Asheton and Gavin are not your typical couple. They’ve had one very big challenge to overcome, one that a wedding doesn’t solve, but certainly helps out. Asheton you see, is Canadian, and Gavin, American. Gavin grew up in Western New York (the state, not the city), and Asheton in Sydney Nova Scotia, but they both went to school in Toronto. To make a long story short, they hit it off, they found a way to be together, despite how hard Canada and U.S.A. make that, and they decided to get married
That brings us to Cheticamp Island on a hot, bright, hot, sunny, and hot, day. They rented a house right on the water and invited their family and closest friends, and for these two, that meant quite a few friends. Everything was held outside, so while it was indeed rather warm on that day, it was much preferred to a rainy day which would have made things infinitely more difficult.
With the ceremony outside and about a 500 metre walk from the house, the vast majority of guests made the trek by foot, while a handful of older guests were given drives. Having everyone walk together to the ceremony felt different than any wedding I’ve ever been to before. There was a certain sense of unity, like we were all in it together. When we got to a isolated part on the path, Asheton and her mother, along with her bridesmaids, stopped and waited for everyone to get the rest of the way to the ceremony spot at the edge of the cliff. As they waited, Asheton seemed a bit nervous about being the centre of attention, and the girls all went in for a group hug to gather themselves. Asheton’s mother left first, followed by the bridesmaids, and with the change of tune by the bagpiper, Asheton made the solo walk about 100 metres before meeting up with her father to walk the last stretch together. Gavin had a huge smile on his face seeing Asheton in her dress for the first time. As you’ll see in the pictures below, she looked gorgeous.
Their ceremony was presided over by Gavin’s father who, like Gavin and his 2 brothers/groomsmen, was wearing a kilt. It was a beautiful ceremony overlooking the ocean, just the way Asheton had described to me at our first meeting. At the end of the ceremony, and just before it was time to walk back up the aisle as husband and wife, Asheton got the official welcome to the family. Gavin’s mother presented Asheton with the Hardy’s family Tartan in the form of a sash and pin. I don’t know if Asheton was expecting it, but she looked surprised and grateful, and it even seemed to suit her as perfectly as her dress.
With the ceremony done, everyone was able to relax and have a couple of Keith’s, because it’s not a Nova Scotian wedding without some Keith’s. We did some more casual photos along the edge of the cliff, and even had Asheton and Gavin do a little rock climbing down the cliff face. Luckily for me, Gavin kept his kilt down as he came down towards me, and more importantly, neither of them fell.
We didn’t worry a ton about posing in pictures and I caught Asheton and Gavin being themselves. We walked back to the house and made sure to get a cold drink. I know I took 5 minutes just to wash my face with cold water to cool down. There were plenty of clod drinks to go around, so everyone was finding a way to compensate for the heat without issue.
Their dinner was another unique thing for me as a wedding photographer. They had a Lobster boil which was run by Asheton’s father, and gave their guests the choice of either cracking their own lobster and breaking it down, or having it done for them. A number of people decided to do it themselves, and it looked rather difficult. After dinner on the back deck finished, a few speeches were shared, and Asheton and Gavin had their first dance. They moved a table a little bit to make some room and were right in the centre for everyone to see them.
While Asheton and Gavin’s wedding day was full of unique aspects, and far from a traditional wedding, there were a few things throughout the day which needed to be done. One of those was dancing the reel. I’ve never seen one done before, but to sum it up, the bagpiper plays while pairs of dancers go through a series of motions from exchanging partners, to holding hands and moving in a circle. It’s rally not too complicated as an observer, but when you’re the one doing all the spinning, I’m sure it would be easy to head in the wrong direction.
The casual atmosphere led some of the guests to put on bathing suits for a late night swim off the wharf. Earlier in the day I could have been easily persuaded into the water myself, but by the time the sun had set I was cooled off enough that I was thinking clearly and all that wind would not have been pleasant when getting out. I saw about a ten people go swim while I waited for Asheton and Gavin to get to the wharf with their lantern for a photo they wanted to try. Unfortunately, the lantern was on its last legs and after they finally got it lit, it died pretty much right away. So I improvised and used the crystal clear night’s sky to add a little something to the photos. We returned to the deck for some dancing and shotgunning of beers before the deck party ended, and the party moved to another house. At the other house they setup a bonfire and sat around it talking and playing guitar while the milky way moved across the sky above us. It was a hell of a day.
Here’s a little look at Asheton and Gavin’s wedding;