A Wedding in the Forest: Erin + Gavin

The most important thing for Erin + Gavin was to make sure their wedding was fun and meaningful for them. They really wanted to inspire their guests with their relationship by keeping it real and showing their true selves. The flowers were DIY and Erin’s bridesmaids made her bouquet as a surprise. They got married in a forest and had one of their best friends perform the ceremony. Their vows includes “to always be awesome and have fun.” The decor for the forest was also DIY, designed by Erin and inspired by their engagement photos (which I just love also!) and decorated by family on the morning of the wedding. They took time for themselves during the wedding, danced like crazy and had the best day of their lives. Thanks so much to the amazing Last Forty Percent for the stunning photos!

groom in bow tie

groom jumping

bride and groom portrait

bride and groom portrait

I love this story from the photographers – and this is why I LOVE first look moments…

In the moments leading up to the first look things were eerily quiet. Gavin stood in the middle of the woods. Surrounded by the trees and nothing else. Just his thoughts. Erin held her best friends’ hand and followed slowly behind my voice, her eyes covered. With each step I could hear her voice shake. See her lips quiver. And her bouquet shifting nervously from hand to hand. When I told her we were only a few feet away it happened. The tears she had been holding back broke free. Loose. And steaming down her face. She started to walk faster, so anxious to see her groom. She couldn’t seem to get to him fast enough.

Standing back to back, Erin and Gavin reached for each others hands. Gavin’s voice seemed to calm Erin’s tears, but only momentarily. On the count of 1-2-3, they turned to see each other for the first time. We stood back and observed. Quietly. From a distance. But there could have been 100 people in the middle of those woods and Erin and Gavin wouldn’t have noticed. They were so lost in the moment. In each other. The tears that fell were happy tears. Pure and honest. Real. Filled with love. And in that moment we witnessed two best friends completely and totally meant for each other share that love.

bride and groom first look

bride and groom first look

bride and groom

purple bouquet

bride and groom

wooded wedding

chalkboard ceremony decor

rose betal basket

Most memorable moment of your wedding day? Walking down the aisle was the most amazing minute of my life. I was surrounded by my best of friends, my parents, my family and friends in a quiet, intimate forest, walking toward the person of my dreams who would soon be my husband. I cried the happiest of tears and have never been so full of joy in all of my life.

wooded ceremony

wooded ceremony

wooded ceremony

Tell us a bit about your music…

I really believe that a wedding ceremony should have a happy tone. Yes, it is serious. Yes, there is deep emotion. But at the end of the day, you marry someone because they make you happier than anything. Your wedding day is the time to celebrate to the hilt how lucky you are to have each other.

That said, I hunted for my walk-down-the-aisle song for almost one year. Since Gavin and I lived over 2 hours away from each other for our entire engagement, I had lots of time in the car to listen to old songs, new songs, sad songs, traditional songs. I really stepped into imagining our wedding during those trips back and forth. So many times I found myself bawling my brains out imagining how amazing it would be to walk down the aisle to this song or that. I am a sucker for music that hits just the right nerve.

I got really into soul music from the 60s because it is both deeply expressive and fun and finally decided on “My Girl” by the Temptations. Everyone knows it. It makes people happy. It has a great intro, a great crescendo…and I think it is actually a march. People can bop and dance to it… I wanted my walk to express my joy and happiness. I timed it perfectly so that the crescendo of the song happened just as I made it to the final straight away from through the forest down the aisle. It was magical. Even now, I tear up when I hear the song… it will always be a special song for Gavin and I.

Our exit song, equally happy, was “Shout”, by the Isley Brothers, Gavin’s favourite song. After being pronounced husband and wife, we danced back down the aisle like Hallelujah dancers. It was amazing to have our bridal party, friends and family jump and dance with us at that overwhelmingly happy moment.

bride and groom

bride and groom

bridal party

purple bouquet

bride and groom

bride and groom

bride and groom silhouette

Any advice for couples planning now?

You will feel abundantly stressed if you start caring if everyone is having a good time. The best advice I received during my wedding was from a friend who said “You can either spend all night worrying that people aren’t having fun, or you can actually just have it. You are the only person who can make yourself have fun…”. Best advice I received. Brides – Remember this!

Hire vendors that you love. One of the best decisions I have ever made in my life is to hire a photographer that I loved. This is the best investment you will ever make. I spent months researching photographers until I found Last Forty Percent. After finding them, there was no one else. Hire a musician/band/dj that you KNOW you will have a blast dancing to. Make your ceremony memorable for the two of you. Write your own vows if possible – there are lots of sites online that can help you with wording. Avoid cookie cutter wherever possible.

You can have anything you want for your wedding and you have only one shot to make it happen. Channel as much creative energy as possible during your engagement. Get emotional. The more you are in tune with yourself as a person beforehand, the more meaningful and awesome the wedding will be. Your job, other than to show up to the wedding prepared to be married, is to inspire people with your love and to communicate that through your wedding. Your guests should leave thinking – Wow… those guys are going to be together forever. Congratulations and best of luck!

Lots of great advice Erin! Thanks so much + congrats to you both!!

photographer: Last Forty Percent // hotel: Woodlawn Inn // Caterer + venue: MacKechnie House Bed and Breakfast // ceremony site: Cobourg Conservation Area // wedding dress: White Satin // designer: Olivia Couture // officiant: J. Ross Folkes from All Seasons Weddings // floral: Quinn’s Florist // shoes: Kooba // hair + make-up: City Streaks // macaroon tower: Bobette and Belle.


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  1. Very unique and fabulous photos! Love that First Glance– great location! And adorable “please take one” set up and favors. xo

    The French Bouquet: Wedding & Event Florals

  2. What a gorgeous wedding! Love the idea for the flower petals on the clothesline! They made for an awesometastic exit!

  3. Congratulations again Erin and Gavin – we loved working with you. Thanks for your kind words and thanks to Jen for sharing the wedding :)

  4. Those leaf details on her dress are perfect for the setting.

  5. The gift box with rose petals clipped to the clothesline was inspired. All of the little signs are sweet.

  6. yeah! love the last forty percent! gorgeous wedding.

  7. Love this! I am actually getting married at this forest centre next year and this makes me so excited! Looks like it was a beautiful wedding.

  8. The first look portraits are so sweet!

  9. This is gorgeous!! Very emotional! Love the first look between the couple! Very nice!

  10. I love the thoughts behind the wedding music selection. Nicely done!


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