I've been to a lot of weddings. And have photographed quite a few, too. But never have I seen a standing ovation at a wedding ceremony - until now. Roger and Ryan's summertime Annapolis Valley wedding was a powerful one for this photographer. This wasn't just the first same-sex wedding to happen in the area - Ryan also happens to be part of my new family now that I've decided to marry into the Fredericks clan. With deep love for my new cousin (cousin-in-law?) I was honoured to be asked to capture the details of welcoming Roger into the family.
And what a tear-jerker it was.
Firstly, this happens to be one of the closest, loving families I have ever met. But secondly, there were a number of perfect star-alignments than contributed to the tear-jerkiness of this particular day. Of particular note was the surprise arrival of Keith, Ryan's grandfather who had suffered a heart attack mere weeks before the wedding and was not expected to arrive. But he did. And he wore a funky hat. And both he and Ryan couldn't have been happier.
So this wasn't a quaint little wedding. This was a rather huge, and incredibly gorgeous wedding. The rather modest white building doesn't really prepare you for the gorgeous stained glass interior and solid wood features that define the vast interior. Architectural wonder aside, this church was also the very church Ryan's parents got married in themselves. This was an extra special wedding before it even began. And once it began, it was just beautiful.
Little did I realize the most touching parts of the day may be yet to come. Oh, the reception. The "Apple Dome" didn't know what was coming. The night was off to a great start - Ryan's aunt Jill was the kind and witty MC everyone wishes they could be; the food was GREAT (and made by Ryan's dad Brian and by Roger himself - as if he didn't have enough on his plate already... yeah that pun was totally intended).
And then came speeches. Ryan's uncle Allan filled in for a longtime friend of Ryan's who was unable to attend. Though attempting to impersonate a mid-30s young woman as he read her letter aloud, Allan still managed to move many - to tears of both happiness and of course hilarity.
But the real humdinger was when Brian Ettinger, Ryan's father, took to the mic and delivered a surprising and what was one of the most touching speeches I have ever heard. There were few dry eyes in the house.
It's tough to hold a steady camera when you're stifling sobs but I managed. Somewhat.
The sun just happened to be setting during Roger and Ryan's first dance, and was just dipping below the horizon when Ryan and his mother, Becky, began their dance to "Mustang Sally," which involved some mighty fine grooving and lip curling (see below). But just when I thought I might be in a tear-free safety zone, Becky and Brian pulled their son and new son-in-law to the floor as the classic "We Are Family" started to fill the room. Geez, I'm getting teary just thinking about it.
From there, the night took off into an insanely fun Rankin Family-fueled Maritime dance party that lasted well into the night, with Roger and Ryan's competing/complimentary music choices giving everyone a reason to take a spin on the dance floor.
If you haven't been moved to tears yet, check below for my short film recounting some of the magic of this day.