LAUREN & SANJAYA
3 memorable moments from this wedding:
1. Lauren's face walking down the aisle. As I discovered during Lauren's mom's speech, Lauren had a very long list of boxes her potential partner needed to check off:) And at some point, wondered if maaaaybe she should be flexible on some of them? Nope. She waited a long time to meet her perfect partner. Sanj checked every single item on that list. And the look on her face walking down the aisle was one of someone who stuck to her beliefs, and knew not to settle.
2. The ballon drop that surprised everyone. A New Year's Eve wedding was sure to have some epic surprises, and one of them was a midnight balloon drop. The countdown started, the bride and groom readied themselves with the string, they pulled it and....the entire apparatus came down! String, balloons, net, the whole thing. The only thing more surprising than a balloon drop is a surprise balloon fight, as everyone ripped open the net at midnight
3. The countdown! In addition to their ceremony guests, Lauren and Sanj invited more friends to come down and enjoy the party - no dress code necessary! Bu the time midnight came the dance floor was full of new faces, champagne, and a few hundred people ready to party. The couple found their wedding band while at Soho House, and the Motown kept everyone on the floor.
I had no idea that on midnight, as we entered 2020, that every wedding in the coming year would have to reschedule, adapt, or take a pause. It's been a year. But looking back on this amazing celebration has me stoked for all the 2021 weddings!
You'll find all the vendors at the bottom of this post; if you're planning your upcoming wedding, I can't recommend these people enough! We've all had a challenging year, holding onto our businesses and supporting our communities, and we're excited to make magic in 2021:)
Music: Janisa Music and Co.
Photographer: Eldie Photography
Ceremony Venue: Airship37; Berkeley Events
Wedding Dress: Katrina Tuttle Bridal
Wedding planner: The Event Design Co. (Katie Watkowski)
Flowers: Cool, Green, & Shady
Caterer: Berkeley Events
Hair: & Makeup: Toronto Beauty Group
Groom’s tux: Suit Supply
Cake: Gill McIver
Groomsmen’s attire: Suit Supply
Favours: A donation was made to the Multiple Sclerosis Society in lieu of traditional wedding favours. We decorated the tables with NYE themed party supplies.
Officiant: Aileen Dockerty
I don't know about you, but I never really pictured the south of France. I've heard of it - and always when people talked about beauty, and romance, and relaxation. As it turns about, it is all of those things and more.
Becky and Dan decided to marry at her father's vineyard, because why wouldn't you!
This time last year, we were honoured to be travelling over to France and capture their wedding festivities, which included a welcome party the night before their wedding, at a vintage car museum nearby.
(You can find photos from this wonderful night here!)
Surrounded by grapes, hills, and the stunning French countryside, there isn't much more you need to do for ambience. Chairs were adorned with olive branches, and the couple married outdoors under a wooden Chuppah covered in flowers. One of my favourite parts of the day was bearing witness to the signing of the ketubah. A close group of loved ones gathered inside and offered wishes and blessings, while Dan and Becky signed the traditional Jewish marriage contract. Made all the more special because the Rabbi is close to the family:)
The thing I can now say about southern France is this... the light is different. It's warm, and colourful, and creates a dreamy beauty that I couldn't believe. The outdoor cocktail hour took place in the courtyard under the setting sun, where guests were treated to champagne before moving into a white tent for speeches, and a speech in the form of a song from Dan's brother:)
The best thing about a destination wedding? No one is going home at the end of the night, which leads to a full on celebration! They danced, we danced, and at some point the power went out. And no one stopped dancing.
Becky and Dan, thank you so much for entrusting us with capturing your beautiful, heartfelt ceremony, and for giving us the opportunity to see this part of the world. We feel so lucky.
Thank you to your families for welcoming us, and showing us the most lovely hospitality.
Oh, and thank you to Stephanie and Peter for getting married 4 years ago, and having me photograph your wedding, which lead to meeting Becky and Dan:)
I can't rave enough about the phenomenal team at this wedding! The food was out of this world, everyone looked breath taking, and the entire affair was personal and relaxed. If you're planning a wedding or event in France, I highly recommend everyone involved:)
WEDDING DRESS: GLAMOUR CLOSET
HAIR: AGNES CANERI
MAKEUP: YLVA LANGENSKIOLD
GROOM'S ATTIRE: THEORY
FLORALS: AU GRES DES FLEURS
CAKE: MADE IN CAKE
WEDDING BANDS: NORMAN LANDSBERG JEWELERS
OFFICIENT: RABBI SHELLY BARNATHAN
BAND: FUNK MODE
RECEPTION TENT: BE LOUNGE
CATERING: HELEN TRAITEUR
My favourite thing about destination weddings is that your wedding story - meaning your photos, your album, your recording of this time - becomes so much more than a day.
It's your arrival, and your friends' arrival. It's your family unloading luggage, and hugging relatives from the other side of the world while everyone is wearing shorts. It's the site visit, the preparation, the party, and more.
We arrived in France for Becky and Dan's wedding a few days early. (I like to ensure we have time for jet lag, travel, potential delays, etc.) After arriving in Paris, we boarded a train for Avignon, and then picked up a rental car to drive the remaining few hours to St-Remy-De-Provence. I marvelled at the rolling hills, the simple, beautiful architecture of the homes and their wooden shutters, and the soft warm air.
The next day we met with becky and Dan at her father's vineyard, where the wedding would be held. We combined a creative shoot, a venue visit, a wedding rehearsal, and a rehearsal dinner all into one night! We could feel the excitement in the air, as people arrived from all over the world. The only place big enough to accommodate this rehearsal dinner/welcome party was a nearby car museum, which made for an awesome and relaxed background.
I'm so excited to share photos from this STUNNING wedding, but let the day before be the amuse-bouche :)
TOURING THE VINEYARD
THE WELCOME PARTY!
I adventured to Toronto Isand early one morning with Pauline, Edwin, and their adorable pooch Harley! We were early enough to beat the crowds (and the sun!) for a walk, and then indulge in brunch and a wet ride back to the ferry! The water was high on on the island, but we weren't the only ones willing to kick off their shoes and give it a go:)
I always love escaping to Toronto Island... so close to the city, but an oasis free of cars, free of stress, free of Tim Horton's. But more and more, we're able to travel there less and less. At least once a year, the Island is lost to flooding. I had a wedding who had to reschedule their ENTIRE WEDDING the week before because their island venue was flooded!
The island is beautiful, and home to memories for so many Torontonians...childhood at science camp, teenage years of freedom, new parents taking their kids on adventures, and so many instances of love.
I don't say this to be a bummer, but so many beautiful memories exist on that island..and it's disappearing. Our impact on this beautiful world is creating less of it, and as the land disappears it takes our ability to revisit it - our ability to relive those memories - with it.
So on this earth day, I hope you think about your favourite places. And think about how it would feel to never again visit the place you met, the place you first kissed, the place you married.
And now think about what we can do to prevent that.
Things have changed a lot since I started in wedding photography 10 years ago; there used to only be a few choices but now couples have so much more freedom to do it their way. You can get married in a field, a church, a barn, a restaurant… anything can be a venue! You also have a lot of say in how much DIY you want to take on. If you have an inner Martha Stewart, your wedding can be a great opportunity to take on projects - centrepieces, chandeliers….I even had a bride who made her own origami bouquets (and they were stunning).
But if, like me, you’re not a crafty person, making it all yourself seems daunting. I talk with my couples all the time about investing in the few big things that are important to you, and then letting the rest fall into place. If you aren’t an event planner, this may be the first time you’ve ever had to consider hiring a caterer, choosing a florist, or selecting invitations. If you’re looking for some to DIY it for you, I highly recommend Basic Invite.
I’m a huge fan for the simple reason that with them you can do a little, or a lot. Maybe you just need invitations and RSVP cards, or maybe you need the whole shebang. But they make it super easy to make a few quick choices, and in return get a beautiful, custom stationary package. Your guests will swear that you must have had a custom designer; Basic Invite has over 180 different colour options, over 40 different envelope colours, and over 900 Wedding Invitation Sets. Their almost unlimited colour options mean you'll have unique, modern stationary that fits your style.
All of my full day wedding packages have what I call a creative shoot. Back in the day it was an engagement shoot, because people would post about their engagement in the newspapers. Now, I use this little photoshoot before your wedding as a chance to get to know each other, and see how you two interact together (which makes our time together on your wedding day so much smoother!) I’m also a big fan of every couple having gorgeous photos of themselves that aren’t just on your wedding day!
A lot of my couples use their creative shoot photos for a guest book on their wedding day, which I love. Basic Invite has so many options, you won't be stuck with something too stuffy or formal. You can choose from dozens of styles, from romantic to art deco, and ensure your guest book ties in perfectly with your wedding vibe.
I’m also super into their Seal and Send wedding invites; they have a tear-off RSVP card, AND your guests names are printed right on the front of each invitation which means…. NO SEALING 100’s OF ENVELOPES! All you have to do is share a link, collect guest addresses, and upload them onto your design. Once your invites arrive all you have to do is add postage, fold, and secure them with a sticker! Simple and easy.
And also, saving 100’s of extra pieces of paper:)
If you're excited to DIY your wedding, Basic Invite is an awesome way to customize your stationary. Or if you're ready to hand over some of the wedding decisions I highly recommend having a look to see how they can help you create a beautiful, unique wedding guest book with just a few choices! I paired with Basic Invite because I'm a big fan of letting couples do it their way:)
BEST WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHS 2019
(It isn't every photo we loved, because that would be too many:)
2019 was an interesting year for wedding photography. As so many of my friends and wonderful clients know, I also working throughout the year in the commercial world, creating photos of products, people, and art. The challenge is always that wedding tend to get planned a year in advance, and commercial tends to plan a month in advance!
To make room for both, I had to become more selective about the weddings I take. I was worried at first, but looking back I couldn’t have had a better year, both artistically and personally. I loved every single couple I worked with - all sweet, personable, and excited, and all asking me for the same thing - photos that show the emotions of the day, and a photographer who understood that they wanted to spend time with the people they love, and not away for 3 hours of photos.
And despite capturing thousands of photos of friends, family, college friends, hugs, and tears…we also made time for epic portraits, big laughs, and so much fun. To all of you - Pauline & Edwin, Katherine & Rob, Samantha & Jon, Becky & Dan, Allison & Ciáran, Emily and Mike, Lisa & Sam, Jelena & Nikola, Lauren & Sanj…. THANK YOU.
I had the chance to jump on some smaller, spur of the moment weddings at Toronto City Hall, and find some lovely new spaces-turned-wedding-venues like Christopher Cutts Gallery and an up and coming barn venue in Guelph. We also finally shot at the jewel that is Casa Loma, a new year’s eve wedding at Airship 37, and the post-renovated historic Great Hall. I spent the long labour day weekend traveling to Provence, France, to photograph the most stunning vineyard wedding, and it still feels like a dream.
To all our unique couples, whether laid-back or detail-loving - Thank you. Thank you for trusting me to get all the good stuff, and also giving me the space to be creative:) My hope is always the same - that you can go through your photos, start to finish, and remember what the entire day felt like.
It goes by so quickly, and it’s a damn honour to slow it down for you.
I am still taking select wedding dates for 2020 and 2021; if you or some of your favourite people are getting hitched,
I've love to chat with them!
You can always reach me at [email protected] or enjoy some wedding porn (aka looking at all the photos)
And, just because you made it to the end...here is a photo of me in full work mode. I am VERY committed to not blocking anyone's view.
Kat and Rob are the best kind of people. I kind of had a feeling, since they came recommended through a dear friend who is also the best kind of people (and who is the shining pregnant bridesmaid in the photos!) These two have a solid love, built on all the right stuff. Despite the fact that they're several years into their relationship, they were as giddy as teenagers to get married! There were tears on both sides of the aisle, as they exchanged vows under an ancient tree on a gorgeous day.
Guests played lawn games and were treated to lemonade and sangria on a relaxed, open lawn outside the barn. Later, soft lights lit the dance floor for one of the most romantic first dances I've ever seen.
Kat and Rob, thank you for entrusting me with your gorgeous day:)
Weddings today can be anything you want - a huge lavish affair, an outdoor bash, a travel adventure...or a neighbourhood celebration. More and more often, I'm meeting couples who are creating intimate weddings, their way. Lisa and Sam's wedding was truly a neighbourhood celebration.
I met them at their home, and we walked through their neighbourhood to Christopher Cutts Gallery, just a few blocks away. We stopped to chat with neighbours, wander the allies, and it was truly the most relaxed pre-wedding I've ever had. Sam has a penchant for hand shakes, including with his almost-wife:) A little while later friends and loved ones gathered, vows were exchanged, and everyone headed off for brunch at the Ritz-Carton.
But my favourite moment happened in between....when everyone but Sam and Lisa had left, and they stayed behind to finish up a few things. The only people left were the two of them, myself, and the cellist. And it was in this moment when they shared a short first dance, alone, in an art gallery.
Congratulations Lisa and Sam - to many more years of loving your neighbourhood, and each other!
Allison and Ciaran chose their venue - Pictou Lodge - in great part because of its rugged location, perched on the edge of a cliff overlooking the Atlantic. It looks equally fitting for Nova Scotia (Allison's home) as it is for Ireland (Ciaran's home).
The epic views and romantic wind proved a little too much come ceremony time, and the outdoor vows were moved indoors, to save everyone from the gale force winds. But Ali and Ciaran insisted on ducking outside during sunset to take in the stunning colours. The rest of the evening was spent inside, hugging friends from afar and watching everyone become family:)
Congratulations Ali and Ciaran! Sláinte!
I've learned something after a decade of photographing couples....when a couple says they're awkward in photos, it's likely because they're so busy enjoying each other they don't look at the camera. Which is perfect. An amazing photo isn't about looking perfect, it's about looking happy - and these two could not possibly be more happy than when they're together.
Their New Year's Eve Wedding is sure to be a banger. Lauren and Sanjaya, we can't wait to celebrate with you!