Ellie + Nick
Black Forest Germany Wedding

I don’t believe in marriage. No, I really don’t. Let me be clear about that. I think at worst it’s a hostile political act, a way for small-minded men to keep women in the house and out of the way, wrapped up in the guise of tradition and conservative religious nonsense. At best, it’s a happy delusion — these two people who truly love each other and have no idea how truly miserable they’re about to make each other.

But, but, when two people know that, and they decide with eyes wide open to face each other and get married anyway, then I don’t think it’s conservative or delusional. I think it’s radical and courageous and very romantic.

A wedding toast to Diego and Frida in Frida (2002)

This was read by one of Ellie and Nick’s friends during the ceremony and there was something so profoundly beautiful about it. I have always felt a bit conflicted by weddings and mayhaps even marriage. Weddings because they have become this beast of expectations and show, the pressure and busy-ness of doing things overtop whether in design or details. Marriage because what does a legal document say that an understanding between two hearts cannot? Yet then I witness days like this and I am reminded of why some people chose to do both.

Now let’s go back a few years, all the way back to 1995, because that is when I first met Ellie. It was in the classroom closest to the bootroom at Nellie McClung School. The door at the corner directly across the sitting area, the cubby holes for the shoes to the right, and a whole lineup of posters and interactive toys lining every nook and cranny. We had both started kindergarten and on that first day we became friends on that storytime carpet, stupidly nervous for the decade plus of school that lay before us and unsure of how to quite go out into the world by ourselves – at least to the mind of five year olds. I have writings from when I was six and seven that document the stark simplicity of becoming friends at that age. I was already in the room, she came in, she looked nervous, we became friends. The end. For the next few of years we joined Girl Guides together, went trick or treating, obsessed over Titanic the way eight year olds can, got in trouble in Grade 1 for drawing a cat on the carpet with chalk during clean up time (I can actually still feel the utter devastation for getting in trouble as a mousy child). Then I changed schools. We kept in contact a bit, I went to her Y2K party, and then nothing. Until social media where as we all do we watch our past friends from afar, musing as they move through life stages and accomplishments. She had met a man a few years previous, their lives and studies taking them across Europe, colliding and separating as they pursued their education. Then he proposed to her under the northern lights in Finland. We reconnected.

Theirs was a day of celebration for a few months earlier they had signed the paperwork with their parents by their side, because half a month after this day Ellie moved to the Northwest Territories as Nick remained in Germany. A celebration of people who flew in from all corners of the world, because as it turns out when the past thirty of your years has been in numerous countries your friend base is extensive. It was a day that honoured their past, the obstacles they had overcome to be there then, to celebrate how they were each other’s person, with rituals honouring the joining of two people in different cultures. Their friend Tessa led the ceremony. Their friends and families offering readings and blessings from the crowd. The wind would pick up during the most emotional of parts leaving people grabbing at their dresses and hair, groomsmen scrambling for papers, chuckling as it died down. Together they sang Home by Edward Sharpe & and the Magnetic Zeros, mayhaps faltering at moments leaving them glancing at each other before bursting into laughter and continuing on. Then it was done. With a kiss where the wind blew through once more and petals were blown across the aisle they walked down.

An afternoon of encompassing hugs, food, lawn games and drink. A few quiet moments in the Black Forest. A reception of slideshows, stories, a proposal to be a bridesmaid (with the help of some liquid courage in a bottle of wine), and my favourite of first dances, the kind where they sway and hold each other tight. The lights went off and the band started. Because for these two people the night had to be danced away.

Congratulations you two. To a life in Canada in the near future, may you keep each other warm.

Venue | Henslerhof in the Black Forest near Titisee, Germany . Catering | Zahner Feinkost from Freiburg, Germany . Dress | Églantine by Elise Hameau . Suit | Hugo Boss . Band | Plenty for Twenty from Austria . Flowers | Hils-Koop Floristik from Freiburg, Germany . Make-up Artist | Aline Brunk . Hairstylist | Christine Hauser in Titisee . Cake | Patisserie Sauter . Officiant | Tessa their friend

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2 Replies

  • Ellie  

    The most beautiful photos to last us a lifetime. We are in awe of your talent and eternally grateful.