High school sweethearts + Lansdowne Park + Rain + Beautiful People = PERFECTION! Seriously though, what more could a girl ask for than what was received at Friday’s wedding at Lansdowne Park? I started off my day at Andaz where Tracy and her girls were getting ready in one suite, while the boys were one floor below in another. The room was tight, but the vibe was just right! I arrived to find Tracy getting her final makeup touches done while the other girls hung about and listened to some jams. I quickly said hello and ran away with her dress for some detail shots on the Andaz rooftop. The day was overcast with some sun shining through every now and then, it really was perfect. I grabbed my second shooter, Val and made my way down to the boys to introduce them. While Val hung out with them, I ran back up to the girls to get those finishing touches. Tracy gave them all these large boxes to open up and what was inside was seriously so cute. Amongst all the items were some lush products, a makeup case but of course my favourite was their matching rings. Each girl got a rose gold Bow ring to represent how they were all intertwined in Tracy’s life. It was seriously the sweettest. After some more chatting and tears it was time to get our bride dressed because we had a first look to head off to. I asked her to change in the living room as it was a larger space and next thing I knew, Tracy was in her undies holding her dress in hand and just flashing all of Ottawa! This girl ain’t shy and I freaking love her for it. Her two sisters helped her get dressed as the other bridesmaids watched on in awe. Tracy is beautiful to begin with but she made a hell of a stunning bride. Chris finished his getting ready (with space cat socks might I add) and made his way down to the lobby. And as quickly as my day started, we were off to location number two for the first look!
We arrived at Dow’s lake and walked over to the tip of the Peninsula. I placed Chris but realized the sun was very patchy so we would try up on higher ground. As we went up however I realized Tracy was already walking over and I quickly told Chris to turn around and go back down! The tip of the peninsula was where it was going to happen to matter what haha. Tracy couldn’t contain herself as she speed walked over to Chris and told him to turn around. His reaction was no surprise to me, he just stared at her with the biggest smile and looked her up and down. She was going to be his wife and hot damn she looked good. Tracy spun around to show him her dress and they cuddled and kiss for a few moments and then they looked at us and said : ”What do we do now?” They were ready to hop into their portrait session and so was I. We walked around the peninsula finding beautiful spots under trees and even a weeping willow! I then looked at them and told them, we’re going to the Arboretum, ain’t nobody stopping us on your wedding day! For those of you who don’t know, the Arboretum requires a permit to photograph weddings there. Tracy and Chris were unable to get one even though it was only going to be the two of them and we’d be there for about 30-45mins. So we rebelled, and I’m so so sooooo happy we did. We walked through the trees and got some gorgeous light and even made a new puppy friend along the way. As we made out way out of the Arboretum the sky changed from beautiful and sunny to cold and grey… Hopefully things would stay clear for the outdoor ceremony at Lansdowne Park.
We made our way back over to Lansdowne Park and watched as the ceremony space was created outside of the Aberdeen Pavilion. The guests started arriving and the rain stayed away… Until it was time to start. Chris and the boys made their way down the aisle and slowly the rain started to get a little heavier than a drizzle. Then it was time for the girls, the wind picked up a wee bit and so did the rain. Now by this point is was raining more than a drizzle, it was actual rain. So the officiant, Keith, knew the ceremony was going to be much shorter than intended. And then the rain got even heavier! I was sure Tracy wouldn’t come out of the limo at this point and that everything would be quickly moved indoors… I was wrong. She made her way out with her dad and a large black umbrella, smile and all! She and her dad looked at each other and whispered; ”should we ditch the umbrella?” and so they did. Her dad tossed the umbrella aside and they walked down the rest of the aisle. Ain’t no rain was going to stop these two from getting married outside. Chris held the umbrella for a wee bit but he needed both hands so his dad quickly got up and held it for him and got a up close and personal look at the ceremony from behind our bride and groom. The rain only got heavier as the ceremony kept going and everyone was having a laugh and enjoying it all (I’d like to think everyone was laughing haha). It was time to exchange rings and the groomsmen thought it would be a nice time to pretend like no one had them or they had been lost. Tracy and Chris laughed as they finally handed them over. I know they were paying attention to Keith and what he was saying but I can’t help but to think they were in their own happy little world. As they exchanged rings and giggle with each other. Keith quickly pronounced them husband and wife, they kissed one hell of a kiss! Followed by a loud cheers and a speedy walk down the aisle, with another kiss no less ;). We all ran indoors to dry off where guests were invited to take a glass of champagne and take a group shot to commemorate everyone who had attended and of course, the wetness of it all.
After a little break to dry off and mingle with guests, we popped our heads out and realized the rain had, for the most part, stopped. We were going to do family photos inside the Aberdeen pavilion but Tracy was like ; ”Uh uh, nope, we’re doing them outside.” And so we did. I’m so glad we did too because it was definitely much nicer than the metal yellow walls indoors haha. After quick family set ups, the bridal party hopped into the limo and we made our way down to Dow’s lake for more portraits. Now this wedding was a Friday so OBVIOUSLY we were stuck in traffic at 4:30pm, yay Ottawa! Myself, Val and Tash (videographer from Dear Darling Films) made our way to the meeting location before the limo. As we waited we saw it at the back of the traffic so we knew they’d be here in a couple minutes. We kept talking and then I looked around and really was wondering where they were. And then Tash pointed out the limo having passed where it was suppose to turn and almost at Preston street! I quickly call Chris to tell him to get out of the Limo and we would meet them (as they were basically across the park at this point). He told me the Limo wouldn’t let them out and that he would go turn around at the Pavilion and be there shortly. Silly Limo driver, GPS’ are our best friends ;). They finally arrived and we got right into group shots. After a few formal shots we separated the boys and girls to do individuals. The boys joked around as boys do while the girls were just stunning in front of my lens. We were even lucky enough to get a visit from Kiwi the corgi and she graciously posed with the ladies. As we wandered over to the boys, the girls thought it would be fun to photo bomb them. And so they did! Tracy having a heavy dress was a little behind so Chris turned around and asked; ”Where’s my bride?!” She quickly made her way beside him and that’s way the wedding party decided it was time for an attack on them both! It was basically a big group hug with a bunch of hilarious and crazy people and I think it was fantastic. We finished portraits right at the dock’s of Dow’s lake before making our way back to the Horticulture Building for the reception.
The reception space was absolutely beautiful. Wedecor did a fantastic job with the layout, decor and greenery. The Head table was the very back facing the windows and the guests tables were in a chevron pattern along either side with the dance floor in the middle. The backdrop of the head table was strung with a ton of vines and greenery as well as a long greenery runner along the very front. Candles were absolutely everywhere as well as string lights from the ceiling and along the bar wall. The piece de resistance had to be the circular greenery centrepiece floating above the dance floor. It was to die for! Their cake was also simple and beautiful with the best damn cake topper you ever did see!
The party started pretty much right away. After the bridal party walked in, it was Tracy and Chris’ turn! Everyone was up on their feet clapping and cheering them on as they made their way to the dance floor for their first dance. But before that though, Tracy had a quick change in mind as the boys lifted her out of her skirt in a true blue Dirty Dancing moment! I knew she had the tight skirt underneath but even I was amazed at how they did it. Chris quickly grabbed his now wife and spun her into his arms for their first dance. They swayed on the dance floor to a cover of Latch by Boyce Avenue. Once again, these two were in their own world together. Their smiles were big and pure and they were, in that moment, alone in a room. It was very romantic and absolutely beautiful to witness. A quick dip kiss and some more cheers and these two were finally able to go have a seat and enjoy their meal and speeches. During the dinner I actually stole them to go outside to get some night shots in and for them to finally read their vows to each other. The rain had stopped and was down to a barely there drizzle so we took our shot and went out into the square. Of course as I was setting up, the rain got heavier and heavier until it was pretty much pouring again. Luckily Tracy and Chris are troopers and stayed put, cuddling and kissing while I got some shots. They did also eventually get to read their vows to each other after we tried to find a ”quiet spot”… I say tried because cars kept coming by and tractors, and people and even one guy tried to avoid us but as they were saying the vows he yelled super loudly behind me, CONGRATULATIONS!! We burst out laughing. We knew he meant well but we were like oh crap, there goes our silence haha. We finished with one final shot outside of the building and made our way in to finish speeches and dinner.
The dinner and speeches were absolutely fantastic. Lots of laughs were had by everyone in the room but I think my favourite was when Annika, one of the bridesmaids, came up for her speech. She didn’t even get two words out and was an absolute puddle of tears. She kept going though and was able to deliver a very heart felt speech which even got Tracy to cry. Well done Annika, you did great! Finally our bride and groom took the mic to thank their friends and family for the amazing evening they were having. Tracy profusely thanked Linda, Chris’ mom for all the hard work she had done for the wedding by basically being their planner throughout the whole process. And of course she thanked her own mom for allowing them to celebrate and share this day with her as it was her Birthday! Tracy got the bartenders to deliver a shot of vodka (in a wine glass) and she downed it like a champ! Way to go momma Radford, I certainly couldn’t have done it haha. After their speech we made our way to their cake to do the cake cutting and in true Tracy fashion, she just wanted the food. She cute the piece with Chris, took a piece, ate it, took the knife and ran away with it to lick it. Oh you funny funny girl! We eventually convinced her to come back and they shared some cake and kiss as lovers do on their wedding day. Finally it was time for the father daughter and mother son dance. Tracy and her dad started things off and half way through were joined by her sisters. It was honestly so sweet to watch daddy and his little girls dancing in a circle on the dance floor laughing and smiling. They finished their dance with a big group hug and my heart smiled. Then Chris and his mom swayed across the dance floor arm in arm talking about the days events I’m sure. Linda looked up at her son and was beaming, she was a proud momma and so happy for him in that moment. Of course after that the party quickly got started on the dance floor like it was evverrryoonnee’s busines. So much so that even Tracy’s grandpa got in on it with a song he had requested. As he danced with his grand kids full of energy and spirit. It was seriously the sweetest thing. I was pleasantly surprised when throughout the evening, Disney songs were being played including ”kiss the girl” from the little mermaid. ”Hakuna Matata” from The Lion Kind and then of course, ”Do you want to build a Snowman” from Frozen. Which Tracy shared a dance with her niece Alexis as they spun around the dance floor and twirled like the princesses they are. After that some gangsta, Missy Elliot music came on and Tracy became a dancing queen in a circle formed by her RedBlack’s Cheer girls. She dropped it low, gave stank face and just let loose! I knew she could cheer and dance, but I didn’t know she could dance like that! All in all, even with the rain, the day was spectacular. They say rain is luck on your wedding day, well these two are lucky for life I’m sure of it. Tracy and Chris, just wow. You guys pulled off such an amazing wedding and kept calm through the entire process and for that, I applaud you. You guys were absolutely fantastic to work with and I can’t wait to see what life’s adventures may bring your way. Love you so so much xoxoxo
Hair: Portrait Salon- Candace Fleming
Makeup: Taryn Miller
Dress: Sinders Bridal House Designer: Paloma Blanca
Bridesmaids Dresses: White Satin Bridal Designer: Jenny Yoo
Groom and Groomsmen Attire: Morris FormalWear
Decor and Florals: Wedecor Planner: Michael Donovan Wedding and event Planning
Venues: Andaz Byward Market, Horitculture Building, TD Place, Lansdowne Park
Officiant: Keith from Exceptional Ceremonies
Catering: My Catering Group
Videographer: Natasha Cloutier at Dear Darling Films
Second Photographer: Valerie Miles
Photography: Samantha Danis Photography