barefoot bride and groom carefully crossing rocks in Calabogie lake

Darby & Richard – Intimate Calabogie Wedding

Ah jeepers. It’s only in the process of sitting down to write these wedding blog posts that I’ve have a chance to truly reflect on how incredible this year has been. When you find a photographer you trust and you’re open to anything they suggestion, it’s amazing the magic that’ll happen. When clients give me carte blanche on their wedding day – when they’re willing to wade in water or climb on rocks; when they aren’t worried about what their hemlines might look like later – then you’d better believe I’m going to make something awesome out of the experience. Darby and Richard’s story is a perfect example.

When Darby first contacted me with great enthusiasm about having me document her wedding, I was thrilled – and puzzled. Darby and Richard live in Moose Jaw, were getting married in Calabogie, and found ME, in Cornwall. I was flattered, to say the least. Our subsequent FaceTime call confirmed what I think we both already knew: this was a really good match.

I will always look back at Darby and Richard’s wedding and recognise the subtle turning point in my approach to weddings that could only happen because of this wedding. This day was about celebrating the personal details of a very personal celebration. Intimate weddings are my very favourite sort and these two really got it right. They pared the guest list right down. They kept their wedding party to a bare minimum. They chose a spot that had deep personal meaning (Darby spent many many summers in Calabogie at her family cottage; Catherine and George now have a stunning home there). They incorporated the surrounding environment into their plans. They filled their day to the absolute brim with laughter. And then they danced like their pants were on fire.

Catherine and George welcomed Rich (my husband) and I into their home after the rehearsal for cocktails and BBQ. While we couldn’t stay very long, we quickly fell into easy conversation with these folks. I commented to Richard that I’d come to the gathering to meet as many people as I could, yet ended up only meeting a few because I enjoyed their conversation so much! It was clear that Darby and her sister, Megan, have a great connection and I immediately fell in love with the whole family. They are such warm, inviting people. I love my parents to bits, but make no mistake: I was forming adoption plans by the end of the weekend so that I could be an honorary Briggs. :)

There were some huge sighs of relief within the Briggs and Wright families on Saturday morning. After a wet and dreary Friday, we woke up to stunning weather the day of the wedding. The sun was out and we had a gorgeous day for a lakefront wedding. Richard spent his prep time with his mom, Rhonda; his brother, Ryan; and his sister-in-law, Sandra. Ryan and Richard together make for such an entertaining pair and, after spending time with Rhonda, I can easily see where they get it from. Their humour is wry, often subtle, and right up my alley. My favourite moment of their goofiness was during portraits when I asked the three of them to reverse their positions – and they all, simultaneously, turned and faced away from the camera. Touché.

Darby got ready in her parent’s lakefront home, with huge windows looking out to the dock and the lake beyond. Darby had a couple of key minutes in front of the fan to cool off before getting into her dress (GENIUS, by the way). Megan, and Catherine spent a few quiet moments getting Darby into her dress, while Kristin and I took advantage of the absolutely gorgeous light streaming in through those giant windows. The look on Megan’s face as Darby was putting together her finishing touches still brings tears to my eyes.

Darby and Richard’s gifts truly reflected their own personalities: thought-out and personal. Darby presented George with a personalised handkerchief, which he was almost certainly going to need in the immediate future. Darby received a card with a small gift from Richard. Living in Moose Jaw means that they don’t get to spend much time at the lake any more. His heartfelt note included a small stone from the shoreline, so that she can always have a piece of the lake with her. Richard received a key chain engraved with the GPS coordinates for the lake. Guests received Saskatoonberry sauce as a favour and dined on tacos-in-a-bag – a Saskatchewan treat – as the midnight buffet.

The water threw off a slight breeze, which kept everyone cool (if not entirely collected) during a sweet waterfront ceremony.  Rhonda’s mom made it to the wedding (at 91!) and watching Richard and Ryan walk her to her seat was one of the small highlights of the day for me. After the ceremony and some casual family portraits, we headed off around the shoreline for portraits. Taking advantage of both the trees and the water was key to personalising their portraits. Richard is from BC, so pines are especially meaningful for him; Darby grew up in the lake, so I felt it would only be appropriate to do some photos in the lake. When I pitched a couple of suggestions their way, these two didn’t waste a second. They stripped off their shoes, hitched up their hemlines, and waded right in. I was in HEAVEN.

Their reception was beautiful. The chef joined the guests to introduce each course and received a standing ovation at the end of the meal. This was a complete first for me, and a sign of just how genuine this group really is. The wedding was almost entirely family, with a small smattering of very close friends, and they celebrated this pair to the very best of their abilities with humour, sincerity, and grace (and maybe some wine). When they all took to the dance floor, it vibrated so much with their footsteps that I almost lost my balance. Guests who needed a break from the celebrations headed past the tent to take in the reflections of the lights on the water and the breeze in the trees. It was bliss.

When it was time for me to head off, I knew I’d witnessed something special. My heart was – and still is –  full to bursting point with love for what I’d documented that day. I might not get another wedding like this one – I hope I do (*cough* *cough*), but I know that this one will always be a special one for me.

Darby and Richard, it was a privilege for Kristin and I to be there with you on this day. Thank you. Endlessly.

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I’m Ang. I’m a Cornwall, Ontario-based photographer offering wedding and documentary family coverage locally and worldwide. Visual storytelling is what I do best. I’m an avid traveler and my passport is always up-to-date. I have dual citizenship with the UK and I’m ALWAYS ready for an adventure. Laughter is important in my life and in my work, meaning that I love working with couples who are emotionally present on their wedding day and who love spending time laughing with loved ones. Whether you’re looking for an at-home newborn session, coverage for your own intimate Calabogie wedding, or photos that document your time with family, please explore more of Moment.us Photography‘s site to see more of my wedding and family photography.