A Morning At Home | Kitchener Family Documentary Photographer

I have known Kerri since high school and through the magic of Facebook, we have kept tabs on each other over the years.  When she reached out to have me come over and photograph her family soon after they welcomed their new baby boy at their home in Kitchener, Ontario, the answer was an immediate YES.

We met on a rather gloomy, overcast Monday, and I was greeted at the door by their doxie Pogo, along with three-year-old big sister.  She proudly showed me her room, noting that it was designed for a big girl, before we brought in her new brother for some (attempted) sibling photographs.  That lasted about 30 and a half seconds, so we decamped to mom and dad's room for some family togetherness.  After mom and dad each had a turn snuggling their new little man, and I had rescued Pogo's ball from under the armoire about 8 times, big sister decided to rejoin us and we managed to take some photos of everyone together (gunny bears WERE harmed in the making of these photos).

Soon it was baby's turn to have his photo taken, snuggled up in a blanket and cozied on a warm fleece. While he fought to get his hands out and show me exactly what he thought of my swaddling, he finally realized that the battle was futile and resigned himself to the shutter clicking for a wee while.  When the squalling started, I left him to mom for a feeding and headed outside to join dad and daughter exploring the backyard.

I made the rookie mistake of filling up her water spray bottle, ending up the very damp recipient of her spray attacks.  Although I may have encouraged that, come to think of it... Mom and baby brother soon emerged and we all gathered up for a few more family photos in front of the neighbour's beautiful fence-breaching lilac bush, with  Pogo watching the proceedings in between ball dribbling and chipmunk chasing.  Pogo finally got his moment in the spotlight at the end, and of course he delivered.  We should have gotten tips from him for the other kids...

Thank you Kerri and Mike for welcoming me into your home and for trusting me to document your family in those first new days of life as a family of four.

M xo

Melanie + Charlie | Ancaster Mill Wedding | Kitchener Wedding Photographer

Melanie + Charlie got married on what turned out to be a gloriously sunny Friday evening in April, after the weather forecast called for snow and rain all week long.  They had their wedding at the spectacular Ancaster Mill, a stunning venue with a waterfall, old stone buildings and a new, light-filled chapel. I met Mel and her ladies in the bridal suite and took a few before heading up to the chapel for the ceremony.  Their families looked on as they exchanged vows and rings, tears in their eyes (and mine too, as usual). As they signed the registry, their niece serenaded them and then they sealed it all with a kiss before walking back down the aisle as husband and wife!  After a toast with their wedding party and a few family photos, we adventured around the mill property and photographed them as a couple, taking advantage of all the cute little nooks and crannies.  As the sun sank lower, we took some wedding party photos before they joined their now-united family for a fantastic meal.

Thank you Charlie + Mel for having me there to photograph your sweet and simple day, it was such a pleasure!

M xo

Moraa + Tyler | Waterloo Wedding Photographer

Moraa + Tyler got married on a sunny fall day on Thanksgiving weekend.  After meeting Moraa at their house to take some pictures of her getting ready, I met Tyler at Waterloo Park with his group.  I love the moment that he read the note from his love, always such a sweet way to remind each other why you are there together to celebrate your love.  The other cool thing about this gang is that the bride had her brother as one of her wedding party and he had his closest gal pal in his, such a fun twist!

After taking some group shots, we snuck over to the church to get ready before the ceremony.  Pizza was ordered and everyone refuelled for the big event.  The guest started to arrive and lots of hugging and chatter filled the space before people took their seats (just so you know, Kenyan Aunties and Uncles are a BIG group and love to chat The sweetest people!).

They shared their vows and absorbed the love and prayers of their friends and family and then were danced and sung out the door over a beautiful carpet of silk, a Kenyan tradition.  We made our way over to the Perimetre Institute to take a few more photos of them as a couple before the horse and carriage picked them up.  After a short (and chilly) ride, they arrive at their reception in the Delta Hotels Waterloo for some good food and lots of dancing.

Thank you Tyler + Moraa for trusting me to document your beautiful day!

M xo

PS Special thanks to my awesome assistant for this day, Rochelle Barber from AboutFace Photography!

Will + Heather | Victoria Park Pavilion Wedding | Kitchener Wedding Photographer

Will + Heather were married on a wet and grey day that was not exactly in the plans.  We all anxiously watched the forecast, fingers crossed that the rain would hold, and by some miracle, not one drop fell while we took photos - amen!

The day started in Heather's childhood home, where she dressed for the day with help from her mom and sister while the rest of her family busied themselves taking care of last-minute details and getting ready themselves.  I loved seeing her Grandmother's dress hanging among photos of the couple and special momentos of their relationship, a kind of vision board of their love to set the mood for the day.

Then I zipped over to the Victoria Park Pavilion, the almost-secret venue in the heart of the city's busy downtown park, where Will and his best man were waiting, greeting guests and making sure their boutonieres were on securely.  The ceremony was full of unique moments and special readings, including a broom jumping!  I love when couples bring bits of their story and personalities into the ceremony, so fun!

After we took some portraits around the park, playing with the (thankfully unnecessary) umbrellas and skirting around mud puddles, we joined their guests for a kickass reception, including the fab Dan Howler Band, who had everyone on the dance floor from song 1.  I have to admit, I have never been to a wedding with a live band but since Will is a local music producer/engineer, it was fitting that the music was off-the-charts awesome. So much so that after my time had officially ended, I packed up my gear and hit the floor to cut the rug for a few more songs before heading home.

Thank you Will + Heather for trusting me to document your love and your day, it was damn fun!

M xo

Intimate At-Home Wedding | Kevin + Anwyn | Kitchener Wedding Photographer

When I think about Anwyn + Kevin. I can't help but smile.  These two people are the most genuine, caring and hilarious people I have met in a long time and I am pretty lucky to now consider them friends.  It all started at their engagement session, when we roamed Toronto and laughed hysterically, creating more inside jokes together in two hours than I thought possible with two people I had only just met.  I knew from that day that I was in for a hell of a lot of fun at their wedding.  I was right.

Their wedding was held in the home where Anwyn grew up, full of treasured memories and lovingly converted to a beautiful ceremony space for the day by her parents.  I arrived to find her getting ready with her awesome posse of gals, singing to Celine Dion and keeping the mood light with her easy laugh and smile.  Her mom was on hand too, cracking us all up (I see where Anwyn gets it) and bustling around to make sure all the final touches were done.  She maybe also suggested that Priscilla be rescued from the boys in the basement. Who is Priscilla?  Well if you guessed a fire-damaged, missing-limbed mannequin, you would be absolutely correct!  And there just happened to be an extra wedding dress lying around from Anwyn's days working in a bridal shop, so suddenly Priscilla was decked out and ready to try and steal the show.  I don't think I have ever laughed so hard in my life during the bride getting ready.  Also, so many happy tears.  The bride recorded a beautiful song to share with her mom as she finished doing up her dress that was so moving that the tissue box needed to be passed around several times.  And when she descended the stairs for her father to see her for the first time, I actually prayed that I even got a few frames, such was the level of I-can't-even-hold-myself-together-right-now.

After finding Kevin putting the on the last bits of his nuptial apparel, I led him outside to standby for the first look.  I love doing a first look, the reactions are always so real and candid when a couple first sees one another and has time to really soak it in.  There may or may not have been a very loud "holy s**t" expressed by the groom when he saw his gorgeous bride.

Now normally, I don't really share too many wedding party/group photos in these posts, but when you have a group of actors around, not to mention parents and family who take themselves not-too-seriously, there are too many awesome moments to leave them out!  Then the star of the show, DRAGON (yes his name needs to be in caps, he is that awesome) the cutest dog ever, made his appearance and doggy kisses abounded.  Having been bathed in canine love, we took some time around the beautiful property to capture the couple together in the fall sunshine.

We took a break to have some supper and thaw out before the guests arrived.  They were escorted to the living room, all set for the ceremony, awash in candlelight and so intimate.  Kevin + Anwyn bound sticks together in a Welsh tradition before exchanging emotional vows.  And as if I wasn't already a hot mess of tears, two of their friends serenaded them with "Make You Feel My Love", with Anwyn taking over to sing the last verse to her new husband.  Pick me up off the floor.

The recessional led right to the front hall for a touching speech from her dad and a champagne toast.  After making their rounds to gather hugs and warm wishes, they loaded into their car Gary and were off to dance the night away with even more friends and family. Best day.

Thank you, Anwyn + Kevin for making me always welcome, for trusting me to be there for every moment of your day and for making me laugh.  A LOT.

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Avon Trail Elopement | Blair + Phil | Kitchener Elopement Photographer

When Blair first reached out to me, it wasn't for wedding photos, but rather engagement photos.  Me, being the ever-so-subtle person that I am, asked her if she was planning a wedding sometime soon.  Turns out, it was VERY soon.  Like the week after we had planned the engagment photos.  As soon as she told me what she and Phil were planning though, I knew I had to photograph their wedding too. They had chosen a beautiful spot for their nuptials, a quiet piece of the Avon Trail outside of Stratford, where the leaves were falling thickly on the path and the bubbling of a little stream was the only sound other than bird songs.  The small group of us picked our way on the muddy trail into the woods, where they tied the knot (literally) before exchanging their vows and rings in front of their parents, children and a dear friend. The boys were gifted a toy lion after a reading from "The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe", a special token of remembrance for the day and the source of much wild roaring and general silliness afterwards.

After the witnesses departed, we spent some time exploring the woods as the sun began to shine.  This is my favourite part of any wedding day, the adventure of photographing the couple together in the first moments after their marriage.  The joy is so pure and the love so strong, I do my best just to capture the moments that pass between them as they soak it all in.  After wading through an ice cold creek with pant legs rolled up (okay, only I did that, because I will do almost anything to get the shot), climbing slippery, leaf-covered hills and generally having more fun than we should have, we emerged to find that most perfect beam of sun bursting through the tree tops.  A few more frames and we said our goodbyes.  The perfect little elopement.

Thank you Blair + Phil for trusting me to take this adventure with you and for welcoming into your lives.  And to my two favourite little buddies, you make me smile and I loved my time with you too!

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Cambridge Mill Wedding | Chris + Cheyne | Kitchener Wedding Photography

Sometimes, you don't get to meet a couple before the wedding day.  It is always a bit nerve-wracking to walk in having no idea what or whom to expect on such an important day.  But as soon as I met Chris & Cheyne, all of my worries were put completely to rest.  They were open, genuine, kind and so in love that I knew we would have an amazing day celebrating their commitment to one another. Having travelled from Australia to be married, they had put their trust in friends and family here in Ontario to pull together the details of their day and they were right to do so - the venue, decor and atmosphere were perfection!  But the real feeling of the day, permeating through every act, word and moment was LOVE.  Between the sweet moments of laughter as they exchanged rings and the tear-jerking speeches, you could just tell that the love they shared for one another, as well as for their families and friends, was something so strong and special.

Thank you both for trusting me to capture the moments that matter and for welcoming me into your hearts for the day.  And an extra special thank you to Chris' mom Fran and  to his whole family, who kept me in the loop and made sure I knew all the plans!

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A Monday Night in the Mud | Kitchener Family Photographer

This family is so rad, I don't even know where to begin. I first photographed them about 5 years ago, after Michelle and I met in a local photographers' group and hit it off. She has photographed my family too and we try to get together as much as often our mutually-busy schedules allow.  But it had been a couple of years since we had a session together and I was jonesing to get them in front of my camera again, since we always have more fun together than we probably should.  Michelle read my mind and we set a date and planned to meet at their home. We got a perfect late summer's eve, full of sun and warm enough to end the session at their fave local swimming hole as promised - perfection.  When I arrrived, their girlies were just finishing an after-school snack and we caught up for a few minutes.  I met the girls' plants and was shown pictures of them as babies before we regrouped in the gorgeously-decorated living room to kick it off.

The one request the family had was to include Bronx, their huge, loveable St. Bernard mix, who gladly obliged by standing like a wall in front of them, soaking up their hugs and spreading his unique brand of hairy, slobbery love.  After he got bored of the adoration, we took a few more inside before moving out into their amazing little courtyard.  Bronx stared at us through the door as the girls climbed on the fence and we goofed around.  Then we made our way around their townhouse complex, laughing and playing until we decided it was time to get ready for the much-anticipated swim (read: the girls were DONE with the "official" photo session). We collected the excited Bronx and loaded aboard the family van for our adventure.

I am going to be honest here - I had such a damn good time riding in the van with the widows down and wind in my hair, happy to be the passenger, that I totally missed this part of the story in photographs.  Forgive me and just take a moment to think about wind in your hair... So good, RIGHT?!

When we pulled up to the swimming area, we soon discovered that it was more mud flats than water fun but we gamely hopped out for an adventure.  Little did we know what was in store.  Before we could blink, the girls were knee deep in mud and the dog was up to his belly.  The kids slogged through the slime and splashed in the shallows, while we adults stood a safe-ish distance away.  But in the end, we were all knee deep in the sun-warmed mud, laughing hysterically as it squeezed between our toes and trying not to land on our butts when we got stuck!  We managed to make our back to the water to rinse a bit before all piled back into the van, dirty, drenched and all happier for it all.  It was a damn good night.

Thank you all for being great friends, awesome people and just a really good time.  Love you.

M xo


Ellis Chapel Wedding | Lorinda + Joe | Cambridge Wedding Photographer

When I first met Lorinda, I knew that we were going to be the perfect match.  We hit it off right away, chatting and sharing stories, she showed me her (FAB) wedding shoes and pictures of her family.  And of course, photos of her wonderful Joe.  We decided it was fate that brought us together (well, fate and Hilary), as I had had three previous requests for the same date but they had each fallen through. Joe + Lorinda's day dawned sunny but cloudy and we all scanned the forecast, fingers crossed for no rain.  I met her at her adorable home, enjoying the fun and relaxed atmosphere, typical of the home of a transplanted Newfoundlander. As I photographed her dress, I noticed there was another dress hanging in the living room, which I soon found out belonged to her mom.  She had worn it on her own wedding day over 50 years before, but as it happened had no photos taken that day in the dress.  So a few helping hands got them both in their dresses and we took a few moments to take those long-ago missed pictures before heading out for the chapel.

I met Joe and his guys at gorgeous Ellis Chapel in Puslinch, an historic and magical place that seemed absolutely fairy-tale like with the simple flower touches and rich wood.  Once their near and dear were seated, the doors were thrown wide and Lorinda's son proudly walked her down the aisle.  Their ceremony was so full of looks of love and bursts of laughter, I was just trying to keep photographing through my tears.

After they received their guests and we photographed all of their wonderful family and friends, we spent a few minutes together taking some portraits of the two of them. Then we headed to the nearby Old Marina Restaurant, where their wedding party awaited on a cool pontoon boat to be carried over Puslinch Lake to the restaurant dock.

They had a sweet first dance, enjoyed a phenomenal meal, hysterical speeches and a little cake cutting.  I took my leave as they were just settling in for a night of dancing and celebration.  I went home with a sense of such rightness of the love between these two special people and I feel so blessed to have been a small part of their day.

Thanks Lorinda + Joe for being so welcoming and generous - can't wait for our next tea and muffin date!

M xo


Suspenders and Tutus | Toronto Engagement Session | Anwyn + Kevin

I made my way down to Toronto on what turned out to be one the of the busiest Saturdays of the summer.  As I battled the traffic that was heading to Caribana, the Jays game or the Rogers Cup, I wasn't sure if I would be able to pull this off, a girl from the small city trying to make it, if only for a few moments, in the big city. But as soon as I first met Anwyn & Kevin, I was put completely at ease.  Their quirky senses of humour, much like mine, and their laid-back, adorable love was going to make this a better adventure than I could have ever imagined.  We quickly dubbed this session Suspenders and Tutus, a gentle poke at Kevin's initial reluctance to rock the trouser-straps and her kickass pink tutu.  Laughing, we set out to make our way around their neighbourhood, which had both lush greens and cool urbanity, lending a really city vibe to our outing.

As we set off towards the waterfront, we laughed about the book that we carried along, a find among Kevin's bookshelves that we found hysterical: "Architecture, Anyone?"  Of course, we had to incorporate this and I love that as an actress, Anwyn played the role of a confused and slightly-bored fiancee as Kevin looked at his fave book to perfection.  What a pair!  We also included a beautifully and intricately carved spoon, a gift from her family in Wales which has its root in the old tradition of a man presenting a carved object to propose to his belle, rather than a ring.  So cool!

We circled back toward their condo, stopping at their local Starbucks to grab a cuppa and take a couple of more frames before we said our goodbyes.  If I wasn't already looking forward to their fall wedding, I am over the moon excited now.

Thank you both for laughing along with me and showing a great time in your 'hood.

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Chicopee Pine Forest Wedding | Ben + Christie | Kitchener Wedding Photographer

When Christie first reached out to me to see if I would be willing to photograph her and Ben's Ontario reception, she had me hooked right away with their lovely story.  After meeting through work in Hawaii and falling in love, they married in a small civil ceremony this past spring and were coming back to her hometown of KW to have a celebration with friends and family on the east coast.  When she told me that it was only going to be the people to whom "you say 'I love you' at the end of a phone call and mean it",  I knew we were going to get along fabulously.  Her grandfather was going to be the officiant, his dad the best man, her sister the maid-of-honour and Ben's son was the ring bearer.  Honestly, I couldn't have asked for a more perfect wedding. Another huge bonus was the fact that the ceremony was being held in the pine forest at Chicopee Ski & Summer Resort, a stunningly beautiful clearing with soaring pines and sweeping green lushness.  Count. Me. In.

The day of the wedding, we started with a first look, with both Ben and little man waiting for the gorgeous bride to arrive.  It was so sweet to see how this family just radiates love and connection.  Right afterward, Christie and Ben said their vows, in private and just for each other - my new MOST favourite thing.  They wanted so much to say the words with deep feeling and sincere honesty, right to each other's hearts.  How I managed to get any shots through my tears is still a little surprising, good grief it was amazing.

Then we prepared for the ceremony, flower petals being laid on the path to the altar and Grandpa taking his spot in front of the guests.  They said their vows again and finally exchanged real rings, after wearing place-holder rings since their elopement.  They greeted all of their guests, many coming from Conneticut to support Ben and people from all over Ontario to celebrate with Christie, who then went to enjoy nibblies while we took our time doing portraits on the stunning Chicopee property.  Big shout out to Mother Nature who gave us the most perfectly-filtered overcast light to fill the forest.  You ROCK.

Thank you Ben and Christie for trusting me to share this special day with you and your wonderful friends and family.  I truly enjoyed each and every minute.

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Ball's Falls Barn Wedding | Alex & Krista | Ontario Wedding Photographer

Alex & Krista are two of the sweetest, kindest and caring people I have ever met and I was so honoured to be photographing their wedding!  Set at beautiful Ball's Fall Conservation Area in Lincoln, Ontario, their combination of rustic charm with warm elegance was the perfect compliment for the historic buildings and natural landscape.  As their closest friends and loving families looked on, they celebrated their nearly 8 years together with tear-inducing vows and darling affection. After we wandered around together taking portraits, we headed back to the charming barn to eat some amazing food from The Dirty South Food Truck - oh my word, it was SO good!  After we were all stuffed to the brim with deliciouness, we danced under the string lights, the crickets filling in the brief pauses between booty shaking.  Finally, the groom pulled his vintage BMW up to the gate and they said their farewells in the glow of sparklers under the night sky.  A pretty epic day, if you ask me.

A special thank you to my assistant and sidekick for this awesome day, Rochelle of AboutFace Photography.  The best voice-activated flash stand and fellow Shep Rep a gal could ask for. Love you, Ro!

Thank you Alex & Krista for trusting me to capture your day just as it was - simple, sweet and so perfect.

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Melanie + Charlie | Mermaid Cove Engagement | Kitchener Wedding Photographer

I met Melanie & Charlie in one of my favourite places on the planet, Tobermory. Our family cottage is there and I have spent many summers enjoying its tranquil beauty. We made our way to Mermaid Cove, a bit of a hidden gem that is more popular with locals than out-of-towners, on the Georgian Bay side of the town.  Featuring the dolomite rocks and pristine woods and waters that the area is known for, it was the perfect spot to have an engagement session. The sun was just lowering as we followed the path out to the shoreline, with lovely little patches lighting up parts of the trail and leaving others in shadow.  Once we got to the water, these two lovers gamely climbed the rocks to hit the best little spots (she did it better in wedge heels than I did in Birkenstocks, I bow down) and just enjoyed the solitude of a summer's evening, taking photos and soaking in the scenery.  They are so easy and natural together, with gentle touches and loving embraces, they made my job super simple.

At the end of the session, they wanted to brave the cold water and take a few shots so with a couple of extra layers on, they took a dip (they assured me it wasn't too cold, but I had been in earlier in the day and I think they were just being stoic - it is never warm in Georgian Bay!). I love the shot of them after they came out of the water, soaked and cuddled up in a blanket - that is love.

I am looking so forward to photographing your wedding next spring, Charlie & Melanie!

M xo


Carri + Graham | Doon Wedding Chapel | Kitchener Elopement Photographer

Carri & Graham had the most simple and lovely elopement at Doon Wedding Chapel in Kitchener on what happened to be the HOTTEST day of the year so far.  You would never know though, the way these two smiled, snuggled and loved their way through our time together.  The best part about a really small wedding like this is the chance to really focus on photographing the couple and their connection, which is absolutely my favourite part of any wedding day. The bride had the most beautiful knee-length dress that showed off her hourglass figure and killer pink pumps.  The groom looked dapper in his deep blue suit and brown wing-tips, with a matching watch and a white rose boutonniere.  We hit the trails along nearby Schneider's Creek to make the most of the lush green trees, trailing vines and blooming phlox.  We even found a cool, rusty, arched gateway and serene bench, which was much needed to get off our feet and out of the sun for a few moments.

Thank you Carri + Graham for asking me to be there to capture all of the moments of your day, enjoy your time in Texas!

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Matt + Lauren | Kitchener Wedding Photographer

Matt + Lauren had the most perfect summer day for their wedding.  Not too hot but not cold either, a miracle for early August.  I started out at Matt's parents' house to capture him getting ready, his sweet Grandma helping him follow the directions for a tricky full Winsdor tie knot and him looking dapper in his custom suit.  I then made my way to Lauren's parents' house, where Lauren was getting into her seriously gorgeous blush princess dress.  With help from her sisters and mom (as well as a well-wishing neighbour), she strapped on her yellow pumps and she was ready to go! The ceremony and reception were held at the quaint and lovely Detwiler Meeting House just outside of Roseville. where we did their engagement photos the year before, but now it was surrounded by tall corn fields and streaming with summer light.  Their ceremony was simple, heartfelt and full of love.  After we worked our way around the property, capturing them in the bliss of newlywed love, playing some lawn Jenga along the way, they headed inside the tent to celebrate with their friends and family with a mashed potato bar and lots of other awesome nosh.  The selfie booth was a big hit and when the S'mores bar got set up, I knew it was going to be a great night.  I made my exit (mouth full of S'mores) and left them to dance the night away.

Thank you Matt + Lauren for making me a small part of your day and for being so welcoming and kind.

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Krista + Alex | Kitchener Engagement Photographer

I met Alex & Krista at the beautiful location for their wedding this summer, Ball's Falls Conservation Area.  Yes, we laughed every time we said it, but seriously, this is a gorgeous location!  With historical buildings and forested haunts, we had plenty of room to roam. Even though they were nervous that they would be awkward or shy in front of the camera, these two brought their A-game to this session, snuggling and laughing and not taking themselves too seriously.  The BEST.  I think they even surprised themselves by how damn hot they looked together, but I knew that their chemistry and love for one another was genuine and authentic and that always shows through on camera.  High school sweethearts, this fab couple are perfect for each other.

I am looking so forward to photographing their wedding in July, to celebrate their love and new life together as friends and loves.  I am so grateful to call them friends now and I hope they know they won;t get rid of me any time soon!

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2015 Year in Review | Kitchener Family Photographer

I can hardly believe that 2015 is coming to an end. What a year! I don't know what else to say to you all but THANK YOU.  Truly, I feel so blessed to have been a part of so many beautiful moments of love, connection, laughter and fun.  Between simple, heartfelt weddings full of love and high-energy, laughter-filled family sessions, I hardly know how to count my blessings. This coming year promises to be another one full of great memories, moments of love and joy, and watching people let their happy shine.  The weddings I have this year make me giddy with excitement and I simply can't wait to see all of my favourite families, another year older but with the some love and laughter that holds them together. This year I want to explore those places and moments that make a family or a couple who they are.  You backyard, a favourite park, going for ice cream, a day at the beach - whatever it is that defines your life and love.  Because those every day moments are where some of the best memories lurk, just waiting to be captured.

So if you want to continue on this adventure with me, I can't wait to find adventure with you and those you love the most.  Let your happy shine and I will find a way to catch it for you.

See you all in 2016!

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