Oh boy. I have been waiting to blog this one forever. Okay, fine, just since September. But being so behind on blogging, it has taken me ages to sit down and get to it. You'd think being stuck at home would make you more productive, but as I'm sure you all know from your own experience, it seems to be quite the opposite for the majority of us. Busy season wasn't even busy this year because so many wedding were rescheduled or postponed, or just cancelled. But somehow, it still felt busy. Photographers, you hear me?
Anyway. This wedding. This wedding. Wow. I don't even know where to begin.
I met Navid at Chantale + Keith's gorgeous wedding in 2019. ( https://www.fiddleanddrumphotography.com/single-post/2019/11/25/chantale-keith-072019 ) Little did I know, he would be proposing to his own girlfriend later that year. Keeping me in mind, they reached out asking me if I could shoot their engagement photos. I figured I'd ask them if they were looking for a wedding photographer as well, and Navid explained to me that they were actually planning on getting married in the Netherlands so they were only looking for engagement photos. And I, not so subtlety, shouted at them "bring me with you and make all of my dreams come true", and much to my surprise, they agreed.
And then, COVID happened. And we were so uncertain. Luckily Rochelle is from the Holland and her family was able to keep her updated on the situation over there. They had put down a deposit on a castle at which they planned to marry, but travel bans were of course a huge hinderance. Most of their wedding guests were indeed from the Netherlands, but their guests from Canada couldn't come, nor could their photographer, and most importantly, neither could they! Fortunately for us, we waited it out and the Netherlands opened their borders to Canadians in the nick of time!
We booked our tickets and waited with fingers crossed that circumstances wouldn't change. However, though we could travel to the Netherlands without having to quarantine when we got there, it was not the same upon returning to Canada. We all enjoyed two weeks of peace (or editing in my case) when we got home from our "mini-vacation" to Europe.
Initially John and I planned to go together with our baby who was just three months old when I jetted off to Amsterdam. Unfortunately, we couldn't afford to both go since I made less than a quarter of my regular income from the summer, nor could we both quarantine for two weeks when our kids had school to go to and life had to carry on. So, leaving my newborn (ish) baby at home, I left for Europe for the first time since I was 13. And ladies and gentlemen, it did not disappoint. And though the canals and the architecture and the shops were amazing, hands down the highlight of the trip was this wedding.
This wedding held at Heeze Castle. For less than a venue you can find in Canada BY THE WAY. Seriously, everyone elope in a castle in Europe and bring me with you please.
Okay, now, let me tell you about the day. Rochelle and Navid both got ready at the castle in separate areas. Rochelle and her mother were upstairs in the "newer" building. And Navid got ready in the library of the original building. The castle was not huge, it was quaint by castle standards, but it was absolutely the most breathtaking place I have ever been. Surrounded by gardens and an orchard of pear trees, I didn't even know where to start. I took Rochelle's dress outside with me and hung it in the orchard and on the castle wall, unable to decide between the two. I met Navid to take some photos of him before the ceremony. He was getting ready with his father and his brother and his best friend who was able to come along with them from Calgary. The only Canadians at the wedding were Navid and Rochelle, Navid's parents, brother and his best friend, and me of course.
The ceremony was held beside what can only be described as the moat, off of the garden. It was performed in both English and Dutch. Immediately after the ceremony we went to the library again, this time Rochelle and Navid and I only. They took a moment together while their guests lined the courtyard outside to toast the newly married couple. Oh boy, this is getting long winded. But you guys, I have so much to say. I can't believe how vividly I remember it all. We did their family photos on the bridge outside of the castle and then moved on to their bridal shoot. They were the best sports as I dragged them all over the castle grounds for their photos. I honestly can not express how much I adore these two. They gave me the opportunity of a lifetime and I will forever be grateful for their trust in me and their encouragement and their way of making you feel instantly welcome.
After our shoot we came back for the reception. Everyone was starving and the dinner lasted for another few hours as courses were served and the guests and hosts entertained everyone. There were speeches, songs, stories, a video of all of Navid and Rochelle's guests from Canada who were unable to make it because of the travel restrictions. It was such a lovely evening.
As the sun began to set, I pulled them aside for some golden hour photos. Always my favorite because the light is stunning and soft and the couple has had a moment to absorb the day. They are fed and maybe have a drink or two in them and they are fully comfortable in the fact that they are now husband and wife.
The rest of the night was a party. The lights strung from the buildings through the trees lit up the courtyard. There was a fire to keep guests warm as they visited outside while the rest of the guests mingled in the building. The beautiful cake that friends of Rochelle's had made themselves was served along with a Dutch favorite, Schuim.
We ended the night off in front of the castle with sparklers. It was magic. All of it. I hope you enjoy these photos as much as I enjoyed taking them. And to N+R, thank you, thank you, thank you. I am so thankful to have experienced my first "destination" wedding with the two of you.
(Sorry, not sorry, there are about 150 photos that I had to be very choosy to narrow it down to . . . hah!)