ottawa family photography | staci, dan & camille

It's a great privilege to follow people with my camera as they hit milestones in their lives. It's even sweeter when the people in front of my camera are friends. Throughout the past few years, I've been with them for their engagement,  wedding, family portraits with their first child, and most recently, to document Staci's maternity as they awaited the arrival of their son. You guys, you know I love your whole family, and I am so excited that baby Stuart arrived safe and sound since we last saw each other. Congratulations on beginning this next stage in your lives!

national arts centre wedding | meriem & rocco

If there's one thing that's certain, it's that Meriem and Rocco have a life full of love and adventure ahead of them. Between Meriem's bright spirits and easy laugh and Rocco's caring nature and propensity for extravagant surprises (planning a fake party to catch Meriem off-guard when he proposed; sending over pearl and diamond baubles from Tiffany on their wedding day; planning a secret honeymoon to Italy!), their path ahead is sure to be paved with great joy. Together, they have an easy way about them. Wearing constant smiles and sharing frequent embraces, they seem happiest when standing side-by-side, or with hands intertwined.

Family bonds were at the heart of their wedding celebration. Rocco's family owns several beloved Italian markets in Ottawa, which offer great food and top-notch service to their customers. The stores have a loyal following of chefs and nonnas alike, people who come in so often they are greeted on a first-name basis and always leave with delicious goods to feed their loved ones. They are purveyors of food, but they also stoke the fires of home and family and shared memories. As an indication of the quality of their customer relationships, their wedding emcee was one Rocco's shop's customers!

It was at one of these shops where Meriem and Rocco first met, worked alongside each other, and fell in love. As I mentioned in my previous post about their engagement, it was also where Rocco proposed to Meriem, surrounded by candles. There's something powerful about so many important relationship milestones happening in one special place, don't you think?

Their day was seamlessly planned by Julie of Chic Wedding Planners, the talented and dedicated expert with whom I had the pleasure of working for Jenna and Phil's wedding last fall. Julie made sure everything went even better than planned. Ottawa's National Arts Centre was a perfect venue, with spectacular views of some of the city's most beautiful architecture. The menu featured countless Italian delicacies and a delectable couscous dish that paid tribute to Meriem's Algerian heritage. Her sweet father gave a lovely, tear-inducing speech in English, which was especially impressive as English is not his first language, or his second, third, or fourth!  In perhaps the cutest moment, one of Rocco's adorable nieces shyly serenaded the crowd in her nightgown before heading off to bed. Later in the evening, a gelato bar from local favourite Stella Luna served up frozen treats to their guests. Family and friends laughed and feasted and danced together under a clear, starry sky.

Mer and Roc, thank you guys so much for inviting me to capture your beautiful day. I hope your honeymoon in Italy was absolutely magical and I wish you a long lifetime of happiness together.


Venue: National Arts Centre  //  Coordination and styling: Chic Wedding Planners  // Photography: Dallas Curow, assisted by Brian Fauteux  //  Dress: purchased at Luxe Bridal  // Gelato bar: Stella Luna

ottawa wedding | jennifer & paul

Jennifer and Paul's first date only lasted three minutes.

Always one to offer a helping hand, Jen was volunteering at a charity speed-dating event that was run by some of her close friends. She was happy just hustling behind the scenes and making sure things ran smoothly. When the organizer approached her in a panic to say they were short female participants, she begged Jen to fill the spot. Although she was at first reluctant, she happened to notice a man with curly hair and twinkling eyes walking in the door at that very moment. Suddenly, she changed her tune.

"I'll do it!" she said. "I have to meet him."

Somewhere in the rotation, they were finally seated across from one another. Although they both describe their first, fleeting conversation as being a wee bit boring since they only discussed their respective careers in tax law and advocacy, they both left feeling the potential for a much deeper connection.

It wasn't long until Paul got in touch with Jennifer, this time requesting a "slow date."

Just a few short years later, their wedding day arrived. The amount of work and love that went into their day was truly astounding. Every little detail was artfully considered, the styling was remarkably cohesive and lovely, and the mood was jubilant. From the moment Jennifer stepped into her gown in their bright and airy apartment to the final, toe-tapping singalong of the after-party, their wedding day was fun, warm and romantic from beginning to end.

Jen and Paul, thank you so very much for inviting me to be a part of your day. It was such a treat to document your amazing vision and your impeccable décor, to meet your sweet families and to celebrate with your friends. You have so many people who rally around you, and who are so ridiculously happy for you two. I wish you a lifetime of happiness, "activities," adventure and love.

Meanwhile, Paul and his groomsmen prepared for the day in a nearby hotel.

Jennifer and Paul first saw each other in Strathcona Park. They chose to see each other before the ceremony so that they could relax together and have plenty of time for portraits at various locations around the city.

Then we headed to the Somerset Bridge, where Jennifer and Paul secured their custom engraved lock alongside those of so many other lovers and threw away the keys.

We joined the rest of their wedding party for portraits at this lovely inlet.

Then it was time to head to the Glebe Community Centre, where the day would officially kick off!

This incredible wedding cake was made by Jennifer's mother, Heather.

They shared the most romantic and graceful of first dances...

The evening wrapped up with a rousing rendition of Bohemian Rhapsody, led by Paul on the piano. It was magical.


Venue: Glebe Community Centre  //  Officiant: Sue Kellison  //  Photographer: Dallas Curow Photography, with Brian Fauteux  //  Catering: Todric's Fine Dining and Catering  //  Florist: Bloomfields Flowers //  Cake: Heather Grosse (Mother of the Bride)  //  Bride's dress: Maggie Sottero, purchased at Alliance Bridal  //  Bride's shoes: Cole Haan  // Fascinator: Weddinglab (Etsy)  //  Makeup/hair: Texture hair salon  //  Jewellery: Howard Fine Jeweller and Master Goldsmiths  // Bridesmaids' dresses: David's Bridal  //  Groom's attire: Surmesur //  Groom's shoes: Luca del Forte  //  Favours: Beeproject Apiaries  //  Programs: Parcellsland (Etsy) // Musicians: Beth Tait (Vocals), Jeremy Penner (Piano), Brett MacLean (Vocals, Guitar), Sandy Taronno (Vocals, Guitar, Piano), Dan Wiebe (Vocals, Guitar)  //  Guestbook: MDBWeddings (Etsy)  //  Chairs: Simply Chiavari

ottawa engagement | meriem & rocco

Rocco wanted his proposal to Meriem to be a grand surprise, so he planned two separate events: the real proposal and the fake party Meriem thought she would be attending. In order to pull off planning both a romantic proposal and an elaborate ruse, Rocco enlisted the help of Julie from Chic Weddings. Together, the set the scene where he'd pop the question by beautifully decorating their shared workplace where Meriem and Rocco first met. Then, in order to give Meriem a reason to dress up, they created an imagined special event, and popped just one very official looking invitation in the mail.

On the evening of the "event," Meriem was all dressed up and ready for a night out. Through a series of staged events, Rocco explained that they would have to stop by their work on the way to the party. When they walked in, the space had been transformed from an Italian fine food shop to an impossibly dreamy table set for two. Truly surprised and overjoyed, Meriem did not hesitate to say yes.

I met these two sweethearts at Ottawa's Central Experimental Farm for their engagement session. It was a gorgeous, expansive place and we had tons of fun wandering around together in the late afternoon sunshine. Meriem and Rocco, I am so very excited for your wedding in just a few weeks! Enjoy every last moment of your engagement and I look forward to celebrating with you soon.