Ashley MacPhee Blog | Montreal Wedding Photography | Engagement Photographer..
Ashley MacPhee's style is modern and style-driven, uniquely designed to capture the real and spontaneous moments as they naturally unfold. We travel internationally and are ready to discuss your needs, wants and desires for your photos on your wedding day!
Ken I've known for over 10 years, when I first moved into Montreal. His laugh is bigger than life and he's got a beautiful personality to match.
Josie I met when they came to visit Montreal a couple months ago. While we chatted over a delicious meal at the Burgundy Lion, I knew that she was a perfect match for Ken. Attentive, kind and loving all his jokes... yep... she's the one.
Getting the opportunity to go to Windsor Ontario to photograph their wedding was something I was very excited to do. I love travelling... no matter where it is. My personality thrives on change and there were a lot of elements that gave me not only change, but challenge! Of course- one of them being that in May- the weather is not always super pleasant. We had rain, but it didn't stop us from going outside to make the best of it.
The day was perfect regardless of what the skies gave us because these two know how to make lemonade out of lemons. And in marriage- you have plenty of those days.... so why not make the best of it?
I know for myself, the next time I'm feeling blue, I'll be going back to this blog post to cheer me up. Because beautiful happy people light up everyone around them... and Ken and Josie- you both do exactly that.
When Jane came to me through my website, inquiring as to whether I do New Years Eve weddings, my ears were perked right away. I wanted to hear more, I wanted to tell their story.
Jane and Jan thought everything out to a tee. They wanted to spare nothing, to make sure their friends and family had the time of their lives. SO obviously no better date could be chosen than December 31st for their Montreal Wedding. Guests came in from Toronto and surrounding areas to enjoy the festivities. The venue was very important to them as well, and the Fairmont Queen Elizabeth had finally opened their doors to unveil their new venue - L'Espace C2 on the 21st floor which overlooks ALL of Montreal. This would be the first Queen E wedding and trust me, it will not be the last. With floor to ceiling windows and multiple levels, it was a dream come true.
The scene was set but before all the dancing, dining and balloon drop, (yes you read right) Jane and Jan had their first look in the hotel bar - the very sexy Nacarat providing an old world meets new world modern vibe. Here they enjoyed a drink with their closest friends before they arrived on the 21st floor for more cocktails, mingling and tear-inducing speeches. We whisked Jane away for her dress change, where she transformed into an effortless gorgeous bride. She was ready to get the ceremony started and then the party!
It was a celebration to remember. And we're especially thankful they trusted us to go outside in -40 weather to take literally 10 photos before we all HAD to go back in before freezing to death!
Everything thus far was a first for me and for many of the guests who arrived from Canada.
At the end of the night, on the bus ride back to the hotel I cried. Pure exhaustion, and feeling like I crossed the finish line of a race I didn't train for. 9 years of photographing weddings had nothing on the past 4 days. Yet I made it.
Those same emotions flooded again once I edited the last image of this wedding. To be so connected to a couple for over a year. To be a part of many ceremonies, dedicated to their love. To explain their story one click at a time.
Speaking of their story, It started with their Canadian Wedding. Then at the end of November it was off to New Delhi India to document their traditional Indian Wedding. You can see the photoshoot we did here and their Devagon ceremony here . I have added below a few images as well of their lively and entertaining Mehndi Raat! (Can we please have choreographed dances at Canadian weddings?!!?!)
The richness of Deepti and Scott's wedding will be ingrained into my memory forever. Filled with intense colors of red and gold, much celebration and of course, lots of love.
Have you ever been in a situation where you kinda sorta know the gist of what's going to happen but really, you have no clue? Hopefully you have the time to do some research to better prepare yourself. But are you really fully prepared?
That's how I'd explain and describe India as a whole. More specifically Deepti and Scott's 3 days of ceremonies and celebrations for their Kashmiri Wedding in New Delhi. Deepti was amazing at de-briefing me more than once on the customs and the rituals and while I took all the notes I could and researched until my face turned blue, it wasn't enough. I had to go in with open eyes, my senses fully heightened ready to capture IT ALL. 10,000 photos later, I think I did.
The Devagon was especially unique in that it was an outside ceremony- fairly relaxed and open for us all to see. I love how they make it a public ceremony, letting guests come in and out through it's entirety. One thing I learned is how arduous Indian weddings are. And no, not for me (although to be honest, I've never worked so hard in my entire 9 years of photographing weddings) but rather for the bride and her parents. The emotional weight of it all, preparing their daughter to be no longer their little girl but now married and truly, one with her husband was POWERFUL. Also, it's 3-5 days folks. Sometimes LONGER if there are two different cultures merging together. Normally I hold it together while shooting weddings. Afterall, it's my job to capture the moment, not be IN the moment. But I fought.... I fought back countless tears. I felt their feelings as many of us did.
At the end of this ceremony, they had a traditional Kashimri folk singer and band. We all laughed, ate until we ached and prepared for the next chapter - the Mhendi Raat ! Stay Tuned!
SO! Let me share with you some of those beautiful moments, starting with the day before- her 4+ hour henna preparation. Which yes- took 3 skilled artisans to do. Talk about mesmerizing!
Remember how in my last post I said 'more on that later' maybe ...more than twice!?! Well...here comes just that. Not only did I have the immense privilege to document Deepti and Scott's gorgeous Forest and Stream Club wedding here in Montreal, but I also was given the opportunity to travel literally ACROSS the WORLD to India, to document their India wedding for the better part of 5 days. Yes... 5 days. It was sooo exhilarating. I've never photographed so many images in this span of time but it sure was worth it. And I'm beyond excited to share my favorites with you all over the next couple months!
Here are some of my absolute faves from our Engagement Session in New Delhi, India. Specifically we wanted to go for a romantic feel paired with an urban India feel. I think we nailed the two! First we went to the Humayun's Tomb in New Delhi, India. This massive tomb was built in the mid 1500's by Humayun's first wife for him and took 9 years to complete. On the premise, many other smaller tombs (although no less beautiful) have been built for other nobles. (they also make a first appearance in the photos below! It's hard to describe the meticulous design in words, and honestly, even in photo. One must go. One must experience.
One of the first things I noticed was how peaceful it was there. In all the days I was in India- this was by far the most peaceful 2 hours I had. Between the constant honking, talking, yelling and overall intensity of New Delhi I made sure to soak up every moment we had at this Unesco Heritage location. It wasn't too hard on the eyes either, nor was Deepti's breathtaking gown she wore!
If I could appropriately describe Deepti and Scott, I would definitely say they are a very hard working couple who appreciate.. and I mean TRULY appreciate spending quality time with those who mean the most to them. To me, that is such an important balance in life. It's so exciting to succeed in work, to gain acknowledgement from your peers and boss but it's even more important to reward that hard work and to share it with the oens you love. When you find your soul mate who you can do all of that with- then you might as well wear a badge of honor because to me- you get 'it'. You get life and you're going to enjoy every minute of it.
I have had the absolute honor of getting to know these two over the better part of a year. (I am sure you guys didn't realize how much I'd be a part of your lives with 2 weddings, 2 engagement shoots and a few other details in between ! )
Deepti and Scott made sure not forget the simple things on their wedding day. Like how Scott and the boys enjoyed a very intense game while the girls got ready. But Scott didn't forget about his lovely bride.... as he sent her on the hour cards that he had written, describing exactly how she must be feeling in that moment, and how excited he was to soon call her his wife. Tissue please! Seeing their energy even when not face to face was powerful.
Deepti's roots started in India and they both made sure to include beautiful gifts which they had for all their guests. These included bangles, sandals and other goodies.
As the women entered the tent for the ceremony, I noticed right away their gorgeous saris. My eyes danced back and forth not only at the beauty of their clothing but also the warmth of their smiles. this was the start of my lesson in Indian culture, one which has profoundly changed my life. ( Yes.. more on that later)
Scott and Deepti's ceremony was perfect. Even tho the rain poured down. Even though there was a damp chill in the air. No one cared.. and no one let it stop the celebration. While we didn't get sun....it didn't change the mood at all. Including the final part of the night when D&S made sure to pull out the chinese lanterns for everyone to toss into the air. And at the end of the night..there they were... working hard yet enjoying every moment with those they love the most. I knew that the next wedding in store for these two would be nothing but life changing.
There are so many beautiful locations in Old Montreal. And just when you think you've photographed in them all, a bride emails you and in her description of their wedding day, opens up the door to a new spot, which is absolutely breathtaking in every way.
I introduce to you, the Chateau Ramezay which is located directly across from the City Hall of Montreal. It is a historic building which dates back to the 1800's, and from what I read it use to be home to political leaders. Too cool! But the day I went to the Chateau, politics were pushed aside and I got to photograph Kat and Eric's beautiful sunshine filled wedding. It couldn't be more beautiful with the lush rows of greenery and the teal blue dresses worn by her lovely bridesmaids.
Smiles and laughter are infectious. Mel and John had an ample supply of both during their wedding day and it was nothing short of pure bliss. One thing about weddings is that each couple bring their own energy and charisma, which is never ever replicated the same way in another wedding. The uniqueness in Melissa and Johns relationship is something that anyone can feel in the images below. Their eyes were only for each other, and it was John's goal to just keep this day light, fun and to make sure Melissa was laughing the whole time.
Chris and I couldn't help but join in with the jokes and good cheer, because truthfully, that's just who we are through and through. There could not be a better match for couple/photographer ratio!
They decided to tie the knot at the L'Auberge Saint Gabriel which has the quintessential old world vibe mixed with rustic cozyness. Their hotel where Melissa got ready is actually attached to their wedding venue- it being the Springhill Suites Marriot. Located in Old Montreal, this venue is perfectly situated, so we didn't have to go far at all to take our photos and still be back in time for their ceremony.
Documenting this wedding was one that left a perma-smile on everyone's faces, including ours...and we hope we can tear up the dancefloor again like we did with you both Mel & John! Thankyou for such an awesome day!
Inspiration comes in may forms when taking photos.
Sometimes it's the light... sometimes it's the location.... sometimes it's the couple. In this case of Sophie and Mike's shoot...it was all of the above and more.
They are my inspiration. For marriage, for love, for that deep connection that never left. They are proof that marriage can be passionate and fun after 5, 10, 20, 30 years!!! Their secret? Keep thinking of the other person and what you can do for them. Be sexy for each other. So folks..I've got some more work to do... and I'm taking their advice! Happy 31 years Sophie and Mike!
Having come from New Brunswick as many of you know- I didn't get to experience much culture. I'm not slamming home... it's just a fact. Now mind you, things have changed greatly over the past 10 years and indeed there is more diversity than ever, which really makes me happy every time I go back to visit.
One of the great things about Montreal in comparison to all other cities in Canada is the melting pot of people, culture music and food. Being such a small island, Rather than be segregated in their own "little pockets" every culture molds together. And if you can't think about what you want to eat or see on any given day....especially in the summer Montreal will take over part of the downtown and will GIVE you a festival to highlight a certain heritage... a country... and all their bright beautiful expressions of life. Now I have a reason for this mind thought...
It got me thinking- a wedding is just that. A festival of sorts. It's a day that brings people together to celebrate, to embrace culture, music, tradition and yes...it involves food. Lots of it! For Louise and Charles day they incorporated their Chinese Traditions, showing much honor to family. It also included their Canadian heritage as well, melding the two harmoniously. It started with Charles working hard through his door games before he got to see his bride beautifully decorated in a traditional Chinese dress. Two separate tea ceremonies took up the greater part of the morning but it didn't just stop there. There was a dress change, the exchanging of vows and yes.... even karaoke at the reception! They wanted for their photos to be lighthearted, fun and to include the campus where they went to school and met- McGill. Every detail was planned out... every moment had meaning... it made for such a beautiful story.
This job allows me to tap into some of the most unique visuals, which is something I never want to take for granted. I hope that what you see next enlightens...and gives you a sort of festival to enjoy... a festival of love, of laughter, of Chinese tradition. And it may make you wanna order in some Chinese Food tonight! :)