Storm Watching from On the Beach on Vimeo.
Today was the biggest storm of the winter so far, so I decided to grab my camera and head to Ucluelet’s Wild Pacific Trail to capture some of the 20 foot swells coming to shore. I shot this in a couple of hours and slammed the edit together right after. It’s not perfect, but it’s fun to see what I can pull together in a short time.
The wild, unpredictable winter weather we get on the west coast is a big part of what I love about living here. Today was my first time really checking out Ucluelet’s Wild Pacific Trail, and I was really impressed with what it had to offer. With all of the old growth forest and abundance of ocean viewpoints, the trail easily rivalled anything inside the neighbouring National Park.
Heather & Mark from On the Beach on Vimeo.
So many couples choose to get married in Tofino because this place already means so much to them, and Mark and Heather are no exception. Mark and Heather both came to Tofino as kids with their families, it was their first getaway together when they started dating, and it was on Florencia Bay where Mark proposed to Heather. So, it’s only fitting that Tofino was their wedding destination. In true Tofino fashion, their wedding day was blessed with unseasonably nice west coast weather. The forecast called for a downpour and they even held their rehearsal under the tent. But, after a little morning fog, the weather broke in time for the ceremony, and the sun even broke through as Mark & Heather were pronounced husband and wife! Aside from the weather, what made their ceremony so memorable was that it was officiated by a close friend of theirs, Paul. This made the ceremony that much more intimate and personal to them and everyone involved.
Their reception was held at the Tofino Botanical Gardens and featured the best cocktail hour I’ve seen yet. Put on by Chef Tim May of Red Can Gourmet, it featured champagne, oysters and appetizer stations spread throughout the garden paths and old growth forest trails for the guests to wander and explore. The entire day was organized and facilitated by Sheila and her amazing crew at Rare Earth who did an outstanding job in making sure Mark and Heather had a seamless, perfect wedding day. I’m so grateful to Mark and Heather for having me along for such an important day in their lives and I can’t wait to see them in Tofino again (and there is no doubt I will)!
Also, be sure the check out the days photos from their friend and photographer Tegan McMartin.
Scott & Fiona’s wedding day was all about their guests. I mean, of course the day was about them and the important milestone that they were about to achieve. However, so many of the details were about making sure their guests had a great time and felt like an integral part of the day. When I asked Scott why he wanted to have his wedding in Ucluelet, one of the reasons that stood out to me was that he and Fiona wanted to get all of their friends and family together not just for an afternoon and evening, but for a weekend. He had heard from friends that a wedding day will fly by, and Scott and Fiona wanted to make the most of the time they had with everyone together.
When they were planning the wedding, one of the things they put most of their time and effort into were their centrepieces for the reception. Instead of an elaborate flower arrangement, Scott and Fiona built photo albums customized to each table, filled with memories that they shared with each group. During the cocktail hour and throughout the night, it got people talking, laughing and reminiscing. The photo books also acted as a guestbook that guests could sign at their leisure. Being especially interested in technology, Scott and Fiona built their own awesome, custom wedding website for their guests that integrated with the “appyCouple” smartphone app. While it did help their guests with information about the logistics of the day, the best part of the app was that all the photos that people took with their phones were shared online for everyone else to have and enjoy. Going through the photos was like a collage of hilarious, spontaneous, touching, (and sometimes blurry) moments from the entire weekend. Of course, guests were also treated to the ever popular “Four Frames” photo booth.
The high point of the entire day was Scott’s surprise fireworks show. It was a surprise for Fiona to be sure, as only Scott, the photographer Angela and myself knew about it until minutes before. Once it was dark enough and Fiona had been coaxed out of the reception hall, Scott quickly rallied the entire wedding back out to the Fetch patio overlooking Big Beach. What resulted, you can see in the video. It was the perfect surprise for Fiona, who loves fireworks, but it was also the ultimate way that Scott made sure his guests were part of it all.
Mike & Korah’s wedding was as much about their family and friends as it was about them. With just over 100 guests making the long trip to Tofino from Kamloops or even further, I thought that this couple either had big families, or a lot of people who loved them. It turns out to be a little bit of both, but with so many people travelling so far to be there it’s obvious that Mike & Korah are important to them. (Then again, maybe they just came because they enjoy a good party. Mike and Korah clearly came through there!) Family was such an important part of the day because Korah, Mike and his son Brandon already are such a tight family. Mike’s Dad spoke about how proud he was of his son and his grandson, while Korah’s Dad talked about the thrill of having and ‘instant’ grand-child with the prospect of more to come. Mike & Korah are blessed with the love & support a large family provides.
The entire wedding day was hosted by the the Tin-Wis Resort, which is a beautiful property overlooking historic MacKenzie Beach. Korah’s stunning bouquet and flowers were provided by Crab Apple Floral. Her and her bridesmaids enjoyed some pink champagne in the morning while having their hair done by the girls at Studio One. I also had the opportunity to work alongside the wonderful photographer Kathleen Ferguson. Congratulations, Mike & Korah!
Sarah & Devin’s Wedding at Long Beach Lodge from On the Beach on Vimeo.
There was never any doubt that Devin & Sarah were going to get married in Tofino. They both had such fond memories of visiting Vancouver Island with their families when they were growing up, so they knew Tofino would be the perfect spot to start a family of their own. At the beginning of their ceremony the officiant, Rene, announced that “Devin and Sarah want to get married, and they want to get married here. It’s as simple as that.” It was as simple as that. An intimate wedding surrounded by only their closest friends and family.
So when Devin and Sarah found out that they were the winners of Long Beach Lodge’s “Pimp Your Wedding” contest, it was icing on the cake. No, actually it was a whole wedding cake. And dinner. And the Penthouse Suite. The works from the Lodge, and the works from Tofino’s finest. Flowers from Crab Apple Floral, hair and make-up from Salty Dolls, photography from Marnie Recker, and a video from yours truly. Sarah and Devin were thrilled to have it all. All those things that make a wedding day just right and a way to capture the memories. But in their eyes, I think it just made a perfect day better. Their real gifts that day were the family and friends that came from across the country to their little wedding on a big beach at the edge of the world.
Congratulations, Devin & Sarah.
Natasha & Steve – May 25th 2013 from On the Beach on Vimeo.
Finally, after two years of planning and postponing, Natasha and Steve were able to tie the knot. It happened at Terrace Beach in Ucluelet, on a perfectly warm and sunny May afternoon. It could have happened anywhere, really. Steve and Natasha both work as flight attendants so they have the opportunity to travel almost wherever they want. They had their first date in Halifax, on the other side of the country. Steve proposed to Natasha in Beijing, on the other side of the world. But they chose to have their wedding here. I think we can see why….
Natasha and Steve both worked hard to plan for their day, and their efforts paid off with perfect execution. This really came through in the details. If the ceremony on the beach was fairly simple, then the reception was elegant. The hall at The Cabins is beautiful by itself, but Steve & Natasha made it their own. From the personalized menus to the giant heart casting it’s glow from above the mantlepiece, Steve & Natasha really took care to make sure everything was in place to create a memorable experience for their guests and for themselves.
After spending a few days with the couple and getting to know them as much as I could, it became clear to me that they already knew each other in and out. In the morning, Natasha was telling me that Steve loved airplanes and would always stop and look up when one flew over. Sure enough, only moments after the ceremony ended and Steve and Natasha were hugging their parents, a plane flew over and Steve let go of his mom and watched until the plane was gone behind the trees. But, as much as Steve loves airplanes, he loves Natasha more. He summed it up in his speech to Natasha but you don’t need to hear the speech to see it. Natasha and Steve had an incredible wedding day and I was grateful to be a part of it.
Andrew & Kayla from On the Beach on Vimeo.
Andrew and Kayla’s big day was my first wedding in Vancouver and as expected it was quite a different experience from shooting in Tofino. This couple’s love for the city was obvious as their wedding day was spread across Vancouver.
It ended up being one of the nicest days of the year so far. When Andrew and his wedding party headed out for breakfast in Surrey, I was already thinking I should have worn sunscreen. The ceremony happened atop Burnaby mountain at SFU, a beautiful venue with floor to ceiling windows over looking the inlet that really shone in the day’s sun. The highlight of the ceremony for me was the kiss, probably my favourite one so far. In fact, Kayla’s bubbly personality led to a lot of great shots for the video as she was able be herself, even with the cameras around.
The only downside to having a wedding on such a beautiful day is trying to find parking around English Bay for the photo shoot. On that note if you’re ever trying to save the last parking spot for a van load of groomsmen, just ask the bride to stand in that spot and politely wave other cars away! The reception on Granville Island was a lively one, with great food, heartfelt speeches and lots and lots of dancing. Not your average dancing either. I’m talking dance circles, with guests trading off windmills for head spins. All in all it was a pretty memorable day for me, so I can only imagine how it must have felt for the newlyweds. Congratulations Andrew and Kayla!!
Can’t wait for summer? Me neither!
Well, as we all know this past week was Valentines Day, the best time of the year to spoil your special somebody with flowers and chocolate treats. So, I thought I would head over to the Tofino Cake Studio to see what Gord and Leah were up to. Turns out they were busy, of course, churning out cupcakes for Valentines as well as working on a huge 4 tier cake for the Feast on Love event. But they were happy to have me hang out while they worked to fill orders and put the finishing touches on the cake.
What I found out is that there is a lot that goes in to the Cake Studio cakes! For starters, making a cake takes time. I had to visit on three different days to capture the whole thing! The first day was with Gord as he did the baking, and then two separate days with Leah to ice the cake, then decorate (this is why she is wearing two different shirts in the video). It’s clearly a labour of love however, and Gord and Leah make sure only the best go into their cakes. All of their ingredients are organic, local, fair trade and earth friendly. From the natural dyes in the icing right down to the forest friendly parchment paper. Leah even keeps a garden behind the studio where she grows edible flowers for her wedding cakes.
As much as I enjoyed spending some time with Gord and Leah and working on this video, I’d have to say that the highlight for me was whenever Leah would let me try a cupcake! It’s a shame I can’t capture flavour on camera, but I promise they are as good as they look. The Tofino Cake Studio makes beautiful cakes for any occasion. So, if you don’t have a special occasion coming up then you should probably make one up and bring home some cupcakes to share with that special person in your life!