When I arrived at Sherwood Golf and Country Club, I did so about a half hour before I was scheduled to. I borrowed a golf cart and had a second look over the course for photo locations as it had rained heavily the night before. My tour of the facilities brought me to the club house where the reception was to be held. I wasn’t really expecting anyone to be there, let alone Kevin, the groom, who I had never met, but there he was with a few groomsmen. Knowing that Kevin is Swiss and that English was not his first language, I had planned to say “wie goots?” to him, which translates to “how are you?”. But I was caught off guard and I hadn’t had the chance to ask someone how to properly pronounce it, so I just said hi and introduced myself.
Kevin and his groomsmen weren’t just sitting around doing nothing in the club house, they were working on a surprise for Jessica, something I had never seen a groom do, and it impressed me immediately. I knew that Jessica meant the world to Kevin without ever seeing them together. I left Kevin to his preparations and went to see Jessica and all her ladies. Their chalet may have been a bit messy, but with that many girls in one place, you learn to expect that kind of result. Add to that, the fact that Jessica had not only made most, if not all of the decorations in the hall, but she also made her own bouquets, and you are bound to have a bit of a ‘debris’ field. As the girls got ready I went over to see how the guys were making out at their chalet, the one I dubbed the ‘Swiss Chalet’ despite Kevin’s insistence that there is nothing ‘Swiss’ about the restaurant. I met the rest of the groomsmen and we got along right away, they are a great bunch of guys. They got ready and shared a few laughs before saying a prayer together in the living room.
Jessica and Kevin met in a way a bit different from any other couples I’ve photographed before. Kevin from Switzerland, Jessica from Canada, met and fell in love in Australia. How you ask? Well, they were both attending Hillsong College, a Bible College near Sydney. Jessica even told her mother before leaving that she was going to meet her future husband there, how prophetic eh? You can understand from where they met that God plays an important role in their lives, and the lives of their families. With that in mind, they shared a moment of prayer together before the ceremony. We had Kevin brought to Jessica’s chalet and they stood at the corner of the doorway, not looking at each other as to not spoil the moment of the first look when Jessica walked down the aisle. When their prayer was done, they got ready for the ceremony.
As Jessica made her way down the aisle, Kevin was clearly getting emotional seeing his bride, and they both had big smiles on their faces, just like they did all day. These two were just so happy to be in the presence of one another, it was great to see. Kevin and Jessica each wrote their own vows to one another and I may have noticed a tear or two in the eyes of many of those in attendance, but I won’t name names. The ceremony was performed by Kevin’s minister from Switzerland, and the father of one of his groomsmen. I guess I should say he’s Jessica’s too, as the couple are going to be living in Switzerland, so it’s a nice added touch to have him there.
With the ceremony over, an impromptu receiving line started and I caught a few nice moments happening. Looking at Jessica’s mother, I saw a look I recognized. When I moved from Ontario to Nova Scotia, I saw the same look on my mother’s face, the look of ‘I’m never going to see you again’, something I know from experience isn’t true, but it sure feels that way. I saw Kevin’s mother speaking words of encouragement to her, as well as Kevin himself, promising to take care of Jessica, like any good husband would.
After a few emotional minutes, the wedding party went off for photos. We managed to get some people on some fences, in some brush, on a fairway, in the woods, on a couple bridges, and thankfully, no-one ended up in the water (despite a rock giving way under my feet). We had a couple golf carts and they nearly ran out of juice, but we made it all the way back to the club house before one died.
When it came to the reception, the details that Jessica put together looked fantastic, and the treats tasted as good as they looked. There were some great speeches, and after Kevin said a few words, he pulled out that surprise for Jessica. I’m told that before going to Hillsong, Kevin didn’t sing, but afterwards, he does, and he has quite the voice. He sang ‘All of Me’ by John Legend, to Jessica. I used my Blackberry to record his song and while the quality of the recording isn’t the best, I’ve still listened to it a bunch of times since. I was so impressed with not only Kevin and his singing, but everyone I met at Jessica and Kevin’s wedding. It was a great group of people, and I thoroughly enjoyed being there to photograph their celebration.
Congratulations Jessica and Kevin!