Life by Selena Photography


This is a Life by Selena Photography blog featuring recent photographic and video projects by Montreal photographer Selena Phillips-Boyle. This blog is my new initiative aimed at sharing a wider selection of photos: the spontaneous fits of laughter, the up-dos and the flowers, and your grandma dancing all the young folks off the dance-floor. I’ll be showcasing new projects on Mondays and throw-backs on Thursdays, with a potpourri of smaller projects dusted in between.

45 : Christina and Danny

Christina and Danny (Selena Phillips-Boyle)

Phase 1: The Preparation

I step off the metro at Charlevoix and walk through a park exploding with leafy greens before turning down an unassuming street lined with brick houses. The door of 812 opens revealing flawless hardwood floors, the most gorgeous of exposed brick walls, inside a delightful two-story layout; Christina and Danny’s new home. I follow the voices inside, one bridesmaid making coffee, another cleaning up from breakfast, a third choosing earring & necklace combinations, and the bride sitting through hair and makeup. I climb the stairs where the veil hangs on the bannister, find the dress in the closet, and see the bright green Nine West heels on the floor ready for Christina’s feet.

Wedding Tip: Get ready for your big day in the intimacy of your own home. Or your parent’s home. Or your best friend’s home. In my experience, hotel rooms add a feeling of sterility to the “getting ready” photos, whereas a cherished home space adds depth and life to the photography. As I’ve mentioned on this blog, I’ve recently been exploring the intimacy of the home. In these photos of Christina getting ready, paintings hang in the background beside favourite earth pals and sheets of music. I loved the feeling of Christina stepping out of her house, all dolled up and ready to meet Danny for their wedding.

Phase 2: The Ceremony

As the ceremony begins, Danny waits at the front of the room beside the chuppah. Christina walks down the aisle and circles around him three times. The circling is a Jewish tradition which symbolizes the creation of a new intimate space between the bride and groom. The couple also does binding of the hands, a Ukrainian tradition where the hands of the bride and groom are bound with a rushnyk, a ritual cloth embroidered with symbols and cryptograms from the ancient world. The binding of hands symbolises the new union between the couple. Christina and Danny’s wedding was a true interfaith ceremony, a fusion between her Ukrainian traditions and his Jewish ones. During the ceremony Christina and Danny also share two cups of wine, a shared tradition which symbolizes how the couple agrees to share all the joys and sorrows that their future together might bring.

Wedding Tip: Take the time to talk with your partner about which family traditions are important for each of you to incorporate into the ceremony, and which new ones you’d like to start celebrating together. What emerges will be a new way to celebrate together, a fitting 2017 cross-cultural exchange.

Phase 3: The Celebration

The reception kicks off Ukrainian style with a pryvit, a formal ceremony which welcomes Danny and Christina into each other’s communities. During this ceremony the families eat several items to symbolize new aspects of the marriage: bread (nature’s bounty), salt (the necessity of life), honey (the sweetness of life), and wine (prosperity). The group also shares in a korovaj, a Ukrainian wedding bread. Once these are done, the guests erupt into a lively hora, a Jewish circle dance, and before long Christina and Danny are hoisted up on chairs. Later, the guests form another circle and dance the kolomyjka, a Ukrainian circle dance. The celebration continues early into the morning, long past the last official photo.

Wedding tip: Dance a whole heck of a lot!

This Life by Selena Photography blog post was written by Montreal wedding photographer Selena Phillips-Boyle. This post was edited by Montreal communications professional Max Baru.

Vendor List:
Florist - Atelier Carmel
Hair - Kim Pagé at Orbite Salon
Makeup - Larissa Mycan-Arabsky
Dress - Créations Vézina
Suit - Waxman House
Rings - Jacob Jeweller
Rabbi - Elina Bykova
Priest - Ihor Oshchipko
Venue - Scena
Caterer - Agnus Dei Traiteur
Wedding Planner - Andréanne & co
Band - Golem
Korovai - Melania Nynka
Transportation - Teo Taxi