A shade of the dramatic, where different is all there is.

A Winter Tribute

James and I keep getting comments on how unique our wedding was…I guess it’s not everyday that people get married outside in the snow in the middle of winter.  When we told people our plan soon after our engagement we got “Are you guys crazy?!?!”  a lot.  I fully admit that during the few months of planning James and I asked ourselves that frequently.  So I wanted to share with you all the reasoning behind the outdoor winter wedding and the green dress.

We never planned on a winter wedding before we got engaged.  We had talked about our wedding day and what we thought we would sort of want our day to be like, but “snow” certainly never came up in conversation.  We had thought autumn would be nice.  The fall here in Ottawa is absolutely stunning, especially for an Alberta girl that is used to the early winter coming in and freezing everything before the leaves have a chance to change colour.  It is certainly one of my most favourite things about this city.  But when the proposal came the first weekend of September, autumn was out of the question.  At least to us anyways.  Neither of us really wanted to wait a whole year to get married and I insisted on giving people more than 6 weeks notice when we had so many people to invite from the other side of the country.  So, James and I started talking.  We thought maybe Spring…that would be nice.  Flowers blooming..everything turning green.  I mean really, what other options did we have?  And then it hit me.  My parents got married in the winter, December 21st to be exact.  Now their wedding wasn’t outside, but I remembered seeing pictures and it was beautiful.

My favourite picture of that day I remember very fondly.  In the hall outside my bedroom, up on the very top of the bookshelf was a picture of my mother on their wedding day.  She had long beautiful brown hair then, almost down to her waist.  She wore a long sleeve dress with marabou trim.  She wore a floor length white winter wedding cape.  She was a knockout.  I saw that picture nearly everyday of my life as a youth and everyday I thought it was stunning.

Knowing that there was no way I would ever fit into my mother’s wedding dress…I was desperate to incorporate my mother into our wedding somehow.  Just because she couldn’t be there in body, I had to bring her there with me in any way that I could.  I realized that I could wear her cape and have her with me on my wedding day…and from that moment every other option in the world disappeared.  We would be married in the winter and I would wear my mother’s cape.

We started planning right away, sending out invitations within a month of being engaged.  We booked a venue with a beautiful outdoor ceremony site and the rest was history.  We would be married on January 28th, 2012 outside in the Canadian winter.  A little crazy?  Probably.  But we didn’t want our wedding to look like everyone else’s.  We wanted a different story.

I wore an emerald green dress, instead of the traditional white wedding gown.  So when people see pictures from the wedding and say “Green must be your favorite colour?” the answer is “yes, it is”.  But that isn’t why I wore green that day.  And anyone that knew my mother, knows that my green wedding dress was simply a tribute to her.  Now, in all fairness, before anyone makes me a martyr, this tribute was a selfish act.  I needed to feel like she was a part of this whole experience.  I needed to feel like I had my mother on my wedding day.

Outdoor Winter WeddingEmerald Green Wedding Dress with White Cape

When my Dad walked into the Strathmere Lodge and saw me in my mother’s cape, the very one he had married her in over 35 years ago…you could see the emotion instantly rush through him.  And I knew then, that she was there that day, inside the hearts of those she’d left behind.

Outdoor Winter Wedding, White Winter Wedding Cape and Emerald Green Wedding Dress

I’ve never been too sure what I believe in, as far as the afterlife and what happens to us when we die.  But I do know, that if she was looking down on us that day, she would’ve loved my green dress and she would’ve been honoured that I wore her cape.

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24 responses

  1. Suzie

    So beautiful 🙂 Love your post!! I was just listening to your wedding song and looking at your pictures! It was a truly beautiful day ❤

    February 19, 2012 at 6:14 pm

    • Aww thanks Suzie! It really was a special day, I’m so glad you could be a part of it! ❤ xoxo

      February 19, 2012 at 6:26 pm

  2. Cindy Bearzatto

    Darling daughter in law… it was so romantic and will a wedding most guests will remember forever… good job. Love Ma

    February 19, 2012 at 6:46 pm

  3. Thanks Cindy! Fortunately the weather for our outdoor winter wedding cooperated and didn’t result in people having to sit through a blizzard. James and I couldn’t be happier with how it all turned out! ❤ xoxo

    February 19, 2012 at 11:16 pm

  4. Hey Shannon, this is a beautiful story. I’m sure your mother would have been happy to see your dress and her own cape 🙂

    February 20, 2012 at 6:13 am

  5. Awww, thank you Sunny! I just wanted people to know the real reason behind the green dress and outdoor wedding, instead of assuming that it was just because green was my favorite colour…and that we loved snow. LOL

    February 20, 2012 at 10:18 am

  6. Kelsey

    Your mom would be so proud 🙂 And you looked absolutely stunning in that beautiful dress and cape.

    February 21, 2012 at 8:27 pm

  7. Thanks Kelsey – that truly means a lot coming from someone that knew her. ❤

    February 21, 2012 at 8:31 pm

  8. liz2you

    I absolutely agree; your mother was there. Not only was your wedding unique but you looked so beautiful too. Dad was proud!
    In truth, none of us can say what happens to us after, but the vibes sometimes make it a defo, certainty that ‘something’ is with you. So much connection and love cannot fade from existance. (I get it at the Christmas dinner table, when I think of my Mom and Dad. I do it quietly and privately, ofcourse.)

    February 25, 2012 at 12:54 am

    • Thank you for your comment Liz! I appreciate you taking the time to share.

      February 26, 2012 at 10:34 pm

  9. I LOVE your mother’s cape! It is gorgeous – reminds me of a fairy tale!

    February 26, 2012 at 8:43 pm

    • Thank you Linda! That day certainly felt like one!

      February 26, 2012 at 10:34 pm

  10. Holly J

    This was a lovely post. What a beautiful way to honor your mother’s spirit during your big day. The cape is lovely, and I love the photo of you with your dad.

    February 27, 2012 at 8:07 pm

    • Thanks very much Holly! I am quite fond of the picture with my father as well. I think it is one that we will both be cherishing for a very very long time. Thank you for taking the time to comment. One of the things I love most about blogging, is putting yourself out there and being able to share your story. The fact that people actually choose to read it, well that means everything. 🙂

      February 27, 2012 at 8:11 pm

  11. texasgirlinmelbourne

    That last picture of your dad walking you down the aisle with snow everywhere was beautiful. I know it’s a little late but congratulations!

    March 9, 2012 at 10:58 pm

    • Thanks Texasgirl! The day really did end up perfect for us. Thanks for commenting!

      March 9, 2012 at 11:51 pm

  12. Ok I always dreamed of having a winter cape and a muff. I always wanted it to have a red satin lining! LOVE it! But I was proposed to in Jan. so mine was opposite problem. But LOVE all those pictures.

    May 22, 2012 at 12:57 am

    • Thanks Angela, I really felt like it didn’t matter what dress I had on, because the cape looked awesome over top of everything! LOL

      Did you get married in the middle of summer then?

      May 22, 2012 at 6:48 am

      • June 8 we are coming up on 10 years!!! AAAGH! Crazy 🙂 Loved it though.

        May 22, 2012 at 6:03 pm

  13. Beautiful 🙂 congratulations!

    October 12, 2012 at 5:10 am

    • ShannonBearzatto

      Aww, thanks! It was certainly a special day!

      October 12, 2012 at 6:44 am

  14. Wonderful. I get the same kind of feeling like when on a wedding – aww!
    You look very beautiful in your mothers cape!

    December 3, 2012 at 7:06 pm

    • Thank you so much, that is very sweet of you to say! It was a very special day for many reasons. ❤

      December 3, 2012 at 7:27 pm

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