I had the pleasure of capturing this LGBTQ+ backyard Winnipeg wedding on the most beautiful of long weekend Saturdays in 2022. Kristin and Kelsey were dressed in floral midi dresses as they said “I Do” in front of their flower and vegetable garden as their close family and friends sat at tables that stretched across the rest of their backyard.
This is what the couple had to say about working with me:
Christina took both our engagement and wedding photos. Before we even get into the absolute artistry - let me tell you that we had to cancel our wedding twice due to public health restrictions and she was a dream to deal with. No issues at all with changing dates/ times/ locations / stressed out couples etc. She's also such an inclusive business owner - as a queer couple - we never felt 'othered' or tokenized working with her and she makes a dedicated effort to responsibly consider equity in her business. I wish we saw more of that when we planned our wedding. It was so refreshing. When we finally managed to set the date - Christina found a way to get countless shots that look like key moments from our special day saved in time. There are so many shots that we look at daily and honestly - they are hands down the best investment I've ever made. She managed to get several shots of my wife and dad genuinely smiling which is very challenging to do since they are so awkward! She was so creative with making use of the environments we gave her for both shoots (both indoor and outdoor, winter and fall) and got amazing shots both day and evening. She came her assistant a few hours before our guests arrived to our backyard wedding and got some great shots of us with our cats outside! I could keep going - but what I'll finish with is that Christina made magic happen. I will be forever thankful to her. ~ Kelsey W. (via Google)
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Here is the story of Kristin and Kelsey's wedding day, their journey to this day, and the lessons and inspiration I gained along the way.
We started the day together with a mini cat portrait session because their three cat children (and one cat nephew) needed to be a part of their wedding day tale. We coaxed each of their kitties out of their professionally built catio to pose with the pair. Leo, an orange and white rag-doll enjoyed the camera a bit more than the others, but each cat got their turn and did very well.
When I arrived, a second shooter in tow, most of their backyard was already waiting for the ceremony and party to start. Long tables covered in white cloth and vintage-inspired centerpieces with bud vases holding locally sourced flowers stretched from the back door to the altar. A sweet-pea, vine-covered arch highlighted with white draped fabric separated the altar from the blooming vegetable and flower garden. A single table was set up on the lower portion of their deck, and another on the top, balcony level, where guests would find a “cat viewing”.
Kristin and Kelsey’s ceremony included only the most minimal amount of formalities; a short “I do”, a ring exchange, and a signing, followed by a kiss under the bluest of skies. Later that evening, I snuck away with Kristin and Kelsey so they could privately share their personal vows.
As soon as their ceremony ended, the barbeques on the other side of their garage were fired up to start the steak and chicken that would be served for supper. Guests enjoyed drinks and appetizers while I pulled the couple and their friends and family aside for a few group photos to commemorate the day. The smell of the barbecues cooking our supper was the only signal that the reception had officially started.
At dusk, guests helped to clear the lower deck and set up speakers for dancing.
Kristin dramatically led Kelsey in their first dance, making her new wife giggle almost the entire time. They spent the remainder of the evening dancing and reconnecting with guests.
When I packed up made sure to grab a plate of leftovers to enjoy the next day. I drove home with a full stomach and heart, feeling truly blessed to have been a part of their story in this way.
These two brides were originally scheduled to get married in 2020, forced to reschedule twice before settling on their 2022 backyard wedding. Like many other couples, the pandemic caused the engaged couple to reimagine what they envisioned their wedding to be, prioritizing quality time with their cherished guests over traditional wedding formats.
As a photographer, this shift away from traditional wedding days to less formal weddings has been so very cool to see. Couples like Kristin and Kelsey are designing their events around what they really want instead of what society or Pinterest pressures them to create. I love to see it!
I love the trend of micro weddings and backyard weddings, designed after how the couple wishes to celebrate their love story. It’s pretty well known that couples often have many outside pressures dictating how to celebrate their days, from capitalism and the commodification of celebrations to family and community expectations.
I’m here to give you permission to celebrate your wedding the way you want, just like Kristin and Kelsey did.
Here are some tips to help you plan a wedding you will love;
Choose 5 key moments you want to be captured and we will prioritize those moments in your photo timeline. Often when you are creating the timeline of your celebration, there is an emphasis put on getting as much done in as little time as possible, especially if you have vendors like photographers/videographers that are priced based on the number of hours of coverage they provide. While you do want to get as much value from that as possible, I want you to map out your photo timeline based on the moments that are most important for you to have captured. Sometimes, I work with couples to stage certain moments in order to decrease the number of hours I’m needed for. I don’t necessarily need or want to be at your event for the entirety. We can stage some of the “getting ready moments” or even cut the end of your reception, just so that you don’t have to rush and overwhelm your wedding day schedule with photo opportunities.
Choose 5 top categories to prioritize your budget. What areas do you want to splurge on and what areas are you okay to save money on? Of course, I’m unsurprisingly biased towards photography, but you don’t have to prioritize photos if having imagery of your wedding isn’t important to you. You may be a foodie and therefore should invest in a gourmet menu that your guests will rave about. Or maybe fashion is your passion and having a custom, tailored suit is your priority. Choose your budget priorities early, and unapologetically.
Choose less than 5 people to have an influence on your wedding day planning. Two of those are you as a couple and one of those may be a planner. Having too many people giving input during your wedding planning can be hella stressful, and, honestly, if you want your wedding planning circle to only include you and your fiance, slay. The people that matter to you will understand and if they don’t, make sure you have a price point in mind that your people can pay to be included in the decision-making. If your parents want a high-end caterer, they can help pay for it!
As a bonus tip, remember to not take planning too seriously. This isn’t just a wedding, it’s a party and it should be fun and joyful for you too. There will always be hiccups, but in the end, you get to celebrate your love with your people. Enjoy it.