Wreck Beach photos by vancouver wedding photographer Tanja

Wreck Beach photos with Monica

Wreck Beach is without a doubt my favourite beach in Vancouver. I pay the beach a ‘mandatory’ visit in January for my annual polar bear dip. And once in a while I’ll convince myself to go down the long set of stairs for a lazy afternoon in the Summer sun. But until this this shoot with Monica, I hadn’t visited the beach in my photographer ‘mode’.

It all started when I noticed a mutual friend posting a forum message on Monica’s behalf. She was looking for a photographer to set up a collaboration shoot. I loved the idea and pitched Wreck Beach as a shooting location. 😉 And Monica was so brave to jump on board. Not only braving the long walk down (and up!) the stairs in a wedding dress, but also the freezing cold. After all, it was the middle of Winter.

Speaking of courage, it truly is the word to describe her story: she had already bought her wedding dress, when the wedding was called off. Instead of getting stuck in bitterness, she decided to create new, positive memories with the dress. So she reached out to the professional wedding photographers community and explained her plans for the shoot.

For me, as the photographer, it was an amazing experience. The shoot being a personal project, I created photographs without any expectations about the end result. Just making art for the sake of art. And playing around with new ways of using light and poses. Throughout the entire shoot, Monica showed herself as a total trooper. When I asked her to run on the beach (at 2 degrees below 0), she didn’t even blink and took off!

I was not the only wedding professional who got to try out new skills. Irena, our hair- and makeup artist had a great opportunity to practice her makeup skills and work with short hair.

Finally, after the shoot Monica donated her wedding dress to The Brides’ Project to help raise funds for cancer charities. When I read Monica’s words on her blog, it made my heart sing.

“I am releasing this dress and all the negative experiences around it. I forgive what was done and have filled the layers of the gown with empowerment. As you walk down the aisle, feel the strength of a woman who re-discovered herself and had the ability to take on tough roads ahead. May your partner be there to support you in your dreams, be honest when he/she sees you start to falter and respect you enough to eliminate any temptations that may divide your connection. Do not lose yourself in this process. And know that if you do, the journey back may be hard, but you are resilient.”

Monica, you’re amazing. Thanks so much for playing around with me and for being who you are!


Wreck Beach photos

We recommend these posts

  • An Van Daele
    Posted at 12:26h, 17 February Reply


  • Melodie Loney
    Posted at 10:30h, 18 February Reply

    thank you for making her feel beautiful. love mom

    • Tanja Aelbrecht
      Tanja Aelbrecht
      Posted at 12:27h, 23 February Reply

      Aww, thanks so much Melodie! Your daughter is beautiful inside an out! <3

Leave a Reply