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Winning in Life.

Happy December!!! OK, this is one of THOSE cheesy posts about loving life! Consider yourself warned, people.

About a month and a half ago I entered two images from my 2011 wedding season into the Professional BC Wedding Awards, recently referred to as the “WOscars”, or the “Wedding Oscars”. The first awards took place last year, but this year was my first time attending and I so enjoyed it! I talked my husband into attending with me (most dashing date ever!) and was happy to find out kind of last minute that local Victoria photographer friends Jesse Holland and Kelsey Goodwin were also attending!

Not really knowing what to expect of the evening, I was blown away by amazing decor (there was even a red carpet and the most humungous disco ball I’ve ever seen in my life!), the evening’s program, seeing so many familiar faces and friends in the industry, and meeting new friends too! Vancouver’s The Wedding Belles hosted and they did an incredible job keeping the attendees engaged as they opened envelope after envelope revealing the talented wedding professionals who won each award!

I went into the event looking forward to seeing all the talent across the board and catching up with Vancouver friends who I don’t often have the chance to see, which was awesome! Having submitted a couple of images for judging, I was extra excited to see who would win each category. Unfortunately I didn’t leave with an award, but it was great to see all the images that caught the judges’ eyes and did win.

It would have been such an honour to come back to Victoria an award winner, but I’m reminded of just how blessed and fortunate I am in so many other ways. Blessed to have my husband’s company for a quick trip to Vancouver – especially when it came to SkyTrain transportation (I don’t know how you Vancouverites do it! Victoria is definitely more my size of a city and I’m just glad I didn’t have to get around solo!). Blessed to have an amazing sister who has supported me every step of the way in my photography and often accompanies me to weddings and helps keep things running smoothly for me. Blessed by each of the couples I have the opportunity to photograph. For example, just a few hours before the awards, my bride-turned-friend Darleena sent me the sweetest text message, knowing that I had submitted an image from her wedding to the awards:

Good luck tonight!!! Have tons of fun. And no matter what, I think you’re the best photographer!!!:)

So, you probably think Darleena’s pretty much amazing for sending over some encouragement, right? Wrong – she’s even more awesome than amazing! Just last weekend, as she was working through some of her wedding thank you cards, she also sent me a note including the heart-melting excerpt below:

Courtney, I truly cannot even begin to imagine not having you there on our wedding day!! Words honestly cannot express how much joy it brings me to go through our wedding pictures and to watch our slideshow for the bazillionth time. You are an awesome photographer, and I am really happy that you are now a part of my life!!

Darleena’s note was a perfect reminder going into the awards that while receiving an award would be incredible, when the couples I photograph are in love with their images, and I have all those things I listed above (and more!) to be thankful for, I’m winning. And not in a creepy Charlie Sheen way either (phew, no chance of my face “melting off” as per this awesome Schmoyoho/Charlie Sheen song).

This image of Darleena and her groom Doug is one that I submitted for Best Bride & Groom Together portrait. I’m really looking forward to sharing their intimate Sooke wedding as I get caught up on blogging the 2011 wedding season! I LOVE how Darleena’s dress was so flowy!

The following image was from Nicole & Colin’s wedding and was submitted for Best Bridal Group Photo. This was actually my first ever composite flash image – it’s tricky to explain, but basically for a group this large, it would be impossible to light each face from the same one light source in one take. So, for this image I had my second photographer running around and lighting each pair or individual separately and then I edited the images and pieced them all together in Photoshop afterwards! Nicole is a sweetheart and I’m really thankful we became fast friends over our pre-wedding tea dates. Plus, she’s a great inspiration to get in better shape – she even managed to get me out to spin class with her a few weeks ago! How am I so lucky to have so many incredible brides to photograph and hang out with? Seriously?! So blessed.

These images represent just TWO of the fourteen amazing couples and weddings I’ve photographed this year – each unique and incredible in their own way! What a privilege it has been to be chosen as the wedding photographer for each of these marriages! I’ve loved meeting and photographing all of you!

Thanks also to everyone who has ever rooted for me, referred friends my way for photos, and given me a word of encouragement in any way, shape or form. I’m so thankful for the kindness you have shown me. XO

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