Rarely do Sheena and I have any energy left after photographing an entire wedding to do anything other than drive home, unpack and crash. There are exceptions to this, however, and Patrick and Michael's amazing wedding at their beautiful home in Guelph, Ontario was one of them.
We arrived in the morning as the day was taking shape. The caterer was busy setting up, friends and family were getting ready and helping to get the show on the road and the family dogs were trying to figure out what all the commotion was about. Somebody told me that Patrick and Michael were upstairs getting ready so I ran upstairs to start documenting the action. We didn't have too much time since we had about two hours scheduled to walk around the neighbourhood and ultimately end at the ruins called Goldie Mill. We made many stops along the way and the wedding party was absolutely outstanding to work with. Every single guy and girl in the group was so genuinely happy for their two friends getting hitched that it was quite easy for Sheena and I to bring out the best of everybody and use their energy to bring so much life to the images. It was so nice strolling down the train tracks that ran parallel to the river and since we were in Patrick and Michael's neighbourhood, they requested a few stops along the way that held a special place in their hearts like the tree by the river and the ruins themselves.
What felt like ten minutes was actually about two hours and that's when the guys told us that they needed to head back to get the final touches ready before the ceremony. Since we didn't know every specific detail of what was to come, I was really excited to be a part of this aspect of the day and, knowing Patrick and Michael, we both knew there would be a lot of fun surprises. We were bang on because before we knew it, Michael was on his phone making sure that he knew the chords to a song he and Patrick were going to sing as they walked down the aisle together. This was definitely the first wedding we've photographed that had each groom make their entrances at the same time while serenading the guests on guitar and vocals to the song "Once". What a way to start a life together! Yes, there was a lot of laughing, singing, dancing, and, of course, Patrick and Michael's dogs who carried their rings to them before getting a big round of applause. Immediately after exchanging vows and finally becoming husband and husband, Patrick and Michael quickly headed upstairs to their balcony to update their Facebook status and to cheers all their family and friends who could barely contain their sheer happiness for the newlyweds.
After family pictures using the neighbour's beautiful backyard and farmhouse (it's great having amazing neighbours), it was time to party. Patrick and Michael did not disappoint by beginning their entrance with a song and dance. This led the way to one of the most creative and heartwarming receptions we could have been a part of. Underlying all the toasts and speeches was a deep gratitude that we all are so fortunate to live in a country where people can marry anybody they love. It is hard to explain just how happy Patrick and Michael's friends and family were to be a part of their wedding day. There were so many more surprises as well that seemed to pop up every few minutes like Michael's parents bringing a box of his old clothes and personal items before displaying them all to the guests or Patrick's father giving talking to the guests straight from his heart about his love for his son that caused a lot of wet eyes. I really try not to get too emotionally connected to weddings because I use all my focus on capturing details and moments, but it was pretty much impossible to not listen to the thoughtful and loving words spoken by everybody at the podium. Patrick and Michael's first dance starting with a professional dance couple whom they both highly respected and was followed by the grooms themselves. Of course, all the guests jumped in shortly after as they could no longer contain their excitement any longer. Once DJ Flohback took over the sound system and pounded out the perfect tracks, the party officially began... and didn't seem to end. I'm not even entirely sure if Patrick and Michael's wedding is still going on at this moment.
Once our time was up, oddly enough, it was not time to pack up and head out as is the usual case. We were so caught up in the excitement and warmth of all the guests that we stayed for the party and even managed a few more pictures when the time was right. This was such a special wedding for us to be a part of; not because it was between two men, but because of all the genuine love and joy that exploded out of Patrick and Michael's house the moment we stepped in to start the day. We are so happy for the newlyweds and will always remember how special a day it was.
Gary + Sheena