Elena and Alex got their start together in Vancouver but now call Ottawa home, they have family in Russia and important to this day Whistler. Their day like so many wedding days was a coming together of people from so many different chapters in their lives, together and apart. The morning was filled with a stream of visitors joining the toasts over makeup and hair. Elena was gracious, in the quiet moments between the bustle she told me what a dream it was to have her cousin from Russia here to meet her childhood next door neighbour and have Alex’s family in the mix as well.

The clouds socked in the mountains, but the last rain that southern British Columbia would see for a long while was over. The mantle was decorated, Alex’s socks matched his dog, and everyone was ready. Alex gave a wave like I can imagine he has done a million times before when he met Elena at the front of the room, and there were quiet tears as they said their vows.

Dinner followed a few portraits down by the Fitzsimmons Creek, which brought water down from the glacier in blue troves, and we all settled in for course after course of the most delicious meal from The Cellar.

The night was capped off as complete following dessert. When Alex visited Russia for the first time, every friend or family member Elena took him to visit had a layered Russian Cake just for the event. It is a family tradition, a Russian tradition that at special occasions sweet layers of cream and pastries are carefully baked individually and stacked together with love. Elena and Alex cut the cake, her niece eyeing the sugar from the sidelines – Elena’s Mom’s specialty.

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Cellar by Araxi wedding photographyThe-Cellar-by-Araxi-whistler-wedding-photos-0119-ExposureThe-Cellar-by-Araxi-whistler-wedding-photos-0120-ExposureThe Cellar by Araxi Whistler Village Wedding PhotosThe-Cellar-by-Araxi-whistler-wedding-photos-0125The-Cellar-by-Araxi-whistler-wedding-photos-0127The-Cellar-by-Araxi-whistler-wedding-photos-0129The-Cellar-by-Araxi-whistler-wedding-photos-0130The-Cellar-by-Araxi-whistler-wedding-photos-0148The-Cellar-by-Araxi-whistler-wedding-photos-0147the cellar by Araxi Whistler

Hair/Makeup: Lisa Skachkova
Wedding Reception: The Cellar by Araxi
Florals: NineBark Floral Design

The grass grows tall in the fields beyond the coolie of water my Grandma used to drink from. It has been twenty years since I was last in Moose Jaw Saskatchewan with her. We were here together for a family reunion then, but this is the first time I’ve seen where she grew up.

The homestead she spent the early years of her life on has all but disappeared. The house is no longer standing, and the family barn burnt down while her, and her siblings were still kids. My uncle Eugene was the culprit who stole the matches, while my grandmother stood by with a futile bucket of water watching him play with fire. Now it is just the rusted farm equipment that stands as evidence that eighteen children grew up here.

I’m here today with eight of them, and maybe sixty of their descendants; all of them my relatives. The barbed wire fences are pulled apart, and with permission of the farmer who now farms this land we crawl through.

I want, but don’t have the romantic feeling of going back in time; everyone under seventy is snapping pictures with their cell phones, and everyone over seventy is in a disagreement over where their house actually stood.

Its a little surreal to imagine life here a century before when my Grandmother’s family started to work the land. What would my great grandmother think of her home now, of her kids, of their kids and their kids. I’m know I’m no longer part of the youngest generation, like I was two decades ago in this same group. I feel like time moves forward too fast sometimes. Twenty years from now I can’t imagine this land will look much different, but I know our lives will.

This is a once in a lifetime afternoon, I’m wearing the gold necklace my grandmother gave me, and I’m thankful to be here. I stand in the field with my Mom as my Grandma lines up with her siblings for a photograph, I have my camera ready when they starting singing: “Hey, Hey the whole gang is here.” and though the decades have changed the way they look, the words are the same, and this smiling bunch of octogenarians are home on the prairie again.

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It started in design school. Adrian sat next to Sabrina and though it would be easy to say the rest is history that isn’t really ever the case. These two brought their friends and family in a true artist’s fashion to celebrate at Braid St. Studios a beautiful gallery and studio space in New West, just outside of Vancouver.

They designed the entire day themselves, and together they created a night of memories for and with each other. I think that is what I try to do with my photography work, and I think that is why we got along so well.

Sabrina and Adrian, the longer I do this the more I appreciate what talented and wonderful people are brought into my life through photography. I’m so thankful that our paths crossed.

Big thank you to everyone who worked so hard – full vendor credits at the bottom of the post.

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Stationary: Bride and Groom
Ceremony: UBC Botanical Gardens
Reception: Braid St Studios
Catering: Nuba
Planning/Co-ordination: Heart Felt Events
Florals: Blossom and Vine Floral Co.
Donuts: The one and only Cartems

Last month Rachel Pick and I hosted an event we called The Vancouver Print Party. It was an under-the-radar kind of evening based on an idea to build community as Vancouver photographers. It was a way for us to take our work, and connections – so often in the digital sphere and make them tangible.

We invited a select group of 20 photographers in Vancouver to come and display 1-20 images from a series of photos, a portfolio, or theme that they were working on, or proud of. It was curated invite list – limited to people that we both admired from different disciplines to make sure we had a varied show.  The instructions on what to share were vague on purpose – we wanted it to be be informal  a place to gather with talented people and talk about what we work on so hard behind the screen. I shared some work from the Yukon which I’ve now curated into an online gallery, Tomasz Wagner shared some incredible X-Pan images which he signed for a few of us to take home at the end, and Andrew Querner brought spreads from a beautiful book project he is working on.

We had a night talking about the thought and process behind projects we’ve been toying away at. Alexa Mazzarello shared a part of her Dreaming Plant Series which is officially opening at the Contact Photography Festival in Toronto this week, and Janis Nicolay – brought a beautiful series of photos from Turkey breaking from the interiors she usually shoots.  It was perfect size to see everyone’s work in the flesh, and to be able to spend a little more time hearing the stories behind the frames and the motivations that they stemmed from.

Lens and Shutter Photo came out with the support of Canon Canada to print large format photos on site for everyone to take home as a favour, Faculty Brewing beer was flowing, and Make Studios provided the backdrop.

Thank you to everyone who came out I know there is a few I missed mentioning above. I’m still on a high, and so thankful to have met, and shared the room with such great artists.

It was exactly what we hoped for; a night of community, and art. A success.

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  • Sachin Khona - Sounds incredible T. Congrats to you and Rach for pulling off a successful event!ReplyCancel

  • Sarah Nickerson - This looked amazing. We so want to be part of the next one. Sad that we were out of town and had to miss it, but also happy to be travelling. Bittersweet. 😉ReplyCancel