“I always get a great breakdown of her day every time she walks through the door, which is one of my favorite things about her.” That’s part of what Matthew had to say about Joelle when asked what their favorite thing was about one another.
That delight in Joelle’s vivacious energy (and her joy in Matthew) is evident in every single picture of their Waterton Park wedding! Despite the cool, rainy weather, they had the best time ever.
Joelle and Matthew met in Grenada, West Indies, during medical school through mutual friends. Over time, their friendship evolved into something much more. Says Joelle, “It’s cliché, but one day I looked at him and just knew I was done.”
Their relationship took some work—in fact, they both agree that the best thing they learned from one another was how to “balance a relationship with professional careers that involve long distances, multiple time zones, and erratic work hours.”
When deciding where to get married, there was no contest—Waterton National Park was it. “Waterton National Park is Matt’s favorite place on earth. He grew up ~ 90 min away and has been visiting the park all of his life. I fell in love with Waterton on my first visit during a very large snowstorm, so getting married there was an easy decision.”
In addition to the fact that the park was special to both of them, Joelle and Matthew incorporated meaningful elements. “Matt is part Métis (one of three recognized aboriginal populations in Canada), and we started our wedding with a smudging ceremony with all of our close friends and family. Additionally, we had a memorial table during our reception to honor our loved ones who had passed away. “ Plus, Joelle’s childhood pastor travelled from California to officiate!
More about their day from our sweet bride—including how she found and fell for her Piper gown—below.
How did you two get engaged?
“At one our favorite bars in New York City, the Dead Rabbit. It was still during COVID when most businesses were just starting to open. Matt told me we were going out for a date, but when we got to the bar, a group of our closest friends were there. Next thing I know, he was on one knee, and I was shouting a surprised “what the f**k?? before saying “yes, of course.”
What is your favorite thing about each other?
“Joelle: His listening skills! He’s someone who truly pays attention when you talk to him and always has thoughtful advice.
Matt: Her ability to open up the room and include everyone in it (me being the more reserved and quieter one). Additionally, I always get a great breakdown of her day every time she walks through the door, which is one of my favorite things about her.”
Any special ways you incorporated your family or family history into your wedding day?
“Yes! Matt is part Métis (one of three recognized aboriginal populations in Canada), and we started our wedding with a smudging ceremony with all of our close friends and family. Additionally, we had a memorial table during our reception to honor our loved ones who had passed away. “
Tell us about your outfits! How did you choose your gown?
“I LOVED shopping for my wedding dress! None of our families live close by, so I ended up going to several different boutiques based on when family/friends were visiting. I finally found my dress at a local boutique, Brides by the Falls in Chagrin Falls. I went with a good friend to try on one dress, but saw the Piper gown in the store and had to try it. As soon as I put it on, I couldn’t stop smiling and knew it was it.”
Why did you decide to get married where you did?
“Waterton National Park is Matt’s favorite place on earth. He grew up ~ 90 min away and has been visiting the park all of his life. I fell in love with Waterton on my first visit during a very large snowstorm, so getting married there was an easy decision.”
Tell us about your day!
“It started off with me (Joelle) freaking out about the weather—we were supposed to have an outdoor ceremony, but instead woke up to rain. Luckily, we were able to move everything indoors, and the rain let up enough for us to get our pictures outdoors with some fantastic clouds, no wind, and a flat lake (Waterton Lakes is one of the windiest places in Canada, so we’re calling that our wedding luck). Some of the most meaningful moments were our personalized vows and being married by my childhood pastor who made the trip all the way up from California.”
What was the funniest moment of your day?
“When announcing the first kiss, our pastor looked at Matt, saying “Are you ready? Are you ready?” then suddenly turned to me and said, “Joelle, you may kiss your husband.”
What was your first dance song?
““Burning Love,” by Elvis Presley.”
One detail you couldn’t live without?
“The memorial table.”
What part of your wedding day was/is most important to you?
“Having all of our families and closest friends together in the same room. We still can’t get over how many people travelled from all over the US and Canada to be there for our day.”
Where did you go on your honeymoon?
“Our mini-moon was in Banff National Park. We will do a full honeymoon once we’re done with our medical training and can get more than one week off.”
Any tips for couples getting married?
“Be authentic and true to who you are as individuals and a couple. Surround yourself with people you love—your wedding day will be perfect, and your marriage will be off to an excellent start.”
Joelle + Matthew’s Waterton Park Wedding Vendors
wedding dress: Lea-Ann Belter Piper via Brides by the Falls | photographer: Photography by Tanya Plonka | venue: Bayshore Inn | hair: Serenity Spa | custom sneakers: Converse | suits: Indochino | rings: Zales & Jared | florals: C&D Floral | wedding decorator: Lethbridge Event Rentals | cake: Coaldale Bakery | DJ: Pyramid Entertainment / DJ Thom