Mike and Esther’s wedding the other weekend was my third time photographing at Cole Hill Farm Estate. I love Cole Hill Farm! The landscape with the old stone house, the big brown barn with paddock, the lovely lake, the rolling hills… I could go on and on. It is absolutely inspiring to photograph there. Three thousand pictures later, and I still have tons of new image ideas when I step onto the property! And Mike and Esther’s day did not disappoint: beautiful weather, loving and gorgeous couple, happy families and friends, wonderful details and stories. Boy, did Mike and Esther know how to bring the estate to life. They focused their wedding festivities around the house, where we did the family pictures, and had coolest cocktail hour inside the barn! It struck me how truly amazing it is for one space to feel so unique to each wedding held there. It’s like the embodiment of my wedding photography – if me and my camera were an estate!
Their wedding took place over two nights with the family pictures and ceremony happening on Friday and the cocktail hour and reception happening on Saturday (Esther wore her amazing white gown with black embroidery details on both days). I thought it was just brilliant – not only did Mike and Esther get to have a small, intimate wedding ceremony, but they also got to celebrate it with everyone. And from a photography standpoint, everyone was fresh and willing for the formal portraits, and then there was tons of time for photojournalitic candids (which I suspect they secretly preferred). I loved capturing the little moments like, during cocktails, when I caught their family and friends photographing them, paparazzi-style.
Moments before the ceremony was to begin (at one of the oldest churches in Kingston), the priest told me not to use flash during the ceremony. I kind of secretly love challenges like this – I feel like they’re blessings in disguise. If I hadn’t been forced to think about how to use the near non-existent available light of the church without flash, I might have missed something – like photographing Mike and Esther’s entrance as a silhouette. I loved that they walked together down the aisle. It felt especially personal with Mike and Esther.
Special thanks to my super-talented second shooter, Ellie, who, at every wedding she shoots with me, makes pictures I wish I’d made!
I checked in with Esther about this idea of making a bridal portrait of them in the graveyard before trying it. I wanted to be sure that she wouldn’t think it were too gruesome or weird. But with this particular church, some of these tombstones date back to the 1600s – initials etched into the bluestone carefully by hand. It felt like a good omen to me – that their marriage would be equally precious and lasting. Plus, it really looked cool in the dappled sunlight.
Congratulations again, you two!