Offbeat Couple: Joel and Cameron
Date and Location: 06/02/2022, Pittsburgh Botanic Garden, Pittsburgh, PA
There's so much to love about these two and their special day! Offbeat Photographer Maya Lovro tells the story in both their words and photos:
Cameron and Joel’s day was a magical, whimsical celebration with their closest friends and family. With a color palette of soft pastels and greens, the vibe of the day was bright and summery.
Both Joel and Cam wore colorful dresses along with the wedding party.
The celebration took place amongst the beautifully manicured flowers of the Pittsburgh Botanic Garden, sustainably adding gorgeous floral touches to the décor.
Before the ceremony, I stopped by the Airbnb where everyone was staying so the couple could take a few portraits with their absolutely gorgeous kitty, Special Agent Sneaky Dee.
Everyone had a great morning. A wedding party member was doing tarot readings while others got ready and helped each other do their makeup and hair.
We did an early first look with the couple so they could finish getting ready together and spend as much of their day together as possible.
They had two custom-made ring boxes: one a Poké Ball, and one a d20! (d❤️?)
They also included some absolutely precious love notes on little strips of paper:
Sometimes, you make me feel like I could be anything I want to be.
You are my ground when I get so caught up in my worries that I forget there's one beneath me.
You genuinely love my family and they genuinely love you!
The day had been rainy, but the rain stopped just in time for the ceremony.
It began with the lighting of incense, and was officiated by a beloved friend of the couple.
A beautiful handfasting ceremony unfolded with the most passionate, loving vows I’ve ever heard (I’m serious about this – I asked for a copy afterward and used them for inspiration in writing my vows for my OWN wedding)!
Joel, I could stand here with you on the most important day of my life and tell you that you have no idea how much I love you, but you’ve probably gotten used to hearing it every day now.
I could tell you just how much you mean to me, but surely I’ve gone on about that plenty of times now. I could tell you the incredible impact you’ve been in my life, how you make every day amazing, but I’m certain you know it all too well.
So, instead of continuing to remind you of our past experiences, both good and bad, I want to make promises to you of what our future together will hold.
I want to wake up next to you every morning and think “this is exactly where I want to be”. I want to explore this wild, beautiful world with you, from every lush forest to tiny stream. I want to be by your side to see the excitement and wonder in your eyes as you dive head first into your career in microbiology.
I want to cook great food with you and think to myself “there isn’t anything I wouldn’t do for you.” I want to fall asleep next to you under the stars and say “this person next to me is the single most important thing to ever happen to me.”
Today is a day to look back on how we got here, but more importantly, it is a day to look forward to continuing our journey together. And I want to spend every minute of that journey filled with your unending encouragement, understanding, and compassion.
Cameron. Oh, my Cameron. I’ve dreamed about this day for year and I still can’t believe it’s actually happening. All of our loved ones here supporting us, a gorgeous garden all around us, and you standing before me looking like an ACTUAL GODDESS?? This makes me believe that some dreams really do come true, regardless of what time, distance, or immense hardship has to say about it.
When we started dating, you told me “you can’t spell romance without Cameron” in an attempt to impress me. Now, I thought that was the dorkiest shit I’d ever heard and, in that moment, I fell a little more in love with you.
Today, over 5 years later, I find that you were right. Everything you do, whether it’s gushing about your latest woodworking masterpiece, the way you groan when I make an extremely bad joke, or when you roll Sneaky over to give him the belly rubs that he so despises but tolerates when it’s you – it all makes the love I have for you grow even bigger. That’s romance to me: falling in love forever.
Better than anyone, you know I’m almost never completely sure about anything. If I’m lucky, I’m mostly sure… but the decision to marry you? I’ve never felt so certain of anything in my life. I feel it in my heart, in my soup, in my very bones that this is the right choice. And that’s something incredible. You’re something incredible.
You are wild and wonderful and beautiful, you make me laugh until I cry, and you are one hell of a cat dad. You are the best thing to ever happen to me, my love.
Cam, you are one of the strongest people I know. You are kind, you are caring, you are gentle. You do no harm, but take no shit. You are incredibly smart, immensely geeky, and (needless to say) you are stunningly beautiful.
You have come such a long way – getting to watch you grow into yourself has truly been one of the most wonderful experiences of my life. You’ve changed tremendously from the day we met, and each time you emerge happier and even more Cameron than before. And now I get the privilege of being there for the rest of your journey.
You’ve seen me at my absolute worst – my sleep deprived, last-minute cramming for an exam hysteria – and you still want me to be the one you spend the rest of your life with.
No matter what curveballs I throw your way, you catch them with grace + encourage me to throw another one, but faster this time. No matter how low I get on hard days, you reach as far down as you can to pull me back up.
As cheesy as it may sound, with you by my side, I feel like I can overcome anything. You empower me and I empower you and I want to keep this strong, trusting love close to me for the rest of my life.
You loved me as I am, however that may be. Whether I am a man, a woman, or anything + everything in between, you have loved me and continue to love me. Even when it’s 4am and I’m keeping you up with my latest hyperfixation, you listen patiently and enjoy it.
This gift that you give me has helped me so, so much to become a person that I love being. With you by my side, I know I can be anyone I want to be. I love who I am when I’m with you.
All of this, and so much more, makes you feel like home to me. You’re a place I know I can kick off my shoes + relax at. And I’ve decided I want to keep coming home to you for as long as the universe will allow.
I swear to stand by your side through the good times and the bad, holding your hand tightly to show I am not going anywhere.
I will love you with my whole being, with the strength of all the stars in the sky, and I will never make you question or doubt my devotion to you.
I promise to support you in every endevour, cheering for you like a dad at his kid’s first hockey game.
I swear to communicate clearly, to never hide things from you, and to be gentle when working through conflict.
I will never make you feel like you have to compromise yourself for me, nor will I ever take you for granted.
I promise to listen without judgement and to try and understand why before acting.
I swear to always give you the tail pieces of my sushi rolls, even if it’s a shaggy dog roll and I’m very hungry.
Cameron Wade Iwaskewycz, with the powers that be and our loved ones as witnesses, I vow to love you until the day I die.
Joel and Cam wanted their queer identities to be celebrated as part of their day, and brought pride flags for the wedding party to use during photos.
From the couple: “Our tattoos are two base pairs of DNA that are complementary to each other! I’ve got the A and C, while Cam has the T and G. It’s a very nerdy couple’s tattoo!“
After taking some photos around the gardens, an intimate reception rounded out the night with dancing, cake, and s’mores.
Their cake cut featured a very wonderful smush in the face (that they had agreed upon in advance of course).
We wish Cameron and Joel all the best on their continuing adventures, and thank them for sharing their amazing day with us!
- Venue: Pittsburgh Botanic Garden IG: @pghbotanicweddings
- Photography: Maya Lovro Photography IG: @mayalovro
- Baked Goods: Pastries A La Carte IG: @pastries_ala_carte
- Catering: Big Burrito IG: @eatbig
- Tent Rental: Ambassador Tent Rental
- Sandals: Pendragon Shoes
Hair, makeup, officiant, and DJ were all done by family or friends.