New Glasgow mall photo studio sees holiday lovebirds

Romance was in the air over the holidays at a New Glasgow mall where a travelling photo studio shot couples in costume for wedding proposal and an actual wedding.

Couples set up costumed proposal, wedding events at Highland Square photo studio

Jessica Stevens and Walter MacDonald are shown at their Dec. 23 wedding. (Miss Emi and Mr. Bill's Costume Portraits)

Jessica Stevens and Walter MacDonald wanted to do something a little different for their wedding ceremony.

So when a family friend spoke about a travelling photography studio that specialized in Victorian and Western themed portraits, MacDonald, 41, seized the idea as a perfect venue for the couple's nuptials.

"When I got home from work that day, he sort of pitched it to me," Stevens, 36, said. "'We don't have to worry about ordering you a dress or what I'm going to wear... we can get our pictures done in one shot. It's a unique and different way to do it,' and so I was completely on board, 100 per cent."

They chose Miss Emi and Mr. Bill's Costume Portraits at New Glasgow's Highland Square Mall as the site of the couple's Dec. 23 wedding.

Emi Bourgeois and her husband Bill, who was born in Pictou and grew up in Antigonish, have been doing costume portraits across the country for the past 38 years, Bourgeois said.

Walter and Jessica Stevens had their Dec. 23 wedding at a portrait studio in Highland Square Mall in New Glasgow. (Miss Emi and Mr. Bill's Costume Portraits)

'What a memory'

The couple was pleased to host the wedding ceremony, a first for the studio.

"We were thrilled," Bourgeois said. "What a memory."

Stevens and MacDonald, dressed in Western and Victoria garb, were equally pleased with the outcome.

"I wouldn't have done it any other way. There was no stress involved," Stevens said.

"It was intimate. It was just about Walter and I."

The only guests were a justice of the peace and two witnesses. 

Stevens said their families were "ecstatic" about the wedding and loved the photos. "We're known as pranksters."

A couple pose in Victorian costumes at a costume portrait studio in New Glasgow where the man proposed. She said yes. (Miss Emi and Mr. Bill's Costume Portraits)

Studio also site of proposal

They weren't the only pair to view the studio as a grand background for a special moment.

"Three weeks ago, we did an actual proposal as well," Bourgeois said.

"I'm not sure that the wedding couple knew about that." 

Travelling studio couple's passion project

Bourgeois said the studio sets up temporary sites at retail locations, conventions and other special events. They're in New Glasgow from Nov. 1 to Dec. 31.

"We're mobile, we carry our costumes and such with us," she said.

"We're kind of semi-retired. As long as we're healthy we still like to set up, present what we've been accumulating, all our props and such. Some of our clients have had 34 pictures done by us."


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.