Real Couples // Rooftop Cree Wedding: Onowa + Paul

Onowa and Paul's first wedding was in New Zealand, Paul's home country. When they contacted me to photograph their second wedding on the rooftop of Swans Hotel here in Victoria, I was really excited. A rooftop wedding—how cool is that?! 

Their wedding was not just centered on Onowa and Paul's love for each other, but on their love of each other's family, friends, and community. Their wedding started with a Cree smudging ceremony and a beautiful musical performance, followed by promises made to each other, and an exchanging of rings. Onowa, Paul, and Onowa's youngest daughters then shared what they were each bringing to the marriage, which brought looks of tenderness as well as lots of laughter. Both Onowa and Paul wore items that reflected their cultures; Onowa wore a beaded hair piece with her veil, and Paul wore a traditional Maori necklace and tie with Maori designs.

The reception in the penthouse featured tons of food and joyous festivity. Speeches were made that brought tears to many eyes and first dances with children were had. One of the most heartwarming parts of the night was Onowa's mom traveling to Victoria to surprise Onowa; her arrival was so special to witness.  

Onowa and Paul's wedding was a beautiful celebration of love full of warmth and humour, and I'm so glad I got to document it for them.

Words and photos by Nicola Reiersen Photography


Nicola Reiersen is a lifestyle photographer based in Victoria, BC, with a passion for celebrating and documenting everyday, real-life moments. She currently lives on unceded territory belonging to the Lewkungen People with her husband, bulldog, and rescue cat.