Oh, this wedding. Where do I begin?! Leighton and Derek’s wedding was SO lovely, for many, many reasons, so I’ve decided to use this as an opportunity to touch on a subject that I wish I could always have control over. Where do you get ready for your wedding? A hotel? Your house? Your parents house? In the venue’s bridal suite? Sometimes there are lots of options, and sometimes, there aren’t- say your wedding is over an hour away from where you live! Hotels seem like the obvious choice a lot of the time- usually you have stayed over the night before or are planning to stay there after the wedding. However, these may not always be the best choice! Hotels are often very dark, small, and decorated in, well, hotel style. Often you’ll see 10 different patterns happening at once- the curtains, carpet and bedspread all have something funky going on and it really doesn’t match the style of the rest of your day. On top of the crazy colours, patterns and generic paintings and photos that are nailed to the wall (wait, what?!) there is often very little natural light to work with. This is key for the ‘getting ready’ photos. I try to leverage natural light as much as I can, so I can use it to photograph all of those little details you’ve spent months curating. Your dress, shoes, rings, flowers, invitation suite, veil and jewellery all need to be captured and its so much nicer when there is space to work with and light coming in the windows. On top of that, if your hair and makeup team are coming to you, they also need lots of light to make sure everything is applied evenly and beautifully. So how many people do we now have in the hotel room? Say 5 bridesmaids, a bride, bride’s Mom, me, and 2 hair and makeup artists. That’s 10 people in one tiny room! And that’s assuming your aunts and flower girls aren’t hanging out either.

On the other hand, when you get ready at a house (even if its a small one) it will likely mean a few things: there will be lots of rooms for everyone to spread out in, and plenty of places to photograph your details and candid photos of you and your girls. I’ll be able to pick the room that has the best light where we can get you into your dress, instead of using the foot and a half between the bed and the window like in the hotel. If you don’t have access to a house nearby and hotels are looking like your only option, consider checking out airbnb! I chose to write this post with photos from Leighton and Derek’s wedding because both of their ‘getting ready’ spots were great- lots of light, lots of room, and very clean and neutral decor. I was literally skipping around upstairs as I was photographing Leighton’s dress and other details, because the room had TONS of pretty light coming in and it was decorated so beautifully (seriously, like straight from a magazine. Shout out to Leighton’s parents for their awesome house!) You’ve spent months and months planning your wedding, and this is one last detail not to overlook. If you have the choice, think about it!

Anyway, on to Leighton and Derek! This day was so pretty down to the very last detail! They chose to incorporate a small wine box ceremony, which I have never seen before and I thought it was really cute. The idea is that Derek and Leighton both write a letter to each other, and seal it up and place it in a double locked box along with a bottle of wine. They then give the 2 keys to the box to two very important people in their lives, and they are not to open the box until they’ve hit a rocky patch in their marriage and need the letters as a reminder of how in love they were on their wedding day. This would also ensure that when they go to their key person to get the key, they would have to share what was going on and hopefully talk it over with that important person. On the other hand, they can also open the box when they have something to celebrate (maybe 10 year anniversary in 2024?!) and then they would also have to share in the celebrations with their key people. I thought it was a sweet idea and I’m surprised I haven’t seen more of them at other weddings! Leighton’s Mom had a special gift for Leighton- a gold coin that was purchased when the government child tax benefit was phased out, and she’d been saving it for Leighton all these years! Derek and Leighton entered their reception and walked all the way around the large circle their guests had formed, saying hello and grabbing hugs from everyone. Then the whole circle watched on as they had their first dance as Mr & Mrs! The rest of the evening was spent dancing in the tent -Leighton looked like she was having the time of her life! And we wrapped up the evening trying out some sparkler shots.

Leighton & Derek, all the best and thank you for having me as your wedding photographer!
xo Jenn