Okay I have to start off by saying how excited I was for Allie and Panos’ wedding at the Ottawa Rowing Club. Ever since I met them for their engagement session, they just had this vibe about them that made me so happy to be around them. Not to mention their adorable son Elio. So when their big day finally came, I was so happy to see the weather held out and that we’d be able to celebrate their day outdoors like they had hoped. Here is their wedding day through my eyes.
Panos and his guys were getting ready at the cutest air BnB and when I arrived, they were basically just munchin’ on a ton of food that was laid out for them and just hanging about. I quickly ‘’put them to work’’ as I did a few detail photos of Panos’ things. I normally do the ring details with the girls but today, Panos had their bands and when I saw them, my jaw dropped. His ring was a beautiful gold ring with beveled rings around but Allie’s ring, oooooo child. It was a beautiful gold cluster of varying diamond sizes. I was totally in love with it.
Looking around I could see the guys helping each other out with their ties and making sure things looked nice and tidy which I appreciated. We did have a belt missing moment but turns out one of Panos’s groomsmen had taken his instead of the extra that was laid out for him, silly man, not listening to instructions properly ;). Panos’s dad helped out with his bowtie and sure enough as time was running short, his good friend and groomsman made it to the air BnB on time from Chicago! Panos’s eyes lit up when he saw him and gave him the biggest hug. We popped on the small balcony out back and took a group shot before I headed on my way to the ladies.
Arriving at Allie and Panos’ home, I was greeted by many people running about putting finishing touches for hair and makeup and getting their dresses on. Allie looked stunning of course and was wearing a super cute white pyjama set with her initials on the front pocket. She was busy taking care of some last minute things so I went ahead and grabbed her dress and details and got to my usual routine. Her dress was a stunning fully beaded and sequinned gown with a simple raw edge tulle veil and white sandal heels to finish things off. Her engagement ring also complimented the glam retro vibes and made my heart sing. I went upstairs to find Allie dressing little Elio in the cutest outfit and their cat just chilling in the closet like it were a normal day. The girls were mingling about with a couple final touches and off I hid them in the lower Living room so that Allie and her mom could get her dressed.
She looked absolutely beautiful as her mom zipped up her gown and made sure everything was perfect. I could feel the tears wanting to make their way down but they held off, briefly. As her mom went and got dad in to see his little girl for the first time. He’s just such a joyous man that the second he saw her, his face exploded into the biggest smile and went right in for a hug. All the girls followed after and one by one their faces in awe, the look of love and many tears and hugs. Of course our final look was with little Elio and he was just so happy to be with his mom. Allie cuddled and cradled him and gave him many kisses and off we were to the Rowing Club to get this ceremony going.
The Ottawa Rowing club is nestled off of Sussex and down the Cliffside on the edge of the Ottawa River. It’s a quaint little venue that offer full freedom for couples for the bar, food, décor etc. Allie and Panos did everything themselves with the help of their wedding party and it looked beautiful. Guests were greeted by a sign followed by a table with champagne flutes and little cones filled with snackies for them to munch on while they wait. The ceremony space was perfect, overlooking the River and decorated with beautiful wildflowers in varying vases lining the aisle. The chiavari chairs and simple stationary with the days events to finish things off were the perfect final touches.
Guests mingled with their champagne for a little, admiring the view as everyone arrived. The sun was strong and it was hot and windy but no rain in the forecast which makes it a perfect day. Friends and family were invited to take a seat as it was time to finally start. The boys first made their way down followed by Panos looking dapper and dare I say, a little nervous? He placed himself at the front as the girls made their way down with Allie’s sisters carrying Elio down the aisle to his daddy to say hi. Finally it was time for Allie to make her debut from behind the curtain that was hiding her. Arm in arm with both her parents, she came out, took a look at Panos and her smile lit everything up. Panos was very good about holding back tears but you could see his eyes well up as he saw his bride.
Their ceremony was beautiful, as to be expect. They had friends come up and do a few readings one such was from a poet they both like, Allain De Botton. They liked so many different lines from his work that they actually combined them for the reading to fit the ceremony and their love. What made the ceremony even more special was that Allie’s brother officiated it and he did such a fantastic job at it. So much so, that his son thought he needed a challenge and so he held him for the second part of the ceremony after the vows. Speaking of vows, of course they were beautiful, Allie and Panos are wonderful with words. But my favourite part was that Allie used a recipe book to write her vows in and that’s what she used to read during the ceremony itself.
When it came to the rings, well Allie’s brother had them in his pocket, but his hands were a little preoccupied with his little one and so, Panos reached on in and grabbed them for him. It was a comedic moment that made everyone laugh including our bride and groom. And with a hop and a skip, they were pronounced husband and wife and had a romantic kiss for their guests to cheer them on. The group made their way down the aisle and into the main building for a little water break and of course, to hang out with Elio for a minute.
Now, Allie and Panos really wanted to take their time for their portraits so they opted to do family formals right up the hill from their venue so they didn’t have to go too far. Excepted Panos’s mom may or may not have gotten lost getting there so there was justttt a little micro delay. But everyone made it and we made record time. After family formals, it was time to focus on our happy couple. They sent guests off with ideas of locations to go hang out until dinner while their wedding party re-arranged the space for the reception. We happily hopped in my car and made our way over to the Rockeries for some private portraits.
The sun was perfect and the weather was cooling down (thankfully). The rockeries made for a wonderful backdrop for us to explore as we hung out. Because as much as we ‘’rush’’ for time, to fit in some more chill portrait time where the couple can relax and take time for themselves is definitely very important in my books. I wanted them to live in the moment and just enjoy the time they had together before the craziness of the evening. Also, no baby around isn’t something that happens often. So as much as I was photographing, I let them have time to themselves without my camera in their faces the whole time. And so, after a very nice and chill portrait session we were off to the… venue? Nah, we decided to hop on over for a drink at Tavern on the falls!
Now, it was a beautiful night with a beautiful sunset so you know this hot spot was going to be busy. And so it was. There was a lineup of 10 or so people but we hopped on over to the hostess and asked if we could grab a quick seat for one drink. Everyone was so nice about it and let them pass. I mean, who says no to a couple in wedding attire? And so, they grabbed a glass of champagne and shared another moment together (with me third wheeling with my camera). It was a glorious moment and a great way to end things before the party.
As far as planning a wedding goes, we know it’s hard. Allie had even hired a coordinator to handle the décor and venue flip. However not long before the wedding, they were informed that they had over booked and could no longer perform the service. And so the wedding party took the initiative and did all the work for Allie and Panos. We arrived to find the venue, or rather, the outside completely flipped. There were round tables with all the florals vases, a charcuterie TABLE, yes, table not board. High cocktail tables and even a lounge area with fire pits. And of course, the beautiful string lights. It was beautiful and intimate and absolutely perfect for these two.
What’s fun is that our evening wasn’t a stereotypical wedding in the sense that there wasn’t a formal sit down dinner and evening timeline. It was very go with the flow and allowed for the guests to really relax and mingle. Dinner however was delicious (although I did eat a lot of the charcuterie board) and it was wood over fired pizza made on the spot in an amazing portable oven! Guests loved it and of course the drinks served at the bar inside. What could be better then a wedding, fresh pizza and a little bit of liquid courage!
Of course, as we arrived at the venue, the sky exploded in colour so I quickly took our bride and groom onto the dock and took a few quick photos of them and the stunning sky above them.
Allie and Panos’s first dance was also held outside, right in front of the band whom they had performing for the evening. They danced and laughed and were the beautiful happy human beings I’ve gotten to know and love. They invited guests to join them on the dance floor and almost everyone came right up to slow dance by their side. They had an informal speech portion to the evening where they essentially had an open mic night for people to come speak up and although it took a little push, people started to make their way up. All speaking so highly of them both and their relationship. My favourite two things I remembered from these speeches were actually about their love story.
First, their first date. And how Allie paid for the whole bill and just rushed off. Most people would be like; ‘’okay, never seeing that person again.’’ But not Panos, I think he was intrigued by the girl that ran off. And second, the story of their first I love you which they said to each other while in Boston. I don’t know why that second one stuck with me but I just thought it was so sweet.
For desert, Allie and Panos had a DELICIOUS surprise in the form of custom, individually wrapped Ice Cream sandwiches that they personally handed out to each guest. I ended up grabbing a strawberry ice cream one by accident (I’m not a fan of strawberry ice cream) but I LOVED this. It was seriously so good, I could have eaten 3 haha. Merry Dairy nailed this one for sure. The remainder of our evening was spent in two areas, the dance floor and the dock.
Docks are one of my favourite places to be. I love to be on the water and feeling-hearing the waves. And it seems like many of the guests felt the same. They mingled about on the Adirondack chairs having drinks and enjoying the cool breeze after such a hot day. There was even the newest Ottawa attraction on the water passing by (Basically it’s a tiki bar but it floats and goes around the river while you drink) and one of Panos’s friends thought he could potentially get a ride if he uh… flashes them his chest? We all had a good laugh at it and you can see below, he enjoyed the moment as well!
Second favourite spot, on the dance floor. And Allie’s friends knew how to light that bad boy up. They danced and danced and were having the time of their lives. I didn’t want to miss out so I too went and had the time of my life with them. They were desperate for some Alanis Morissette and when they got her, OOOOOoo you better watch out. They belted to her like there was no tomorrow, there may have even been some interpretive dancing involved. Did I forget to mention, there was an EDM party across the river at the History Museum? So throughout the entire day and evening we had some interesting bouts of EDM music blaring across the waves. And at night, we got a pretty awesome light show. So I mean, even if they’d lost power for whatever reason, they would have been totally fine cause they had a backup!
I finished my evening with some Beyoncé with the entire crew just living their best damn life. What a fantastic way to end my day but this group had hours of dancing left in them. And from what I heard, the party went on until 1am which to me sounds like a great time.
Allie and Panos, just wow. What else can I say? You’re both such wonderful human beings raising an adorable little guy with the world waiting to see what you’ll do next. Your love is palpable and I am to grateful to have been able to share in this moment with you. I cherish you dearly and hope that these photos make you smile. Xox
Vendors: Currently awaiting for a list from our happy couple!