Ashley and Justin planned an elegant, high-energy September wedding at Thunder Bay’s Nor’Wester Hotel. We seriously lucked out with the weather on their wedding day, sunny and unseasonably warm for Northwestern Ontario topped off with a cotton candy sunset at the end of the night. Ashley + Justin’s day was a party from start to finish and full of special moments with their family and friends! From their kiddos being part of their ceremony, random dance parties throughout the day, and TONS of laughs.
When your wedding day is centred around having a great time with your favourite people, it might look a little like this…
Bride getting ready photos are some of my favourite wedding memories to document! Everyone acts so differently the morning of their wedding and its so special to capture those early moments, the feelings before you marry your person. Ashley and her bridesmaids were full of energy and excitement! Dance parties, mimosas on the balcony, and her maid of honour helping her put the finishing touches on her wedding look.
Justin and his groomsmen got ready alongside his and Ashley’s two sons! It was too cute to handle and everyone was having so much fun. The guys helped each other get ready, putting suspenders on and tying ties. They took a little break and played pool, brought out the whiskey for a cheers, and chased around the kiddos! During the getting ready portion of the day I do my best to document moments that happen naturally rather than creating the classic, common poses.
Ashley and Justin opted for a first look, she even did one with their two sons before meeting up with Justin! Usually after the first look we dive right into wedding portraits or photos of just the two of you. We took about 45 minutes to just capture Ash + Justin, and all the excited smiles they had for each other!!
And of course, we always set aside a bit of time on the day to photograph each of you individually. It’s always so much fun doing them when the other person can stand beside me, making cute faces and smiles at their person!
Our timeline was running a little tight but we manage to squeeze in a TON of wedding party photos in a short period of time (30 minutes). This way our gorgeous bride and grooms, and all their besties, could go hide in the Norwester Hotel while their guests arrived!
Ashley and Justin served their guests mimosas when they arrived on this sunny September day! It was seriously warm, it did NOT feel like it was supposed to be Fall in Northwestern Ontario.
Pro Tip: Always always always kiss once more (or even twice more) half way down the aisle! It’s such a beautiful shot that includes a lot more of your guests and can even allow for a lil flourish like a dip if you want!
Ideal for smaller weddings, a receiving line right after you finish your walk down the aisle as newly minted husband and wife can be perfect for photos. If you’re really after those special, emotional moments between you and your guests the receiving line is a great opportunity to capture that.
Lawn games are SUCH a fun way into incorporate more time for fun, visiting, and honestly just enjoying more of your wedding day in a relaxed setting. A lot of Winnipeg wedding venues have them available for rent now, or you can purchase/make your own! I feel like these games are such a Manitoba cottage staple, you’d just need to ask your wedding party to bring their favourites!
Surprise! Ashley had a SECOND wedding dress to change into before the reception took off, and some comfier kicks to change into.
After the reception we snuck out for some beautiful sunset photos with Thunder Bay’s iconic mountains in the background. We got super lucky with the pastel skies, all the swirls of pinks and blues, it was so dreamy; a perfect way to end the night.
Those fun, unplanned, and intentional moments sprinkled throughout the day are what make your wedding so much more meaningful and bring back the best memories when you look at your photos later. Things like Ashley’s first look with her sons, an impromptu mimosa dance party with her bridesmaids, lawn games with guests, and the Table Dash game at the end of the night! Of course, Thunder Bay’s Nor’Wester Hotel was such a gorgeous backdrop for wedding festivities that it was the cherry on top of their special day!
Thanks A + J for having me out to capture your party of a wedding day 🤍