This blog is going to be a hard one to write. I’ve been thinking of the words for weeks, and yet I can’t find the right ones. But here it goes…
I met Jamie and Matt earlier this year when I photographed Matt’s extended family after the news that his beautiful Mum, Annette was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. They were told it was terminal.
Having had that same news myself (with my Dad), I wanted to help in anyway I could, so met the Grant’s at their family home in Marong and captured some beautiful memories of their family together. With this news, Matt + Jamie decided that they wanted to get married as soon as possible. They wanted Annette to be at their wedding, and so that’s what they did. The whole family got on board, to plan a wedding in only a few months.
Not only did they plan a wedding, they planned one of the most beautiful weddings I’ve been to. The ceremony was held in an old horse paddock (you know those round ones where they train? I don’t know the name… but one of those!) at their home in Marong, with the reception just metres away in the backyard consisting of marquees, fire pits, the biggest grazing table I’ve ever seen and home-made Eskies full to the brim with all types of beverages.
I began my morning with Matt and the boys at his home. The mood was relaxed and they were just waiting for my go ahead before they got ready. A family friend was in the kitchen putting together the grazing table, the two little page boys were wandering around in their cute little suits, and the boys were enjoying a quite beer and a laugh.
The boys all scrubbed up SO well, the handsome little roosters!
… And with that it was time for me to head over to the girls to see how they were going.
I got to Jamie as she was having the finishing touches of her makeup done. The mood was light and the girls all joked and laughed and had the music turned up high.
Little Charlie (Matt + Jamie’s bub) napped while the girls drank champagne in their matching robes.
You could tell that Jamie is extremely close to her girlfriends and family. They all doted on her, and were so happy and proud to be part of the day – You could just tell…
Actually, one of the things I love about the Grant family the most is their clear and obvious love for each other. It is a big family, with Annette and Bill having 5 kids, and all 5 kids having partners and kids. They all look out for one another, and each others kids.
And it’s just… really, REALLY nice to watch. I imagine it would be chaotic at times, but beautiful chaos. Y’know? Just there for each other. So tight-knit. Just how it should be.
Just as Jamie-Lee started to get her dress on, beautiful Charlie woke up. Unlike most kids I’ve seen on wedding days, who get completely overwhelmed by all the people and the fuss. Charlie was all smiles. She was super happy. She had her cousin there, her dogs, her Mumma and her Grandma. Just a ‘go with the flow’ kinda kid. What a LEGEND.
Again, I have to reiterate. This all got pulled off in a matter of months.
No 12-18 months worth of planning like most weddings.
How AMAZING does she look?!
With the girls all ready now, it was time to head back to the family home where the ceremony would take place – But not before a ‘First Look’.
Jamie + Matt opted to have their photos before the ceremony, which means they got to see each other for the first time in an intimate setting. It was so beautiful!
Smiles from ear to ear. From both of them. But look at Matt. He’s smitten. Absolutely smitten by his bride.
These guys, the ones who told me they weren’t very comfortable in front of the camera and didn’t really like photos…
Umm.. Look at you both!
N – A – T – U – R – A – L – S.
With the First Look done, and the bridal party all looking their best, it was time to head back to the house for the ceremony.
Not before one last photo. As requested by them.
Spot the difference (above).
That’s all I’m going to say.
With all the guests waiting at the ceremony, ready to go. It was time for these two to get married already.
Family and friends helped walk the kids down the aisle, followed by the Bridesmaids… and then finally Jamie-Lee & her Dad.
The ceremony was utterly stunning.
Matt held Charlie throughout (Until she got too wriggly and went to Grandma!), Both Matt and Jamie-Lee’s Mum’s spoke, they exchanged their vows and rings – And sealed the deal with their first kiss as husband and wife.
Lots of laughs. A couple of tears. And it was done.
Mr + Mrs Grant!
The guests strolled across the lawn to the cold beer, good food & warm fires. And waited for Jamie + Matt to be officially introduced!
They walked in, arm-in-arm with their beautiful little girl into the warmth of their family and friends (and the fire!) and went straight into their first dance.
It was there on the dance floor that I saw the complete and utter love that these two have for each other. Both so clearly happy to be married. To have all of their family their, quite literally surrounding them.
It was beautiful.
As the next song started to play, it was time for others to join them on the dance floor. First, their bridal party… Who started off in their couples, but quickly moved into a group hug/dance which was so nice to watch. And then the parents joined in, and as they switched partners I was able to notice how special this day had been. I always know when I’m photographing a wedding that they are special, and the memories I capture will be cherished. But it isn’t until you have lost a loved one (or are told you will) that you truly get the importance. They are not just photos. They are memories frozen in time. It might sound corny, but I know how deeply cherished these photos will be. Looking at them gives me goosebumps. I feel so honoured and privileged to be able to capture these memories for the Grant’s.
The day was perfect. I can’t even believe how perfect considering the lack of time to plan and prepare.
It just goes to show, that all you really do need is love.
Sadly, only 2 weeks after the wedding, Annette passed away. While she was ‘terminal’ it wasn’t expected to happen to soon, and has completely rocked the Grant family.
To Jamie + Matt, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for trusting me to capture this day for you. For trusting me with the extremely fragile nature of your circumstances. I want to thank the Grant family too, for letting me write this blog in honour of Annette. Who I could see was the happiest women in the world to have been able to be a part of this day. Who was and is so proud of all of her children, and so fulfilled to have all the little grandchildren running around as well.
From the little time I spent with Annette, I could tell she was a really good woman. Family was her life, and she created this beautiful family dynamic that is actually so rare. She has left the greatest legacy in her Husband Bill, and all of her kids and is sorely missed every day.
No one can explain the pain of losing someone so close. It physically hurts your heart. You are consumed by sadness, and wish you had just one more minute with them.
To the entire Grant (and extended) family, I am sincerely so sorry for your loss.
~ In honour of Annette Grant ~
18.04.58 ~ 03.06.18
Big Love, Leah
~ xoxo ~
Photography: Me (Click here to see more)
Dress: Bridal & Debutant Creations
Suits: Ed Harry
Bridesmaid Dresses: Honey Peaches
Hair: A friend, Kylie
Makeup: Boudoir Hair & Beauty (Kylie)
Celebrant: Kerrie Grossman
Band: Bentley Gratton
Cake: By a talented friend
© 2017 Leah Ladson Photography & Design. All Rights Reserved.