This wedding was one for the books.  18hrs from start-to-finish, and not a dull moment in any sense.  This wedding had everything: beauty, emotion, crazy weather, amazing food, and crazy good dancing!  This was my first time being hired to photograph a traditional Indian Wedding – something I’ve always really, really wanted to do.  The challenge with breaking into this market is that the customs and ceremonies are so entirely different from any other culture, that it’s kind of risky to hire an Indian Wedding “rookie”.  Not to mention the scale of Swati and Akhil’s wedding.  Somewhere around 450 guests, in two of Ottawa’s most beautiful venues – The Fairmont Chateau Laurier and the Hilton Lac Leamy in Gatineau.

Thankfully (for me), Swati attended a wedding that I photographed last summer, and she and Akhil liked my work enough that they were interested in hiring me for their wedding…and asked if I had any experience with Indian Weddings.  Nope…I wish!  My solution?  Beg and plead my good friend Ryan Chan to come to Ottawa to shoot it alongside me, since he has photographed Hindu Weddings in the past.  You know it’s a good photographer friend when they will keep a prime Saturday free in June (almost a year in advance), drive back-and-forth from Toronto, and sweat it out for 18hrs in June heat…for about 1/4 of the money he could have made shooting a wedding on his own in Toronto that weekend.  Let’s just say I owe him one.  I never thought that my Chinese friend would end up helping give me “Indian street cred”.  Who knew?

Regardless…we both had an amazing time, and I think we got some killer photos!

Congratulations to Swati & Akhil – you are both amazing people, and both of your families are warm & wonderful people.  It has been great getting to know you – thanks for believing in me.  Here are some of my favorites from the day.

Also, special thanks to Seema Haider, for doing such an incredible job with Swati’s hair and makeup.  It doesn’t need to be said, but she looked absolutely stunning all day.

Side note:  The photo of Swati peering out of the window of the room at Chateau Laurier is kind of funny.  It’s actually a pretty frequently (read:over) done photo, usually staged by the photographer.  Interestingly, Swati was genuinely looking outside onto MacKenzie Ave. to see if the Baraat had begun (Akhil arriving by horse amid a huge celebration), when I got this photo.

Henna and engagement ring - Ottawa Indian Wedding

Bridal portrait - Indian Wedding Ottawa

Bridal portrait - Chateau Laurier Wedding

Indian bridal portrait Ottawa

Bridal Portrait - Chateau Laurier

Bridal portrait - Chateau Laurier

Baraat - Major

Baraat - Chateau Laurier

Baraat - Chateau Laurier Ottawa

Photo by Ryan

Chateau Laurier - Indian Wedding

Grandfathers - Indian Wedding Chateau Laurier

Indian bridal portrait in Chateau Laurier lobby

Processional - Indian Wedding Chateau Laurier OttawaProcessional - Indian Wedding Chateau Laurier Ottawa

Processional - Indian Wedding Chateau Laurier Ottawa

Indian Wedding Chateau Laurier Ottawa

Processional - Indian Wedding Chateau Laurier Ottawa

Photo by Ryan

Indian Wedding Chateau Laurier Ottawa

Vidaai - Chateau Laurier Ottawa

Exit - Indian Wedding at Chateau Laurier

Indian Couples portrait - Chateau Laurier

Rideau Canal Bridge - Wedding portrait Ottawa

Under NAC - Wedding Portrait Ottawa

War Memorial - Couples portrait Ottawa

Wedding Portrait Chateau Laurier

Wedding Chateau Laurier Ottawa

Indian Wedding Hilton Lac Leamy

Hilton Lac Leamy Wedding

Wedding photo in lobby of Hilton Lac Leamy

Wedding Dance at Hilton Lac Leamy

Sweetheart table at Hilton Lac Leamy

Bride and Groom table at Hilton Lac Leamy

Photo by Ryan

Kids watching wedding toasts on dance floor

Groom being lifted up - Hilton Lac Leamy

Father of groom on dance floor

Dance floor at Indian wedding Hilton Lac Leamy

Dance floor at Indian Wedding Hilton Lac Leamy

Photo by Ryan

Crazy dance floor at Indian wedding Hilton Lac Leamy

 

 

It was great to be able to finally align calendars with Rebecca & Pete for their engagement session, after a few reschedules around their whirlwind spring – including a family wedding in Europe.  With their wedding coming up soon (in mid-July) at Blessed Sacrament Church, followed by a private reception at Juniper Kitchen, I was worried we would be pressed to find an evening that worked.  It all ended up working out, and the big bonus was that not only did we get a gorgeous early-summer evening, but Rebecca and Pete also brought along their gorgeous daughter, Ella!  A bit of a change-up for me, since I don’t really do any ‘family photography’ aside from chasing my own daughter around with a camera, but I thought it would be awesome to have Ella in the mix for some of the photos.  Unfortunately, poor Ella was being eaten alive – the mosquitoes were like smoke in the Arboretum, so we worked quickly and kept moving to get some nice photos, before scrambling for cover in our cars to head home.

Hopefully the mosquitoes distracted poor Pete, who, for some bizarre reason, I kept calling by the wrong name.  I’ve never done this before, and I have no idea why I was doing it, but I think I called him “Matt” about 90% of the time.  We all had a laugh about it (at my expense), and I don’t think he was offended – Rebecca simply convinced him it was because he looks so much like Matt Damon (thanks, Rebecca!).  I’m really looking forward to this wedding – Rebecca & Matt Pete are a lot of fun, and I think it’s going to be an amazing time for everyone.  I promised to have the name issue straightened-out by then.  :)

http://christianlee.ca/blog/rebecca-pete-ottawa-arboretum-engagement/

ottawa engagement session with baby

ottawa engagement session with baby

http://christianlee.ca/blog/rebecca-pete-ottawa-arboretum-engagement/

Ottawa Arboretum engagement

Engagement session at the Arboretum in Ottawa

ottawa arboretum engagement-1-8

Ottawa Arboretum engagement

cartier bridge engagement photo walking

I met with Agnes & Tom late last Fall to talk about their upcoming wedding in October at Blessed Sacrament Church, followed by a reception at the Holiday Inn Select in Kanata.  Agnes has to be one of the most organized clients with whom I’ve ever worked.  She had a spreadsheet of 50+ photographers, along with a list of criteria and I believe some sort of scoring system – and with feedback/vetting from her bridesmaids.  In addition to this spreadsheet was a list of very specific questions about my abilities, preparedness, “what ifs” etc.  Agnes said “oh, I just have one other question…” so many times that I began jokingly calling her “Columbo“.

Somehow, many coffees and answered questions later, it seemed that I met thier criteria, and Agnes & Tom signed me on to be the photographer for their wedding.  I only share this story because, admittedly, my first impression was a suspicion that Agnes might be a little on the…some might say…uptight side.  I couldn’t have been more wrong.  Agnes (or “Aggy”) is an absolute riot (as is Tom), and we had a lot of fun in the Byward Market and Major’s Hill Park areas for their engagement session.  Tom’s personality was also a bit deceiving.  At first he appeared to be somewhat reserved, but as soon as I would give him a hint of direction to be a bit more affectionate in the photos, he turned into a wild man!  Part of me wonders if Aggy knew about Tom’s wild side way back when they first met in Grade 3 in Toronto, that they might have become a couple sooner, rather than meeting all over again many years later in Ottawa?

I can’t wait for their wedding this fall, I’m sure it’s going to be a blast!

Engagement shoot - Sussex Drive

In front of McCaffrey

Major

Ring shot - Major

Blossom Tree - Major

Underneath Cartier Bridge

ottawa-byward-market-engagement-8

Stairs from Byward Market to Sussex Drive

Stairs to Sussex Drive - Byward Market Engagement

silhouette-ottawa-engagement-aggytom-1

Behind National Gallery - Ottawa Engagement

  • Dale Lempa - Fantastic shots. Great captures of peak expression.ReplyCancel

  • aggy - Thank you for the amazing photos!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :) :) :) :)ReplyCancel

  • Maria - Christian, I am so glad I convince my sister to choose you out of all the photographers. I knew you were special from the moment I saw your work, and you are very friendly and nice too! Thank you for these stunning photos! I feel a little breathless, they are too beautiful! Thank you Christian!ReplyCancel

  • Maria - Christian, Hi, it’s me again! I’m sooo overwhelmed, these are just too beautiful and I can’t stop admiring your amazing work! I hope you take some pretty photos of my sister and me as her maid of honor! Thank you for everything! YOU ARE THE BEST!!!! See you at the wedding!!ReplyCancel

    • Christian - Thanks for the really nice comments, Maria! I don’t owe you commission, do I? 😉 See you at the wedding!!!ReplyCancel

  • Tom - Great photos, Christian! It was great to work with you and your style put someone who doesn’t like taking photos at ease :) Cheers.ReplyCancel

  • Ryan - great work, Christian, you capture some genuine moments. the third last one is my favourite.ReplyCancel

  • Anni - These are wonderful, I especially adore that second to last frame. Beautiful work.ReplyCancel

  • John - 3rd from the bottom, looooove it! That’s what it’s all about! :)ReplyCancel

  • JESSICA OH - i am obsessed with her ring! she is cute as a button. love how you captured them…i feel like i know them! kudos!ReplyCancel

  • Gavin Farrington - That tight B&W crop of her hugging him and laughing is awesome. Great moment!ReplyCancel

  • Dustin Allison - Great session…that last photo is perfect!ReplyCancel

  • beccadilley - Nice mix of places – and you captured some really great smiles!ReplyCancel

  • Victor Saidov - Beautiful photos! The couple looks so much in love! You did an amazing job capturing it!ReplyCancel

  • Kelsie Taylor - these are gorgeous!ReplyCancel

  • Nicola Thompson - such cute portraits! really prettyReplyCancel