Wedded Bliss Photography
Engaged reality star Jillian Harris was touched when Renee Leveille of Wedded Bliss Photography sent her encouraging notes and flowers during her stints on ABC’s “The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette.” Renee, who lives near Jillian’s parents in the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia, was a fan of Jillian’s, but they had never met.
“Renee was always supporting me, and I didn’t know her,” Jillian says. “To come home to your parents’ house and have a little treat like that… I was touched,” Jillian explains. “There were 50 or 60 photographers that had emailed me about doing engagement photos, but I just instinctively went to Renee because she had been a supporter. I went to her website and loved her work. It seemed like an obvious choice.”
When Jillian and fiance Ed Swiderski visited British Columbia at Christmastime, they got together with Renee for the shoot.
“I was adamant about wanting the photos outside,” Jillian says. “Ed and I love rock music. We love to socialize. We love art and food. I didn’t want the photos to be portrait-style. I wanted something a little more fashionable. Renee took us on a tour of the Gellatly Nut Farm, and there was a barn with green moss. Then we went to a wrecking yard. Both Ed and my father were in the automotive industry, so they both loved that idea. Ed and I are both big car buffs too, so it worked really well. It gave the photos that artsy feel but still with a pop of color.”
Read more of our interview with Jillian and find out about her wedding plans.
Wedded Bliss Photography
As for their wedding plans, Jillian, who is an interior designer who recently appeared on “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,” says the venue itself is high on her priority list.
“I’m very picky about the setting,” she says.”The nut farm in Kelowna is very beautiful, and the trees are so architectural. It’s just so fresh. It’s us. We’re very outdoorsy people so maybe somewhere on the Oregon coast, Vancouver Island or Utah.”
Her vision for the day also includes a relaxed atmosphere and family members contributing in their own special ways.
“I’m thinking a 20-foot long barbecue with chicken, beef, hot dogs, corn on the cob and a place where the kids can play,” she says. “For décor I’m thinking we’ll probably have a tent, wildflowers in mason jars, lavendar, honey and different cheeses and local wine. Auntie Becky makes cabbage rolls. Auntie Patsy and my cousin Tori make the cake. And my mom does the décor.”
“What I loved most about Jason and Molly’s wedding was their attitude,” she says. “When a bride walks down the aisle, she will sometimes look at the audience and smile. Molly’s eyes were fixed on Jason’s eyes and she had this look like her legs were weak and his legs were weak. I was just in awe of how intense the energy was between them, and that’s what I want for my wedding.”
Although Mesnick and Malaney opted to televise their wedding, Harris and Swiderski are still undecided on whether they will follow in their footsteps or opt for a private affair.
“The only way we could do it privately is to invite a dozen people and do it on the fly and elope at some campsite somewhere,” she says. “In the end we still want to have that big celebration. We’ve already decided to get married, now this is the part we get to share. I’m still reluctant to do a public wedding, but I am a little more open to it than I was.”
The final step in the wedding planning process for Harris may actually be setting the date, something most brides do first.
“Once you get engaged you should know in your heart you’re going to spend your life with that person,” she explains. “Whether your wedding is in a year or six months, the most important thing is not to stress yourself out and take your time with the wedding planning. My advice is plan the wedding first and then set the date. Once you have your ducks in a row and you know who you’d like to be the caterer and the dress you’d like, figure out when can we make this happen. That would be my advice instead of setting a date, and stressing yourself out, getting in fights with your fiancé and your mother in law. It’s not worth it.”
Read more about Jillian’s Engagement Shoot and Wedded Bliss Photography