A surprise wedding?? Yep, you read that right!! Pretty sure this is one of those things that may come along only once in a career, and I don’t know how it happened, but somehow I got to experience it after only a couple years of shooting weddings. Words can’t even describe what it meant to be a part of this day. And not only because it was this crazy, novel idea, but as i got to know these two, I realized they are two of the most genuine, and sweet, and happy people I have ever met. Now, I bet you want to hear the story 😉
Matt & Mindy have been together for close to 9 years. They got engaged about 4 years ago, and began planning their wedding day! But, as everyone who has planned a wedding knows, they tend to get out of hand really fast. The budget gets stretched, and then blown right outta the water, the guest list gets longer and longer and longer, and soon you just kinda start to feel that somehow in all the chaos, you’ve lost your end goal. Which is a celebration among close friends and family to witness your commitment to one another. So they put the wedding on the back burner and went on with life.
Well, Mindy was out with a friend a few weeks ago, and they began chatting about weddings, and if her and Matt were going to start planning again, and her friend said offhandedly, “maybe you should just plan a surprise wedding.” They laughed, and talked about it some more; what it would look like, what would be involved etc. Then Mindy became quiet, turned and faced her friend, and said, “I think I might just do that.” And THAT was the beginning of “THE SURPRISE!!”
I received an email from Mindy, who had heard about me onFacebook, and it basically said, “Hi! We are thinking about planning a spur of the moment wedding, and would love to meet with you to discuss the process!” I emailed her back, said I was available and would love to meet and she responded by telling me about the surprise. I freaked out, people. We met 3 days later for coffee, planned times, locations, logistics, pricing, and got the ball rolling.
A week after THAT, on Valentine’s Day (which they don’t even celebrate, so it made the wedding date that much more amusing 😀 ), Matt was nudged awake by his lovely fiancee. She gave him a gift, which he opened, in confusion. They don’t celebrate valentine’s remember?? It was a photo album. He began flipping through the pages, while slowly waking up. As he neared the end, he turned the page and across the pages in bold letters it read, “WILL YOU”. He flipped again, and it said “MARRY ME”. He flipped to the last page, and the word “TODAY” leapt off the page. I’m not exactly sure of the conversation that ensued following that, but I can imagine 😉 Mindy had ordered him a tux, which was ready for him to wear, and everything else was already in motion. She told him where to go and at what time, then she left for hair and makeup! They didn’t see eachother again until the ceremony at 1:30!
Matt was an amazing sport, and arrived with that huge Matt smile, right on time. The ceremony was held at Riverside Recreation site which is about 15 minutes before Chilliwack Lake. Mindy walked to her ceremony site, arm in arm with her father, to where Matt was waiting. Some of their closest friends and family stood in a half circle on the banks of the river, surrounded by towering evergreens, and watched them declare their lifelong commitment to eachother. Tears were shed, belly laughs were had, and vows were made. Immediately following the legalities, everyone hung out around the fires, made smores, and drank hot chocolate supplied by Decades Coffee .
Following the festivities, we continued down the road to Chilliwack Lake for photos, while the guests made their way back to town to begin mingling at Harvest Cafe before the dinner reception! We had an absolutely gorgeous afternoon for photos, and I was so excited to have Larissa Eileen, Photographer at my side all afternoon!
Dinner at Harvest Cafe was out of this world delicious, and we spent the night mingling, drinking, dancing and laughing! Matt & Mindy (well, Mindy anyway, since Matt didn’t have a choice in the matter) thank you again for having me as your photographer. I’m blessed beyond words to have met you both and celebrated this amazing day with you. I’m excited and proud to call you a friend. Hope you guys have an amazing honeymoon to your mystery destination!! (Yep, another surprise 😉 )
Mindy’s parents seeing her for the first time, all dressed up as a beautiful bride.
How is this for an “aisle”? Can’t beat this location!!
And Matt seeing his bride for the first time!!
Time to warm up with s’mores and hot chocolate!
Music for around the fire!
Chilliwack Lake is one of the most beautiful locations around here. Probably in the world, actually. I’m not biased.
Off to the reception at Harvest Store & Cafe!