From Tomasz: Sarah and Hagen’s is an East-meets-West story. Sarah was raised in the small maritime province of PEI (Prince Edward Island) and Hagen on the opposite corner of Canada in the small town of East Sooke. They met on Vancouver Island where their roots and hearts stretched deep into the wilds of the Pacific Northwest: Sarah’s family own a cabin in Whistler, British Columbia and it has always been a hub for joyful gatherings for family and friends, old and new.
I was invited to photograph their wedding at Nita Lake Lodge in Whistler and enter into what was truly a family-centered occasion: from family friends preparing food for the rehearsal dinner to nephews, mothers, and fathers creating DIY cake stands, cake toppers, and a ceremony backdrop, everyone wanted the best of celebrations to happen for Sarah and Hagen, all details accounted for.
I connected especially well with Sarah and Hagen because of our shared sense of adventure. I didn’t have to convince them that heading up Whistler Mountain on a gondola and finding a remote area for their portrait session would be a good idea (just a few hours before their wedding ceremony) – they were absolutely keen and excited to showcase their grand and beautiful backyard. And, so was I!
Sarah + Hagan
September 14, 2013
Intro From Sarah:
Sarah, born and raised on Canada's East Coast, ventures out West at the end of med school, hoping for a change. She thinks she'll spend a few years closer to her nephews, chasing them through the mountains, then retreat back to Halifax, the city she loves so dearly.
Hagen, born and raised on Canada's West Coast but having relocated to Hamilton, longs for the wilds of BC. After finishing med school, he jumps at the chance to return home to Victoria for his residency. A lone wolf, he anticipates many more years of solitary runs in the woods.
Enter Fate – born and raised by the hands of time and responsible for unions like the Beatles and peanut butter and jelly, she has fallen on hard times. She needs a hit. And so, one dark night, at the loneliest of hospitals, she arranges a chance meeting between the girl from the East and the boy from the West.
And as they say in the South, the rest is history.
Why a Mountain Wedding?
We chose a mountain wedding because we are both huge outdoors people and the mountains are a part of our every day life. I actually moved from Eastern Canada to get closer to the mountains! We spend most of our free time in the mountains when we can, biking and hiking in the summer; skiing in the winter. Whistler is our favourite place to relax and unwind.
Where did you find your inspiration?
We found our inspiration from nature, incorporating lots of greenery and wild flowers, as well rustic elements like burlap and simple white candles. We had a huge hand from our incredible wedding planner, Amy Tran of All & Sundry, turning our vision into something tangible and beautiful!
What were some personal details you incorporated?
We chose some very special readings for the ceremony, several from the Bible that have been read at many family weddings as well as poems by Hafiz and e.e.cummings. Both meant a lot to us and our families.
Your favorite moment of the day.
The moment we were pronounced husband and wife! Although spending a few hours just the two of us before all the chaos up at the peak of Whistler taking photos with Tomasz Wagner, our amazing photographer, was a close second if not a tie!
Anything you’re glad you did.
- Definitely glad we did the ‘first look', and portraits on the mountain top before the ceremony. You don't realize how little time you have for just the two of you on that day. It was a chance to calm any nerves and connect just the two of us before we parted ways to reunite and say our vows.
Anything you wish you hadn’t done?
Nope. The day was absolutely perfect!
What was the best piece of wedding advice you got?
To remember and cherish every moment. To breathe it all in, because it's over so quickly.
What piece of wedding planing advice do you wish you followed?
Not sure this was advice, but looking back I wish now we had gotten professional videography!
Anything you wish you hadn’t worried about?
Surprisingly enough I didn't have many worries that day! Leading up to it I was worried about the coordinating of starting the music, walking down the aisle, timing etc. but our wedding planner and her team took care of all those small details for us on the big day.
Anything you wish you had known about sooner rather than later?
Can't say that there is. Like I say, our wedding planner was on top of it and I feel like together we were on top of everything! The day was absolutely perfect.
How did you choose your vendors?
Amy got a sense of what we were looking for and then sourced vendors for us. Together we chose vendors that were local and reliable!
What is your very best advice to other mountain brides?
Savour every moment. Spend a bit of time just the two of you, on top of the mountain if you can, and don't skimp on a photographer! Your photos are a window into the best day of your life and can bring your day back to life every time you look through them!
British Columbia Wedding Vendors
Photographer: Tomasz Wagner Photography | Planning + Design: All & Sundry | Venue: Nita Lake Lodge | Florist: Celsia Floral | DIY Projects: Bride and Bride’s Family | Bride’s Dress: Ellebay Bridal | Groom’s Suit: J. Crew | Music: Yaletown String Quartet | Photobooth: Polaroid Photobooth