They say rain on the wedding day is good luck. This may be because like a bird marking you from above, it's unpleasant and people want you to try and think of better things! Yet a guest pointed out that rain is indeed good luck on your wedding day as you see, a wet knot is much harder to untie! I thought these were incredibly wise words and vowed to share them with anyone who would listen!
Katie and Dan are exceptionally beautiful people, inside and out. They welcomed everyone to the Now Sapphire Resort in Playa Del Carmen, including myself, with big smiles and hugs before asking "Do you want a drink?" Their guests got a vacation and a spectacular wedding getaway all in one week and I can't help but wonder why more people don't do it!
After I arrived on Tuesday I watched the weather very carefully, I didn't have my arsenal of umbrella's and who knew what a storm next to the Caribbean sea would bring us! You see for the entire 7 days most people were there the weather was hot and the sky was blue. The only blemish on my app showed rain and a big storm on Wednesday... ie. Wedding Day. I prepared myself for worried comments from the bride and groom and even some of the guests and yet I didn't hear a single thing. Katie, as it turns out had kept her eye on the weather as well and her composure at seeing that lightening bolt icon is something to behold!
Wednesday morning arrived with bright blue skies and a temperature that could have melted the thickest glacier in minutes. We headed to the wedding planner's home so the girls could get ready while the guests finished their swims and pina colada's. Just after we got into the apartment the sky opened up and put on one heck of a display. If we thought we got thunderstorms at home the Mexican sky flexed it's proverbial muscles and put our summer storms to shame!
By the time we got back in the cars to continue our journey to the beach club I couldn't help but wonder what could be said for flash flooding on your wedding day. You see the roads leading to the main highway were underwater! This was a first and I very much hope the only time I have to watch a bride's transportation venture nearly to the point of no return!
By the time the guests had found their seats and Dan was standing at the end of the aisle, with the biggest smile spread across his face, the sun had come out and the rain clouds had disappeared. So on a gorgeous evening overlooking the turquoise Caribbean Sea a Canadian girl and a British boy who met many years ago in a Cuban disco said "I Do" in front of their closest friends and family.
So it happened... I'm planning my own wedding!
In all honesty I don't find this planning business daunting. I have been to 10-15 weddings a year for the last 4 years and over that time I have been taking it all in! The number of guests, the food, the dresses, the music, the wedding party, ALL of it! I knew where I wanted our wedding, what type of food I wanted, what type of reception I wanted and who I wanted to stand up with me long before Sean asked.
Now having said all of that I guess I didn't know who was going to capture our wedding day. The number one response I get from people when they find out I'm engaged is “Congratulations! But who is going to be your photographer?” Generally my response was something along the lines of “Ha! That's the million dollar question right there!”
I follow the work of a lot of photographers in Niagara, Ontario, Canada and the world. There is a lot of talent out there and many who have a similar aesthetic as me. But as corny as this may sound I needed to feel the warm and fuzzies for 1 before I was going to take the plunge and write that all important inquiry.
They needed to be approachable, down to earth and be in love with love! I also wanted someone who was going to be a calming presence on my day. I truly hope I'm laid back and one of those “go with the flow” brides but you never know!
I belong to a couple photography groups and I have followed many of my fellow members on social media. Soon after we moved into our new place I got a simple message, just a “Welcome to Burlington” from one of my fellow photo group photographer's. The thing was I had been admiring her work for a while and just that simple greeting really made me take notice. So for about 2 months I read what she wrote, followed her travels back home to South Africa and laughed out loud after reading parts of her website. When I finally worked up the courage to contact her (It felt a bit like I was applying to school... PLEASE ACCEPT ME!!) I made it clear that even if she wasn't available on our date that I would love to meet up for coffee and a chat one day.
Well... when I saw her name appear in my inbox my heart stopped, this was it, the moment! The email wasn't generic or automated. Her response was warm and full of personality and the best part was that it included very good news. After a little happy dance I sent it to a few of my coworkers and friends and of course Sean who was thrilled for me.
We met with Christine last week and basically everything is now rainbows and unicorns! Flowers from Disney movies are bursting with confetti and sparkles wherever I look and I can't even crush the happy dance jitters when they start up in inconvenient public locations! Honestly let the cards fall where they may now because I now have both of "the ones" I was looking for, for our big day!
Their laughter filtered through the door and into the hall, it was clear that the bride and her girls were not feeling the stress that usually bubbles up on a wedding day. In matching robes, mimosa'd up and hair and makeup done just so, they were ready to meet the day head on!
Down the hall Tim opened a small box from his bride-to-be before changing into his suit. He read quietly before a huge smile spread across his face. The atmosphere with the guys was just as comfortable as it was with the ladies. Seriously this was one chill wedding party!
Despite the cold January day Pauline and Tim's love warmed everyone to the core. Their happiness was contagious and it was very obvious that everyone in attendance was right where they wanted to be!
From a friend serenading them with her violin as they walked down the aisle to impromptu games at their reception, and every smile, sound of laughter and happy tear in between Pauline & Tim started their journey as husband and wife in the most perfect way!
I am so happy Pauline found me on Instagram and entrusted me with capturing their special day! Thank you, thank you, thank you!
The morning of October 17 was by all accounts, a crisp fall morning! The girls were chatting away, Emily practically levitated as she sipped from her ever present Iced Capp! (Seriously, the girl loves her Iced Capps!)
You couldn't blame the bride for being over the moon, she was surrounded by her favourite women. And of course she'd be walking down the aisle very soon to stand next to Chris, her husband to be.
Dresses on, makeup perfect and hair coiffed just so and they were ready to head over to the venue to meet the boys. When Chris saw Emily for the first time I even teared up a bit!
With family and friends seated along the pathway to the home's entryway Emily and Chris pledged their love to one another. They sealed the deal with a ribbon ceremony and of course, a kiss!
I feel so honoured to have been asked to capture their big day. Seeing a dear friend so happy truly made my last wedding of 2015 incredibly special!
Guest Blogger - Megan Cosgrove
Yesterday, I was unpacking after a recent move and found a beautiful Megan Preece Photography image that was taken at our wedding. It was a group shot of everyone who attended, just after the ceremony, in the vineyard where we were married. The print got me thinking and reminiscing about our big day.
While I remember advice being plentiful from others, almost five years and 1.75 children later I remember only a few pieces of advice I was given by loving family and friends about the day that have really stuck with me.
One of those pieces of advice was to, “Plan, plan, plan and then let it all go.”
I am a planner. I love to plan in advance, to know the plan, and to execute a good plan. It makes me incredibly happy.
Side note: Did you know that research shows we get more enjoyment out of the days leading up to a planned event than the event itself? Think about that as you plan your big day.
For our wedding, we were living abroad and returned just in advance of the big day. We had quite a bit to pull together before we boarded the plan (the day after) to return to our home in Europe.
I knew that I needed to plan as much as possible (to both keep my cool and manage executing a wedding from abroad). The great piece of advice I received was that I needed to let the plan go the moment I woke-up on the big day, and just be 100% present in each and every moment and enjoy watching my plan in action (hiccups and all). A wedding has so many moving parts (some were obviously not going to go perfectly), but at the end of the day the very best part would be that I would be married to my best friend (cheesy, but true).
I followed the advice, I planned my heart out (a timeline of events, a list of photographs I wanted Megan Preece Photography to capture, a detailed seating plan with images of how I wanted the centrepieces set-up, and I communicated the plan to everyone and anyone who would listen). The morning of our big day, I woke-up and I let it all go (other than following the timeline of events, of course).
Everything did not go perfectly, but as I look back on that day I remember perfection. My favourite moment was walking down the aisle and looking out over everyone assembled there; I knew every, single face smiling back at me. It was a moment I will treasure forever. I am so grateful I was there, present in that moment, and not worrying about the rest of the plan.
I shouldn't feel this way.
This isn't me.
No one will understand.
Why can't I just feel normal again.
If I could just get through 1 night without it all coming back.
I miss loving thunder storms.
Why am I so angry right now?
A couple years ago these were constant thoughts of mine. I had never felt so alone but at the same time so stifled by others. I went from being the girl who was brave for moving across the world to being brave for leaving the house. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder was only something that happened to people in the military or front line emergency workers, not to civilians. At least that is what I thought. When I think back to the day my life changed... the day many lives in my neighbourhood changed, I can see and hear everything through a light fog.
I can hear the voice yelling NONONO and the 911 operator's calm questions. I can see my dad, determination written across his face as he administers CPR. I can see the look of anguish on his face and I can see those flip flops... always the flip flops. I hear the questions from detectives that make my inner voice scream at them but only a tired meek little voice escapes. I remember the perfect grilled cheese my sister made for us and her beside me in my bed rubbing my back as I cried myself into a restless sleep. The next morning the yellow tape in the backyard is a brutal reminder and even after 2 and a half years, I still have not set foot in the place it all happened.
This happened to me... to us. It, for lack of a better word, sucks. I heard “I don't know what to say.” with such frequency that it became white noise. But I'll tell you something, I'm glad. To all of the people who didn't know what to say, I'm happy about that. To know what to say to someone who has been through something like that would mean you had gone through it yourself and by not knowing it means you are free of the images and sounds that haunt me makes it ok.
And while there was a lot of not knowing what to say and silent company, I am grateful for it all. I am so lucky to be surrounded by such an incredible support system. Today is Bell Let's Talk Day, a day that encourages people to talk about mental illness without stigma. The end goal of course is to end stigma completely. I am lucky because I never felt as though I couldn't talk, sure I didn't really ever know what to say but I knew that if I wanted to say something, I could.
To those who need to talk, TALK! For those approached to listen... please, please listen, even if you don't know what to say!
I'm a pretty firm believer in science! I believe there is a logical reason for all things and if we don't know the exact reason today, we may find out why, how, what tomorrow or next year. When it comes to love though I am totally guilty of letting logic go by the wayside!
I look at Sean and I am amazed that we didn't meet in university. You see Sean and I lived down the hall from each other in the smallest dorm on campus. There were literally 8 or so doors separating us! He knew my roommate as they both embraced the 1st year, absolute freedom lifestyle, while I was the boring “I'm just going to stay in and watch a movie” type. Fast forward 9 years and 5 days of lengthy email exchanges. University was brought up and then a year... and then a dorm... and then the realization that we lived together and never met! (It was probably a good thing!)
So here's where I say I don't believe in fate or destiny but rather coincidence. But here is where I also say that there is that piece of me that says “Shut up logic, it was fate!”
He's the calm to my storm. The reality to my fantasy. He recognizes when I need space and when I just need to be held. He's the constant presence in my corner and I know my life with him is far superior than it would ever be without him.
Here's to The One's and The Only's!
One of my photography guru's suggested that instead of coming up with a list of resolutions for 2016 we look back on 2015 and shine a light on the positives. She asked for three things and I gave those three things. Further reflection however yields a far longer list and I am happy to say that looking back on 2015 will bring back nothing but happy memories!
You see, for me and my family 2015 was quite an amazing year!
Needless to say I have high hopes for 2016 but I don't anticipate quite the life altering moments! I look forward to meeting new clients and working with those who have weddings and engagements booked for the year ahead. I can't wait to plan my wedding (let's be honest I go to a minimum of 10 a year, I've got the whole day pretty much planned!) I am excited about every new milestone my nephew reaches and every joy filled moment that I see my family experience.
I have a great deal to be thankful for when it comes to the Year 2015. It has taken me a few years but I think I finally found my happy place :)
So while there is nothing wrong with setting goals for the new year, I challenge you to look back upon 2015 and focus on the memories that make you smile!
My mother and father are happiest when the family is all together. We laugh, cook, eat, drink and genuinely enjoy each others company.
The men in our lives also enjoy the company of our family... either that or they are doing a fantastic job at pretending! Sean knows damn well that when I say “I'm just stopping by.” what I really mean is “We'll be there for a few hours!” and he has accepted that! We're all Chatty Cathy's with the biggest chatterbox being my mother... Cathy!
From the days of Kail and I playing “Sisters” in our basement (Think playing house but we called it Sisters because we were... are, weird like that!) to the days of being separated by academic and national borders. We have settled into a relationship that I always wanted to have with my kid sister, a relationship like that of my mom and her sister.
My parents have become a couple of my best friends and I have grown to embrace the qualities that I have inherited from them. I'm stubborn, creative and somewhat domestic like my mother and competitive, kind and sarcastic like my dad. Kailey has become a mini-Cathy and it's hilarious to see! Growing up I swore she'd be the furthest from a domestic, mothering go-getter. Kail was always her own kind of stubborn! To be honest I always thought my sister was a little unhinged... but that was clearly just a misguided older sibling thought! The girls are like a dramatic wind and dad is the steady hand that steers our familial ship.
The arrival of my nephew Lincoln has probably brought our little family even closer. Watching mom cuddle him and dad crawl around with him brings me more happiness than I could have ever imagined!
On Sunday as we gathered together, I stood stirring my famous marinara sauce (I just now decided it deserves a famous label!) and thought about how lucky I am. Dad is telling a story and I hear Sean, Aaron, mom and Kail laugh. These are my people! This is my family and I can't get enough of our weirdness, our openness and our pure love for one another!
Sometimes you find yourself in a situation that reminds you of who you are and where you come from. I'd say that Michelle and Mike's wedding made me feel VERY Canadian! And I mean that in the best way possible!
The aisle was made of stone steps leading down to the dock. The alter was an old wood stove/firepit and the view was framed by a yellow canoe! Their backdrop was the black water of the Severn river, its shoreline overtaken by towering evergreens jutting out from the ancient Canadian Shield. Guests stood on docks or in one of the boats tied to them, occasionally being rocked by waves brought on by passing boats. When the kiss happened, cheers could be heard from across the river at the local restaurant! It wasn't just the backdrop, the smell of cottage country, relaxed vibe, sense of community and the canoe full of beer definitely added to the very Canadian atmosphere!
Congratulations you two!
Where - Severn Falls, Ontario