Steph Wearing The Bree Dress
So tell us, how did you meet the love of your life?
I was going to a music festival in Montana with my sister and her boyfriend. I live in British Columbia, Canada and they were going to drive out from Saskatchewan, Canada to stay with me for a couple days then head to Montana for the festival. Last minute my sister let me know that her boyfriend’s friend was flying home from Texas, where he was living, to come to the festival as well and she apologized for bringing someone to stay at my place without running it by me first. The friend was Cory. We ended up having a great weekend; We got incredibly sun burnt on the lake, saw some good bands, and stayed up until the sun came up. As the third and fourth wheel, Cory and I were a bit of a team and we got along really well. At the time there was no recognized romantic connection and at the end of the weekend we went our separate ways with no plans to stay in touch. Cory doesn’t use any social media so I fully expected that he would just be a friend of a friend that I met one time. The world is a small place though. That fall Cory was back in Canada and we ran into each other again. This time he asked me on a date, which turned into a weekend get away. It quickly snowballed into daily hours long phone calls between Texas and BC. Our second date was New Years that year spent in Canada with his family and friends. Our third date I met him in Arizona for 10 days of team roping. Date four was planned for March 2020. Cory was flying home to do some paperwork then we were going to fly back to Texas together. Cory got home the weekend the border closed due to Covid and decided to stay in Canada. We jumped in and never looked back.
When did you know they were the one?
Before we even had our second date we had already started talking about eloping in Vegas! We were joking, mostly. It did not take either of us long to recognize the qualities that we were looking for in a life partner in the other person. Even if we hadn’t seriously talked about getting married, we talked a lot, as people who begin a relationship long distance do. And we knew within the first few months that our goals for the future and the type of life we wanted to live were in alignment and that we were both pretty taken with the other person.
Tell us the story of the proposal!
It was more of a non-proposal. We had been tossing the idea of eloping around for a while. One day in January 2021 we stopped to grab lunch quick on the way to the barn where we were boarding our horses. I mentioned that if we were going to get married this summer I’d need to order a dress soon. Cory pulled out his phone, opened up the calendar, and said how does July 14th sound? So in the time it took to eat a wrap we had decided to get married and had picked a date. I had my dress ordered by early February and we ordered our rings from a local jewelry designer in March. I did eventually get a proposal. In June we hauled our horses out to our wedding venue to ride out to pick a wedding ceremony location with the venue owner. At one spot Cory, who never wants to be in photos, stopped and said this is a nice spot, let's get a photo here. As the owner was taking photos of us Cory pulled out my engagement ring and asked if I would officially be his fiance. Our rings had been done for at least a couple weeks but he’d been waiting on the right time to surprise me.
How long was your engagement? What went into deciding your wedding's date and location?
We were “engaged” for approximately 6 months. But since we were planning on eloping no one new for at least half of that. Our family found out we were getting married when we invited them to the wedding. Our initial plan was to elope and take the minimum number of people we needed to legally get married on a horse pack trip into the back country. Over time our plan changed to include our immediate family, finally arriving at 11 guests and a photographer. We still wanted to incorporate our horses and pack mule into the wedding in some way and being able to do that was one of our main requirements of a venue. We also wanted to be in or near the mountains and have a venue which could provide an appetizing menu for our wedding dinner. The date was picked pretty quickly. It was a Wednesday, which we thought would help with venue availability on short notice. However we both liked the sound of 07-14-21, and it should be relatively easy for Cory to remember!
How would you describe your personal style? What was most important to you when you were planning your bridal look?
I would say that my style is simple. I generally wear a lot of muted colours, few accessories, and minimal make up. It was important that I have a dress which suited me and fit well and that my makeup would photograph well but would not be too heavy or overpowering.
How did you find Wear Your Love?
Due to the short timeline, and because I do not live in a town with any bridal boutiques, I was looking at off the rack options available online. During my online searches I came across Wear Your Love. I’ve rented designer dresses online from a rental boutique for formal events in the past and that worked out great so I was quite interested in trying out another non-traditional way to dress myself for a formal function, especially since the dress would still be made to order.
When did you know you had found your perfect dress?
The Bree dress caught my eye right away. I loved the column shape of the dress, the lace, and the trim details. I wasn’t sure that I wanted to wear such a form fitting dress so I kept looking but I just kept coming back to it and I am still so happy with my choice.
Which dress did you choose, and did you request any custom aspects?
I chose the Bree dress with a 16” court train and natural lining. No custom alterations. I did have it bustled by my seamstress and at that time she added a ribbon with no stretch down the inside of the back seam to better support the bustle as the weight of the bustled train pulled down the back of the dress.
What went through your mind when the Wear Your Love box arrived at your doorstep and you tried on your dress for the first time?
When the dress showed up I had two thoughts: I was really excited to show my mom, and I wished that I didn’t look like a hot mess because I was obviously going to try it on right then. The first day it arrived I quickly slipped it on when I was home by myself to check how it fit, which was amazingly, but didn’t try it with any shoes or accessories and didn’t send any photos to anyone. I think that my mom was a little sad that I had already ordered my dress before even letting our family know that we were getting married. My parents live two provinces away and I waited until the next time I went home to visit to try it on again so that my mom could be the first person to see it on. I was pretty confident that the dress would fit but I was admittedly a little nervous about the measurements as I am not a professional and Cory was my assistant with the tape measure. I was really impressed with how well it did fit, how the fabric looked and felt, and how the dress moved. It was as shown on the website but better.
Did your wedding have a theme or style?
We didn’t intentionally set a wedding theme but we held it in a rustic log lodge on a cattle ranch in the foothills of Alberta with the Canadian Rocky Mountains in the background and we rode horses to the ceremony. One might have called it a little western.
How involved was your partner in the wedding planning? Did your families help? Did you hire a coordinator, planner, or event stylist?
Because of how small and informal our wedding was I feel like planning was actually pretty simple. Cory was a sounding board throughout planning and was very involved in picking the venue. In fact I was laid up with a concussion while we were trying to find a venue so he had to do a lot of the communication initially. Driving made me feel really sick so on our trips to go view venues, which took anywhere from 5 to 12 hrs round trip, I would sleep or sit there blindfolded and he would chauffeur me around. However, he didn’t seem too interested in lace table runners or candlestick holders. We did not have a wedding planner but we did ask for some advice on our wedding day itinerary from our photographer, Ang. The team at our venue did a lot to make sure that the day went smoothly. I also had a friend help out with flowers. Our family, especially our sisters and my mom, helped out a lot on the day of the wedding as well. They weren’t heavily involved in the planning because we wanted them to be able to show up to the Ranch and enjoy themselves without any stress.
Let's show your wedding venue some love! What is the name of your venue, and why did you choose it for your special day?
I cannot say enough good things about Thanksgiving Ranch or its owners Brad and Christi. It is located in the foothills southwest of Pincher Creek, Alberta and is a working cattle operation. They have also turned the original log house into a guest lodge which sleeps 14 people and have turned the barn into an event venue which can host larger gatherings. The location is stunning and the lodge is beautiful and full of character. Our whole party was able to stay at the lodge for two nights. It was the perfect venue for us. There were so many things that made the decision to go with Thanksgiving Ranch easy: the location and view of the mountains, the dreamy lodge, the food (did I mention that Brad, the owner, is also a fantastic chef and baker and makes every meal during your stay?). Importantly, they were willing to accommodate our idea of riding to and from the ceremony and allowed us to bring our own horses, mule, and dog onto the property. They even built a hitching rail for us at the ceremony location and made ranch horses and tack available for any of our guests who wanted to ride with us.
Tell us about your wedding playlist! What song did you walk down the aisle to? Did you have a first dance song that was meaningful to you?
My dad walked me down the aisle to Lady May by Tyler Childers although I don’t know that you could really hear it over the blowing southern Alberta wind. Our first dance song was One I Want by Flatland Cavalry. When we first started dating long distance and were really getting to know each other we would send each other songs and kind of had a running playlist of songs that we thought the other person would like or that reminded us of the other person. I think One I Want was one of the first songs that Cory sent me and it’s still one of our favorites.
What was your favorite moment of the day?
Thinking back there are moments from every part of the day that I loved. The moment that makes me smile the most though was one shared by only Cory and I. The two of us were not quite ready for the night to end when everyone else turned in. Cory and I stayed out on the patio, under the stars, for over an hour after everyone else had gone to bed slow dancing to our wedding playlist.
Who was involved in your special day? We would love to shout out your photographer, favorite vendors, and anyone else who made your day magical.
- Marriage Commissioner: In a real full circle moment my sister’s boyfriend, who is the reason that Cory and I met in the first place, got a temporary marriage commissioner license for the day so that he could marry us. (@wattcoleman) • Photographer: Our photographer Angela was so great. She gave the funniest pose prompts in the sweetest voice and really did an amazing job with all our photos. (Instagram: @brzphotography__ , Facebook: Brz Photography – Angela, Photographer) • Rings: Matt of Element Jewelry Co. in Fernie (@craftedingold) made my rings and ordered Cory’s ring in from one of the distributors he works with (Chris Ploof Designs, @chris_ploof_designs). Matt was great to work with and I’m so happy with the final product. • Earrings: I loved my Getting’ Lucky earrings from my pal Alissa at Oneiro Designs (@oneirodesigns) • Boots: A cowboy wedding would not be complete without the bride in cowboy boots right? I ordered a pair of vintage blue leather and snakeskin boots from Bootitude (@bootitude_) • Hat: Vern Elliott of Gold Spring Custom Hats fit in Cory’s order for a custom hat and made sure we had it in time for the wedding. (#goldspringhats, #goldspringcustomhats) • Hair: Dayna and Alanna from Society Jane in Fernie drove 2 hours each way during their holidays to come do hair for the wedding. They also deserved extra credit for bringing my flowers out from Fernie and helping me put my false eyelashes on! (@societyjane.ca) • Makeup: I did my own makeup on wedding day but that would not have been possible without my brow girl Taylor. I booked in with Taylor for a makeup tutorial before the wedding. We picked colors and products and she gave me an application tutorial without which I would have probably looked like a clown. (@taylorartistry) • Flowers: Green Petal flowers in Fernie did my beautiful bouquet as well as a number of lovely fresh and dried arrangements for in the lodge (@greenpetalflowers). My friend Alicia was instrumental in my flowers. She is very passionate about floral arrangements and was able to provide me with examples, help me to figure out what I wanted, and communicate with Green Petal making the whole process so much simpler for me (@aliciawardgriffin).
Do you have any advice or helpful tips for others planning a wedding?
Two things: Do what feels right and authentic to you. In the end I didn’t want to elope because I knew that I wanted my family at the wedding but I also knew that we didn’t want a big wedding because we would have found the day much more stressful and a lot less enjoyable. I felt some guilt about not having extended family or friends there. However I’m happy that we went with the plan we did because it was the most enjoyable day for us and we were able to incorporate elements into the day that we wouldn’t have been able to do with a larger guest list. I was given some advice from my friend Claire which I took and which I will pass on. It can be a really stressful and emotionally charged day regardless of the size of the wedding. In the morning before the whirlwind starts, take some time for yourself to get centered.
What has been the best part so far about being married?
We still both get a kick out of calling each other “Husband” and “Wife”. In a lot of ways things don’t really change when you get married, but we both felt that it was an important commitment to make regardless. It’s like saying to each other “you are my person, the person who I have committed to building a life and a future with.”
Steph is wearing The Bree with natural lining and a 16 inch court train.