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
I love looking back on our wedding. We planned the day in four months and one week, four quick months, and they were full months! I had my moments of crying and stress but mostly, I loved it. I would do it all over again in four months.
On the left, is our “Thank You’s” left on every table. On the reverse side of the page was a “Reception Events” program. We alternated these sheets every eight people or so. I did this for two reasons. 1) I love knowing what’s going to happen when, even as a guest! It’s fun to know what to expect. 2) I tried my darnedest to cut out any “unnecessary” talking at our wedding. I didn’t want our MC to have to thank every single person from out of town and have them wave, etc. With the “Thank You’s” it’s covered. We listened every out of town guests and where they traveled from and I think, personally, as a guest having something written down is more special anyway. (Credit for this idea goes to Kristen at her wedding two years ago.)
On the right, our beautiful wooden table numbers. Randy made these by hand and then we stained them. One Saturday afternoon, we nailed little nails into the shape of numbers and then went crazy with grey twine to make a readable number. We made twelve in total. I love them. I also sold them. That’s the thing about wedding crafts. What is a newlywed couple to do with 12 beautiful table numbers?
My friend Bethany did a great job on our florals. She got my simple, modern, colourful vision.
I’m so happy with how everything turned out!
My brother and his fiancé Jen… the next to be wed. They weren’t engaged at our wedding – the ring came 6 weeks later – but our weddings turned out to be less than six months apart. Crazy year.
That Sweets sign is a little bit crooked. I’ve chosen to not let this bother me. Hahaha. I adore how this table came to life. It was one thing I couldn’t picture, as the cupcake stand was rented the day before! The two framed prints behind the table were from my aunt Lyla, the gold candle holders from Randy (from our proposal!) and then all of the glass jars were from dollar stores or IKEA. Cupcakes were by my friend Shawna.
Something else I knew very specifically when we started planning was “I don’t want a head table. “Maybe I’ve seen too many weddings, but in my opinion, I don’t enjoy the concept. I wanted to sit just with Randy! Plus, 85% of our bridal party (I didn’t do the correct percentage math, just guessing…) is married. Why would you want to spend a whole reception separate from your spouse? You wouldn’t. SO THEY DIDN’T HAVE TO. Yayyy. We had our bridal party sit close to us, but with their spouses in the seat next to them.
One of the biggest “mysteries” to me when planning our reception decor at Fraser River Lodge was the big, blank beige wall on the left side of the hall. I didn’t want white curtains. I didn’t want lights. I didn’t want vintage frames. I didn’t want anything “done” before. So I had this idea!
I’ve always loved exact dates. I remember dates when certain milestones happen with a peculiar accuracy. I have loved the (long) process of writing out our love story. (I’m chipping away it. It’s thousands of words!) I decided wall decor would be the perfect opportunity to share our story in bullet point form and fill up the space. Kristen ran with my vision and took my text and made it infinitely better. She designed all of these graphics in black and white and then I switched colours around and purchased scrapbook paper to fill in the gaps. I ADORE them. Another wedding item I was sad to throw out. Thank you Lydia for documenting all of these so well – means the world.
I looooove how it turned out. So much.
The room in all it’s beauty! Fraser River Lodge, I love you! No other hall would have fit my vision. I want to be back in this room, decorated like this, with all of our family and friends. Except I want to know Randy like I know him today, four months later, not like I knew him then. Marriage gets better with time.
“Jamie, why are you making signs for the back of our chairs? No one will be back there to see them.”
“I will be back there to see them.”
“There ain’t nothing that I won’t do
Run across the ocean on my hands a time or two
Nothing at all could run me away
Tell me what to do, I’ll try it
Anything in the room? I’ll buy it
I’ll do anything you ask me to
Since you said “I do”
If we ain’t got it, I’ll make it
Don’t worry bout your heart, I won’t break it
I’ll do anything you ask me to
Since you said “I do”
With these hands I’m gonna build our home
A dog in the yard for the times you ever feel alone
But what you gave me baby, I can’t replace
So if you need anything pretty lady, go ahead and say it”
We walked into our reception to “Since You Said I Do” by Dave Barnes.
Happy married faces.
Kristen & Caleb‘s little guy, Rowdy.
Another different wedding element we chose to include was a video from us introducing our bridal party… keeping in the “less talking from all the official people more talking from us” theme. I’ve always found it a little strange that it’s tradition for the MC to say “Kristen and Jamie met blah blah blah and they love that time they went to blah blah blah.” This way, we could share stories and included 6-10 photos of each bridal party member. We had 12 bridal party members in total! We had fun filming this one Saturday in January, together.
This shot also means a lot to me. It’s photos like this that remind me why even the “mundane” I do as a photographer is important. Just to look back and see a full room shot and see “who was there” is a gift.
This is Randy’s sister and brother. They are cute.
My maid of honour, Kristen, delivered an amazing speech. She knows me better than anyone outside of family. We’ve only known each other – long distance – for five years now, but every year we grow deeper. We’ve been side-by-side (translation: a text or phone call away!) through single years, dating years with the wrong ones, dating months with the right ones, proposals, engagements, wedding planning, weddings and babies and funerals. She means the world to me. I don’t know if this is cheesy, but I wanted to include the speech she gave at our reception. More for me to look back on and remember, and also, she’s a brilliant writer.
“Good evening! I’m Kristen Morris (My husband, son and I come from Washington DC), and I am Jamie’s American Best Friend. We met five years at ago at a conference in Las Vegas — she preferred to get to bed early, read a bit and put on clean socks over wild and until-sunrise after parties. So, we hit it off! What happens in Vegas… is kind of the same as what happens at home? As two mutual “Thinkers” instead of “Feelers” in the Meyers-Briggs Nerd World, who both need quality time to feel connected and… well, it worked for us. Despite being such different people — I’m the oldest of seven kids, she’s the oldest of two. I’m, uh, a “messy creative,” she’s an efficient organizer. I travel for the food, she travels for the experience. I’m always late, she’s always early. I love sleep and she once told me as we prepared for bed during a trip “I hate sleeping. It’s dumb. Such a waste of time. I’m tired so I HAVE to, but think of all other things I could be doing. The only reason I’m glad I’m going to bed is because I’ll get to wake up soon.” Noooow, granted that was in a particularly buzzed and energetic time of her life and she isn’t always like that, but in her ideal world with a healthy body she would spend as little time sleeping as possible. And I think in my ideal world I might be a hybrid Italian-Spaniard, because I often reward myself with a good, cozy siesta after sleeping in for a long time.”
“Other than bonding over a similar tick to think through and process life logically and engage it with lingering conversation on a small scale, we connected over starting small photography businesses at 17, skipped college degrees and instead traveled, created, worked for ourselves and plowed a life that we were both confident and fearless enough to believe we could make happen. We also connected over a bigger goal for our lives than photography: our hearts and mission and future goals. For her big dreams of large financial donations and help (“I don’t feel called to move to Malawi, but I can make money to send someone else there!”), non-profits, preaching and speaking, impacting folks on a personal yet international scale. I remember having hours of conversations (literally) all over Canada, America and Europe together about life vision, and who could team up with that? This 18, 19, 20 year old powerhouse of a woman wasn’t desperate for attention or flattery. She wanted a partner to enhance the vision. Someone she didn’t have to convince “This would be an incredible way to spend a life.” Purpose. Quality of mind. Self-motivated. And nice to look at. She was unwilling to settle, waste time or change the ever-growing fires in her soul just to “not be single.”
From our first conversations there was a general theme I remember hearing from her. Not complaining, not self-absorbed but a quick, stated fact in the middle of a larger conversation. “People often misunderstand me. I’m difficult to get to know. There’s more than what meets the eye.” She didn’t linger on it, but as time went on I was more and more intrigued by this self evaluation. I love trying to figure people out and kind of take pride in ‘understanding’ who someone is rather quickly. So when Jamie would tell me “People just think I’m all about business! And getting things done! And I’m not.” I would have to nod my head and listen more. Because, she was right, I thought she was like that too.”
“Over the last five years I’ve sincerely loved getting to know the real Jamie Peterson. Not the blog, not the coffee date, not the stereotype version. In our younger days she could go from pounding out 14 e-mails before I had made it to the bathroom to brush my teeth to moment alters rolling around in the backyard wearing horrible thrift store overalls + dramatic pigtails (snorting the whole time — loud, raucous Jamie snorts) doing a photoshoot for a funny Facebook album. Her moments of almost elementary school, fall on the floor, blaring laughter were just as much ‘her’ as poised, concentrated, clear-communicator, professional business woman was ‘her.’ And I was always curious about which color of her I was going to get. Her bluntness can be misunderstood as rudeness, her leadership skills can be mistaken for a need to be in charge or a power play, her usually un-giddy responses can be confused with boredom, her efficiency can be glossed over as ‘being a perfectionist’. But after getting to know this interesting, educated, stupid-goofy, sincere, intelligent, connected, giving, vulnerable person I realized how easy it would be to call this girl “green!” when really the beauty of who she is is found in the one-of-a-kind combination of many shades blues and yellows and whites. There is gloomy blue who loves clouds, sweater-weather, tea, and not talking to anyone for a whole day, who reads for hours. There is summer blue who is bright, amiable, charming and liked by all. There is navy blue who is deep, sometimes confused for black, hidden and strong. Spa blue — peaceful, calming, clean, and gentle. Blueberry Blue — fresh, good for you, and super cute. Yellow! Mustard yellow — intense, especially in large amounts, important, sharp. Sunshine yellow — warming, bright, good and makes things grow. Pale yellow — meek, unassuming, wall-flower who isn’t the star of the show. Gold yellow — standard of excellence, quality and dedication. Canary yellow — a beautiful, fragile bird who flies, with a song in her heart and grace in her wings.
I remember the wondering well. “I appreciate that so-and-so guy thinks I’m ‘amazing’ or ‘deserve so much’ — but what does that mean? He doesn’t know me. Why am I amazing?” “How will I not only find someone who has the drive, compassion, and spiritual muscle to interest me, but how will that sort of guy stop long enough to work at getting to know me? I don’t want someone to love who they think I am. I want them to know the real me. But that takes time. AND I DON’T LIKE TO WASTE TIME.” These conversations were always the photograph held in place by the frame of: God is good. I trust Him. I know His plans are to prosper me, to give me hope, a future. I believe. However, it does seem… quite far-fetched to me right now. I can’t logically visualize how this would happen. I can’t lay out the steps in my head for this one. I can’t construct a plan, act on it, and complete it. I assume I’ll be single until I’m at least 30.
And then, in the winter of 2012 I started getting texts from across the coast about this Randy.”
“Nothing but good things to say. It was the first time I had that “best friend protective” come over me for her. If this guy is who she says he is, this could be something. Of course, at the time, it was just friendly, casual. “He’s around. He’s nice to everyone. Doesn’t pay me any special attention. But I like that.” A genuinely sweet guy. With dreams of non-profit future, using his building skills to create safe homes and places for families around the world. Smart in business. Respectful and awfully charming when he talked about his mom. Sure of God’s hand. Faithful. Punctual. Kind. Easy to be around. What started as “He’s definitely just nice to me — not interested in anything more” turned into “I think there might be a chance?” to “Nope. No way. He just invited EVERYONE over to his house except me. Wouldn’t a house party be an excuse to invite the girl you like over? Nope. Doesn’t like me.” to “He asks me to hang out every weekend. And he texts all week long. He has to like me. BUT HE IS SOCIAL AND IS NICE TO EVERYONE MAYBE HIS FRIEND LIKES ME AND HE’S BEING NICE.”
But after those funny and weird few months of “What’s going on?” Randy made it clear. And I watched and listened to my dear friend as she found herself in the middle of a summer romance with a man who fit the paper-list in every way. I was skeptical. Happy for her! Trusted Randy! Liked them together! But I had a flickering fear that the goofball Jamie was missing in this. Long, meaningful conversations are crucial. Shared passions and life-goals are necessary. Mutual attraction is a must. A trusting friendship is vital. And those things all seemed to be there… But did Randy really know her? Could he — so quickly — get past her fronts, her logic, her professional self? Yes, they were clearly compatible but was this the kind of guy she could be an absolute idiot with? Had she laughed like a warthog over nothing him? In October 2013 they made plans to come visit us and I was thrilled. They were talking marriage and I wanted to see them for myself. And I told Caleb specifically “If I don’t think she’s fun enough with him, I’m going to tell her. I know he’s a good guy, but you don’t marry someone because they’re a good guy. I’m not going to beat around the bush.” Randy had his work cut out for him. I was ready to be a bear ;)
So, I will never forget what I saw on that trip. I’ll never forget watching Jamie, my controlled, logical friend, walking ahead of me with her boyfriend in the parking lot of a children’s fall festival. It was hot. Cheesy. “Waste of money” sort of place. Sticky, whiny kids. Tired parents with way-too high expectations of the day. Basically, not Jamie’s preferred hang-out. Not her comfort zone. As Caleb and I followed behind, crunching our boots in hay, I saw a little girl in my friend. Snorting. Tickling. Dancing and spinning — out in public…!!!!!! Laughing. In the moment. Relaxed. Fun. Happily jumping on dumb tractor rides and wailing in laughter the whole time. I watched Randy look at her and I got chills and tears in my eyes. The whole weekend we had talked and I realized Randy really did know my friend. In fact, he knew her better than I did. He had a way with her, and I knew she trusted him. She was neither his mother-care-taker or his bossy-boss. She was his partner. She laughed at herself and was as comfortable in her own skin as I had ever witnessed.
The main thought I had the whole trip was: Jamie is so understood.
Randy doesn’t treat her like math problem — figure out this complicated equation and *phew!* you get the answer. There done. I figured you out, woman. He doesn’t place common social stereotypes on her. She’s not “most women” or “the average woman.” No, no… he knows she’s his Jamie, an art, an ocean. Steady and consistent, but sometimes the tide is high and sometimes its low. Sometimes its calm and sometimes its crashing and windy. Sometimes the sun shines and the water sparkles, and other times you can only hear the waves in the dark night. He knows the patience, the effort, the focus it takes to learn the sea. And he is an able, willing, generous man with a heart that will callous and bleed for her. Of course it’s not a perfect science. Of course he doesn’t know her the way God does. But I couldn’t be more impressed and grateful that my friend has met and joined up with a person so good for her, so good to her, and so good at knowing her. It’s a God-like quality. And it makes your relationship dazzle.
Jamie, I love you. I’m thrilled for you. You know how deeply I respect. Trust and care about you. You know I don’t say things unless I mean them. You are known by my heart and I only enjoy you more and more. And Randy, all that same affection in my heart for her is now shared with you. I would be honored to have sons who turned out like you, Randy. This is a day of celebration and I hope you feel the delight of Heaven in this place. You are a royal pairing and are made to do breathtaking things together — some small and private, some large and public, but together nonetheless. I’m a happy friend! So, here’s to being known and loved, here’s to Mr. and Mrs. Watson!”
Randy’s best man Mark Beeler also gave a very heartfelt, amazing speech for Randy. Mark and Randy have been best friends for 5+ years as well and we very much value our friendship from a-far with Mark and his wife Kimberley. (Who were married last summer! Randy was in Mark’s bridal party.)
We are laughing and talking to my youth pastors from when I was a teenager! Scott and Aubyn are amazing.
My bridesmaid and good friend Candace. Both our faces crack me up. That’s her husband Ryan beside her! They are coming up on their 1 year anniversary. So many marriages in such a short amount of time!
My amazing parents. I love these people a lot.
This was another example of my vision, Randy’s incredible implementation of said vision. I wanted a “W,” a big W, a unique piece of lighting and craftsmanship something that would stand out as “unique” and set the tone for our rustic but modern wedding. Combining these two elements was important to me. Loved how the “W” looked in the daytime and loved how it looked in the evening.
Randy’s Mom Jackie gave a beautiful speech as well. I love her heart and her smile!
And Randy’s Dad shared some sweet words, too!
This moment was pretty surreal. I knew this was the last thing on our program for the evening… saying thank you to our guests and all of the people/vendors who made our day possible. Once again, I was surprised at how “non emotional” I was! No tears just happiness. Haha!
I know a sparkler exit is absolutely overdone and stereotypical but UNIQUENESS BE DAMNED I loved this exit. It was so fun. These images also inspired the main “about” page of my new website. If you haven’t read that little story yet… now is the time.
How great are these images? So special.
So that’s it, that’s the end of our wedding photos and our wedding stories! I have plans to blog various “behind the scenes” posts and tips for planning your wedding over the next few months – but the big overview of our day is done. I loved every moment. I loved every guest. I love my husband and I feel infinitely blessed to have a life partner as loyal as he. Whatever the future holds, we are doing it together.
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