something more personal about our relationship. I came across the Celtic handfasting ritual while doing some research...Jon and I loved it because we're both interested in ancient history and rituals, plus we both have Celtic/British roots. It was wonderful because it added another dimension to the traditional vows of love, honor and cherish....we promised to laugh and cry with each other, to support and build up one another, to be each other's best friend, and with each promise the cord was looped around our joined hands. All our guests loved it because no one had ever seen it done before, even our wedding photographer.

Favorite moment:
I can only narrow it down to three....
Seeing Jon for the first time as I walked down the aisle; he was welling up and looked so happy and he was the only thing in the whole room that I saw. We had a string duet playing which seemed like one of the most important things to me when we were planning the wedding and I never even caught one glimpse of them. Jon was all I could look at. .... Speaking the vows of the handfasting ritual together was incredibly meaningful and said everything that was important about our relationship. .... The pure radiant joy of walking up the aisle together for the first time as husband and wife.

No matter how much you plan, the day will fly by...schedule more time in the day then you think you'll need. Try to take little moments to just look around and take in the room, the people, the decor. I spent months planning every visual detail of the wedding, but I never even had a chance to look at the guest book table, favor table, seating cards etc.

Don't fall for the myth that having your wedding on a weekday will get you discounts. We got none, and a few people weren't able to come because the event wasn't on a weekend.

Something will go wrong...it's unavoidable...so just focus on the good and let the mishaps roll off you. Also, beware listening to people who want to nitpick or criticize your wedding after the fact. You can't please everyone...if you both loved your wedding, it doesn't matter if your mom didn't like the wording of the program or your sister in law thinks you should have had ushers. Don't let anyone put a damper on your day over details...you got married! As my Jon says, "We both said I do. That's all I care about."
... And the details:  
Ceremony and reception venue: Banff Springs Hotel
Bride's attire: Dress by Paloma Blanca, clutch purse
Groom's attire: Hugo Boss suit, Calvin Klein tie
Groomsmen's attire: Their own black suits, boutonnieres by myself
Bridesmaids: Wore their own black dresses, fabric corsages by Deciduous Soul
Decor: Favor tags by Your Angil
Photographer: Orange Girl Photographs

Thanks to Hope and Jonathan for sharing your big day with us and best wishes for a fabulous future!

And check out Hope's sweet Etsy shop, The French Mouse - she sells many of the DIY elements used in her own wedding including similar boutonnieres and hair fascinators. Happy shopping! :o)
{All photos by Orange Girl Photographs}


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