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!
Busy with the demands of a long-held successful business and career, it had been years since Janet and Ray updated their website and headshots. They wanted their clients to be able to identify their warm, welcoming personalities and work environment but still recognize them as seasoned professionals and experts in their field. We consulted, put together a vision, brought together a team to help it unfold (thank-you Maggie Patterson of Scoop Industries, Megan Roberts of 2BU Artistry and Julia Thibert of Richardson Hair Design) and the results truly speak to what Janet Eaton and Ray Wheeler at Remax Hometown Realty represent. Keep your eye out for the release of their brand new website!
Dean Usher of Usher Wealth Management, CIBC Wood Gundy Kanata, wanted to bring a fresher, more welcoming face to investing and wealth management without compromising professionalism, trust and expertise. He has a team of skilled advisors and assistants who are more than just "bankers" and "tellers" - they are banking professionals with a beating heart, personality and the authority needed to take care of your finances and financial health. It was key that his images communicate just that.
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
The Carlsons - A Hockey Family Hits "Pause" and Temporarily trades Ice Time foR Family Time in the Fall
Hockey families know all too well that as soon as the cooler weather hits (and sometimes even beforehand), much time is spent indoors in an even colder arena. The Carlsons - with both boys playing a competitive level of hockey - set time aside to get family photos done before their weekends were spent on the road, in games or in tournaments. Bright sun, warm hearts!
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
The Hills didn't have to travel very far for wonderful family photos. A small patch of green and great light in their sideyard made for an excellent photo location that was easily accessible and comfortable for all. The takeaway? Don't fret about "location" - it's all in the connection you share with your loved ones and trusting me to capture it. Thank-you, Hill Family, for sharing your moments with me over the years. xox
One look at Vickie Dickson, and you know she's doing something right: glowing skin, thick, healthy hair, toned physique, twinkling eyes, vibrant energy ... She's testimony to the life she lives and the health and fitness she teaches and shares with others. Vickie brings Holistic Nutrition, Yoga and doTERRA oils to her personal lifestyle with life-changing results and is willing to share that journey with you as well.
Vickie needed updated headshots, branding images and content to reflect her core values and the education and services she can bring to others. Her results are as energetic and as vibrant as herself.
More about Vickie Dickson and how she can help you take care of your body so it's a great place to live can be found on www.vickiedickson.com
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
What do you get when 1 lady has a vision of helping others and 4 others step up to give their own help? You get a 100 Women Who Care, North Grenville Chapter, Leading Ladies team.
Ashley Vincent had the vision of bringing this effective fundraising concept to North Grenville and Anne Eves Kotlarchuk, Su Ouellette, Dawn Rodger and Diana Leeson Fisher quickly jumped on board to support her efforts.
The concept of 100 Women Who Care is: 100 women + 1 hour meeting @ 4 times per year + $100 quarterly donation each = over $10,000 donated quarterly to the community that they serve. The first chapter was founded in San Francisco, California in 2000 - and the concept is quickly spreading throughout North America.
The North Grenville Chapter has already donated thousands to Community Living North Grenville and the Beth Donovan Hospice. Membership and support are gaining momentum.
So, no stale headshots for these Ladies and their website / social media profiles! There's no stopping the care, warmth, commitment and compassion in these women. These truly are the faces of 100 Women Who Care.
If you'd like more information on the concept or would like to organize a team,
"Like" and follow along on the 100 Women Who Care, North Grenville FACEBOOK PAGE
check out the 100 Women Who Care, North Grenville WEBSITE.
Now, I don't have a team yet. Who's with me?
She said she was shy. He said he didn't like having his photo taken. I said, "Trust me."
Amanda and Jimmy's Toronto engagement session started in their new home where Amanda and Jimmy got comfortable with me and being in front of my camera in familiar surroundings first. We then took to the woods where I could push the envelope a bit more with a gown provided by Arroh & Bow and The Handmade Bride and a coronet from Jewel Feathers. I knew in advance those borrowed items would SING on Amanda in that particular location - and Amanda obliged, at that point feeling a bit more comfortable with me and the process of having her photo taken. By the time we got to the town of Kleinburg, Amanda and Jimmy had eased into their session, full of genuine smiles and laughter, my own heart smiling, sensing these at-first reluctant subjects might have completely relaxed and were truly enjoying themselves too. ;)
Thank-you, Amanda and Jimmy for your trust. I know you approached your session with more than a fair share of nerves - and overcame them. xox
See their full gallery of images here:
Although I typically specialize in weddings, I will do the odd in-studio children's session for special clients / repeat clients / clients with whom I have built a special relationship. I have had the honour and privilege of photographing Mackenzie's extended family (grandparents, great-grandparents, cousins), her parents before they were a bride and a groom and Mackenzie herself in the comfort of her own home when Mom and Dad first welcomed her. This little nugget is not a huge fan of the camera (just yet ;) ), but with some patience and determination Mackenzie will eventually give you some of her cutest smiley smiles. Thank-you, Marie and Graham for continuing to share the people who mean the most to you with me over the years. xox
As I type this, I know Taylor is anxiously awaiting the release of these photos, excited to share with friends and family. ;) What a FUN couple! Thank-you, Taylor and Wade for your trust as I put you through the paces of your engagement session. SO looking forward to photographing your wedding this summer! xox
Will YOUR wedding be one of the best? We're on the hunt for awesome couples for 2017 and 2018! Are you in?
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