Alicja & Grant Get Married - A Downtown Toronto Berkeley Wedding

Alicja and Grant were high school sweethearts.  Full stop.  Let’s bask in the cuteness already.  Truly though, these two are so freeking sweet, absolutely stunning together, and have the best taste in food and desserts.  I knew we would be perfect working together when they wanted to have our first meeting at Ricarda’s, if you don’t know yet, good food steals my heart and seals the deal.  Next up, for their engagement session, they continued with the theme of amazing food in downtown Toronto, and planned to visit the St Laurence market for a picnic and some great coffee.  Finally, it came out at their wedding that the dream is to open a specialty donut shop together in Toronto one day.  Guys, I’ll be the first one there when you do it!

Aside from the food though, Alicja and Grant envisioned a beautiful, summery, outdoor wedding at the Berkley Fieldhouse in downtown Toronto, and pulled it off beautifully despite temperatures in the city hitting record highs that day.  They got ready at The Grand Hotel, and while Alicja put the finishing touches on her blush coloured bridal look (you’re going to fall in LOVE with her dress) the guys headed up to the rooftop for their first look overlooking the Toronto skyline.  I have to pause here and send a major shout out to the guys, who ended up getting trapped on the roof in the sweltering heat, because the elevator broke down as we headed up to their first look.  By the time we made it to the rooftop, the groom and groomsmen had been boiling up there for way too long, but were still game to pose for some wedding party photographs with smiles on their faces.  You.guys.rock.

The rest of the day was filled with so many happy tears, chilled Moscow mules to temper the heat, a live band entertaining the guests, and a sweet ukulele performance by the maid of honour that melted all of us into puddles of emotion.  The sunset light streamed in though the big windows of the Berkley Fieldhouse while guests happily enjoyed their air conditioned dinner, and the evening finished by finally heading back outside for their first dances after the temperatures had cooled down. 

Alicja and Grant, you two are so endlessly sweet together, have the best taste in food, and are some of the most relaxed, easygoing, and happy people I have had the joy of working with.  Thank you for being so wonderful.

Xo

-c

Vendors:

Planning: Claudia Cole Events
Officiant: Aleksandar Rajak
Ceremony & Reception Venue: Berkeley Field House
Hair & Makeup: The Beauty Movement
DJ: Imperial Sound DJ Service
Ceremony and Reception Entertainment: Intentions Band
Décor: Hello Midge
Florals : Wild North
Guest Favours: Delysees

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

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3 Tips to Include your Dog in your Wedding Photographs

I clearly come across as a massive dog-lover on social media (and rightly so!), because so many amazing couples I get to photograph ask me about how we can somehow include their dogs in either their wedding or engagement photographs.  It’s always easy to include dogs in engagement photographs, whether it’s at home or on a hike, we usually end up planning an activity that’s dog friendly and perfect for taking photographs with the whole family.  It takes a bit more planning to include your pup in the wedding day photographs, but with the right preparation it’s easy to make sure everyone is included and no dresses get ripped in the process!

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1.     Hire or appoint a dog handler
It’s key that your dog can be present and included in the wedding photographs without either of you having to worry about keeping them calm and under control.  You’ll have enough to carry with bouquets or drinks in hand, not to mention wearing heels and tight suits, making it difficult to manage your potentially very excited and very distracted pup! 

If you have a dog walker, I often find the best option is to hire them in advance to help make sure your wedding clothes don’t get ripped or dirty, keep your pup from running in excited circles, and make sure they’re perfectly behaved with treats held behind the camera in all the photographs.  Your dog walker can either spend the day with you if you want your dog to be part of the whole event, or can arrange for your dog to be brought to the venue for photographs and returned home when we’re finished.

If you don’t have a dog walker, consider hiring a handler for the day, or appointing a family member or friend who loves your pup and will be able to do a good job of keeping them calmly in check for the photographs.

2.     Set realistic expectations
It isn’t difficult to create great wedding photographs with your dog included, but make sure you aren’t planning anything too extravagant and outside of their usual wheelhouse.  Try not to ask them to do anything new for the photographs such as being picked up, or walking on a busy street without a lead.  Be patient if they’re a little overexcited and not listening like a champ immediately.  Most importantly, make sure to schedule plenty of extra time to create these photographs, it’s helpful to give everyone a chance to slow down and get in the swing of things together!

3.     Make sure your dog has a good day
Help your pup be successful in front of the camera by making sure they get well exercised in the morning, and have plenty of treats and water on hand.  If you’re planning on having your dog spend the whole day with you, make sure they always have someone with them (dogs tied up at the side tend to howl pitifully during ceremonies), and consider whether they’ll do well with situations that are crowded, loud, quiet, and anything in between!  If you’re not sure, you can always get your dog walker to bring the pup home later in the day so you can dance the night away without worrying,

Finally, and I’m sure this goes without saying, don’t surprise your photographer with this the day before the wedding!  If you think you might want to include your dog in the wedding photographs, try to make sure you find a photographer who likes dogs, and will be relaxed and comfortable with this added element of excitement in the photographs.  When you plan it out properly, there’s no reason why you can’t have wedding photographs with your whole family, furry members included!

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Vivian & Curtis' Modern and Minimalist Wedding

Vivian is one of the most creative brides I've had the pleasure of working with.  Together they crafted a gorgeous wedding in Toronto full of modern and minimalist accents, most of which were DIY projects they designed and undertook together. 

They wedding was centered around a white, blue, and gold colour palette.  Gorgeous pops of red and gold worked their way into the wedding day for their family tea ceremony, when both bride and groom wore beautiful traditional attire, and Vivian's closest family members decorated her with gorgeous gold bangles and earrings. 

The couple was married in a beautiful church ceremony in a soaring white room with large windows spilling light across the whole congregation.  Their creativity really shone through during the reception, as guests enjoyed a cocktail hour under beautiful hanging geometric floral designs, and sat at tables decorated with perfectly styled minimalist touches.

Enjoy.
xo
-c

4 Lighting Tips For the Best Wedding Photographs

Despite the heavy cameras and gear photographers carry, the most important tool we have to create stunning photographs of your wedding day is light.  Earlier in the day this means the natural light, both outside and streaming in through windows; in the evening this means the ambience created using string lights and/or candles. 

Personally, in pursuit of the best photographs, when shooting indoors I spend much of a wedding day turning out overhead pot lights, and when shooting outside spend much of my time hopping between patches of light and shadow.  I always appreciate the opportunity of planning together ahead of time to consider the available light throughout your wedding day.  This way we can be sure to capture the best photographs throughout the entire day, rather than just the fabled ‘golden hour’ at sunset.

Lighting for the Best Getting Ready Photographs

The getting-ready portion of the day is often when I have the opportunity to capture some of the most meaningful and candid photographs of you with your family and closest friends.  Being able to take advantage of good lighting can elevate these photographs from being simply meaningful portraits to visually stunning and beautiful memories that will be a joy to see for years and decades to come. 

I always urge my clients to think about the light in the rooms where they will be having their makeup done, getting dressed, reading letters or rehearsing vows, and spending time with those closest to them.   Brides and grooms should choose the brightest possible rooms with lots of natural window light coming in, and light coloured walls or furniture.  Spaces with minimal clutter also appear brighter by removing dark objects (aka ‘black holes’) from the background.  For example keeping bags and suitcases in another room and taking a moment to clean up surfaces like desk & counter tops will minimize dark coloured clutter in the photographs. 

Consider asking your hair and makeup artists to set up as close to a window or natural light source as possible.   I always try to turn out artificial lights when I arrive, as they have a different color spectrum than natural daylight, so, to repeat,  try to choose rooms that are well lit even when all the lights turned off.

Lighting for the Best Ceremony Photographs

Ceremony photographs can take place either outdoors or indoors, and with the right lighting both can make for beautiful photographs of this important part of your wedding day. 

If your ceremony is outdoors, consider the time of day and location.  Time of day affects how high the sun is in the sky, with the general rule being that direct overhead light appears ‘harsh’, and doesn’t make for the most flattering photographs.  If your ceremony is at a time of day when the sun is high, think about choosing a location that will be shaded during that time.  Look for shady spots created by trees, buildings, porches, gazebos, rocks, anything goes.  If the sun won’t be directly overhead for your ceremony, try to organize your ceremony setting so that the light is somewhere behind you, and so that hard light isn’t falling onto one of you and not the other. 

If your ceremony is going to be indoors, try to choose a room that has plenty of natural light available.  Plan to turn off light sources that cast hard shadows on your face, such as overhead pot lights and spot lights.  Although being close to a window is ideal, the way that most indoor ceremony locations are set up means that chances are you’re going to be back-lit.  This is fine for most photographs, but try to make sure there’s enough space between you, the wedding party, and the window that your photographer can get in between and capture at least a few photographs from the side where the light from the window will be falling directly onto or across your faces. 

Finally, ask your guests to refrain from flash photography during the ceremony.  Flashes from iPhones and other cameras can massively overexpose a photograph (and often destroy it) if they go off at the same time your photographer is taking a shot of a fleeting moment that won’t happen again. 

Lighting for the Best Portrait Photographs

I often recommend splitting portrait photographs up into three short sections throughout the day.  This allows for the greatest variety of locations and light, avoids the potential problem of losing your one photo session if things start running late, and allows your photographer to capture the different emotions that occur over the course of an entire wedding day. Try to set aside three separate times for portraits together: right after your first look, directly following your ceremony, and while the sun is going down (which often means sneaking out of your reception for some peace and quiet!).

The lighting considerations at different times of the day will vary considerably, so give your photographer some leeway to move around and choose the right location.  If you’re taking photographs indoors, choose locations with lots of natural light coming in.  If you’re taking photographs outdoors when the sun is directly overhead, try to find locations with some kind of shade.  Finally, if you’re shooting during golden hour or twilight, try to find a more open location where you can see the light.  For example, waterfront, rooftops, and open fields are some of my favorite locations at this time of day. 

Lighting for the Best Reception Photographs

The reception is when the bulk of your wedding photographs will be taken; so don’t forget to think about how you can light it to create the best ambiance in your photographs! 

There are multiple ways to light your reception, but my personal favorites are candles and strings of Edison lights.  If you choose to light your reception this way, adding enough candles to the tables and plenty of Edison lights overhead will allow me to use only the soft light cast by these sources to create beautiful, soft, and romantic looking photographs without a flash.  If you haven’t guessed yet, pot lights are my enemy as a photographer.  Please please please turn them off, they often aren't a good source of ambient light, and create unflattering shadow lines on faces such as dark under eyes and nose-shadow-moustaches.

For speeches and presentations, talk to your venue and DJ/band to make sure there aren’t any oddly colored spotlights directed at the subject, or flashing dance lights moving over the podium.  These will create a weird colour tone, or throw off the exposure of the camera as the subject changes quickly from light to dark as lights flash over them.

Finally, lighting for your dance!  I often use a flash during this portion of the evening to freeze motion, so your external lighting can be creative!  DJ lights are fun and colorful, and background or overhead lighting like more string lights make for fun lines of light blurring through the photograph.  It’s hard to go wrong with dance lighting!

These are what I personally find the best options to be for lighting over the course of a wedding day.  It’s worthwhile taking some time to talk to your individual photographer about how to light your own wedding based on the style of photography you’ve chosen.  No matter what the style, taking the time to talk to your photographer about light will help them do the best job creating wedding photographs you both love. 

Stefanie & Dave's Colourful Backyard Wedding

Stefanie & Dave created a colorful and creative backyard wedding behind their parents house, overlooking a lake on a gorgeous summer day.  The weather was endlessly sunny and clear from dawn until dusk, and the entire wedding took place outdoors, moving under an open tent for dinner, and back onto the lawn for their lively dance under string lights and stars.  

Stefanie is an artist and entrepreneur at heart.  With a budding floral business, and hand dyeing fabrics with natural dyes, she created the most spectacular, wild and colorful bridal bouquet.  Her dress was a beautiful flow-y number from Blush by Hayley Paige, and she wore a comfortable and stylish pair of brown leather ankle boots.  It was an outfit that allowed the bride to be herself, dance in the grass until the bottom of her dress had changed color, and climb all over the family sailboat to get her twinkle lights working.  I loved the free spirit and creativity of this wedding!

The part of the evening that topped everything off however was when the groom's family hired a surprise mariachi band.  The band approached the wedding by boat, and surprised the bride and groom out on their dock, playing their first set across the water before kicking up one of the best wedding dance parties I've seen in a long time.  Complete with the fathers of the bride and groom dancing together, and a lively game of limbo played with a canoe paddle that almost everyone at the wedding, the bride and groom included, took part in. 

What I loved about this wedding is how perfectly 'them' it was.  Every part of the day was relaxed, easygoing, and creative.  Their color and joy was contagious to all the guests present, families came together beautifully in happiness, and everyone sported retro white wayfarer sunglasses during the sunny ceremony.  Take a look through for a wedding that blended different families, cultures, and styles into a beautiful and joyous mix that will bring a smile to your face.

Creative Wedding Photography: Spring Bridal Inspiration

I've been holding off on posting this beautiful shoot we created last year until it was beginning to feel like spring again around here.  It may be only the beginning of March, but the warm weather we had these last few weeks have me thinking about leaves budding, orchards blooming, and finally being able to go outside in just a light jacket again.  It was definitely feeling like time to post photographs from this spring inspired bridal shoot!

I worked on this shoot last year with truly an incredible team of Vendors from around Collingwood, Creemore, and Toronto.  We were inspired by the beautiful awakening of spring in our area, making us think about what a gorgeous time of year it would be for weddings.  The temperatures may be cooler still, but the sun is warm, blossoms and leaves are budding, and it's a time when people feel like waking up, stretching, and celebrating. 

The shoot started with a casual morning bridal look of softly falling hair and a simple pale pink slip.  She stretches, drinks coffee, and reads letters quietly; enjoying the warm morning sun on her skin in a minimal setting of budding spring branches.  The intention was to inspire a relaxed wedding day morning, free from chaos and stress, and full of intention, nourishment, and a calm happiness.

Next we moved on to an English countryside inspired bridal look with a modern twist in the bride's shirt and jewellery to contrast the flowing skirt and herringbone jacket.  Inspired by the move towards less traditional bridal attire and the stylish trend of two piece bridal dresses, we created a look using a flowing wrap around linen skirt in a dove grey colour.  Pairing the skirt with a structured modern top with a high collar, bell sleeves, and a stunning sheer fabric lent a more modern bridal flair to the ensemble.  Finishing the look off with simple flats and a boyfriend herringbone jacket created a spring feeling of taking a walk through the countryside, and added a classic style to the look while keeping the bride warm.  My favorite details of the style are the stunning bouquet in spring pastel tones she carries, and the classic look of her makeup and low chignon bun. 

Creative Team:
Photography: Corynn Fowler Photography
Florals: The Cut Flower Company
Hair: The Parlour by Stephanie
Makeup: Makeup by Lee
Ceramics: Jill Usher
Calligraphy: Via Calligraphy
Model: Clare McConnell
Jewellery: The Diamond Studio, White Feather Designs, The Georgian Artisan Shop
Venue: The Cut Flower Company
Blouse: Furbelows
Cake: The Cheese Gallery
Props: The Little Wee Prop Shop