Let me warn you, this is a big one! Photographing this wedding was the toughest AND the most rewarding wedding experience ever for me.
A bit of background, short & sweet: Vanessa is Rob’s sister. This pretty much makes her my sister. I come from a small family, and as the only child, I always dreamed of having siblings. Well, Rob has 3 sisters and 2 brothers… and everyone is close and super affectionate!! (Score!) Rob’s parents (and one of his sisters along with her hubby & their kids) also live in Dominican and have a beautiful house in Cabarete. Cabarete is a really cool surfing town with a great expat culture (Rob & I just moved there from Punta Cana, yay!) Naturally, Vanessa & Cam chose to have their awesome destination wedding week in Cabarete, DR – just a few days after Rob & I got back from Bali!! I can’t express in words how happy of an occasion this love-filled wedding was. I hope my love will come through these images… because it’s seeping out of every pore!
Vanessa & Cam met at a small annual music festival in Alberta, North Country Fair. Our group had gone home on the last day because they all had to work the next morning, but my sister-face Nesse & I stayed for an extra optional night. Vanessa recalls, ‘Cam was a new face in a group of friends that had a blast and danced the night away. He wasn’t a romantic prospect at the time, but he clearly made an excellent impression. We didn’t reconnect until nearly a year later, but the rest is history. For the next two years, we attended the festival as a couple. This year will be the honeymoon edition.’
I remember the night I hung out with Cam for the first time. I remember it so well. It was late and Nesse decided to have a nap in the tent while I enjoyed some quiet down time with a bottle of vino, drying our socks & boots by the campfire. This guy came through our campsite and accidentally scared the bejesus out of me – he later came back for a friendly chat. Cam & I ended up talking till the sun came up. I remember thinking how much I’d always wanted an older brother and if I had one, I would want him to be just like Cam. Little did I know, he would be. It brings tears of happiness to my eyes. Cam, I love you so much!
*** below, Cam lets nephew Estevan hug a bag of ice. It’s the day before the wedding and we get together for a pig roast. (The sight of it is slightly traumatizing for Rob & I, but thanks to pitchers of sangria, we make it through okay) 🙂
Vanessa about Cam: ‘I love his strong hands… and have I mentioned how hot he looks when he’s playing his drums? (strong drummer hands = unbelievable massages. Plus he’s a pretty great kisser ;)’
The new hot thing to do in Cabarete (which will soon be available in Bavaro, Punta Cana): the Kahuna MV Flyboard!!!
Rob is loving experiencing a wedding from a different perspective. It’s highly unlikely I would have ever posted a shot of him drinking a beer while we’re shooting someone else’s wedding, hehe!
We take over a beautiful Cabarete beachfront villa for the morning preparations…
Rob fooling around 🙂
As a kid, Cam wanted to be a drummer for Jesus Christ Superstar. Vanessa wanted to be … a grownup.
‘I appreciate the intensity with which Vanessa loves the people she cares about. She is all or nothing, and I like it all.’
Vanessa, on the proposal: ‘My favourite instrument is the stand-up bass. We were going out to a concert to celebrate our one-year anniversary when Cam told me he had an anniversary surprise for me. He pulled me into the living room and there was a gorgeous stand-up bass there. He then proceeded to play the bass while singing me a song that he wrote about us. Using the song lyrics, he proposed. I should mention that he didn’t know how to play the stand-up bass before. I WIN!!’
Top three things Vanessa loves about Cam: ‘he is one of those constantly optimistic people who are always smiling. He balances me out when I’m stressing and can always see the positive side of things. He’s extremely adventurous and has no problem dropping everything to go take a trip somewhere at the drop of a hat. He’s undoubtedly the most affectionate man I have ever met, plus he looks really, really sexy when he’s playing his drum kit.’
Top three things Cam loves about Vanessa: ‘the intensity of her desire, the heat in her eyes, the softness of her lips.’
‘My life is different in ways that I never imagined possible because I met Cam. I work in an industry I never thought I would join. It allows me to travel far more than I imagined possible, and in a vintage Airstream at that! He has opened my eyes to so many cool experiences and opportunities. His creativity has opened doors for my own, and I couldn’t possibly be more excited about our future.’
‘Vanessa enhances everything she touches and loves completely with all her heart: no restrictions, no limits, just flat-out love.’
Vanessa’s favourite gift: ‘it’s not a gift, but the Airstream we decided to buy together is my favourite thing in the whole world. We started renovating it last summer and spent so many amazing days in there, rocking out with our boom boxes, smoking hookah, painting and cleaning the entire thing. On road trips we’ve parked it at truck stops, Walmarts, and casino parking lots and had the time of our lives. I lived in it until the end of October when I finally had to admit that it was time to store it because of the cold.’
Cam’s favourite gift: ‘GoPro. My baby knows me.’
Most romantic memory together: ‘we took a road trip through California and Oregon with our vintage 72 Airstream. All along the way, we’d stop at these little oyster shacks and fill ice boxes with fresh oysters to take with us. Whenever we felt like it, we’d stop along the side of the road, set up a picnic by the water, and feast on oysters.’
‘I know it’s the worst cliché, but Cam & I are really good at making ordinary days really fun. One day last summer stands out. We wanted to go to the local Blues festival but it was sold out and we couldn’t find tickets. We packed up a picnic and a couple of jars of homemade sangria, grabbed a comfy blanket, and set up camp outside the festival ground gates. We couldn’t see the bands but the music was great and we had a blast.’
Vanessa calls Cam Bear, and he calls her Bunny. ‘Bunny came from an unusual rabbit costume I sometimes wear at music festivals, and Bear came from Cam’s spectacular pelt of chest hair,’ Vanessa explains. 🙂
Vanessa’s favorite things to find in the fridge: ‘extra sharp, aged white cheddar and homemade pickles.’
Cam’s favourite things to find in the fridge: ‘pickles, Cherry Garcia, Guiness, left-over steak & quinoia.’
Reception party at our family-owned Kahuna Restaurant & Sports Bar. (You canNOT come to Cabarete without visiting this awesome place!)
If you haven’t heard of chaga yet, thank goodness you’re reading this blog post! Vanessa & Cam came up with the most original idea yet for wedding favours: vials with chaga tea & tea bags for everyone to take home.
Seriously, no wedding party has EVER rocked our photobooth as heartily as our families did.
Huge kudos to our great friend and destination wedding planner extraordinaire, Rich Weber of 4TW.
Vanessa & Cam, you gypsies are inspiring and we can’t wait for our future babies to play at North Country Fair together. We love you so so so much! K+R.