Rebecca & John: A Sunrise Session in Trinity Bellwoods

If you don’t already know, couples who agree to sunrise engagement sessions with me capture my heart right from the get go.  I’m a hopelessly early riser, and getting up to start the day with the sunrise is one of my favourite things.  When couples want to join me, get a cup of coffee, and do something fun to start the day as well, I know that I’ve found my people!

            Rebecca and John were happy to meet me in Toronto’s Trinity Bellwoods park as the sun was coming up, and made the usual sunrise session even better by bringing along their classic tandem bicycle as something fun to do during their session. Yes, read that again, their.tandem.bicycle.

            We started with a warm cup of coffee from White Squirrel Coffee to wake ourselves up and warm up a bit as the sun rose higher, then ventured into the park with their bicycle to cruise the many paths, enjoy the sun, and generally have a fantastic time riding their bike around and waving and honking the horn at curious onlookers.  Rebecca and John are one of those awesome couples who are game for anything, love getting out and about in the city together, and are always up for some fun.  As craft beer connoisseurs, lovers of the Toronto skyline, and tandem bike owners, I knew from our first meeting together at Soho House that we would be a great fit.

            I could go on and on about them, but am way too excited for you to take a scroll through and see some of the fun we had shooting with their tandem bike.  I will be photographing their wedding later this summer at a craft brewery, and cannot wait to experience this amazing day with them and share it with you!

xo
-c

Emily & Kaegan: An Intimate Wedding in Thornbury

You may remember photographs from Emily and Kaegan’s engagement session last year when I met them in New York for an early morning engagement shoot around their East Village neighborhood.  Fast forward a few months and I was driving back country dirt roads to meet them at an estate up in the hills of Thornbury for their intimate fall farm wedding. 

            It was one of those gorgeous days where dark purple storm clouds threatened the hills, but continually rolled through to reveal patches of sunlight.  It was warm enough for an outdoor ceremony and cocktail hour, while the reception moved into a beautifully rebuild barn complete with harvest tables, Turkish rugs, twinkle lights, and various chandeliers hanging from the ceiling.  Just a barn with chandeliers, casual. 

            Emily met Kaegan and I at the farm, ready for their first look in one of my favourite gowns ever.  Kaegan described her later as an 80’s supermodel, and it’s completely true, she has absolutely stunning style, combined with Kaegan’s 1920’s French actor aesthetic you could say I was excited to photograph them again!

            My favourite moment of the day arrived when it was time to head outside for their sunset photographs.  We set off into a wheat field to shoot for a few minutes when Emily turned to me and said ‘want to go on an adventure?!?’ heck yes, yes I do, always.  She quickly slipped out of her pink suede shoes, handed them to Kaegan, and set off barefoot through the field towards the forest.  We trudged into the forest together, until finally arriving at large concrete cube sunk into the ravine.  Emily explained that there were a number of these hidden around the property, the result of one of Kaegan’s final architecture school projects where he mixed escarpment rock into cement, poured giant blocks of concrete, then returned them to the land they came from.  She mentioned this might be a meaningful wedding photograph, I.was.stoked.  By far the best part was when we trekked back out of the woods at dusk and Emily discovered that her dress was absolutely full of burrs.  As we started carefully picking them off she made sure we had plenty of photographs of the occasion, saying that this represented them more than anything.

            Future brides and grooms, if you ever want to ask me ‘want to go on an adventure?’ on your wedding day, please know that my answer is always, always, heck.yes.

            Scroll through for some photographs of the most awesome couple, a dog who steals the show, the cutest flower girls, a forest adventure in a wedding dress, and the coziest barn wedding in the fall I’ve ever attended.  I’m going to be in love with these photos of these two for a longggg time.

 Vendors:
Caterer: Bruce Wine Bar
Florals: Ashley Elaine Florals
Rentals: Four Seasons rentals
Dress: BHLDN
Bridesmaids:  H&M

xo
-c

Annie & Colin's Toronto Waterfront Wedding at The Henley Room

Annie and Colin just make my heart happy.  They hosted a wedding with fabulous unique and retro flair, at a gorgeous waterfront venue in Toronto, that was absolutely jam packed with as much good music, food, and dancing to Abba as anyone could possibly ask for.  For anyone who knows me personally, you’ll understand how much I adore these guys already.

            Annie wore one of my favourite dresses of all time, designed by the talented Gabby of Truvelle Bridal, a stunning bridal design line out of Vancouver.  She paired it with some seriously shit kicker heels, a romantic up do, and a smile that truly lit the room.  Colin is a musician, by trade and talent, so I was already pumped to see what they described as the ‘cabaret’ that would be taking place during their cocktail hour, hosted by a number of their musically talented guests from Colin’s various performances and choirs.  Guys, if you’re ever invited to a wedding with a ‘cabaret’ go.  Do it.

            By far the most memorable moment however took place during their waterfront ceremony on the docks of The Henley Room.  Colin’s choir was arranged to sing a number of pieces throughout the ceremony, but he surprised Annie shortly after saying their vows by walking over to the choir, who proceeded to sing backup for him as he serenaded her with a song about growing old together.  I’ve never seen an entire audience start to cry before at a wedding, I was absolutely sobbing behind my camera, and Annie, true to form, stood smiling as absolutely massively as her face would allow, enjoying the heck out of the entire experience.  Have I mentioned that I adore these two?

            The rest of the evening passed in a beautiful, twinkle lit reception of good food, a gorgeous cake made by one of Annie’s talented friends, a shoe game played by the bride and groom that had the room in stitches, and a night of dancing the time away to Abba.  If you already love Annie and Colin as much as I do, make sure you checkout their Beaches engagement session from earlier this year, and take a page from Annie’s book if you want to plan your wedding day to really feel like ‘you’!

Vendors:
Floral: Quince Flowers
Dress: Sash and Bustle , Truvelle
Venue: The Henley Room, Argonauts Rowing Club
Hair: McManus and Campbell

Danielle & Anthony: Record Shops, Coffee, and Tacos, a Collingwood Engagement

I get to photograph Danielle & Anthony’s wedding just outside of Toronto, in Kleinburg in just a few weeks, so I thought it was a fitting time to share photos from the amazing engagement session we shot together a year ago! These two have spent so much time together at their family cottage up around Collingwood that they wanted to plan an engagement session exploring the area and enjoying some of their favourite things together. 

            These two knocked their engagement session out of the park, and planned the perfect combination of activities to shake things up, add variety, and really enjoy their time together.  I always recommend that people plan engagement sessions like their ideal date day together (with me tagging along as third wheel), and let me tell you, these two have amazing date days together!

            We started out meeting at Mad Dog coffee in Collingwood, a coffee shop/old time rock and roll record and paraphernalia shop.  We sipped dark coffee while browsing their favourite records, admired old Pink Floyd posters that cover the walls, and chatted music shows.  Next up was lattes in the sun at one of Collingwood’s best coffee shops, the Espresso Post, followed by a delicious dinner of tacos and nachos at the most fun, stylish, and trendy spot in town, Bent Taco. 

            To finish up, as the sun was getting low in the sky we drove over the Sunset Point, a beautiful shale beach with crystal clear water where they enjoyed exploring the shore line together, and dipping their toes in the cool Georgian Bay water.  Whether you’re taking engagement photographs or not, I recommend your next trip to Collingwood follow the same plan as these two, like I said, they nailed it.  

Creating Your Perfect Wedding Day Photo Timeline

The number one question I get asked is ‘how much time do we need for our photographs’.  My answer to this is often quite varied, depending on what type of coverage individual couples are looking for, but I thought I would outline a general guideline for planning time for photographs into your wedding day.

            The photographer in me instantly says, ‘the more time for photos the better!’, BUT the WEDDING photographer in me says that we want to plan enough time for your photographs, while making sure that it still feels like the photographs are about your wedding day, rather than your wedding day being about the photographs.  Consider the guidelines below for each series of photographs you would like to have taken, and feel free to get in touch to talk about creating your timeline together if you’re unsure!

Getting Ready Photographs

These are some of my favourite photographs of the day, and make for some amazing candid images of your family and friends spending time together.  Even though I often work with a second shooter, I like getting to stop in with the guys and the girls in the morning if possible.  I usually spend about 30 minutes with the guys, then head to the girls location for about 1 to 1.5 hours.  30 minutes to an hour of candid and ‘makeup’ shots is plenty, and I usually find 15-20 minutes to put on your dress and finishing touches is enough.  I love getting to spend a quiet 10 minutes after you’re finished getting dressed to capture a few really beautiful and fresh bridal portraits before the day truly begins.  Make sure to plan enough time to get packed up and into the Uber after this, while I hop in the car and head to our next destination early.

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First Look Photographs

While this is called the ‘first look’, this is actually when we get the bulk of the photographs done for the day.  Plan approximately 1.5-2 hours for this depending on what photographs we will be taking.  Plan around 10 minutes for your first look, 30 minutes for bride and groom portraits together, 30 minutes for wedding party photographs, and 30 minutes for immediate family photographs.  If possible, 2 hours is ideal for this, as it gives us some extra buffer time if anyone is late, and allows everyone a bit of room to have more fun instead of having to run your photographs like a drill sergeant.  Try to plan in an extra 20-30 minutes after these photographs to take a rest before your ceremony.  This can be some quiet time, a little champagne celebration, or simply time to eat a sandwich and drink some water.

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Post-Ceremony Photographs

Immediately following your ceremony I will grab you for 5 minutes to take a few quick ‘just married’ photos, because at this point you’re going to be feeling on top of the world, and we want to document that!  During this time it’s best to have a designated family member making sure that your extended family is all gathering in a set location, so that we can dive right in to taking photographs with your grandparents, cousins, uncles etc.  Try to schedule about 30 minutes for these extended family photographs (depending on how many shots you would like to have).  I can usually move through them pretty fast with an organized list and roll call. 

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Cocktail Hour Candid Photographs

If we’ve finished most of our photographs early, this means that you’ll have time to head to your cocktail hour!  Yay!  I use this time to capture candid photographs of you, your guests, and the many, many, many hugs that are shared!  I often disappear for a few minutes to get some photos of the reception décor before guests enter.  I find that spending around 30 minutes at the cocktail hours after family photographs is enough to capture some beautiful candid moments. 

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Sunset Photographs

If you want to have a variety of beautiful photographs with your partner on your wedding day, sunset photographs are a must!  I try to convince everyone to schedule time for sunset photos into their day, no matter what.  The light at this time of day is beautiful for portraits, it’s a lovely quiet time to slip off together for a few minutes of privacy, and it creates one more ‘buffer’ time into the schedule in case things ran later than expected and we haven’t captured enough photographs of the two of you together yet.  I recommend scheduling in at least 10-15 minutes for these, and the beautiful photographs we can create if we have a relaxed 20 minutes to half an hour to work with will blow you away!

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Reception Photographs

It’s always important to make sure I’m there late enough to capture some of the fun stuff too!  Once the band kicks in and your guests hit the dance floor, we have an opportunity to capture a few more great candid moments to end the night.  I find that usually about a half hour of dance floor coverage is enough, but schedule in an extra half hour to make sure that we have enough time to capture the party if it doesn’t start on time (which, chances are, it won’t).  If you’re wondering what time we should finish photography coverage, there’s definitely a point about an hour or so into the party when the bar has been open for long enough that I recommend switching to photo booths and iPhones to capture the remainder of the evening.  People have much more fun with a photo booth anyways! 

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The Grand Exit

Sometimes people have a grand exit planned that they want to have photographed, but don’t necessarily want to hire me to stay until 1 am.  If this is the case, there’s absolutely no problem with having some fun and having your ‘exit’ ahead of time.  Sparkler photographs don’t have to happen right as you’re leaving, and photographs getting into your getaway car can happen at any time in the evening.  My favourite ‘grand exit’ moment happened when the party was going much later than expected, and the couple wanted their grandmother to feel that she could go to bed, so they took off in their getaway car, and drove around the traffic circle a few times while their grandmother was escorted upstairs to bed.  They came back to join the party, we captured fantastic ‘get away’ photographs, and family members could go to sleep not feeling like they were missing anything.  It was a win-win plan!

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I value working closely with every couple I get to photograph, to make sure that we create a photography coverage plan that is uniquely suited to their wedding day, and the photographs they value most.  While this is intended to serve as a guideline, I’m always happy to sit down for coffee or a phone call to over your individual timeline in more detail, to make sure we create the perfect balance for your wedding day!

 

Kate & Brendan's Colourful Kleinburg Wedding at The Doctor's House

I met Kate at the Wedding Co Show last winter, and we hit it off right away talking about camping and our favourite outdoor adventure locations.  I immediately knew I wanted to work with her, and was so excited when she got in touch to talk about photographing her wedding later that year!

            Kate and Brendan are the most quintessentially classic, relaxed, outdoorsy, Canadian cottager couple.  They wanted nothing more than to enjoy their day, from getting ready at home with their friends and family dogs, to reciting a funny poem as part of their vows, to hiring The Big Smoke Brass band to make an appearance at their reception and get a dance party going around some fantastic music other than ‘Ra Ra Rasputin’.  They hosted their wedding at The Doctors house in picturesque Kleinburg, with their ceremony in the cutest little chapel, and their reception in the most gorgeously lit room with wide paned windows looking out over the property.

            Kate smiled and laughed her way through the whole day, and had their guests in stitches with her relaxed and happy humour throughout their ceremony.  Brendan couldn’t take his eyes off her, and is truly one of the sweetest, happiest, and most comfortable grooms I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with.  The weather was gorgeous, the food was amazing (The Doctors House always knocks meals out of the park), and I was sad to leave what was obviously going to be a fantastic party at the end of the night. 

Vendors:
Venue: The Doctor’s House
Flowers: Rosehill Blooms
Makeup: Shade Makeup
Hair: Krystina Zita
DJ: DJ TimFamous
Band: Big Smoke Brass Band

xo
-c

Sophia & Terrence: A Summer Engagement Session on the Toronto Islands

Sophia and Terrence met at camp when they were teenagers, and have carried on the most beautiful long distance relationship between two different countries ever since. You can’t help but fall in love with these two when you meet them in person and see them interact!  I met them at the Jack Layton Ferry Terminals at the Toronto Harbourfront to fit in an engagement session while Sophia was visiting in Toronto.  We hopped on the ferry together and spent the afternoon exploring the Toronto islands, sipping coffee, walking with the sand between our toes, and enjoying some ice cream before Sophia boarded her plane back to Chicago.

            I had so much fun shooting with these two, and they have way too much fun hanging out together.  I can’t wait to share more photographs from their winter wedding in downtown Toronto right before Christmas last year!

xo
-c

Megan & Kyle's Life and Love Affirming Wedding at a Historic Mansion

Megan and Kyle are from Calgary, you might remember photographs from their Rocky Mountain engagement session last winter, but decided that they wanted to host an intimate destination wedding somewhere beautiful, historic, and cozy.  They settled on Perth, just outside of Ottawa.  I had never been there before, but quickly understood why Megan’s taste had settled here.  The old streets are lined with beautiful historic stone buildings, bed and breakfasts in manor houses sit in every neighborhood, and the quiet pace of the downtown streets lulls you into the calm you imagine of a small town from 50 years ago.  Perth is a hopelessly romantic city, and the perfect destination for the blend of Megan and Kyle’s east and west coast lives to meet and celebrate their love.

            They chose to rent a historic bed and breakfast to host their wedding day, with light flowing in through beautiful old gabled windows, a drawing room that looks like a classic old cocktail parlor, and a small dinner reception in a dining room complete with a fireplace, bay windows, and a grandfather clock on the mantle. 

            I could talk at you endlessly about their beautiful style, how Megan is so relaxed and talented that she did her own hair and makeup, and ordered her dress off the internet and found that it fit like a dream.  Or the gorgeous jewel tones of the florals she chose and the stylish charcoal grey suit that Kyle sported, but really the most important part of this beautiful wedding was the emotion.  Over all the details, I was struck over and over by how strong these two are together, how they accept and love each other no matter what, and how excited they were simply to be together, getting married in front of the handful of people closest to their hearts.

            This is one of those weddings that energized me in the middle of a busy wedding season, and reminded me of why I love this beautiful and heart filled job so much.  By the time I put away my cameras in the evening, Megan’s dad had pulled out his guitar in true east coaster fashion, and was singing to the bride and groom as they stood together in the doorway with their nephews clinging to their knees.  Saying it was hard to leave that night is an understatement, and I have been looking forward to sharing photographs from this beautiful day ever since.

Vendors:
Venue: Perth Manor Boutique Hotel
Flowers: Apropos
Wedding Cakes: Sunflower Bakery
Copper Arch: Willowbend Workshop
Silk Ribbon: Stella Wolfe
Veil: Everthine Boutique

xo
-c

Kendra & Jeff: A Waterfront Wedding at The J.W. Marriott Rosseau, Muskoka

Kendra and Jeff set out to plan a wedding day that would first and foremost be a tonne of fun!  Living in California, they managed to plan a destination wedding close to their families at the J.W. Marriott Rosseau Resort in Muskoka, one of my favourite wedding destinations.  It’s the perfect location for an active, outdoorsy, and relaxed couple to really enjoy their wedding day.   From the first skype call we had together when I learned that Jeff had proposed on top of a mountain while on a ski trip, down to delivering their final gallery of photographs, I knew that Kendra and Jeff were my kind of couple.  When I hit send on their final gallery they immediately emailed me back saying, ‘we’re on our way out for a backcountry camping trip this week, but are looking forward to looking at them when we’re back!’.  Too. Perfect.

            They had the most beautiful, sunny, August summer day, with warm weather, a clear view over Lake Rosseau from their ceremony location, the most picturesque garden party cocktail hour, and glowing sunset photographs down on the dock to end the evening. 

            Along with the talented Holly from ‘Holly Matrimony’, they planned gorgeous details like a polaroid canoe for their guests to capture memories and decorate, a ceremony arch and view that was absolutely jaw dropping, and invitations with soft watercolour scenes from Muskoka that suited them perfectly.  Kendra chose an elegant off the shoulder lace gown, and her bridesmaids looked stunning in mismatched blush toned dresses, while the guys rocked glacier goggles from their bachelor adventure trip during our portraits. 

            As always though, the treasured moments of any wedding day are the little interactions and meaningful words and gestures that are scattered through out the day.  Like their family members cheering them on in the background of their first look, Kendra laughing her way through the entire day, their close friend presiding over the ceremony and reading a passage from the Alchemist, and the massive amounts of excitement in their expressions as their signed their marriage license and skipped back up the aisle between falling flower petals.  Kendra and Jeff’s wedding day was filled with these little moments, and I can’t wait for you to scroll through and see them all!

Vendors:
Planning: Holly Matrimony
DJ: Total Entertainment
Officiant: Humanist Officiants, Julie Rose
Ceremony + Cocktail Hour Musician: Classic String Quartet
Videographer:  Dave Tebutt Videography
Florist: Seasons in the Country
Signage:  Cabin Calligraphy
Décor:  Pure Elegance
Stationery: Paper and Poste
Hair Stylist:  Allison Kam
Make-up Artist:  Robert Weir Beauty