Last summer, most of my weddings took me out of town. I got to visit Bonavista several times, Twillingate twice, Brent’s Cove, Baie Verte, Cannings Cove, Gander Bay, Grand-Falls Windsor, Clarenville, Bishop’s Falls and Terra Nova National Park and all the places in between. It was wonderful. Even though doing out of town weddings means I am not at home on the weekends, I get to meet amazing people in towns I don’t normally get to explore. But Bridget missed me so I focused more last year on booking St. John’s weddings for this summer, and that’s what the universe sent me. However, the universe must know me better than I know myself, because it sent me two weddings on the same weekend in Fortune. I haven’t been to the Burin Peninsula since I was about ten years old in the backseat of my parents car. I was thrilled to go.
By coincidence, not only were both of my weddings that weekend in the same church, but both brides were named Jennifer! Richelle and I had an amazing time at Jenn and Luke’s wedding on our first day in Fortune. It was windy and wild outdoors and we had so much fun working with elements.
On Saturday, Jennifer and Sheldon were going to get married in the exact same conditions- in fact, the wind had picked up substantially but the sun was shining. It was going to be another great day! I didn’t know what hotel I was headed for when I left St. John’s because Jennifer made the reservations, but I am still missing the most comfortable bed in the world at Hotel Fortune. Trust me when I say even though it was super tempting to sleep in on Saturday morning until it was time to head to the wedding, I woke up ready to explore! We started out with a breakfast visit to our new friend Brenda (who makes the best pan fried cod!) at the Stage Head Cafe and then set off to look for photo locations!
When it was time to stop our adventuring, we headed over to find Sheldon and his boys getting ready for the ceremony. And then Jennifer at her parents house… Jennifer’s gorgeous dress from The Bridal Salon in St. John’s was made for her! And then it was time! We headed back to All Saint’s Church for the ceremony. I loved this church because it is so bright and Reverend Buffett is so welcoming and not only let me go where I wanted, but actually took the time to suggest that I go to places I normally wouldn’t in most churches!It’s always sad when the Flower Girl gets upset walking down the aisle. Being a Flower Firl is hard work- I know this first hand because I recall clear as yesterday being 4 years old at my Uncle Brian and Aunt Angela’s wedding. I was petrified as I walked up the aisle in my hat, gloves and itchy crinoline puffy dress-crying the whole way. Grown-up Amy had all I could do NOT to walk down the aisle to give out encouraging hugs.Sheldon was one excited groom!
I couldn’t believe how excited these two were to see each other. They are SO expressive. You could actually see what they are feeling by the looks on their faces!
With Jennifer and Sheldon now both Bishops, we headed off to Abbie’s Garden, just outside of Grand Bank for photos!
And then down to the harbour where the sun had dropped low enough to make amazing light for us!
I loved this little harbour and and could have spent another hour there if I had it, but we had a reception to get to!I loved this little harbour and and could have spent another hour there if I had it, but we had a reception to get to!You know it’s going to be a fun wedding when this character is the the MC! This reception was so fun because it was totally full of shenanigans! I didn’t mention to anyone aside from Richelle and the staff at the hotel and restaurant that I wasn’t feeling well that weekend. I have never in my life called in sick to a wedding so I loaded up on Buckley’s and cold meds and Halls and anything else I could find before I headed out to the weddings. As everyone was eating, and talking and making speeches and laughing. and the most amazing sun set happening outside, I was burning up with a fever. I was aching from head to toe and that comfy bed was calling my name. I wouldn’t know until I got back to St. John’s but what had me not feeling well was Pneumonia in both lungs. Aside from feeling sick, I was dying inside because I knew were were missing an incredible sunset- but it just wasn’t possible for me to grab them to go outside.
When I finally got my chance to whisk them away – it was so close to dark I wanted to cry. We had planned all day that I would take them to the lighthouse at sunset and it was too late. It was no ones fault and sunsets can’t be paused, but I don’t like making promises I can’t keep so I said, “We will see what we can get out of it.”
It was a bit of a drive and we had no time to get there but I really, really, really wanted to use the Helipad at the Fortune Head Ecological Reserve. When we toured around on Thursday night, I saw it and I pictured it as a dance floor. I didn’t think, with the light being what it was that I would get that chance to make it work. As Richelle ran down the hill with lights, and me with my bags, I knew I had to do what I could to make the most of it. I pushed my cameras to the very brink of what they could do in terms of ISO (their sensitivity to light) because it was too dark to see your feet as you walked down the hill and it was hard to get the camera to focus.
But we did it! These photos are magic to me because I remember the feeling in the pit on my stomach as I was taking them. Focusing was next to impossible because of the dark and I wouldn’t know until I got back to my office if they had worked. I wasn’t confident that anything came out and with wind gusts enough to blow you off into the ocean, Jenn’s hair blew down and I was devastated. It might have all been for nothing.
When I did get back to town and pulled them up I cried all over again. It did work. I didn’t break any promises and proved to myself that I can do whatever I put my mind to, even if I was very sick, even if it was hard, even though I <almost> had myself convinced that I would certainly NOT make it work. It would have been really easy to say, ‘It’s too dark now, have drinks with your friends, we got lots of photos today.’ But I wanted these so badly-and I got them. From a technical stand point, they are a little grainier than I would have liked because of the super high ISO, but in my mind, these photos are my favourites images I have taken since I became a photographer. They are the test I aced. They are the challenge I met. They are my trophies.
And then when it was in fact completely dark and everyone was cold and wind blown we headed back to the reception…
I don’t think I have ever seen more connected and emotional Father/ Daughter and Mother Son Dances in my life. And the shenanigans commenced again when this crowd hit the dance floor!This. This image is my favourite photo I have ever taken. Jennifer and Sheldon, thank you for choosing me to be your photographer. Thank you for trusting me to go on ridiculous adventures. Thank you for braving the wind at the end of the of the world and being amazing to work with.
My heart is full as I deliver your images and I hope you love them as much as I do.