The Bakos Star Wars Wedding at the Calgary Zoo

The Force Is Strong With These Two at the Calgary Zoo

Jon and the Guys

The day of April and Jon’s wedding began with the men at The Barber, a barbershop in southeast Calgary that focuses on men’s styling and cuts. Ranked one of the top shops in the city, stylists at The Barber specialize in everything from classic cuts to the latest trends.

Jon and his guys were getting a hot shave and a haircut, surrounded by wood-panelled cupboards and classic red barber chairs. After a few quick pics, we headed back home, where it was time to stylize the groom’s hair.

The theme of the day was Star Wars, and did they ever bring it! To start, Jon had extensions added to his hair, creating a long single braid reflecting that of a Padawan learner, or rather, a Jedi in training. The men rolled up their Star Wars socks, the groom sporting a Boba Fett pair. We photographed him in the soft light of the window getting into his jacket and fastening his buttons. Then, using the dark shadows of the room, we gave the groom a close-up, with an edgy spotlight reminiscent of the classic Darth Vader shot.

The guys then took it easy. The emcee gifted the groom with custom rolled joints, and they set up a funny photo of all the groomsmen dabbing Jon’s head with their ties.


April and the Ladies at Le Germain Hotel

We said goodbye to the groom and groomsmen and headed out to Le Germain Hotel in downtown Calgary. The hotel lies at the foot of the Calgary tower downtown, and features eco-friendly technology, artistic spaces, and employs concrete, Spanish wood, stone, leather, and glass to create a sleek and bold natural design throughout the building.

On the 12th floor in the spacious Apartment Suite, April and her bridesmaids were having hair and makeup done with Amy Bower of Illuminate makeup. We took some shots of the finishing touches before it was time to photograph the dress.

April had found her gorgeous Calla Blanche gown at The Bridal Boutique, and the stunning illusion back and intricate details shot beautifully in the ready room. Before we let her change into it, we lined the girls up and photographed them in their matching wine coloured robes, a gift from the bride.

With Muhammad Alsalim with Hakawi Films, we captured the bride as she and her mother put the final details on. Once we had taken her own edgy portraits to match her groom, it was time to head out to the ceremony!


Their Ceremony in the Enmax Conservatory at the Calgary Zoo

It was a typical day in the city of Calgary; we saw everything from summer to winter, like going from Tatooine to Hoth! It began as an overcast, mild day, and after a spell of sun, the rains started, eventually evolving into potato chip like snowflakes. Therefore, instead of holding the ceremony outside, we moved it into the Enmax Conservatory at the Calgary Zoo. The Enmax is an incredible space, with a botanical jungle atmosphere that is one-of-a-kind. Decorator Masha Srivastava with Wedding Finesse illuminated the place with the wedding colours of green and purple, incorporating Star Wars elements throughout, like the stencil cutouts of Stormtrooper masks against the backdrop.

Officiant Jodi Hartung with Young Hip and Married was also incorporating the theme of the day into her service. Instead of the usual wedding attire, she was outfitted in flowing Obi-Wan Kenobi style Jedi robes. Funnily enough, it wasn’t her only Star Wars themed wedding of the day – she was heading off afterwards for another! And even the Zoo was hosting another Star Wars wedding on the same day.

We ran into the other wedding later on when we were shooting the creative formals, and got to see their Star Wars swag. It was awesome because the day had kept us mostly inside, so we were all out to take advantage of a break in the inclement weather.

April and Jon’s wedding was permeated with Star Wars culture; it was woven into the fabric of their day. Before the groomsmen entered, they handed out lightsabers to the guests, which would later become part of the lighting at the tables.

The ceremony began, and the lightsabers lined the aisle, a glowing path to the groom. A different theme from Star Wars played as each section of the party walked the aisle. In an absolutely precious moment, the little ringbearer Jaii walked down to March of the Ewoks, dressed as an Ewok. After the bridesmaids had entered in, the wedding guests helped roll out an aisle runner for April to walk down, sentimental prose about their lives together written out like the rolling credits of a Star Wars film.

The doors were closed and ready for the bride, but instead, Darth Vader entered, walked up the aisle, and knelt before Jon, asking his bidding. The groom instructed him to stand guard at the back, and as the doors reopened and April entered, the excitement in the room was electric.

The force was strong between them, Jodi Hartung said, and had created an unbreakable bond. She weaved Star Wars into their vows, talking about the different colours of lightsabers and their meanings, weaving the lore of the light and dark, physical and metaphysical. It was a beautiful dance with the topic, and perfect for these Star Wars fans.

The couple exchanged stunning rings, hers a beautiful solitaire set within a band of diamonds, and his a black gem set into a golden Tie fighter. They spoke their vows, both profound and from the heart. When the officiant asked April to repeat, “I ask you to wear this ring…” the bride instead channelled Darth Vader and said: “I will make you wear this ring!” The guests roared with laughter.

The happy couple signed their vows, and the crowd rose, those in aisle seats turning on their lightsabers to create a tunnel of vibrant colours. April and Jon were in awe at their beautiful first walk as husband and wife.


The Creative Formals at the Calgary Zoo

To begin the creative formals, we arranged the family in the EnMax Conservatory lobby, with its beautiful brick walls, high windows, and lush foliage. Once family photos were finished, we photographed the wedding party in the same space, having a great time with the prop lightsabers and fantastic backdrop.

After wrapping inside, we headed out with umbrellas. The huge flakes of snow were like magic, photographing beautifully, floating around the newlyweds.

We headed over to the suspension bridge that serves as the connection between the main Zoo and the Prehistoric Park. The bridge, with curved beams and a slanted roof, is a stunning piece of architecture, and gave us a fun and dry backdrop in the great outdoors! We then separated from the wedding party but remained on the bridge, and April sported a custom made leather jacket emblazoned with the words Just Married.

As it was getting near closing time in the Calgary Zoo, it was imperative that we see the pandas, so we photographed the couple as we walked across the snow-dusted grounds. Luckily, the pandas were super active, eating, moving about, and just being pleasant to watch. April and Jon shared a smooch, and we headed back outside for a quick pic with the Buddha-bellied elephant.

To wrap up our adventure in the Zoo, we headed into the butterfly exhibit. The room is absolutely lush with tropical foliage and made for a jaw-dropping background.


The Bakos Reception at the Enmax Conservatory

Back inside the Enmax Conservatory, it was time for the reception. The room was decorated to the nines, Star Wars tastefully dotted around the room. Lightsabers were everywhere, casting a glow throughout the space. The centrepieces were made up of Lego, Star Wars themed of course, and there were mini figures hidden around the room. You never knew when you’d find a little Luke Skywalker or Princess Leia. To top it all off, on the head table sat a candle with that classic The Empire Strikes Back dialogue emblazoned on either side:
“I love you.”
“I know.”

When the newlyweds entered, we jumped right into the buffet dinner, where the food was aptly named after things in the Star Wars universe, such as Leia’s buns and Bantha butter, Han Solo Rolos and Chewbacca cookies at the snack bar. It was just another imaginative way to include the theme the day in a subtle way!

With dinner underway, the speeches began. The maid of honour Janella started things off with a heartfelt ode to her best friend. The women have been friends for years, and Janella noted that upon first meeting Jon, she wasn’t quite sure about him, but after she saw how loving and devoted he was to her friend, his natural charm and personality won her over! And now she couldn’t imagine April without him!

It was then the best man Dave’s turn, and he told a few funny stories about his friendship with Jon. He joked that when Jon came to him, doe-eyed, asking him to be best man, it was evident in his eyes that he had been rejected a few times, and that Dave himself was probably third or fourth on the list. He couldn’t leave him with no one, so he begrudgingly agreed to be in the wedding. But, jokes aside, it was clear from his outpouring of affection for the couple that he was a great choice. He wrapped up by telling April how much he appreciates her and is so happy to see how good the two are for each other.

Jon’s dad followed the best man and gave a brief yet heartfelt speech about his son. He said it has been amazing to see Jon blossom into the strong, confident, and overall outstanding man that he is today, and that April is a massive part of who he is. He wrapped up by warning that if their marriage didn’t work out, Jon would be on the outs, because April is a member of the family for good.

Despite not caring much for public speaking, the bride’s mom Lynn and April’s two sisters delivered a sweet and tearjerking speech. After their words of love for both the bride and groom, the statements wrapped, and it was time to cut the cake!

Pretty in the front, Star Wars in the back – so April and Jon dubbed it their Mullet cake, an impressive work of art by Tanya Pridge at the Cake Bake Shoppe! They cut into it with a Star Wars knife and lifter, before moving on to the bouquet and garter toss.

We rolled out the slideshow, but first, it was time to watch the proposal. A few years ago, at a music festival in front of six thousand people, Jon got down on one knee and asked April to be his wife! It was such a nice touch to share such a massive moment in their lives at their wedding. And of course, she said yes! After that, we played our same day slideshow, which was a hit!

Videos wrapped, so we cleared off the floor, set up lights, and witnessed the newlyweds in their first dance to Ed Sheeran’s “Perfect.” They then danced with each other’s parents, she with Jon’s dad and he with her mom. After that, the party was on!

DJs Adrien and Scotty with Noted Entertainment spun sporting Stormtrooper helmets, and as everyone danced, our studio’s photo booth ran at the back, complete with a Star Wars themed printout. The couple even brought extra Star Wars props for a little extra oomph!

Before heading out for the night, we stepped out briefly with the bride and groom to the lobby of the conservatory. We took a few shots using some creative lighting, before using the ever-present lightsabers to capture a bit of light painting!

We had a beautiful day with April and Jon, with the added bonus of being huge Star Wars fans ourselves! We hope they love their images as much as we enjoyed capturing them, and wish them many years of happiness ahead. May the force be with them, always.

Online Gallery

An online gallery of all their images is available for the next 90 days. From the online gallery you are able to favourite images, order prints and share the gallery with your family and friends. The gallery can be accessed via the link below and you can contact the couple directly for their secure password.

The Bakos Wedding Day Slideshow

Above you will find the Wedding Slideshow that we created from a selection of the best edited photos that we captured on their special day.

Additional Blog Posts for Bakos

In addition to their incredible wedding day celebration, they also have other blog posts you can enjoy. Click the links below to check out those posts.

We are so fortunate to have had the opportunity to share this special day with them and all their family and friends. We wish them many years of happiness together.

Want to share in the experience? Contact us today to book your family sessioncorporate and event photography, or to set up your free wedding consultation with Jeremy! We also have a wickedly fun Calgary Photo Booth that is great for any event.

Calgary Wedding Photographers © JM Photography

Their Wedding Video

Captured and edited by Muhammed Alsalim with Hakawi Films

Favourite Photos from April and Jon’s Star Wars Themed Wedding

The Bakos Star Wars Wedding Credits

Date | 5.4.19
Officiant – Jodi Hartung with Young Hip and Married
Wedding Venue – The Calgary Zoo
Barber Shop – Sam with The Barber
Makeup and Hair Stylist – Amy Bower with Illuminate Makeup
Decor – Masha Srivastava with Wedding Finesse
Florist – Jenny Holicza with Avenida Grower Direct
Wedding Cake – Tanya Pridge with the Cake Bake Shoppe
DJ – Adrien and Scotty with Noted Entertainment
Bridal Fashion – The Bridal Boutique
Wedding Dress Designer – Calla Blanche
Grooms Fashion – Black and Lee
That Jacket – The Just Married Jacket Sisterhood
Videography – Muhammed Alsalim with Hakawi Films
Photography by Jeremy Martel & Dan MacDonald

Learn more about our studio

JM Photography offers Calgary brides the very best in wedding photography! Our unique style and best in class experience is one of a kind. Each wedding is treated with the greatest of care and creativity, resulting in breathtaking imagery. We also offer Calgary newborn photography, capture maternity sessions as well as family portraits.

We are one of the top studios in Western Canada, servicing the Calgary area, including but not limited to, Canmore, Banff, Cochrane, Chestermere, Airdrie, Lethbridge, and Red Deer. We also offer coverage in Edmonton, Vancouver and to destinations worldwide.

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