wedding

Wedding in Pontypool, Ontario by Jessica Lee

Newlyweds Amy and Michael in Pontypool, Ontario.

Newlyweds Amy and Michael in Pontypool, Ontario.

I recently had the opportunity to photograph a wedding in Pontypool, Ontario, an area I probably never would have visited if not for this wedding. I love opportunities like these - opportunities that you don't plan for but rather opportunities that present themselves organically to you. It's how I ended up living in Saskatoon for six weeks, road tripping to Washington D.C., road tripping to Maine, road tripping to Sherbrooke, Quebec, camping on an island in Puerto Rico, etc. etc.

In this instance, the bride's family owned an RV park in Pontypool, Ontario, where the wedding was held. The reception took place in a barn, and all the food was cooked by the groom's father. It's always fun to witness how the uniqueness of each couple is shown by what they choose to splurge on (in this case, open bar), the location they decide on, and all those choices that make up a wedding - for example, the practical, no-nonsense bride wore Birkenstocks under her dress - whereas in some other weddings I've been to, the bride had seven outfit changes.

Vows written on the groom's hand before the ceremony.

Vows written on the groom's hand before the ceremony.

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Beyond making beautiful photos and experiencing each unique quirk about each couple, my favourite part of a wedding would be listening to the speeches; I've heard so many memorable ones throughout the years and I love hearing all those little anecdotes which reveal different sides of a person. It's truly an honour to be invited into someone's life to capture such a special day.

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Family members reacting to the ceremony

Family members reacting to the ceremony

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Congrats Amy and Michael!

Congrats Amy and Michael!

A wedding (and roadtrip) in Madison, Maine by Jessica Lee

In mid-June, just as Summer was starting to bubble to its boiling point, I drove East for a week to photograph my friend Flora's Maine wedding. Along the way, I stopped in to say hi to my friends in Montreal (I lived there for a year in 2015), had the best pho in my life, enjoyed poutine in the park, made an awkward rest-stop and had a run-in (literally) with some wildlife. While in Maine, I also managed to stop at Bar Harbor and eat lobster three times before leaving.

Self-portrait on the outskirts of Sherbrooke, QC

Self-portrait on the outskirts of Sherbrooke, QC

The drive from Toronto to Montreal on Friday was uneventful. When I arrived, I caught up with my friend Greg, who was talking about wanting to do some beekeeping when I left Montreal last year. He updated me on his life and I was glad to hear that he had taken up beekeeping with a Montreal non-profit and also now runs guided tours for beekeepers in Nicaragua. Incredibly random, but so awesome at the same time. I spent the rest of my short time in Montreal catching up with friends and stocking up on goodies. The day after, I drove to Maine.

My friend Greg, holding a hive frame at the Insectarium in Montreal.

My friend Greg, holding a hive frame at the Insectarium in Montreal.

I arrived at the U.S. border around 9:30 pm at night and drove as the sun was fading on a country road for another hour or so. The U.S. board official wished me a fun wedding and warned me about moose on the road (foreshadowing?).

Sure enough, on the way in, I almost hit a deer before it scampered off into the woods. I arrived to the wedding grounds, Lakewood Golf Course, said hi to the bride and groom and headed to bed.

The next day was the wedding. Here are a few highlights:

The wedding came and went without a hitch. I was happy to make some beautiful photos and touched to be included in the special day. I left Lakewood Golf Course in high spirits and headed to Bar Harbor, Maine, which had intense, but charming Dawson's Creek vibes. I had a lunch of lobster with a view of the harbour (fantastic), then stopped for a lobster roll on the way back for dinner (also fantastic). The lobster roll place (on the side of a country road) was also known for winning a couple of ice-cream competitions, so I sampled some delicious ice-cream too.

But of course, the story isn't complete without some mishap along the way. While driving on another country road at night on the way back to Toronto, I came across two moose standing in the middle of the road. I slammed the brakes but still ended up rear-ending one of the moose with my car. The moose ran off into the woods and no one was hurt. The only damages were my shattered windshield, and a dashed perfect driving record.

Toronto Engagement session with Jess and Matt by Jessica Lee

Toronto-engagement

I recently photographed a young couple close to my heart. Jess has been my best friend since we were five years old. We played with dolls when we were young and always re-enacted wedding ceremonies with them. When I got a call one night with her excitedly telling me she was now engaged to her long-time boyfriend Matt, I was ecstatic with joy - the moment had come. We quickly organized a photo shoot.

Jess and Matt asked for a vintage look to their photos, so we decided to shoot in the Distillery District of Toronto which has an old-world feel to it with its cobblestone floor and heritage buildings. We also wanted to catch one of the last summer sunsets of the year so we drove to nearby Cherry Beach for a second round of shooting. The couple wasn't camera-shy at all and what you see in the photos is the real emotion of being in love coming through.

I am so happy to be a part of this couple's life and honoured that they asked me to do their engagement photos and to be their maid of honour. I'm looking forward to the wedding in 2016!

Gear: Canon 5D Mark III, 24-70 mm f/2.8 lens.

Wine and a wedding at Riviere du Chene, Quebec by Jessica Lee


I spent my weekend at Riviere du Chene, a winery just outside of Montreal for my second cousin's wedding.

I absolutely loved the whole feel of the wedding. It was romantic and like out of a fairytale. It was probably the most beautiful wedding I've ever been to.

There was a lovely vine field which looked amazing with the sunset as a backdrop.

For some reason I never thought of Quebec as a wine region. I clearly don't know enough about my own country.

Here is a photo of the happy couple right after everything was made official:


I think it was the little details that made the wedding really shine.

After the ceremony, guests were treated to carriage rides through the fields, which was wonderful and magical; albeit a little bumpy.

Here is a photo from inside the carriage:


And what it looks like on the outside:



What really impressed me however was the elaborate dessert table and the food, which was actually really good. From my experience, wedding food usually isn't the greatest, but eating here was like ordering dishes out of a Michelin restaurant. Everything was done perfectly to the smallest detail.

We had sorbet right after the appetizer but before the main course, which I found quite exciting because I usually eat sorbet for dessert. I found out later it was served after the appetizer to clear the palate for the main course. 


I had the veal grenadines layered saffron apples and red beet straws. Other choices were duck aiguillettes with flavoured salt, strawberries and rhubarb in balsamic vinegar or pangasius napoleon with leek marmalade and roasted red peppers, velvety spinach soup with nutmeg. Real fancy, not typical of usual banquet hall catering.

 Some photos of the dessert table: Everything tasted delicious though my favourites were the cupcakes and the macaroons. I wanted to eat all the macaroons but I left some for the other guests because I didn't want to pig out too much. Besides, the people sitting next to the dessert table had already seen me walk to and from the dessert table three times already. The best flavours were buttercream and pistachio.




Like I said before, everything was perfectly assembled down to the smallest detail. Check out the ribbon on the plate of these cake pops. The contrasting pink and blue designs are perfect as well.


This is what I wore:


 And a photo of the newlyweds with my mom and I:


Congrats again, Anita and Lincoln!