Brownstones and Bagels, an East-Village New York Engagement Session.

I met Emily and Kaegan in New York for their urban engagement shoot, downtown in the East Village neighborhood where Kaegan was living at the time.  It could not have been a more perfect location for such a jet-setting, adventurous, and well-traveled couple.  Their love story began when they first met in university, completing their degrees in architecture, and they have since lived and worked all over the world, pursuing their careers as international architects. 

Throughout their relationship they’ve lived and worked, together and separately, from New York, to Japan, to North Bay, to Toronto, and beyond.  I was lucky to catch up with them early one morning outside of Kaegan’s flat in the East Village, when Emily and I both flew down for a visit.  They were game to get up ungodly early to spend some time exploring their neighborhood before everything got too busy (major brownie points for being so game guys!).  New York might be known as the city that never sleeps, but we didn’t run into too many people at 5:30 in the morning!  The next few hours were spent wandering classic brownstone-lined streets, visiting their favorite neighborhood haunts, and watching the city (and it’s many dog residents) come alive to start their day.   When we finally waved goodbye, they were off to get a bagel for breakfast, and Kaegan was musing about what kind of pizza he wanted to have later that day.  It could not have been any more classic New York. 

I first met Emily at The White Squirrel Coffee shop in Toronto, and knew we would get along right away when she told me she would be coming straight over from having brunch with friends.  I had no idea how awesome the two of them are together though until we started shooting together.  I should have known that they were going to be a tonne of fun by how game they were to arrange our early morning engagement session in New York, but I was still blown away by their creative and free spirited natures that came out to shine on their wedding day.  I’m still working on editing all of their wedding photographs from a few weekends ago, but I can’t wait to share photographs from our sunset session, you’re going to be so inspired by what down to earth and relaxed people they are, even tromping through the muddy woods on their wedding day!

Samantha and Farhan’s Colourful, Magical, Engagement Session at U of T

I met Samantha & Farhan for their engagement shoot on the University of Toronto campus. As the sun was setting over the city we set out through the iconic stone buildings and arches, finding pockets of greenery and beautiful light to shoot in.  There’s magic that surrounds these two.  Real-life, Hollywood-love-story, magic.  To sum them up, when I asked them to strike up a little dance during their engagement session I was expecting to photograph an little bit of ‘embrace and sway’ type dancing, but they DANCED.  I’m talking breaking into a spontaneous ballroom dancing number with dips, spins, lifts, the whole nine yards.  Samantha’s elegant skirt swirled out around her, Farhan was the picture of chivalry with one hand on his lapel and sharp Fred Astaire style moves, and I had to stop taking photographs to pick my jaw up off the ground and stare.

            Needless to say, I was loathe to put down my camera and say goodbye by the time the sun went down. This shoot left me absolutely itching to photograph them again soon at their three day Indian wedding in the country!  I can’t wait to share photographs from their big event soon, but in the meantime take a scroll through, marvel at their amazing outfits, and join me in wishing that my own life also unfolded in perfect, on-command, musical-worthy moments like these two.

            Thanks for being so amazing and unique you guys! xo 

Stephanie & Alec’s Joyful Spring Wedding at Kings Riding Golf Club

I love love loved working with Stephanie and Alec.  They’re one of those couples whose enthusiasm and happiness is absolutely contagious; they have the most joyful demeanors, and absolutely cannot stop smiling whenever they look at each other.  Remember them from this incredibly happy engagement session I posted recently? Start scrolling down to see how EVERYTHING is a Kodak moment with these two and their big beautiful smiles. Needless to say, I took far too many photographs on this day!  The first look moment below sums them up perfectly, absolutely unable to contain their joy at getting to start their big day together.  I can’t wait for you to see Alec’s reaction to seeing his lovely bride for the first time!

            They were married on an absolutely gorgeous, sunny, spring day at Kings Riding Golf Club in Thornhill, just outside of Toronto.  The ceremony was filled with laughter under a beautiful old tree, a lively lion dance kicked off their reception and startled the kids (and me if we’re being honest), and crispy cream donuts were set at every place setting as guest favours.  There are so many other elements from this day that I absolutely love, I cannot even begin to sum them up here in words.  From Stephanie’s emotional skype call with her grandmother overseas, to their petal-covered recessional back up the aisle, to Alec holding her hand tightly all through the speeches, to their heartfelt parent dances that made everyone (myself included) cry. 

            Wrapping up their evening even more perfectly, the sunset that night had the most gorgeous golden glow.  Plus, as if Stephanie and Alec weren’t already a photographers dream to work with, they scheduled almost a full hour at sunset to take their bride and groom portraits together, allowing us time to capture some of my favorite portraits of the whole summer. 

            Pro-tip:  if you’re wearing a veil for your wedding day, consider putting it back on for your sunset photographs like Stephanie did here.  The light tulle catches the golden sunset light beautifully, and makes for some stunning glow-y photographs to wrap up the day!   

Vendors:
Dress: Yeva Yao
Makeup: Vanessa Elizabeth Makeup
Hair:  Reanna Singh
Linens:  Chair Covers Plus
Flower Wall:  Blush and Tie
Centerpieces:  Botanic Florists
Florals:  Gatherings Studio
Officiant: Sherri Murphy
Lion Dance:  Northern Dragon Gate

 

Erica & Simon's Cottage Wedding in Thunder Beach

Fellow dog lovers, you are going to LOVE this wedding!  You might remember this couple from their sweet fall engagement session at home with their amazing pup. Erica and Simon kept their wedding true and unique to themselves in every possible way.  Originally from Toronto, they decided to host their wedding at the family cottage in Thunder Beach, their favorite place to spend time together.  Everything about their day was rooted in comfort, simple elegance, and down to earth family values. I freeking loved it!

They started the day getting ready in separate sides of the family cottage.  Erica wore a beachy lace dress and white wedding moccasins (if you can’t tell already, she’s an earthy girl after my own heart!) and carried a simple bouquet of gorgeous fresh lilac blossoms cut from outside the cottage that morning.  Simon wore boat shoes with his suit, and sported a comfortable open collar with no tie for most of the day, before getting changed into the most fantastic ‘party suit’ I have ever seen for the evening.

The intimate ceremony took place at the end of a long pier stretching far out into the bay.  Their much loved pup, Drax, carried their rings down the aisle, tied in a leather bag on his collar. After delivering the rings safely down the aisle, he lay down on the dock at their feet for the rest of the ceremony, as Erica and Simon exchanged their vows overhead. The other three family dogs provided some comic relief from emotional ceremony moments by jumping into the lake occasionally, and digging holes down into the sand to cool off.  The whole ceremony had the most gorgeous, minimalist, Wes Anderson vibe to it, I can’t wait for you to scroll down and see the setting!

Plenty more people arrived in Thunder Beach for the reception, so the party moved down the street to the local cottage community center for the reception.  Having toured the space a few weeks earlier, I was absolutely BLOWN AWAY by the transformation that Katie and Gavin from Georgian Roots had affected on the space.  Guests entered by way of a spectacular clear tent, decorated with driftwood, upholstered couches, vintage Louis Vuitton trunks, and modern chandeliers, before moving into the rec hall that had been whitewashed, strung with wisteria hanging from the rafters, and filled with long harvest tables covered with colourful florals and herb-covered plates and appetizers.  Guests arrived in stylish vintage vans, ate fresh oysters, and ordered drinks from the most beautiful moss-covered bar I’ve ever seen.  Set back into the forest, the tent was glowing warmly when I finished for the evening, lighting up the pines towering up into the star filled cottage country sky above, the whole wedding felt like a fairy tale. 

Vendors:
Hair – C.E. Bridal
Makeup – Makeup by Chelsey B.
DJ – Bryan Taylor
Wedding Planners – Georgian Roots Events
Wedding Dress Boutique – Helen’s Bridal
Wedding Dress Seamstress – Stacey O’s Something Blue
Caterer – Whose Catering
Candy Skewer Wedding Favours – Cre8tive Candy
Tent/Flooring Rental Company – Westway Tents
Table Setting/Other Rental Company – Event Rental Group
Florist – Fresh Flowers by Leanne

             

Alicja & Grant: A Downtown Toronto Love Story at the St Laurence Market

We toured Alicja and Grant’s favorite places in the city and sampled some of their favorite foods for a fun and playful engagement shoot.

Alicja and Grant met me in downtown Toronto for their engagement shoot on a cool day in the early fall.  We started off shooting at the St Laurence market, one of their favourite spots in the city, and wandered the market stalls together as they pointed out the best places to eat and shop.  We put together a little collection of charcuterie snacks they often get at the market, and settled outside for a picnic together, soaking in the warm fall sun on the concrete. Starting to get chilly, they headed across the street to Balzac’s to warm up over a cup of coffee.

Our next stop was the west end of Toronto, wandering Queen west, and settling in Trinity Bellwoods park as our final location to shoot.  We wandered the paths, enjoyed the fall colours that were beginning to turn, marveled at the wonder that is the white squirrel residing in the park, and chatted all about their love of food and the life they were starting together. 

toronto-wedding-photographer-fine-art-documentary-downtown-engagement-trinity-bellwoods-st-laurence-market-94.jpg

Beth & Alex: A Sunny Engagement Shoot at their Georgian Bay Island Cottage

We spent an afternoon enjoying the warm summer breeze at Beth and Alex’s private family cottage on an island in Honey Harbour.

I first met Beth and Alex after work at Rooster Coffee in downtown Toronto, and instantly knew I wanted to work with them as soon as we started chatting dogs and cottages.  They have a friendly, laid back, Canadian-cottager vibe that carried through to all aspects of their relaxed and fun-loving engagement and wedding.   Alex is an avid outdoorsman, and Beth nurtures a secret talent for woodworking, learned from her grandfather and honed during summers at the cottage.  I could talk camping trips for hours, and am instantly awed by anyone with creative talent, so I couldn’t wait to spend time with these two over the course of our working together!

They invited me up to their family cottage to take their engagement photographs, tucked away in the islands of Honey Harbour. On a hot and sunny summer day, I was picked up in a little tin fishing boat at the nearby marina to start the afternoon. We cruised through sparkling waterways, past classic Canadian shield islands dotting the waters of Georgian Bay to reach their cottage. The family home was perched on top of a rocky island, and came complete with a welcoming crew of family and dogs.  These two clearly come by their friendly, happy natures honestly, how could you not when coming home to the cottage means being greeted on the dock by dogs, beer, and cookies!

I always ask couples to incorporate activities they love or places that are important to them into the engagement session, and Beth and Alex knocked it out of the park planning this shoot!  We started off across the island, fishing rods and beer in hand, heading to their favourite watering hole overlooking Giants Tomb across the bay.  The fish weren’t biting, but their pup, Brodie was happily occupied swimming after each cast, trying to catch the bait himself.  They enjoyed beers on the rocks, toes splashing in the warm water, took the tin boat out for a cruise, and finished by hiking through the island to a small wooden platform in the woods, furnished with Muskoka chairs, with a view over the bay.  This is where Alex proposed to Beth, surrounded by tea lights in wooden candle holders she had made that summer, smelling like pine trees, and with a view over the most meaningful place in the world to them. It’s so much fun to visit the spot where a couple got engaged and spend some time reminiscing together!

We had the best time taking their engagement photographs together, and I can’t wait to show you details from their relaxed and heartfelt wedding I photographed in Toronto this summer!l

toronto_wedding_photographer_fine_art_documentary_Muskoka_Engagement_Honey_Harbour-16.jpg

Stephanie & Alec: Walking Down Memory Lane at McMaster University

 Stephanie and Alec met me at McMaster university on a warm summer evening for their engagement session.  We went back to the place where their love story began, standing in line at the registrar’s office, where Alec saw Stephanie for the first time and made sure to be standing close to her.  The usually long wait time passed quickly in conversation together, and as they say, the rest is history!  I love heading back to the places where a couple first met, or started dating.  It’s the perfect way to dive into that romantic nostalgia, reminisce together, and have some fun taking engagement photographs that will be meaningful to you for years to come!

We toured through their favorite old haunts on campus before heading down to the Hamilton waterfront for some sunset photographs.  For anybody who doesn’t know me, shooting by the water at sunset is my happy place!  There’s no better way to get those glow-y, bright, romantic photographs.  Add in Stephanie’s beautiful bright smile and Alec’s loving gaze and you have the perfect recipe for a set of timeless, classic engagement photographs!

toronto_wedding_photographer_fine_art_documentary_Hamilton_Engagement_McMaster-114.jpg

Abby & Matt: A Modern Rooftop Wedding at Toronto's Lavelle Restaurant

A Modern Toronto Rooftop Wedding with the Perfect Classic Touch 

Abby and Matt were married at Lavelle Restaurant.  Perched on top of the city, with long elegant swimming pools, and bright blue cabanas lining the deck, this new wedding venue restaurant has 360 degree views of Toronto, and you can see the CN tower from almost any angle.  The food is fantastic, the décor is so much fun to photograph, and the mixed indoor/outdoor space is perfect for summer weddings!  Abby and Matt thought the restaurant suited them perfectly on their hunt for a great wedding venue, so theirs was the first wedding ever held up on this gorgeous rooftop. I’m so excited to see what other events are hosted here in the future!  I also can’t wait for you to see some of the sunset photographs we took together from the rooftop. The sky turned a beautiful salmon colour all around, lights began to come on across the city, and the CN tower stood tall the background.  Toronto has the best rooftops for sunset photographs!

Working with an awesome new Toronto event planning team, ‘Riley and Dallas’, Abby and Matt created the perfectly stylish and fashionable Toronto urban wedding.  The trendy and modern décor of the venue (picture Miami beach meets Toronto skyline) contrasted perfectly with the more classic and elegant wedding touches they added, including classic white and green floral arrangements that spiralled up the pillars of the chuppah, and long harvest tables decorated with fluffy floral centerpieces and calligraphy cards.  They had both a modern dancefloor made of clear plexiglass covering one of the pools (awesome), and a nostalgic vintage cake topper that made it’s first appearance at their grandparents’ wedding! They truly spanned the best of both worlds designing a wedding that was so perfectly classic and modern at the same time.

The venue normally operates as a restaurant, so the food was spectacular, arriving on loaded family-style sharing platters as the sun set over the city, turning everything in the restaurant to gold.  Champagne flowed all through the evening, and Abby and Matt were the perfect hosts, visiting tables and making sure that, above all else, everyone was having a great time.

Personally, my favourite moment of the day was their first look.  I can’t wait for you to see the incredible excitement on both of their faces getting to see one another!  Their happy, wiggly, doodle puppy arrived shortly after to join the photographs, and was just as excited as they were about his own furry first look. 

The amount of individual style included in this wedding is inspiring.  Take a scroll through to see Abby’s gorgeous long gown, and the pop of red incorporated into the groomsmen’s shoes and jackets, reminiscent of something straight out of a film noire cast.  I could have spent twice as long taking photographs of their fashionable guests just to remember all the amazing outfits!

Truly though, as you scroll through this gallery you’ll be struck by only one thing, the immense happiness of Abby and Matt to be together.  From their joyful first look moment, to a beautiful Jewish ceremony under a windswept chuppah where they both couldn’t stop smiling, to the dance floor at the end of the night where they danced the night away under a gorgeous cityscape lit up all across the horizon, these two are perfectly and joyously happy. Plus, their cake cutting photographs are some of my favorite yet, they had so much fun with this iconic wedding day moment!

Shout out to the awesome vendors who worked on creating this wedding together!

Planners: Riley & Dallas
Flowers: Fuscia Designs
Table & chair rentals: Gervais Rentals
Linens: Simply Beautiful Décor
Photo booth: MiMir photo
Veil: Jeffrey Bridal by Merike
Acoustic music: Jesse Gold
DJ: BelloSound
Plexi glass pool cover flooring: EventSing

toronto-wedding-photographer-fine-art-documentary-classy-stylish-rooftop-lavelle-28.jpg

Melody & Edmond's Elegant Engagement at Queen's University, Kingston

Melody & Edmond traveled from Hong Kong to meet me in Kingston where they first met, on the campus of Queen's University.  We explored their their old stomping grounds and favorite haunts around campus, including the library where they spent hour after hour sitting and studying across from each other, before heading into Kingston.  In town we explored the cutest cobbled streets, open squares lined with gorgeous parliament buildings and restaurants, and visited Melody's favorite buildings (I was amazed by how European Kingston can feel!).  We walked past the go-to restaurants of their university days and reminisced, before finishing our shoot together at the waterfront on Lake Ontario.  I love taking a walk down memory lane together with my clients during their engagement sessions, and it was an added treat to be guided around Kingston together with these two!

I can't wait for you to scroll through and see how sweet these two are together, and I guarantee you're going to fall in love with each of Melody's stunning custom dresses.  She even had some of her talented friends come along to do her hair, makeup, and floral crown during the shoot!