Are you recently sporting some shiny new bling on your left hand? Have you been spending sleepless nights trying to figure out which family members to seat at the same table as your crazy cousin Billy who nobody likes? Maybe you’ve been driving from one end of the lower mainland to the other, sampling countless versions of duck confit that you can’t afford to serve at your upcoming wedding? (here’s a tip – forget the duck, and do a Tacofino Food Truck instead :P)
If any of those things sound like you, I’m going to go out on a limb and make a craaaazy assumption that you got engaged!! WOOP! And now you have a bajillion decisions to make, all on a budget, and now you’re stressed. Take my advice, and take a breather. Find a photographer that suits your style AND your personality, and book an engagement session. Just take a time out, and spend an afternoon or evening together, exploring your area and taking a bunch of fun photos at the same time. Your photographer should be able to make some suggestions for your local area, buts here are some of my fave engagement shoot locations in Chilliwack and surrounding areas!
Jones is this unbelievably gorgeous lake surrounded by absolutely stunning mountain peaks about an hour’s drive from Chilliwack (depending on your vehicle, and comfort level driving FSR – we’ve done it in 30 😉 ) Find a whole blog post here.
Cultus is an iconic piece of Chilliwack, and it looks amazing in every single season. It also has the most gorgeous light!! Find a whole blog post here .
You may need a 4×4 to access these kinds of spots, but they are usually VERY worth the effort!!
These usually involve a bit of a walk or a hike, but just like the mountaintops, are always worth the effort!!
The Alexandria Bridge
This one is a bit out of the way – approx an hour from Chilliwack. But it’s a super unique spot, and super fun to explore!
What an amazing adventure it was to shoot Kevin & Kirsten’s reeeeediculous destination wedding to Maui a couple weeks ago!! I first met these two at Kevin’s brother Clayton’s and his wife Kayla’s gorgeous Swaneset wedding last year, and their bridal party was a whole bunch of awesome, so we all hit it off pretty well. So when Kirst texted me a couple months later saying her and Kev were engaged and planning a destination wedding, I literally freaked out. I’m so grateful to have been given the opportunity and for this amazing experience!!!
The Grand Wailea is INSANE. It is literally the most beautiful resort I’ve ever seen. There are pools everywhere, waterfalls and creeks meandering through the entire property, stunning landscaping and the sweetest little chapel right on the grounds. Nicole, the onsite wedding coordinator, was awesome, making sure she reached out to us before we arrived, and ensuring that the wedding day was organized and went smoothly. She has tons of energy, and always had a smile on her face. Love you lady!!
The day of the wedding, we left nice and early to arrive with time to spare, and I’m glad we did, because we ended up getting a call from Kirst saying they were ahead of schedule. It was so nice to have the extra time, and allowed the bridal party to chill out for an hour during the day and just hang out. We started shooting at the Spa Grande, which is the largest spa in Hawaii. Bummed I didn’t get a tour of the place, but I’m assuming that would’ve taken a while 😛 Once hair and makeup were done, the girls went up to a suite to get dressed, scarf a sandwich, and then we coordinated Kirst & Kevin’s first look. I ADORE KEV’S FACE RIGHT BEFORE HE SEES HIS BRIDE!!! So excited and happy! After they snuggled for a bit, we were able to wander around the grounds for more photos. I literally could have shot here for DAYS. Everywhere we turned there was a little nook, or pond, or waterfall or staircase that was perfect for photos. You GUYS!! I needed more time!! haha!
The ceremony was in the chapel on the grounds, which has the most gorgeous stained glass windows, and beautiful high ceilings with deep wood beams. The ceremony itself was short and sweet and perfect. The air conditioning wasn’t working that day, so it pretty much had to be 😀
Following the ceremony, Kirst changed into dress #2. Like, COME ON. As if one gorgeous bride in a freaking gorgeous gown, in the most amazingly gorgeous location wasn’t enough?! Nope, let’s just break things up, and add a 2nd dress. Mmmmmkay. I die. We had a bit of time to shoot dress #2 down at the beach at sunset before heading up to the rooftop reception.
The food was… sheesh. I think I’ve run out of adjectives… SO GOOD. SO SO GOOD. And there was so much, and so much variety!! haha can you tell I love to eat?! Speeches, first dance, slideshow, throwing the bouquet and garter, and dance party were all lit by torches only. The ambiance was so romantic.
Anyways, I’m totally rambling, and I could go on and on, but in summation: this wedding was LIT. WHAT AN ADVENTURE. Thank you guys, from the bottom of my heart, for choosing me to come along <3
WOOOEEEE! This Fraser River Lodge wedding was one for the books!! I’ll have to admit, I was nervous when I got Jake & Nina’s wedding day questionnaire back, and read “bride & groom don’t like photos being taken, so keep it short & sweet”. Part of me was pumped, because that’s actually exactly the type of client I love to shoot. Couples who appreciate the story-telling aspect of the day, the beautiful and the raw authenticity of real life and who don’t get caught up in manufactured moments and tons of posing. But the other part of me was intimidated, because I’d have limited time to create some kickass portraits! As it turns out, as much as they don’t like having their photo taken, they are one of those couples that are ridiculously easy to shoot. They were so caught up in eachother, that all I had to was follow them around and take pictures 😀 😀 😀
It was probably one of the most beautiful weddings I’ve ever shot too. The combination of Raquel from Whitetail Collections and Vanessa, a friend of Nina’s who has an insane talent for floral design, was this mind-blowingly gorgeous, cohesive, rustic glam vibe. And, as always, the Lodge was the perfect backdrop.
Jake & Nina: Thank you for being so chill. Thank you for not getting caught up in the details of the day, and just allowing things to unfold around you, while you just soaked eachother up. It was an absolutely perfect day, and I was honoured to be there.
Venue: Fraser River Lodge
2nd Photographer: Charlene Stam
Hair Stylist: Montana’s Bridal Hair
MUA: Suzanne Dargis
Florist: Vanessa Oddy
DJ: In the Mix Productions
Taige & Cara are from the Bahamas. THE BAHAMAS. And they chose to plan a Sea to Sky Gondola wedding and elope to Vancouver!! I wouldn’t go as far as to say they’re crazy, but…. haha!! All kidding aside, our corner of the world is pretty amazing, so I guess it makes sense, but. THE BAHAMAS.
It was my first time shooting at the Sea to Sky Gondola, so I decided to show up early to pre-scout the location. The weather was gorgeous when I left Chilliwack, and the sun was peeking through the entire drive to West Van. But as soon as I neared Squamish, the clouds started rolling in, and it got dark and rainy. I felt so bad for Cara & Taige! To come all this way for our amazing mountain views only to get fogged in and rained out! I arrived at the top to SNOW. GAH!! And it was windy, so the snow was literally falling sideways. It was soooo cold. When Taige and Cara and their parents arrived, Cara made the call to have the ceremony indoors. The weather had improved, but it was still drizzling and cold, and since the Sea to Sky has a gorgeous space for hosting events indoors, it wasn’t the end of the world. Cara made her way to the bride’s room to freshen up, and Taige and both sets of parents headed outside to check out the views. When Cara came back up, the sky had completely broken up and the SUN CAME OUT!!! It was incredible!!! So another call was made, and the ceremony was moved back outside!! The staff were so helpful and accommodating and I can’t rave about them enough. The ceremony was cold, but it had the most epic views I’ve ever encountered shooting a wedding ceremony. So so stunning. I am so happy to have had the opportunity to shoot an incredible Sea to Sky Gondola wedding, and I’m sure hoping it’ll happen again!! Thank you so much Cara & Taige, and I can’t wait to visit you guys in the Bahamas!!
There’s a benefit to being a horrible blogger. In that I get to relive all these memories months and months later!! haha! Felt good to go for a stroll down memory lane with these crazies and their fairytale Swaneset wedding. And I get to see them all again in May when Clayton’s brother and one of Kayla’s bridesmaids tie the knot this coming May! Couldn’t be more excited.
Kayla & Clayton both spent the morning getting ready in Chilliwack. Well, I’m sure Clayton spent like 20 minutes, not the whole morning. Not that we could tell, buddy – you looked HAWTTTT – looked like you took HOURS to get ready!! 😀 They had their adorable first look on the back porch, and then they all jumped in a limo, and we headed off towards Pitt Meadows. Pitt Lake is super close to Swaneset, and is absolutely stunning, making it the perfect spot for bridal party photos when you choose a Swaneset wedding. It was raining pretty hard at times, but nothing fazed this crowd. They just cuddled up, hid under umbrellas, and laughed the afternoon away!
Having a Swaneset wedding is a no-brainer. First of all, it’s one of the most gorgeous venues from here to Vancouver, and is on a stunning golf course, so it makes photography easy. Secondly, the staff are on FIRE. They’re efficient, they’re prepared, and they’ve got your back in every situation. Thirdly, their catering is to diiiiieeee for. SO SO GOOD. So I was super excited to be shooting there! The ceremony went without a hitch, and the rain had stopped, so we were able to head outside for family photos, and a few more with the bridal party. There was a bear sighted wandering around, but Kayla, Clayton and I had commandeered a golf cart to go take some photos at the iconic front gate, so we didn’t know about it. On our way back we got told by a couple of the guests, and we were stressing, because friends: golf carts don’t go very fast!! I figured as long as I could run faster than the bride and groom I’d be ok…
Reception was perfect. Tons of hilarious speeches, an amazing dinner, and a good ole dance party to round out the night. Thanks again you two!!
2nd Photographer: Larissa Eileen
Hair Stylist: Vanessa Prinse
MUA: Makeup by Joji
Florist: Quik’s Farm
Wedding Cake: Kickass Cakes
DJ: Music Maestro
Videographer: Ian Macleod Video