When Melyse contacted me a few months ago to set up a session with her family I didn't really know what to expect, to be completely honest! We went to the same elementary and middle schools together but we parted ways by going to different high schools.
Fast forward a couple of decades, and we got in touch again thanks to the ol' Instagram! (Ahhh, the internet is a wonderful place!)
Melyse recently launched an already SUPER successful blog and Instagram momming account called 'Yes, Mama' ( @yesmama.blog ) that you definitely need to check out by the way!! She's a super COOL young mama, and she's full of insight and hilarious stories from her everyday life as a mama of 2 sweet girlies under the age of 3!
Anyway, within about 5 minutes of me showing up for the session, I KNEW I was in for a good time. When I walked up to their place, not only did they promise me PIZZA at the end, but QUEEN WAS PLAYING ON THE STEREO IN THEIR HOME AND I JUST ABOUT DIED!!
The true way to my heart? PIZZA AND FREDDIE MERCURY!!
And things just got better from there!!!
You know those families that you can just TELL are really close, and everyone is just so genuinely happy to be there?! YA. So that's the Rouleau family!!!!! Many many laughs were had, some drinks and well, GOOD FOOD. Enough said! My heart was happy and now I'm pretty sure I'm ready to be adopted by this family.....
I hope nobody in my family reads my blog! ;)
So ya. I don't even think I need to use all the happy adjectives in the dictionary to describe this family. Looking at these photos, can't you just SEE it and FEEL it?!!?
Side note: Melyse's parents are celebrating - 30 (yes 30!) YEARS OF MARRIAGE THIS YEAR!!! *Insert applause emoji* and the fact that they helped celebrate with a family photo session just totally warms my heart. I seriously have the best job!!!
OH. And I promised pizza, so here it is! Homemade from SCRATCH using THIS 'Pizza Dough #3" recipe. Be right back while I go to the store and stock up on some pizza ingredients and then immediately proceed to stuffing my face hole.
Oh, and for the record, anyone else wanting to include delicious homemade FOOD in their session? The answer is a screaming: YES, PLEASE! :P
- xo Val
Update: Shortly after I hit publish on this blog post.... In comes this super sweet review from Melyse and now I'm getting misty-eyed! Seriously you guys, I don't know what I did to end up with SUCH amazing clients while doing a job I'm literally obsessed with...!!!
Well folks, this next one is close to my heart. My big sister and I have known each other since I was born, literally! *And there goes the dad joke, ah-thank-you* And so photographing and sharing this wedding with y'all tonight is getting me in ALL of the feels. Like, every last one of them.
Steph and Lucas met like a lot of my couples do nowadays, they met online! They first met up in person at the Lieutenant's Pump on Elgin St for their first date. They later shared their first kiss just a few steps away, at the Jack Purcell Park.
Then years later, this park would be where Lucas proposed.
Fast forward a couple of years, it only made sense that their legal ceremony would also happen in that same park. Oh by the way, in case you couldn't tell just yet, Steph and Lucas are some of the most ROMANTIC and mushy gushy nerdy adorable people you will ever meet! They are both very sentimental and adorable people.
When Steph and Lucas found out just days before their planned ceremony that the park would be under COMPLETE construction with fences and signs everywhere, this didn't matter to them and they chose to embrace it! While some couples would come up with a plan B, Steph and Lucas just went with it. I did my best to capture them without the construction mess, but I did of course sneak in a couple just to help tell the story! ;)
The two chose to officially get married surrounded only by closest family and friends on a Wednesday evening, and then the following Saturday we partied it up with close to 200 people. We really got to enjoy the best of both worlds: a small intimate ceremony, and then a big lively party! Anyway, enough with the blabbing and onto the photos!
Steph and the dress that she HAND-MADE and designed herself, with lots of help from our mom of course!
I really wasn't kidding when I said these two are full of cheese! It took literally about 2 minutes after my arrival for these two to start gushing over each other and being silly.
Can we just pause for a second here and look at the way Lucas is looking at Steph?!!
And of course, for those that know Lucas, they know that there's hardly a day that goes by where he doesn't whip out the Dyson. Even on his wedding day. :P
And for those that know Steph and Lucas, they know that the two very much enjoy board and card games, so a quick round of Magic before heading out to get married had to happen!
Ottawa: the city of never-ending construction! Elgin St diner has a special place in Steph and Lucas' hearts. It's right around the corner from their apartment, and they dine there often together for date nights and hangover breakfasts! So splitting a milkshake and snapping a few photos, of course, had to happen.
After filling their bellies with strawberry goodness, we stopped for a quick visit at Lieutenant's Pump where the two had their first date.
And now we're just gonna jump right in on that First Look with our dad. *Cue the tears*
Time to get married!!!
Lead Photographer: Valerie Miles Photography
Florals: Trillium Floral
Steph's dress: DIY
Steph's shoes: Aldo
Lucas' socks: EB Games
Steph's hair & makeup: DIY
Steph's reception dress: BCBG from Value Village (I know right?!)
Lucas' suit: Stars Men's Shops
Ceremony venue: Jack Purcell Park (There's a funny story behind the art at this park, click HERE)
Justice of the Peace: Paul (Family friend)
Reception Dinner venue: Johnny Farina
Thank you to Elgin St Diner and The Lieutenant's Pump for allowing us to take a few photos! :)
Robert and Amanda met during their time working at Walmart. He worked for the store while Amanda was a photographer in the Portrait Studio. Robert would walk to work every day and he would always be late for his shift because he would stop and chat with her for far too long. The two had friends in common, so he invited her downtown for Canada Day celebrations. They met up, and their friend conveniently didn't show up and the two spent the whole day together just talking and getting to know one another. That was July 1 2011 - and the pair have barely been apart since.
K so can I just point out how awesome this movie poster is?!! Robert photoshopped in one of the photos from their engagement session with me last spring. Pretty sure I squealed when I saw this, it's so cute!!!
First Look coming at you in 3.....2........1!
Yes, they even screened the movie The Princess Bride (of course) right after the ceremony!! How freakin' cool is that?!
And once the nerves from the ceremony start to fade, and you're surrounded by your best friends..... Things start to get a little silly!! :P Especially when the photographer asks the wedding party to do their best imitation of the bride and groom.
When bike racks become a playground!
Snowball fight in May? Yep!
And then things just got more out of hand, and there was shoe breakage hahahaha!
And of course when there's an arcade, who can resist a quick game of ski-ball!?
Congrats to Amanda and Robert for pulling off a very memorable and super fun wedding day! I wish you both nothing but the best and can't wait to see what the married life has in store for you both.
Ali and Dom's wedding was the first of the 2019 season for me, and I could not have asked for a better way to start. It sounds cheesy, but it's true! The day was just SO perfectly 'them' in every way: from the small intimate backyard ceremony with only their families present, to photos on Ali's parents front doorstep where the two shared their first kiss. Having kept things low key and simple meant that the focus would truly be on them and their commitment to each other, and overall, I would happily do the whole day over again and again because it was just THAT good! The two totally rocked their engagement session in a snowstorm and that's when I knew, these two were un-freakin-stoppable!
We started off the day with a First Look in the park just down the street, the same park where Ali played when she was little. You'd never guess, but just steps away from where Dom stood and waited impatiently for his bride, there were construction fences and uhmm... a Porta Potty! But none of that took away from the moment, and Ali's words about her First Look experience with Dom explain it perfectly:
"We took a while to decide whether we wanted to do a first look or not. I’m definitely a more anxious person than Dom so when Val promised it would be a way to calm any nerves beforehand, I knew it was the right choice. I’m also a private person, so I really enjoyed having some time just the two of us, to chat and connect before being surrounded by people the rest of the day. It was honestly one of the best moments of the whole day, even though we weren’t even married yet!
We were completely relaxed for the ceremony and ready to embrace the chaos of the day. Another bonus for brides: your hair and makeup are super fresh for those photos! You have to make about a million decisions when planning a wedding, so just let Val make this one for you. You won’t regret it!"
I love a good First Look, and clearly, I'm not the only one! ;)
If you thought that having a First Look would take away from the moment you see eachother walking down the aisle...
NOPE. Look. Dom's face doesn't lie! And I just CAN'T EVEN with how cute these two are!
And of course, a round of shots and bubbly to celebrate newlyweds!
Ali and Dom's first kiss was on Ali's parents front doorstep. So, naturally, we had to take a few romantic photos there too! :)
After the ceremony, Ali, Dom and their families went out for dinner at a restaurant nearby while I had a chance to visit the nearest McDonald's for a cheeseburger. It's not often that a wedding day schedule allows for an hour-long break because usually, it's go-go-go all day. Not gonna lie, I loved having a bit of downtime before the party started! We met up again after everyone had been fed and we continued the festivities at Ale Amberwood Lounge for the reception.
Willow trees are AMAZING for photos! Especially when it's mid-May and none of the leaves on the other trees have grown yet.
OK so! Dom's dad and uncle played the accordions for the mother-son and father-daughter dances and it was pretty much the best. thing. ever.
Ali's dress: With Love Bridal Boutique designed by Mori Lee
Ceremony venue: Ali's parent's backyard
DJ: Caroline from Quality Entertainment
Wedding bands: People's Jewellers
Ali's hair: Jamie Sauve
Ali's makeup: Ashley Ferguson
Reception venue: Ale Amberwood Lounge & Eatery
One of my goals this year with going fulltime into photography after 8 years part-time is to finally crawl out of my hermit shell and to really start NETWORKING within the wedding community. There are so many amazingly talented creatives in the industry, and yet I feel like I barely know any of them and I decided that needs to change. I've often heard that a great way to network is to participate in a styled wedding shoot! So I teamed up with Shannon from SD Beauty and some other amazing vendors! I'm so excited to finally share with you the results of our efforts from our styled shoot at Stonefields Estate.
We were given the opportunity to use Stonefields' brand new wedding chapel, and Shannon and I were just SO giddy with excitement to hear that we would be one of the first vendors to be able to work in their new space. When we set foot inside, it STILL had that fresh and new building smell! Before our shoot, there had only been half a dozen weddings inside Stonefields' chapel. Wow... What a dream!!!
A giant THANK YOU to everyone involved:
Organizer / Hair & Makeup: SD Beauty
Co-Organizer / Photography: Valerie Miles Photography
Models: Lexine, Kyrillos & Gloria
Videographer: Red Dog Digital
Venue: Stonefields Estate
Florist: The Planted Arrow
Gowns: Fairy Dreams Bridal
Dress designer: Alexandra Grecco
Hair accessories: Sugarcane & Co.
Behind the scenes photographer for Shannon: Star Brand Photography
In case you're reading this and you're not in the wedding industry, a styled shoot is when a team of wedding professionals team up and plan and execute a stylized wedding photo shoot. So it's not a 'real' wedding, but everyone involved teams up with the common goal of awesome photos and video to use for promotional material. The organizers recruit models, gowns, a venue, and so many other pros! I guess you could say we're "doing it for the 'gram!" ;)