It was a couple years ago that I first met Scott while playing hockey. As two of the youngest and fastest players out there on Monday mornings, we naturally became competitive with each other. Scott and I always play on separate teams, so I don’t really know how we became friends, but we did. Scott’s one of those guys you just can’t dislike, even when he’s always back checking on you while playing pickup hockey. Eventually we started hanging out outside of hockey and that’s when I met got to meet Kate.
It was around this time last year that Scott told me he and Kate were going to New York City for New Year’s. Scott is a Rangers fan (I try not to hold that against him), so NYC was an obvious choice of a place to go for someone that likes the city and one of their biggest teams, but I had a feeling there were ulterior motives to his trip, so I asked him if he was going to propose. He seemed a little surprised that I guessed it, but that was exactly his plan. I watched Facebook for the announcement, and just after New Year’s it showed up. Scott had managed to get someone to capture the moment for them, and knowing that Kate’s in to photography, it was great to see that moment captured in a photo to help them remember that special day.
After their engagement Scott mentioned that they would likely do a destination wedding and I of course, expressed an interest in being their photographer if they wanted me. A month or so later were playing pond hockey out behind their house and we did an impromptu engagement shoot with them both on the ice. It was just a few photos but one of them was one of my favourite engagement photos ever. Fast forward a few months and it seemed like no time passed from that day on the pond to when we were waking up early on a Saturday morning in November to catch the first of two flights to get to Montego Bay for their wedding.
Alright, now about the journey to Jamaica; I will spare most of the details for another time but I’ll give you the key points. We left around 8am and got to Toronto without much of an issue, but when we arrived we learned that there was a mechanical problem and they needed to get us a new flight, so instead of waiting in the terminal for 3 hours, we were looking at 7. For those of us with kids, those 7 hours felt as long as the life age of the Earth. We finally departed and were on our way to Montego Bay. On our final approach we started our descent and then out of nowhere the pilot pulled up pretty hard. We had no idea why, but were quickly informed that the plane in front of us in the queue had become disabled on the runway as its brakes locked. We’re sitting there picturing things running on Jamaica time and that plane taking 2 days to be moved. Our flight made the short jaunt to Kingston to refuel which was another hour and a half or so on the ground there. We eventually did make it to Montego Bay, our destination in Jamaica, but then we had to go through immigration. Due to an incident on the plane with a sick baby, Robyn, Isla, and I were the last ones off the flight and the last ones in that immigration line which took at least an hour, probably more. Our entire group was stuck waiting for us in the bus while we were in line.
It was almost midnight, I had been up for nearly 24 hours due to Isla being Isla the night before, and there was no more welcoming sight than that of the Iberostar Rose Hall at that time. For the first time in her life, Isla slept through the night that first night and I got to sleep in until 9:00. It was a great start to our stay in Jamaica after a terrible travel day. Things were looking up.
Scott and Kate did a great job of coordinating things for the week including a welcome dinner for all 33 of us on our first night so we all could get to know each other, a catamaran trip, a journey to the Luminous Lagoon, among other things. On our first few days at the resort, I was trying to get an idea for some photo locations at the time we would be taking photos, but it seemed to rain every day at 4:00, exactly when their wedding was planned to take place on the beach. There was a backup location indoors, but the beach was a much better option.
The resort was beautiful, and massive. The Iberostar has 3 sections, one which is just for couples and we weren’t allowed to go to, ours which was called ‘Suites’ and one which was more family oriented called ‘Beaches’. We were allowed to go to Suites and Beaches and use any of their restaurants and facilities if we wanted, which was great for photos as Beaches had more foliage and a pier which gave us a couple more options for photo locations.
We all got into the groove of things with everyone enjoying things at a different pace, but we all seemed to base our days around the pool. The ocean was a little rough for the first few days, so the pool was the perfect place for all the kids to swim safely, and let’s face it, that pool bar was pretty convenient. It was great for us to get to know everyone at the poolside, and for our daughter to play with the older kids.
One of the best things about the wedding week was that Kate’s parents and best friend were able to make it from Russia. There was some concern from the get go that her parents might not be able to come at all, and when they were finally able to confirm their attendance, Lufthansa went on strike and they had to book alternate tickets to get from Saint Petersburg to Frankfurt to get around that. It was a stressful time for Kate, but it all worked out. Kate’s mom only spoke a tiny bit of English, and her father spoke none, but they seemed to have a great time regardless. Kate’s dad seemed like a funny guy, and while I couldn’t understand what he was saying, he had a way of getting his point across. He even nearly won an arm wrestling competition with the Jamaican entertainment staff referring to him as ‘sexy papi’.
When the wedding day finally arrived, the weather was calling for a bit of rain again, but it passed right by and we had a gorgeous day. As is the custom in Jamaica, the ceremony was a bit behind schedule, but it didn’t matter (no problem…right?). Kate’s friend Jane skipped down the aisle as she had done through puddles at the rehearsal the night before, much to the delight of everyone watching. I was happy to learn that the videographer captured that moment.
As Kate walked down the aisle with her father, I saw more than a couple of tears running down faces (Alan, Jean I’m looking at you) and Scott was pretty close himself. The ceremony went off without a hitch and then Scott and Kate had a long first kiss which is great for a photographer (take note future brides and grooms). After a little champagne and hugs it was time for some photos. The videographer had first crack and had them do a few things I was going to ask of them anyways, so I captured the moments he had setup, he then recorded some of the poses I setup as we worked together to get Scott and Kate the results they were looking for.
With the family photos finished, we sent them along for some drinks as the 3 of us went off for a few photos before the sun set, then a few more after. Back inside, we went for dinner at one of the restaurants (Calabash) and for the first time all week, my daughter actually made it through the end of the meal without needing to go to bed. She also fist bumped with Scott for the first time. Scott had been working on her the whole week, so it was pretty cool to see him finally get one at his wedding.
I didn’t personally see it happen, but I know one of the highlights of the evening for Scott was seeing Jane’s son Igor run full tilt past the cake table without any regard for the cake, only to slam on the brakes on his return run and stick 3 fingers right in the back. That’s the kind of people Scott and Kate are, they don’t get upset at things like that, they laugh along. On top of their cake was an awesome little detail, they had a bride and groom hockey player cake topper painted up to have the groom wearing a Team Canada jersey, and the bride wearing a Team Russia jersey. On the puck was the year 2015, and the backs of the jerseys had the 11, and 18 for the date.
The dinner was nice, and after it wrapped up, we went to the beach for some more photos. I had heard that there was a family bonfire going on and I wanted to make use of it for photos so we setup by the fire. I had Scott’s best man Greg, and Greg’s wife Erin, throw some sand from off camera as I lit Scott and Kate from behind which made a cool effect. It was something I had never done before, so I’m glad it turned out so well. We then tried a few shots with glow sticks in the place of sparklers as sparklers weren’t available.
We found everyone inside having a drink and joined in casually hanging out, drinking, and chatting until the disco opened up at 10:00. As we made our way to the disco, we walked by the room with ‘Miss Iberostar’ going on. There were a couple of the girls on stage performing a dance routine with about 30 other people and the staff invited Scott and Kate up to join them, which they did, and they danced the Nae Nae. Scott was really into it. I think he practiced the night before or something.
Down to the disco we went where Scott had the DJ reluctantly play a song for his and Kate’s first dance as we were basically the only ones there, and no-one was on the dance floor yet. The DJ then proceeded to remix the song and throw a few grunts in there for good measure. We all really wish the videographer was there for that one. At about midnight we called it a night, we had plans to get up early the next morning after all.
I met Scott and Kate by the pool just after sunrise and we walked around the resort with almost no-one else around except for the guys in the water trying to sell you trinkets and whatnot. We got some great photos and before we knew it, it was getting close to the time for our bus to arrive. Scott and Kate had a bus booked for a couple of hours to go take some family photos and some of Scott and Kate in another location.
We first went to the old aqueduct by the Hilton resort. The gate was closed and it said no trespassing. The driver seemed to not want to open the gate, so I got out and did it, and we went in without issue. It was cool to see an old historical ruin with the palm trees in the background, certainly not what most expect of Jamaica. It was only about 10am, but it was getting hot, and I was wearing shorts and a t-shirt, Scott was in a dark suit. We dropped some of the crew off back at the hotel and we made tracks for Falmouth. Falmouth isn’t a big town, but there’s at least one cool building for photos that we found. We walked around the centre of town making a couple of stops for photos, but it was really just nice to see something other than the resort. There were 2 big cruise ships in port so the cops were out in full force, and I didn’t feel unsafe at any point, even with all my gear on me.
After Falmouth, I asked the driver if he knew of any cool spots which were a little more shaded, and he took us to a spot near the Martha Brae river where we found a roadway with huge trees overhanging the roadway. It was a bit of a busy road, but we got a few photos before calling it a day and heading back to the resort.
The next couple of days were spent relaxing as much as possible, and enjoying the vacation. I am so happy for Scott and Kate, they had a great wedding, and will have an even better marriage. They were so considerate of everyone else’s needs the whole time we were there. It’s always nice to see a great couple getting married, but it’s even better when those people are your good friends.
I wish you two all the best in the future, and I look forward to spending more time with you guys as the years go on.
Congratulations Scott and Kate!!!