I have a confession to make: I was nervous for this wedding.
You see, the thing about photographing weddings, the thing that gives professional wedding photographers the edge over nonprofessionals is experience. After you have shot, 10, 20, 30, 100 weddings you get a pretty good idea of how they tend to go down. And knowing how they go down gives you the ability to anticipate things before they happen so that you have the right lens, the right camera settings, and you are in the best possible spot to capture them when they do. There is a comfort in this experience that makes you feel like you 'got this', like your skills and experience and wedding know-how will carry you through.
But here's something about weddings:: they're not all the same.
Especially when they are, say, a Sikh wedding ceremony, and you are used to shooting your standard issue 'North American/Christian rooted' event.
So despite the fact that I have shot 110+ weddings, I'd never shot a Sikh ceremony before (Hindu, yes. Thai Buddhist, yes. But never Sikh). And so, I was nervous for Brian and Simrun's.
Prior to their big day, I watched hours and hours of Sikh wedding videos on YouTube. I read countless articles explaining how Sikh weddings go, and what each ceremony means and symbolizes. I scrolled through tons of other photographer's Sikh Wedding photos. I didn't want to miss a single significant moment, or inadvertantly create any major faux pas or taboos. Fortunately for me, Brian and Sim believed in me whole heartedly, and were happy to answer any question I had.
Guess what? The day went off without a hitch!
There are too many significant moments for me to mention here, but I would suggest that if you're interested in learning more about Sikh wedding traditions, you check out this site and this site.
If you ever have the oppurtunity to attend a Sikh wedding (or a wedding of any culture/religion other than your own!) I strongly advise that you Carpe the hell out of that Diem and go. Go with an open mind, ask questions, be polite, be humble, and have fun. Life is so short. Any time that we have an oppurtunity to broaden our horizons and experience something new is a gift.
Thank you to Brian, Sim, and your incredible family and friends for the gift of this experience. I hope we did your day justice.
I'd also like to thank my AMAZING second shooter (and good friend) Shauna, who kicked serious butt (as per-usual) and was such a wonderful help this day. She is responsible for all of the Groom's/Guys getting ready photos that you see below, as well as all of the dance-floor photos. Shauna has a REMARKABLE skill (and passion) for dancing photos and her work truly is spectacular. She is based in Vancouver and her 2019 is filling very quickly.
I had the immense pleasure of photographing Laura and Bodie's super intimate wedding all by myself, one overcast day in August.
These two lovebirds may only have had 9 guests at their ceremony and reception, but that didn't stop them from over looking a single, gorgeous detail. Their ceremony arbour & set up was one of the most striking I have seen to date!
Just moments before Laura walked down the aisle, we felt a few ominous drops fall from the sky, but miraculously the rain held off until well into the evening. I personally love the mood of a grey wedding day, and I think it married perfectly (pun intended) with their decor and ambiance. I would not have changed a thing. Not one thing.
The ceremony and reception was hosted beautifully at RedStone Golf Resort in Rossland BC. After a blustery ceremony on the green, their handful of guests were invited onto the (covered) patio for champagne, hors d'oeuvres and a beautiful dinner.
August in the Kootenays. 'Tis the season for two things:
2. Forest Fires.
Hayley and Adam got married on one of the smokiest days of the year. Though our immediate area was not threatened by fire, our region (and nearly the entire southern part of the province, it seemed) was cloaked in a thick smoke from the fires that ravaged so many communities the North, East, and West of us.
Many photographers shooting in these conditions will spend countless hours in photoshop and lightroom trying to "edit out" the smoke... but, personally, I kind of love the eerie ambiance that it created. There's something so beautiful about a bride as lovely and delicate at Hayley, against a gritty, smokey-filled sky. Edit out the smoke?! Not a chance.
This extremely large wedding party was a ton of fun (and a lot of work to wrangle!) Hayley and Adam are so lucky to have so many wonderful friends who were keen to celebrate their love. Even though I often have to use my loud, stern, photographer's voice to keep rowdy groom's men in line, I truly would not have it any other way. I love the happiness and joie de vivre that cames with a big wedding party and wouldn't have it any other way.
The ceremony, with over 200 guests, was hosted beautiful at the groom's parent's home in Fruitvale, BC. Afterwards, guests were invited to the Fruitvale Memorial Centre for dinner, and merriment.
As with the majority of my weddings this year, a shout out to Jesse for all his help. Also a shout out to Apex Multimedia who were present doing videography. I don't often get to work with videographers but it's always a treat when I do. Other vendors include:
Hair Styling: Luca Hair Studio, & Jones & Co Hair
Makeup: Alex Hitchcock
Flowers: Jill Colussi
Catering: Kootenay Catering
Cake: Sweet Dreams Cakery
Videography: Apex Multimedia
DJ: Kootenay Sound
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Hilary and Jeremy said 'I Do' on the hottest day of the year. 42 degrees celsius with humidity to boot. To say it was 'hot out' would be an understatement. Between photo ops, you could find the bride and groom (but mostly the groom) chewing ice and being fanned by whomever happened to be standing by and had a spare hand. It was uncomfortable and sticky, but depsite the heat it all managed to be completely magical as well.
This beautiful couple had a small ceremony for family only, with a big party reception being planned in Mexico later this year. The very intimate guest list made it possible for the bride and groom to hold the event at the lake-house of very dear family-friends. It's no secret that I adore itty-bitty weddings like this where the couple has quality time to spend with *every* guest, and the love and commitment of the couple takes center stage rather than pomp and pagentry.
After Hilary and Jeremy's super sweet first look on the dock, we board a boat and headed to the North End of Christina Lake for portraits in a jaw-dropping old growth forest. Hilary's gown against the backdrop of those sky-high trees was something straight out of a fairy tale. Not to mention, the temperature in the forest was a few blessed degrees cooler than out on the lake, and I don't think any of us ever wanted to leave.
But leave we had to because these two had a knot to tie! So, back on the boat we went to make it to their ceremony on time.
With Christina Lake and the surrounding mountains as their backdrop, Hilary and Jeremy exchanged vows and became husband and wife.
With portraits done before the ceremony, the couple was now free to enjoy cold drinks and appetizers with their 20 guests while waiting for dinner to be prepared. The incredible meal was a combined effort of the couple's parents, as well as the owners of the lake-house and generous hosts of the event. We dined on the groom's mom famous (and oh-so-delicious!) meat balls, beef tenderloin, and so much more! It was really special to have these wonderful family recipes featured at such an important event and really went to make the day that much more poignant.
A special thanks to Deb & Munro Pickering who graciously hosted the event at their wonderful lake-house, and Mozel Tov to the beautiful bride and groom! This was such a wonderful wedding to be part of. My only regret is not being able to stay for nighttime a swim in the lake before my drive home.
Earlier this summer I had the pleasure of photographing this incredible family. Jennifer & Christie and their beautiful boys live in Alberta, but came to The Kootenays as part of an awesome summer-break roadtrip. Jennifer booked this session with me many months ago, and we had been planning things every since via email. Since they were staying at a picture-perfect AirB&B in Nelson, we decided to do part of their shoot as an 'in-home' family session.
Jennifer's partner Christie knew about the family session that we had planned, but she did not know that Jennifer planned to propose during the shoot.
We started the session at Kokanee Creek Provincial Park, and shot there like a normal Family Session. We really had a blast! Afterwards, we went back to their Air B&B for some 'in-home' style photos. Unbeknownst to Christie, while we were away at Kokanee Creek shooting, Danielle of Wild Smile Events had snuck into their AirB&B and set up the ultimate proposal!
We returned from Kokanee Creek and I had Christie 'show me around' their Air B&B. I casually suggested we start upstairs (where I knew the proposal stuff had be carefully set out). Once we got to the top of the stairs. Christie was met with gorgeous water-colour paintings that Jen had secretly been painting and compiling for the last 6 months.
Each painting depicted the setting of a signiciant moment in their relationship. Where they first met. Where they first kissed. Where they first said "I Love You'". As we walked from photo to photo their love story unfolded itself and brought us to the present day.
After Christie tearfully observed the final painting, Jennifer had her look over the loft railing to the dining area below... Where their boys stood holding a beautiful metallic sign which read, "Marry Momma and be our Mom forever too"
Jennifer immediately pulled out a ring, and the two shared some really beautiful, personal moments. The boys joined us upstairs immediately after, and I will never forget when one of them sweetly, and so excitedly asked, "DID YOU SAY YES?!"
I could not be more thrilled for this beautiful family. These two women are pilars of strength and love, and are doing a hell of a job raising these two boys together. I am humbled to have been part of such a momentous life event, and to have been trusted to do my part in capturing it all as it unfolded.
Of course, none of this could have been possible without help from Danielle at Wild Smile Events. Danielle did so much work behind the scenes; gathering, prepping, and setting everything up absolutely perfectly. This whole event was very much a team effort, and it went off without a hitch thanks to Danielle's careful planning and attention to detail.
Claire and Mark's Red Mountain Resort Wedding was entirely too much fun!
The day started out with the ladies getting ready at Claire's family home in Rossland, and the fellas getting ready at one of Red Mountain Resort's spacious luxury cabins. The two groups met up mid-day for a sweet 'First Look' in the bride's parent's backyard. I set up their processional song (Tenerife Sea, by the incredible Ed Sheeran) to play on my iPhone while Claire nervously approached Mark from behind. The look on Mark's face when he turned around and saw his gorgeous bride-to-be in her gown for the first time was so, so, so special. I love First Looks!
Breaking with tradition, Claire and Mark opted to do their portraits *before* the ceremony, so after their 'First Look' we headed to the Rossland Resevoir for some photographs (and much needed shade! It was HOT that day!)
Wrapping up portraits, the wedding party climbed about their Shuttle and we all departed for Red Mountain Resort, where everything was set up and ready.
Claire and Mark said 'I Do' at the feet of Rossland's gorgeous Red Mountain and the setting could not have been more perfect! I never tire of the amazing backdrops that accompany so many of my Kootenay Weddings!
With portraits already done, the couple was free to mingle and enjoy their cocktail hour. Guests nibbled on some of the most delicious bruschetta that I have ever tasted, sipped on beverages from Red Mountain Resort's well stocked bar, and enjoyed the absolutely perfect summer afternoon. All too soon it was time to move in for dinner, which marked the end of my day with this beautiful couple and their wonderful friends and family.
Special thanks to my fabulous Second Shooter, Jesse, for his continued help this season. I love watching Jesse's skills and confidence blossom as the season progresses and am always excited to see what sort of golden nuggets he'll have for me on his memory card at the end of the evening. Thanks for being awesome, Jesse!
Hair: Andrea Bedin
Makeup: Emily Kjelshus
Flowers: By the bride's family.
Venue & Catering: Red Mountain Resort
I received an email from Jennifer in JANUARY of this year regarding her upcoming family trip to Nelson, BC. Ever the planner, she wanted to book a lake-side family photo session while in my beautiful corner of the country.
It is certainly a bit unusual to receive a Family Session booking six months in advance, but I was stoked to work with them and eagerly wrote 'July 2nd. Jennifer Fam Session. Nelson.' into my calendar.
As July 2nd approached, I exchanged a few phone calls and emails with Jennifer as plans for their session evolved and took shape. By the time I finally met her & her family in the day-use parking lot at Kokanee Creek Provincial Park, I felt like I was meeting a familiar friend.
This session was such a joy! Jennifer and Christie are so in love, and make such a wonderful team. Their lovely boys were bright, engaging, and oh-so-sweet. I fell in love with the 4 of them immediately and did not want this session to end.
This session was actually a 2 parter. We did the first half at Kokanee Creek Provincial Park, and then returned to their incredible Loft Air B&B for an 'in home' style session afterwards. I am sharing just the Kokanee Creek portion of the shoot now. You'll have to stay tuned for the 2nd half.
Tipping in today's day in age is a hotly debated subject. Many who are navigating the uncharted waters of wedding planning ask themselves which vendors they should be tipping, and how much. Do you do a percentage of the cost of the service? Do you do just a flat $$ amount? Should you even tip at all?
I am here to help you answer the question of whether or not, and how much, you should consider tipping your wedding day photographer(s).
I've had the distinct pleasure of knowing these two grown up human beings for about 5 years now. We met a lifetime ago before our precious babies entered our lives and turned our worlds upside down.
We've shared countless glasses of wine, laughs, long talks, and even the occasional disagreement. They are the sort of people you can call on when you need someone to come over to help you put down your new hardwood floor, and the sort of people who text you randomly with the titles of songs that they think you would like.
Sadly, they are also the sort of people who are moving 800+km away in just a few short weeks.
I am both incredibly excited for this new chapter of their lives, and extremely bummed that they will no longer live just up the road. Saying 'so long' to good friends is never fun, but I find that it only gets more difficult as you get older and more rooted. Every depature feels like losing a little piece of your own self, and every goodbye feels more permanent.
May they find greener pastures and a sense of community in their new home. We will miss them terribly, but are determined to go to Vancouver Island for an epic roadtrip adventure & visit them soon. I hope that these photos remind them of their time here in the Kootenays and put a smile on their face for many, many years to come.
Friends, you are loved and you will be dearly missed.
Every photographer has a client in their mind who they would describe as their 'Dream Client'.
The "Dream Client" varies depending on what type of photography you do, and what sort of art you create. Dream Clients don't just match a certain aesthetic that a photographer is looking for, they also 'get you'. They are comfortable in front of your camera & you click on a personal level. It also doesn't hurt if they are well connected socially and eager to sing your praises to anyone who will listen, thus drumming up incredible business for you via positive word-of-mouth. Dream Clients are diamonds in the rough. They don't come around often, but when you find one you KNOW, and you go out of your way to keep those people in your life.
Sara and Bergen are Dream Clients.
I shot their wedding a few summers ago and have been desperately, hopelessly in love with these two ever since. We have kept in touch over facebook ever since. When they annouced that they were pregnant this past winter, I was over come with joy for them (so over-come that I literally had a near-arrest experience... but that is another story for another time).
I quickly emailed to ask Sara if she'd like to do an in-home newborn session once the baby arrived (and when I say 'ask' I mean BEG). In true Dream Client fashion she was keen, and promised to send me a note once the little one made it's big debut.
A few months later I found myself at Sara & Bergen's Castlegar home, with their brand new baby Lola and red-headed big sister Dimer. As most big sisters do, Dimer worked relentlessly to steal the show while I was there, and I'd say she darn near succeeded.... However, Lola's amazingly perfect head of standy-uppy blonde fuzz-hair kept the focus right where it should be; on the babe.
I am so in love with Lola, and so in love with Sara and Bergen (and Dimer!) and could not be more thrilled for this growing family. My heart grew 4 sizes the day I found out that Lola was entering the world, and another 6 sizes the first time I laid eyes on her. If you're doing the math, that means that my heart is now 10 sizes bigger than it was before, and I'm not sure how much more of this I can take!
So much love. So, so, so much love.
35-years-young, Tamara Boden is a Family Portrait & Wedding Photographer out of the 'Kootenay' region of south-eastern British Columbia. She loves being right, going on adventures, snuggling her dogs, husband, & baby boy, roadtrips, indie/off-beat weddings, chubby babies and making people laugh. When not behind the camera or at her computer, you will find Tamara planning her next big trip, seeking out the perfect cup of coffee, and counting all of her infinite blessings. Thanks for stopping by!