This was the first scenario where we had been friends with the couple before their wedding day. In the spring, a group of us went Niagara bound to celebrate Ben's birthday in style. True to their wine loving form, we dined and were hosted at Vineland Estates' guest house. Ben played the guitar and we all crooned along. We shared stories, we laughed, we cried and we spent the weekend with a wonderful group of people.
We rang in the new year with them. We celebrated birthdays with them. And leading up to the wedding, we hosted them at our home for a gourmet dinner they were so looking forward to. As luck would have it, there were torrential downpours and tornado warnings from the stretch of Ancaster to our Brantford home. We had to text, to their dismay, that our power had gone out and the prime rib would have to be replaced with take-out.
By the time they arrived barely alive, the power situation had sorted itself out and we started our evening. We drank way too many bottles of expensive wine, talked in detail about the nuances of the day and we sat outside in the warm summer storm. We played old soul, we danced, we clapped, we sang and we really soaked in the evening. We were so thrilled that in just a mere short time, we would be responsible for documenting the most important day of Ben and Teresa's lives.
The weather leading up to the wedding was perfect. Warm breezes, zero rain and humidity. The forecast for Saturday was not as promising. We eased Teresa's mind at the rehearsal dinner that it would all work out. And that it did.
I arrived to T's house with anticipation and ease. This was the first time I pretty much knew everyone in the wedding party. We had done this familiar dance with T's BFF Krissy last October. And in that time we had all spent a lot of time together as friends. I promised Teresa that everything would be okay; though ominous skies warned otherwise. I silently gasped when I saw Michael arrive back from the groom's location an hour later. I hissed at him: What are you doing here?
Michael: Ben forgot his shirt.
Me: Get it and don't let T see you.
I really didn't want anything to stress her out. Teresa has always wanted to own a hobby farm. She grew up loving horses and it was her dream to include horses in her photographs. After her and I negotiated and arranged with a local farm to be able to have staff available/horses ready/permission granted to shoot, the only thing that could ruin that plan was the severe thunderstorms that had been promised.
We took some pre-ceremony photos. Krissy presented Teresa with an infinity ring to celebrate their eternal friendship. Gifts were opened. And then it was time to head to the most meaningful part of the day; the wedding ceremony.
We arrived to St. Ann's Parish, a gorgeous Spanish inspired church in Ancaster. Ben awaited anxiously for his bride. The emotion in the room was palpable. Ben's mom had passed away and had torn his family apart. His dad was not able to make the wedding. He had Teresa's mom walk him down the aisle, his brother stand by his side and his two aunt's to take on the role as parents.
My heart wrenched with pain for Ben on this day. A loss of a parent is at all times debilitating, but their absence is that much more felt on a wedding day. Teresa looked absolutely breathtaking in her dress. You'll be able to tell from the photos that Ben agreed.
After the ceremony, the newlywed couple were greeted by their friends and family. The rain was holding off. But we had to go. Now.
We headed to the farm where the horses were ready. It was lightly starting to rain but we made the best of the umbrellas, the indoor space and the gorgeous moody fog. And Teresa started to realize that you can only overplan and then go with the flow. The weather was not up to our control. But if it were, we couldn't have orchestrated it better. And we survived the torrential downpours of the day!
We arrived to The Hamilton Golf and Country Club and got to work on photographing the plentiful details. Everything from the handcrafted wine bottles turned candles, desserts, perfectly paired wine/cheese/chocolates, menu cards, etc was designed and handcrafted by Teresa and Ben. Cara, a successful t.v. producer and cousin of the bride was the most hilarious and amazing M.C ever to have walked the face of the wedding party earth!!!!
The speeches were gutwrenchingly painful and equally full of love, joy and offerings of new beginnings. There wasn't a dry eye to be found in the house; not even from those sports loving, manly, guy-ish guy groomsmen.
The band strummed on and as a surprise to the bride, her handsome groom had planned a Neil Young song with his brother and her brother in tow.
No words could describe the day. You had to be there. But if you weren't, and this blog is all you have as a glimpse into their wedding, I hope you'll be as overjoyed as we all were to be there.
Ben and Teresa, it's been said amongst the four of us several times that we love each other. It's been said that our friendship will far surpass any client relationship we first started with. It's been said how lucky you both are to have found each other. It's been said that the passion and vigour in which you both live your lives is so admirable.
It's all been said. The only way I know how to show you how much we adore you is through these photographs. I hope you'll enjoy your sneak peeks and we can't wait to hear all about your honeymoon in paradise! We look forward to celebrating another Brash wedding in Kingston next year!
God Bless and love to you always. May your blue eyes always meet each other across any crowded room.
Wendy and Michael