Intimate Wedding in the Forest – Duck Mountain Provincial Park

When Courtney and Mike reached out to me book their intimate wedding in Duck Mountain Provincial Park with a small dinner reception to follow in Swan River, MB I was beyond thrilled. If you’re getting married on a campsite with like 30 of your closest friends and family, you better believe I’m throwing on my hiking boots and joining the party!

Their Story

Courtney and Mike’s love story is one for the ages. Mike fell instantly in love with Courtney but she was definitely a bit of a chase. She was the classic, independent woman with big dreams; bigger than Swan River, she figured. Mike was as subtle as he could be when he met Courtney but still made sure it was known that he cared for her. Even texted her when she headed home after a party with their mutual friends to make sure she got in alright, only to receive a response of “I’m fine, don’t worry about me.”

These two have become a couple in my life that I hold in very high regard. Their kindness and genuineness towards the people in their life is so beautiful. They deeply care for the ones they have in their life and it show without a shadow of a doubt. Their intimate wedding completely moved me. They were fully present and even went as far as having a fully unplugged wedding in the woods.

The Anticipation

I arrived the evening prior to their wedding day and shared a meal with them and their family at a neighbouring campsite. When I walked up to their wedding site, my heart stood still. The sun was setting behind their handmade arbour and the benches they made together lined the aisle. You could hear the water lapping against the shore beyond the sloping tree line. It had their love story written all over it. I could imagine myself in the Pacific Northwest but here I was, standing in the heart of Western Canada.

I’d say their wedding day was absolutely perfect but Mike ended up with two left shoes. Literally, he had two left shoes in the box. But everyone was in light spirits about it and Courtney’s Dad spiffed up an old pair of Mike’s shoes to be ready for the aisle. I waited for Courtney to come out of the bathroom from getting dressed and when she came around the corner, man alive; Mike, you’re a lucky man! I felt so lucky to be one of the first people to see Courtney in her stunning dress from Novia Mia Bridal. She was doing a first look with her parents so neither had seen her in it yet!

The First Looks

When Courtney’s Dad turned and saw Courtney for the first time, I got that shot that you’ll see of him wiping tears from his eyes. The love a father has for his daughter is far too much for me to handle sometimes (I’m a total Daddy’s girl, myself; so I often imagine my Dad seeing me on my wedding day). If a father cries, I’m going to be crying, guaranteed. So through foggy eyes, I watched the love and excitement for the marriage commitment that was about to happen unfold.

Mike and Courtney had their first look on the Swan River Golf Course. It was intimate and sweet. Mike awaited his bride as she made her way across the green. She slowly tapped him on the shoulder and he turned and immediately embraced her with his face buried into her neck. I’ll admit, I choked back a few tears as I watched the exchange.

Whether you choose to do your first look in front of 200 people or just yourselves, I will always be an advocate of choosing to focus solely on the one you love. It can be intimidating either way because if it’s 200 people, that’s a lot of eyes, and if it’s just you two; well… your favourite third wheel is right there snapping away. But I so, so encourage you to forget that I’m even there. Don’t worry about your reaction or about whether or not I’m catching every sweet tear that rolls down your cheek; I’ll worry about that. You just focus on this once in a lifetime moment that you see each other right before you are about to run into an entirely new adventure together.

The Ceremony

In the shade of the trees and surrounded by their closest friends, in the forests of Duck Mountain Provincial Park, Courtney and Mike stood hand in hand and exchanged sweet vows. They chose forever together in that moment and it was beautiful. The simplicity of the way they chose to say “eternity” was breathtakingly intimate.



This is a wedding that is written on my heart forever. An intimate ceremony in the forest is absolutely what brings my heart to life. Thank-you Mike + Courtney for inviting me into your lives and your wedding. I will forever be honoured that I was the photographer you chose to capture your story.

I could tell you forever and ever that this is my dream wedding but it wasn’t about the space we were in as much as it was the space Mike + Courtney chose to be in. They chose to slow down and be fully present with each other and their guests. Completely unplugged and fully remembering every moment of their day, together hand-in-hand.

Leave me a comment, I would love to hear from you!

xx. Caitlin