Fort Edmonton Park Wedding at the Blatchford Air Field Hangar
I’ve never met a couple who have more fun together than Melanie and Chris. Chris may be the funniest guy I’ve met, and Melanie’s laugh is so infectious – together, they’re a perfect pair. They say laughter is the best medicine, and apparently it is also the foundation for a wonderful marriage. And these two are the proof, with Melanie repeating often how much they laugh every single day. Their wedding, held at the Blatchford Air Field Hangar at Fort Edmonton Park, was a combination of gorgeous planning and décor – a traditional wedding with a contemporary twist – though never far from their thoughts was the experience for their guests. An experience that was close to never happening, thanks to the vitriol of two young arch enemies.
It Wasn’t Love at First Sight
Melanie and Chris have known each other since Junior High. But don’t be mistaken – this isn’t one of those high school sweetheart fairytales. In fact, it starts out as quite the opposite. As Melanie put it, “We were actually enemies in school!” For many years, Melanie and Chris acted like they had nothing in common, though they were loath to reveal the depths of their name-calling and nose-snubbing.
Their paths continued to cross as they grew up, and as sometimes happens when you outgrow your youthful fancies, they agreed to get together one day and talk about their past and their differences. That was all the prompting it took, for in this very first date, Melanie knew that Chris was going to be her life partner. And with that, in one evening they went from being rivals to best friends. Two and a half years later, as they were decorating their Christmas tree, Chris handed Melanie one final ornament —a trinket he had crafted himself that read “will you marry me?”
Classy, Elegant, and Comfortable Wedding Design
From the ceremony to the speeches at the reception, Melanie and Chris continued to have their guests’ comfort at the forefront of their planning. Everything took place in one central location – The Blatchford Air Field Hangar at Fort Edmonton Park. Their wedding, albeit classy and elegant, was also quite simple — it was about spending time with their loved ones and hosting a party where everyone could let loose and have fun. With the help of wedding planner extraordinaire, Jennifer Bergman Weddings, along with a team of fabulous vendors, Melanie’s dream sprang to life in glorious fashion!
Beyond all the amazing design and décor, Melanie remembers her first dance with Chris as her favourite moment of the day — “I knew the stress of the day was over and we could all just have a good time. The moment also signified a new future with my husband and I. It all felt real at that moment.”
In the morning, as the bride and groom were getting ready with their wedding party, Melanie’s dad was putting the final touches on a beautiful old white Jaguar, perfectly suited for the vintage aesthetic of Fort Edmonton Park. Janine and her fantastic team from Fabloomosity created some amazing pieces for this wedding as usual. I’ve heard a lot of speeches, throughout my career, and I can honestly say that the best man’s toast to the groom was one of the funniest I’ve ever heard. And in true Melanie and Chris fashion, their party was off the hook…like call the cops good. Nothing got out of hand, but it was certainly an interesting, entertaining evening of dancing, photobooth-ing, and flip cup-ing! Melanie and Chris – may you continue to share a lifetime of laughs together!
Melanie & Chris // Edmonton, AB // Photographer: Kelly Redinger | Photographer // Second Photographer: Carmen Freemark // Ceremony Venue: Fort Edmonton Park // Reception Venue: Fort Edmonton Park // Wedding Planner: Jennifer Bergman // Marriage Commissioner: Robert Ligertwood // Ceremony Musicians: Urban Metropolis // Caterer: Elizabethan Catering // Reception Entertainment: Urban Metropolis // Stationery: Pinkpolka Design // Floral Designer: Fabloomosity // Rentals: Site 6 Event Rentals and Special Event Rentals // Wedding Gown Boutique: Delica Bridal // Makeup Artist: Stylebar by Sonia Sajnani // Hair Stylist: Bailey Gartner // Groom’s Attire: Derks Formal
Winter Wedding in Edmonton
Winter weddings can be magical, for sure. They can also be difficult, as Stacey and Chris found out. They had planned for their wedding ceremony to be held at the Yellowhead Brewery, located in downtown Edmonton, and followed that up with a short drive to the Blue Meadows Hall on the outskirts of town. What they didn’t prepare for was the volume of snow that would accompany the cold snap, making travel a little tricky for some of their guests. But while mother nature threw some challenges their way, Stacey and Chris had some good old fashioned family karma on their side.
Unbelievable Family Connection
Stacey had always dreamed of being married on the 28th of November — the same day her grandparents were married, and the same day her parents went on their first date. The family history was strong, and she felt compelled to honour it whenever her wedding came. When Chris came into her life, it didn’t take long for her to realize that this guy was the one. And soon enough, she was secretly planning her winter wedding, before they even were engaged. Stacey knew. Stacey is also a Type A person, and frankly, she was expecting him to pop the question, subtly nudging and prodding and saying just the right things. And despite all of the excitement and leadup, Chris still managed to pull off the perfect wedding proposal. He shocked her when their trip to Jasper turned into a trip to New York, and with Christmas lights and sounds filling the air, Chris proposed in front of a fountain, with a live Jazz band playing in the background. Stacey still isn’t quite sure how he pulled it all off.
The big shock came after the proposal. It wasn’t until they were engaged that they realized BOTH of their grandparents were married on the exact same day of the exact same year — November 28, 1947! That sealed it, and their wedding date was set. Their wedding would be the 67th wedding anniversary of both sets of grandparents.
The family ties don’t end there, either. Stacey’s dad actually went to school with Chris’ dad – bible college, and they both went on to become pastors. In a really personal touch to their wedding, they had both dad’s perform the ceremony. Held at the Yellowhead Brewery in downtown Edmonton, it was beautiful and full of warmth despite the extremely frigid temperatures outside. What started as a winter blizzard, ended as a brilliant affair.
Winter Wedding In Edmonton
The wedding reception was held at the Blue Meadows hall, a wonderfully rustic feeling log cabin surround by nature, and featured some wonderful DIY wedding décor and unique details. Friends and family performed live music throughout the evening, including a heartfelt first dance performance. And once the dance kicked off in earnest, the party roared into the night. One of my personal favourite moments was the Spice Girls impromptu sing/dance off that took over the floor.
The weather created some challenges for the wedding guests, and for the photos as well, as we struggled to get outside for more than 3 or 4 minutes at a time (it was C-O-L-D!). And the blizzard we had received the day before and the morning of the wedding dumped record amounts of snow and threatened to bring the city to a standstill. But none of this could keep the spirits of Stacey and Chris down for their winter wedding. They surrounded themselves with amazing people, and made sure that the entire wedding was a very personal affair – a reflection of themselves and the union of their families.
Stacey & Chris // Edmonton, AB // Photographer: Kelly Redinger | Photographer // Second Photographer: Carmen Freemark // Ceremony Venue: Yellowhead Brewery // Reception Venue: Blue Meadows// Marriage Commissioner: Ben Kellert and Rick VanDewark // Caterer: Catering By Gail // Reception Entertainment: DJ – Peter Zukiwski Band – Family and Friends // Transportation: Baseline Limo // Stationery: Miquela Franklin // Floral Designer: DIY Pine Cone Bouquet // Rentals: Special Event Rentals // Wedding Gown Boutique: Novelle // Wedding Gown Designer: Justin Alexander // Makeup Artist: Dana Creran // Hair Stylist: Stacy Morrow / Charisma Hair Fashion // Groom’s Attire: Acme Clothing / Gitman Bros
Rocky Mountain Wedding at the Island Lake Lodge Resort
Finding the venue for their rustic mountain wedding, the Island Lake Lodge Resort, was easy. It was a simple choice from the moment they saw it – isolated in the middle of the Rocky Mountains and away from the hustle of day to day life. They ended up with a little more
adventure than they may have planned, but what became clear was that their day was going to be a hit regardless of what the weather had in store. And the weather definitely had a role to play on this day, as you will see.
Mountain Wedding Ceremony in the Rain
Their plans called for an outdoor ceremony, overlooking the lake and with the glorious mountain backdrop in the distance. Rain threatened all morning, making brief but loud appearances, and made the outdoor ceremony a last minute decision. Live music was to be played, and the location is far enough away from the protection of the main buildings that if it did rain, everyone was going to get wet.
“We didn’t come to the mountains to get married indoors”, Dani remarked. So, with a brave attitude and a glow about her, she set off determined to get married outside. But not only that, she had also planned to make her entrance to the wedding ceremony by taking a canoe ride across the lake with her father. And there is no hiding from the rain while you float in a canoe in the middle of a lake.
The Silver Lining
Just as the ceremony was getting underway, the skies opened up. So fast and furious was the downpour that even though the ceremony had already begun, the officiant was looking to stop the proceedings – except, the bride was already in the canoe, and on her way. No turning back now. Borrowing a jacket from an unknown hiker, Dani hopped into the canoe with her father and off they sailed. It was a fantastic moment, watching her arrive, wet and chilled and beaming from ear to ear. The story brightens up at this point. Midway through the ceremony, the rain subsided and the sun came out, drying our
clothes and lifting even further our already soaring spirits. The weather held, we explored the mountains for their wedding photos, and returned to the lodge for an amazing evening of joy. The speeches were heartfelt and funny, the venue was cozy and warm, and the party was outstanding thanks to the wonderful energy of the band, Mayday and the BeatCreeps. If you have ever considered hiring a band versue a dj, you really need to go check out these guys play live. I’ve been to hundreds of weddings, and this was hands down the most energy I’ve ever seen at a wedding reception. It was a fabulous way to end a fabulous day.
Outdoor Garden Wedding and Enchanted Forest Oasis Reception
Wow comes to mind. Or stunning. When Jennifer Bergman Weddings and FaBLOOMosity teamed up on this outdoor wedding at Rainer Gardens, and then again for the wedding reception at the Oasis Centre, I was expecting great things. I was not, however, prepared for the amazing display of florals and design they created.
Nor were the couple, Allena and Jamie, prepared to see their dream wedding come together the way it did. “It took our breath away”, recalls Allena. Wedluxe featured this wedding on their wedding blog – with good reason. And it all started with Allena and Jamie breathing the same air and living in the same spaces, and not even knowing.
It Was Meant To Be
“We were living our lives 5 minutes apart, and never even knew it” Allena explains. They lived on the same street, worked on the same street, and yet it took a chance encounter at Allena’s cousins’ wedding to finally bring them together. It was a weekend camping wedding, and as they met and talked more and more, they realized they
occupied the same space in their everyday lives, and had only briefly ever run across one another. That changed quickly. After meeting, they found reasons to spend more and more and more time together. Finally, 4 years later, Jamie proposed while they were in the Turks and Caicos. They have been living a dream ever since.
“What was our favourite moment from the wedding? We are going to go full cheesy with our answer and say, getting married to each other! It was truly the most special part of the day and a moment we won’t ever forget. Taking photos in McDonalds, though…that made us laugh!” ~Allena
Their Dream Garden Wedding
The wedding planning began without a distinct style or direction. It didn’t take long, however, for Jennifer Bergman and her team to create a plan and help define their vision, and they agreed on an Enchanted Forest vibe. The outdoor wedding ceremony was held at the Rainer Gardens, and the flower wall created by FaBLOOMosity served as a truly stunning backdrop for this gorgeous outdoor wedding. The rain threatened, but stayed clear, and the ceremony went off grandly. The reception was held at the Oasis Conference
Centre, and again the planning and décor were superb, leaving no details overlooked. Complete with mini witch hazel trees draped with orchids and roses, ethereal blue and purple lighting, and of course, some subtle sparkle – well, you really need to see it to appreciate the artistry. The team of vendors on this wedding created a perfect evening of glitz and glamour to the delight of Allena and Jamie and all their family and friends.
Allena & Jamie // Edmonton, AB // Photographer: Kelly Redinger | Photographer // Second Photographer: Kirsten Kohn // Ceremony Venue: Rainer Gardens // Reception Venue: The Oasis Center // Wedding Planner: Jennifer Bergman Weddings // Marriage Commissioner: Bob Wyatt // Caterer: Stir Catering // Transportation: Esquire Limousine // Videographer: A Love Story // Stationery: Pink Polka // Cake Shoppe: Art of Cake // Floral Designer: FaBLOOMosity // Rentals: Special Event Rentals // Wedding Gown Boutique: Novelle Bridal Shop // Wedding Gown Designer: Sophia Tolli // Bridesmaids’ Attire: Badgley Mischka // Makeup Artist: Astrid – Ecletica Makeup // Hair Stylist: Bailey Gartner // Groom’s Attire: Derks // Groomsmen’s Attire: Derks
A Restaurant for your Wedding Reception
Sometimes you choose a venue for your wedding because it is available, and sometimes because it fits the budget, but for Tracy and Ben, they picked their reception venue because it perfectly reflected their view of what a wedding should be – an intimate dinner party with the ones they loved most. So instead of a traditional venue, the
couple opted for a small gathering with a communal feel – and they booked the Packrat Louie restaurant for their wedding reception. They wanted “everyone to feel like they were at a family dinner.” They definitely over achieved on this one. Not really a surprise for these two, though. They are, you see, some of the smartest people I know.
Swept off her feet
It was on the dance floor where Ben initially swept Tracy off her feet, though they had met a year earlier at law school. They saw each other every day in classes and became fast friends, but once Ben flashed his fancy footwork…well, the rest is history. The rest of the wedding
party were no slouches either – the minimum requirement of entry to be a groomsman was a Masters degree! They were incredibly intelligent, hilariously silly, and some of the most down to earth people I’ve ever met. They were wonderful.
“Our wedding was the best day of our lives and every day after keeps getting better and better. We are best friends and our favourite thing about being married is knowing that we get to spend every day for the rest of our lives together.” ~Tracy
Intimate Ceremony, Intimate Reception
At the end of the dinner service, guests were treated to home-style cakes topped with custom toppers that had been designed to look just like the couple. Alongside the cakes were photographs of the newlywed’s parents and grandparents on their wedding days. The evening was filled with deep conversation, and laughter as guests enjoyed the photobooth, and even a little dancing. But it was the exchanging of their vows that takes the honour of Tracy and Ben’s favourite moment: “it was a very surreal experience and it felt like we were the only two people in the church at that moment.”
The All Saints’ Anglican Cathedral ceremony was indeed touching, but for me, well I absolutely LOVED the reception venue. Packrat Louie was a wonderfully warm and intimate place to host a wedding. The food was outstanding, and the ambiance with all the exposed brick was delightful. And it fit perfectly with Tracy and Ben, who were a treat to be around. They laughed easily and loved openly, and those are traits that I adore. I truly couldn’t have asked for better company to spend the day with. Thanks again guys for making me feel like I was a part of your family.
Tracy & Ben // Edmonton, AB // Photographer: Kelly Redinger | Photographer // Second Photographer: Carmen Freemark // Ceremony Venue: All Saints’ Anglican Cathedral // Reception Venue: Packrat Louie // Marriage Commissioner: The Very Reverend Neil Gordon // Ceremony Musicians: Jeremy Spurgeon (organ) // Caterer: Packrat Louie // Reception Entertainment: Bride’s Brother (ipod playlist) // Stationery: Notables // Cake Shoppe: The Art of Cake // Floral Designer: The Artworks // Wedding Gown Boutique: Novelle Bridal Shop // Wedding Gown Designer: Tara Keely // Makeup Artist: Haejin / Pose Salon // Hair Stylist: Iolanda / Pose Salon // Groom’s Attire: John Varvatos Suit from Harry Rosen
Iceland – Wonderful Wedding or Elopement Destination
If I were to rank the places I would like to photograph a wedding or elopement, Iceland is hands down one of the top places I’d choose. It’s not for everyone, I’ll admit. The weather can be challenging and you run the risk of rain or snow or frigid temperatures pretty much any day. But for sheer, rugged beauty, this is one country you simply can’t beat. There is a reason it is such a popular choice these
days. But just because there are a lot of people interested in going to Iceland, it should still be a place you give a lot of consideration to for your wedding. Why? I don’t know of another place that has the same mix of hot and cold as Iceland. Volcanos and hot springs mix easily with vast glaciers and waterfalls. There is simply so much variety in the terrain, and it is all so beautiful and beautifully accessible.
Check this off the Bucket List
Personally, I love cold countries. The crisp air, the frosting of snow, and the absence of huge crowds of people are huge pluses for me when I travel. And while I do love to get to know locals, I am invariably drawn to rugged landscapes. So you can imagine how excited I was to be able to photograph some of my favourite humans amongst the waterfalls and lava fields while on a quick trip to Iceland this past fall. Bucket list item – check!
If you’ve been to Iceland before, you may be thinking to yourself – ‘aren’t there huge crowds of tourists at all the popular spots?’ Well, yes there are. Bus loads of tourists in fact. You have to be willing to go adventuring, finding the secluded places only the locals know about, or you have to be willing to brave the elements and shoot in the rain. In Iceland, you truly don’t have to look far, though, to find a new beautiful backdrop for your photos.
Portraits in the Rain
I asked my friends to bring along some fancier clothes, and we’d take some photos as we travelled. The only problem – none of us were quite prepared for the sheer volume of rain we encountered. And after driving past several beautiful along the road, we decided to stop at Skogafoss and brave the elements. There are times when the weather cooperates beautifully. This was not one of those times. So much so that roads were being flooded and the wind was enough to stop the flow of some small waterfalls (not even kidding). Never one to be deterred by a little inclement weather, however, I encouraged my friends to trust me and brave the cold for a few minutes. Turns out their bravery was only good for 7 minutes (I checked the metadata on my camera just to confirm). They were soaked through
within the first 30 seconds, and it truly was cold! But that was enough to get some great photos with a stunningly gorgeous backdrop. Another plus about the awful weather? We had the place to ourselves! Over the next couple days, we managed to sneak in a few more quick sessions, one near Pingvellir on the Golden Circle, and another at the Grindavik Lava Field in between Keflavik and Reykjavik (on the way to the Blue Lagoon). And despite the unfavourable weather we encountered, I love the look and feel of this place so much that it’s worth all the trouble so long as you have a sense of adventure. You know you have good friends when they willingly jump out of a perfectly dry car to take photos in the rain. Cold rain. Freezing cold rain. Without shoes on. You guys are the best.