I’ve known Dave since our years at the University of Toronto. There, we took courses in cinema studies, which shouldn’t to be confused with film school. Most of our time was spent listening to and reading about major developments in the history of film, obtuse theories inspired by intellectual movements such as Marxism, feminist studies, and semiotics (an effective cure for insomnia), and sometimes, we even watched a film or two. Unfortunately, as was the case with many of my classmates from that time, we drifted apart. For that reason, I was pleasantly surprised when he sent me a Facebook message expressing interest in my work. Him and his fiancé, Jill, had browsed through my website and fell in love with my style of natural wedding photography.
The day of the wedding presented me with a formidable enemy, the weather. Although most of the day was very sunny, those rays were accompanied by overwhelming heat and humidity. While I can’t speak on behalf of anyone else in attendance, my own experience suggests that it was the sweatiest wedding I’ve ever photographed. Although I knew it was going to be a scorcher leading up to the weekend–as I always keep an eye on the weather–its severity didn’t hit me until we arrived at the chapel. Leading up to the ceremony, I photographed both the bride’s and groom’s preparations in the air-conditioned comfort of their accommodations, which delayed the inevitable heat I was to endure.
The ceremony took place in the Ball’s Falls Historical Church, which is the truest example of the archetypical white chapel that I’ve ever seen in person. I felt the heat as soon as I entered the building, just ahead of the wedding procession. To my surprise, Dave, the groomsmen, and the guests seemed to be quite comfortable. Everyone was armed with custom-designed paper fans that were available at the entrance. It was a nice touch–and they were just plain cool. Towards the conclusion of the ceremony, when I was standing beneath a slow turning overhead fan and trying to find the right angle of the cooling breeze and the couple, who were going to kiss at any moment, a guest who was minding the videographers camera at the back of the hall came up and fanned my neck. What a kind and unexpected gesture. Thanks, stranger!
After the ceremony concluded we took advantage of the beautiful weather and summer light to photograph the families by a decrepit barn, which was just a stone’s throw behind the chapel. Although getting there was straightforward, we had to hustle because the families didn’t want to miss their opportunity for an intermission at a nearby vineyard.
Following the obligatory photos, and the very few posed shots featuring the wedding party, we were free to experiment a little. Since the bride and groom requested couples photos, but preferred not to pose, I suggested that they go for a tour of the historic property while I tail behind or run ahead to capture their intimate moments. It was great fun, easy going, and the images speak for themselves. I recommend this for every couple that wants natural wedding photography of the just themselves, but are turned off by the in-your-face approach of mainstream wedding photographers.
The remaining time was spent at the Big Barn across the street from the chapel, where I documented the reception, speeches, and the inevitable merrymaking following sunset. Towards the end of dinner, as the sun was nearing the horizon, the daylong streak of clear skies was interrupted by an amazing thunderstorm. Dramatic clouds rolled in from the west, and as they passed overhead lit from below by the setting sun, they had an uncanny resemblance to the surf on a beach. It was beautiful, and many guests took a break from their seats and came out to mingle and look onwards.
While I stayed to photograph the night’s events, the storm really stands out in my memory of the day. It served as a watershed between the more formal events of the wedding and the party that followed. I hope you enjoy the photos below!
Natural Wedding Photography at Ball’s Falls Conservation Area