Madra and Michael’s love story is one for the ages. Their life is a passionate pursuit of what makes them happy, and as a consequence, being around them makes everyone happy! They had planned their intimate Linden Gardens wedding long before small weddings became the norm in 2020. Their story is tear-jerking and life-affirming, so I’ll just let them share their joy with you!
What was life like leading up to the wedding?
Madra – I was nearly shitting myself with excitement each and every day right from the moment we booked the date last fall, but it was about 50 days out from the big day that I slapped him every morning and made sure he knew. Poor guy. LOL.
In the summer of 2019, Michaels mother passed from cancer. She was very close to our hearts and meant the world to us. She always told me that I was the daughter she never had and I always dreamt of buying my wedding dress with her by my side. It was only a week after she passed that Michael had asked me to marry him and one of the first things I said when he asked me in Italy (other than YES) was … “I hope Judy is looking down and watching”. He told me that she knew the whole time that he was going to ask me. With this being said, getting my wedding dress was a very special day as I knew she was there and she would be laughing with me and tears would have been shed.
I was thinking about the PURPOSE of a wedding and how so many people lose track of the purpose when it comes to the small things like the wedding favours, table cloths and flower arrangements. The biggest thing for me was the point of finding the person that I saw spending the rest of my life with, being a happier person when I am with him and someone who has very similar values and beliefs as me. The feeling of knowing that Michael chose me out of the millions in the world and wanted to commit to spending our years together.
I thought about what the first dance song would be and what song would be playing when I walked down the aisle. I didn’t know what they were as Michael wanted to choose those and keep them to himself until the day of. Ever since the beginning, he has always been a romantic and I know I can lean on him to catch me if I fall.
Michael – I wasn’t nervous or anything leading up to the wedding as I knew what I wanted and it was the right choice. I was more excited to be married to her and it was something that was meant to be.
Why did you choose a Linden Gardens wedding?
Michael and I both decided that BC would be a very nice place to get married. Michael grew up in Vernon so BC was close to his heart. I didn’t find anywhere in Alberta that I thought could beat BC and with our small ceremony, it was an easy choice to decide to do a destination wedding. My maid of honour Jessica, she actually came to me one day and said “MADRA, I HAVE THE PERFECT SPOT”. She sent me a link to Linden Gardens in Kaleden, BC. I loved the gardens ideas and Judy absolutely LOVED flowers so it fit nicely with what we wanted. Michaels wasn’t tooooooooo picky on the spot so it wasn’t too hard to persuade him with the venue. I spoke with Ken at Linden and we got a tour of the garden. It was stunning. He was so kind and you can tell he puts his heart and soul into that place. He cared so much to make our day the best it could be and we were so pleased with how it turned out.
What was your favourite part of the day?
Madra- What a question. The day was unlike any other day I have ever lived. I had dreamt of my wedding day since I was a little girl. When I grew up, I thought my wedding would be this big grand event with hundreds of people and a big show. When in reality… I never expected to have the whole wedding party be 5 people, to be in a secluded rose garden along the Okanagan Lake and to have a man I never knew I needed to begin the life I always wanted to start. My favorite part of the whole day was easily the ceremony. I hadn’t seen Michael since 3 pm the day before, myself and my 2 girls were driving to the venue from the hotel listening to cliche wedding songs and I was overwhelmed with emotions… but not one of those emotions were being nervous. I waited in the car to come walk down the walkway of shale to the garden where Michael.
Our crazy and phenomenal photographer came up with the idea to have Michael turn around after my bridesmaids came down the aisle so he couldn’t see me until I was about 20 ft out from the altar. Michael and I loved the idea. I got out of the vehicle and saw a glimpse of Michael in his cream-colored suit (which he kept a secret about too) and it became real at that moment. I took a second before I walked down the aisle… put my hands on my knees and took a breath… and just stopped to feel the moment I was about to experience and to realize how grateful I was that Michael and I came across paths. I walked down the mulch, and about 20 ft out… I heard “I am yours” play on the stereo system…. I thought of so many things I could say for when I asked him to turn around… all that came out when I was 20ft out was “hi”. I was speechless. He looked so handsome, his smile could melt my heart like a grilled cheese sandwich on a cast iron pan and then the minute he saw me… he broke down. I got down the aisle and he held my hands and from that point on… I couldn’t tell you what the officiant said, what our wedding party was doing.. nothing. All I can remember was Michael, looking into his eyes and vowing to commit my whole self to him. It was a moment in time that nothing mattered in life but that moment. My cheeks hurt the whole time. The love was inevitable and I relive that moment each and every day.
Michael – My favorite part was when I finally got to see Madra walk down the aisle. It hit me when I saw her. All of our memories we have created and shared came over me and it was at that moment that the day was here. I had brought up to Madra that I was looking so forward to seeing her that day and couldn’t wait to see what she picked out for her dress and to finally hold her. She looked elegant and beautiful. I may or may not have been able to hold it together….
What were your favourite details?
Madra – I honestly don’t know how to choose. I loved all of them. I got my beautiful arrangements from Carls Flowers in Penticton. The ladies from Carls Flowers them delivered right to the hotel room for us and they were so friendly and their excitement added to the day. I got my makeup done by the wonderful Brandie at B&A Haus of Beauty. She made me feel just so beautiful and was so friendly and excited. She was a wonderful part of the day. My favorite details though were the way that our Linden Gardens wedding was set everything up by Ken for dinner as we were getting our photos done. We had our BBQ style dinner catered by Smoke & Oat Bistro at the Wild Goose Winery and it was DELICIOUS!!! Ken and his team had top notch hospitality for our Linden Gardens wedding and were just such genuine people that I was ever so happy to be a part of our day.
How did you choose your Linden Gardens wedding photographer?
Well… I saw this was one of the questions and my eyes started to well up. The photographer was something that Michael and I really had high on the priority meter when we were looking at the budget and the planning of the wedding. We didn’t want a videographer. We wanted someone who could capture our day and we wanted someone with high quality talent with an eye like no other to see ideas that work with what kind of couple they are shooting. Michael is all about the ‘fun’ photos that represent us and are not posed. I am in the middle but I fell in love with photos that captured the love that I see in his eyes every time he looks at me. I emailed about 7 photographers before I came across the one and only Bobbi Barbarich. I looked through her website about 17 times, all of the photos on her gallery and just immediately had to talk to her.
I fell in love with the realism and genuine feelings that come across with every photo she takes. I fell in love with the variety of different photos she takes… her black and white photos… her candid photos and just photos that make you stop before scrolling to the next one to just appreciate pure talent. I messaged Bobbi through email to inquire the regular things… cost, details about weddings… blah blah blah… and the email I got back was unlike any other that I got from the other photographers. She emailed me and wanted to know details about Michael and I … our relationship, what we like to do together, how we met and more. My response was not very brief, but I really wanted our photographer to get to know us so she knew who she would be working with on the day of the wedding. We emailed back and forth for a week or two and then we ended up facetiming as we lived in different provinces and we met her (and her pups).
The genuine character and sincere demeanor to get to know us was noted. She had a spunky personality and a PASSION for what she does. We got to meet her in person when we did an engagement shoot the day before the wedding at Davison Orchard and the HUG that I got from her was exactly what I expected too. Right when we started the shoot, it started pouring and we ended up jumping on tire swings, kissing goats and making out on a hay bail. We had the BEST time and she had so many ideas! THEN came the big day. We booked her from 10 am – 4 pm. She showed up at just after 9 am to look at the hotel space and was even went to the Linden gardens wedding location beforehand to see what she was working with for a venue before we got there.
She came to see us in the hotel room and immediately adapted to the room. She was SUPER excited for the day and got right into looking at the space and I could almost see steam coming out of her ears with how fast her brain was working thinking of ideas. She was on the bed, she was looking at picture frames, she was going in between the girls and the guys room to make sure she wouldn’t miss a thing. At the ceremony, she played a huge role in making sure that she didn’t miss anything. She captured every single moment that I really wanted to remember in a photograph. She captured every feeling that I had during the day and especially the ceremony… those photos exceeded all of my expectations. After the ceremony, she grabbed us, threw us in her SUV and we went to this STUNNING lookoff that she found and she took photos that could be in a magazine.
From the moment I first got in contact with her, to the very last hug on the wedding day when we said goodbye… she is someone that I have absolutely no regrets with or anything that I would change. She made everything so personal.. EVEN delivering the photos. She sent us a preview slideshow a week before we got our whole gallery, and she made the anticipation grow as she asked when we had a time to set aside for a ‘surprise’. I LOVE SURPRISES. When the time for the surprise came around, she asked for us to cuddle up with a nice drink and our laptop… and she sent us the most beautiful slideshow and I CRIEEEDDDDD. I showed it to multiple people and for the people who were not able to attend the wedding, they said “watching that, made me feel like I know that feeling of your wedding day”.
Bobbi has exceeded my expectations and I am so very happy that we invested in her talent. I look forward to looking at these photos for years to come and for coming across Bobbi as a photographer because other than marrying my best friend, she was one of the best decisions for our wedding day. Thank you Bobbi for putting your heart into our day and never holding back who you were because man you are a stellar human being.
What advice do you have for couples in the future?
Madra & Michael – I am not sure if we have the right to give advice when have only been married for 2 1/2 months but… be ready for the question “how is married life treating you?”. In our eyes, the response is always “nothing really has changed, we still want to cuddle and show each other love every morning and can’t wait to see each other the next day when we go to bed”. Marriage to us is a commitment. A commitment to thinking before making daily choices as it now affects 2 people, to always support one another and to communicate even when it’s not the greatest of conversations.
** AND.. its ok to be different when you are planning your wedding. We had pie instead of cake. We had 2 bridesmaids and only groomsman… it wasn’t equal numbers.. did it matter? Nope. We had pie right after the ceremony.. did it matter? Nope. Don’t make your wedding to please everyone else because they will not be the ones remembering it for years to come. You and your partner will be. Enjoy every single minute of it because it flies by before you know it.
Thank you for sharing so much of yourselves, Madra and Michael. I am beyond grateful I got to be there for you! Watch their whole slideshow above, and if you connect with Madra and Michael’s story, please contact me here. xoxo