How to make your wedding your own

August 10, 2021

Searching for how to make your wedding your own? Perhaps a legal ceremony isn’t your thing. Maybe the traditions of a typical wedding don’t speak to your heart. But you still want to celebrate a landmark of dedicating your love to your person.

Deirdre and Ryan knew they wanted to get married, but not like, MARRIED. They’d both gone the traditional route before, and they were interested in a celebration that was more reflective of who they are and how they want to show up in the world.

What were your thoughts leading up to your day?

Says Deirdre, “Our thoughts leading up to the day were all about intention. That’s why the word marriage doesn’t fit for what we did. It was a commitment ceremony, so that we could always be committing – an active rather than passive verb. Not a done deal – something very alive.”

Deirdre and Ryan wrote their intentions on paper, and read them out loud to each other and their children, the only attendees at the ceremony (other than Maggie and Lux, the sweetest golden retrievers you ever did meet).

They also renamed their day Interdependence Day, rather than wedding. In case you need to hear this: you can call your celebration whatever you want. That’s a big first step in how to make your wedding your own. You can call it anything… try on all the words! Here’s a few: “commitment ceremony” or “love acknowledgement day” or “forever promise day…” there are endless possibilities!

Kootenay elopement with couple reading vows at Kootenay lake resort

Why did you choose the ceremony location you did?

Another benefit of figuring out how to make your wedding your own, is the perfect location. You can choose a place that is meaningful to your relationship, and forever associate that place with your commitment.

“Queen’s Bay is a very magical place for me – it just has a certain energy that feels special,” explains Deirdre. “Because of the heat, we chose to move into the forest a bit more [rather than on a sunny beach where we had first planned to have the ceremony].” Further, they’d spent time at the dog-friendly Kootenay Lakeview Resort and Deirdre and Ryan were confident everyone could be themselves there… including Mags and Luxe, of course.

Couple embrace on the shore of kootenay lake at Queen's Bay

What Kootenay wedding vendors helped your vision come to life?

Choosing vendors that knew how to capture Deirdre and Ryan’s personalities was exceptionally important. Deirdre’s daughter sprinkled the ceremony spot with rose petals and Maggie and Luxe donned flower dog collars by Bella Flora. Barb from Lilikoi made a custom dress just for Deirdre–it was so perfect for her bright personality and beautiful confidence. Misty Mckay Hairstylist “totally nailed the look I was going for. I loved the intimacy of the day, and the fact that I could feel present and relaxed for such a big event,” recalls Deirdre.

Flower dog collars by Bellaflora studio in nelson BC, dress by lilikoi at kootenay lakeview resort wedding

How did you choose your Kootenay wedding photographer?

“For me, documenting important life events is what it’s all about. So there was no question that whatever money we did spend on our intimate ceremony, I didn’t want to cut corners with photography. What I’ve always admired about your work is how energetic it feels. Sometimes you have to look closely, but you’ll find someone making a weird face that cracks you up… Your shutter is quite quiet, and it really does allow one to forget that you’re constantly there, recording everything. I trust your eye for quality, detail, emotional complexity, movement, and warmth.”

Thank you, Deirdre! Readers, taking the time to research your photographer, choosing one because you admire their work and trusting their process guarantees your wedding photos will be the best possible memories of your day.

Bride gets tangles in her dog's collars Flower dog collars by Bellaflora studio in nelson BC, dress by lilikoi at kootenay lakeview resort wedding

Words of advice for how to make your wedding your own:

Says Deirdre, “Do it your way! Our ceremony is a testament to the notion that one is allowed to create new traditions. Marriage didn’t ring true for us at this stage of life. But family does. Commitment does. Engaging does.

Friends, life is short. You’ve got to live it your way. I help couples create elopements and ceremonies that are true to them and their relationship. If you’re feeling stuck about how to make your wedding your own, let’s talk about it. I know I can help you have the most magical day ever.

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