Nothing says celebration like fireworks, cocktails and cowboy boots and this wedding from Erin of A Simple Photograph, has all three and then some. The bride and groom kicked the event off with an intimate backyard ceremony then had a gorgeous and beautifully crafted reception with all their family and friends at a nearby summer cabin. Filled to the brim with DIY details and personal touches, this Ontario affair is total charm… and we cannot get over how amazing the fireworks photos were!! We can only imagine how spectacular an evening it was for the couple.

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From the bride…

Mark and I met when we were really young. We attended the same small country school from kindergarten to Grade 8 and even shared our first kiss together! We went to separate high schools though, so didn’t see much of each other for those five years. After our first year at college, we both came home for the summer and re-connected over river runs, hiking and hanging out with old friends. Ever since that summer, we’ve been inseparable and are the best of friends.

We wanted an intimate wedding however had trouble planning this because we both come from large families. Eventually we decided to have only our parents, grandparents and siblings to our ceremony, and then later in the day have a large reception with our extended family and friends. This turned out to be one of the best decisions we made about our wedding day! Because there were only 23 people watching us get married, we were not stressed at all leading up to the ceremony, and could relax and really take in the moment and commitment we were making to each other.

It was a beautiful ceremony! Our Mother’s each read a poem or bible verse. Our Grandmother’s signed our wedding certificate and our Grandfather’s handed us our wedding rings. Our wedding party consisted of my sisters, Mark’s sisters and his three brothers. My Grandma, Marilyn, picked out my gown. I also wore her garter on my wedding day…the same one she wore when she married my Grandpa in 1952. It had a blue ribbon in it which was also my “something blue”. I also wore a bracelet that belonged to my great great Aunt Mildred. I ordered extra ribbon and lace from the dress manufacturer which I tied around my bouquet. The flowers were all wildflowers from a local grower. We dropped off the blue jars a week before the wedding, and Mark’s parents picked these up the day of the wedding. This was a great way to save money, and the flowers looked beautiful and really fit our rustic background.

We had 160 guests to our reception, which was held at Mark’s uncles cabin on the Maitland River. This is a beautiful resort where Mark and I have spent many family functions and vacations together. Mark’s aunt and uncle, Richard and Julie, have done a great job of turning this property into a relaxing and beautiful paradise. My Grandma Jean passed away three years before our wedding. Our main reason for choosing navy as our main colour was because it was her favourite colour. This was our way of incorporating her spirit into our day and even now when I see the photos of the colours, I think of her.

Our favours were a combination of mason jar mugs and roasted soybeans. Our guests used the mugs all night to drink out of and were a big hit. We had covers made for them in case beer bugs decided to crash our reception (fortunately they didn’t!). The soybeans came directly from both of our Dad’s fields, which Mark’s Mom and sister and I roasted and flavoured in my kitchen. I chose a fabric to use in the decorations and some co-ordinating fabrics as well. We used these under the vases at each table and on the bar as well. It added a great spash of colour to the décor, and was a great way to coordinate each area of the reception.

After our final speech, Mark and I asked our guests to meet at the pond behind the tent. We met them there and handed out shots of Anisette, which is a great after-dinner liquor. Mark and I headed out to the dock where we proposed a toast to “love, family and friends”. The fireworks show then started and knocked everyone’s socks off!

If I have any advice for future brides I would say “don’t stress” and if things go wrong, just take a deep breath and remind yourself why you’re doing this in the first place – to be married to your soul mate. Make sure you have a great time on your wedding day because it goes by very fast. Some things are bound to go wrong, but if the bride and groom are having fun, no one will notice. Our wedding day was a lot of fun and Mark and I had an absolute blast the entire day. The best part about this entire experience though is definitely being married to my best friend and getting to spend the rest of my years with Mark.

Photography: A Simple Photograph / Venue: Private residence near Goderich, Ontario / Brides dress: Venus / Bridesmaid dresses are Alexia Designs 4004 in “fresh blue” / Flowers: Wildflower farm of Gwen Richardson / Invitations: Kim McMullen of Flip Side Creative in Vancouver