Photography by Brittany Mahood.
Weddings held at home have our hearts, and this one is even more special then most. Kiera & Matthew’s wedding took place at Kiera’s parents’ beautiful property in Winnipeg, Canada, a riverbank ceremony where the sweet couple was married by the bride’s own sister, and a white tent glowing with candlelight and covered with greenery, bringing the stunning outside in. Kiera & Matthew have shared their vows and entire ceremony script with us, so dive in to the beautiful images of this elegant, relaxed wedding – and the couple’s even lovelier words (seriously, just wait until you read their vows!).
How sweet is Kiera spinning in her Hayley Paige tulle gown, complete with silver detailing and custom two-tier veil? She says the gown “fit like a glove and did not require one alteration!”
What was the best advice you received as a bride? Don’t let anything surprise you and stick to your decisions. Everyone has opinions and different styles. Listen when people like to share theirs, but go with what feels right, whether it be about your style, schedule, who you extend invites to and ask to be more involved, etc. Matthew had seven groomsmen, I had six bridesmaids (one of which, my sister, changed attire for the ceremony and then married us!), we didn’t do a garter or bouquet toss, and we didn’t have a flower girl or ring bearer. We loved our wedding plan and wouldn’t change anything!
What advice do you have for other couples in the midst of planning a wedding? Make sure to stay together for a majority of the day. It’s easy to get separated and spend a lot of time apart. The day is to celebrate your union and love, so hold hands and do it together! Also, invest in your photography and videography. Other than memories, it’s all you really keep of the wedding itself, in the long run.
Why did you choose this location for your ceremony? Kiera had always liked the idea of getting married at home and not at a public venue. We both knew that we wanted a private and intimate wedding. Kiera’s parents’ home on the river, which is in the neighborhood that both of our families grew up and live in, gave us a beautiful and natural backdrop that we knew well. It was also special knowing nobody had ever been married at the location we chose.
Are there any DIY details you’d like to tell us about? I wanted to keep the ceremony simple because getting married on the riverbank was already gorgeous. I love creating things and decided I wanted an arbor. My parents sourced birch for me and over two days I hand sawed and drilled it all together to create an arbor that we were married under. It now lives in my parents’ garden.
What was your ceremony music? Matthew decided on the music and chose a string quartet for the ceremony and to follow. This was something that was very important to him and it sounded amazing on the riverbank. To start and allow the guests to get comfortable, we had them play sweet romantic songs. They played the Game of Thrones score when all of the groomsmen and Matthew and his parents came out, the guests loved it! The bridesmaids walked down to Bryan Adams’ Everything I Do. Kiera and her parents walked to Christina Perri’s A Thousand Years, which floated across the river. It’s a really nice song on strings and they nailed it.
Your ceremony in three words. Intimate, romantic, magical.
What were your vows like?
Matthew: We talked about it and I knew I wanted us to write our own vows and not share them before the ceremony. Kiera agreed as long as she could speak first, she was nervous she would be crying after hearing mine. // Kiera: Thank goodness I went first, I wouldn’t have been able to follow his without sobbing! It was amazing to hear how similar ours were to each others. They were on the same page and so meaningful. Our guests told us after that they were all crying, so it was really nice to know they resonated with and touched others who we are close to.
How did you go about planning your ceremony? Within a week of being engaged, Kiera’s younger sister, Leanne, asked if she could marry us. We loved the idea of keeping it personal by having a family member officiate. She planned out the entire script for the ceremony, and we couldn’t have imagined it being more perfect, she has always been a beautiful speaker who is thoughtful, sweet and special to us. We wrote our own vows and did not have any other readings or speaking from others through the ceremony. We kept it simple and just about our personal union to each other and our families. Outside of that, there was not much planning! The night before the wedding during a casual run through we decided the order the guys would walk, the order the ladies would and that both of our parents would walk each of us. It was special for Matthew’s parents to walk him out and for both my father and my mother to walk with me. The entire ceremony took about 20 minutes, start to finish!
You can read Kiera & Matthew’s entire ceremony script right here.
Is there anything else that you’d like to share about your wedding ceremony? It was just perfect. From the length, the layout, the location and the people. It was easy and special. I definitely got caught up and tried to kiss Matthew right after I put his ring on him. He laughed and shook his head, the guests laughed and I blushed, but it is a fun memory.
Once the couple were married, the string quartet Matthew chose played Marry Me by Bruno Mars, which the couple had asked them to learn specifically – and both said “was great and happy!”
What inspired you when you were planning your wedding? The intimacy of the location. Being able to make people feel at home was important, so guests not having to commute between the ceremony and reception was a big thing for us. We also stuck to our style. We are fairly simple, we didn’t want ‘busy’.
How would you describe your reception? Fairly laid back and easy going. We wanted (and had!) a backyard tent wedding that was dreamy with lights and hundreds of candles, but also chic with a refined crispness mixed with the romantic décor. Being outdoors on the river, people felt at easy which we hoped for and it definitely showed on everyone’s faces. All night there was laughter and a lot of hugs and love.
Do you have any budget tips for other brides? What we realized very quickly is that a private venue does not necessarily provide cost savings in the long run. We had to build a venue from scratch, so from requiring a tent, floor, tables, chairs, lightening (additional electrical panel!), a nice washroom trailer (133 people is too many people for a home on a holding tank)… it all adds up very quickly!
What was your first dance song? We danced to a cover of Katy Perry’s Teenage Dream by Bryce Avenue. The lyrics resonate with us and we listened to that cover over and over through out relationship. His version has always been our song.
If you had it to do over again, is there anything you would do differently?
Matthew: Nothing really – though maybe just a speaker for the string quartet so the sound carried more. Otherwise, I would do it all over again the same way. //Kiera: Nothing. I just wish it didn’t fly by as fast! Everyone says it does, but you don’t really realize it until it’s your day. On two occasions we walked away from everything to take it all in together. We got to see all of the smiling faces and happiness, our guests were glowing. It was nice to sit and just watch for a few moments, and take a breath together.