The year was 2009 and I had never shot a wedding before, but I was thinking of giving weddings a try. I of course, thought I was a really good photographer. I was wrong, but it’s an important part of becoming better, as if you know you suck you’ll probably never even try. So my brother and his then fiancee were planning to get married in Jamaica and asked me if I wanted to shoot their wedding. I agreed and started figuring out what I needed to do. Thankfully Brandon and Courtney are very easy going so I knew I was getting a forgiving couple to work with as my first clients.
My day was largely a blur to me at this point, but I specifically remember one of the girls doing Courtney’s hair telling me she loved my voice (which is ridiculous if you’ve ever spoken to me), sweating profusely as I sprinted to a 3rd floor balcony and back down to get a shot of all the guests at the wedding (myself included), the day running on ‘Jamaica time’ and my plans going out the window, and having an altogether good time. As for the wedding itself, it was beautiful with the beach and Caribbean Sea in the background as the sun made it’s way toward the horizon. Our photo session went pretty well and we did most of the photos between buildings in the complex as it offered the best light before the sun set and we were forced indoors.
I think I’ll always remember when Brandon’s boutonniere pierced Courtney’s arm and she screamed at first and then they both laughed when they realized what had happened, and how we saw a big crab by the pool and a local guy just picked it up like it was nothing, not something I’d do. The dancing portion of the night took place at the disco and I specifically recall “Sudbury Saturday Night” being the biggest hit of the evening with Courtney’s family being from just outside of Sudbury. The night ended for us all hanging out on the patio like we were just on vacation together. We had the whole immediate family there, something we’ve never done outside of camping as kids, so that was really nice and certainly adds to the whole experience and memory.
The next morning we did a day after session and at one point Courtney climbed up a lifeguard tower and Brandon joked that she was like Rumpelstiltskin, to which Courtney corrected him and said Rapunzel, I really didn’t know what they were talking about, but it made them laugh, so that was good for photos. Little did I know back then that I would have a daughter today whose favourite Disney princess is Rapunzel.
Shooting my first wedding in Jamaica was huge in helping me build my business. Sometimes it just takes the right person to take a chance on you and while those clients aren’t the right fit for me anymore, I know that there are plenty of talented photographers out there right now just looking for their break, Brandon and Courtney were my break, and I can’t thank them enough for that.
Here we go, 7 years ago today, a few images from my first wedding (re-edited)