NOVA SCOTIA, CANADA
We have been together for five years and met through mutual friends.
Jess remembers meeting Hazel at a party and was captivated by her outgoing personality and infectious smile.
Although the timing wasn’t right at the beginning, as Jess was in another relationship, she quickly realized this girl was someone she could not live without. After several months of pursuing [and some very romantic dates later staying up until 5 am watching thunderstorms], Hazel agreed to be Jess’ girlfriend.
We’d be together for three years before a proposal would come.
Hazel planned a romantic sunset hike but as luck would have it the weather clouded over, was pretty rainy, and signs of active wildlife on the trail so they decided to turn back. Due to Hazel’s incredible organization [and type-A personality], she, of course, had a backup plan and drove Jess to a nearby waterfall where she had packed a picnic and proposed to Jess by the waterfall underneath the stars.
Celebrations followed with a camp fire, s’ mores, and a bottle of champagne.
We were planning the wedding from Alberta, Canada [and planning to get married near Jess’ hometown in Nova Scotia, Canada]. It was challenging to plan a lot of the details from afar due to the time change and distance, but we still had a ton of fun doing it.
We are very casual and laid back people; we like to try and minimize our waste and footprint in the world – so wanted something to reflect this. We spend the majority of our time outdoors exploring and adventuring, so it only made sense to get married on a property that our guests could enjoy, campfires, green space, and a barn.
The entire wedding was a DIY project. Ray’s property is beautiful but isn’t typically a wedding venue, so everything was created/borrowed/crafted by hand. Jess’s dad is a carpenter who built a beautiful archway that was decorated with flowers from his garden. Our friend Becky is a graphic designer who gifted us signage, and wine labels, Jess’s dad and fiance made homemade wine for all of the tables, Jess’s step-dad brewed and provided kegs of beer. Hazel’s siblings lent us wedding decorations they had used, helped us build centerpieces [wooden cookies we cut down from fallen trees and wildflowers we picked from the area].
One of the best parts of the wedding was watching SO many of our friends and family come together the day before the wedding and spending HOURS helping us curate the perfect atmosphere for our big day! People painted signs, hung flowers, strung lanterns, we decorated wine bottles, arranged backdrops – you name it, we crafted it.
The wedding day literally couldn’t have been more perfect.
The night before, a few of our friends came back to our Airbnb with us, but we decided to sneak away and spend some time together. We drew a bath, relaxed with a glass of wine, and then laid in bed, finishing up our vows.
In true Jess fashion, at about midnight, she accidentally deleted her only copy of her vows and had to write them all again.
On the day of the wedding, we had rented a beautiful house and our bridesmaids and our Moms came over to help us get the day started. We both have a very tight-knit group of university friends who we also invited over to get ready and celebrate the day with us. We were all together enjoying mimosas and breakfast and started getting ready with our back’s facing each other, so the final results would be a surprise.
We drove to the venue, and Jess’s grandmother kicked off the ceremony as she marched down the aisle as our flower lady.
Hazel started crying the minute she walked down the aisle and I don’t think she stopped for the rest of the day! The sun came, and we shared the most beautiful personal vows in front of our most beloved friends and family with the waves of the ocean crashing in the background. There was hardly a dry eye in the crowd, and we stopped to take a moment and breathe in our love for each other and all of the people surrounding us.
We had a surprise entrance into the reception with a friend of Hazel’s brother bag pipping us in, shared a meal, laughed (and cried some more) at speeches, and danced our hearts out until the wee hours of the morning.
Our photographer, Samson Learn, was a standout vendor. We did not know him prior to meeting a week before the wedding, and we QUICKLY became fast friends. He made us feel so comfortable, was so organized and helped us along the journey with little planning tips and tricks, and even stayed to enjoy a few hours on the dance floor! He has since remained a close friend, and probably will be for life – not to mention his work knocked our socks off.
We also swooned over our beautiful wildflowers from “A Beautiful Wild” – they really drew the whole vision together.
Hazel says our marriage means “Jess is stuck with me forever.”
But in all reality, it means everything to us. It means we have a partner in each other for all of the best and worst moments of our lives — someone to grow with, someone to challenge, someone with unconditional love and warm hugs.
Marriage means taking the risk of picking up any jar in the house, knowing Jessica likely didn’t screw the lid on right, and pickle juice could splash in your face at any second. It means waking up at 2 am when one of us can’t sleep to pull the other one in closer and drool all over them while you rest peacefully. It means exploring and adventuring every opportunity we get, but also knowing that marriage isn’t always glamorous and sometimes means your wife won’t change out of her oversized cat sweater for two weeks because she is unemployed and down in the dumps.
We feel SO lucky to live in a place where our marriage is not only acknowledged, legal, and accepted, but it is also, in fact, celebrated by the people who surround us because they can see the love that radiates between the two of us.
Celebrant Pat MacDonald
Ceremony Venue Horton Bluff Lighthouse
Florist A Beautiful Wild
Prop or Furniture Hire Vogue Wedding Events
Reception Venue Horton Bluff Lighthouse
Signage Rebecca Wackett