Andrea and Eoin’s Sundance Guest Ranch wedding

Andrea and Eoin’s “running horses wedding photograph”, photographed at the Sundance Guest Ranch in Ashcroft, went (unexpectedly) viral! I’ve seen it passing by on blogs in languages I can’t read. And it won an award at the Shoot and Share Contest. It got featured on huge blogs such as Petapixel, My Modern Met, Huffington Post and Junebug Weddings.

All of this is of course AMAZING, but I do want to share Andrea and Eoin’s wedding for more than that! At the time this Irish duo booked us we kinda had an idea that their ranch wedding would be a lot of fun, but boy we had no idea what a blast we’d have! On top of that we got to know them better and I feel that we share a mindset about living an adventurous lifestyle and not settling down. 🙂 And they also got us into car camping.

The wedding day started with the two of them getting ready in directly adjacent rooms (no peeking was allowed:) ). Andrea, who confessed to have spent ‘quite some time’ on Pinterest (heehee) blew us away with the amount of personal touches and meaningful details she’d hand made. Not a single item in the room came without a background story. I especially loved the handwritten letters and vows they had written for each other and Andrea’s bracelet made of their favourite horses’ tail hairs (the same ones that they’d ride after the ceremony).

Meanwhile in the groom’s room, Eoin was over the moon with the gift from his bride: a custom-made belt with the words “Gra Mo Chroi” (Celtic for ‘love of my life’) and a buckle with the branding logo of the Sundance Guest Ranch. And since they lived and worked there as wranglers for the past year, it was extra meaningful.

The ceremony took place at Twin Pines Peak, a mountain top overlooking the nearby Thompson River and Ashcroft valley. Again, the couple and their friends had made the entire ceremony setup from scratch: hay bales for benches, a heart out of welded horse shoes on the wedding arch and an aisle runner that told the 10 year story of Andrea and Eoin in  pictures.

As soon as Andrea arrived after a bumpy ride up the mountain in the back of a pickup truck a strong wind picked up and played with the string quartet’s music sheets and the wedding arch (which Eoin eventually had to hold during the ceremony). Priceless though was the solution for the “signing table”: the groom and best man’s backs :).

Next came an unforgettable photo shoot with the newlywed couple. We got to join them in as they rode their horses in their wedding outfits. It’d taken Andrea months to train her horse on getting used to the wedding gown, but it was worth it. They rode gracefully through the prairies like they’d never done anything else in their lives. And Jelger and I ran through the tall grass like our lives depended on it, occasionally pinching ourselves and thinking “is this real?” 😛

After a short brake for some games with the guests, the magical moment took place where Jelger photographed “the running horses photograph”, with his back towards the horses running from one field to another. Every night the ranch holds “a jingle” where the horses run through ‘the airstrip’, a narrow passage that leads from their day pen to their overnight pastures. The horses get excited knowing the lush, green grass awaits them and race through the airstrip, which is where Andrea and Eoin had planned the photo.

As wranglers they trusted the horses and knew they’d safely run around them, but for me it was a tad too much, so I watched and photographed the moment while sitting on a nearby fence. (even that felt scary!) Jelger and Michael, the fantastic videographer from Story of Eve (check out the video below!) on the other hand were brothers in arms and bravely sat in the eye of the storm.

Finally, a ranch wedding wouldn’t be complete with some good old line dancing! Right?! So that’s what all the guests did until the wee hours.

Andrea and Eoin, you will always have a special place in our hearts and I know one day we’ll visit you in Ireland!

To end this post, I’d love to share the poem that Andrea wrote for us. I can’t even say how touched I was. (I am most definitely not as good with words as Andrea is…)



Jelger and Tanja speak a thousand words.

Every photo they make, like a bird

Lifts up and floats into your soul, where

Gently it perches and lives there.

Elegant, beautiful, sometimes wild

Romantic and passionate, never mild,

Adventurous always, this bird takes hold

Nesting a home within your soul.

Daring to sing a different song

Tanja and Jelger are strong

And dependable – the perfect choice for your

Nuptuals. For ours, they soared

Joyfully above all our hopes

And dreams. 

Love Mrs. Andrea and Mr. Eoin

Ashcroft Sundance guest ranch wedding vendors