picture this blog

June 24, 2009

Davina, who is not only a photographer but also a bride-to-be, has launched a bridal blog where she will share all of our wedding plans as well as some very creative ideas. If you’re getting married or like all things wedding, you’ll have to follow her blog! http://davinaplusdaniel.com/picturethis


why we are so darn busy…

June 20, 2009

Written by Davina Palik. Photographed by Daniel Kudish

People often ask us what keeps us so busy when we’re not shooting weddings. The obvious answer is editing wedding photos, which is true, but there’s always so much other random crap – sorry, “stuff” – that pops up, seems like we’re always doing something! Lately, what little spare time we do have has been taken up by photoshoots for Elegant Weddings, a Montreal ad magazine that Daniel and I are taking part in.

The issue hits newsstands in August so if you’re planning a wedding in the Montreal area, make sure to check that out! Here’s a little sneak peek at some of what we’ve contributed:

Flowers by Alain Simon, Venue: The Windsor
Furniture by Luxe, Flowers by Flore, Venue: Espace ReunionFurniture by Luxe, Flowers by Flore, Venue: Elm Ridge Club

  • Jenny: Wow you two! Congrats! (06.24.2009 02:43am)
  • Jenna Tye: hey this is sweet guys! i love this magazine!!! (07.02.2009 04:46pm)


(more) things we heart… www edition

June 11, 2009

It’s been a while since I’ve shared a few tips/advice/references with you and I think we are more than due at this point. The truth is, there’s been very little to report on our personal lives because, well let’s face it, we have no social life these days! However, I have been immersed in the great world of weddings so I will take the time to share some more of fav vendors and websites with you (consult my last “things we love” post for others). Turns out there are so many that I’ve decided to make this a two-parter, starting with my web-loves. I’ll post my local, Montreal-loves a little later on.
(By the way, I feel the need to explain that I’m attaching links to “here” instead of the titles because I find the text color too light when it’s been linked… I have only your best interest at heart!)


I am addicted to blogs. I love writing this one and I follow about 20 blogs a day. No joke. It’s no secret that I absolutely adore Lake Jane; Marie-Eve is one of my summer brides and a good friend so I am a little biased, I’ll admit! Here are a few others that are great for inspiration, DIY ideas, and real weddings:
Veiled Vows here
Wedding Cabaret here
With This Ring here
Snippet & Ink here
Once Wed here
Style Me Pretty here
Accordions and Lace here
This one isn’t your traditional pretty-wedding-planning blog. Written anonymously by one of our summer brides (not so anonymously to us!), A&L’s entries are a longer read, but are witty and thought provoking. She provides a really interesting perspective on planning her wedding and I totally dig it.


Etsy is so fab, it deserves a category of it’s own.
If you are been living under a cyber rock and haven’t already visited the website, I URGE you to run there immediately (I know it’s hard to run on the web, but you know what I mean). But make sure you have a lot of time on your hands because you will spend much of your day there, I guarantee it! Etsy is basically an indie version of Ebay, where vendors sell their handmade items, many customizable to fit your specifications. You can also find loads of awesome vintage stuff which, as you already know, I absolutely adore. My favorite things to search for are birdcage veils, fascinators and cake toppers, but you can even find wedding bands, ring pillows, stationary, garters, and wedding dresses, among many other things. A warning though: do use vendors with good feedback so you won’t be disappointed with the quality.


I’ve fallen so in love with many online stationary shops that I’m debating having our wedding invites done by one of them… despite the fact that we used to do invitations and are therefore fully equipped to do our own… (this is how logical I am). By the way, I discovered all of these through the blogs I listed above. Oh and trust me, these are really worth a visit.
Pretty. Pretty. Paper here or on Etsy, here
Miss Pickle Press here
Mok Duk here



April 9, 2009

One of the best parts of my job is getting to experience often intimate and sacred rituals and traditions. I love witnessing them and capturing them, and I’m often very inquisitive about their meaning and cultural significance. Since Daniel and I experience so many of them together, we’ve decided to incorporate a few in our own wedding ceremony. We’re incorporating the Hindu Saptadi (with a meaning that we love), as well as the breaking of the glass to honor his Jewish background and a soup-eating ritual to honor my Czech background.

Among the weddings we have this summer, we have a Hindu ceremony, an Iranian pre-wedding henna party, and a few tea ceremonies – I can’t wait!


Here are a few traditions we have particularly enjoyed photographing in the past :

Saptadi | Hindu

Also called the 7-Steps or 7-Vows, this tradition involves the bride and groom taking 7 steps together around a fire while reciting specific vows. There are various versions, depending on how traditional the wedding is or who is conducting the ceremony, but in general, the vows address: food (symbolizing earning a living), health, prosperity, happiness, children, longevity, fidelity, and the life-long friendship and love of the bride and groom.

(The pictures below are from the wedding of Sushmita & Charles shot by Daniel and Jeremy in Montreal and Leena & Rahul, shot by Davina and Frances in NYC)Parents’ Blessing | Various religions

I’ve seen the parents’ blessing ritual take place at various religious ceremonies and it’s always a very sweet moment – which translates beautifully into pictures. The ritual usually consists of the parents placing their hands over the bride and/or groom and praying for them (either aloud or in their heads). At some Christian weddings the priest will ask them for their blessing and they will reply “yes” aloud.

(The pictures below are from Eve & Wes’ wedding in Montreal and Shonelle & Delon in Long Island, NY – this second photo was a WPJA contest winner. Both weddings were shot by Daniel and Davina)Stefana (or Stephana) | Greek Orthodox

Also known as the wedding crowns, this part of a Greek wedding ceremony is always the focal point. The crowns symbolize honor and signify that the bride and groom are royalty on this day, or that they are the king and queen of the new household they are starting together. The crowns are tied together with a white ribbon, symbolizing the couple’s unity. The couple also wears the crowns (they are held above their heads by two special members of the bridal party, usually the best man and/or maid of honor, called the Koumbaro and Koumbara) as they take their first steps as husband and wife in another ritual. Greek ceremonies are so filled with meaningful traditions that I’d need a whole post to cover them all accurately!

(The pictures below are from the wedding of Peggy & Julien and Yana & Sam, both shot in Montreal by Daniel and Davina)Tea Ceremony | Chinese

A tea ceremony usually means a very early wake-up call for us as it takes place first thing in the morning, often before the bride “officially” gets ready. The purpose of the tea ceremony is to show thanks and respect for the elders of the family. Serving tea to someone is a sign of respect, thus the tea-serving ceremony. I particularly enjoy this tradition as it gives the bride and groom a chance to spend a few minutes with each of the elder couples of their family as they sip the tea (often exchanged for an envelope filled with cash).

(The pictures below are from the wedding of Kathy & David shot by Daniel and Davina and the wedding of Carolina and Wen shot by Emilie and Marlon, both in Montreal)Breaking of the Glass | Judaism

Jewish weddings are also very tradition-filled; from the signing of the ketubah prior to the ceremony, to the horah which opens the ceremony, they are always fantastic for us to shoot! Probably the most challenging to capture – and the most fun for the groom – is the breaking of the glass. I’ve heard several meanings behind the tradition, but I’ve picked my favorite to explain to our guests at our wedding: the breaking of the glass is permanent, irreversible, and so are the vows that were taken. The smaller the pieces, the harder it is to put back together and thus the more permanent is the commitment. At one wedding I heard guests say that the more pieces there are, the more children the couple will have!

(The picture below is from the wedding of Eve & Wes shot by Daniel and Davina in Montreal)


I hope I’ve described those accurately, feel free to let me know if I’ve covered your culture/religion’s tradition incorrectly.
Or better yet, if you’ve got a tradition I didn’t mention, do share!

  • jenny: Wow! I wish I'd known some of those rituals when I got married. Jeff and I chose not to have a religious ceremony (he's catholic I am not) so we did the unity sand ceremony. We enjoyed the idea that each colour was symbolic of our lives and that once the sand blends together it's nearly impossible to seperate them again...I also had a friend use a third colour for the children from a previous marriage. (04.11.2009 02:15pm)
  • Sarah Kealing: Awesome to know! Any tips for capturing the breaking of the glass? (02.12.2010 07:37pm)
  • Traditions - Weddzilla Blog: [...] I enjoyed Davina + Daniel’s illustrative overview of various cultural wedding traditions here. And I’d love to hear what you’re planning. Thank [...] (07.26.2010 08:49pm)


Location, location, location

March 31, 2009

Lately, the theme of my own wedding planning as been LOCATION – as the title of this post is not-so-subtle to suggest! As many of you know, Daniel and I are legally married as per our recent romantic engagement in Vegas, but we are planning a wedding in Mexico – our “real” wedding as we call it – in early spring of 2011. Our search for the perfect venue (which I think we’ve finally found!) got me thinking about all the great places in Montreal that we’d be considering if we had decided to simplify our lives and just get married here!

The following are a few great places right here in our wonderful city. We will be shooting weddings at each of these locations this summer and we are very excited! These venues are different from a traditional reception hall, which means that your wedding really gets a unique look and feel. Thanks for the suggestions, future brides and grooms!

Entrepot Dominion | entrepotsdominion.ca
I’m excited to have this venue on our list as it is one I had never heard of but am thrilled to have discovered. I get the impression from their website that they commonly host corporate or commercial events, but the space is perfect for a modern couple’s wedding. Two of our At First Sight photographers will have the pleasure of shooting a reception here this spring and I have to admit to being quite jealous that I won’t get a chance to check it out for myself!

Time Supper Club | timesupperclub.com
Daniel and I will be shooting a wedding here next July so he took me out for a date there a few weeks ago to scope it out. The staff there told us they don’t often do weddings, although they host events almost weekly. This venue is for those with a higher budget, but the food is fantastic and there’s practically nothing to do decor-wise as it’s already completely amazing-looking! Our July couple will be having their ceremony out back on their terrasse and are having the reception inside for their 200 guests.

Lion d’Or | cabaretliondor.com
This is probably my favorite venue of the summer… and definitely the most original! Lion d’Or is a cabaret club, complete with a moody lighting, a stage and thick velvet curtains. It screams Moulin Rouge (one of my favorite movies) or even Old Hollywood. Lion d’Or’s sister restaurant, Au Petit Extra, caters their events. I’m shooting a ceremony and reception there in August and I can’t wait! I’ll have to suppress the urge to do the can-can, I’m sure!

Bronte Restaurant | bronterestaurant.com
Daniel and I have driven by Bronte countless times and one or both of us always comment on how cool it looks. The restaurant is part of the Meridien Versailles hotel on Sherbrooke and often hosts trendy launch parties or after-parties for other events so they’re all set lighting and decor-wise. Plus, I have to admit, I’ve been drooling over the menu on their website all day…

The Science Center (Perspective 235° and the Passerelle) | centredessciencesdemontreal.com
Daniel has shot a few events here in the past for Flore or Luxe and the space has always looked fabulous. It’s a very open, ultra modern environment that needs a whole team of caterers, florists, lighting specialists and furniture rentals to make an event happen, but this allows you to completely transform the space and make it your own. This might deter some, but with a good wedding planner, the whole process could actually be quite simple! We have two weddings here this summer and I don’t doubt that they will be so different from one another that we’ll hardly be able to tell that the venue is the same. Can’t wait to see what they’ll do with it!

Bonsecours Market | ville.montreal.qc.ca/marchebonsecours
One would never know by visiting the market on an Sunday afternoon, but the Bonsecours Market can make for a fierce event location! It’s similar to the Science Center hall in that it too is a huge open space with which you can do pretty much anything, but it also has the potential to host a more traditional wedding (unlike the very modern Science Center space). It really is all about what furniture you decide to bring in and the decor you select. I’ll be shooting there this summer and I’m anxious to see how the couple will transform the space. Their halls can hold between 100 and 1000 guests – talk about range!


Hope these locations can offer you some inspiration. As I often mention, the best wedding planning advice I could ever give is to make your wedding reflect you; your personalities, your tastes, your relationship even. A lot of that is in the details, but your location will set the stage for your special day, so it too should reflect you.

Since this is a picture-less post, I’ll leave you with a few photos of our top contender, Casa China Blanca in Puerto Vallarta Mexico (photos are from their website: www.casachinablanca.com). It’s an oceanside villa with a private beach… not too shabby!

  • Serge: Nice location indeed! We've stayed near Casa China Blanca 3 years ago. (04.01.2009 05:12pm)
  • esophesse: Great site this atfirstsightstudio.com and I am really pleased to see you have what I am actually looking for here and this this post is exactly what I am interested in. I shall be pleased to become a regular visitor :) (04.03.2009 11:42pm)