You may already know that I travelled to Switzerland in August with my boyfriend, Bruno, and his family.
Bruno’s parents both grew up in Switzerland, and Sharon, the oldest of their four kids,
has lived there for over ten years now.
When Sharon asked if I would come to photograph her wedding I was thrilled!
The wedding was incredible.
People keep asking what was the best part of the trip, and the wedding really was one of the highlights.
It was so different than Canadian weddings, and like no other I’ve ever been to.
We started the day at Sharon and Bert’s farm in Zuckenriet,
which is in the Northeast part of Switzerland, close to Germany.
Bert started his day just like any other.
Turns out those cows didn’t care that it was his wedding day and demanded to be fed all the same!
So while Bert did his chores the girls got beautiful…
It turns out he cleans up pretty good!
The ceremony took place at the incredible Johannes Church
in the neighbouring town of Niederhelfenschwil.
One big difference with Swiss weddings is that there are all kinds of surprises the bride and groom don’t know about.
The first one was that after the ceremony Sharon Bert and their daughters got to ride home in a wagon
so they could wave and throw candy to all the people who came out to get a look.
If you’re wondering, the tractor is a Hurlimann D-100 and it’s over 60 years old!
Everyone followed from the church back to the farm for the reception.
That’s another big difference; the couple hosts a reception right after the ceremony where anyone
and everyone can come to congratulate the couple, eat, drink and enjoy themselves.
After the reception a smaller group of close friends and family came for photos
at the Schwagalp below the Santis mountain.
We were right in the alps where the cows come to graze for the summer,
and they were very interested in what we were doing!
A couple of Sharon and Bert’s friends wore the traditional dress for the canton Appenzeller Ausserholden,
which used to be worn on Sundays, with a simpler version for workdays.
Another surprise, organized by the wedding party was the balloons.
Every guest got a balloon with a postcard attached, addressed to Sharon and Bert.
When people find the cards they write down where it was found, mail it back,
and whoever’s card travels the farthest wins.
They’ve already got one card back all the way from Italy!
The guests headed to the restaurant so I could shoot some photos with just the bride and groom….
and of course the cows, who were still very curios. Or maybe just liked having their photo taken!
Then it was off to the Restaurant Rossfall in Urnasch in the Kanton Appenzell for dinner with the smaller group of friends and family.
The hall was awesome, all the walls were covered with traditional swiss paintings…
…and it seems the Appenzellers are known to be very short people,
Bruno’s 6’1” and literally couldn’t fit through the door!
The night was filled with many more surprises for Bert and Sharon including a comedian,
an actor, games and even belly dancing.
My favourite part was the Sylvester Clauses,
which is an Appenzeller tradition that Sharon has loved since she moved to Switzerland.
Traditionally, on the new year groups of men would dress in elaborate costumes
with enormous bells and parade around from home to home to scare away evil spirits
and welcome the new year.
There are ‘Wueschte’ (ugly), like in the painting below, and ‘Schone’ (beautiful) costumes,
which are the ones they wore to the wedding.
Such a performance is not typical for a wedding,
but a good friend of Sharon’s is part of this group and knew how much she loved this tradition,
so he organized them to come for her.
The performance was amazing. The lights went down and the Clauses came running in,
jumping and twisting side to side so the huge bells rang defeningly loud.
Then they would stop ringing the bells and perform the ‘Chlausezäuerli’ (yodelling)
which was absolutely mezmerizing.
It really was one of the most incredible things I’ve ever experienced
and I’d love to be in Appenzeller for New Year’s some day to see the real thing.
Nothing compares to experiencing it live, but this video might be the next best thing.
After they finished Sharon had to reward them with beer, drank with a straw through their masks.
And the next day Sharon and Bert got all dressed up again for a trash the dress session.
Lucky for them it was another beautiful sunny day!
Awesome wedding, I’m so glad I got to experience it, and even better, take the photos!
Thanks Sharon and Bert!
The wedding yesterday was incredible!
There were so many traditions that were different from Canadian weddings,
it was such an awesome experience.
I’ve got a couple thousand photos to sort through, that’ll have to wait until I’m back home,
but I knew this one would be one of my favorites the minute we shot it and I couldn’t wait to share.
These two lovebirds are lucky enough to live in the Philippines most of the year,
so their wonderful friends bought them a photo session as an
engagement gift while they were here in Calgary.
Kaley has done quite a bit of modelling (shocking, right? 😉 and she must have given Ben some tips too because they were both total naturals.
Thanks for the great session you two, your private gallery will be up shortly.
All the best to you in the Philippines!
Wes and Lisa are such a fun couple and I’m so excited for their wedding.
When I meet with the Bride and Groom of the things I have them do is a wedding questionnaire to help me learn what kind of wedding they are having.
The words Wes and Lisa both chose to describe their day were:
“Happy Laid Back Nostalgic Creative Celebration”
We did their engagement session downtown Calgary, then picked up their little guy for a few family shots.
I couldn’t resist sharing a few of my favourites from this gorgeous wedding.
It was a prefect day, and even the mosquitos “weren’t bad”, according to the locals, but I’m thinking of starting a count for how many I edit out from the photos!
If you see any I missed let me know 😉
Thanks again for sharing your big day with me T&E.
There a LOTS more to come, but enjoy the sneak peak!
I always have fun when I’m shooting, but this was the most fun session I’ve had in a long time!
We snapped a few quick shots with Lindsay, CJ, and their beautiful little girl, then headed off to Fort Edmonton Park for the day. I hadn’t been there since I was a little kid, and CJ pretty much turned back into a little kid the whole time we were there!
There’s so much to see and do there, if you haven’t been I highly recommend it, with or without kids. Most importantly, there were so many cool locations for photos. I’m really glad CJ wanted to go on the rides so bad, because it made for awesome shots.
Lindsay did a great job of pretending not to be terrified on the ferris wheel, and I managed not to let motion sickness get to me as I turned around backwards to shoot while the ride was in motion.
Great day and great photos you two!