Ah Sophie and Josh, my first ever Thunder Bay wedding! From start to finish, this day felt so full of love, connection, and support. You could just feel how invested each and every guest was and that they’ve known these two almost all of their lives! Their families are so close knit, having known each other for years and spending summers at the lake together. Sophie and Josh’s wedding was both thoughtful and intimate, with florals from Josh’s sister Megan (The Little House Florals), the charming venue of Rose Valley Lodge, and the laid back vibe of the day.
Josh and his groomsmen had their own cabin to hang out and get ready in and we had an absolute blast! If you haven’t picked up on this already, I love a good groomsmen party in lieu of “getting ready” photos. By keeping things pretty candid you not only get more natural emotions and personalities coming through in your photos but fun memories too! Don’t put too much pressure on your getting ready photos, they’re truly for spending time with your favourite people!
About half an hour outside of Thunder Bay sits Rose Valley Lodge – an absolutely gorgeous wedding venue for Northwestern Ontario! Sophie and Josh each got ready in their own separate cabin, then met along the walkway in the middle for their first look. Complete with horses, gorgeous mountain views, and a beautiful tent set up for reception, I felt so lucky to be able to capture Sophie and Josh’s wedding day this July!
Its always nice when we can include a few wedding party photos for this section of your wedding timeline – it saves you stressing about getting them done later in the day whether you choose to do a first look or not! Of course we HAD to take advantage of the gorgeous log cabins Rose Valley Lodge provides and get a few shots in front of the guys’ cabin.
Sophie and Josh chose a natural colour palette of sage green and blush pink, with all florals provided by Josh’s sister Megan (The Little House Florals). As a fun and personal touch to their wedding florals, each bridesmaid designed and arranged their own bouquet!
Detail photos are some of my favourites to capture during getting ready time. Arranging a few flat lays of all the special little details that go into your wedding day really help to tell the story and bring back memories years later! A few wedding details must haves include: shoes, rings, invitations, florals, and any accessories like watches, earrings, etc.
Sophie and her girls seriously made the most of their morning! They brought so many snacks, had their hair and makeup done in matching pjs, and took a few photos together before changing into their dresses for the day. Sophie brought champagne to pop – always a great idea on a wedding day!
Her sisters helped her into her beautiful wedding gown and Sophie started getting ready for her wedding!! I feel like its always the moment when you put the dress on “for real” that it all sinks in and the excitement bubbles up!
Sophie and Josh decided to opt for a first look, allowing them a private moment to take it all in and just enjoy each others’ company before the business of the day. They met halfway between their cabins, Josh kept his eyes closed the whole time so he had to be led to where Sophie was waiting!! This was a hilarious moment because the walkway that is set up is slightly raised off the ground so he had to make sure he stayed on the path!
Sophie and Josh chose to read private letters to each other as part of their first look, and honestly my eyes were NOT dry behind that camera! The love these two have for each other is just so palpable and I was so honoured to capture these memories for them. Choosing to read letters or vows right after a first look is a lovely option for anyone who’s a bit more shy or if you are having a more formal, religious ceremony. You get a private moment between the two of you (well, and also me!) to express your love and excitement for spending the rest of your lives together. It’s such a romantic, intimate moment and definitely one to be considered if you are opting for a first look!
Josh also tried his hand at being wedding photographer for the day and it was honestly so hilarious! We had so much fun and just enjoyed some lighthearted moments leading up to Sophie and Josh’s ceremony.
Their ceremony had the stunning Thunder Bay mountains as a backdrop, as well as the horse pasture! It was such a dream and such a beautiful ceremony. Full of tears, laughs, and prayer for a long and happy marriage between Sophie and Josh.
Some of my favourite photos from wedding days are taken right after the ceremony, when your loved ones come up to you to congratulate you and give you hugs and well wishes. This is when people are at their most emotional and it just creates the most beautiful memories!
We walked through the horse paddock to get our group wedding party photos and then spend some time getting a few more shots of just Sophie and Josh! We noticed the weather was turning and wanted to make sure we at least got a few of them outside after making it official!
I feel like I cheated a little bit with these last portrait photos – Thunder Bay’s landscape just makes it too easy to have beautiful photos! This backdrop is absolutely stunning and part of the reason I will HAPPILY travel back to Thunder Bay for future weddings!
Their reception was held in an incredibly spacious tent! This is honestly one of my favourite types of receptions, there is just something about a tent wedding that feels so down to earth and authentic. So much of the decor was beautifully crafted by Sophie and her friends, and came together to create such a welcoming and timeless atmosphere.
Right after their first dance a cow got loose and was running around the property! Everyone was laughing and watching the little cow evade capture for several minutes. The rain started to come down, decorating the tent with lots of little droplets of water and give the reception an even cozier vibe!
They also played the kiss game where guests had to come up to their head table, demonstrate the kiss they wanted Sophie and Josh to do, and then watch it happen! The photo above was Josh being held up by his groomsmen and having to kiss Sophie Spider-Man style! It was so impressive.
And because OF COURSE – the rain ended and a freaking rainbow came out!! It didn’t last long but we ran out and snapped some photos, and Sophie and Josh just had fun dancing around.
Everyone hit the dance floor and the party really got started. Wedding dance floor photos are some of the absolute best you’ll receive from your photographer. Get your DJ to play some bops that everyone loves and can’t help but dance to, and watch the magic happen!
From start to finish, Sophie and Josh’s wedding day was intentional, organic, and family-oriented. From reading their private letters during their first look, focusing on just having fun, inviting their beloved pastor to perform the ceremony, and laughing until they cried during speeches. Having a gorgeous backdrop, beautiful horses, and a rainbow to top it off was honestly just icing on the cake! It’s weddings like these that give me so much gratitude to be a wedding photographer.
Thank you Sophie + Josh for welcoming me into your family for a day!