Cherry Island is a private island in Lake Rosseaux in Muskoka and I couldn't wait to see what I could capture in a very small space or surrounding. I drove up to Muskoka on an overcast day with a few clouds in the sky. When I arrived, I called my bride and the groom promptly picked me up at the dock in the pontoon boat and took me and my gear across the lake to the cottage.
I met my bride and her family and instantly knew it was going to be a great day. I photographed the bride getting ready in the master suite of the cottage, then photographed the groom writing down his vows before their first look session.
The sky was turning dark and ominous and the groom quickly ushered everyone outside to the dock for the ceremony before it started to rain and rain it did, but not without glorious sunlight shining through as well. This was the most beautifully lit ceremony I had photographed in a long time.
As it rained on and off with wind gusts throughout the ceremony, the clouds cleared and the sun came out for family and bride groom portraits. Then it got dark again and the wind howled creating incredible waives around our little island on Lake Rosseaux.
But, the clouds parted again and the sun came out for the most magical sunset first dance photos.
How did you meet? Our families have been long-term family friends, dating back to our grandparents being very good friends. We never really met throughout our childhood but definitely knew of each other. A couple summers ago we re-kindled on Bumble the dating app and the rest is history.
What do you remember most about your first date? Our first date was on his 27th birthday. Derek cooked me an amazing steak dinner and after we sat out on the front sunroom and watched the sunset while sipping on a night cap, which was then interrupted by him taking out his .22 and shooting a skunk in his front yard!
When did you know he was the one? When we first started dating, I knew Derek was the one when he helped me build a dog house for my dog, Sam. I sat back a few times, watching his raw intelligence and carpentry skills at work. I was utterly amazed at what he could do with a few pieces of wood and a few tools. His compassion and generosity for me and my dog made it obvious that he would do just about anything for me, just to see me smile and provide a home for my dog. He is genuinely caring, selfless, and has the biggest heart. Not to mention he's hilarious, extremely brave, an excellent teacher, devoted, and so supportive. Derek is my rock, my home, and my heart.
How did you feel the moment he proposed? Were you surprised by his planning? It felt like such a blur, so many emotions and thoughts running through my mind; it happened so quickly, I was taken off guard for sure. But overall I was ecstatic and speechless. I was I was not at all expecting it, not even any inclination or hints of it about to happen. I was extremely surprised by his planning and secrecy! He did an amazing job planning it, couldn't have asked for a more perfect way to have been asked.
Why did you choose this venue? We chose Cherry Island for our venue because obviously it is absolutely gorgeous. We are an outdoorsy couple, love to kayak and being out on the lake so it was undeniably a perfect choice to have it at a lake house on a private island.
If you could use 3 word to describe the theme of your day what would they be? Laid-back, intimate, and fun!
Memorable moment from your waking up the morning of and getting ready for your day? It was relaxing and stress-free (for the most part)! The girls and I went to the salon for a couple hours in the morning back on the mainland, while the guys swam in the lake, fished off the dock, drank, and cooked up some breakfast. When we got back to the cottage, it was crunch time! We had to set up and get things rolling. I did my own make up while everyone helped set up for the wedding (table, flowers, the dock,, and some food prep). They were amazing help and took a huge load off my shoulders. I remember I was alone in my room getting my makeup done so I had a few moments to hype myself up with some Disturbed radio and a few mimosas (that may have at one point been just champagne...); where I remember looking at my phone for the time and realizing "holy shit... I'm getting married in an hour!" When I was done getting ready, I had called my mother in for a moment to say a few words before the wedding. I knew then, I was ready.
What did you feel and remember from your ceremony? It honestly felt surreal. We couldn't believe that each of us were marrying our best friend in that moment. I remember holding Derek's hands and staring into his eyes, standing in front of our officiant and just feeling giddy, pure bliss, and extremely lucky. Derek remembers the moment where Brynn (his daughter) came down the stairs just before me, looking beautiful and still nervous about carrying the rings. The moment after is when he saw his radiant bride walking down with her mother on her arm, feeling excited and relieved to finally have made it to this moment in life with his wife-to-be.
Who and why walked you down the aisle? My stunning mother walked me down the aisle. She was the one because I had lost my father at a very young age and it was just her and I (and my three brothers) growing up together. She is my best supporter, my anchor, and the most obvious choice to be the one to give me away and even stand up with me.
Comments / Tips about your venue for future couples? They had literally everything there already, so our advice would be to not over-pack or over-think about what to bring. All that's really required was food, booze, and clothes.
Photographer was the wonderful Frances Morency,
Our dinner was self-catered, cooked by our amazing family,
Spotify was our DJ,
Officiant was the lovely Evelyn Coker,
Hair was done by the sweet ladies down at Hudson's Hair Salon in Huntsville,
Florist was my amazing mother with the help of Michael's Craft Store.
What did you talk about during your first dance together? We were happy that we had finally got to dance together! Of our two years together, our first dance was literally our FIRST dance together. Other topics that were discussed were how surreal it felt to finally be married, and how it felt that the wedding planning was finally over! Being buzzed while dancing definitely made it hard to remember what all was discussed but I remember lots of laughing, stolen kisses, smiles and not even hearing the music being so lost in the moment with my new husband.
What did you do together the next day that was memorable? I remember that it was a normal day. I know it sounds mundane and not very special to spend the day after a wedding but it was our real life. Nothing changed over night, it was still our crazy, busy, and normal schedules and life. He went golfing with all the guys in his family and mine, and the girls stayed at the cottage, relaxed on the dock, cleaned up, and drank. I took my new step-daughter fishing around the island and taught her a few fishing tips. We rushed to pack up, checked out at 730pm, and drove the 5 hours back home, hand-in-hand with my new husband, laughing, singing, and having a good time with my new brother in-law and step-daughter. That was our everyday life, and we love every damn moment of it.
If you could tell engaged couples 3 things not to stress about on the wedding day what would it be? Don't stress about the weather - there's nothing you can do about it, just make sure you have a back up plan in case the weather isn't the best.
Don't stress about having the perfect moments and making it an absolute perfect day. The little mishaps, the unavoidable hiccups, and being imperfect is what makes for even better stories. We lost power right after we cooked dinner and never got it back our entire stay. We adapted, fought through it, and still made the best of it. That's our story and it's one for the books!
JUST RELAX AND HAVE FUN! It makes for better pictures and better memories :)