Hug a photographer today. I start this blog post saying this because it’s wedding season and wedding photographers are deep in the thick of it right now and they need love. I’ve been dying to get this blog post out for at least a week but things are just so crazy busy right now! I’m so happy that I can say that Kim and Dan are finally on the blog and this one is for the books.
When Kim reached out to me via Instagram last fall I was really excited to meet with her. After talking back and forth for what seemed like forever, we were finally able to meet in person like 3 or 4 months later. Everything went so smoothly, it was like talking to an old friend. We had so many things in common yet were so different all the same. Point is, we clicked and I happily said yes when she said she needed me to be her photographer. Now I will say I had my doubts, why you may ask? Because the wedding was in a town I’d never even heard of and the amount of people in the wedding party slightly terrified me. I knew I could handle it but it was still a daunting task to think about.
I arrived at SpruceHolmes Inn on the morning of the wedding only to find the girls calmly getting ready in the suite. Kim was in her chair getting her amazing hair done by one of her bridesmaids while a few of the other ladies strung around the room steaming their dresses, doing their makeup and eating. Honestly I was expecting way more chaos for the amount of girls that were supposed to be there but I only really counted about 7 people including the adorable little flower girl. Slowly but surely however the girls started to trickle in and by the end of it there was about 15people in this one room! It was then that I realized it was going to be a party haha. Still, things went perfectly as the girls helped each other in their wrap dresses while Kim finished her final makeup touches and of course fab hair. We quickly scurried the girls out of the room so that we could take out Kim’s dress and accessories (the girls hadn’t seen it yet) and omg it was stunning. Sinder’s Bridal does it again with this beautiful mermaid style Stella York dress with Oyster coloured underlay and custom matching veil. Truly beautiful and I just knew Kim was going to look bombtastic in it (she did, duh). Her sister, Christine, helped her into her gown and jewellery and after a few moments of almost tears between them it was time to do a couple first looks with her parents and bridesmaids. Throughout this time, I was with the girls, my second photographer Valerie was with the guys. They were pretty much ready by the time we arrived and only needed final touches like the bouttonières to be fixed. They happily hung around the property drinking some beers and chatting around their trucks until it was time to go.
Kim came down the stairs of the historic home and walked into the parlour where her parents were both waiting to see her. Her father immediately said WOW as he stared at his baby girl and her mom couldn’t help but smile as she saw her for the first time. After some tears and much love it was time to head out to the girls. They were all lined up, eyes closed waiting for Kim to make her appearance and boy was it worth the wait. After what felt like forever they were finally able to open their eyes and see their sister and friend as the bride she always dreamed to be. All of their faces were either in a look of astonishment or in tears. Either way it was super sweet to see as Kim walked up to each of them to hug them and tell them how beautiful they all looked. I turned around to see a line of trucks waiting to carry the ladies away, it was time to get Kim and Dan married (finally).
The ceremony was held in Fort-Coulonges’ beautiful Paroisse Saint Pierre (made me think of my hometown church on the exterior). Kim had told me they were doing an act of remembrance for their angels right before the ceremony started and I wasn’t sure what to expect… 6 guests entered the church to a beautiful song and each of them were holding a picture frame with Kim and Dan’s ‘’angels’’ people who were no longer with them but who meant the world to them. I rarely, and I say rarely, cry at weddings anymore. But this… Yeah this got me as I was shooting behind the camera listening to the song and watching these people walk down the aisle… My heart. They then places the frames on a little table on the alter and they would stay there for the ceremony to watch over Kim and Dan on their special day.
Dan then walked down the aisle with both parents’ arm in arm looking very proud. Kim even took a peek inside during this time to watch things happen (oh you sneaky Kim). Followed by the wedding party. Ashton, Kim and Dan’s adorable son wanted nothing to do with walking down that aisle, that is until one of his aunties came and walked hand in hand with him. What a cutie. It was finally time for Kim to make her grand entrance and she did not disappoint. She walked arm in her with both her parents as well, beaming with joy as she looked at her soon to be husband, completely fixated on him. Dan by this point was a complete puddle of tears. I have never seen a groom cry so much and omg it was freaking beautiful. Their priest (who is also a wonderful friend to them) actually had a tissue and with one hand, held onto Dan’s shoulder and with the other wiped away some of his tears. Kim’s eyes watered but I never saw an actual tear fall. It was such a beautiful moment and I can’t believe I was able to witness it. The beginning of the ceremony had many of us laughing because Ashton decided it was time to explore and so he did. He walked (actually stomped) all around the church including up on the alter, behind it, everywhere I tell you. He then also realized that if he stomped on the stairs there was a loud thumping noise and he seemed to like that, and so he did it over and over again. Best part had to be when he laid down on the stairs on the alter and then made his way down only to lay down flat right in front of his parents while the Priest spoke. It was like a scene from a movie.
He eventually tired himself out though and slept in his grandmas arms for the rest of the ceremony. Which was beautiful by the way. Father Justin spoke so fondly of Kim and Dan and the people that surrounded them, it was such a personal ceremony that I was enthralled with how he spoke, just with so much love and fondness. So much laughter was heard through the entire thing as well which I loved. Many people think of church ceremonies as long and boring, well not this one folks. But obviously the moment we all waited for was for the big kiss and it did not disappoint. Kim and Dan were up high on the steps of the alter and gave each other a long and beautiful kiss followed up with a very sweet little snuggle. They then performed a East coast tradition of lighting a candle for each of their angels which I also thought was very sweet. They made their way back to the bottom of the stairs where Father Justin proudly proclaimed them husband and wife and off they were, finally married with the biggest smiles on their faces.
Off we went to get portraits done. Now luckily for me, almost the entire family was included in the wedding party so I didn’t have to worry about rounding people up because they would be with us no matter what, yay! We made our way over to the Maison George-Bryson for the first set of photos. Kim chose the location because she loved the red barn and historic home. She had informed me that she would like photos of the mountains in the background (yes she and I call the Hills of Québec Mountains… Don’t judge us). But alas their was a big fence blocking our way and we couldn’t make the mountains work. But we did get some pretty cute stuff out by the red barn and home. We started off by the largest group shot of Kim’s side of the family. After arranging everyone and taking the picture, one of Kim’s sisters showed up… Apparently we were all in such a rush that we never did a head count and she and her two sons were still at the church! I felt absolutely horrible, had I known I would have said something but alas, managing a wedding party of 40 was obviously a difficult thing. After a few tears and us taking a moment we continued on with the family photos. In between shots people would rush back to their cars or put coats on as it was a slightly chilly day out (thankfully though we had the sun). It was an interesting sight to see as all these big trucks were parked on this property and people were just hanging out in wedding attire, drinking and talking. As a small town girl I can tell you that this is a small town thing. We call it, tailgating haha. After waiting on a couple other people to make their way over and getting those shots done it was time to move onto our next location.
Our horde of trucks drove down the scenic routes of Fort-Coulonge and made our way over to the woods where there were a few trails for us to use. The wedding party was getting tired and cold at this point so we plowed through the photos like total pros. Organizing 37 people for a single photos is hard folks, but we did it! And after doing so and getting all the shots on our list, they were free to go and it was time to focus on our beautiful couple. We walked along the trail and caught the last of that afternoon light (yay for the sun). Kim and Dan were pro’s since we had just done their engagement session two months prior. They walked hand in hand and cuddled like it was no one’s business. They were alone in their little fairy-tale and it was pure bliss. Luckily for us to the trees had started turning and we got the perfect yellow fall colours for their backdrop! I laughed a little because the trail split with the main road in the middle and on one side you had us. And on the other was another wedding party. I guess when you live in a small town you’re a little more limited in your choice of locations! BUT we definitely got the best side of it all and you totally know Kim and Dan got the best of it ;). After realizing the time, we hopped into my car and made our way over back to Spruceholmes, it was party time.
The ballroom was decorated in white, black, silver and red accents to tie in all the weddings colours. Kim had told me of all the things that had gone wrong in the weeks leading up to the wedding including some of her décor but honestly, I think it all came together really well. Their head table was absolutely humongous and was on two levels and even shaped out in a U to accommodate the huge wedding party of 40. They had their angel table with the photos from the ceremony and a candle as well as a Cheesecake tower for their wedding cake (I’m so sad I didn’t get to eat it L). To finish it all off they had pretty red up lighting built into the ceiling to really help set the tone for the evening.
Each pairing of the wedding party walked into their own song and did a little dance- mad props to the DJ for swinging that because it’s no easy feat. And finally our bride and groom made their grand entrance like true show stoppers and boogied their way down to their seat. The evening was actually super relaxed as guests had no assigned seating and were called up by table number to serve themselves at the buffet. However when speech time came, ooooo boy was Kim excited, she straight up told me it’s her favourite part of weddings so she gave no limit to who could speak and for how long. I was nervous when she told me this because you know, if 40 people chose to speak even at 2mins each we wouldn’t be able to get much more of the evening as it turns out only about 7 or so people spoke. There were some speeches that were short and sweet like the parents, some that were short and joking like Kim’s brothers and Dan’s groomsmen and then you had the long but beautiful ones. Jamie started things off with a well written speech talking about his best friend, his now wife and the beautiful life they’ve created together. Then came Kim’s MOH Christine who also spoke beautiful words on the couple but mostly spoke about her life growing up with Kim and bringing everyone to tears. Then one of her best friends spoke and had everyone laughing and crying (talking about all those amazing drunken nights, ah to be young again) and then finally came my favourite. Two of Kim’s sisters got up and ended up creating a rap about their sister and her life. It was seriously a riot and had everyone clapping and laughing their butts off. Kim’s face said it all, it was perfect. It ended with Dan thanking everyone and speaking of his wife and then finally Kim taking the mic and never wanting to let it go. No really, she told me if someone didn’t take it from her she could just keep going- I believe it.
The dances were sweet, as they always are in my eyes. Kim and Dan slow danced on the dance floor tightly in each other’s arms occasionally separating just enough to laugh and kiss and be just absolutely adorable about it all. Back in their little bubble they went as their guests watched on adoringly. Kim then danced with her father who in that moment just seemed so happy to hold his baby girl in his arms and dance along this new path in her life. Dan then danced with his mom which I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a beautiful mother son moment. They too held on so tightly to each other as they both shed tears. It wasn’t until I was looking at these photos that I realized how much she actually cried in this moment, absolutely beautiful. And finally Kim had a special dance with her brother who danced with her in the place of her biological father. Her parent’s passed away when she was 9 months old and her Aunt and Uncle adopted her and all of her siblings. He wasn’t supposed to be able to make it to the wedding, but he did and she was so happy to be able to share this moment with him.
My night had come to an end- but not before I get some dancing photos in of course! We quickly got the bouquet toss in there and then partied on the dance floor like it was no one’s business!
The day has come and gone but the memories are still so very fresh and strong. What a day, what an adventure, and how perfect it all is! Kim and Dan, I’m so thankful social media brought us together and that I was able to capture this oh so special day for you. The love you both share and the love everyone around you have for you both is absolutely spectacular and I’m so happy I was able to witness it. Félicitations les amoureux! I can’t wait to see what else life brings you along this journey xox.
Wedding Dress and Veil: Sinder’s Bridal house – Stella York
Makeup Artists: Sugar Society, Salon D’esthétique Jeanne D’Arc, Hollywood Salon and Spa
Hair: MB Salon by Michelle Bertrand & Genevieve Dagenais, Bellissima: Chantal Gravelle, Studio unisex: Francine Aubrey & Joel Beaudoin, Mélegance: Melanie Ladouceur
Bridesmaids Dresses: Attractive Rd.
Flowers: Fleuriste J’adore Manon Belleau
Decor: Party Biz
Venue: Spruceholme Inn
Officiant: Father Justin Bertrand at Paroisse St-Pierre
Second Photographer: Valerie Miles
Photographer: Samantha Danis Photography