FINALLY! Is what I have to say to this blog post being published. I’ve been home from Mexico for two weeks now and haven’t been able to do any editing on Julie & Bryden’s wedding because lo and behold when we arrived home on Sunday the 18th, my iMac decided to crash and basically die on me. Now I do have a laptop which means I can do my editing on it… WRONG! I tried guys, I really tried to edit on it but a 13inch screen vs a 27inch desktop is just so not the same. You can’t really see all the details you’re used to and I really, really wanted to release their blog post with my usual quality editing, not something half a***d just to get it done. Luckily I messaged Julie and she was totally okay with waiting for my computer to return from being repaired. I love my clients, have I ever said that before? Duh. Alright well enough about the computer debacle and let’s travel back in time to the beautiful Coastal resort of Royalton Riviera Maya, Cancun, Mexico!

      We arrived in Mexico pretty late on Saturday night  thanks to a flight delay but otherwise everything had gone smoothly. At the airport everyone got through easily enough except for our poor bride and groom. They got flagged and had to get their suitcases checked and they had so many! They had brought a lot of stuff down for the wedding so it wasn’t a fun experience to say the least. But after a little wait we were on our way. Luckily the resort was like 10mins away from the airport + a 10 minute drive through the jungle and we were there! We arrived to a beautiful modern lobby lit with a ton of lights and luckily for us because it was night time, there was no lineup at the check-in counter! Hooray! Anywho, there wasn’t much to see since it was night time so we went on our merry way. The next two days were great, we had awesome weather and sunshine which made me super excited for the big day (Tuesday). I searched around the resort for photo locations and tracked the sun and how it set and thoroughly enjoyed myself before the big day. But I’m sure you guys are just dying to read about the wedding so I’ll get to that now :)

      There is no better way to start off a wedding day (from a photographers perspective) by the pool in the lovely morning sun. I do think Bryden would agree with me on this as he was in the pool with his guys at the same time as me haha. It was a relax morning for us, can’t say the same about the girls though since hair and makeup usually takes up a good portion of the ladies time on a wedding day. I got ready and made my way to Julie & Bryden’s suite where all the lovely little details were awaiting me including Julie’s STUNNING dress! I walked in to find it hanging and waiting for me in all of it’s beautiful glory. I grabbed it and made my way up onto their rooftop deck (nice right?) where Bryden had made a makeshift hanging area for the dress from the pergola. Although a lovely idea (thank you Bryden!) the wind proved to be very difficult and I had to quickly find an alternative to hang the dress. After much playing around with all the lovely pieces Julie had left for me to play with, it was time for me to head down to the guys.
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      Bryden answered the door in his boxers, as I expected while Joel was hiding away somewhere. I found a nice set up of champagne flutes and cigars and wondered who had set this up to be so cute for photos. Turns out it was Joel, Bryden’s best man. He wanted things to be nice and even got them a a bottle of Dom Pérignon to toast before the walk down the aisle. As they got ready we questioned where Eli, the other groomsmen was as he was late. He eventually showed up and told us Bryden told him the wrong time to be at the room at. Tisk tisk Bryden, tisk tisk. Luckily for me the guys don’t usually take long to get ready so with the help of Bryden’s dad whom ended up tying all the ties, they were done and ready to go. Bryden gave his guys a hand written card which got the emotions flowing pretty quickly (I love weddings for the tears) but when it got time for Bryden to read his card from Julie, oh boy! He tried his hardest not to let anything show but you just can’t hide that kind of emotion. His mom was behind him and she too shed quite a few tears. It was such a sweet moment. After we popped the Dom and did a toast, I went on my merry way to find the ladies back at the suite.
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      Okay so these girls are stunning to begin with but omg when I saw them all dolled up, just wow! The hair was beautiful and the makeup was spot on, Julie looked like a glowing angel. We waited around a bit for room service to arrive with all the food the girls ordered earlier on before getting dressed but of course it had been delayed so we had to hop to it and get ready before we were late to the ceremony. We did make Julie eat a banana however, I’ll say it a million times; LADIES EAT ON YOUR WEDDING DAY. It’ll be hours before you get to eat again haha. The girls put on their beautiful lavender coloured dresses and were quick to help Julie into her gown. It was such a sweet moment to see Julie’s sister helping her in her gown and her mother looking at her with these big watery eyes, her baby was about to get married. Once in the dress Julie read her letter from Bryden which made her smile, laugh and of course cry.
      ”You are my better half, my special person, my love, and my soulmate. I want to make a life with you that most people can only dream about. I love you with all my heart and I don’t think it’s possible for that to change.”-Bryden
      Julie then took a special moment to put a beautiful silver heart shaped locket onto her bouquet. In it was a photo of her late father so that she could keep him close on the most special day of her life. What a beautiful ode to someone that meant and continues to mean so much to her. After a few letters to her girls and mom we were ushered to the room top to get these two married.
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      The ceremony was held at the Skyview Lounge at the very top floor of the resort overlooking the ocean. The sky was clear, the wind was cool, the day was perfect, thank you Mexico. Bryden awaited his bride under the pergola as the wedding party made their way down the very long aisle. The anticipation was killing him, I’m sure. We got things started with Julie’s adorable nephew, Thomas, as the ring bearer. He can’t walk yet so his daddy carried him down and Bryden was so excited to see the little guy at the end of the aisle. The ladies quickly followed suit with Julie and her mom making their grand entrance. Our groom was filled with emotions the second he saw her but of course being the masterful person he is, he held it all in and barely let it show. As did Julie, always keeping a smile on her face as she walked hand in hand with her mom. Their smiles only got bigger as they finally reached each other and Bryden led his soon to be wife up to the altar. The ceremony was filled with cheers, smiles, laughter and tears. While Julie read her vows, Bryden couldn’t hold it in any longer and finally shed some tears, having to wipe them away while their guests enjoyed a giggle and shed some tears of their own. I actually hadn’t noticed Julie crying during Bryden’s vows until I went through my photos and saw the streak of makeup that went missing down her face. Those were some pretty powerful tears but she smiled through it all as she stared lovingly into Bryden’s eyes. At this point I turned to look at the guests and there was barely a dry eye in the house, you could feel the love everyone was emitting towards these two. After the exchange of the ring, signing of the official documents and a few final words they were finally pronounced Mr. & Mrs. Gray.
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      After the ceremony we took our chance to take family photos at the skylounge while guests enjoyed a few cocktails. We had a mini emergency when Julie’s makeup basically peeled off (lord knows why) so her sister and Maid of Honour ran down to her room and grabbed some makeup and I performed emergency makeup application and just like that everything was good as new. We kept on with family photos until it was time to steal the wedding party away for some us time. We were about to make our way down to the beach when I noticed an awesome contrast on one of the walls right there on the roof so I stopped our newly married couple to get an unusual shot and I certainly think it paid off. We made our way down to the walkway in between the ocean and resort to try and get a little greenery and colour in our photos and we were successful! The sun wasn’t too bright and was going to set soon which gave us gorgeous light to work with. We then made our way to the beach for a few final photos with the bridal party before having some private time with our bride and groom. Now where we were on the coast (Riviera Cancun area) doesn’t get the actual sunset so not a ton of that golden light to work with HOWEVER we did get some pretty purple and pink cotton candy clouds to play with which made the beach very romantic as these two walked hand in hand.
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      We wandered around the resort for a little longer taking our time before the reception. Made our way back onto the rooftop to try and get that golden light grazing over the jungle but alas, it proved difficult with the cloud cover so we wandered over back to the ceremony site to get a few more shots while the clouds were still lit up for us. We ended things in the lobby where we took advantage of the surrounding decor and lights before making our way into the lobby bar to grab some water and cool off. Luckily for us, the majority of the wedding guests were already there having a drink and they greeted our bride and groom with very loud cheers! It didn’t take us long before we wandered back down to the beach for the beach side reception.
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      The reception space was amazing! I’m not always too sure as to how beach side receptions will turn out because of the wind and passersby but this was awesome. The majority of the evening was held on the deck of the Nautica Restaurant and was beautifully decorated with string lights, candles, greenery and little touches that the bride and groom brought all the way from home. Their cake was a beautiful one tier white frosted cake with flowers and a gold Mr. and Mrs. sign and their guest book was a map of the americas with a little plane leaving from Ottawa to Mexico. All the little touches were to die for but I think my favourite had to be the dance floor. They got a light up dance floor right off the main portion of the balcony with spotlights off to the side and of course a very colourful DJ booth. All in all it was superbe! The crew danced their little booties into the reception space with the biggest smiles I think I’d seen all day, they were ready to get this party started. During the dinner there were multiple speeches, Bryden’s parents and Julie’s mom were first to go as they recounted tales of their kids and how happy they were that they’d found each other but I think what stole the show may have been the best man and maid of honours speech. I was sitting at the table with Joel (best man) when he said he was going to wing the speech to which we all hunched our shoulders and figured it would be just another short speech as most best men do but WOAH was it ever not that! He had all the guests laughing at the little stories of he and Bryden growing up but then things got real and emotional when his wife Jaclyn brought out a laptop to put between our bride and groom. Turns out that they had been able to get Bryden’s grandmother (who couldn’t be in Mexico with them) to record a video message to show them on their wedding day. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house after that one, including Bryden’s of course. He finished off his speech with some more great moments he and Bryden had together and they hugged it out just like brothers would. Lastly we had Julie’s sister, Vickie. She told many many stories of them growing up and their miss-adventures including something about a… Monkey? There was monkey noises and some odd arm movements going on that had everyone laughing. Her speech was the perfect way to close things out making everything light hearted and so fun, she made everyone smile. During the evening we were also treated to some awesome late 90’s early 2000’s jams thanks to the wicked DJ. My table (the cool table) couldn’t help but burst out singing a few songs including ”I WANT IT THAT WAY” by the Backstreet boys! Omg what a riot! I couldn’t help but start singing a little and then they just all broke into song, pointing at Julie and getting her involved and finally having Joel and Eli have a romantic moment singing to each other with their empty glasses. It’s probably my fondest memory of the night to be honest haha!
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      The first dances were held on the lit up dance floor while the guests enjoyed the view from the deck. Everyone looked on in pure joy as Bryden & Julie shared their first dance and they too had a look of pure bliss as they circled around the dance floor. They pulled a surprise on everyone too when they ended their dance with a dip kiss, I loveeeee those! It was quickly followed by Bryden and his mom’s dance which was very sweet as she cuddled into him and just couldn’t help but hug him multiple times and rest her head on his chest. I think what got me the most was Julie and her mom’s dance. They suprised us by having a choreographed waltz styled dance set to Carrie Underwood’s- Mama’s song. I don’t often get lost in moments at weddings as I obviously am there to work but this, they got me with this. I had to sit and just enjoy their moment for just a few seconds, it really was quite beautiful. After all the emotions had passed it was time to get the party started, and it didn’t take long at all to get going! The alcohol was flowing, the music was fantastic and BOOM Balloons were passed around to get things even better! I had an amazing time being a part of the group, dancing, singing and just having the best, and I mean BEST time ever! I was hot and sticky but it was all worth it to get those funny shots I got on that dance floor. All in all it it was a spectacular day and I am sure the bride and groom would say the same. It’s been almost a month since the big day and I hope these photos take right back to the very moments they happened! Congrats again Julie & Bryden xox

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      Fun fact: I left a little before 10pm as I was exhausted from our day and the reception ended at 11. Right as the music ended and everyone was making their way back to the resort, it started to torrential down pour! What luck that the rain waited till the very end to make it’s appearance!

      Vendor Information:
      Makeup and Hair: Spa Royalton Riviera Cancun
      Wedding Dress: Alliance Bridal. Mori Lee.
      Bridesmaids Dresses: Alliance Bridal. Mori Lee.
      Groom and Groomsmen Attire: Moores
      Jewellery: Julie’s wedding band –The Wedding Jewellers Co.
      Venue, Decor, Cake and Flowers: Royalton Riviera Cancun
      Planner: Julie Thivierge Wedding in the tropics
      Photographer: Samantha Danis Photography

      COMMENTS
      Lauri Gray ...Mother of the groom

      Also known as New, Mother-in-Law 😉
      Hi Sam,
      Your work is stunning! So many great photos. I’ve shed more happy tears.
      The surprise for me in all of this is that you are not only a photographer, you write. You really captured so many details with your photography… and your written work. One of my dear FB friends said she normally would not bother to read something as long as this, but she was drawn in by what she read, and felt as if she had been there!
      I can’t wait to see all the pics. 😉
      Thank you so very much!!
      Lauri

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