Amanda wanted a winter wedding and Mother Nature did not disappoint, constantly providing fresh blankets of snow throughout Amanda + Jimmy's day. Amanda was snow- angel-like in her Haley Paige bridal gown from Pearl Bridal House. Her bridesmaids were stunningly dramatic in their shimmering black gowns from Eccentrica Boutique. Alana from Beauty by Alana and Joanne Pocitto for makeup ensured that Amanda and her girls were truly flawless. Jimmy was smart in his bespoke, custom-made suit, flagged by his handsome groomsmen - all dressed by 4 Men United in Woodbridge. Amanda + Jimmy exchanged their vows at St. Claire of Assisi Catholic Church - a church that is both majestic and inviting - followed by a reception at the newly renovated Chateau Le Parc - a Concord venue that blends both old and new world style, suitable for any event. Florals and Decor were provided by The Social Rose - I wish you could have smelled the reception hall - just divine! Fresh florals were also incorporated into the Nutmeg Bake Shop's semi-naked wedding cake. Gorgeous, gorgeous. Thank-you, Amanda + Jimmy, for the honour of selecting me to photograph your day and to work with your wonderful families and friends - wishing all of you a lifetime of health and happiness! xox
She didn't see it coming.
My dear friend and assistant, Aynsley, volunteered herself and her partner, Shawn, to be my models for a couple's winter "practice session" on Ottawa's Corktown Bridge - also known as the "Love Lock" Bridge where couples come to profess their love for one another, attach a "love" lock to the rails and throw away the key. What Aynsley didn't know was that with her kindness and willingness to help, she had played exactly into Shawn's plans for a surprise proposal in such a fitting location.
Shawn had privately messaged me earlier with his desire to propose to Aynsley on the Love Lock Bridge in Ottawa - and to have it photographed. A plan was hatched and Aynsley unsuspectingly stepped right into it. A few poses later, Shawn was on his knee asking Aynsley to marry him, to which she laughed and said "yes, I'll marry you!" Shawn obviously had a lock prepared for the bridge: together, they found its "forever" spot, attached it for all time and threw away the key.
They were joined by their dog, Kea, for a few family keepsake photos and then spent the rest of the afternoon skating on the Canada 150 rink, basking in the glow of their little secret that had yet to be shared with the rest of the world.
Thank-you, Shawn, for entrusting me with your special plans to propose to Aynsley. It was perfection. So looking forward to August 19, 2018!
Jamie +Corey planned to elope with a quaint early morning weekday ceremony at Willowstone Church, but at the last minute, decided to include their closest friends and family to share in their joy. Getting right down to business, 8am had them exchanging their vows and 1pm saw them on their way to the airport for their honeymoon with well-wishes from their closest kin - just the way they wanted. Congratulations, Jamie + Corey - and thank-you for including me to create the important keepsakes of your special day!
Reagan + Corey knew they didn't want full day coverage of their wedding, choosing instead to pare down their budget and concentrate on getting photo keepsakes of their first looks, creative photos and family photos - photos they could hang on their wall as reminders of their day and future together as a blended family.
Reagan + Corey enjoyed their first looks privately on the grounds of the eQuinelle Golf Course in Kemptville. They spent some time in each other's company - savouring the moments - before being joined by their children for family photos / bridal party photos (cutest bridesmaids and groomsmen ever!) and before hosting responsibilities kicked in that would pull them in different directions.
Reagan + Corey chose what was right for them. At the end of the day, they have keepsakes of what is most important to them. xox
Sometimes you don't have to travel too far to find a "nice location" for photos. Brittany + Spencer used their own backyard for their engagement session. Granted, their backyard has cornfields, green space and some wonderful light. Regardless of location though, an engagement session can be a no-pressure warm-up to wedding day - allowing the couple to get accustomed to their photographer and the process of having photos taken that represent their relationship. Looking forward to October 2018, Brittany + Spencer!
Kristen + Eric chose Thanksgiving weekend to bring their family and friends together to celebrate not only their thankfulness, but their vows.
Kristen was gentle and regal in her Amanda-Lina Boutique gown, timeless accessories and classic florals by The Gathering Event Company. With her bridesmaids scattered around the globe, the only instruction Kristen gave for their individual gown choice was that it had to be grey: and just look how well her best friends pulled their ensembles together sight unseen!
Rain squashed our plans of photos in the Dominion Arboretum but the shelter of Lago Restaurant and Dow's Lake still provided a fitting backdrop for Kristen and Eric's super sweet, super genuine first-looks. Eric was completely floored with the sight of his soon-to-be-bride. (I'm a huge fan of first looks - and with private moments like these, you can understand why.)
The Gathering Event Company transformed Lago Restaurant into an elegant ceremony space and then retransformed it into an inviting and comfortable dining space while family photos were being taken. (So impressive! Kudos on the joint efforts of The Gathering Event Company and the staff of Lago Restaurant for that impressive flip!)
Kristen + Eric's wedding was one of my favourite weddings of 2017. Despite my catching fire while Kristen walked down the aisle (see the backstory under the "Meet Elenora" tab), Kristen + Eric's day was sublime and a perfect fit for a weekend of "thankfulness". xox
Andrea made a shy, quiet bride, but her soulful eyes and radiant smile speak of her happiness marrying Jason. She looked stunning in her Essence of Australia gown from Bridals by Al-mor, her hair and makeup absolute perfection by Richardson Hair Design (my favourite updo of the 2017 wedding season!) and 2BU Artistry . Her florals by Floral Reef Design provided a wonderful balance of classic style and pop of colour. Andrea and Jason's day was coordinated and executed by Custom Events - who patiently caters to both clients and vendors alike to ensure a smooth, stress-free day.
Andrea & Jason's first-looks were private and very emotional. Jason could not restrain his tears seeing his bride-to-be for the first time - and then again as she walked down the aisle to make their union official and their little family complete. What these two may lack in loud words, they make up for in quiet devotion and love to each other and for their little boys.
Thank-you, Andrea & Jason, for your trust in photographing your intimate moments. I wish you and your little family a lifetime of happiness! xox
Andrea + Derrick: Married August 5, 2017 - A BackyarD Asian - Canadian Wedding Planned over 3 Provinces
Andrea + Derrick are proof that you can successfully pull off planning a wedding from afar, in 3 provinces actually!
They booked me from Yellowknife in the Northwest Territories and then continued to plan their backyard wedding in Winchester, Ontario from Calgary, Alberta. Couples - don't let geography stop you: With a little patience, trust and technology, anything is possible. We forged a connection over email, phone and Skype so that working together on wedding day - the first time we actually met in person - was seamless.
You can tell from their photos that Andrea + Derrick were excited but relaxed - even calmly dealing with unexpected downpours that made for dramatic skies in their photography and humorous memories. They rolled along with laughter and happiness. In fact, Andrea's only concern was her origami cranes that she had painstakingly made for her Asian - Canadian ceremony - but they held up to the weather well, a fitting and lasting tribute to her family and cultural traditions.
Congratulations, Andrea + Derrick. It was my honour to have your trust as we stepped through the planning of your wedding day! xox
Revealed: Devon and Beatrice's first-looks and some teasers from their wedding day while their album is prepared!
First looks always allow a couple to spend more time with each other on wedding day - away from hosting responsibilities and duties that inevitably pull the couple apart on a day when they should be together. Couples are able to relax with each other and calm the nerves before officially walking down the aisle. They're also able to more freely join their guests after their ceremony without having their guests wait long periods of time while photos are being taken. The final decision ultimately rests with the couple, but I'm a fan of first-looks - and, my couples, on the other side, tell me they are thankful for having gone that route.
Adam + Jessie: Married July 21, 2017, A Pop-Up Wedding aT Walter Baker Park, Stewart Park and Code's Mill
Adam and Jessie hadn't planned on getting married this year - they had their sights set on 2018 - but winning ITM's Pop-Up Wedding Celebration at this year's Love Is Proud wedding show moved their date up to the 2017 radar. Their intimate ceremony, held under the gazebo at Walter Baker Park, was complimentary of ITM Events and Julie Keon, Marriage Officiant -- and spoke perfectly to their personal histories, relationship, goals and commitment to each other. We met later at Stewart Park for couples' creatives and rounded off the afternoon with their elegant reception at Code's Mill in Perth. Congratulations, Adam and Jessie: I honestly can't help but smile when I remember your dry sense of humour, the sound of the two of you laughing together and the thought of you both racing around town like madmen in a racy red convertible to make your photos with me. Wishing you a lifetime of happiness! xox
Donna and Norm, Married July 22, 2017, A Backyard Wedding: finding & celebrating each other later in life
Donna and Norm traveled many separate roads in their lifetime until they finally crossed paths later on in life. There's no denying their souls compliment each other - their first-looks say it all. They work hard, laugh hard and dance hard together. Both are avid square dancers; it was no surprise to anyone that Donna would choose to have her dress shortened to accommodate a blue petticoat that would peak out and twirl throughout the day's and evening's dancing. Donna and Norm's yard was transformed into a ceremony and reception site - complete with a DIY arbor and hard wood reception dance floor -- that would comfortably house and entertain their siblings, children, grandchildren, friends and extended family. Their day was sunshine and smiles all-round.
Congratulations, Donna and Norm in finding each other. "Being someone's first love is great, but being their last love is beyond perfect." ~ Unknown
Taylor was a stunning, classic beauty on her wedding day, reminding me of a Hollywood siren with her dark hair, striking brows, captivating eyes, fair skin, strong jaw and vibrant red lips. (Wade inconspicuously threw in some Star Wars memorabilia for a little whimsy, but nothing could match Taylor's presence on their wedding day.) Taylor and Wade set some time aside for their first looks, privately enjoying each other's company before the arrival of their guests and the start of their riverside ceremony under a gorgeous summer day. Congratulations, Taylor and Wade! Here are a few teasers from your day to enjoy ...
Despite the questionable weather forecast, Taylor and Caz were married under blue skies, with mild temperatures and a cooling breeze - the perfect July wedding.
Taylor was romantically stunning in her custom gown by Norde Bridal, accented with rose-gold accessories. Her bridesmaids were soft and feminine, pretty in pink. Caz made a dashing groom in his classic greys, a perfect complement to Taylor.
Taylor and Caz set the time aside to prioritize their wedding photography, recognizing that their captures would only grow in value over time. Their first-looks by the river - a place that holds special memories for them - was emotion-filled and the perfect start to their time spent together on their wedding day. Caz custom-built a floral swing for Taylor and had the groomsmen install it in their favourite forest location the morning of their wedding. There, Caz secreted Taylor away so she could become a romantic picture of bridal perfection with her handsome groom. A waterfall was the chosen site for their bridal party photo - each member braving slippery ground to make that one capture count.
Anyone concerned about first looks minimizing the impact of a groom's reaction seeing his wife-to-be walk the down the aisle need only look at Caz's face during Taylor's walk to him to know that's not true. There were few dry eyes for everyone as Taylor, on the crook of her mom's arm, made her way to Caz to officially tie the knot. Post-ceremony euphoria pics tend to be the most genuine, happiest captures of the day - and Taylor and Caz did not disappoint as they beamed ear to ear after the exchange of their rings and walk back down the aisle.
Taylor and Caz - thanks for your trust in me to guide you and serve you on your wedding day. I wish you many, many more years of love and happiness on your river and forest. xox
The following are personal favourites from Taylor and Caz's day. Those wishing to view the full gallery can view the video slideshow immediately following the blog post below.
A full gallery of images is available here:
Dark and moody was the inspiration behind this masculine styled shoot / mock elopement. The all-too-"forgotten" groom was pampered and highlighted this time, focusing on HIS rites of wedding day prep. Artisan butters and oils softened the beard his bride would later caress and kiss. A shave with a straight razor and hot towel had him truly groomed and ready to meet his bride. Fine details made our groom smashing from head to toe, right down to his Uptown Sox.
Our contemporary bride chose to wear midnight black - an outfit borrowed from a friend - to complement the secretive arrangements she made with her intended groom. Simple - but stunning - earrings and ring were her only adornments. Her bouquet was unstructured, like her spirit.
They exchanged their vows in the cover of darkness, unseen by passersby. They dined in secret, relishing in the fine details of their table and savouring each other by candlelight and mystery.
Unrealistic? I think not: Sometimes it's fun to zig when others are zagging. ;)
Full vendor list following images.
J E M M A N | photography
Partner Weddings & Events
Richardson Hair Design
2Bu Esthetics & Makeup Artistry
House of Barons
Kings Own Reserve
Stor by Margot
Makin' it Lovely
Simply Steph Ko
Angies Models + Barry
Special thanks to Elise Schmitz for the procurement of the bridal gown
Erin + Dan's wedding was a blend of classic with a little bit of whimsy thrown in. (I personally love that Erin chose to not wear white - opting instead for a Needle and Thread mini-dress that suited Erin's personality to a "T"!) They had a magical day for weather (the classic June wedding!) exchanging their vows amongst the perfectly-timed blooms at Maplehurst Manor. Erin and Dan are refreshingly genuine, down-to-earth and quietly witty (listen carefully; otherwise, you'll miss THE funniest quips!). Erin and Dan, thank-you for your trust in me to serve you. I wish you and your wonderful families a lifetime of blue skies and happiness! xox
Will YOUR wedding be one of the best? We're on the hunt for awesome couples for 2017 and 2018! Are you in?
Vickie + Trevor: Married December 2, 2016: Party of 12 for The Westin Hotel, Shaw Centre + The Courtyard Restaurant
Vickie + Trevor opted for an off-season (LOVE December!) small, intimate wedding ceremony and reception to officially tie the knot. Including the bride and groom, there were 12 people in attendance as they exchanged their vows, cheered on by their closest family members only. Extended family and friends joined them later to break bread and the bubbly at The Courtyard Restaurant, but they still kept it to a small party of celebrants. Vickie was absolutely elegant and stunning in her Sophia Tolli gown by All That Glitters, her hair and makeup perfection by ShowPony and One Fine Beauty. Step-daughter, Arlie, was angelic in her complimentary gown. Florals by Floral Reef Design provided that perfect pop and accent to Vickie's bridal white. Much thanks to the Shaw Centre for graciously allowing us to use their venue after a flood and unpredicted maintenance thwarted plans at the Westin Hotel -- J.J. and the staff were life-savers. Wishing you a lifetime of health and happiness, Vickie, Trevor and Arlie (+ now Phoebe!)! Thank-you for trusting me with your special day. xox
High school sweethearts, Erin + Dan, wanted to return to the scene of the crime for their engagement session. That was a little easier said than done as their well-loved high school is now closed due to age and disrepair. However, a few phone calls and connections later had us slipping into the empty halls and classrooms, Erin + Dan reminiscing about their days when the building was full of activities, friends and hustle and bustle. Enjoy a few favourites from our walk down memory lane. xox
After several years together - several years ;) -- Allie and Travis tied the knot on October 22, 2016 at the eQuinelle Golf Club in Kemptville. Not the warmest time of year to be married, truth be told, but Allie and Travis weathered the drop in temperatures on their wedding day extremely well: nurses and iron workers are, hands-down, tough as nails. ;) Enjoy some favourites of our time spent together. Wishing you only the best, Allie and Travis! xox
This is what love looks like. Family love, romantic love, love between friends - it doesn't take long to see that Melanie + Jacques are surrounded by it and supported by it. So wonderful to see, feel and capture. Look at the way they look at each other; look at the way they smile in each others' presence; look at the simultaneous expressions of joy reflected on the faces of their friends and family. Every couple and family has its share of obstacles - Melanie and Jacques are no different - but what they have is a genuine affinity for each other, their kin and chosen friends that helps get them through. Thank-you for sharing your special bonds with me, Melanie + Jacques and for trusting me to capture your connections. I wish you much continued health and happiness in your years to come! xox
After having spent some time apart, high-school friends, Danika and Matt, were reunited and realized their future was with one another. On August 27, Danika, Matt and 5year-old Ryden united their little family in an early evening waterfront ceremony at Weddings on the Rideau. Danika was sweet and romantic in her custom-made Maureen Patricia gown by The Handmade Bride. Danika's 15 bridesmaids - each in a unique gown of their choice - spent the morning with her in the venue's bridal cabin, helping Danika get ready, all the while sharing memories and laughter of their years growing up. Matt shared as many laughs with his groomsmen in the Kemptville Suites, squashing any nerves that really didn't even seem to exist. There is no mistaking there is a loyal band of long-held, dear friends behind this couple. Danika and Matt chose to see each other for a private first look -- witness the emotion and happiness on both their faces and how it DIDN'T take away from Matt's reaction seeing his bride later walk down the aisle! They then spent some quality time together for their portraits before uniting with family and friends for their Weddings on the Rideau waterfront ceremony. An informal late-evening reception followed with drinks and appetizers where Danika and Matt could casually mingle with their guests and celebrants. It was a laid-back, calm day for all. Thank-you, Danika and Matt, for placing your trust in me to capture the beauty and intimacy of your day! xox
Wedding day rain can sometimes dampen spirits, but not for Sarah and Joe. Plans had to change on a dime based on whatever was happening outside the window, but they, along with their friends, families and bridal party, accommodated with grace, humour and never-faltering patience. At times, individuals were literally soaked, but the smiles and energy did not break - in fact, the weather seemed to only UP-lift spirits! All just seemed to give in and roll with whatever Mother Nature was delivering that moment. Sarah looked breathtaking - coming and going (that BACK!). For having planned their wedding from afar in Nova Scotia, everything seemed to come together beautifully. A lovely, heartfelt ceremony was held at Willowstone Church, followed by portraits at Willowstone Gardens. (Much thanks to Victoria and David Hutton for clearing their barn at the last minute so we could take refuge - and carry on with creative portraits at the same time.) An intimate reception was held at Weddings on the Rideau -- Kemptville's newest wedding venue -- where guests were sheltered from the rain in the glass atrium, but still dined and danced under the stars. Sarah, Joe, your friends and families: It was an absolute treat to work with all of you on a day that would have disheartened many a bride and groom. The love, support and regard you have for one another is at once tangible and inspirational. Much thanks for the support you also extended me on this wet day so that I could best serve Sarah and Joe. Hugs to all! xox
This lady threw vanity and caution to the wind, supplied a second large canopy umbrella and helped shelter my gear from the pouring rain so that we could execute photos outdoors -- and then followed me and my assistant around as we ran from location to location. Never underestimate a mother's love.
She wasn't the only one to throw caution to the wind. ;)
Celebrating 12 years together as a couple, Carla and Joshua officially tied the knot this July 30th. It is endearing to see the continued affection, respect and courtesy they have for one another - and for their friends and families. You can't help but instantly like Carla and Joshua. They are open, genuine, warm, welcoming, charismatic, funny -- a TRUE pleasure to be around. There is always much laughter when we connect. Thank-you, Carla and Josh for placing your implicit trust in me to capture your day. You didn't always know where I was going with something (especially when I had you running ... or blindfolded ... or climbing never-ending stairs ... or standing in the dark with dinosaurs) but you closed your eyes and took that leap of faith -- and for that I thank-you! Enjoy these continued teasers while your full gallery and album are being completed! xox
It is an honour to have this editorial shoot featured in the Spring - Summer 2016 print version of Ottawa Wedding Magazine. A few twists on the conventional to inspire couples. xox Enjoy looking. (Full vendor credits follow.)
The online version can be seen here, pages 74-79.
Bridal Apparel, The Handmade Bride;
Groom's Apparel, Surmesur;
Florals, Floral Reef Designs;
Styling + Decor, Elise Schmitz, Toast Events;
Specialty Table Top Rentals - Plate Occasions;
Amy & Jen Decor;
Stationery, Jessica Fahey, Ink Blossom;
Cake and sweets, Rosie Osso, Osso Sweet;
Hair, Stephanie Richardson, Richardson Hair Design;
Makeup, Megan J. Roberts, 2bu Esthetics & Makeup Artistry;
Venue, Le Belvedere;
Photography, Elenora Luberto, J E M M A N | photography;
Videography, Joshua, Let's Go Up North Videography;
Models, Sam and Marc, MIM.
What do you get when you mix an unsuspecting girlfriend, a thoughtful boyfriend, a caring sister, two event planners and a photographer? A surprise engagement! Hailey didn't see it coming AT ALL. Stay tuned for the full story ...
Concept: Braden Dukelow + Shanna DaSilva
Venue, Decor + Planning: Custom Events
Photography: J E M M A N | photography
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Look for my current work in the "Categories" & "Archives" columns below -- there's always something new!