When this bride and groom set out to find a photographer, they were pleased to find Jess Craven of Daring Wanderer in Toronto, Canada. "Jess shoots very dark, moody and romantic photographs that resonated with both of us," wrote the bride of Craven's work. "When we first saw her work, it was like an emotional shot to the heart. She would be able to capture the wedding photographs we wanted: pictures that are mysterious, artistic and engaging, that capture the light and the looks on our faces just so, and that we would be able to look back on to evoke all of our memories from the day of."
As it turns out, capturing the memories had added meaning because the couple were looking to elope—no one else would be there to see the ceremony, other than the officiant and the photographer. "Alicja and Boris wanted their wedding day to be intensely personal and just about the two of them," Craven says. "They didn’t want the eyes of a crowd to damper their ability to communicate their love to one another on this one day."
Where they would elope, however, was initially a bit up in the air. "They originally planned on eloping in the Azores in Portugal this year," Craven relays, "but because of some career opportunities that Alicja couldn't turn down, that ended up being impossible." The shooter has a running bucket list of destination locales on her website, and one of them was Tofino, British Columbia. It became "the perfect choice," she says. "They loved that the location was remote and private, offered a variety of landscapes for us to visit and a distinctive biosphere found nowhere else in the world."
Craven and the couple did a portrait session around the territory the day before the ceremony. They headed to a secluded beach in Tofino and explored, and then had some tea back at the couple's beach house to warm up.
"This was one of those experiences that I had been longing for since starting as a wedding photographer," Craven says of that day, as she and the couple got to know each other and spend more time together outside of the actual ceremony. "My connection with couples is the most important asset to my business because it allows me to document couples at face value, when they are their most comfortable and vulnerable. I think that's what helps give me satisfaction in my job."
The temperature may have been slightly less than ideal that first day, but that was nothing compared to the day of. The bride and groom wedded amid a rain storm, though it could not have been more picturesque—they exchanged vows in the middle of an old redwood forest, just a 10-minute walk from their house. "The rain during the ceremony was particularly torrential," Craven says, and "visually, it was incredible: The flora looked particularly lush and vivid, and the trees filtered the rain. It was impossible to hear any of the ceremony so I relied on facial expressions and hand gestures to document the moments."
Afterward they set off on some hikes through a rainforest filled with primordial ferns, moss and big toppled trees, Craven says, and they went across the black rock beaches near Ucluelet. "Although we were well prepared with rain jackets and boots, the pouring rain made it challenging, but at the same time inimitable," the photographer says. "We saw the rain as an asset rather than a burden. The couple enjoyed being outdoors and didn't mind that they were soaked. This attitude is the foundation of Daring Wanderer and made for some incredible images for the couple and an equally incredible story to recant to their loved ones."
GEAR FOR THE DAY
Cameras: Nikon D750, Nikon D3s
Lenses: Nikon 24mm f/1.4G, Nikon 35mm f/2D, Nikon 50mm f/1.4D