Nik Phillips came out of the shower to find a note: “Meet me in an hour where we first went stargazing together.” It was from his boyfriend, Sem Stevens, and he knew the exact spot—Stewiacke River Park.
When he arrived, it looked like magic. It was twilight. There were candles and flowers everywhere. Nik found Sem waiting next to the river, eagle feather and smudge bowl in hand. Their future wedding song played in the background. Sem said, “You’re my best friend. But you’re more than just my best friend. You’re somebody that I love.” He dropped down on one knee…and the music stopped.
The battery had died.
Nik and Sem’s relationship has lots of funny coincidences. They both wore the same clothes to the proposal without realizing. Nik’s work as an addiction counsellor and Sem’s work in mental health meant their paths crossed several times before they started dating. Sem pursued Nik at first. “I was on a mission,” he says.
Once engaged, they started a family: Their son, Niko’mas, arrived on Nik’s birthday. Then it was time to get married. They organized the wedding in two months. It was the first wedding ever held at the Millbrook Heritage Centre, at the foot of the Glooscap statue.
“Our culture is at the forefront of what we do,” says Nik. They had a Mi’kmaw fiddler and drummer; a smudging ceremony; and they received a white family eagle feather, beaded with Pride colours.
Nik and Sem’s wedding photos are also their first family photos with their children Niko’mas and Matle’n. Their backdrop perfectly matches the couple’s respect for tradition and their love for nature.
“The middle of the woods was amazing because it’s actually a medicine trail,” says Nik. And having their kids there was, as Sem says, “the cherry on top.”
Rentals: Something Borrowed Vintage Rentals
Wedding Guestbook: Custom made 8-pointed star, handcrafted by @mikmaq_wooden_art
Cake: Janet Wilmot, Millbrook First Nation
Caterer: Best Western Glengarry
DJ/Music: Scotty J Mobile Music Services
Photographer: Cooked Photography
Wedding Planner: DIY
Wedding Venue: Millbrook Heritage Centre
Reception Venue: Best Western Glengarry