Nicole & Mitch – Quaint Mountain Wedding at A Bear & Bison Inn
August 8, 2017 | by sarah
Nicole & Mitch – Quaint Mountain Wedding at A Bear & Bison Inn
Intimate weddings are my jam!When Nicole and Mitch contacted me to be a part of their wedding at A Bear & Bison Canadian Country Inn in Canmore I was more than pumped. We met in the winter for their engagement session and as they climbed up the icy ledges and found themselves behind a frozen waterfall I could tell these two were going to be up for a really good adventure on their wedding day.
The weather was beyond unpredictable on their wedding day. The morning was hot with not a cloud in the sky; as the sun came down during their beautiful ceremony, wind blew by keeping everyone cool. As we travelled up the mountain, the skies were open and we found our way into the trees. Climbing up cliffs and snuggling in the trees, these two lovers enjoyed the shade for a bit until the clouds rolled in. We made our way over to the lake for a few more shots before the craziest storm I have ever been outside for came blasting in from the south. As Nicole & Mitch climbed up the rocky shore the rain started coming down. Before we knew it the storm was hitting us like a fist of fury.
We ran back to the cars and not only did we get hit by rain but also the water from the lake was being blown so hard it was finding its way onto us too! As the couple made it to the car we stopped for a split second to grab a shot before Tess and I started running down the highway to our car that was parked on the other side of the lake. Luckily a passerby picked us up. This is why I always bring a change of clothes – because by the time we got to her car we were soaked.
Drying up in the car, we drove back to the Inn to meet Nicole & Mitch for their grand entrance. Their friends and family stood in the main room as they came up the stairs and were greeted with sounds of excitement and joy.
The music started and as Mitch grabbed Nicole’s hand the two started their first dance. Laughing and snuggles were in full force.
Mingling, drinks, appies and well wishes were followed by some of the funniest speeches I have ever heard. The evening was full of warmth and fun.
Thanks for adventuring with me Nicole & Mitch! You are amazing humans and I am so pleased to have been part of your day – you guys braved the storm together on your wedding day and if that isn’t a metaphor for life I don’t know what is!
From the Bride & Groom…
Wedding theme and colours // When we first got engaged 4 years ago, I initially liked the idea of navy/sapphire blue and mint green as wedding colours. Mitch liked any colour that wasn’t too feminine. But as time passed and we began planning the wedding for real, colours pretty much became a free-for-all. Part of that was due to the venue choice. I asked that pink, black, and red be avoided. Everything else was fair game. To give the bridesmaids a little less overwhelming of a task, I sent them each a few paint swatches of deep, rich colours which also inspired the invitation: emerald green, navy/sapphire blue, sea foam green, burnt mustard, burnt brown mustard. Much to our surprise, all the bridesmaids ended up choosing dresses in navy/sapphire blue. Mitch ended up choosing navy for his pants. And from there, navy and sapphire became the dominant colour of the wedding, along with quite a few background accents.
As shy and timid people, we knew from the beginning we wanted a small, intimate affair. We wanted people there who knew and support us as individuals and as a couple. Those who had not met Mitch or myself (unless they were in a relationship with someone close to us) weren’t going to make the list. We originally hoped for a crowd smaller than 60, that being our maximum. But our declines were minimal and we ended up with a guest list of 65. In the end, we wouldn’t have changed it and were extremely happy with the crowd.
Feel they went for // We are a couple who spends copious amounts of out time in the mountains, so it only makes sense that we would have a mountain wedding. That being said, with many friends and family flying in from across the country, we also wanted the wedding to be accessible and central to other great travel spots. Canmore seemed like the perfect area. We were very particular about the venue. It needed to have more charm than your basic hall but we also wanted it to be comfortable and casual. It needed to have elements that represented our current shared passions, such as vintage items and feel, nature, and a mountain view. We both wanted something very untraditional, easy, and low-fuss. Quickly, we cut out the bouquet and garter tosses, cake cutting, videos or slideshows etc. We were happy to learn the venue we chose had an alternative to a sit-down dinner. People being able to choose whether to sit, stand, be inside, be outside, and socialize to a variety of people beyond an assigned table, while being served delicious food was right up our alley. We both know how to enjoy life and come from families who lit the way. So having a good party was the key goal as well. Music for dancing, beverages, a fun crowd, and so forth.
Their top 3 best moments // We woke on the day of the wedding and Mitch plunked a box wrapped in brown kraft paper on the bed. I scolded him on how we agreed to no gifts and complained I didn’t have anything in return. He smiled and told me I was silly. I tore the paper and read the bright blue and black shoe box. I looked at him with a “you didn’t” expression and flipped the lid. Inside were the exact moccasins I had showed him a picture of from Pinterest months ago. I told him “I would love to wear these for the wedding”, but I couldn’t figure out how to find them to be ordered (the link just led to a blog). Tears ran down my cheeks because seeing the outside of the box had me prepared for moccasins. But not prepared for the very moccasins I had long ago decided were impossible to track down.
Walking out into view, grasping my brother’s arm, nearly hyperventilating, and then seeing that heart melting smile at the end of the aisle. Troubles melt like lemon drops.
In the planning stages, we were working with a budget and I told Mitch I didn’t need a wedding band. My beautiful engagement ring was all I needed and was enough. I gave him the ring to place in a glass box filled with moss along with his ring. When the ring exchange approached, Mitch turned to the groomsmen standing next to him, fished into the glass box, turned around and took my hand. A millisecond passed and then I realized he slipped two rings on my finger. The known engagement ring, and a surprise wedding band. I fell apart, full of amazement and beyond touched.
Wedding song // Cover Song, “Is This Love” by Damhnait Doyle.
Mitch and I sat at the kitchen table and were sifting through new (to us) music. We found this song and both really appreciated it. We said it would make a great wedding song – this was before we were engaged.
BEFORE THE WEDDING DAY
How did you meet? // I went to the bar with a friend and caught a quick glimpse of a tall figure as we came through the door. Naturally and in the spirit of her birthday, we went straight for the bar. Aimlessly we wandered and stood behind a few men paying for their beverages. As they turned, the tall figure was standing in front of me. His bearded face fixed on me, and watched me as he walked by. I smiled slightly to myself. I trailed along, doing my duty as wing-woman. Time creeped by and I was bored. I turned peering around at nothing, and caught eyes with him – the tall figure with a beard. He had been looking at me. I smiled. He smiled. The rest unfolded in such an epic way, that a bar couldn’t make it any less than stunning.
Engagement story // He mentioned we should go for a hike, which was a very common weekend activity. However, we were about to move out and begin travel adventures in Europe and it seemed like odd timing with the long list of to-do’s. But I agreed and we drove to Ha Ling Peak mountain just outside of Canmore in the Kananaskis area. With dog in tow, we hiked and scrambled to the top of a lower mountain. There was little talk, each of us saving our energy for the inclines that tire the legs…or so I thought. From the peak we continued walking along a ridge, leading to a higher mountain top. I looked out the side and marvelled at a full rainbow, strewn across the sky at what seemed to be at our level. We reached the top of the higher peak. The height was breathtaking as I watched a helicopter flying below us. I nestled on a rock and fished out a mini feast from my pack. He was so quiet. Acting odd. I figured he just needed the peace and to take in the beauty around us. To our surprise, it started to snow (it was late July), which only confirmed just how high above the world we were. Time passed and I mentioned we better head back. He started ruffling through his pack and the next thing I knew, he was kneeling in front of me with the ring in hand. He asked me to make him the happiest man and marry him.
Kind words… // “Photography was the one thing I really appreciated in the various elements that complete a wedding. I wanted a photographer who was artistic, familiar with mountain work, and produced variety based on the individuals. Someone who worked with the moment. I stumbled upon Sarah’s website, viewed her portfolio and knew I found exactly that. She was quick to respond to our inquiry and we had a lovely meeting with her. I’ll admit, she was on the high end of our price range (and rightfully so!) but we knew that photos are long lasting above many other details. So we increased our budget and booked Sarah. Starting with the engagement shoot, Sarah gave great advice on what to wear, make up, etc. She found a fantastic location and somehow managed to guide us but also capture us being ourselves. It was impressive! The photos turned out amazing. Our friends and family were floored. From then until the wedding, Sarah was quick to respond to emails and provided us with a very well drawn out schedule to complete. I found the document to be very effective, more so than other services. It was helpful in more ways than one. On the wedding day, Sarah worked with a short time frame and a very rambunctious bridal party. Again, we were guided, while still being ourselves. We learned even more so that day, that Sarah is incredibly dedicated and passionate about her work. She is truly trying to produce the best product for each individual client. She is strong in what she needs and as a result, she’s a high end photographer that produces art and captures the beauty of love.”