There were tears before her makeup went on as Shannon practiced her speech. In the room next door Ben was bent over his laptop, the same sentiment clear in his expression as he made a few last minute revisions.
Don’t leave out anything important, leave nothing unsaid.
It is a sentiment that echoed throughout their day, as Shannon and Ben’s parents and best friends spoke of the love and admiration they have for the two of them. It was the reason I followed up with the videographer at their wedding and got a hold of a few of the audio files from the night and mixed in the best bits with the music below. Between Shannon and Ben, and their practiced speeches they said everything that matters.
Before I get into the photos I wanted to share a piece of an email Shannon sent me a year or so ago, as it gives a little context to their story. She put into words what I hope my work says silently, and I’ll feel forever grateful as it is truly one of the greatest compliments as an artist when your work is not only seen, but in a sense understood.
In terms of your style, it [your photography] is exactly what Ben and I are looking for. We had spoken to one other photographer and we were telling him that what we want is for it to feel very editorial, very photo-journalistic and nothing that one would traditionally think of when it comes to wedding photos. We came away from that conversation feeling really nervous that we might not be able to find the type of person we wanted to shoot our wedding, then I found you!
I love that you have a low key set-up and blending in is exactly what we are looking for. I am so grateful that you are interested in telling the whole story of our day, because obviously it is about more than the day and I really think (after seeing your work) that you have the ability to say so much more about the couple and actually just the small joys of life in general. I have to tell you I was glued to your website yesterday and I felt so overwhelmed looking at some of your images, you really have a gift for capturing the truth of moments and are not so concerned with things that appear to be superficially romantic. You are clearly very good at what you do.
In terms of my story with Ben…it actually started in Uganda if you can believe it! Ben and I are both from Toronto, he is a journalist and I do community development work (both in Toronto and overseas). Five years ago one of my best friends decided to go to Uganda between her two years of a masters program in journalism. She ended up renting a room off Ben and to make a long story short she introduced me to him. After twelve days of knowing him I had decided to pack my apartment up and fly to Kampala. A few months later there I was in the Entebbe airport with a backpack, no job and a feeling that I had met the guy.
It wasn’t a straight line from there, Ben and I are both travelers and have been so lucky to see so much of the world both together and apart. After Uganda I went off for the better part of a year on my own, and met up with Ben where I could. When I got back to Toronto after a year of no work, it was time to buckle down. By that time Ben was en route to start a new job in Paris and the next few years were hard for us. In 2012 we started to find our way back to each other and by this point Ben was living in Nigeria. I finished a contract in Toronto and once again packed up my apartment and flew here. So now we call Lagos home, and likely that will change again in the next 6 – 8 months.
Below are the bones of their wedding day, and all the emotion and love in-between. It was my true pleasure to be there to witness it.
Venue: The George on Queen