Archive for Jun 2009

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June 29, 2009 Jodey

It’s hard to believe, but twenty years ago this summer my life was changed forever.

It was a tough year… My family had just built our dream home my parents planned to retire in. After two years in the new home, I had finally made some solid friendships. My extended family had a couple of tragedies and lost loved ones in a short span. And then the kicker… my dad was being transferred to Toronto! We lived in Thunder Bay at the time and we had our roots in Northwestern Ontario through and through. To move to Southwestern Ontario – no thanks.

I was not a happy camper to say the least. But somehow pieces began to fall together and we began to see the bigger plan. Our neighbours across the road had just had newborn twins – giving them 5 boys under the age of 5. They asked us if we would ever consider selling our home. I was entering high school, my sister and brother were both entering Bible College. We were all beginning new schools anyways…

So, with a chip on my shoulder and a bad attitude we moved. 18 driving hours away.

That summer and school year I met some friends. Monica. Cherie. Carolynn. Some of my best friends still today.

I can’t believe it’s been twenty years this Fall since I started grade nine. So unsure of what the future held. Feeling so grown up – and so young at the same time. Trying to find my style, my personality, my own interests.

Fast forward twenty years and last week I had the honour of going to Cherie’s stepdaughter Jodey’s 14th birthday party. Jodey is entering grade nine and won’t see a lot of her school friends as much. A time of transition. For her party she wanted a photo shoot.

As I snapped and watched the girls interact – Cherie and I reminisced about how that was us just yesterday… I mean two decades ago. One of my first real memories of Cherie is at my grade nine birthday party… and now here I am at her stepdaughter’s grade nine party.

Jodey – I hope that the friends you have now, are as wonderful to you not only today but through the years ahead as Cherie has been to me. May they be there beside you through all the highs and lows along the way.

Introducing Jodey…

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Cherie is my Martha Stewart type friend. She is the one who makes my girls PJ’s every Christmas and can sew, bake, decorate, scrap book… do anything. Rather sickening. Here’s the cute cake she made to look like flip flops!

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Celebrating life and love… and 20 years of friendship!


June 29, 2009 John & Maggie

One of my dreams for my kids is simple – that my two girls will grow up to be friends. If I could dream big – I’d want them to be more than friends – but tight confidantes who know each other inside and out. I watch them fight, defend, laugh and cry together. And I hope that I will see this for many, many more years. I like to live in a dream world. icon smile John & Maggie

But on Saturday I had a glimpse of two sisters who grew up to do just that – fight, defend, laugh and cry together… as adults. Maggie and her sister Amy are tight. They “get” each other. This excites me to see as I hope for the same for my girls. During the speeches Amy spoke about how she knows Maggie better than anyone else in the world. The bond between two sisters is powerful (you might remember my Sisters Day post… I heart Sisters!)

As maid of honour, Amy helped Maggie get dressed. A sister who simply understands and loves you at such an emotional moment is such a comfort. As Maggie got laced up, I slipped in to photograph (I always wait outside until the bride is comfortable with me coming in) and noticed teh reflection of teh two sisters in their mom’s bookcase doors. What caught my attention was that there reflection was on top of a photo of the two sisters as children. And now fast forward and here they are on Maggie’s wedding day. In the blink of an eye. I’m sure Kathy, their mom, will agree that the growing up years goes way too fast. One more reminder for me to savour these days with my girls.

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And now let me share a bit of John and Maggie’s Big Day!

When we got to John’s house – it was party central! His Croatian family’s tradition is to live it up on the wedding – love that! You walk in to music, food, family… loved it! But then in the next room, John was peacefully getting ready…

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Back at Maggie’s… the girls had a toast before the preparation process was completed.

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Maggie’s dress was stunning!!!

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And the beautiful bride….

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I love the interaction between John & Maggie here!

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The gorgeous couple!

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The venue was stunning! Federation Hall at the University of Waterloo is new to weddings – but it’s a great spot!

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The first dance…

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And some night time shots on our way out…

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Here is a closer look!

Have a blast in Rome!!

Celebrating life and love,


June 23, 2009 Bryce & Katie

As I mentioned on Father’s Day – I think the bond between a daddy and his little girl is one of the most special things to witness. It’s no secret I get choked up (and bawl) at nearly every wedding. What does it for me is the parent-child relationship. I’ll come home and start to tell Mark about this touching moment between father and daughter – and he’ll say “please stop”. Our girls are still so young – to think of the day we will have to “give them away” – even if it’s twenty years from now is far too soon.

A few months ago I had the honour of photographing Katie’s dress fitting and Bryce’s tux fitting. And teh day before the wedding I was ablt to photograph the rehearsal party. So after spending time with the families I realized that this is one tight knit family who absolutely adores each other.

When I arrived at Katie’s house the day of her wedding her dad wasn’t present. Katie explained she wanted to wait until she was all ready for him to see her. When we arrived at the Boulevard Club in Toronto where their ceremony and reception were being held, it was pouring. Dad was there waiting with an umbrella and then helped whisk her inside. Once inside dad and Katie hugged. And hugged. And hugged. His baby girl was before him as a beautiful bride.

At the reception, Bryce & Katie had opted to do their first dance as soon as they entered the ballroom. All the wedding party and parents who had come in and were introduced before them stood in front of the head table (rather then going straight to sit down behind teh table). As Bryce & Katie came in, Bryce pulled a microphone out from his pocket, walked over to Katie’s dad and surprised everyone by offering her dad the honour of the first dance. Dad was so emotional and the dance was a bit of a blur for me as I cried through it all.

During his speech her dad said one line that haunts me still “If you want to make time go fast – have a daughter.” I know in my own life my girls are growing way too fast, and this was yet another powerful reminder to savour each moment.

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And now for some more wedding images!

We started with the boys over at the Hyatt – it had amazing views. Too bad for the fog… the CN tower had no top in sight! But the fog made for a cool background behind Bryce.

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One last check…

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Next, it was over to Katie’s house. Katie has this great laugh and sense of humour – made the preparation time much less stressful!

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The stunning Katie!

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And look at this ring! Wow!

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So thankful Katie had switched from an outdoor ceremony to indoors awhile back so that the rain was no reason to stress!

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preparing to walk up the aisle with her dad… (Carolynn grabbed this one – love it!)

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One of my favourite things they did was Bryce stood with his back to the guests until Katie appeared in the aisle. Then he turned around and his reaction was priceless.

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I love, love, love the moment the bride and groom leave the ceremony!

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Immediately after the ceremony, the sun came out and it turned into a beautiful afternoon! Bryce is a car buff – this vintage Jaguar was gorgeous!

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The sun stayed out for a few shots down at the dock…

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This was in the bridal suite while Katie was getting bustled – I was waiting and I caught a reflection of teh two of them in a mirror…

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Evan watching the lake wishing he was swimming I’m sure.

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The decor in the ballroom was stunning to say the least!

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The happy couple’s first dance

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The speeches were beautifully done!

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And Katie’s Grandma put her walker aside to dance up a storm!

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And take a look at the full slideshow…

Celebrating life and love,


June 23, 2009 Congratulations!

Last week I posted photos from Jaime and my first (of many!) road trips to wedding vendors. It was to the uber talented Jennifer of Vintage Design. Well… Vintage Designs was just voted Floral Designer of the year by the Canadian Wedding Industry!! Wooo-hoooo!!! Congrats!

And because every post is better with a photo…

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Congrats, Jennifer!

A couple days before Bryce & Katie’s wedding, I had a phone call form Bryce’s dad who wanted to surprise Katie and have me come and photograph their party the night before the wedding. The party was really about two families blending together – these two families mix and mingle so well it was really hard to keep straight who belongs with what side of the family! Love that! The party was at Bryce’s parent’s condo building with stunning views of the Lakeshore, CN tower and downtown core. Beautiful!

Got to admit – I was a bit nervous… You see, on the wedding day people expect me. At this party – only Bryce and his parents knew I was coming. It was funny – Katie was texting me on the way in asking if I had all the addresses and everything for the wedding – not knowing I was already on my way! I have this bad habit of thinking no one will remember me. I have a memory for people – and so I will recognize people in the mall and not say anything because I’m sure they won’t remember who the heck I am. Lame I know. But there’s my honest revelation for the night.

So, Bryce and Katie had me photograph their dress and tux fittings and so I had gotten to know a lot of the family then. Seriously – these people are amazing! They were hugging me like I was along lost friend. And when Bryce tried to trick Katie and brought me over to her and said “I have someone I want you to meet, Katie” – she cut him off to hug me. She recognized me! Yay! My nerves were for nothing – whew!

Why did I tell you all that? Mainly to show what kind of people these two families are. They love people – they talk, and really listen, they feel deeply and show their emotions. Well… take a look and see!

Typical Katie – laughing!

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Love how Bryce looks at Katie

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I was told that Katie’s Grandma means the world to her… and I think it’s fair to say it’s mutual.

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The skylounge of the condo was great – with a patio completely encircling the area, and lots of places to sit and gab… and live piano – great spot for a party!

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I got to give a shout out to my assistant – the lovely, Indiana. Indie had a camera and would follow me around and take pictures with me – I “paid” her in photo tips. She was awesome! I think she got some great shots!

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Well I’m on the subject of Indie – let me introduce you to all the munchkins involved! Clockwise – we have Indie, Fin, Henry and Evan – amazing kids!

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Bryce’s nephew Fin is just learning to walk and loved the step up form the patio to inside – I think he went back and forth, up and down over this step for at least half an hour. Here he is with Katie’s brother Patrick

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Indie is from Montreal – loved this shot of her taking in Toronto’s view

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Evan and Henry tormented this guest – time for payback!

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Henry trying to hide…

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As you’ll see in the wedding photos – Katie and her dad have a powerful relationship. Here’s her dad deep in thought about the next day’s celebration…

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The best man Andrew tried to hide from me… but you just can’t.

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Katie’s mom and Henry enjoying some bonding

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Bryce’s parents dancing

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And the happy couple…

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Watch tomorrow for photos of Bryce & Katie’s gorgeous wedding!

Celebrating life and love,


June 22, 2009 Chad & Amy

Back 13years ago when Mark and I were dreaming of our future wedding (and I was wondering if he’d ever actually propose!) we dreamed of a casual, laid-back wedding… outdoors… where people could feel relaxed and part of a celebration! Well, he proposed in September and I’m impatient and couldn’t wait for a summer wedding…. so we got married two and a half months later.

Fast forward 13years and I have the privilege of shooting the wedding Mark and I had once talked of – the laid-back, outdoor, fun wedding of Chad & Amy! It was on her grandparents property in Conestgo and where Amy had spent lots of time growing up. On our drive into Elmira to meet up with Amy, Carolynn and I watched black clouds overhead and chose to ignore the light spitting on the windshield. Apparently it rained all around Elmira and Conestgo – but Someone was smiling down on this wedding because it was beautiful!

Amy was so relaxed and joyful the whole day! She was so excited for her Big Day – and she was taking it all in and enjoying each moment! Throughout the ceremony Amy would make wisecracks or some of her cute facial expressions to get Chad and the rest of us laughing. Like when the minister (Chad’s uncle) asked if Chad knew of any reason he could not be lawfully married to Amy – and Amy tried to muster up a mean face and shook her fist at Chad to warn him he better not mess with her. ha ha! As if Amy could look mean!

My favourite moment though was just before they were announced man and wife and got to have their first married kiss. I was in the aisle, crouched low so not to be in the way of guests… and I could see Amy shaking. Not a “I’m scared” type of shake though. Only thing I can compare it to is a small child who is waiting their turn patiently to give a gift to a loved one – they are just doing everything in their power not to jump out of their skin and scream “I have something I want to share!!” So they stand and shake with excitement. This was Amy. And she was giving Chad a gift – a gift of her commitment to him. I’m not even sure if he got out the words “you may now kiss” before Amy leaped at Chad – almost knocking him over! – with all the reckless abandon that only true love allows.

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Chad and Amy are such a well suited pair – she is just full of life and is raring to go! And Chad’s easy going manner, and constant chuckle at his gal is the perfect match. I loved watching how Chad took care of Amy on the wedding – helping carry flowers, hold her skirt, carry her down from a log. Such a gentleman! Here’s a glimpse in to their fun wedding day!

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Amy’s two brother’s walked her down the aisle – and her big brother drove her right to the end of the aisle in his gorgeous vintage red Mustang! So cool!

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What a setting for a wedding!

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Amy shaking her fist at Chad – ha ha!

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Alla round the ceremony location and walking distance down the road was gorgeous scenery – full of beauty and memories for these two!

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Love the green in her ring against the moss on the tree…

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And without further ado….

Celebrating life and love,


June 21, 2009 Happy Father's Day!

Is there anything sweeter in the world than a dad who adores his little girl? I think not. I have been fortunate enough to experience this first hand – both as a daughter and as a wife to a great dad.

Last night’s wedding was an awesome example of a father and daughter’s love.. more on that in couple hours when I post. Can’t wait to share!

For now I’m heading out with the fam to spend some time with my favourite Mark and his dad. Yesterday the girls and Mark went and visited Mark’s other dad while I worked. We are so blessed to have so many great men in our lives!

Today – take time to celebrate the men in your lives. Be it a father, teacher, brother, uncle, friend, husband… in a world where good male role models seems to be at risk, be thankful for those you do have in your life.

Celebrating life, love and dads!


June 19, 2009 Mini-Retreat

With the chaos of selling a house, almost losing the deal, then buying a house, almost losing that deal too… it’s been an emotional week. And I’m in my 5 week stretch of weddings and well, I need a break.

So – tonight I’m doing something I’m not very good at. I’m pampering myself. I have a shoot in Toronto tonight and a wedding there tomorrow – so I got myself a hotel room and I am staying over. This may not seem like much – but I usually rush home the second I can to see my fam, even if it means getting home late to turn around and leave at the crack of dawn. I decided I needed some “down” time – and have an awesome hubbby who encourages that.

Last year at Christmas (like December 2007!) Beth gave me a gift certificate for a massage. I have yet to find the time to use it. How horrible is THAT?! So my goal this year is to relax – if I am not investing in me – I have less to pour into others. As a photographer – a little bit of me goes into every photo I take. If there is only a little bit of me available – the photos are robbed also.

So, all this to say – I’m pumped! Going to go and relax after my shoot. Sleep in tomorrow before the wedding.

Our motto is celebrating life and love – and that is what I’m going to do! I hope you take time today and this weekend to do so also!


Mark and I have had a dream for a number of years. A dream of our kids running – without fear of traffic. Of a slower pace of life. Of an old home in the country. I know this is not everyone’s dream – when I told my neighbour about my dream, he gave me a funny look, shrugged his shoulders and said “Whatever suits you.”

A month ago we started things into motion – listed our house for sale. We got an offer last week asking for July 27th closing (6 weeks) – we agreed and now had to start the hunt for our home. We looked at a lot of homes in the city – beautiful homes that were perfect.. but just weren’t “us”. And then, we found it.

From the moment we pulled in the driveway we looked at each other and said “this is it!”

Yesterday we got the final details done for selling our house. I got a call in the morning from our realtor saying it was officially sold and final and he would begin our offer for our dream home. An hour later he called back to say there was another bid also. So it turned into a nail-biting competetion with another bidder… but we just got word that we got it!

So we are leaving the city… for the country.

Our dream home was built in 1854 and sits up on a hill on an acre and half – and we are surrounded by 50 acres of farmland all around us. We saw a deer and a bunny while there. Sigh.

I did not have a poker face AT ALL when we looked at the place (the owner was home). Mark said my “This is perfect!” “Can we make an offer tonight?!?” and so on might have been a bit much. icon smile Dreams Do Come True!

Anyways – just wanted to let everyone in blogland know… we’re moving out to the countryside as of July 27! Woo-hooooo! If anyone wants to come visit drop me a line – we’d love to have you!

I still can’t believe it. I feel like I don’t deserve to have my dream home. But I’ll take this as a gift. I’m actually scared to tell people in case it somehow is just that – a dream.

I’m going out on Monday for another visit – will take photos then.

Here’s a pic celebrating with the kids (sparkling grape juice of course) when we sold our house.

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June 14, 2009 Chad & Amy

I won’t have time to blog their wedding until Monday – but here is a teaser from a super fun wedding!

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