I'm a wedding photographer based in Ottawa Ontario, but travels worldwide. My photography approach is intentional, honest and editorial. An organic approach to capture fleeting moments. This blog lives to inspire your wedding photos and provide you planning tips.
Dominion Arboretum is located in the heart of Ottawa, a beautiful green space that is open to the public year round. Many people visit to walk, run, bike, picnic and have their wedding ceremony.
Tip: Planning your wedding at the Arboretum, make sure to get your permit from the city of Ottawa
Alex and Michael’s wedding was postponed twice due to Covid. I knew from the very first phone call with Alex that we were a perfect match. From their gorgeous cabin engagement photos to their intimate wedding at Dominion Arboretum, all the way to their backyard reception. Everything was very well executed and I’m so excited to share this gallery with you!
Words from Alex (the bride)…
What did you love about your wedding location? (ceremony and reception)
We stumbled across our ceremony location while walking around the Arboretum one day. We loved the big, tall tree and how it was tucked away in the back of the arboretum, so would not be as busy. The ceremony location looked SO beautiful on our wedding day. We went with simple décor (a beautiful flower display and simple chairs) and it looked incredible with the sun streaming through the leaves.
Our reception was at my parents place, so we knew it was a welcoming space that we (and our guests) would be comfortable in. Decoration wise, we planned everything ourselves, so it was incredible to see our vision come to life.
What was most important to you when planning your wedding?
Our number one priority was that our guests had fun! We knew we would have a blast no matter what, so we really focused on the elements that would add to their experience. We selected a unique menu (tacos!), had a variety of beverages to choose from, and created a playlist full of throwback songs (we are millennials, after all).
What memory from your wedding do you remember the most strongly?
Alex: I remember the ceremony most strongly. Our officiant was really great and it was so special to see our close group of family and friends surrounding us. I remember holding hands with Michael the entire time!
Michael: First look. We were both so nervous and it was really special to have that time to ourselves. Alex looked so beautiful – I will remember that moment forever.
Funniest moment on your wedding day?
Too many funny memories from that day! We had a blast playing the newlywed game. We also had our 4 nieces and nephews (all under 5 years old there). Watching them tear it up on the dancefloor was too cute.
What advice would you give to future couples who are getting married?
Easier said than done, but don’t stress the small stuff! Your wedding will be perfect no matter what happens. We were bummed that they were calling for rain around 8pm, but it turned out great. Everyone had to come into the house and we really felt like it gave people the chance to socialize more and made the party extra fun. Sometimes the hiccups add to the day.
What was it like working with your photographer?
Mary is amazing! Mary was so go with the flow and never made us feel too forced or uptight in front of the camera. She embraced our inability to take a serious photo (sorry Mary!) and we really felt like we could be ourselves. She was always ready to provide advice / suggestions when we needed them. We felt so much love and happiness on our wedding day, and every photo Mary took captured that perfectly. We adore our photos and cannot recommend her enough.
Alex + Michael
Ceremony – Dominion Arboretum // Reception – Backyard Wedding // Bride getting ready: Andaz Ottawa Byward Market // Flowers – MQ Florals // Caterer – Meating BBQ // Makeup – Anusha // Hair – Suzanne Fortier, Showpony Hair // Flowerwall – Lux Flowerwall // Cake topper – Little Clay Land // Officiant – Jean Duval, All Seasons Weddings // Weddings Dress – BHLDN Bride // Shoes – Loeffler Randall Bride // Earrings – Lunika Designs // Suit – DKNY // Chair / Table Rentals – Groupe ABP // Shuttle – Leduc Bus
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Mary Calotes is an elopement and wedding photographer based in Ottawa, Ontario. Specializes in capturing genuine moments that gives you all the feels.