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!
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! :)
There are some people who come into your life that excite you. That give you a reason to do what you do. Who fascinate you, who make you curious as you were at 5 years old.
Ava and Naseem did that for me. Essentially it was their love story that did it for me. If it could become a movie- I know a director would eat it up, produce it and all of us love fanatics would be there opening day. Well I kind of got to be there opening day...that is- their wedding day.
Ava was heading home late one night and was hoping to catch the last metro car ride. Waiting in Guy-Concordia metro... along stumbled Naseem who also didn't want to miss his last train home. Their paths crossed and unbeknownst to them, forging a bond stronger than they could have imagined. The last train never came and they spent that evening together on the streets of Montreal talking, connecting, letting sparks fly.
As time passed, they became a unit and eventually nestled into a beautiful St. Henri apartment where they spent their time planning their wedding. Photos were a very important part of their day. Both Ava and Naseem are creative artistic people who appreciate all that Montreal has to offer and wanted their wedding to reflect that, but not put them over budget.
I was soo SO impressed with how perfectly they pulled it off. Everything was thoughtfully chosen..including her dress which she personally HAD DESIGNED... made just for her. (girls- isn't it incredible?!!?) They chose the most unique restaurant- Bar Furco for their wedding, guests were able to enjoy fresh watermelon cocktails and incredible mouth watering food. Carmel from Atelier Carmel designed all the floral arrangements which matched the venue wonderfully. And Le Marais Event Design set up every corner with delightful decor providing cozy ambiance throughout the restaurant. Guests were swept away by not only the beauty surrounding them but by the love these two share.
I'll never forget this wedding, their story, their connection. It was truly an honor to be a part of telling their story. Please enjoy the day which unfolds for you below... and which must start off... with an image from inside a metro.... where their story began.
As I prepare for one of my last weddings of the year, I'm also plugging away, furiously editing my 2017 wedding season. It's been busy, it's been fast and it's been days of dodging thunder and lightening storms while brides and grooms are cozying up to one another... being the best troopers there are. ( I definitely cannot dodge the tropical rain we're getting but what can you do?)
Y&D live in New York and chose to get married here in Montreal where they got engaged..where they come often for a getaway and where they find themselves making new memories together. C'est parfait, non?
When we discussed what their day would be like- they explained how as it's as much a celebration of their marriage, they really wanted to capture their family and friends. With that in mind we started with the getting ready moments at the Ritz Carlton surrounded by their closest girls and guys... with some champagne to go around too. It couldn't be more serene and full of joy. Even though rain was in the forecast, *surprise surprise* it held off for their first look..and the rest of the portraits.. thank goodness!
Their ceremony was complete with a true Persian Table called the Sofreh. Laiden with sweets and other items, each item representing a different element of the new couple starting their life together.
Although the rain came.... no one noticed as they enjoyed their canapes along with their bubbly and the incredible sound of Maz Band who are SO good live. There were moments where I was singing along to my favorite songs forgetting all together it was a live band. Their renditions of old and new hits were spot on.
We snuck out mid way through the evening to get some romantic night time shots and I must say, it was totally worth it. Thank you so much Y&D for being easy going and flexible on your big day. Having all your friends and family arrive in Montreal proved to be a huge act of love and with good reason. You two are so beautiful inside and out. Please, accept my many thanks for allowing me such an honor to document your day and I can't wait to see you next time...but in NYC!
It's so much fun to help make dreams come true. To see a relationship from the beginning stages all the way to the last dance on the wedding day, and even beyond that- enjoying a picnic with said couple just last weekend. Cindy said she always wanted me to photograph her wedding...and she'd follow up with "NOT that it's going to happen anytime soon but WHEN it does!' I stored that thought in my Rolodex for the time being. As we watched their relationship grow and unfold, their connection was strong. Her attentiveness to him with a simple wink, back rub or kiss was all signs for the inevitable. ... a wedding was going to come sooner than we all expected. Sure enough.... that day came on June 3rd.
Cindy-Rose and Jono.
Two fiercely in love people who have found their soul mates in each other. Many have said Cindy Rose and I are similar and we do not disagree. Both having started our roots in New Brunswick yet we only met here in Montreal- she's so down to earth, a little loud at times ( and she'll thankyou for that compliment!) who is passionate about everything she believes in. How could you not love a girl like that!? We think the same on many topics and I grew to love her more and more.
Jono is much like my hubby Ben. Intelligent, kind and always looking to help others, he's a soft spoken man with so much to give. Once he opens up you meet a beautiful person who knows what he wants and truly got that in his wife Cindy.
Being able to travel to Kitchener Ontario to document their mid morning wedding was super exciting for me. Yes, even to be in Kitchener Ontario, I love photographing weddings in new locations. It sparks the creativity, allowing new ideas to flow and fun photos to be taken. Their wedding was intimate with only the closest friends and family. Truly a treat to be a part of it.
On that note, enjoy these images taken on their wedding day. I bet you'll smile as she smiles and laugh as he laughs in each image. Gosh I love these two!
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