Checkerboard Hill | Leader, SK

It’s a hard job sometimes, but there are a few perks to being a wedding photographer here in Saskatchewan, and near the top of my list is being trusted with the knowledge of so many hidden gem locations. Early this summer we found ourselves at Checkerboard Hill; it’s a beautiful lookout at the top of a hill with a view over the south Saskatchewan river just a few minutes northwest of Leader, SK and the vantage point can’t be beat! It’s wild to me that I can live so close to amazing locations like this and not have heard a single thing about them. Luckily for me though, we meet beautiful couples like Drake & Monica to show us the way as we celebrate their lives together.

Image Description: A beautiful happy couple saying their vows at Checkerboard Hill near Leader, SK
Image Description: A beautiful happy couple enjoying the view from the lookout at their Checkerboard Hill, SK wedding
Image Description: A beautiful couple taking a few moments alone together for photos on their wedding day
Image Description: A happy couple embrace on their wedding day
Image Description: A custom made glass saying “Cheers to love, laughter & happily ever after” as wedding decor

S & K | Cypress Hills, SK

The weeks are flying by as we speed through fall here in Saskatchewan, and our peak wedding season is coming to a close. After two years of rescheduling and adapting around the pandemic restrictions we are celebrating life and love in full force this year. As wedding photographers, it’s a beautiful thing to see!

Stephen & Kyla chose the Cypress Hills Resort as the backdrop for their July 13 wedding, and the recent addition of the Vale ceremony space makes for a breathtaking experience. Straight out the back doors of the resort and down a short winding path through the trees you will find a sheltered, private clearing in the woods made perfect for an intimate wedding ceremony. It’s my new favourite wedding venue here in the southwest!

Image Description: A beautiful happy couple sharing their first kiss as husband and wife as guests blow bubbles around them in the forest
Image Description: A beautiful happy couple take time out of their wedding ceremony to say hello to their dog
Image Description: A beautiful happy couple take a few moments alone together on their wedding day to sit in a field of wildflowers on a hillside
Image Description: A beautiful happy couple and their wedding party pop open a bottle of champagne; the spray goes everywhere as they laugh
Image Description: A Groom and his groomsmen walking a dog to a wedding ceremony along a forest path
Image Description: A beautiful happy couple having their first dance as a married pair
Image Description: A beautiful happy couple sharing a kiss at their wedding reception photo booth, holding a sign with their personal social media wedding day hashtag

Finding Our Way

I put a pause on the blog a while ago when the pandemic was weighing heavily on our work and family life. Things have quietly been getting back to normal as restrictions have lifted though, so it seems like a good time to bring it back! With that though, it looks like there are tons of sessions to share. Let’s start with Brooklyn & Ian who planned the perfect relaxed, cozy engagement session. Everything about it showed how comfortable and happy they are in each other’s company, and being on the family farm made it so much more special. With all of the planning challenges couples have faced, it’s so good to be looking forward to a busy wedding season again!

Swift Current, SK Engagement | Webb, SK Engagement

So, 2020 Happened…

I’m sure you noticed that there hasn’t been a blog post here since late 2019. It wasn’t from lack of caring on my part, I just didn’t know what to say. I didn’t know how to weigh in on all of the plans and hopes and dreams of the couples and children and adults whose lives were thrown off course by the COVID-19 pandemic and the restrictions it brought with. Those carefully made plans with every single detail considered that have been postponed again and again. I have one couple who booked me at the very end of 2018 for their 2020 summer wedding who bumped to 2021 and then again to 2022 before the vaccines became widely available. You don’t need me to tell you how four years feels to a young couple in love who just want to have everyone they hold dear in attendance when they say their vows. I just didn’t know what to say.

So I sat through 2020 in a holding pattern, like everyone else. Waiting, and watching, and thinking about my family and yours, wondering how life would be going forward. Would everyone we love be with us when we take off our masks and gather? Would I be healthy enough to work again if I caught it? 2020 was a year of reflection and evaluation in what we want and what we value in this life, of that there is no doubt. I decided that family is most important to me so I hired some help sorting photos for editing (that part is still done by me, don’t worry but things will move much faster now with Judy sorting the keepers for me) so I could spend more time with my kids while they’re little. We only get 18 summers with them if we’re lucky, and those are half gone already over here. They’ve stood by while we worked through the hot vacation months – one of us gone every weekend and most evenings – their whole lives, but when the world shut down we gave them the best summer ever. Vegetable and flower gardens with a little splash pool in the yard, movie nights with snacks and laughter, and family bike rides along the Speedy Creek. It was magical, friends! Best. Summer. Ever.

We took the fear and uncertainty and made our own magic. We hardly worked and money was scarce – it was a good thing we were staying home, haha! and we missed our families, our clients, and our friends, but we learned a lot and saw our kids smile every day. I know that the couples who had plans destroyed and big life changes will be working through much harder times, but hopefully those of us who came through 2020 stronger can step up and help. 2021 will be another slow year for me since most couples opted to move their weddings to next year which means I have plenty of time to answer questions, track down contacts and information, and anything else you need while you plan! You can also check out my new project in collaboration with Kirstin Patzer of Three Strands Wedding Design and Jessica Williams, Author of All Write Here Publishing – it’s a brand new wedding magazine based right here in Saskatchewan and focusing on couples and vendors that we all know and love! You can follow along on our FB & IG, or find more information on our website, OR you can even check out our latest issue right now 🙂 Whichever you choose, there will be another blog post coming up soon all about it, so check in often and say hello! – C

Bumble & Vine Photography
Swift Current, Saskatchewan wedding photographer

December Thoughts

Wow it’s been a while since I sat here to write. I don’t like taking time for business if I have edits on the go, and in the fall it seems like that’s all I have on my plate. I say that with love and appreciation, I should add.

Mental health is on my mind as we go into the darkest days of the year (less sunlight means less vitamin D production) during the stressful holiday season packed with family obligations and expectations and the kids are at home for two weeks. It’s the perfect storm for those of us who struggle with keeping ourselves on even footing and I’m trying to stay ahead of the chaos before it overwhelms. I am failing a little there but staying above water!

Business was amazing this year. I have so many new friends and clients to thank for that, and am hoping to carry that energy and growth into 2020 (can you believe we’re even talking about the year 2020 in terms of days and not years away!?). We have hit our stride here as a two-photographer wedding team (say hello to Matt), and built up our equipment to give us multiple backups and options in each situation. That makes your wedding day stress free (for us), and when we can relax and have fun, the focus is on you and your loved ones!

We have hired on a part time photo sorting and culling helper (say hello to Judy) and we’re nearly through working out the kinks in the new process. This means that next year should see much faster turn around times – can we get a big cheer!?! It’s something that has been needed here for a long time, but with small kids it’s been tough to organize the transfer of duties. With 2019 coming to a close we have it figured out!

On a personal note we’ve made huge strides this year with our kids. Chase was diagnosed with ADHD and amid the research I was doing to be a better parent to him, I realized that I am the parent he inherited it from. In a giant flashing neon lights kind of way. I have no idea how I have made it this far without a diagnosis, but it has been an eye opening and incredible few months of adjustments. Most surprisingly it has brought us so much more happiness than expected. We have new medications and new daily routines and to my surprise they are helping us be better together – the goal in every family, right!? What started as a journey of fear and hesitation has been one of freedom for all of us.

This all contributes to the delicate balance that is our mental health, and the ups and downs have been intense some weeks. Going into Christmas we’re taking time to relax and enjoy time together and we hope you will be too!

Summer & Love

Have I mentioned that I love what I do? My life is scattered and busy with small children and a business, but I truly love the art of wedding photography. Each wedding day goes by in a blur of tears, laughter, love and family, and we are fortunate enough to be on the sidelines documenting it all as it unfolds. What’s not to love!?

This year I was able to transition from family sessions into full time wedding photography during the summer months and it has been everything I hoped it could be! We have taken time away for the first time in years to tent for a week with the kids at Good Spirit and take in a night under the stars at the dark sky preserve in Grasslands National Park… if you haven’t spent a night out there, add it to your adventure list right now.

So, all this means that I am drowning in gorgeous wedding edits, wading through a messy house full of laughing children, and incredibly happy with life and work right now. It’s a big change from years past! I want to write about each of these beautiful couples separately, but for now I’ll leave a few of my favourite shots from this summer. See you in the fall!

Bumble & Vine Weddings

You may know me (Candace) as the face of Bumble & Vine Photography’s every day sessions, but I want to take a few minutes to introduce my co-shooter Matt. By day he is the driving force behind EmJay Reno & Repair here in Swift, but on weekends he lends his skill and talent as the other half of the Bumble & Vine wedding team.

The main benefit to having a second photographer at your wedding is the obvious advantage in having additional angles throughout the day. One of us is setting flowers and rings up for details while the other is quietly capturing your family and friends while they visit and relax getting ready for the day. There are complimentary images of the kiss, the first dance, and so many more moments from start to finish. I love the way they come together in the final gallery so much that I don’t take on weddings without bringing an additional shooter!

If you are on the fence about hiring a team vs. a lone photographer for your wedding take a few moments to meet with them and ask questions about why they shoot the way they do – I’m sure they would love to tell you all about how they work and why. I encourage all couples to ask their wedding vendors questions about every aspect of their service. You are paying for their skill and product as well as their knowledge of the industry – use that to its full advantage!

Prairie Field Honey

If you know me well, you know that I love everything bees and honey. Honeybees, bumblebees, beeswax and more, I love it. When Prairie Field Honey called about photographing their products I was plotting and planning before they even hired me on! Seriously though, with their props and ideas alongside my love of making things pretty we were able to create a beautiful range of product shots that capture the high quality and beauty in each hand crafted item.

They are local here to Swift Current and you can find their items right here in town – I know that Olea in downtown Swift Current is currently stocked! Aside from offering delicious honey and beautiful products, the family behind the scenes are wonderful people that we are lucky to have here in our community. So be sure to check their products out and support our local business owners – let’s show them how happy we are to have them here in Swift!

Peace and Mental Health

**this post is an update and continues upon my previous one, so if you haven’t read that through, a reference or two may be lost. Happy reading!**

Today I’m writing from a happy place, mentally speaking. I’m nested at my desk, hot tea at my side, and a full project schedule on the go for the week. My last post was written from the lowest point I’ve experienced in my short life, but it’s still raw and fresh in my memory. I have muddled through loss and pain in the past but never before have I felt betrayed by my own thoughts and feelings and been so scared of my own mind.

When I reached the point where I couldn’t take it anymore, we made some decisions to tackle what we were able to control. We made big changes in our lives and in my work, and so far (five weeks later) it’s been life changing. I say that without the expectation that it will remain that way, but with a cautious hope that it may. Our lives have been brightened and made more simple by clearing away the clutter and focusing on our exercise and time together. The kids are learning to skate, and we’re getting back into the freedom and fun of playing/watching hockey – did I mention we had the opportunity to photograph the Stanley Cup with our good friends at The Landing Studio?! It’s been a much better start to our year than I could have hoped!

With the personal life changes made, we decided that the business needs the same care and attention to it as well. I now have a bit of help with client communication, invoicing, and culling/editing gallery images. This won’t change the final product of my photos, those final edits will still be my own, but it will improve the general flow and turnaround of in the office. With the personal changes we’ve made, I have found a renewed excitement for the “business” aspects of photography & graphic design. I don’t have a lot to update you with as of yet, but there will be so many exciting things this year. The busy season is gearing up in March and I cannot wait to see what it will bring!

Before I go, I want to add that I’m here to talk if you are interested. My story isn’t exciting or impressive, but I think it’s more common than I realized. It took years of drowning to sink to that low, and looking back I can see warning signs that I didn’t understand the importance of at the time. I can’t say that I am able to help, but I am here to listen and will try to understand.

Let’s Talk

With mental health in the spotlight today, remember that we need to minimize wait times to make quality care affordable and available to everyone alongside the need to normalize discussions on mental health. So in sharing our stories today remember that talk is only a small part of change.

Every few years I feel like I’m starting all over again in life. I felt like that when I was learning how to plan a wedding, and again when I was learning how to find my footing as a new parent and most recently while learning how to run a business while maintaining a life as a mom. Between those big life changes come the smaller shifts. When nothing big in life has changed, but something inside is suddenly very different.

If you’ve been following along you know that last fall I hit a major breakdown in my work/life balance and had to rearrange our lives to do things differently. It all seemed to be looking up going into Christmas, but what you haven’t heard about yet is the rock bottom low that I hit in January. It has been a terrible month of anxiety and tears, and uncertainty. In the spirit of helping others and of #BellLetsTalk day, I am being open about it and have been sharing with anyone who takes the time to listen. I have no history of mental health issues, and aside from the patches of general unhappiness that sometimes creep into the lives of busy working couples there is nothing that I could point to as a catalyst for this. All I know is that one morning just a few days into the new year I cried all day long and it spiraled quickly down from there.

What followed were two weeks of constant weepy crying – not sadness, just crying – and an endless loop of rambling obsessive thoughts about things that happened years ago and are far out of my control today. I was sure that I had ruined my husband’s life by marrying him, and lamented over decisions made and friendships lost decades ago. These were things I’ve rarely thought of through the years and some hadn’t even crossed my mind until now – it was really the strangest things that I latched onto. It didn’t matter what I tried, I couldn’t break free from the obsessive loop of thoughts until my chest felt like it was going to explode and I cried myself to sleep.

After two weeks of exhaustion and confusion, my husband and I sat to talk. I could barely handle being be home with the kids, I was a walking zombie at the end of my rope and able to recognize the fact that these thoughts were not my own, and that the weepiness devoid of sadness and emotion was a massive big red flag. I poured my miserable little heart out and we came up with a plan of self care to be followed shortly by a visit to my doctor.

Since I have a history of iron anemia paired with vitamin deficiency, we decided to start there. We changed our diet completely and added a full set of vitamins and daily workouts. For good measure we’re ripping the house apart to get rid of the clutter that tends to bring me down on a good day, and completing renovation projects in hopes of finding some combination of lifestyle changes that will help me get back to feeling more like myself.

Fourteen days into our massive lifestyle overhaul and I am just starting to feel better than I have in a long time. The past two days have been good mentally with a few mild episodes, but it’s such an improvement over the weeks prior. Physically my body is noticeably stronger, my mind is sharper and I’m not taking that for granted – we’re watching very carefully; reevaluating every day. So far so good. Something seems to be clearing the fog, and my thoughts and emotions have been nearly back to normal. I don’t know if this will be a part of my life going forward, and I don’t know what triggered this event, but I do know that a medical appointment and full blood work panel are in the works. I want to better understand the changes I can make to live a healthier life and that includes taking better stock of my emotional and mental health from now on.

Nearly everyone that I’ve shared my story with this past week has given me assurances of “me too” and they have all trusted me with their story. We need to keep the conversation going and raise awareness, because until it happened to me just a few short weeks ago, neither my husband or I even know the signs and symptoms we could have caught. So today, share and get involved with #BellLet’sTalk. Let’s help other moms, dads, business owners, adults and teens alike know that they are not alone, and that we’re here to listen. And that most of us have a story of our own.