Photos and article by Kiss My Flash Photography
We met Jenn and Dave at The Grassroots Wedding Fair in 2011 and Eugene and I were really impressed by their vision for their wedding celebration. It was a real community affair and an incredible amount of love and energy went into every detail.
They were married at Dave’s family home in the Cowichan Valley on Vancouver Island on August 6th, 2011. The family spent the months leading up to the wedding landscaping the garden and growing all the flowers and some of the food for the big day. Their friends and family carpooled in a day or two early and helped with making decorations, serving food, running errands, singing, making speeches, cleaning up etc.. It was inspirational. Jenn’s mother-in-law, Judy, is a designer and has a large format printer, so she made all the signage and Jenn herself made the pinwheels for the bridesmaids and the “Just Married” sign for Dave’s dad’s gorgeous yellow 84′ Chevy Pickup Truck. They also made table centre-pieces from photographs of Jenn and Dave growing up and potted plants and herbs from Dave’s aunt’s garden that people could take later as gifts. The day before the wedding the bride went tubing in the nearby river with her bridesmaids. In the evening they had a lovely rehearsal in the garden and a hearty homemade family dinner.
The Big Day.
August 6th was a hot, sunny day with bees buzzing and flowers blooming all over the property. The whole thing was laid back and beautiful. The wedding party woke around 10 and after a leisurely breakfast the house was entirely a-bustle with activity. Eugene and I split up so he could shoot the groomsmen getting ready and I could photograph the ladies. The guys shaved down by the river and dressed in khaki suits bought at Zara on Robson Street. They exchanged jokes and shared a cold beer before the ceremony.
The ladies toasted with sparkling wine and laughed as they did their makeup and hair in the great big mirror in the Bridal suite. Jenn looked gorgeous in a floor-length ivory modified A-Line with a trumpet-style skirt, sweetheart neckline and lace back. She had looked for a 2nd had dress, but she searched and searched and couldn’t find the right one. She was looking for an informal wedding dress that she could feel comfortable in and she fell in love with this one because it was simple with minimal embellishments and fit her body and hugged her curves just right.
As guests started to arrive they were ushered to their places in the garden, which was ablaze with colour. Jenn walked down the aisle on her father’s arm to “You and Me’ by Lifehouse performed acoustically by her cousin Erik. Their parents were beaming as the couple held hands under the handmade bower at the top of the garden exchanging rings, vows and wishes for their future.
After the ceremony the bridal party took off right away and we spent an hour or two in golden grassland at the nearby Stoltz Pool area of the Cowichan River Provincial Park. The photographs turned out beautifully. The six friends were incredibly relaxed and fun. The lighting was perfect.
When we arrived back at the reception the tables and chairs had been set out all over the lawn and people were sipping drinks and laughing as the sun set. The drink of choice was Red Racer beer from Central City Brewing in Surrey and Jenn’s dad prepared a 26oz bottle of margaritas as a special surprise for her. The dinner itself was just incredible with wild salmon that was bbq’d by Dave’s dad while we were gone. Much of the food preparations was done by Eatables Unlimited Catering based out of Mill Bay and it was delicious: there were rolls, chicken, salads, humus etc… and to finish a Dairy Queen Wedding cake, an old favourite of Dave’s.
Eugene continued shooting candid photographs of the party and I ran the photobooth, which was a real hit. We set up studio lights and arranged an easel, empty photograph frames and a wicker couch. Jenn and the ladies had handmade cute props like mustaches, glasses and hats. Guests wandered from the shoot to the dance floor and back as the evening turned to night and the garden started to glow with lights and sparkle with laughter.
One thing that stays with me about this wedding is how even during the busiest moments they still seemed to find the time to create amazing personal moments. To top it all off Jenn and Dave are currently on a year-long honeymoon trip bicycling to South America together. What an incredible beginning to a fabulous life together.
Catherine McLaren, Kiss My Flash Photography