Real Joy Wedding: Kyla & Chris

    There is nothing more satisfying that getting a peak at real weddings from real Joy couples. Kyla and Chris share the details of their special day—what they'd do differently (and what they wouldn't), what was most special, and what they'd tell other Joy couples as they prepare for their own wedding days!

    First off, congrats! What’s the best thing about being a newlywed?

    I think my favourite part about being a newly wed is knowing that Chris and I have created something new together… there is so much possibility ahead! our ceremony was very much about the energy that we were stepping into as husband and wife… a sacred container that would hold our love for each other where we would be planting intentions for our future together.

    Living a life of joy focuses on the connection that is shared and the love that is constantly evolving and growing as each person evolves and grows.

    As we stood beneath 113 antique crystals that were hanging from the trees overhead, surrounded by a gorgeous circle of branches and flowers on the ground, something magical was happening and the essence of that has stayed with us. Being newly married to the love of my life is a profound experience for me. I’ve spent this lifetime moving towards one person and becoming his wife brings me a deep feeling of joy, grounding, and freedom as part of a balanced partnership. For me the energy of marriage plants roots into the foundation of our love and from that place we grow ever stronger and ever closer.

    What is the most memorable moment from the wedding?

    Most memorable for us is standing in the circle during our vows… as a wedding photographer I have had lots of my clients tell me that they didn’t even see me when I was arm’s reach away from them and I always thought that was surreal. Standing there with Chris as we looked into one another’s eyes and shared our promises for a life together, the world truly dissolved into the background. When I close my eyes and take myself back to that day, I see Chris’ face so close to mine, his eyes tearing up as we looked right into one another and existed in a world where there was only him and only me. I’ll be revisiting that moment on the good days and on any challenging days, because it reminds me so clearly the gift that love has to offer us.

    Photo | Shari + Mike

    With the wedding over and some time to reflect on the celebration, would you have done anything differently—splurge on a pricier dress, nix the favors, go for that extra passed appetizer?

    After the wedding I replayed each moment over in my head, and though there were some things that felt important—details like the gold Chiavari chairs I just had to have, the perfect dress that was altered half a dozen times and the antique clutch I never even carried, or the speech I never wrote and the funny ramblings of love and gratitude that formed our perfect thank you—it turns out I wouldn’t change a thing.

    The energy of marriage plants roots into the foundation of our love and from that place we grow ever stronger and ever closer.

    I already feel so attached to the memories, the way it was raining as I arrived for our first glimpse and how the rain stopped just as Chris was turning to see me in my dress for the first time. Would I have scratched the rain and made it a warmer day? Would I have written a speech? What initially felt like a ‘yes’ has now become a ‘never’ because everything about our wedding day made it our day… and I cherish it so much already.

    The million dollar question: Did you have any time to enjoy the food or the cake?

    Everyone raved about our food. Chris loves good food and he’s an amazing cook, so finding a great caterer was at the top of the list. We hired Nick and his team at Toque Catering and they were just as amazing as everyone said. The serving staff was kind enough to save me a plate of canapes since I kept passing on them as they went by. It was very sweet of them since we weren’t having any sort of formal sit down dinner. We decided on passed canapes and a food station later in the afternoon which everyone loved. A casual garden party where people could mingle and enjoy the grounds.

    The entire menu catered to my very strict and specific food sensitivities so it was really nice to get to enjoy a bit of it. I think I carried my little martini glass of gourmet mac and cheese around for about half an hour before I got to eat any of it! (It was still really good cold.) As for cake I didn’t have any until we were back at the house later. The cake we cut was a delicious raw vegan cheesecake from Bliss Cafe that I was so happy to dig into! It was absolutely delicious!

    What tips do you have for other Joy couples still in the midst of wedding planning?

    Having shot over 100 weddings and fresh out of the experience of planning my own, I feel excited to share what I’ve learned. First of all, I’d say take some time to really sit with all of the feelings that come up during the process. Planning a wedding takes a lot of energy and I found personally that it didn’t leave a whole lot of time for me to process this huge transition I was undertaking. I found it challenging to sit quietly and work on my vows or think about how I was metaphorically letting go of my family (parents and siblings) as my primary connection to embrace my husband as my ‘family’ and have him step into the role as my number one.

    So many brides don’t really get to take the time to process the shifts in energy that are happening behind the scenes and I found it very helpful to have time to step away from the busy-ness of the planning and reflect on those relationships and changing dynamics. It’s so easy to get caught up in the next task and so rewarding to tick things off the list. What I’ve found is that there is a huge benefit in taking time to explore your emotions before the day so that you can feel more grounded and centered when it comes.

    Photo | Shari + Mike

    How did you stay sane during wedding planning?

    For me I had an amazing support system. My husband Chris would check in with me, pull me away from the computer, get me outside and make me laugh when I got stressed. I also had a great friend who I could chat with about the emotions and overwhelm that would sometimes come up when I looked at my huge excel spreadsheet of tasks. Near the end of the planning, I found it very helpful to just let go of anything I was really trying to force that wasn’t coming together… like having a live musician, which I thought was so vital to the perfect wedding day just didn’t come together so I let it go and felt a lot better once I did. I found an amazing song for the processional that was an even better fit for us and our story than the one I was hoping to customize and have a live musician play. I never would have looked for another song if I wasn’t willing to get over the attachment to having live music.

    How did you hear about Joy?

    I found Joy online and the site was awesome. We used it as our wedding invite and everyone loved it!

    What was your favorite part about using Joy for the wedding?

    Remember that letting go thing I mentioned above? Well when the wedding invites just weren’t coming together I decided to send an evite and Joy was the perfect solution. Everyone got to enjoy our story, see photos and get all of the info. I liked saving paper as well since printed invites were something I could let go of for our wedding vision.

    What’s the one thing you wish Joy did (or did better)?

    I sent the evite link myself as I didn’t feel the template Joy provided was working for me. It would be great to get a designer to create a few and have options that are a little more ‘design based’.

    At Joy we believe that although a wedding lasts one day, joy lasts forever. What does that mean to you and your husband?

    I love this sentiment and totally agree… for Chris and I the wedding day was a celebration of the love that we are already living each day. A wedding truly is a huge event in your life AND there is life after that big day and it’s starting the very next morning! I think that having a good sense of this really helps with that transition afterwards. Living a life of joy focuses on the connection that is shared and the love that is constantly evolving and growing as each person evolves and grows.

    Photo | Shari + Mike

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    Cali Pitchel

    Cali Pitchel is Joy’s Director of Marketing. She lives in San Francisco with her soon-to-be-husband and three houseplants. She was born in Boston, raised in Arizona, is a voracious reader, a lover of the great outdoors, and a photography junkie.

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