It seems so long ago that I shot this wedding in Kelowna, but it has been on my mind lately. I generally find that I get along well with my clients and have a develop a connection with them as the day goes on. However, every once in a while, I actually bond with the couple in genuine friendship, which is what happened with Alyssa and Cody. Because we spent so much time together before the ceremony, taking first looks and formal portraits, I was able to just hang out with them and their wedding party the whole morning.

Alyssa had planned a perfect timeline for the day, allowing for the wedding party and I to enjoy the photo taking process without feeling rushed. We took our time walking around the resort grounds, and the waterfront, scoping out the perfect locations for photos. And in between, we just talked and got to know each other. It really felt as though I was included in this group of friends which is an honour. Being able to be a part of any wedding day is a blessing. But being able to actually take part in the group dynamic is truly special.

Not only was able to get to know the couple and their closest friends, but I had the extreme privilege to be able to befriend both sides of the family when my second photographer and I were invited to join them for lunch. This my friends, is a rare treat for any wedding vendor. Usually the wedding party is getting ready during the lunch hour so they snack on veggie trays or take out while they continue with makeup and hair. This means photographers and videographers are either snacking on the food they brought with them in between capturing your memories, or missing a meal entirely. So when Alyssa and Cody told us to put our cameras down and eat with them and their families, we were truly honoured and happy to do so. Not only was I able to eat an actual meal instead of ingesting a handful of nuts here or there as I normally do, but I had delightful conversations with Alyssa's father, grandfather, and brother. I also chatted with a mother and grandmother too and by the time the ceremony started, I had shared Instagram accounts and friends requests with half the family.

This made a huge difference when it came time for family photos. We were joking and laughing together and I knew who immediate family were because we had spent so much time together beforehand. I have to go on record here and say that this may be the most efficient family session at a wedding I have ever experienced. This was due in large part to the brides super organized shot list, but also because we were already so familiar with each other. No stress whatsoever!

Fast forward to the reception where I was now fully part of this amazing group of people. I was doing my job yes, but I felt as though I was a guest as well, not just a hired vendor. Usually, I like to make myself as small as possible at weddings so I do not take away attention from what is happening. But here, I mingled, I blended in, I got some of the inside jokes and I felt like one of the guests. When it was time for me to leave, I not only said goodbye to Alyssa and Cody, but I sought out their families as well and hugged them all goodbye.

I always try to give my couples the best possible photo experience. But when they give it back to me I treasure their wedding memories just as much as they do. So thank you Alyssa and Cody for inviting me to be part of your friend group and making me feel like a guest on your wedding day. I will cherish these memories forever!

The Wedding Team

Venue: Summer Hill Pyramid Winery

Wedding Planner: Kyla Petau

Video: Eben Pajanconi

Officiant: Ceremony by Alex

Hair: Ford Salon

Dress: Durand Bridal

Suit: Tip Top Tailors

Dj: Dj Aerodynamix

Cake: Cupcasions

Flowers: Mission Park Flowers