1000 Islands Wedding

It’s really not a secret: I have always – and will always – love gay weddings. For whatever reason, I tend to book one single wedding with two brides every year (but I’d really love to increase those numbers!), and they are usually a major highlight for me. The history behind how Canadians got to the point where this can happen and the fact that so many friends and family are excited to show up in support of the celebration just makes me extra excited about these particular ceremonies. I’ve debated long and hard about what to write for this wedding because this was about so much more than just politics or religion; news or history – it was about two beautiful women and their families. But the timing still felt significant and appropriate. Anita and Shawna’s wedding happened practically on the line of the US border, on Independence Day, just three days after the SCOTUS ruling on gay marriage in the States. With Americans roaming the Ivy Lea Club‘s property, showing off the fact that Canadians have been doing this for ten years seemed like the perfect way to get my 2015 wedding season rolling.

Anita and Shawna are two affable, genuine, kind souls. They’re quick with the smiles and seem content with their respective places in the world, and their roles in one another’s lives. Never was that more apparent than during their bridal prep. There was something so special about watching these two get ready together. When I arrived, Anita was having her makeup done by Karley Gagnon and Shawna was quietly roaming around the coach house, seemingly full of nervous energy. Their conversation carried around the large space. Close friends and parents joined at various intervals to help with final details. When Anita’s makeup was finished, Shawna came over to inspect Karley’s work and she was virtually speechless. I still vividly remember the sound of her voice when she half-whispered, “You just look SO pretty!” I must’ve heard her say it at least four times. :) There’s something so different about lesbian weddings that is touching to document – whether it’s a gentleness that seems to be an inherent part of female nature or the softness that comes when two women love each other, I’m not sure, but it’s always a pleasure to watch it unfold.

Anita and Shawna’s outdoor ceremony started with a tearjerker moment for many. These two families have experienced more loss than is fair, but they honoured those who couldn’t be there that day, including Shawna’s mom. Six women important to Anita and Shawna walked framed images of the loved ones down the aisle, making them part of the wedding processional. I still get teary thinking about this incredibly touching gesture, and remember the faces of those carrying the frames as the significance of the moment hit each of them on their way down the aisle.

As the day passed, the ominous clouds lifted, the celebrant called Shawna “Shawn”, both families laughed their way through the photos, guests feasted on the most delicious buffet I’ve ever eaten, and Mariah and her team at the Ivy made sure everything went seamlessly.

There were plenty of tears and enough laughter to disturb the neighbours. There was the most thoughtful grace I’ve ever heard and an iPhone spotlight to help Mom read. The kiss-by-donation collection for Maison Baldwin House led to the induction of an honorary (male) lesbian. They told stories of outlaws and in-laws, and finger painting with diaper contents. A Skype call from a Texas cousin led to the reading of a letter from Shawna’s mom meant for Shawna’s wedding day (TEARS!). To say that it was an unforgettable wedding would be to trivialise the occasion.

Anita and Shawna, I’m so thrilled to have been a part of your day and was honoured to work with your whole gang. Here are my favourite images from your wedding story:

Ivy Lea Club grounds inside Ivy Lea Club dress rings and flowers bridal prepbride helping bride with bracelet bride portrait by window bride portrait in front of frameswomen standing with frames brides walking with fathersbrides standing for ceremony crying bride laughing dadsbrides cuddling in trees brides in trees by rock 2 brides by river on rocks two brides kissing on path three hands honorary lesbianbride with grandma crying bride slideshowmother's speech parents speeches hugging dadswoman grabbing husbands bum man dancing brides silhouette in cellar brides in cellar black and white

I’m Ang – a Cornwall, Ontario-based photographer with a passion for capturing light and photographing natural moments in life as they happen. I love working with couples from Cornwall, Ottawa, Brockville and around the world on their wedding day so that I can capture the little details and emotions that are shared during the day. Please explore more of www.momentusstudio.com to see more examples of my take on wedding photography.