Diana & Francis : Buttery Bon Echo Wedding

Buttery light bathes a beautiful wedding under the canopy of Bon Echo woodland

I pulled out of Ottawa on a Friday afternoon, just early enough to beat the traffic and just in time watch the sun settle in the western sky.

I like driving.

Behind the wheel on long drives, I enter that zen-like state where my mind can wander to a million different places while my senses keep me out of the ditch.

Diana and I went to photojournalism college together so I was honoured when she contacted me from her home in Southwestern Ontario to ask if I could shoot her wedding in Bon Echo Provincial Park, about 90 minutes drive from Ottawa.

It's always a daunting task to accept a job - especially wedding photography  - from a fellow photographer. But Diana set the record straight right away - she trusted me implicitly, as did her fiance, Francis, to capture their day with authenticity and intimacy.

Because of the nature of the client and the nature of the wedding, I thought it would be a great chance to really embed myself into the family dynamic of the weekend.

Diana and Francis got a pop-up tent for me to stay in for the weekend so I was able to stay close to family while they gathered at the Bon Echo Family Campground.

I arrived on Friday just in time for a BBQ. I grabbed my camera and shot some of the interaction here and there, slowing getting the extended family members acclimatized to my immersive style of wedding photojournalism. I wasn't worried about Diana, she knew the deal and acted - as I expected - like I wasn't even there. As a result, I was able to get those "fly-on-the-wall" type photos all while getting people used to having me around.

As the sun set, I took a refreshing dip in the lake before retiring for the night.

When wedding day began at sunrise, it couldn't be more chill and relaxed.

I had time to swim once again, scout the wedding location with Francis and even take a nap around noon before getting dress and starting to shoot at around 2 p.m.

There is a running joke between Diana and Francis that ever since Francis started coming to the family campground, it's rained.

With heavy but bright clouds overhead, the thought of rain lingered.

As the ladies gathered in a small cabin in a nearby campsite to get ready, Diana offered a heartfelt and tearful tribute to her bridesmaids on how their friendship really helped to fill the void left by her mother's passing.

Family and friends gathered in The Narrows of Mazinaw Lake under the watchful eye of Mazinaw Rock into which is carved a quote from one of Diana's and Francis' favourite poets, Walt Whitman.

My foothold is tenon'd and mortised in granite

l laugh at what you call dissolution

And I know the amplitude of time

The officiant, who also doubled as a bagpiper, piped Diana, barefoot, down a rocky and root-strewn path, her two daughters securely latched to each arm.

The ceremony was simple, meaningful and perfectly Diana and Francis.

After the ceremony we chased the dying light, growing weaker as it filtered through the leafy canopy, down to the shore where Mazinaw Rock provided an ancient and textured backdrop.

The reception was held in a small town hall in Cloyne, at which point Francis' Curse came true and black skies released a soft shower.

After all the excitement, my night ended where my weekend began, back in the pop-up tent to rest a tired pair of feet.