Saturday, April 21st 2018
My co-worker Kathy came up to me at work one day and asked if I shot weddings. I said yes, excited at a new opportunity! She explained that her daughter Katie was getting married in just four weeks, but she had tears in her eyes as she told me. I asked if everything was okay, and she went on to tell me that Katie's dad, Larry, was very ill and not doing well. Katie wanted her father at her wedding.
Everyone held their breaths for the next few weeks, hoping that Katie's dad would be able to make it to the wedding. On the morning of Saturday, April 21st - I still wasn't sure where or when I was going to meet the bride! The family was taking it minute by minute, to see if Larry could make it to the chapel for 4:30pm. Around 1 o'clock I got a text saying "Meet us at the venue at 3!" This meant that Katie's dad was going to make it!
I couldn't have been more excited for my first wedding of the season. I got to Ancaster Mill early - because I am always early, but also because I was too excited to wait any longer. I walked up to Suite One on the second floor of the Special Events Office and immediately fell in love with the decor, the lighting, and the energy of the place. To add to my excitement, I was told we could use any of the suites since there were no other weddings that afternoon!
As soon as Katie and her crew showed up, I got to work on the details. Her dress and bouquet were simple and stunning. The natural light streaming in through the big windows made for perfect shots! I knew I needed to get a picture of the rings, as Kathy told me that Katie and Cal MADE each other's rings at a workshop in Toronto... how romantic could this wedding get?!
After Katie's mom helped her get dressed, her sister-in-law did up the buttons, and her best friend (and maid of honour) did up her shoes, we all had a sip of champagne as they took it all in. This is one of my favourite parts of a wedding day - when everyone realizes the magnitude of what is about to happen.
We took a couple more shots of Katie's last moments as a single woman before I slipped out to get to the chapel.
I passed a buzzing group of select friends and family waiting outside the chapel, patiently waiting to support Katie and Cal in their union. I set up camp and had my first groom spotting! Up on the balcony of the chapel, Cal and his best man laughed and went over his vows during his last moments of being a single man. I spotted them leaning over the railing to take a look at the room of loved ones there to witness this milestone in their lives.
Larry - Katie's father - was wheeled down the aisle to await his daughter. Once the wedding party was all present, Larry stood up and everyone got a chance to exchange hugs before Cal took Katie's hand and they both walked up to the Minister.
One of my favourite things during the ceremony was that Katie and Cal kept squeezing each other's hands back and forth... It was one of those things I don't know if anyone else noticed, but it made my heart flutter. Even as someone who didn't know the couple super well, I could tell this was a perfect fit.
After a beautiful ceremony, we stayed in the chapel to take some pictures. Katie had mentioned that she and Cal weren't very comfortable in front of a camera and that they would need some direction. Well, I didn't give one direction to these two all gosh-darn day! I just watched and clicked as they spent their first moments together as husband and wife. They kissed and laughed and cried and it was the most beautiful thing in the world to witness.
When Katie's dad came back into the chapel for photos, he took off his oxygen tank and stood up with his daughter. Tears were everywhere, but Cal was right there by Katie's side to wipe them away and make her smile.
This photo of Katie is one of my most favourite images that I have ever captured. After the ceremony, the bride and groom greeted their guests in the lobby of the chapel. Katie took a beat to soak in the moment, and instinctively turned her face to the natural light pouring in through the windows. The look on her face shows such pure, raw happiness it takes my breath away... what an angel!
Then we went to take formal photos of the bride and groom. Again, these two were perfectly in love - and it shows in the gorgeous photos I had the pleasure of capturing.
After making a round of the gorgeous grounds at Ancaster Mill, the bride and groom had an hour to spare before dinner. While the two lovebirds ran off for a bit, I set up for the reception while guests enjoyed a fun-filled cocktail hour on the patio.
At 6:30pm dinner was served. After three amazing courses and lots of wine, the speeches began. One of Katie's brothers kicked things off as the emcee, then came her maid of honour, followed by a friend of Cal's, another one of Katie's brothers, Cal's father, and an incredibly intimate performance by Cal's talented best man.
After the cake-cutting, Katie, Cal and I explored the beautiful Ancaster Mill at night for some more portraits of the couple. We visited both bridges and the waterfall for some unforgettable shots.
After the night shots came the first dance - which was perfectly rehearsed. Then came the mother-son/father-in-law-daughter dance. It didn't take much to get the rest of the guests up on the dance floor! Soon after the first dances, it was time for me to pack up my gear. I said my goodbyes and left the newly married couple surrounded by their closest family and friends on the dance floor.
I got home and went straight to editing a few highlights from the day - I get far too excited after a wedding to sleep. I already had in mind a dozen photos that I just had to finish first. Looking back on the photos from the day, I felt honoured that another couple trusted me with the responsibility to capture the memories of one of the biggest days of their lives.
Enjoy the slideshow below with a few more sample photos from the amazingly intimate Ancaster Mill wedding of Katie & Cal <3