Lysandre + Iannick; rustic barn and skihill wedding, Quebec

Lysandre + Iannick.. so where to begin? Lysandre is this beautiful, fun-loving, full of life, generous adventurous soul. She and I had never actually met in person, but have been Facebook friends for a few years now. She and Iannick are both from Québec but just a little over a year ago they moved to San Francisco. We tried to get together to meet before they left but our schedules never aligned. We both continued to stay in touch online; following each other's oddly similar stories, watching our kids grow via photographs and to be inspired by one another's adventures.

So when she asked me early this year to photograph their rustic, laid back and crazy fun late July wedding, I told her that I would, without a doubt, be there. Being the generous, giving people that they both are, they also invited Mathieu and the girls to the celebration, and we all gladly accepted.

This day was just gorgeous. Lysandre and the bridesmaids all got ready at Iannick's parents lakefront home in Grandes Piles, QC. The ceremony was in an open field next to a barn in Vallée du Parc, and the reception took place at the Vallée du Parc Ski Station. A little like Lysandre and Iannick, the weather was sort of unpredictable and all over the place! It rained on and off for the first half of the day and then remained mostly cloudy, but just before the ceremony was to begin, the sun came out in full force and the late July heat and humidity that we get in the northeast stuck with us throughout the evening into the night. 

Then there were the kids.. Iannick and Lysandre have two absolutely GORGEOUS boys, Matteo and Charlie who were both possibly the cutest ring bearers I have ever seen. But they weren't the only kids at the wedding; there were over 40 children running wild and free throughout the entire event! They even had a 'candy bar' set up for the kids in a room in the lower area of the ski station complete with arcade games, slush puppies, popcorn AND babysitters!! The entire evening was just pure joy; laughter continuously filled the air and the dance party went on until the very wee hours of the morning.

But I think the most impressive part of the entire event was the people. The friends, the family, those who came from all over Quebec, Ontario and California, friends who would do anything for these two. Throughout the night people would stand to talk about Iannick and Lysandre and everyone said the same things; these people are the most loving, generous, giving, fun, adventurous and loyal people they know. And it showed; so much of the behind the scenes of the wedding was made possible by their friends. From the event planning to decor, from the food to the music, videography, hair and makeup.. it was a compilation of loyal and loving family and friends wanting to do nothing more than to give back to a couple who clearly gives so much to those around them.

Lysandre and Iannick, thank you for having me be a part of this incredible day and for giving me the honor of helping to tell a part of your story together. Vous êtes une couple inspirante, une famille merveilleuse, et des gens de qui on peut tous apprendre la joie de vivre.



venue: Vallée du Parc, Québec
bride: WTOO Watters, from Flares Bridal, CA
bridesmaids: Coeur de Loup, QC
groom: Simons, JC Penney, Tux Gear Inc.
groomsmen + ring bearers: Simons, H+M, Tux Gear Inc.
Rings: Bijouterie Doucet
Flowers: Fleurs + Cie, QC
Hair: Laurence S_DSaint Laurent Aveda
Wood Bowls and Decor: Yves Lavoie Ébénisterie
Cake: Les Sucreries d'Ely
DJ: Gabriel Comtois
Videographer: Marisol Aubé

Karen and Anthony: Jaelyn Lucia's Birth Story

Karen and I have been friends since we were 6 years old. We grew up down the street from one another, went to school together, danced for ten years in the same group and always had the same friends. I was with Karen the day she and Anthony got married in a Chapel on Fort Dix in New Jersey. We walked down the aisle together amongst a sea of uniformed military soldiers. We later went to a local dive bar just off-base and sang karaoke all night long. It was perfect(in a totally imperfect way). The day after our little Maxime was born, Karen and Anthony came to see us in the hospital. She sat on the edge of the bed and whispered in my ear, "I think I might be pregnant…". Sure enough she was, and exactly eight months later, the amazing Zora Dee joined us.

Karen was present during my labor at the hospital when Josephine was born, just because she wanted to be there to support me. I will forever be so grateful that she was.

When Karen learned that she was pregnant, fairly shortly after, we had the conversation about me being in the room with her and Anthony. I asked her if she would mind, that I would be beyond honored to be there for the birth of my best friend's child, and that if she was ok with it, I would love to document it for them. She and Anthony agreed, and so it was decided.

She was due just after Christmas, but had gone into the hospital 4 times prior to the actual birth to have her labor stopped because she was going into pre-mature labor. No one actually thought she was going to make it until Christmas. But, like a sweet little Christmas angel, this little babe waited patiently until December 26th to finally make her appearance. But when she did, she came full force.

Karen texted me at 1:26 pm on December 26th to say that she had been having contractions and was in so much pain but had been holding out at home because she was afraid of being sent home again. I told her I was going to put the girls down for a nap, but that I would call her right after, and to call me if she went in. She called me about an hour later to say that she was at the hospital and had been admitted.

I quickly threw my things together, charged the battery on the camera(because it was dead.. of course), told my mom I had to go, and jumped in the car. It was around 4 pm when I finally arrived at the hospital, and and thank goodness I got there when I did. Karen's contractions were just a couple minutes apart. She got up to use the bathroom right after I arrived, and when she got back to the hospital bed, they began piggybacking, one on too of the other. It was pretty clear that this baby was on her way, and quickly. Karen was amazing; calm and controlled. She breathed through every contraction, barely making a peep. At 5:24 pm, Jaelyn Lucia Rokosa was born. She was beautiful and chubby, and messy as a new born baby is… and I was in tears as I watched this precious little being literally fly into the world. (Karen pushed for under 2 minutes. I was in total awe. Amazing. ).

But then, no sooner than she arrived, did the doctors and nurses take her over to the little table off to the side of Karen's bed. 'This is normal, right?' I thought to myself, trying to keep my cool for my friend. I remembered them taking Maxime and Joey right away to clear the lungs and all. But the time was passing, and we could hear them saying things like, 'her color is good, and she is moving, but…' Both Karen and Anthony work/have worked in the Medical field and the understand all of the doctor jargon. Karen knew something wasn't right, and she kept looking up at Anthony, asking him very calmly if she was ok. All he would do is give Karen a quick thumbs up, and then look back at her on the table. Karen wasn't satisfied, and frankly, neither was I.

After what was probably only 3-4 minutes, but what felt like a half of an hour, the doctors told the nurses that they were taking her to the nursery to get her under the oxygen hood. Everyone left the room, including Anthony, and Karen and I were left wondering what had just happened. We didn't say much to one another, I think because we both knew that until we had some information, talking about it wouldn't do anything. So we just sat there together, quietly.

A nurse finally came back in and explained to us a little more what was happening. Jaelyn's respiratory drive wasn't kicking in strongly enough, and she needed them to assist her in breathing. The nurse told us that they were most likely going to transfer her to either UConn or Harford Children's Hospital because they did not have a NICU in Bristol. We were both speechless. I honestly didn't even know what to say to Karen. I couldn't even imagine giving birth and then having my baby be taken away and possibly sent out to another hospital like that. But Karen was amazing, once again. Even though I know her fear and anxiety was raging inside, the calm that had come over her, it was that only of a mother who just gave birth. The need to be strong and fight on for this little life was firing through her, for she was a mother. This is what we do. From the moment our little people are conceived, everything we do from that point on is for the protection and survival of them.

About a half hour later (I think, I actually don't recall.. it may very well have been longer), the nurse came back and told us that she was doing much better and breathing on her own, and that they weren't going to transfer her anymore. The tension that was so solid and profound in the room almost immediately dissipated and I watched Karen's whole body let go and relax. My heart filled with joy and my eyes with tears and I stayed, waiting with my friend to meet the beautiful little wonder called Jaelyn Lucia.

And then, she arrived. And all was well.

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mommy love.

So I have been wanting to get the ball re-rolling on my blog, but was sort of waiting for the re-launch of my website. Unfortunately I have run into some icky technical issues that I have yet to resolve with that(I am not a super techy gal), but I just HAD to post this session. These images are so full of love it's crazy. I actually get all warm and teary eyed when looking at them. We have all heard it before, but there is something to be said for a mother's love. The gooey, messy, silly, unconditional love of a mother is what makes the world go round, and just melts my heart.

I can't even begin to express how grateful I am that I was lucky enough to photograph these three on the beach last week. The love and laughter that they share with one another is incredible and I hope that these images will always bring them back to this time in their lives.

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Kristina, may you and your boys always be as silly, crazy, and loving as you were this day. Thank you for sharing this time with me.

xo Jennifer

when the waters shift

I haven't posted on here in quite some time. And it's not because I have had nothing to say or share. In fact, it is just the opposite. I have had so much to say that I wasn't even able to sit down and write.

Something in me has changed in the last two months. I'm not sure exactly why or how. I mean, perhaps it has something to do with discovering that we had a hugely serious problem in our home in Québec and we haven't been able to live there in 2 months, and it's going to cost us a shit-load of money to fix, money that we don't have. Ugh.

Maybe it's because I have been been back in CT with the girls for this time, away from Mathieu and I am not entirely sure when we will be able to go back.

Maybe it was the asshole who stole a third of Mathieu's skis out of his trailer a few weeks ago.

Or maybe it was getting the call from Mathieu last sunday night after he had left CT and driven back up over the border, that he was on the side of the highway after a deer jumped out directly in front of his car at 70 miles per hour and left him pulled over at midnight waiting for someone to come tow it away. And it may be totaled.. we still don't know..

It must have been that deer.

That moment when you feel that the Universe is caving in on you.

You are drowning.

You have no idea how any of it will ever get better or make sense again.

When I picked up the phone that night as Mathieu was calling me, I was deep in sleep, but I knew something was wrong. He told me. And all I could think was, "Thank god he is ok. Thank god we are ok. Nothing else matters."

And then it just hit me. Like a ton of bricks. None of this shit matters. The house, the car, the skis. I mean, of course they are still things we will have to deal with, but at the end of the day, when all of that stuff is stripped from us, what is left?


The waters have shifted for me. I am working so hard on building the happiest life I can possibly create for myself, my husband and my two children.

I have so many projects and plans on the horizon and I can feel my focus changing. I am so so so beyond sure of what's happening in my heart right now, and I have to say it feels damn good. For it has been some since I have felt like this.

Life tests us. Constantly. But is ALWAYS in our power to either let the waters drown us, or to ride them out, belly up to the sky until it all just makes sense again.

And this little face always helps too.


For those of you who follow me on this blog, I am announcing my newly redesigned website and blog very very soon, and I will no longer be posting here. I would hate to miss you, so please sign up here for my mailing list for all of the updates and the link to my site as well as some other awesome stuff.

I believe in myself. I believe in you.

much love always.


Dayna and Scott

I was up until 4 am Wednesday night finishing editing, uploading, and sharing these images. I have to say, I am honestly nervous about posting them publicly.. Something about it seems so unsafe, and makes me feel so vulnerable. Like you put your heart and soul into something, to then put it in the hands of people who may not have the kindest response to it is kind of intimidating, especially considering this is the very first wedding I have ever photographed. I have done hair and makeup for countless brides and bridal parties over the years, and I have worked beside the photographer many many times, but this was the first time I actually did both! (Yes, I did her hair and makeup too...) So yes, I am slightly nervous about putting it all out there. I did put so much into this entire process. Time, elbow grease, heart, and soul. From the actual day of the wedding, to the editing process, I had my work cut out for me. Not to mention that combined between my wonderful friend, Jason Langevin (who came to second shoot for me), and myself, I had over 2500 images to sort through, choose, and edit. I never realized how much work goes into photographing a wedding, and I have to say, I learned sooooo much from this experience. Yes, I learned how difficult certain lighting situations can be during an outdoor wedding on a bright sunny day in late June, and how quickly the moments fly by that you barely have time to think about the settings on your camera(which is why it is so important to know your shit!). I also learned some new little techniques and work flow tips in the editing process which I know will prove beneficial to me in the future. But I also learned some things that go beyond the craft of photography.

I was reminded of how true love, and solid relationships(family or otherwise) are irreplaceable and should never be taken for granted. I was reminded that distance can never hurt a true friendship. True love and friendship goes beyond miles, beyond oceans. I was shown what we, as human beings, can accomplish when we come together and work TOGETHER. Watching Dayna and Scott and their two families and all of their friends come together on this incredible family compound in Wardsboro, Vermont to build, cook, create, and put into fruition a day that Dayna and Scott had dreamed of was so inspiring.

We arrived around 9:30 that morning and the house was already in full swing. We watched, with a lens covering one eye of course, everyone playing their parts. Dayna's brother making the music playlists, grandmas, moms, aunts, and uncles bustling away cooking EVERYTHING for the party of 120+, the bridesmaids wrapping silverware, and the dads and groomsmen moving logs and setting tables and chairs. The cake arrived from Montpelier in a friends car just an hour before the ceremony and still had to be iced! So my amazing friend Patrick Langevin, (who was also the wedding coordinator), took up the task without hesitation, even though he had NEVER frosted a cake before in his life. My dear dear friend from childhood, who also happens to be Patrick's sister and Jason's wife, volunteered to 'man' the DJ station. And everything unraveled beautifully. I mean, it was seriously perfect.

And then of course, there were Dayna and Scott. Just to be able to see the joy on their faces as people rolled up the driveway from all over the world was a privilege. They had friends from Ireland, Costa Rica, California, and elsewhere all came in for the big day. And the love that they continued to gently exude for one another throughout the day.. without direction. Words could not describe it. Just honest, beautiful, magical love. It was magical. And I'm not just saying that. It was. A wedding is a magical, beautiful, special time and the images that a couple gets after that day shouldn't just consist of perfectly lit, posed family photos(although those are important too). They should tell the story. They should capture the truth. They should bring tears to our eyes as we flip through them because they transport us right back to that very place over and over again. This is what I was aiming for. This is what we set out to achieve that hot Vermont morning in June.

I received this in an email back from Dayna yesterday morning after I sent her the gallery, and my heart almost burst. I think this is why people love doing this. It's all right here;

"...So I am half way through the set up and I am crying. Just wanted you to know that I can't even describe the personal touch that you have. The shots capture everyone's heart and you didn't even know them. They are so special...."

My heart was so full of joy that day. And again as I have relived the moments through the editing process, I am reminded of all of that love. I am reminded of its beauty, its magic, and its power.. which is why I know I HAVE to share these images, regardless of how vulnerable it makes me feel.

Thank you, Dayna and Scott for inviting me to be a part of telling this story. Thank you for believing in me and my vision. I wish you both not just the best in life, but the strength to stick through the crappy parts too, to come out on the other end better and stronger and happier. This is love. xo

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photography: Jennifer Marcuson and Jason Langevin

image editing: Jennifer Marcuson

all images copyright of Jennifer Marcuson: the artist