Having grown up in Ottawa I’m always excited to get the opportunity to head back to my hometown to photograph a wedding, especially a beautiful cottage elopement in nearby Chelsea, Quebec. Driving through my old hometown, listening to the soundtrack of my teenage and young adult years, I felt a certain level of calm driving over to Quebec from Ottawa, remembering the endless trips I’ve made in the past with old friends as the setting afternoon sun gave me a glimpse of what was to come. Somehow, unintentionally, I was put in a documentary wedding photography mindset, hoping to tether my past life and emotional experiences growing up in Ottawa to this incredible cottage wedding I was about to photograph and document.
Galen & Elisha wanted to keep things simple and beautiful, hosting a private ceremony and dinner for themselves, a couple of close friends and immediate family only. The entire afternoon and early evening was laid back and the epitome of a low-key and intimate cottage wedding. Their wedding was a total collaborative effort between both families with everyone doing a little something to make it all come together. Galen’s father was BBQing some of the best homemade duck I’ve ever seen (likely prepared by multiple individuals), Elisha’s mother along with Galen’s sister helped the bride prepare her wedding dress, while everyone did a little something to help set the atmosphere and ambiance through minimalist and thoughtful decor to enhance the mood within and surrounding the grounds of the stunning cottage.
The bride and groom exchanged vows in the backyard of the cottage at the edge of a wooden balcony while standing on a beautiful rug, overlooking the forest and landscape of beautiful Chelsea Quebec. As the sun began to slowly set in the horizon it provided a cast of glowing light as their families gathered nearby to embrace the sentiment and major milestone in Galen and Elisha’s lives. There was something so incredibly honest and deeply beautiful about the ceremony and I think it mostly had to do with the little connections happening between everyone in attendance ; a soulful glance, a sincere smile, holding the person next to them as they fight back emotions and tears, it was this powerful energy that resonated throughout the cottage and surrounding forest. Elisha and Galen were intertwined as their eyes locked to one another’s throughout the entire wedding ceremony, taking in every single word and moment as the fleeting nature of the wedding wasn’t lost on them. After their first kiss they held each other briefly for a moment in what was a sincerely genuine and candid moment.
That nostalgic feeling I got while driving to the wedding was bursting through me like a patch of wildflowers in a heart of a forest as I got to spend the last few moments of golden hour alongside Galen and Elisha to take some beautiful, natural and editorial style wedding portraits on analog film around the forest and cottage.
There was something about their connection, something in their eyes as they looked at one another for a brief moment before collapsing into each other’s arms due to an overwhelming spectrum of emotions washing over them like a subtle rainfall in the middle of spring. Their ability to be completely connected to one another was incredible, their souls were aligned and they were essentially in their own world during that suspended moment in time. It was that deeply rooted and spirited connection with poignant elements of the coyness of young-love that connected with me. It was as if they were falling in love with one another over and over again, appreciating every gentle touch, spontaneous kiss and embrace in silence as they embraced one another’s energy. As the wedding photographer, and somewhat sensitive human being, I was engulfed in these emotions myself by sheer proxy, bringing me back to my youthful days when falling in love or being in love wasn’t so blasé and we enthusiastically cherished every single moment in that very feeling.
These two gave me everything I could ever ask for as a wedding photographer; they let go and lived in the moment, at that point, I simply had to be a documentary photographer, pushing the button at the moment everything comes together.
Add this intimate elopement to the list of amazing wedding photography experiences in 2019.
Song of the Day
Lessons For Later- Slow Hollows