Where do I even begin? Chautauqua, New York (The Chautauqua Institution) is one of the most magical destination wedding places I’ve ever been to. Straight out of a movie, streets built for walkers, bikers and thinkers, lakes waiting for boats and swimmers, and so many beautiful places of worship it makes your heart melt. As a Canadian this place is everything I imagine that the United Stated of America should be. I couldn’t believe my eyes; around every skinny little street corner another beautiful home, more moody American Flags and tall trees. I don’t think it’ll take you long to fall in love with this place.
Alas, Jo and Toby were married here, at the Hall of Philosophy on the wet Monday following Labour Day weekend. It poured for almost three days, and on their wedding day it hailed (if you see the sun in these photos…it was a trick and lasted just moments). But it really didn’t matter. The weather rarely matters. The people, their family, the love and support – that is all a couple needs on their wedding day. I spent three gloriously rainy days photographing the celebrations, falling in love with them all, and even catching a downward dog or two. If you’re familiar with Jewish Wedding Traditions you’ll know all about the details. If you’re not – you’re missing out on a whole world of Jewish romance and history. From the signing of the marriage contract, ketubah, the giving of a ring under a wedding canopy, the chuppah, and in this case the Sheva Brachot (seven blessings) were read by Jo’s closest girl friends. And of course, the hora, which I’m certain everyone is always so excited about. Before the ceremonies begun a number of Jo’s friends participated with her in a Mikveh, which was fitting as they had just crossed the River Jordan – well it was a miniature, geographical ground sculpture. This is traditionally a purifying water ceremony. I was so thrilled to be there for all of it.
You may recognize Jo and Toby from their quiet beach session at the cottage. So without further adieu here they are – Jo and Toby, getting married in New York, loving life and being fully, utterly and whole heartedly loved by their entire family. It will be clear to you immediately why my own little family (husband and 3 year old) want to be adopted by them.