I just returned from Montréal, Quebec where I had a pleasure of shooting Bianca and Robert’s gorgeous wedding… and taking my first official trip to Canada! Ok, so I’ve been there once, but it was only for about 2 hours to buy a car with my former roommate.
Anyway.. How did I end up all the way in Canada AND the OTHER side of Canada for that matter?
Well that’s simple… about 14 years ago I worked in Florida and met a guy, who grew up with another guy, who at one point served in the army and met another guy, and guys 2 and 3 later took a cruise where there were some loud or creepy other guys that creeped out some girls but it was ok because guy number 3 is loud and American-sounding-guy so the girls hung out with guys 2 and 3 and girl number 1 fell in love with guy number 2 and because girls 1 and 2 lived in Canada and guy 2 was in love they decided guy 2 would move and they’d do that whole marriage/love/forever thing so guy number 1 was like “yo john, guy 2 and girl 1 are doing a thing and you gotta come over for that” and I was like “Sweet.”
Told you. It’s totally simple.
But really though. I used to work with a guy named John. John’s childhood friend is Robert, the groom. John’s wedding gift to his long-time, childhood friend? My wedding photography.
Ok, maybe that was easier. But the first way of explaining it way more fun sounding.
As I’ve said before in other write-ups on weddings, it’s hugely flattering to be asked to fly somewhere for work. And I’ve been very fortunate to fly cross country for weddings many times.
This was my first international wedding I was booked for.
And after making sure, a few times, that Bianca and Robert had reviewed my photography and approved of John’s gift to the two of them, I started making plans with John regarding travel and details.
“I want lots of photos..”
That was basically the main request Bianca had as we started exchange emails and work out details for the wedding. I tend to stay out of the bride’s way during planning until things get close to the actual wedding weekend. I checked in a few times, and I asked Bianca to start thinking of any images she liked or wanted for her and Robert. And, while there were a handful of specifics, the majority of it sounded largely that she just wanted to make sure she would have plenty of shots to remember things by.
And that can be easier as far as requests go.
So, as usual with my huge wedding recaps and write-ups, I’m going to leave a lot of the details for the captions. Save to say that I had an absolutely wonderful time with Bianca, Robert, and their families and friends. Everyone I met in Canada was incredibly welcoming and very friendly. I would definitely travel back to Montréal again whenever that chance comes up.
Click past the break below for a HUGE collection of images, seriously it’s like 600 photos, from Bianca and Robert’s massive wedding celebration this past weekend.
Friday evening we all arrived at the church for the rehearsal
John and Uncle Brian chatting before things get started. Uncle Brian was the first family member I met and totally set the tone for the weekend with his super friendly attitude
Minister David explaining how things are going to go for the rehearsal
Getting everyone arranged
Mr. Olszenka was laughing and saying “THANK YOU, THANK YOU FOR TAKING HER!”
Bianca leaned in for a big dramatic kiss, but Robert was too busy laughing
Walk through Number Two
This practice kiss was a bit better
Afterward a handful of us and the wedding party went to eat, and then back to the hotel to get some sleep before a very, very long day
Arriving at 7am the girls were all already awake and starting hair and makeup
Bianca’s Babcia (grandmother) checkin’ out, and loving, her style. She was the flower girl for the ceremony
Plenty of snacks for the breakfast
Harvey was hanging out with the ladies that morning. Bianca’s parents kept calling him out of the room, but he kept coming back and laying down. He knew where the party (and the food) was at!
Gifts for Dad
Harvey, no so subtly begging
But he got plenty of love from Bianca from that morning
And lots of hugs and kisses
Dad coming in to see how things were going.
He was all smiles all day
Bianca was so excited watching everyone’s hair and makeup come together as she walked around checking everyone out
Bianca joked that her shoes might be too sparkly for a wedding. No way. You get that sparkle on for a wedding. Rock it out
And after all the girls it was time for the bride to get her makeup started
Harvey chillin with Alannah and Emily
Ally was doing Bianca’s makeup for the day
And Ashley was busy with Bianca’s sister Katrina
I headed over to the Uncle Brian’s to meet up with the guys. I was a little surprised they weren’t dressed, but it was because they were busy with the videographer doing interviews.
Nick was half-dressed and copying his speech onto paper so he wouldn’t have to hold his cellphone for the digital version of his speech he typed up
If I recall, Robert said Captain America is his favorite superhero… but I’m sure there’s a joke about him the American marrying a Canadian in there somewhere
Nick came in to help Robert with part of his suit
And then Dad came in to help with the rest
Mr. Irizarry looked so proud while he helped his son
A new pocket watch, a gift from dad
Babcia was watching Bianca getting ready smiling all the while
Bianca’s hair starting to come together
Katrina getting the dresses lined up
And Bianca all smiles and excited to see everything hung up
I don’t think any of the girls were too excited for a pjs photo, but look how cute you all looooook with your hair and makeuppppp!
Greg and Meghan made cutesy moments like him helping her with her dress strap too easy for photos
And anyone who needs tips on a proper reaction to seeing your girlfriend dressed up, just watched these two. I missed the photo of Ben’s reaction to seeing Alannah dressed up. But I assure you it was great.
Upstairs Bianca was getting zipped up in her dress with Mom
Making sure that clasp is tight
Some help with the earrings
Sonia helping with the garter
All the girls were pinning their dress clasps – I assume because of all the dancing ahead and you just can’t be too safe. haha!
Some help with the veil from Kim
Dad was getting some help from Mom with his vest
Then he saw Bianca walk out in her dress!
Big hug for Dad
All the ladies ready to go
I kept Bianca a few extra minutes to do some quick portrait shots of just her
Then she ran over to the window because all the boys were down below getting in the limo
Bianca was so excited to have her Grandmother there as the flower girl. But it seemed like Babcia might have been more excited to be part of it all. She powered through all the rehearsal walks the night before despite family insisting she needed to sit and not walk so much, and was in such high spirits all morning with her granddaughter and family
Sonia reaching up Bianca’s leg and Bianca laughs and tries to balance. Bianca decided to just put the garter on later rather than wear it since it was catching her dress
Time to head out!
Arriving at the church I found Robert and Nick quietly chatting in the back room. Robert was watching guests arrive and naming who they were to Nick
Emily and Sonia walked by and saw Robert and stopped to say hi
Dad came back to see his son, too
Little Noah was mostly ready to go, too!
Outside Bianca was waiting in the car
Minister David came to say hi and explain the order of events for that afternoon
Robert was walked around the front and right past Bianca! Nick telling Bianca to hide and also turning Robert away!
Robert escorting his Mom and Dad down the aisle
Minister David getting things started. He actually stopped the procession that had started. The reaction by the wedding party was a mix of shock and laughter! Honestly, it was great. Everyone was just like “Whoops! We thought we were going!”
Even John, Nicole, and Ben walked around to the back to re-walk their entrance! Emily was laughing pretty hard about it from what I could tell
Nick escorted Noah, with the Ring Security box!
Flower Girl Babcia!
And then Robert saw Bianca walk through the door
Dad getting the veil
Kisses for Mom
And a big hug and kiss from Dad
A huge hug for his new Son in Law
Minister David getting things started
Welcoming everyone here to witness Robert and Bianca’s vows
Robert watching Bianca
Approaching the alter
Beginning with the exchange of vows
And next was the exchange of rings
And a blessing
They’re laughing because while stacking their hands they were trying to do it in the correct order – I’m honestly not sure if there’s a correct order to begin with, but you know what I mean
Another short reading
Next was to sign the paperwork – but most of this was largely already done, which is typical at most ceremonies.
A few more short things to say by Minister David
And the official presentation of the Bride and Groom!
Mr. and Mrs. Irizarry
Lots of laughter, they did it!
And plenty of hugs and congratulations quickly followed
Mr. Olszenka was so proud
Noah was willing to pose! QUICK TAKE THE PHOTOOOO
Putting the last signatures on the paperwork
Looking great you two!
Robert was getting his Michael Jackson moves going!
Super cute – I need to remove that sign though
Grandma made Bianca and Robert wait because she wanted a photo with the car!
Getting loaded into the car with that dress is no easy task
A little blurry, but a super cute moment of these two smiling
Arriving at the Art Center.
Quick note on this… Bianca called ahead to make sure that photography was allowed without permits or fees. This is SO often overlooked by brides/grooms during weddings and they want to shoot somewhere that it’s simply not allowed. But photos outdoors at this location were completely ok
Heading down to the waterfront
Katrina gettin those selfies in
You can always count on your friends for all the hilariously weird photos!
Followed by lots of laughter
Bianca wanted a cute moment, Robert stuck his tongue out at her making her laugh
Really though they seem to have so much fun together
I feel like the shots of the guys trying to get ready for photos are more entertaining than the actual photos we posed them for
All the men had superhero socks on
And each had matching cufflinks
The men all made sure to make their “couples photos” awkward with Robert
I think Nick was trying to undress Robert
Ok, we’re going to attempt a champagne photo
…so much excitement!
Followed by disappointment! haha!
Seriously though, check out those faces! hahaha!
So we did another with the guys so Robert could shake it up without worrying the champagne spraying on any of the girl’s dresses
the boys were willing to help. haha!
A few more couples photos
Sonia was organizing everyone for another shot on the stairs. We couldn’t use the building at all since it was actually setting up for another wedding at that location that day
After the limo left with everyone else we took a few more photos of just Robert and Bianca before heading out
Arriving at the reception hall things were set up and already looking great
loading up everyone to go do a few more photos out on the course
Like I said, Bianca mainly wanted lots of image options. And we had this huge cloud cover that made for interesting skies, and soft light. So walking around getting images was a breeze that afternoon
Photos done! Back to the cocktail hour!
Time to greet guests and socialize a bit before the reception and dinner
So much food! it was excellent though
This little girl was standing watching Bianca for a while waiting to say hi
Getting ready for the receiving line
Once the receiving line started they were going to be greeting people for a while
All the way out the door to congratulate the bride and groom
After everyone was seated, the wedding party was officially announced into the hall… Starting with Bianca’s parents
Next was Robert’s parents
John, Emily, and Ben
Pulling her onto the dance floor and getting down!
Epps and Emily
Daniel and Kristina
Greg and Meghan
Braulio and Katrina
Ben and Alannah
Best man Nick and Matron on Honor Sonia
Flower Girl Babcia!
Everyone wanted to dance with Grandma… she had her pick of all the men
Then it was time to announce the Bride and Groom
They entered singing Don’t Stop Believin’
Because when it’s your favorite Karaoke song, you know all the words
Who doesn’t know at least some of the words, right? Everyone was singing along
And from there it went right into dancing
Dad came out and joined
Then everyone got re-seated and Bianca and Robert took the mic
They thanked everyone for being there to celebrate with them and being part of their day
Then there was an announcement for a table rep… you needed the craziest person to volunteer
“Who… me??? Okkkkk” -Nick
then there was almost a short dance off between a few table reps
Everyone got up on their chairs
Shortly after that, were the speeches
First up was Nick, the Best Man.
He got up to explain there is a time in a man’s life where you meet your one true love in your life. And that moment for Robert was back when he met Nick..
This was Bianca’s reaction!
And THEN Nick started his accompanying slide show of photos!
And what true love _wouldn’t_ make sure to embarrass you in front of your closest friends and family?
Like those crazy beach photos of you two? See? LOVE.
Truly though, a thoughtful and great speech
Not to be outdone though, Alannah was next and honestly rocked her speech as well
She started out telling the story of her and Bianca meeting in high school… when Bianca told her they were going to be friends
Where Nick’s speech was a mix of humor and thoughtfulness, Alannah’s was equally as touching as she shared her feelings about growing up together and what her friendship to Bianca has meant in her life
And after that… the first dance
The wedding party joined them on the dance floor
And as dinner started, the girls came up and sang “That’s Amore” with Bianca
Dance off time again! GET ON YOUR CHAIRS!
This time though you had to find a dance partner and get out on the floor…
You ready to them how this is done?
Oh I’m ready..
The men came to win, though
We had to get a photo with Sabrina!
…because this little one kept Sabrina from being a bridesmaid! Too close to the due-date
Robert had a thank you card (I think?) for his Father in Law
Walking around greeting tables for a bit during the dinner service
Before the next course started, the parents got up for their speeches
Mr. and Mrs. Olszenka took turns
And then partway through emotions hit Bianca’s dad
John brought him a handkerchief
Next was Robert’s parent’s speech
And that was followed by the Daddy-Daughter dance
And then the Mother-Son dance
And soon all the couples were asked to get on the dance floor
The most important photo of the day is always my photo with the bride and groom
Outside the main hall was a photobooth which stayed quite busy. At one point Bianca and Robert were pulling everyone around into photos with the two of them
Alannah and Nick leading everyone by example
Bianca came over and joined in
Robert quickly followed
Nick was getting DOWN though
HOW LOW CAN YOU GO!
That evening the midnight buffet started – with both dessert, and sliders for those still hungry
The bouquet toss
I’m blanking on a name at the moment… but she leapt in front of all the girls grabbing the bouquet right out of the air
Time for dessert!
Bianca and Robert did the whole cake-cutting at their engagement so they didn’t want one for this reception. So this was mostly for the video guy to my right ;)
Sonia, helping once again withe garter!
Robert was blindfolded
Given a shot and spun around
then laid on the floor..
And then they Superman’d him under Bianca’s dress!
Bianca burst out laughing as they’re trying to hold Robert up and he’s trying to find the garter blindfolded
All the single men were called onto the floor
And this was a different way of doing a garter that I’m not at all familiar with
The men had to pass it around by their teeth
Kinda like musical chairs while the music played…
The ladies were all laughing and watching
Dominque and Bianca were laughing at them
The guys were all-in though making it as awkward looking as possible since the appearance from far away was that they were just kissing! hahaha!
Dan ended up with the garter when the music stopped and Dominique straight TACKLED HIM to the ground!!
I’ll look forward to seeing your wedding photos online since it’s basically official now.. garter rules and all! ;)
Wedding’s done, pocket’s empty… THANKS DAD! <3
Definitely one of my favorite ideas Bianca had
As the night was winding down, the music got slower and the remaining people hit the dance floor
The bromance was still strong though
And one more sing-a-long of Don’t Stop with everyone!
And after that, the night was wrapped!
It was definitely late, we all got out of there at 230am. Drove a few people home to their hotels who needed rides and I think I got to sleep at 4am
The next evening me, John, and Elle got together with Bianca and Robert, along with her parents briefly, and grabbed a late dinner to chat and hang out a bit more. It was nice to spend a little time with the the two of them when they were very clearly not-stressed anymore now that the wedding was done and over
Early the next morning at the airport for our flights!
It was another very short night for us since we were up at 4am to get ready and catch our early flights out
Au Revoir Montréal! I had fun
This trip was a blast. I really had so much fun with Bianca, Robert, and their families.
Being able to travel for weddings is very special. It’s not the easiest thing in the world for a Bride and Groom to select a wedding photographer, and less-so when one of your groomsmen says he’s already getting one taken care of for you.
But I was welcomed into both their families very quickly and felt like family when I was there – so obviously I’m going to have to be that relative that comes back randomly some day like “you guys have a roommate for the weekend! AREN’T YOU EXCITED TO SEE ME?!?” Hahaha!
For those who didn’t make it to the wedding, I hope this gave you a good look at it all and you got to experience it in some small way!
And to Bianca and Robert, Thank you for having me!