Alex and Riley: Chute-à-Blondeau Wedding

When working in the military, it can be difficult to go out and meet people but luckily for Alex and Riley, they were in the right place at the right time in the Royal Canadian Air Force when they met. She saw him, knew she needed to meet the man with the ‘’eyes’’. And he knew after his first meeting with her that he was going to marry her. And here we are, on their gorgeous wedding day.

Alex and Riley got themselves a nice and large Air BnB for their getting ready and chose to get EVERYONE ready there that morning. I arrived to find the girls upstairs, Riley in the kitchen where there was a ton of food, the guys meandering around and Riley’s mom, Shelly sewing? She said she was hemming pants, so I didn’t question it and made my way up to the ladies. Alex was getting her hair finished up while her ladies wandered around the house getting finishing touches done and so I did my thing, grab the details and went to work.

As always, I was obsessed with the shoes. Alex had these stunning white Michael Kors stilettos that had the most simple and beautiful details in the form of a cutout on the heal support. Her dress, to die for. A beautiful floofy a-line with a beautifully detailed bodice and open back. Totally perfect for Alex and her petite frame. Riley’s details were a little more simple with a really nice belt (the texture was so nice), a watch he loves that doesn’t even work anymore and the fun socks he and his groomsmen had.

Speaking of fun socks. See that photo of the guys and their socks? Do you see it? DO YOU SEE WHAT’S DIFFERENT? Yeah, sooooo Brody, Riley’s brother and Best Man, didn’t have time to get his pants hemmed and was going around the house in his shorts as his mom was hemming them. It did give us all a good laugh since he was the only one wandering around in shorts and unbuttoned shirt. Stay classy Brody 😉. His pants did eventually get fixed and so he was able to help Riley get into his dapper attire with lots of laughter along the way.

Riley was sent on his merry way to the venue so that the girls could finally come downstairs to help get our beautiful bride ready. Before Natalie, Alex’s mom helped her into her gown though, Alex had a surprise for Shelly. She handed her a gift and an envelope in which she wrote some beautiful words to her mother-in-law which had both of them crying. It was a sweet moment between the two which showed how strong their relationship was. After some tear wiping and quick change, Alex stepped into her gown as her mom helped her finish it up with the zip, buttons and let’s not forget, a little spritz of perfume.

But wait, there’s more! We had two more first looks to do, that’s right, two. The first was with her dad who had been patiently waiting in the sauna room. It was quick and sweet as he opened his eyes and said wow with a big smile on his face. Alex was a puddle of tears immediately as she walked up to her and they hugged for a few moments. And then Natalie swooped in to join in on the love. I will say, although Natalie and Eric are no longer together, these two truly were beautiful to see together with their daughter. Finally, we get to the first look with the groomsmen. This isn’t something I see often but Alex had a plan for her boys.

We lined them up outside in the full sun and heat of the day, they not knowing what was awaiting them. Alex had grabbed a 10pack of Smirnoff ice to yes, you guessed it, Ice the boys. She held a can in her hand as the others lay in the grass in front of her. The boys spun around and honestly; they didn’t even notice the Smirnoff’s at first! They looked at her and were like awwww AND THEN realized what was in her hand and in the grass. And so, they laughingly walked up, grabbed their drinks which we figured they could shotgun… but that was a bad idea since they were in their outfits already. So, they got down on the ground and drank the drinks in a go. We all had a good laugh, hugs were to be had and then, it was time. We gathered the ladies, primped up Alex one more time and we were on our way to Chute-à-Blondeau community center to get these two married!

I’d never actually been to this venue before, but it was actually so lovely. The community centre sits on the riverfront and has a public park below and a lovely garden and pergola where the ceremony is held. The perfect setting for Alex and Riley’s wedding. Before getting the ceremony started though, Riley also had a gift for Alex’s mom, Natalie. I brought them aside for Natalie to read her letter while Riley was by her side. She was in tears almost immediately, as was Riley. You see, Natalie hasn’t always had it easy, and life threw many things her way but one of the things she truly did right, was raising Alex to be a strong, independent, thoughtful and caring young woman. Riley knows this and admires her greatly and loves her for everything that she’s done to bring this wonderful woman into his life. They cried and hugged for a little before getting themselves fixed up to walk down the aisle.

Sun was shining, the heat was… well hot but guests happily made their way to their seats as Riley walked down the aisle on his own. I was surprised when he grabbed the mic though as it’s not customary for a speech from the couple prior to the ceremony. He thanked the guests, vendors, etc and I was yet again confused but you know, went with it. That is until the wedding coordinator comes to me and asks me to ask him to stop because that was their night speech!!! I chuckled and approached Riley to let him know. He was like well, I’m already doing it so let me finish this up and then we’ll start. We all had a laugh; Riley tucked the speech away and got into position. The music started and it was time.

The wedding party all walked down, arm in arm with the last ones being Brody and the little flower girls who were so delicate in throwing their petals that Brody actually had to like, try to tell them somehow that it was okay to throw more. It was sweet and once again, had us all giggling. It was time for Alex to make her grand entrance. She walked down from the balcony, and down the stairs with her dad and at the bottom, Natalie waited for her to have her turn with her little girl. Riley started tearing up immediately when he saw her for the first time, and so did Alex. But they both held it together pretty well… well Riley did. As soon as Alex finally made it to the aisle, she was full on tears, looking up into the sky trying to stop them. She got to the front, held Riley’s hands and they never let go.

As far as ceremonies go, this one was beautiful. Not only because of the scenery and of course the day we were having, but because the love was truly abundant and felt by everyone there. Everywhere I looked, there were tears. Tears of happiness and love because these two, they truly are the most kind-hearted people and loved by all they meet. They had two beautiful moments in the ceremony that included their parents. One which was the sand ceremony where both moms poured different coloured sand in a vase to represent their lives now being fully intertwined forever. I genuinely loved this moment because both dads held their hands to show unity through both families and like I said, that’s not always possible when parents are separated but Natalie and Eric showed us how it’s done. Parenting done right my friends.

They also had a hand fasting ceremony where both moms came in and tied a ribbon around Alex and Riley’s hands followed by their dads coming to undo the ribbon. They followed this up by their own personal vows which had not only both of them in tears but, you guessed it, everyone else in tears too. Especially their parents, grandparents and wedding party.

Here is a little excerpt from their vows:

‘’ Riley, you often take the time to remind me that we are a team and that we’re in this together. You don’t understand how good it feels to be so supported, appreciated and trusted. Thank you for taking me into your heart. Showering me with love constantly and accepting me as I am. Every day you inspire me to be the best version of myself. You’re the missing piece that I didn’t know I needed in my life.’’

‘’ Alex, you look absolutely stunning, and I consider myself extremely privileged to be standing up here beside you. My promise to you is this; I promise to never let you forget who you are. I promise to push you to thrive, to be your best and to support you when you fall. I promise to push you to take chances on yourself and to inspire you to grow in everything that you do. As a team, we will achieve what ever we set our minds to. As long as we are happy together, you’re the only thing in this world that I’m ever going to need’’

Alex and Riley truly have a way with words and know how to communicate their love to one another so beautifully. Their parents raised them right and I’m so happy they were able to find each other. They signed their documents, took their place at the front and the Chaplin happily pronounced them husband and wife! With a kiss… or two… maybe even three? The guests cheered and stood as they made their way down the aisle finally, after 4years, as husband and wife.

Following the ceremony, we gathered everyone for a group shot off the balcony so that the happy couple could commemorate everyone who attended their special day. Then we all cuddled up in the one shadowy area of the property and did many, many family photos. A moment I won’t forget is that every time Natalie heard a song she loved and said ‘’THIS IS MY SONG’’ to only start dancing, Riley would yell ‘’TAKE A DRINK’’. Basically, every time she said it, they all took a drink because the joke is, they’re all her song haha. We love you, Natalie. We were running short on time by this point, so we loaded up the wedding party in Eric’s truck bed, yes, they all hopped in there (I got the comfy front seat) and we made our way down to the park below.

Lucky for me, this wedding party was a hoot and down for almost anything because fun was clearly their middle name (too corny?). We banged out some super cute photos but cute and standard wasn’t enough, they wanted them fun photos, Alex especially. I made them run, laugh, all the good stuff but Alex wanted the guys to throw her in the air. And so they did, twice. They were nervous the first time so she didn’t get much air but the second time, well see for yourself, she got some HEIGHT. The girls didn’t want to feel left out so they were like, we’ll do that to Riley… sure haha. Nah, we quickly realized it wasn’t going to happen, so they lifted him for fun with much struggle and we got, behold, Riley’s t-rex hand. The wedding coordinator came down to keep us on time, so I was like, LET’S ROCK THIS. And Alex and Riley did exactly that.

They embraced the moment, the light, the joy overflowing through them and lived in all of it as I snapped some pictures. They truly were in their own little world for the short time we had and I embraced it all with a smile on my face. And just like that, we all hopped back into the truck and made our way up for the grand entrance.

The hall was beautifully and simply decorated. You walked in to find a mirror seating chart with wax seals and greenery, as well as beautiful welcome sign. The hall had twinkle lights strung throughout, a white door with photos of the couple, white linens and greenery everywhere to boot. They had a sweet ‘’in memory’’ table with photos of their loved ones that had passed as week as a poem. And let’s not forget, each table had a super cute greenery hoop with gold table numbers and… Pictures of both Alex and Riley as kids for their guests to enjoy. Wedding favours are an interesting tradition that not many people partake in anymore, but Alex and Riley had the sweet thought of having little paper bags with seeds so their guests could plant them when they got home. A thoughtful gift that people could actually use!

Our bride and groom chose some family friends to host the evening in both French and English to keep their guests entertained and they did a fantastic job! They introduced our couple in a fun fashion and they ran their way in, Alex with her awesome sunglasses of course as they joined their wedding party for a hype dance before being seated. The evening was genuinely so much fun. They had a game before each speech where they would ask a question about the couple and the first table to have the answer right would make the bride and groom kiss. However, if they got it wrong, Alex and Riley got to choose another table for them (the table who answered incorrectly) to go over too and meet each other. This made it so that people really got to mingle and meet someone new and just have a great time. I personally thought it was a great idea.

Speeches were clearly had throughout the night and all of them were beautiful and truly, mostly funny. We had the emotional speech from Grace, Riley’s sister, and his parents, Matt and Shelly. Then you had the sweet and funny speeches from Amelie and Emily, Karter and of course, Brody. But the one that took the cake for me was Natalie.

She didn’t have anything written down, she was just going to wing it, and so she did. She laughed and thought at the podium for the first few minutes, chuckling at herself while Alex put her face in her hands like, omg what is about to happen. And then she pulls out this line; ‘’ Riley, I know a lot of people who know how to use riffles… If you ever need help with Alex, you know who to call.’’ I just about died. Most people would have thought she meant it as a, don’t hurt my baby. But she did the exact opposite. Her entire speech was full of laughter, funny moments, difficulties, tears and I think brought an array of emotions to our couple which ultimately had them in tears. It was a highlight of my night.

Before their final speech and game, Alex, Riley and I (and Amélie, our time keeper) ran away for sunset photos at the air BnB. We wanted to utilize the inside of the house, which we did but the light was dipping fast so we went outside instead to try and get more of that golden light. Alex REALLY wanted willow tree photos soooooo we may have wandered over to the neighbour’s property and used their willow tree as our background, shhhhh. Totally worth it though, I will say. I wanted to do more but the coordinator had us on a tight leash and so we hopped back into my car and made our way back. But we quickly realized we hadn’t taken any photos at the Presbyterian home adjacent to the Community Center and made the ultimate decision to sneak in more time with the couple while Amélie went back to tell them we would be there in a couple minutes. We chased the light some more, cuddle in the dipping sun and successfully finished our mission.

Now, we didn’t go in right for the first dance, a few things still had to be done. First, our couples thank you speech, yes, the one Riley said before the ceremony. Alex did it this time and added her own spin to it and new emotion as she thanked everyone for their support and love. THEN they had a fun game where the DJ played a song and before the song ended, the couple had to go to EVERY. SINGLE. TABLE and get a photo with it. I thought this was so fun cause it made sure they got a fun picture with all their guests (see the outcome below). Finally, we got to the dances.

Alex and Riley surprised their guests by having a choreographed dance rather than a standard slow dance. There was spins, dips, cool moves I don’t even know the name of but best of all, lifts. And not just a regular lift (which yes they did in the end) but also a super cool lift which you can see in the photos. The guests cheered and were in aw, these two truly are talented, and in love. After the epic dance, Riley followed things up with his dance with his mom, Shelly. Again, not just a slow dance, he added some spins to it, making her laugh through her tears and keeping it all lighthearted. And our last dance, Alex and her mom.

They held each other close through it all and cried in each others’ arms, Alex even kissing her moms head as they embraced. A dance to thank her mom for being strong and being with her on this important day. Before the song was over though, Natalie stepped out and grabbed Eric so he too could have a moment with his daughter. Eventually she came back in and the three of them danced together as they laughed and cried. A seriously beautiful moment I will never forget.

After all was said and done, my night was over. BUT, not before I tried something new and fun. Alex had these super cute sunglasses and I had an LED rainbow light stick. So I got each member of the wedding party to but them on and light each other with the stick to create the ultimate rainbow wedding party shot. I loved the results and hope you do too. I hugged my couple goodbye, and walked away as they conga lined with all of their guests, having an amazing time.

Il n’y a pas de mot dans le monde qui peux exprimée ma gratitude pour vous, Alex et Riley. Votre amour, enthousiasme et joie de vivre est contagieuse et je suis chouée d’avoir eu l’opportunité de photographier cette journée pour vous. I will forever be greatful to have met you. Thank you times a million xo.

Vendor Love:
Hair – Andrée Giroux
Makeup – Sacha Deslandes at Forever Young Make-up
Dress – Bridals by Al-Mor 
Suits – Town and Country Men’s Shop
Flowers – Déco Fouco
Nails – Salon Allure – Jessica Ducharme esthéticienne
Planner/wedding day coordinator – Isabelle Corrigan
Officiant – Kennedy Matende – Military Champlain
Venue – Centre communautaire de Chute à Blondeau
Cater – Les Fins Becs
DJ – Disco Mirage