June: Cassandra and Iain's Crystal Palace Wedding in Prince Edward County
Cassandra and Iain are people that I knew a little bit, when they still lived in Kingston. I think we were both on the periphery of each other's circles, but we never really intersected. And then they left, moving to Vancouver and then to Ottawa, and I followed their antics in the occasional post on social media. When I got the opportunity to photograph their wedding, I was excited to get to know them better - and I was right to be happy! They are such a great pair - funny, interesting, a huge crew of great friends and family. They were really interested in creating an amazing day for themselves and for the people they love.
Their Picton wedding at the Crystal Palace was lovely, just exactly what you'd like to see take place in that beautiful building. Kids played soccer in the setting sun on the field outside, gourmet doughnuts from Ottawa were served for dessert and Black Dog Catering prepared an amazing meal (I went back for seconds).
A really wonderful day, ending in a gorgeous early June evening.
They got married after ten years together. It was a beautiful September day, the first day of fall. The world was still green and beautiful. Love and laughter was in the air.
Roberta got ready at their home in Gananoque. Her friend, who is a makeup artist, did her makeup, and her sister did her hair.
Flowers were everywhere: all over the counters, on the table. They gave rich colour & brightness to the indoors. Three cakes stood atop the counter, too. Roberta cracked open champagne, shared it with her friends, sisters, and mother. Then everyone helped her get into the dress, pulling on the corset straps as tight as they would go. Roberta positively glowed.
Outside, it was late afternoon. The ceremony was a brief walk down the street, at the back grounds of the Arthur Child Heritage Museum, a beautiful and freshly renovated place.
Gulls flew overhead as guests sat on chairs facing the calm waters of the St. Lawrence river. Picture-perfect day for an afternoon wedding.
Things were going well until Dave dropped Roberta's ring.... Luckily it didn't bounce off the concrete dock into the water, and he stealthily retrieved it, and slid it on her finger, and then they were officially married.
They signed the books and shared a passionate kiss, after which the festivities began. Speeches, a boardwalk stroll under darkening pink skies, dancing, cake-cutting, silliness, more laughter, love, and joy.
A wonderful cocktail wedding, in a wonderful venue, with some fantastic folks. I hope the photographs help recreate the atmosphere of the day.
As a personal aside, it gives me great joy to photograph older couples tying the knot. We see so many young couples, new love, etc, on social media. It is a little rarer to see older couples' wedding photographs. Many middle-aged or older couples might not share their photographs online. I am happy to be able to share these photographs, as there ought to be a celebration of love in young age, middle age, any age!
(Posted by Viara)
All photographs ©Viara Mileva Photography
We didn't pick the name 'Quirky Love Photography' out of nowhere, you know.
We picked it because we love all things different, in an age where homogeneity reigns.
'Quirky' is in the eye of the beholder. 'Quirky' can take on many meanings.
For us, quirky things stand apart from others in a good way. Our clients can be quirky, because they're searching for something real in a photographer. Our photographs can be quirky, because they are presenting real and humorous or joyous, or authentic situations. We aren't afraid of the raw, the real. Not only that, but we have an unwritten (ok, it is written now) mission to present as much of the captivating reality as is necessary to make you believe us when we say: real is best.
Our personalities can be quirky, too. We have strong opinions on photography. We stick to our guns. We are often posting photographs that we love, all the rest be darned.
There is a few things quirky isn't. Quirky isn't gimmick. Quirky isn't trend. Quirky is on point, relevant photography, with a strong purpose in mind. Quirky doesn't worry about the latest 'must-do' shot lists seen on wedding blogs or on the interwebs at large.
Quirky isn't going to change one of the most important days in your life: it will make you re-live it.
And now, we present our top choices for Quirkiest wedding photographs of 2017:
What can we say? We love it. It's our absolute favourite part of any wedding. Weddings are a celebration and we don't think there's any better way to celebrate than by having a dance party. We love the faces, the movements, the wild abandon, the romance, the groping, all of it. More the better.
It's our bread and butter. DJ, live band, or iPod on shuffle, we're in.
We're secret voyeurs, so you'll always find us at our happiest on the dance floor, cameras and flashes in hand, and dancing occasionally as well :).
Here are our choices for our Best Dancing Wedding Photographs of 2017!
Portraits at Weddings!
We know what you're thinking. Our favourite portraits are not those kind of portraits. Not that there's anything wrong with traditional images, because there isn't. It's just not what we do.
Yes, of course we'll take some nice group family shots and some lovely images of the happy couple together. It's an important day and people have traveled from far and wide to see you. Those images are meaningful.
However, our favourite portraits from weddings are the ones that are out of the ordinary, ones that are grabbed from the action and that pop out at us while we edit. Our favourite portraits are almost never posed (but sometimes) and are often filled with humour, love, seriousness, and a bit of quirk.
Here are our favourite portraits at weddings from 2017!
Kids at Weddings
Viara and I are both family photographers as well as being wedding photographers. Weddings are gatherings of families, and friends who are so close they might as well be family. And with families often come kids.
At weddings, kids know it's an event out of the ordinary. They're excited, full of energy, showing off their fancy clothes, and often making full use of the wide open dance floor for zoomies.
Kids at weddings round out the serious bits with laughing, playing, and loud stage whispers. Kids refuse to eat the main course and get cake all over their faces.
Kids have fun.
In the name of fun, here are our choices for our favourite pictures of kids at weddings!
Happy almost weekend! We've decided to do a series of blog posts of some of our favourite wedding images from 2017. We've split them up into categories that we think make sense for our quirky sensibilities. These are some of our favourite things to photograph at weddings - the dance parties, the kids, and the energetic and occasionally chaotic pre-wedding prep. That's the focus of this week's post.
We've heard people question the value of photos before the wedding, but we feel it's one of the more intimate and special parts of the day. We get a chance to get to know some of the people you've surrounded yourself with on what is arguably a pretty important day. Some of our favourite images from each wedding we shoot come from this part of the day.
We'll also be doing an overall favourites post and a "Quirky" favourites post, where we'll explain why we love the images, why we took them, and what made us choose them in the editing process, so watch this space in the coming weeks for our favourites!
Without further ado, here are our favourite "Getting ready" images of 2017!
This wedding landed in my lap. Or maybe Quirky Love landed in theirs. I'm not sure, the only thing I know is that I drove home to Kingston that evening thinking I'd been a part of something out of the ordinary.
Cristal and Nathan married at Sandbanks Provincial Park, well after the park had closed for the season, when the colours of leaves had already well changed. Cristal and her family have a close connection to the park, and the whole event took place at Maple Rest Heritage House. Their daughter walked down the aisle with Cristal, with Cristal's mother and niece in tow. After the ceremony, the guests and wedding party walked the dunes together, enjoying one of the last warm days of our summer-like fall.
Cristal's sister took great care in creating a beautiful and intimate dinner setting, complete with candles and lace. There was a bonfire, marshmallows, and even pre-cut sticks for your roasting pleasure. The atmosphere was as warm and as welcoming as I have ever seen.
Cristal, Nathan, and their family members and friends were so friendly and chatty, I had to remind myself that I wasn't actually related to anyone there. "What a wonderful start to married life," I kept thinking. Of course, Cristal and Nathan already had a life together, but this symbolic day represented another jumping-off point, one that represented the co-mingling of two families and groups of friends. A true celebration.
Congratulations, Cristal and Nathan: To Wonderful Starts!
All images below © Liz Cooper
They’re adorable, they’re quirky, and they work miraculously well as a team. But enough about Liz and Viara…
Ok, that description actually also fits Matt and Laura. Add to that that they have this deep love for each other, which they can easily communicate with nothing but a secretive glance. We’ve had the pleasure of photographing them as a couple twice now, and both times it was obvious that they just get each other. Like, unconditionally and unabashedly love and understand and support each other.
So, then what else is there to say about it?
We can tell you a bit about their wedding, and then there will be some photographs.
This is how their magical day, October 14th, went down.
I met up with the boys in Belleville as they got ready. They actually had finished getting ready by the time I arrived, so I quickly hopped in the car with them to Marmora, to Laura’s parents beautiful property backing onto the early autumn-coloured woods.
The car ride was memorable for its corny jokes. The kind of jokes where you don’t laugh. But you actually laugh in your head. (Sorry guys). And cute nervous vibes. Guys are funny that way. Try as they might to hide it, they do get nervous before their big moment. Matt was no different.
When we got to Marmora, things were already looking hobbit-y (the wedding took inspiration from the Lord of the Rings, after all). On a small wooden gate hung a white sign, hand-written in Tolkien-esque script that said, ‘No admittance except on party business’.
And of course we were there on party business, so we went in.
Inside the house, Laura got ready in the room she grew up in. Surrounded by friends and well-wishers, everything was familiar and warm. She even wore lace-topped socks from her childhood.
Outside, everyone assembled and found seats on long hay-bale benches topped with white cloth. The ceremony began with a LOTR soundtrack playing from a small ghetto-blaster to the side. The bridal party wore earthy browns and oranges and reds, and Laura wore a crown of matching flowers in her hair.
She walked the aisle with her father and Matt greeted her with a smile. At some point Laura’s own smile turned to happy tears, and then the two were wed.
While Liz took charge of family photos, kids played with leaves nearby. The day was warm and overcast, the sky one giant softbox washing gentle light onto the world.
Then everyone made their way to the reception hall for a night of dancing, cupcake-eating and celebrating.
I had a cupcake. (Ok, I had two...)
There was beer shot-gunning outside, bouquet-tossing, garter slinging, and a whole lot of laughs. Grandfathers gleefully danced with granddaughters for hours, children chased each other barefoot, did gymnastics, and made silly faces; and the father of the bride was documented absolutely nailing the worm on the dance-floor.
I have photographed Laura a few times, but I’ve never seen her this happy. Matt was positively beaming at her all night.
So: love, family, friends, laughs, kisses, and cupcakes. Isn’t that what life’s about?
Laura and Matt: you found in each other the one that you’d rather share one lifetime with than face all the Ages of this world alone. That, my friends, is deep love.
We wish you a lifetime of happiness together.
A couple of months ago, I got to meet and second shoot for the lovely Jenna Simpson (About Image Photography). Here is that story, along with some of my favourite photographs of the day.
The wedding was in Belleville, on a family acreage surrounded by beautiful late summer Ontario country. Everything shines golden at this time of year with swollen crops before the harvest.
The guys – the groom and his closest men - got ready quickly and without a fuss. They leant each other helping hands with the suspenders, and at one point, the blind pug made an escape. There were a few ‘Men in Black’ moments, which thrilled the suit-loving side of me.
The limo ride to the farm was full of energy and expectation. Blue Bud Light fuelled the feeling.
A picture-perfect ceremony setting awaited, overlooking fields of green lined with apple trees.
To the left, a large tent for dinner and dancing, and a smaller tent over the bar. And beyond that, the fanciest outdoor toilets you ever did see, complete with glass sinks and music.
The guests started to arrive. They found seating and the groomsmen, lined up in a row, trained their gazes on the approaching limo, from which emerged a beautiful mother and daughter pair, dressed in white. The bride beamed, a gorgeous crimson red kind of smile.
The ceremony was lit by high sun, making the greens greener, the blues bluer, and the happiness in the air almost electric.
Afterwards, cocktail hour (definitely a highlight) quietly rolled into dinner hours, Jenna took portraits outside while guests milled around. Kids played, music rang out, lanterns were released after dusk, and the DJ kept the dancing alive for hours.
I thank Jenna for asking me to be her 2nd shooter that day, and I wish Julia and Nathan happiness and marital bliss, with all the vibrant colours of a shared life lived well.
- Viara Mileva (all photos below are Viara's)
Liz & Viara
We want *real* love, raw, & unplanned. unposed. Quirky Love hits the streets looking for the type of love that doesn't need fuss.