Ganaraska Forest Centre
It’s always been on my bucket list to shoot a wedding at Ganaraska Forest Centre. There’s just something about a venue that has their wedding ceremony in the middle of the woods. This summer wedding was particularly close to my heart as Will, the groom has been the officiant at a few of my weddings in the past.
When a fellow wedding vendor gets married there’s always the question of who they are going to use for their own special day. And I know these two were very particular in their choices. The details were down to a T. So for me, to witness and document their day was truly an honour.
The day started with Elizabeth and Will getting ready in separate cabins with their respective bridal parties. This wedding actually broke my record for most bridal party members. The groom had eight groomsmen. While the bride had twelve bridesmaids and a bridesman. Thus, making their base bridal party without kids and parents, a total of 23. Working with a group this large definitely meant getting creative with posing. The classic lineup just wouldn’t work. The bridal party consisted of friends, siblings and sorority sisters. From the very start of the day, there was so much fun to document.
Wedding in the Woods
The couple gave me the freedom to document their day in the way that I saw it. I always find when I get clearance for candid photography, I catch so many more emotional moments and create my best work. It’s also not hard to make everything look beautiful at a Ganaraska Forest Centre. Nature was definitely a reoccurring theme throughout their day. The alter was custom built and embellished with real flowers. Even the bride wore real flowers in her hair.
The ceremony began with the large bridal party making their way to the alter. Due to the large number variance between the boys and girls, the bridesmaids lined up in two rows. The variation in their dress colors laid them out like a rainbow. The bride and groom walked down the stairs with their parents and continued to walk down the aisle together. The civil ceremony and portrait session went by surprisingly quickly considering the number of people involved. We continued to do portraits outside until the thunderstorm clouds started looming over us.
We spent the reception indoors in the Ganaraska Forest Centre’s main hall. The decor was travel themed. Both the bride and groom enjoy traveling to exotic places so a lot of the DIY decor reflected where they’ve been and where they plan to go next. They had a relatively long lineup of speeches which was to be expected. Their wedding cake was a small take atop a tower of cupcakes. Everything about this venue had a rustic woodsy feel. When the rain finally rolled in, we disappeared for a few minutes to get some portraits in the rain. Luckily the bride chose a very simple wedding dress so getting it wet was not an issue.
The afterparty for this wedding is by far, the most unique one I’ve ever photographed. After our portrait session, the couple disappeared with all their guests to change into more comfortable clothes. The bride and groom shared their first dance and then disappeared into a gym room. Instead of a traditional dance floor, these two had a dodgeball tournament with their guests. .My favorite moment was when the bride somehow ended up being the last one standing on her team against ten players on the opposing team. No one on the other team knew what to do. It’s not like any of them would actually hit the bride on her wedding day.