Ok, so where to start? Officially Alexa and Shawn celebrated their wedding at the begging of October but it really did feel more like an adventure! The wedding took place in Mine Centre, and the reception in Fort Frances, which is 45 minutes away. Since the wedding was out of town, my wife Anne joined me and we made it a little getaway at the same time. I am so used to doing weddings alone here in town that it was so great having my wife join me for this one. Plus, it gave her a chance to relax while I shot the wedding on the Saturday.
Alexa gave us very easy instructions from the get go on how to get to Mine Centre which is right off the highway. That didn't stop us from missing the road to the house which was so easy to spot. We eventually realized our mistake and made it to Alexa and Shawn's house and the eventual wedding venue. Right away I got excited because I was able to quickly see what I would be photographing the following day. Since we arrived in the middle of the afternoon it gave us a chance to settle in at the beautiful cabin down the road that we stayed at that night. I can't thank Alexa enough for putting us up at the cabin right on the water, we couldn't have asked for a more beautiful location. Suffice it say, we immediately unpacked our stuff and sat on the dock for a bit.
Before we knew it, it was time to head into Fort Frances for the dinner that evening for family. Just before we arrived at the place it was being held, we saw some intense fog on the country road and knew we had to keep driving a bit more to get some epic photos. If you want to see some photos from that short experience, check out my personal blog.
After that, we made our way to the dinner. The food was really good and it was also nice to see Alexa and Shawn again, as well as their family and friends. Once everyone was done eating, Alexa and Shawn opened some of the gifts. Of course I made sure to get some photos. As it wrapped up, Anne and I made the drive back to the cottage to relax.
The next day, which was the wedding was a whirlwind of a day. I pretty much on my feet the whole day, just like everyone else, and it went by so fast. I started with the getting ready shots of both Alexa and Shawn, which then led into the first look and eventually the ceremony. This all took place right along the gorgeous lake, and it ended up being the perfect day. Although, I would have preferred if it was a bit cooler, but then again, I'm used sweating constantly during summer/fall weddings.
When the ceremony was finished, Alexa and Shawn and the rest of the wedding party and immediate family formed the receiving line. This gave me a chance to just walk around get even more candid shots of the guest. We also did some family portraits while everyone was gathered and one of my favourite shots of the day was an overhead photo of absolutely everyone releasing balloons into the air. It's not often I have the opportunity to get up high over the guests like that.
As the guests dispersed we just kept going. Next up were the bridal party portraits which we drove a couple minutes down the road to, at an empty field with bales of hay. As you would expect it was the perfect location to do the wedding party portraits. Not only as the grass nice and high, but we were able to use the hay bales and the sun was in perfect position, slowly setting in behind the field.
Because we had a little more time, we managed to actually head over to where Anne and I were staying and get some more portraits on the dock. I could easily spend hours shooting portraits so it was nice that they left enough time to go to a couple different locations. Once we were done those the wedding party left and I went inside grabbed my stuff and Anne, who had already packed everything up, and we headed off the Fort Frances. What came next was probably the scariest moment of my wedding photography career.
So, I though we were making good time because we left right away but I was a bit worried because the portraits at the dock did run a bit long and we only had about a half hour to get to the hotel because the reception started at 6. Only the drive takes about 40 minutes. As soon as we arrived at the hotel we checked in fairly fast and eventually found our room, I did the quickest change of clothes, didn't even shower, packed my bag, and headed out the door down the hall to the reception. It was probably the quickest I had ever gotten ready.
As I made my way to the reception I expected people to be making their way in and maybe the wedding party would be arriving too. Well ... as I walked in, absolutely everyone was in the seats, the lights were dim and Alexa was doing her dance with her Dad!!! My heart literally sank. I missed the first dance between Alexa and Shawn. I froze for a moment but then immediately grabbed my camera and just started taking photos. That's all I could do. Shortly after the Mother and Son dance Alexa came up to me and I apologized profusely. Never have I ever missed an important moment like that during a wedding. I actually pride myself, especially being a one man show, on being able to capture all those really important moments. In the end, Alexa had thought I was already there and that's why they started the first dance. She completely understood, I think, and they just redid the first dance again later in the evening. Wheww. I think I still have panic attacks about those few minutes though.
The rest of the reception went off flawlessly and I got so many great photos. And yes, that included the 'first dance'. I must say too, the food was amazing, and, Anne and I were pleasantly surprised by the 'second meal' later in the evening, which was also extremely tasty. It was very long day but it didn't feel like it because I had so much fun. It also helped that Anne joined me of the reception and we sat at such a fun table too. I couldn't have asked for a more easy going and sincere couple in Alexa and Shawn. I think the turnaround on this wedding for photos might be a new record for in just over 3 weeks especially with how many weddings I have had this summer, but I was very anxious to go through all the photos and eventually present them to Alexa and Shawn. I just hope they like them as much as I do!