August 18th, 2018
This was one of my favourite weddings that I have ever had the pleasure of capturing. It was also one of the shortest times I’ve spent working a wedding, the furthest in Ontario I’ve ever travelled for a wedding, and the only time an ambulance was needed!
I met Justine and Kevin over FaceTime while they were at the Firehall one evening a few months before their wedding. I knew we’d get along because they had their dog with them (and I’m dog-obsessed) and also because their dog’s name is Nala (and I’m also Lion King-obsessed). I also learned that these two met while volunteer fire-fighting, in the same hall where they were calling me from, and the same hall where they would be holding their wedding reception… sign me up!
On August 18th I made the four-hour drive from Oakville to Haliburton. I had never even heard of Haliburton, but my trusty GPS led me north through a whole lot of trees until I finally arrived at my quaint little motel. As I was checking in, the lady asked me “are you here for the wedding?” and when I told her I was photographing the wedding she said “you don’t have far to go!” She pointed, I turned my head, and there was the bride’s house right next door! I headed over to Justine’s around 3:30pm just in time to see her slip into her dress before snapping a few family photos before heading to the ceremony. (On a side note: Justine warned me that I wouldn’t get a photo with her brother smiling - challenge accepted, and mission accomplished!)
I arrived at the ceremony location and was instantly amazed… it was a little opening in the forest off a dirt road right on the edge of a stream. I asked the guys where the benches came from and they replied “oh we made those earlier today!” Just after I arrived and the guests were seated, Justine and her father pulled up in their vintage car. The ceremony was short, but sweet. My favourite part was the reading of Dr. Seuss poem “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!” (Side note: Dr. Seuss and I have the same birthday!) And of course their baby girl Nala was the guest of honour!
As soon as the ceremony ended Justine, Kevin and I hopped in the car and drove a minute down the road to take a few pictures of the newly-weds. We then returned for more family photos before heading to the firehall for dinner and their reception.
It’s time for my favourite photos of the evening! Justine had this idea to take photos with their firetrucks and gear. It was honestly a photographer’s dream… and she set it all up on her own!
After our firetruck extravaganza, we went inside for Justine and Kevin’s first dance to Tracy Byrd’s “Keeper of the Stars”.
After the first dance, it was time for dinner. While everyone was eating, I ran out to my car to grab something. When I came back in, everyone was crowded around one of the guest tables. I asked someone what was going on and was told that Justine’s grandfather was not feeling well, and nobody knew where Justine had gone. Next thing I knew, an ambulance pulled up and out hopped Justine! Turned out that Justine was feeling overwhelmed and went for a walk. She saw the ambulance parked around the corner on standby - and since she works with the paramedics, she stopped to chat with them. She then heard a call come in requesting the ambulance at her reception!
They had Justine’s grandfather in the ambulance for a few minutes while everyone waited anxiously. Finally they told us he was fine and had just gotten dehydrated… but needless to say, the bride and groom needed a moment to themselves. Justine had mentioned earlier that she would like to have some sunset photos taken down the road, so once we knew her grandfather was alright, we headed down to the beach just the three of us.
When we arrived at the beach, I told Justine and Kevin to take some time to themselves. It is rare that a bride and groom get any alone time on their wedding day - which seems ridiculous but is so true. Also these two definitely needed a breather after the unexpected and emotional events of the evening. After a while, I started taking photos of them, asking them to slow dance or whisper things into each other’s ears. I eventually pulled out my sparklers and they certainly had fun with those! We stayed at the beach for nearly an hour before it was time for me to go and time for them to get back to their reception, and it was the most romantic part of any wedding I had ever seen. If I could give one piece of advice to every couple, it would be to take time on your wedding day to just enjoy each other (and of course bring your photographer to stalk from afar).