*** Warning: You will need a good solid 1 hour to read/watch this post, I’m sure ***
What an amazing experience it was again last year to be able to offer the Big Give to a wonderful and deserving couple. For those who are not familiar with last year’s Big Give, you can get up to speed here.
Heather and Andrew. Where do I even begin. You two are the most wonderful, sincere, generous, thoughtful, humble, blessed, beautiful people that I have crossed paths with. So deserving to be the winning couple for the Big Give 2010.
Back in April 2009, I received their massive submission shortly after I posted that the Big Give is still looking for a deserving couple. It was almost the one year anniversary of Andrew’s mother’s passing. She had lost her battle to that horrible disease we call cancer. It’s been a tough few years, that is for sure.
Heather is very petite, but she has such a huge personality. Just spend 2 minutes with her and you’ll know what I’m talking about. Andrew, a former competitive swimmer, looked like he stepped out of an A&F ad. Athletic with rugged good looks…and the hair — honestly, I think Justin Bieber was biting Andrew’s styles !
Behind the scenes, so many of my wonderful friends and colleagues were conjuring up Big Gives of their own for Heather and Andrew. I couldn’t believe the generosity that was being presented by my friends. Well, actually, I could. They are just wonderful, selfless individuals and they graciously added their little personal touches to their special day.
Like I said, there was stuff going on behind the scenes with many emails going back and forth without Heather and Andrew knowing. Well, a funny thing happened (it wasn’t funny at the time, though) My dear, sweet Maggie had inadvertently replied to our ‘behind the scenes’ email and inserted Heather’s email in the recipient box….which means that Heather would have a backstage pass to the stuff we were discussing. I had frantically tried to get to Heather before she could open the email. I had texted and emailed Heather to tell her to delete the email. My reason – Maggie’s email contained a virus ! haha Maggie even tried to contact yahoo to see if she can recall the message. Thankfully, Heather deleted that email so what was coming down the pipeline was still a surprise. Heather, the kind soul that she is, was concerned that she was perceived as being rude for not responding to Maggie’s emails ! OMG, adorable !
Whew ! Disaster averted. So, there you go Heather…now you know
The Big Give Dream Team was slowly revealing to Heather and Andrew their ‘gives’ around that time. It just so happened that Andrew’s mother passed away almost exactly one year previously. I knew Andrew was thinking of his mom quite a bit, so hopefully all the news they were receiving was helping with keeping his spirits up.
There was a lot to do in the next four months leading up to their wedding. One of them was actually meeting for the first time. It was at that moment that validated my decision on who would be the recipient of the Big Give.
Fast forward 4 months…it was time for the wedding. All the months of planning have finally come to fruition.
My day started off pretty average — with the kids waking up early ! I was so restless the night before and didn’t hit the sack until around 1:30 am. I was on skype with Jaime | Blueprint Events that night talking about our excitement for the wedding. I think she was as anxious as I was. My goal was to head out the door around 7-ish to pick up Heidi. Brandon woke up at 5:00 am crying…I went to pick him up so that he wouldn’t wake up Jeanette, who had a long day ahead with my family for my grandma’s funeral, which I sadly missed. I heard it was a beautiful farewell. So, I slept with Brandon on the couch downstairs. He fell asleep on me, but I just couldn’t go back to sleep. So I had about 4 hours of sleep. I was going to head out to Hamilton a little earlier to scout some locations for our relaxed portraits with Heather and Andrew. I was working on pure adrenaline and excitement ! For the record, I made it through the entire day without my Gatorade !
I dropped off Heidi at Andrew’s hotel to get some of the prep shots with the guys. We were greeted by Wil from the cinema team and a few of Andrew’s friends. The man himself came out of the washroom with a towel around his waist and exposing his…I don’t even know what to call it…the image below says it all.
It’s obvious that he didn’t really put up much of a fight. Look how perfect that heart shape is ! One of his good buddies, Tsone, posted some images on Facebook depicting the debauchery that took place the night before. Ok, so he had 5 big guys pinning him down to get the job done…fair enough. My other associate, Andrew, met up with everyone a little later on to help cover some of the shenanigans. The guys got ready and headed over to the nearby pub for a quick pint and just to relax:
I put the roof down and headed over to Brantford. What a nice drive it was. The air was crisp and cool. Nice drive through the farm lands. It was a perfect day.
I arrived at the house to a room of laughter. It was the most calm group of girls I’ve ever met. Justin | Puzzle Creations and Vanessa Funtera were working their magic and I was really happy to see them. They need no introduction to my blog readers I had the pleasure of meeting the rest of Heather’s family. Her sisters, Becky and Sara, were up and about getting ready. Andrew’s sister Kim was also there. Soon, Heather’s mom and dad came down to say HI. I really enjoyed talking to Heather’s parents all day. They totally made everyone feel so welcome into their beautiful home and were two of the most amazing parents I’ve met ! I think Heather’s dad was pretty happy to finally have that son in the family after raising 3 girls. God bless him ! They did a wonderful job raising the girls.
Heather had her beautiful gown hanging on ‘Judy’. I think every bride should have one of these dress forms. It’s easier for photographing and maintains the integrity of the dress better than having it on a hanger. I keep forgetting how petit she is because her personality is HUGE ! Justin did an amazing job on her hair and Vanessa polished her off with a light make-up application. Stunning !
As Heather was getting ready, she mentioned at one point that Andrew was going to be in for a surprise tonight. I couldn’t help but laugh because she had no idea what happened to Andrews man rug. SHE was going to be the one that was in for a surprise haha
Oh…I just wanted to wish Heather’s parents a HAPPY ANNIVERSARY !!!! They celebrated their 29th Anniversary this past weekendYou two are just the most amazing parents ever. If I can be half the parent to my kids as you are to your gorgeous daughters, I’d be extremely happy.
One of the places Heather wanted to drop by was the ice cream joint near their home. A bride eating ice cream on her wedding day in her wedding dress. Really now ? That’s ballsy haha
Heather and Andrew committed themselves to each other in a wedding ceremony that kept the entire room smiling from ear to ear. They exchanged vows in front of approximately 150 of their closest family and friends at the MacNeil Baptist Church. Heather, being such a great storyteller, memorized her vows and said them in the most passionate and dramatic fashion. All heart.
Here’s my good friend Jaime. She was doing a killer job that day for everyone. I didn’t get a chance to talk to her much during the day but in the evening, we had a few moments to catch up…and then she shared some HUGE news with me…it was a secret — she was eating for THREE ! I can’t thank her enough for dedicating so much of her time for this wedding while in her very early stages of pregnancy. She is truly amazing. (update: She gave birth to her healthy, beautiful twin boys a week before Mother’s Day. Amazing !)
I love this photo of the grandma’s chatting it up before the ceremony began.
We headed to McMaster University for the photos. The original plan was to go to the RHYC, but the cool parts were closed off to private members. Good thing we had McMaster alumni in the wedding party that showed us around a bit.
I just have to make a special thanks to Diana Yoo | Papillon Cakes for giving all of us a taste of her beautiful cake. It was delish !
The night was filled with lots of love and laughter. The speeches were hilarious. Listening to Heather’s sisters’ speech was particularily interesting. This family speaks incredibly fast, without hesitation. Becky and Sara would finish each other’s sentences, laugh simultaneously and even used the same hand gestures. It was very entertaining. Heather’s good friend, Jenna, came up to a podium to do her poem (as it says on the itinerary). But this was no haiku. This was the real deal…spoken-word poetry. My jaw dropped. It was incredible !!!
And for the rest of the night, people partied like it was 1999…danced like nobody was watching…cutting the rug (not to be confused with Andrew’s pre-wedding rug cutting). At one point during the evening, I just stood at the head table and took it all in. I was so happy for Heather and Andrew and their families. It was a very special day on so many levels. It was such an amazing day.
Heather and Andrew. I really don’t know what to say. I think we’ve said so much to each other in person and through email. I’ve learned so much about you two over the past year and a half and I appreciate all the little conversations we’ve had along the way. Thank you for being absolutely amazing, kind, and beautiful. Andrew, there’s no doubt your mom was beaming that day. Although she wasn’t with us in person, she was definitely drinking some bubbly up in heaven celebrating with the big man upstairs I know she was very special to you and you should be very proud of what you two have done to make this world a better place. It was an honour to photograph your union and I can’t wait to see you again (with your wedding albums in hand !)
Here is a slideshow of their wedding:
And don’t forget to watch their wedding film by my friends over at BlueSky Films. Mike Primeau and his team worked HARD throughout the whole wedding planning process. Their dedication was so appreciated and Heather and Andrew absolutely loved the film. Sit back and enjoy:
Once again, to the Big Give 2010 dream team, thank you so much for gifting your talents to Heather and Andrew. I am so lucky to be surrounded by talented, like-minded colleagues like yourselves…colleagues whom I consider friends. Thank You for everything.
Team JW: Heidi Lau + Andrew Ho
Cinematography: Michael Primeau | Blue Sky Films
Wedding Coordinator: Jaime Kourieh-Cottrill | Blueprint Events
Invitations + Stationary: Karen Viray + Kimberly Valmeo | v:space studio
Couture Thank You Cards : Deborah Lau | Palettera Custom Correspondences
Hair for Bride & Bridal Party: Justin Cheung | Puzzle Creations
Bride & Bridal Party Makeup: Vanessa Funtera
Semi-Permanent Lash Extensions & Evening Touchup for Bride & Bridal Party: Maggie Ng
Floral Designer: Tamara+Kevin | Fuscia Designs
Cake Designer: Diana Yoo | Papillon Cakes
Album Company: Kiss Wedding Books