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Our Wedding Day: Part 2

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Our Wedding Day: Part 2

Our wedding ceremony... one of the shortest but obviously most important part of our wedding day. So of course, we wanted to put as much thought and effort into this part of the day as we possibly could. As with everything else, we wanted to be very intentional about the decisions we made for our ceremony and having it be true to who we were (can you sense a theme yet?).

Some of the ways we did this was having it outdoors (I am forever grateful to every single one of you reading this who sat out there, bundled in jackets and blankets - we truly appreciated all of you for braving the cold!), having an unplugged ceremony (so that when we looked out at the people that surrounded us, we would see their faces instead of their cameras) having a friend play music as I walked down the isle (thank you Mike!), and writing our own vows.

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We also very much wanted to honour our families, as we would not have gotten to this part of our journey without their support. The first way we did this was by having Eric’s sister in law, Hilary, marry us. We made this decision the day we got engaged - we asked each other who we thought should marry us and both of us right away thought of Hilary. We agreed that it would be so special and meaningful to have one of our family members pray over us, read words of encouragement, and announce us as husband and wife. Hilary did such an amazing job and we couldn’t imagine having anyone else. 

The second way we chose to honour our families was by asking my grandparents to read our selected bible verse:

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another.  
Romans 12: 9-16

We loved these words as it outlines not only what loving your spouse looks like, but also what it takes to show love in your community - in very simple, practical ways. These verses were printed out and hung on our wall as a daily reminder of the promise we not only made to each other, but to those that surround us as well.

Lastly, we chose to honour our family by having our immediate family members come up during our ceremony and pray over us.

While our ceremony ended up being just around 15 minutes, they were the best 15 minutes of the day. It may be easy to skip on the details and rush through this part of the day so you can get to the party afterwards, but I encourage you to slow down and be very intentional about your ceremony. Don't let your "unconventional" ideas stand in the way of a ceremony that is meaningful and true to your story; instead, choose to honour whatever it is that brought you to this moment, whether it’s your spiritual journey, your community or your family.

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Find Your Word 2017

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Find Your Word 2017

I was introduced to Susannah Conway's "Find Your Word" by my dear friend Stephanie, and was so in love with the process that I just had to share it with you all.

It's a practice followed by many (not just Susannah Conway). Instead of setting resolutions for the year (which, let's be honest, most of us break within the first couple weeks into January), you are encouraged to choose one word to guide your year. It can be anything, from "grace" to "brave" to "delight". Instead of a long list of unattainable and unsustainable to-do's, this process takes all of your intentions and goals and brings them down to a single focus, making it not only easier to remember but easier to follow through on. Susannah of course, describes it best: 

"Get fit" sounds like a sensible goal to have, but it doesn't feel very inspiring. Even the more specific “Go to the gym twice a week” has failure built in. I either go to the gym twice a week or I don’t — there’s no room for any other outcome (and that's when we beat ourselves up for "failing"). On the other hand, choosing a word like ENERGISED or even STRONG affects me in a completely different way. They encourage me to make better choices. They empower rather than order, inspire rather than judge. You can't "break" a word like you can break a resolution. The word (or words!) you choose is there to inspire you whenever you need it.

So I signed up and received an email a day over the course of 5 days containing prompts to help me narrow in on a word. At first I was nervous, because a part of me was certain that I would be that one person who would somehow NEVER be able to find a word (and my mother thinks I'm dramatic... pft). But as I went through the course and allowed myself to reflect back on 2016 and examine the areas of my life that needed the most support and attention, I found myself coming back to the same word again and again.

This year was a pretty big one, at least for me personally. Getting to marry Eric meant this year was full of celebration, joy, change and excitement. I also was able to meet and photograph a ton of amazing couples, who in turn became friends. However, as I reflected back on the goals that I set at the beginning of the year for my business, I found that a lot of them got left behind. Which, don't get me wrong, were placed on the back burner for obvious good reasons - I have loved being in this season of my life and I wouldn't have changed a single thing. But moving into 2017, I'm finding myself eager to dive in and really propel my business forward. I am choosing to believe that by opening myself up to change, opportunity and excitement, that big things are going to come this year. 

And so, as I made my way through the course, I was being drawn to one word: engage. And the more I sat with it, the more I fell in love with it. When I think of engage, I get excited at all of the areas of my life this word can apply to: engaging with my business, working on new projects that not only serves my couples but projects that bring me joy and excitement; engaging with my community, offering up my talents to serve those around me; engaging my relationships, both opening myself up to new ones and deepening current ones; and lastly, engaging my overall wellbeing, whether it's establishing a mindful morning routine or simply getting outside more.

Again, this is the first time I've done this sort of thing, so I can't exactly tell you how it's going to go. But from what my friends who have participated in this practice have told me about how it shaped their year, whether in small, subtle ways or big, exciting ways, I'm ready to give it a go. It's been a week since I chose my word and already, I have seen it start to make its way into my daily routines, which is so cool. And really, I'm up for anything that gets me away from promising to work out more (it's just not going to happen).

For those of you whose interest has been peaked, click here to be taken to Susannah Conway's blog where you can sign up for this free 5 day course on finding your word for 2017. And once you find a word, don't forget to come back here and let me know what your word is! 

May your coming year be full of love, magic and many adventures! Here's to 2017!

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Our Wedding Day: Part 1

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Our Wedding Day: Part 1

In light of our 6 month wedding anniversary, I've decided to sit down and write a 3 part series on my reflection of our wedding day - the choices we made, the details that mattered, along with some of our favourite photos from Emily Oud Photography (because I just can't get enough). 

Eric and I committed to forever on May 21, 2016. Everyone always tells you how fast the day goes by, but nothing can really prepare you for how true this statement is. 

I very much wanted to get ready in my parents’ home. Although the distance to our venue made it a little inconvenient, there was something about getting ready in the home I grew up in. This was the place that housed my dark, moody teenage years all the way to the day I moved out to Vancouver (and then ending up moving back into right before our wedding - thanks parents). This was the house that I came home to after my first date with Eric, as I lay in my bed, unable to stop smiling as we continued to talk over the phone. The house that we came home to to celebrate with our family the day we got engaged. I couldn't picture myself getting ready to marry Eric in any other place.

The morning was not unlike most wedding days - a mix of excitement, worry about the weather, and just a little bit of pressure as we looked at the clock. As with every wedding, things started to run behind and get a slightly rushed, but I knew it was all going to work out. I was so grateful to my friend Mel for working so hard to make my hair look perfect, and to my sister who offered to do my makeup that morning.

One of my favourite parts of the day was sitting down to read a letter from Eric. He managed to make me smile, laugh and cry in those pages. In the chaos of the wedding day, it was really special to have been able to slow down and take a moment to remind myself what this whole day was about.  

I had also written a letter to my parents. I love the photo below because it shows my Dad trying not to cry, and my mom being mad at me for MAKING her cry (which I found hysterical).

It was agreed upon that any time I started to feel overwhelmed, this nugget would get thrown into my arms. If you didn't know, I'm a pretty big fan of my adorable little niece. 

The dress was put on, snacks were packed (#hypoglycaemic) and we were off to the greenhouse to get our photos taken. Eric and I had made the decision early on to see one another and do photos before our ceremony. While the first look approach may be considered a “trendy” thing to do these days, there were a few reasons we decided to see each other before the ceremony:

  1. Throughout our entire planning process, Eric and I were quick to share that we didn’t exactly love being the centre of attention. While we love to make people laugh, it’s never in a setting where we’re put in the spotlight. So when we imagined seeing each other for the first time in the presence of our friends and family, with all of the emotion and attention that it would bring, we just knew it wasn’t for us.
  2. Everyone that knows me knows that I can be a *bit* emotional. I’ve been known to cry at almost every wedding I go to, even the ones I photograph. Don’t get me wrong, I am absolutely not ashamed of this fact. But there was something about the thought of being able to let my emotions go fully and without restraint that made me certain I wanted that time with Eric alone. We didn't have to rush. We were able to talk to each other, to ask how the other person's morning had been. And for those that think the first look takes away from the emotion during the ceremony, I can assure you, no tears were left behind. 
  3. Finally,  we didn’t want out guests to have to hang out for a long period of time in between our ceremony and reception. Especially as our venue was in the middle of nowhere, we knew that leaving our guests to take photos just wasn’t ideal for how we pictured our day and wanted it to look. We wanted to be there with our guests during cocktail hour, drinking margaritas and catching up with everyone. So that's what we did.

And let me tell you, it was one of the best decisions we could’ve made that day. Being able to see Eric, to hold him as tightly as possible without anyone around us other than our photographers, was my absolute favourite part of the day. And like the love letters that we each read that morning, it allowed us to take a breath, slow down, and start the day off right and remind us of what we were about to commit to. 


Thanks for reading! In part 2, I’ll talk about our ceremony and some of the decisions we made for that part of our day. Stay tuned!

 

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How We're Planning Our Wedding

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How We're Planning Our Wedding

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Photo by Emily Oud Photography

 

As mentioned, this series is going to share how Eric and I are going about planning our wedding: what’s important to us, what we’re trying to keep in mind, and what we want our wedding to feel like. I’m not pretending to be a wedding planner here (although being a wedding planner did make my “what I want to be when I grow up” list) - I’m simply trying to add my voice to the conversation.

I’m going to delve into some of the specifics when it comes to our wedding, but I wanted to kick off this series by outlining the overall goal that Eric and I set the moment we sat down to start planning:

Let’s make our wedding fun and let’s make it about us.

That’s it. That was our only goal. If we walked away from our wedding with sore feet from too much dancing and sore faces from too much smiling, we’d know our wedding was exactly what we wanted it to be. Everything else in between didn’t matter as much as the fact that Eric and I wanted to look back on our day knowing that we had the best time celebrating our commitment to spend the rest of our lives together.

Now, coming from two Grade-A people pleasers, this was not and is not an easy feat. I can sit here all day and say that I threw the opinions of my parents and friends and complete strangers (yes, I've gone to strangers for their opinions) to the wind, but I think we all know by now that's exactly true (I've had 3 people read this post before I published it). But with each new task, the urge to text anyone with a heartbeat and an opinion subsides and I am able to make that decision with Eric. This has made all the difference when it comes to how I felt about wedding planning.

Because let me tell you, it is EXHAUSTING trying to figure out what will make everyone happy. And regardless of how many people you’re inviting to your day, there is absolutely no way that everyone is going to like every single one of your decisions. So in the end, the only thing you can do is try and make you and your fiancé happy. I’m fully aware that this is the most cliche thing I could have started this blog with, but it’s a lot harder to follow through on this than you might think. And really, at the end of the day, you are planning an entire party that centres around you and your future spouse. So if there was ANY time that selfishness was acceptable, this would be it.

Back to the point: by keeping the theme of fun in our minds, it ended up helping shape a lot of the decisions that we had to make. If it wasn’t fun, then we weren’t going to do it. If it didn’t make our day more enjoyable, then it wasn’t going to happen. So yes, there might be some “unique” qualities about our wedding, and we might’ve cut some of the “traditional” aspects that we didn’t want to do. And while I know this won’t sit well with everyone, I’m sticking up for the choices we’ve made because … well… *clears throat* it’s our wedding.

I don’t want to give any more away, so I’ll leave you with that. In my next post, I’m going to talk about what Eric and I looked for when searching for a venue (plus a “fun” story on how losing our originally booked venue ended up being more than okay).

Thanks for reading! To those reading who are married or planning their wedding - what was/is important to you and your spouse when you planned your wedding? I would love to hear from you - leave a comment below!

 

 

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The perfect ending to a perfect year

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The perfect ending to a perfect year

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Round two of my vacation blog post!

Before moving home, Eric and I decided to take one last road trip down the West Coast. I had stopped in San Francisco on my way down to San Diego in February, and I just knew I had to go back . Also, after being almost 1000km apart from one another for a year, we thought we were due for some time together.

This trip was the perfect way to end my time on the west coast. I have come to love Vancouver more than I ever thought possible, and I now consider it my home away from home. Looking back, I can't believe how much I changed from my twelve months on the coast, but I can honestly say, I love the person I am today.  I got to do so many amazing things, make lifelong friends, and grow to become the photographer I always wanted to be. I get a little sad when I think about Vancouver, but I couldn't be happier to be at home with my family, my friends, and my guy. I also could not be more excited to be running my own photography and freelance design business. It's terrifying and amazing all at the same time.

Alright, enough of this sappiness! It's Thursday for heaven's sake! Let's check out some vacation photos!

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DeannaCupido-0394

Starting our vacation off right with a visit to see Dave Matthews Band at the Gorge. I highly recommend going to see this guy live - it's pretty amazing. And even though we were ill prepared for the weather, a kind stranger gave us her blanket after telling us "you look freezing". Why thanks! We are.

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DeannaCupido-0464

Our first of many trips to the ocean

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Some of us are very excited.

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DeannaCupido-2130

Driving through the Redwood Forest was probably one of the best decisions we ever made. It was a bit of a detour, but it was so, so worth it.

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DeannaCupido-0521

I liked this, so I took a photo of it.

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DeannaCupido-2133

San Francisco!!

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Lombard Street - the hill was too steep so they built the road on a curve. We probably would've driven down it if it weren't for the hundreds of tourists taking photos while standing on the road.

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DeannaCupido-2174

This is the view from the top of the curvy section of Lombard Street. You may or may be able to tell how steep it was, so I'll just tell you: it was steep.

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DeannaCupido-2179

This picture would've been perfect if I had got that trolley in the middle of those two houses, but I was too late. Guess I'll just have to go back and try again?

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DeannaCupido-2189

Have I mentioned how steep the roads are???

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DeannaCupido-2218

On the ferry to Alcatraz. Some of you might've known how I felt about going to Alcatraz. If you didn't, you'll soon find out.

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This. This is how I felt about going to Alcatraz.

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Obligatory tourist photo.

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DeannaCupido-2295-2

"Why would you turn that photo black and white? You need to show the red bridge"

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DeannaCupido-2300

I laugh every time I see this photo. As much as I love the ocean, I'm a bit terrified of it. And I may have been taking pictures in a place where I shouldn't have been taking pictures. Therefore... the face.

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DeannaCupido-2311

This picture pretty much sums up our weather in San Francisco. It was like this every. single. day.

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DeannaCupido-2269

Anybody??

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DeannaCupido-2354

One of my favourite memories from the trip. We wandered down to this beach in the hopes of getting some cool photos of the Golden Gate bridge. After passing a couple nudists, we saw this lookout point that would take a bit of a trek to get there. I wouldn't consider either of us big adventure seekers, but for some reason, the adrenaline kicked in and off we were. It was terrifying and exhilarating all at the same time. And yes, climbing over some rocks when the waves are crashing while holding expensive cameras may not be exhilarating for you, but it was for me!

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I will always love the ocean. Always.

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DeannaCupido-0711

After San Francisco, we headed down to Monterey for a night so we could drive along the coast. We stopped in at Stanford along the way to check out what our lives would've been like had we pursued attending an ivy league school.

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Bixby Bridge! So amazing.

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DeannaCupido-2441

Thanks kind stranger for the photo

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DeannaCupido-2444

Checking out Monterey at dusk

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DeannaCupido-2449

Portland was our last stop on our way home! We were both pretty exhausted by this point in our trip, so this is literally the only picture I took of Portland. I thought it summed it up pretty well?

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DeannaCupido-2454

We weren't too tired to catch up with my old friend though! I bet you were cool enough to be friends with your high school art teacher, right? This is Christine's daughter Jill. As you can see... she is adorable.

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DeannaCupido-2463

 This was my third time seeing these guys - I'm so grateful I got to see them so often while living in Vancouver. Hope to see you guys again soon!!

That's it! For those of you who made it through my SECOND set of vacation photos... you deserve a drink!

Until next time, California.

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