I’ve written more than I normally do for a blog post, but there’s a good reason. You see, I met Dave 28 or 29 years ago when we were just 3 or 4. My dad had been transferred and we moved from Burlington to Niagara Falls. When you’re that young there are only 2 requirements which need to be met to be someone’s friend; they must be your age, and they must live close by. Dave and I met both of those as we moved in right next door to his family.
We were best friends for as long as I lived in the Falls, and we kept in touch for a number of years after I moved back to Burlington at age 10. He was really the only friend I’ve ever had that I would call my best friend, and he would call me the same, so it was hard to move so far away where I knew no-one. Times were a bit different back then without social media, and as we grew older and became involved in various activities, we lost touch. Fast forward nearly 15 years and we reconnected via Facebook, even if we didn’t communicate very often, I would check out his page every now and then and see what adventures he was up to, be it his travels across the world, or weekends attending F1 races. Eventually a girl named Kate showed up on his page and never left. Dave must have seen the inordinate number of wedding posts coming from my page because when he and Kate got engaged, he contacted me to see if I might be back in Ontario at the end of October 2014 to shoot his wedding. I was absolutely thrilled to be the one they asked, so I made plans to travel from my new home in Halifax, Nova Scotia to Niagara Falls, Ontario, for their wedding.
After not seeing the Matkowski family for almost 20 years, I arrived at Dave and Kate’s house excited and nervous. I saw Kate and her girls first, and she immediately made me feel at home, and even though I hadn’t seen Dave in such a long time, I could tell she was perfect for him. She was the type of bride I love spending a wedding day with, so calm, easy going, and just having fun, seemingly without a care in the world. Dave arrived shortly after with the groomsmen and the limo bus, we shared a quick hello before getting the show on the road, we’d catch up a bit later. I sat beside his brother Derek on the bus, so I learned a lot from him.
We hit a number of spots with the wedding party, from the Mackenzie Printery, to the Botanical Gardens, and a couple other locations in between. Dave and Kate kept the wedding party involved and we got a ton of photos with everyone. The forecast was calling for a bit of rain, but we lucked out and I think there were only a few drops just as we finished up the photos, so not a concern at all.
With the wedding party shots done, we made our way to Queenston Heights for family photos right before the ceremony. The Brock Monument was the backdrop for their outdoor ceremony and Dave and Kate provided blankets for guests if the wanted them, after all, it was starting to get chilly by the time they said their vows. As far as I could tell, the ceremony went off without a hitch and we all made our way to the patio for some drinks. Yes, I sad it was getting chilly so a patio might not sound enticing, but they had a bunch of those big heaters going, and they were awesome.
Just before everyone went inside the restaurant for the reception, I grabbed Dave and Kate for a few sunset photos as the sky was turning a beautiful colour. The sunset didn’t last very long, but we made good use of our time. It also gave the guests an opportunity to be seated before the wedding party was introduced.
The reception was setup with a the head table being in front of windows overlooking the Niagara river, a beautiful sight. Dave’s cousin Rob was the master of ceremonies and he did a fantastic job, he had some good lines, and kind words. Instead of clinking glasses to get the couple to kiss, people had to tell a story, and I loved hearing the stories people told, I felt like I got to catch up with Dave’s history and learn some of Kate’s. Kate’s dad had the longest story and I had no clue where he was going with it until he wrapped it up. In contrast, his actual speech was rather short as he had already said his piece. I always enjoy seeing what people have to say about the bride and groom, but when I know the people involved, it has a little more meaning to me.
The reception didn’t just have great speeches, there were a few other big hits that night, including a Gelato cart (seriously, and everyone loved it), and a photobooth. The cake was topped with a bride and groom riding a motorcycle, and if you know Dave and Kate, you know nothing could be more appropriate.
I truly feel that had my family never moved from Niagara Falls, I would have been happily standing up with Dave on his wedding day. Even though that obviously wasn’t the case because we did move, I was honoured to be there in any capacity, especially with my camera in hand to capture and preserve all the new memories made on Dave and Kate’s wedding day. This wedding was circled on my calendar all year as the one I was most looking forward to and my expectations were exceeded. I got to see some people I hadn’t seen in years, and to those people, it was great to see you all, and I have passed along all your well wishes to my family. I also got to meet a bunch of awesome new people which is never a bad thing.
Niagara Falls had long felt like home after spending a good chunk of my youth living there, so it felt like I got a chance to come home in a way. Dave and Kate, thank you from the bottom of my heart for including me in your lives, even if for just one day, I enjoyed every minute and I hope our paths get a chance to cross again before another 20 years have elapsed. You are two fantastic people and I’m so glad you two met, congratulations!
Here’s a little glimpse into the wedding of my old friend Dave, and his beautiful wife Kate;