Another season of winter weddings starts at Yellowknife's snow castle

With the opening of the 24th Snowking's Winter Festival in Yellowknife comes another tradition: weddings at the snow castle, which has been hosting weddings since its seventh season. We speak with one couple who tied the knot in the snow castle.

'It was so cold that he froze his knees because he was just wearing a kilt,' Snowking recalls of one wedding

Rae Braden and Andrew Robinson are among a number of couples who tied the knot in the Snowking's castle over the years. (Submitted by Rae Braden)

With the opening of the 24th Snowking's Winter Festival in Yellowknife comes another tradition: snowy weddings at the snow castle.

The castle has been hosting weddings since its seventh season, according to the Snowking, who on the off-season goes by the name Tony Foliot.

In previous years, a number of couples have gotten married in the snow castle. One of those marriages was between Rae Braden and Andrew Robinson. They even wore special parkas for the occasion.

"My grandma had given me one of her [Spence Bay style] parkas … it was a beautiful red parka and it had flowers embroidered all down the zipper line," said Braden.

Robinson had a special parka made for him "in his traditional Labrador style," said Braden.

At the ceremony, the officiant said a few words from the bride and groom before getting started. The couple wanted to recognize the water they were standing on. They wrote that the water has been journeying from Great Slave Lake into the Mackenzie, to the Arctic Ocean for a long time.

"I would like to say mahsi, which is a way of giving thanks in the language of the Dene people that have lived in this area longer than anyone can remember."

After getting married, the couple left in a northern fashion: "We jumped on a couple kicksleds that had been decorated with balloons and streamers and we kick-sledded down the ice road into the sunset," said Braden.

Robinson and Braden opted to leave the snow castle on a decorated set of kicksleds. (Submitted by Rae Braden)

The Snowking's Winter Festival runs March 2-31 this year on Yellowknife Bay.

The Snowking still remembers one of the first weddings in the castle — "He got married in a kilt and moosehide jacket, and his wife had a nice, white fox fur. And it was so cold that he froze his knees because he was just wearing a kilt."

They left the wedding on a dog sled.

But it's not just people getting married at the snow castle. The Snowking remembers the weirdest wedding he's seen there: a same-sex marriage between two dogs. He said one of the dogs was a "goofy-looking" small lap dog with a pudgy face and the other was a kind of bulldog.

"Those two dogs, they got married and there was a really big celebration afterwards. It was pretty peculiar, I thought," he said.

The Snowking says if anyone is looking to get married at the castle, they can contact the event co-ordinators on the Snowking Winter Festival's website.

Rae Braden stands with the Snowking on her wedding day. (Submitted by Rae Braden)

With files from Mary Powder


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