When you think of destination weddings you tend to picture a beach and palm trees… and that’s exactly why Alycia and CJ chose to get married in the mountains of Colorado; they wanted to mix it up! Alycia visited Steamboat Springs on a business trip years early and she loved the sweet little town and thought it would make for the perfect location for her small, low-key wedding to CJ. Alycia and CJ actually live in different cities; Alycia in Houston and CJ in Chicago, so a third, neutral location for their wedding was a great choice.
While it wasn’t the typically snowy scene one might expect from a Colorado mountain location, the massive log home and stone and wood church where the ceremony and reception were held made for a warm and cozy setting. Since music is a huge part of CJ’s life, his friends who happen to be world renowned musicians serenaded the small crowd with a private concert that had everyone singing along. It was a completely unique experience for us and everyone absolutely loved it. Some of the catering staff even stayed long after their shift ended so they could listen to the show. My personal favourite was their rendition of Elton John’s Daniel, which they improvised to modify the lyrics to make it about a photographer. I don’t think Daniel’s ever been personally serenaded at a wedding before!
We often brag about the keenness of our couples to trek through less than ideal terrain for their day-after portraits, but I think Alycia and CJ deserve extra shout-outs for trekking through feet and feet of snow… in the cold… AND the rain, for just a handful of portraits! CJ and Daniel both rocked some Moon Boots for the occasion, and Daniel took one for the team (the team being he and I, as I was several months pregnant) when he unexpectedly fell waist-deep into a pile of snow, got one of his boots stuck and had to shovel it out with his bare hands! It was an adventure, to say the least!
We certainly felt the weekend vacation vibe that Alycia and CJ were hoping for, and it was a pleasure to spend a few days in the quaint town of Steamboat Springs to celebrate this couple in a really unique and down-to-earth way. Thank you for inviting us along, Alycia and CJ!
I’ve known Cassie my entire life. She is my cousin, but also one of my best friends, and she works for Daniel and I at our post-production business, The Image Salon. A few years ago, she stood in our kitchen as I poured her a glass of wine and said, “I’m seeing someone new… and it’s a woman.” We were surprised, for about a minute, and then we weren’t. Cassie’s an open minded person, and she fell in love with someone who happened to have the same gender as her. Big deal. What was a big deal, however, was how incredibly happy she was in her new relationship. I had never seen her this way, happy, but also just her best self. When we met Joanie and saw the look on her face as she looked lovingly at my dear cousin, we knew this was the real deal.
About a year later I was walking to the subway (I actually remember exactly what street corner I was standing on) when I got a call from Cassie. She wanted to tell me something she hadn’t told anyone yet… she wanted to propose to Joanie. It took almost another year before she did it (she wanted to do it right!) but when she did, it was perfect and of course Joanie said yes. In fact, a few months later, she proposed right back.
Shortly after the proposals, wedding planning was put on hold for a very important reason. The government was about to change the law on in vitro fertilization so the baby they had planned on having after the wedding couldn’t wait (or they would have to pay out of pocket for the procedure as the government would no longer cover it). So in what felt like a flash, Joanie and Cassie selected a donor, started hormone therapies, had Joanie’s eggs extracted, fertilized, and implanted into Cassie. Just like that, or almost, there was a baby on the way! It wasn’t the way they planned on getting married, with a 6 month pregnant bride, but it was perfect.
I was bestowed the honour of mutual bridesmaid (sporting my own 6 month baby belly!) and Daniel was uncharacteristically nervous to be their solo photographer (even though, I may have picked up a camera a few times…). They hosted both the ceremony and reception at the Lion D’Or theatre – a venue that I had told Cassie about 7 years earlier when I photographed a wedding there and thought would be perfect for her if and when she ever decided to get married. Their dog Vienna got tangled in Cassie’s veil, whined loudly a few times, and then sat and observed attentively as her moms exchanged rings and vows. There was a perfect mix of laughter and tears, and it was one of the most effortless, natural, wedding ceremonies I’ve ever had the privilege of witnessing. Our dads’ band Minuit reunited once again to play at the reception and an epic dance party ensued – not bad for a bunch of old guys, as our dads said!
A few weeks ago we had a date planned to share their photos with them for the first time, but on that day, Nova Clark Gregoire decided to show up 5 weeks ahead of schedule! She is healthy, and so beautiful, and both moms are doing great. We payed them a visit at the hospital where they cuddled up in Cassie’s hospital bed and viewed their wedding slideshow for the first time on our laptop. Things don’t always go according to plan, especially for Joanie and Cassie, but they somehow happen exactly as they are meant to… and the surprise can be even better.