Darien is a fellow photographer and what we share is a love of observing and documenting the beauty found in the everyday moments of family life.
This shared passion is the reason we connected. Darien and I were planning a documentary style photo session of her family, including partner Myron and their two sweet children Jace and Nora, in their beautiful heritage home in Seaforth Ontario. I never imagined I was about to be asked to capture a spontaneous, unique and genuine expression of love and union.
We were chatting back and forth about the plans for the day, and just before we zeroed in on a date, I was surprised and delighted when she sent me a new proposition, "Hey, we were chatting last night and decided to get married! Can you photograph our wedding instead?" Of course, I was delighted and thrilled to reply, "absolutely!!"
My excitement grew as she filled me in on the details! I learned they were not only planning an intimate, casual wedding in the woods, it was all going to be a surprise event for both their families. Darien and Myron; having been a loving couple for years, as well as parents to two beautiful children, decided that what they both wanted, was to "make it official" while sharing an occasion with close friends and family that remained true to their relaxed and offbeat personalities.
With all of that in mind, the couple had to ensure their family and friends would attend without giving the game away. The annual family camping trip on Myron's side of the family and their daughter Nora's first birthday became the perfect pretence for them to spring their impromptu nuptials. Aside from a small number of Myron's family (who were only told a proposal was coming), just four people were told of the real plan. Four people to bring it all together, and me. Being entrusted to be "in the know" is a very special feeling.
On the day, I was impressed by all the detail and effort carried out by a few dedicated and loving friends, who were clearly committed to making this special day and unique surprise go off beautifully.
The day had arrived. Camp was set up at Point Farms Provincial Park in Goderich, Family and friends had spent time together and everyone gathered to celebrate Nora's first birthday with gifts and a lovely little smash cake. Well loved family barbecue fare was plentiful thanks to a friend and chef at Mercer Hall. When it seemed that the day had concluded with a good meal and a good time had by all, Myron stood. He thanked everyone for coming of course, but he had another announcement; the party wasn't over, he and Darien were getting married - Right now!
Myron's father is a pastor who has performed the marriage ceremony for many of his children. He was surprised and thrilled to do the same for his son and his soon to be daughter-in law, gathered in the embrace of the trees and under the warm glow of twinkling lights and decorative torches.
To accompany them on their walk down the aisle, Myron's brother and brother in law (thankfully never caught without their guitars), played a very pretty rendition of "Book of Love" by Peter Gabriel. Darien's brother helped baby Nora fill her role as flower girl, carrying her down the aisle while their son Jace was the happy ring bearer. Myron's mother joined in the ceremony with a moving message of kindness and love, a blessing for them both.
Before the vows, Myron accompanied by his brother on guitar, serenaded his Bride, singing "I Wanna Grow Old With You", a sweet and touching Adam Sandler song from The Wedding Singer. An exchange of vows, rings and the seal of a romantic kiss was followed by a light hearted trip back down the aisle for hugs and high-fives with everyone who helped the newlyweds make it happen and the family and friends who made their day so special.
It was an absolute joy and privilege to document and be part of this amazing day of celebration, laughter, family and true love.
Congratulations Darien and Myron!
Food: Mercer Hall
Hair: Courtney Henry
Makeup: Loreen Sawatzky with Beauty by Preen