SNAPSHOT: Hannah and Mike’s rural wedding in Middleville, Lanark County, Ontario

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Hannah and Mike got married on a beautiful autumn day at the Middleville Agricultural Hall in Lanark County over Thanksgiving weekend. Some dark clouds in the morning made way for blue skies in the afternoon and a clear, cool evening; in other words, an ideal country day. Much like the many rural wedding venues in Prince Edward County, Lanark County boasts beautiful rustic wedding venues that are sure to please; Lanark County isn’t known as the maple syrup capital of Ontario for nothing! The fall is a perfect time to get married here as the leaves change colour and the cool air means less sweat!

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Full disclosure: Hannah and Mike are family, but they are also two fantastic individuals who share similar values with me and we just click on so many levels. I was honoured to be asked to photograph their wedding and was excited to be surrounded by so many members of my wife’s family. Hannah and Mike live in Montreal, so we don’t see them too often in person, but when we do connect, there is always laughter and good conversation.

I had never been to the Middleton Agricultural Hall before, but growing up in Ottawa, I knew the area well from hockey and school field trips to sugar bushes. It’s a lovely open area with a few farm-like buildings and a big main hall for events such as this. Across the big field are two big trees that would become the backdrop for the ceremony.

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I love DIY weddings where everyone chips in to help. This was what my wedding was like and I appreciate the effort that goes into having it get off the ground. Throughout the day, family members were cooking, siblings were baking pies and cousins were setting tables and moving seating around for the ceremony; it was a big team effort. People slowly trickled in throughout the afternoon and there were plenty of kids on hand. I do get why some couples choose to have kid-free weddings - tight on numbers, the couple prefers a quieter affair or the desire for guests to let loose without having to tend to their children - but weddings where kids are embraced are so much fun. Kids get so creative with what is at their disposal and come up with the most unique ways to have fun. Kids really don’t need much, either.

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When it was time for the ceremony, people gathered by the trees on benches and chairs and awaited Hannah and Mike’s entrance. More and more couples are choosing to do away with many wedding traditions, and Hannah’s decision to wear dusty rose instead of white was perhaps the most obvious of these choices. She looked stunning in her dress and the colour fit perfectly with the natural autumn palette of the leaves. They also entered together with their kiddo which was so cute. The ceremony went off without a hitch as vows were read and kisses were exchanged. In true country fashion, milkweed was used as confetti as the couple ran down the aisle.

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We took some couples shots and a number of group shots during the late afternoon before dinner. Kids played games and adults enjoyed a glass of bubbly over a few speeches before we moved inside for dinner, which was potluck and buffet style. The hall was alive and I was in great company. Hannah and Mike had hired a band to play some tunes before the playlist ushered in the dancers and let me tell you, the kids stole the show.

Just before the end of the night we moved outside for some fireworks and sparklers. It was a fitting end to a lovely day. Some people will wonder if I find it challenging keeping my photographer hat on when shooting a family wedding. There are certainly times when I just want to fully immerse myself in the festivities, but taking photos of family means that everyone is already so comfortable in front of my lens. People don’t get nervous about having their pictures taken because I have done it countless times before. I had a blast working with Hannah and Mike and yes, I did eventually let loose on the dance floor myself!

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Nighttime sparkler fun in Prince Edward County
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