banff wedding

Sonja + Sean // Kananaskis Wedding // Calgary Wedding Photographers

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This is what it looks like when two people strip away everything that doesn’t truly matter to them + choose to get to the core of what it means for them to be creating a lifelong union.

Sonja + Sean’s initial wedding plans, which we learned when we all gathered around a table at the Ship + Anchor for our first meeting + shared beers for literal hours, were to have a big bash in B.C. When a family member’s health changed those plans, they chose to make it an opportunity to refocus on what it meant for them to be getting married + planned a celebration that felt the most meaningful for them. On Saturday morning, they stood in a sun-drenched kitchen with coffees + comfy clothes to sign the legal documents with only two friends + cats to witness. When we arrived, the guys started their road trip to the mountains while the girls got ready with wine in antique glasses + dance music echoing through the house. The girls arrived at the site for their pagan ceremony, already teary-eyed from road trip heart-to-hearts, + slipped on their dresses in the forest. Their closest family + friends were waiting for Sonja on the shore of a lake in Kananaskis. Sean’s dad, who could only be there in spirit, was represented by a black raven statuette perched upon nearby driftwood.

The ceremony consisted of only what was meaningful for them. They didn’t write their vows down + instead spoke words to each other that came from their hearts in that moment. Their hands were fasted + rain water in a potion bottle was poured on the ribbon, symbolizing the belief that rain is lucky + represents cleansing + fertility on a wedding day + also that a wet knot is more difficult to untie than a dry one. At the end of the ceremony, they jumped over a broom together to celebrate their new beginning + sweeping away of the past.

After all the squeezes + extra tears + family photos, we went back to the parking lot for a celebratory shot. As we approached everyone, their song was playing through car speakers. Initially we had thought it was a sweet gesture that their friends put it on for them, but they insisted it came on shuffle as we came out of the woods (which was later proved when the song that followed was a dance jam + everyone started dancing together). Sean + Sonja immediately turned toward each other + shared their first dance as husband + wife in the middle of a road surrounded by mountains + loved ones.

After dancing, shots, + more adventuring around the lake taking photos together, they drove back to the city to continue their night celebrating at a casino for a buffet dinner, roulette, + no-fuss partying with their friends.

We couldn’t be more grateful that we got to be part of this + that we got to work with humans as sincere, affectionate, + unique as Sonja + Sean. It was one of those days that reminds us of why we do what we do.

Congratulations you two, we love you both!