Wedding season has finally started and it started with a bang! Chanyque, Jason and I met last year to discuss their up coming wedding. They had informed me that they would be getting married at Mont Blanc and that they had a special request of their photographer… That they would need be comfortable enough to ski on the wedding day. I, having not skied in 10 years said; ”SURE, Why not”. And just like that, I was hired to do what has to be one of the coolest weddings I’ve done to date. For those who don’t know me, I’ve played ringette for 20 years and skiing is very similar motions to skating so I knew I’d be fine. Besides, I went skiing a few times this winter in preparation ;).
Cut to the wedding day. I woke up Friday morning to a gloomy sky which made me cross my fingers that rain would not be in the forecast. I drove the two hours from my home to Mont Blanc in anticipation that I would be early enough to drive around scouting locations and of course visiting the area where the majority of that days festivities would happen. I wasn’t set to meet with my lovely bride until 1pm so I have about 1.5hours to explore which was wonderful! At around noon Jason texts me asking me what time I would be heading over to the guys… Uh Oh, that was not in our initial timeline, but luckily I was early because I’m always early, so not a problem there! I headed over to the condo where the boys were and I was greeted by a super smiley and nervous Jason. He told me how he had trouble sleeping because he was so excited and nervous and I assured him it was normal and he’ll be totally fine. The boys quickly got ready, grabbed a shot and we headed outside to toast the groom. And just like that I was on my way to the girls.
I arrived to a house full of laughter and people running around. The girls were finishing up their makeup while Chanyque was rushing around to get her dress undergarments on. Basically it was a moment of zoom zoom from everyone around while Chan did her finishing touches like brushing her teeth in her under garments and socks! It was a hilarious sight to see, I couldn’t help but laugh. All the girls met down the stairs while Chanyque’s mom helped her get dressed upstairs. They closed their eyes as she came down the stairs which we then counted down, 1,2,3, OPEN YOUR EYES! Their faces when they saw their sister/friend was priceless. They were in awe of her. After some hugs especially big ones from the little princesses, we brought her dad in for his first look. It was short but so sweet. She tapped his shoulder and the second he saw her the biggest smile spread across his face and tears welled in his eyes. He looked at his little girl and brought her in for a very tight hug. And off we were for the first look!
When I went to see the guys earlier on Jason had told me that we were doing the first look in the trail by the Visitor parking near the bridge. So I headed there and waited for him to arrive before the rest of the crew. I waited 5, 10, 15mins… I started getting worried, was I in the wrong spot? Omg what if they’ve abandoned me??? WHAT IS HAPPENING (as you can see I go from 0-100 pretty quick)??? I called Chanyque’s dad, Gilles, to see where everyone was and he reassured me they were on their way and that there was a small delay. As they arrived, Jason and the guys were still nowhere to be found. So I gave him a call and as expected, we were in the wrong spot. Turns out there is another little covered bridge and that’s where he meant for us to go, woops! Chanyque had a feeling that that’s what had happened so we told him to walk the trail over and within a few minutes the boys had arrived, it was time to get this party started. In the quickest first look I think I’ve ever done, Chan walked up to Jason, tapped on his shoulder and he turned to look at her so quickly! The second he saw her he just smiled and stared at her and took her in for a big hug. He had tears in his eyes but he never let them actually come out, darn! After a couple minutes of just admiring each other and smiling we proceeded to getting all the family photos done while we had a lovely wooded area as our background. We then hopped into all of the cars and drove down to our next location, the ultimate location.
We drove over to the north side of the mountain where we took one last opportunity at family photos and a large group shot before booting up and heading to the chair lift. Yes you read that right, we put our boots and skis on and went to the top of the hill. This is the part of the day Chan was the most excited for. She had told me about the view at the top of the hill and although I was excited to see what she was talking about, I had no idea what to expect. By this time the sun had come out in full force, the sky was blue and there were white fluffy clouds to break things up. As we got up on the lift I told myself not to look down and to just push off when we got to the top, and so I did. We arrived and I turned right only to see the most beautiful view ever! I literally just stared in awe that this was going to be our background. We had an amazing time joking around, laughing and just enjoying the moment. The girls looked absolutely stunning, and the boys were oh so dapper. We quickly ran through the bridal party photos and jumped right into Chanyque & Jason’s portraits before heading back down the hill. A few bridal party member chose not to ski down to the other side of the hill so they went right back down the chairlift.
I decided to brave it and ski with everyone else in the hopes to get some action shots. The group quickly speed ahead of me and just like that, they were out of sight. I was totally not at their level (DUH). To be fair though they basically grew up on the hills haha. We were the last skiers of the day so the rescue crew were never far behind me to make sure we cleared the hill. I honestly thought I would be fine but something came over me as I stood at the top and I had an internal panic attack. This caused me to ”Pizza” or ”Zamboni” ski all the way down the hill, stopping whenever I felt overwhelmed. Luckily for me my boyfriend who also happens to second shoot for me at times was there. He was able to get ahead of the group and get action shots of just about everyone. Yay for teamwork! We got to the bottom of the hill were the rest of the crew were waiting for us with lovely uhhhh refreshments? The party had some beers and potentially a couple shots before heading to the main hill to make their grand entrance for the ceremony.
The guests gathered outside the lodge on the balcony waiting for the party to arrive. I was firmly placed in my spot on the hill waiting for them to ski down only for my second shooter to tell me they were coming down the other side! So I started to book it down the hill only for him to yell NEVERMIND! So here I was booking it right back to my original spot and luckily one of the guests caught it on camera and sent me the video and it really is funny. Anywho, the a really cute version of ”on vas s’aimer encore” was playing through the speakers as Jason made his way down getting loads of cheers from their family and friends. Followed by the little flower girls, part of the wedding party and of course our bride and her papa! We followed things quickly with a nice group shot at the bottom and off we were to do the Grand Entrance into the ceremony space and to get warm. I loved the feel for this ceremony as there were guests seated in the main space, around the room and people standing, drinks in hand simply enjoying what was about to happen. As Jason waited at the front of the aisle I wasn’t sure what kind of reaction he and Chanyque would have since they’d had their first look already. But the emotions were there and so very very different, any clients doubtful of first looks, this is exactly what I mean when I say it’s different emotions. Chanyque was pure smiles as she turned the corner and Jason had just lost it the second she stepped into the room. His eyes welled with tears and they actually came streaming down his face. It was seriously the cutest thing I’d seen in so long. As they got close to each other you could see the nerves kind of re-appear as Chanyque burst out in laughter causing Jason to laugh and everyone else followed suit.
The ceremony was absolutely beautiful, officiated by family member, with family and friends reading beautiful words to the bride and groom, it was nothing short of perfect. They also had a lovely tradition included in the ceremony of sealing a box with two glasses, a bottle of wine and letters to each other shut. They are only to open it on their 5 year anniversary unless their marriage has some difficult moments in which they are then allowed to open the box and read the letters they wrote to each other while drinking the wine. To remind themselves of why they love each other, why they got married, and to always see the positive in their lives. And of course in the most adorable way, they both laughed it out as they drilled the box shut, each taking a turn. Chan was super into the drill, I think she was feeling the power in that moment. They exchanged personal vows that once again made everyone smile and laugh because that’s just who these two are. Total goofballs with so much love and joy to share with each other and everyone else around them. The humour in their ceremony was just so contagious which I’m not sure was intentional but it totally worked. Even when they exchanged rings, they were almost at a loss how to do it ”which ring goes first? Oh Lord, it doesn’t fit” all these thoughts I could see going through their minds when Chan’s ring wouldn’t push down. And then of course they got Jason’s ring that morning so they weren’t even sure it was going to fit. Luckily everything fit just fine haha. They also included a sweet moment at the end where they and their parents huddled in a circle and crossed hands (kind of like a sports huddle) and the parents went around and spoke some words from a shared reading essentially blessing the new married couple. And in true Paquette/Lemieux fashion, they did a cheer in the end raising their arms out of the huddle like a team would before a game. It was pretty funny to watch but oh so sweet all at the same time. After signing the documents and a cheers from the crowd, these two were happily announced as husband and wife and walked out of that ceremony with huge smiles on their faces. I think they were happy to a) finally be husband and wife. b) to have finished the ceremony and c) to get some drinks in them and get the party started!
We opted to quickly run outside and get a few more photos at the bottom of the hill while the sun was still out and of course these two rocked it in their adorable awkward way. After about 10mins outside we decided that was enough, it was time to let them enjoy their cocktail while I went over to the reception space to get a few details in before the party moved over to the room. The space was decorated with beautiful white linens, burlap table runners with pine tree branches to add a pop of colour. All their centrepieces were wood slabs with candles and a cranberry accent piece but I think my favourite part had to be the table numbers and how they were identified. Each table number was associated with their age and there was a frame with a picture of Jason on one side and Chanyque on the other at that age. It was the cutest thing to see how they looked and what they were doing at the age. I noticed a lot of adventure photos full of smiles which shows me how similar they are. It was so fun to walk around the room and see all the photos. They also included a ”TAKE A SHOT, TAKE YOUR SEAT” sign which was meant for guests to grab and take a shot before they took their seat at their table. I of course not being able to drink Polar Bears, decided to offer my shot to the bride and she gladly took it haha.
In true fashion these two made their grand entrance dancing like fools and they certainly got things started for everyone else as the guests got up and danced along with them. The MC’s started thing pretty strong with their own little speeches and of course the introduction of a special surprise… A life size cut out of our Bride and Groom on skis for guests to take selfies with ALL NIGHT! The dinner was a buffet dinner but to decide who would get to go first, we had to play a game of ”La Fureur”. French kids grew up watching this show but if you don’t know what it is, it’s basically a game of finish the lyrics. So the DJ would play songs chosen by the bride and groom and mute it part way through. The guests had to continue the lyrics in time with the song for when he would un mute it. The MC’s would then choose who was able to do the song and who did it the best. The first song was obviously some epic Celine Dion (I was seriously so into it that I can’t remember what song it was haha) and I just couldn’t help myself, I had to jump up to sing the lyrics and luckily for my table, I won it for them! So we were the first table to get to eat besides the wedding party. I’m pretty proud of that one, definitely something I’m going to remember. The night was filled with people jumping on their chairs and dancing and singing at the top of their lungs attempting outdo one another and be called on next to eat. It was the most entertaining reception I’ve ever been to, that’s for sure.
There were many drinks and shots being poured all throughout the night but I think the ”shottiest” time was during the speeches after dinner. Each person that went up to speak had to take a shot, there were many cheers, a ton of laughter and just an all around good time to be had by all. Everyone’s speech was so sweet and personal towards our bride and groom but the most memorable has to be that of Chanyque’s dad, Gilles. He came out strong with an accordion document unfolding and rolling onto the floor for what seemed like forever. Of course it was just a joke, but his speech did end up being like 5 pages long haha. He told stories of his little girl about all the times her brand new car ”magically” got into accidents, which happened to be 4 times. And each time he told a little story he invited the guests to play along saying THIS IS THE STORY OF CHANYQUE, and the guests would say ”AH OUIN?” and he would proceed with his story. He would also mock his daughter (in the nicest way possible) and her cry face. Every time he imitated her, everyone had to take a shot. And to make sure the bride and groom were covered, he gave them each their own personal flasks filled with Sambuca. There were many laughs, tears and hugs to be had by all that evening and I was so happy to have been there to witness and capture it all for these two, they absolutely deserved it. I ended my night by waiting on the cold hill while our bride and groom drove up the mountain (they didn’t drive, no worries) and ski’d down, with glow sticks, in the dark! This was technically their first dance, their first run as Husband and Wife! What a cool way to end things right?
Merci tellement Chanyque + Jason pour m’avoir invité à participer à votre mariage! Ce fu un grand plaisir et définitivement un ”highlight” de ma carrière, même si j’ai eu peur descendre la montage haha! I hope your wedding was a dream and everything you could have hoped for. Your love is so true and genuine and it truly was a privilege to witness something so beautiful. Thank you a million times over xox