I'm a wedding and portrait photographer living in Vancouver, BC with my husband Randy. I photographed my first wedding when I was only 17 years old - and I've photographed over 200 weddings since! I am an avid bookworm, lover of green tea, pretty nail polish & my Labradoodle Harley. Thanks for visiting!
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Our Love Story
We were dressed and ready, our First Look captured, our portraits finished… the only thing left to do was actually get married. I loved arriving to the following decor at the lodge: simple mason jars with tea lights and two big round white balloons lining the wood steps. (Source: The party Bazaar in Langley – also a store in Vancouver.)
My chalkboard! No, I don’t write that beautifully… designed it in Photoshop and then transferred with chalk! This was a basic chalkboard at first but I painted the frame blue to match our colours. That’s Randy’s old truck behind. :)
These details make me so happy! I had a crazy idea of punching out paper hearts to line the aisle over flower petals. I thought it would be a modern, fun way to add colour. It was. It was also a time-suck. This is no exaggeration. Fourteen hours of punching to get enough hearts to line the aisles! On the right, plywood boxes Randy made for our altar flowers.
As guests took their seats from three o’ clock to three thirty, we had a playlist in the background. I was/we were very specific about our playlists. I wanted every song to set a mood, a feeling, a “this day is about Jamie and Randy” kinda feeling. Today, I’d love to share the playlist with you!
Our Pre-Ceremony Playlist
Little Big Town: Bring it On Home
The Civil Wars: I’ve Got a Friend
Sufjan Stevens: Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing
Mat Kearney: Head Or Your Heart
Miranda Lambert: Oklahoma Sky
Nashville Cast: Share With You
Brad Paisley: Then (Piano Mix)
Foy Vance: Be The Song
Keith Urban: Raise ‘Em Up
Nashville Cast: A Life That’s Good
My Dad and I stood around the corner, arm in arm and I watched our bridal party lined up in front of us. The guys and girls walked down together – I’ve always wanted to do it that way. Less traditional is a good thing. At the tail end of the line was Kristen, my maid of honour, and I remember us making eye contact and smiling. I felt so calm! No nerves! Just happy. When “It’s So Different” by Dear Rouge started to build, I knew it was close to our time… the doors closed and my Dad and I waited for our cue. When the doors opened, I couldn’t help but smile ear to ear. I looked directly ahead at Randy – not wanting to take my eyes off of him.
“It’s so different when we talk,
Your words paint my thoughts.
Can you read my mind?
It’s so different,
You & I
I had some other love,
The kind that was not,
Now I can’t see myself not being with you.”
“It’s so different when we touch,
I’m safe in your arms
Lost in your eyes
It’s so different
You & I
From my past
I had some other love
The kind that was not,
Now I can’t see myself not being with you“
“We will never be the same,
Your love changes everything.
We will never be the same.”
Yeah, I wasn’t emotional/nervous during this moment at all. Hahah! Just happy.
“Hello!!! We’ve only been apart for 30 minutes but that’s been too long!!” Just kidding. I didn’t say any of that.
Ah! My pretty wedding ceremony! I love our beautiful backdrop – made by Randy. It’s now cut into four pieces, one is our headboard and three other lucky people who bought the headboards are sleeping beside the piece of wood we got married next to. ;)
After meeting Randy at the front of the room, my brother’s fiancé Jen and our friend Jeremy led us in the hymn “How Great Thou Art.” The voices were so powerful. It was moving to hear everyone singing so loudly!
Hymns make Kristen and I cry. It’s our thing. When I saw her crying, I thought “Oh no. Keep it together, Jamz.”
Another special part of our ceremony was having Kristen read out a selected piece from “The Mystery of Marriage” by Mike Mason. I wanted a reading in our ceremony and of course, scripture and a sermon was important to us, but I know as a guest, sometimes it gets “old hat.” You’ve heard the verses before. I wanted a reading guests would really listen to, something that would inspire them and something they’d remember.
A marriage is not a joining of two worlds, but an abandoning of two worlds in order that a new world might be formed – in this sense, marriage bears comparison with Jesus’ advice to the rich young man to sell all his possessions and to follow Him. It is vocation to total abandonment. For most people marriage is the most wholehearted step they’ll ever take toward a fulfillment of Jesus’ command to love one’s neighbour as oneself. (For every marriage partner begins as a neighbour, a neighbour who has been left beaten and wounded on the road of love, whom all the rest of the world has, in a sense, passed by.) What a strange impulse it is which moves us to appreciate the tremendous value of this particular person in a way no other stranger ever has, to the point of committing ourselves totally to them in love, even unto death!
How can anyone affirm he’ll care for another person twenty years from now? It is one thing to promise your girlfriend you’ll pick her up at eight; it is quite another to pledge you’ll love her for the rest of her life. The marriage vows are simple but remarkable for the extremity of their loftiness. So remarkable are these foolish promises that after just one year (to say nothing of twenty or fifty!) a couple will be left shaking their heads in wonder, amazed they have kept their vow, hardly believing what they know to be true.
The saying of vows requires about thirty seconds but keeping them is the work of a lifetime. To keep a vow, however, does not mean to keep from breaking it. If that were the case, marriage vows would be broken the day they were made. A vow differs from a promise or resolution. A resolution, once broken, must be forgotten or made again. But a vow retains its power. A person cannot promise to love; he can only vow to love. A vow is a confession of inadequacy and an automatic calling upon the only adequacy there is, the mercy and power of God.
To keep a vow is to devote the rest of your life to discovering what the vow means, and to be willing to grow accordingly. In a very real way, it’s the vow that keeps a couple. A vow is a daily confrontation of their insincerity, their own un-loveliness. The vow is a mystery, correcting and shaming – at the same time picking up and spurring on to higher things. A married person is a kept person, kept in the profound protection of vows that have been taken before the Lord: the protection of an inexhaustible forgiveness.
We chose to write our own vows and Randy had the difficult task of sharing his vows first. We had an argument a few weeks later. From my memory, he choked up and took about three seconds to get it together through his nervous laughter. From his perspective, it was thirty seconds. I said, “No way, Randy! Not 30 seconds! It felt worse to you!” We fought back and forth in the aisles of Home Depot until finally I texted Kristen… after texting Brandon and Jen and not believing any of their opinions when they said it was 20-30 seconds. I’m a stubborn one. Kristen responded, “OH, it was definitely longer than three seconds. He took a while to get it together. It was cute.” So I LOST the argument. And here I am publicly declaring it.
We decided upon a few sentences together to end our vows with so they “flowed” together but besides those few words, we had never heard each other vows. I loved leaving it as a surprise! (P.S. If you are extra worried about your hand-written-vows not jiving, ask a trusted friend to review both. Kristen did this for us.)
“Jamie. You are gorgeous. It is incredible to be here today and see your ideas come to life. I am so thankful for the journey that has brought us to today. 42 weeks ago we sat on a bench in Bellingham and after that conversation I had no idea where you stood. I got home and wrote down these 8 words. Humility, Patience, Honesty, Affirmation, Protection, Prayer, Knowledge & Love. I knew these things needed to be at the foundation of our relationship. I made it my goal to daily practice as many of these as I could.
“Today, I know that you outdo me in all of these ares. It has been an exciting adventure together from day one. I know we have begun to forge something strong. You have proven to be the most encouraging and steadfast woman I have ever met. I am confident in who you are. You have become my best friend. From coffee dates to travelling together, exciting times to challenging ones, from random laughter to tears you have shown consistent, constant support and selfless love. You make effort in every aspect of our relationship and I am so thankful that regardless of circumstance we laugh together. You have helped me to understand people better, to further value people and to appreciate different perspectives.
“Your smile has always captivated me. I love your laugh, and that it changes your entire composition. I am excited to dream together, to challenge one another, to support and encourage you. You inspire me with your passion for Jesus, your generosity, your wisdom and insight. And the humility you bring to every situation. you are a remarkable woman. I am excited and so thankful that I get to take this next step in life with you.
“Today, I take you, Jamie, to be my wife, and I promise before God and these witnesses, to be your loving and faithful husband. To put you before myself and give you my best. To honour you with my actions, to affirm and protect you. To pray for you and contend for what’s best for you. I will be by your side to share in your happiness and success, and to comfort you in upset and disappointment. I promise to be patient and treat you with care. I promise to make you laugh, and laugh with you often. As your husband, I determine to be open and honest with you, to forgive you as Christ has forgiven me, and to always remind you of the Lord’s promises. For better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and health, I devote my love and my full life to you from this day forward.”
“Randy, when I met you 896 days ago in the lobby of a restaurant in Courtenay, I had no idea you’d become my future. It was a quick “hello,” a handshake, dinner with friends and a goodbye, without another thought. Six months later, you moved to Langley and your servant heart, work ethic, genuine effort to connect with and love people caught my eye. You first told me you liked me on an evening in April, not even one year ago today. What a year it has been. I could not have predicted the fun, laughter and conversations we’d have, the challenges, growth and sunsets we’d share, the miles we’d walk hand in hand with coffee or tea, but most of all, the love the last eleven and a half months would hold for us.
“The most beautiful adventure started when I fell in love with you – and today, our adventure as husband and wife is only just beginning. When looking back on our relationship, I’ve tried to pinpoint a moment, a turning point, a “Yes, I’m in love!” but it wasn’t a moment. It was you and me, me and you, building conversation upon conversation, trust upon trust, tears upon laughter. It all led to this, to us, to love, to commitment. When you said “I love you” on that park bench in Victoria, only a few weeks into dating, I thought you were crazy. How could you be in love so soon? But looking back, it’s so simple. Randy, when you commit to loving someone, you’re all in. Your “all in” commitment won me over – slowly and steadily, you wholly captured my heart. I said “I love you” through snotty tears for the first time in July and I’ve been overwhelmed by the gift of the love you’ve given me – and that we’ve been given from God ever since.
“Today, I choose you, Randy. Your love, patience and commitment encourage me to be a better woman and a more devoted follower of Jesus. You set an example of generosity with your life – giving of both your time and money and watching you inspires me to give even more. Every day, you make me feel beautiful and every week, you steadfastly pursue my heart. I feel blessed beyond anything I could ask or imagine to call you mine.
“I, Jamie, take you, Randy, to be my husband and I promise before God and these witnesses, to be your loving and faithful wife. I vow to be your biggest encourager and your closest friend. I will be by your side to share in your happiness and success, and to comfort you in sorrow and disappointment. I promise to come alongside your dreams and to dream even crazier things together As your wife, I will seek to be open and honest with you, to forgive you as Christ has forgiven me, and to always remind you of the Lord’s promises. I promise to make our home a restful, inviting place for you after a long day’s work – and a loving, hospitable gathering place for others. I vow to celebrate our similarities and respect our differences, recognizing the individual personalities God has given us for the purpose of being stronger together. I vow to make praying for you and praying together as a couple a daily priority. When I fail to keep these vows and hurt you and make mistakes, I promise to hold your hand and tell you I’m sorry. And I am sorry in advance for the times I make extreme statements and think in black and white rather than grey and speak too loudly. I vow to try to change those habits too. Randy, for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and health, I devote my love and my life to you from this day forward.”
I do not know what this face is. My “I just got married” face apparently. Glad I’ll never make that face again.
During the signing of the register, we had our friend Jeremy sing one again, but this time with a different Jennifer! ;) Jenn sang an amazing version with Jeremy of “Oh How I Need You” by All Sons & Daughters. After we signed our names on the documents, we stood back and listened to them and mannnn, they sounded so good.
We exited to “Valerie” by Amy Winehouse – a feel good favourite of mine. We also used this picture for our thank you cards. Made me happy. And I like seeing all the faces in behind us. :)
Dress Designer: Mori Lee
Dress Store: Belle Bridal
Hair Stylist: Jessica Leigh Blackmon
Makeup Artist: Kristy Gonsalves & Brittany Newton
Engagement Ring: Brilliant Earth
Bride’s Wedding Band: Brilliant Earth
Bride’s Shoes: Vince Camuto
Earrings: Vivid by Esther
Necklace: Sukran Kirtis Jewelry
Clip: Molly by Hushed Commotion
Veil: Marisey Accessories
“Jamie & Randy” stamp: Rubber Stamp Champ
Flowers: Bethany Ann Flowers & Styling
Groom & Groomsmen Ties: JCPenney
Groom’s Suit: J. Crew & Banana Republic
Bride & Bridesmaid Robes: Victoria’s Secret
Photography: Lydia Jane Photography
Videography: Hello Tomorrow Films
Sound/DJ: Johnny Velasquez