Jess & Harry's Colombian Wedding in Downtown Toronto

Jess and Harry created a beautiful, colourful Colombian themed wedding at a downtown Toronto restaurant.  The Pilot in Toronto's Hazelton Lanes is a family connected business that played a key role in their lives together, and was a clear choice to host their lively wedding celebration! 

I absolutely love small restaurant weddings, and this was no exception.  Gorgeous colourful floral installations, beautiful summery foods, and guests in all manner of colourful dress filled the WWII era aeronautical themed restaurant.  My favorite part of the wedding by far though was the reception, when Jess's side of the family brought their Colombian heritage into the day and began the 'hora loca' to kick off the celebrations.  Guests donned masks, hats, glasses, and just about anything sparkly, bright, feathered, and flowy to dance the night away.  I don't usually cite the reception as my favorite photographs of the day, but this one was such a blast to photograph!

Meghan & Curtis' Relaxed Collingwood Waterfront Wedding

Meghan and Curtis are dedicated cottagers, and were married on the best cottage weekend of the year last summer on the Georgian Bay waterfront at Thornbury’s Lora Bay. 

At our first shoot together, they described themselves as active surfers, skiers, and general outdoor enthusiasts, they were about to move from Toronto to Collingwood together to step into the active outdoor lifestyle the area allows, and I knew we would have a great time working together immediately!  They were looking for very relaxed, candid shots of their wedding day, with a focus on time spent with all their guests who they valued immensely, and their wonderful family who were all present for the day. 

It was evident from the moment I met the bridesmaids and groomsmen in the morning that it was going to be a fun day, and I would have an easy job photographing everybody having a great time.  Meghan and Curtis were the perfect relaxed bride and groom, making sure their loved ones were appreciated all day, ensuring they showed everyone the best time possible, and valuing every moment they got to spend with family and friends from all over the world.  They are a true reminder of what a wedding day can be all about, and I was lucky to spend the day photographing the genuine joy and love they had overflowing for everyone present.

Take a look through the photographs below for the sweetest canine groomsman in a bow tie, a gorgeous ceremony backdrop overlooking Georgian Bay, and a bride and groom thoroughly enjoying and living every minute of their wedding day together.

Xo
- c

Vendors:
Venue: Lora Bay
Makeup: Makeup By Lee
Hair: The Parlour by Stephanie
Florals: Ashley Elaine Florals
 

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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A Romantic Winter Wedding in Downtown Toronto

I was lucky to spend a short time photographing Rachel and Jens' civil ceremony with some of their close family members at the Toronto City Hall in March.  Their ceremony was filled with emotion, love, and celebration, followed by the most fun set of Facetime calls from family members who were not able to make it to Toronto for the day. 

After the ceremony we had a few minutes to take some wedding photographs together in Nathan Phillips Square as the snow started to fall softly.  Toronto at dusk is one of the most gorgeous locations for urban wedding photographs.  The lights in all the surrounding buildings come on, the streets begin to clear out, and the square with it's Iconic 'Toronto' sign is a perfect location to see some of the beautiful architecture of downtown Toronto in the background.  The whole scene lent a perfect air of celebration to send the couple off hand in hand for the rest of their evening at a downtown dinner party. 

How to Create a Rain Plan for your Wedding Day

The question of ‘what do we do if it rains?’ is always important when planning an outdoor summer wedding.   Many couples make backup plans for their ceremony to move indoors, or the reception and dance floor to be under a tent, but don’t quite get around to creating a fail-safe photography plan in case of rain.  Light is the most important tool for your photographer to create beautiful images, so it’s important to consider your options in advance to make sure the backup rain option isn’t the windowless bridal suite in the basement, or spare room in the event hall with overhead pot lights that can’t be turned off.  If you’re at all unsure, make time to chat with your photographer.  Ask about what they need to create the photographs you’re looking for, and maybe arrange a time to go look at the space together or send them photographs of different areas available to you. 

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Look at The Available Indoor Space

Most venues have indoor space available to use for photographs.  It’s important to take a look at these spaces in advance however to make sure they have enough light for the photographer to work with, are big enough to fit the largest family photo you want captured, and have enough ‘clean’ floor and wall space available for your photographer to work with.

It’s also important to consider what else the indoor spaces will be used for in the event of a rainy day.  Make sure the spaces you’re considering won’t be used for the cocktail hour, ceremony, or reception, as it’s hard to take photographs surrounded by guests, chairs, or venue staff setting up for dinner.

Look at Other Indoor or Covered Space at Your Venue

If you’ve rented a large venue, there may be other spaces available on the property that will work for photographs if it’s raining.  If it’s just lightly raining, a section of trees with thick foliage will do the trick, or look for other buildings, covered porches, overhanging roofs, barns, greenhouses etc.  Sometime the best photographs come out of a rainy day when you have to shoot in locations that aren’t ‘typical’ for your venue.  Just make sure to run it by your photographer so they can plan accordingly in advance.

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Look for Indoor Space Close to Your Venue

Finally, if there aren’t many good options for indoor space available at your venue, consider planning in some extra time and traveling to a different location for some of your photographs.  This can be anywhere, from the air B&B you’ve used earlier in the day to get ready, to a store or restaurant open to having your take photographs there, to a rented space such as another venue or photo studio. 

If this seems like the best option, make sure to discuss with your photographer, and plan this in advance so you have plenty of time to contact the location and make sure you’re allowed to take photographs there, or to purchase the appropriate permits or rental time.

In the past I’ve photographed in the parents’ house, a plant shop and coffee shop across the street, a library, a separate venue and a nearby restaurant.  Almost any location can be used to create fun photographs, and as long as you plan in advance there’s no reason to worry about what to do if it rains on your wedding day! 

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An Intimate Elegant Wedding at Toronto's Great Hall

Jess and Arie’s wedding suited them perfectly.  Together they created a celebration that beautifully blended their impeccable style with important family values, and even included their treasured rescue dogs into the day’s celebrations with enviable ease and elegance. 

Following a sweet first look complete with dogs in hand, we went to The Great Hall in the west end of downtown Toronto to take photographs in the light and airy spaces that both Jess and I fell in love with.  A beautiful and emotional wedding ceremony was held at their neighbourhood family shul down the street, followed by an intimate backyard reception for their closest family and friends.  The majority of the day allowed for the dogs who are such a big part of their lives to take part in the festivities, and an at-home reception kept things simple and allowed guests to comfortably move back and forth between the indoor and outdoor food and drink stations as it softly began to rain in the evening.

Their beautiful and personal style as a couple shone through in all the little details they thoughtfully added to the day.  Jess sported her favourite relaxed moccasins along with a stunning beaded dress harking back to the 1920’s that complimented Arie’s stylish and classic dark navy blazer.  The dogs were dressed up in simple green and white floral garlands, which matched the bride’s classic elegant bouquet of white flowers and flowing greenery.  Jess absolutely transformed the interior of their shul by envisioning a beautiful minimalist Plexiglas chuppah, clear modernist chairs, and elegant candle displays that opened up the space while maintaining a cosy family feeling.  I’m always a fan of intimate backyard receptions, and theirs was no exception.  Edison lights criss-crossed the backyard, lighting and warming up the space outdoor space throughout the evening.  Food stations offered a variety of dishes for family to enjoy standing around high tops or settled into the living room, and the cutting of the challah was fittingly held with family gathered close together together in the kitchen. 

I absolutely loved getting to work with some of my favourite Toronto vendors again for this wedding.  It’s always a treat to shoot at The Great Hall, and I’ll never tire of elegant bridal chignons styled by Amy at Bridal Hair Collective!  All the other wonderful vendors I was introduced to at this wedding are listed below.  I hope you enjoy!

-       c

Make up: Janine Bowen
Hair: Bridal Hair Collective
Wedding Dress: White Toronto / Jenny Packham
Flowers: Botany Floral Studio
Food: Applause Catering
Venue: The Family Shul / The Great Hall

Toronto Waterfront Bridal Style

I'm so excited to finally share more photos from this beautiful styled bridal shoot, conceived and created along with Amy from Bridal Hair collective, and pulled off with an amazing team of Toronto and surrounding area vendors.  Our Scarborough Bluffs wedding shoot was featured on The Wedding Co. blog last week, and you can follow the link here to see more photos of our work from that day.  The feature highlighted the natural bridal beauty aesthetic we created, from our bride's bare feet, to the leaves in her hair and minimal makeup complementing her natural beauty and features, to the simple and elegant Saja wedding dress.  The soft and romantic dress fit beautifully with the beach-y venue as the layers blew gently in the breeze, and the off-white colour suited the blue and grey pastels of the beach and cliffs.  Her bouquet was made of wild-foraged greenery accented with stunning pops of white flowers that our creative floral artist arranged to create a wild and free feeling, with big branches, flowing ribbons, and beautifully unconventional greenery.  The feature also highlighted one of the many beautiful and little known areas around Toronto where you can escape to take stunning natural wedding photos if you're getting married in the city. 

Take a look through our shoot, and be sure to get in touch with any of the vendors listed below if, like me, you absolutely love their work here!

Photography: Corynn Fowler Photography
Hair Styling: Bridal Hair Collective
Makeup: Katie Marie Bridal
Florals: Ashley Elaine
Dress: Saja from Sash and Bustle
Jewellery: Hattitude Jewellery
Model: Clare from B&M

 

Small Business Branding Shoot with Bridal Hair Collective

After connecting with a group called The Rising Tide Society (although, shamefully I have yet to make it to one of their monthly meetings) I've been finding myself having SO much fun working with other small businesses creating photographs to be used for their business branding.  Having strong visual components to your website and social media accounts is so important in these days of fast visual communication, and I've discovered that I absolutely love the challenge and creativity of working with small businesses and designers to create photographs that portray who they are and what their business is about. You've seen some of this work on my blog in the past, and will hopefully see more of it in the future after I use some of my free time this winter to add branding photography work to my business plan!

The photos in this post are from a shoot I did with the beautiful and talented Amy, owner of Bridal Hair Collective.  Amy and I connected through the Rising Tide instagram hashtag #communityovercompetition and quickly decided to work on a styled shoot together (which will be appearing on The Wedding Co. blog next week!).  After having so much fun working together, I was honoured to have Amy bring me onto her team to help create the new look for the Bridal Hair Collective re-branding, along with creative business branding designer Odds and Ends Creative.  Together, we crafted images that portrayed Amy, her style, and a new look for her business that reflected her work and the beautiful brides she works with.   Take a look through some of the images below, and be sure to checkout Amy's new website to see her beautiful bridal and event hairstyling work!

Thank you so much for the chance to work together Amy, I love the new look and can't wait to shoot together again soon!
- C

Port Stanley Engagement Session

Sara and Luke's engagement session in Port Stanley was well worth the drive from Toronto, I have to send a shout-out to CAA for making it happen!  None of us had ever been to Port Stanley before, and we were all excited to checkout the beaches, quaint little town streets, and waterfront houses during the off-season.  It really is a fabulous area, and we were lucky to go in the shoulder season to miss the crowds and have miles of white sand beach to ourselves as the sun was setting!  These two were so fun to photograph and explore a new area with, and really I don't think anything can beat sunset photos on a beach by the lake-shore.  I can't wait to kick my wedding season off to an amazing start with these two in just a few more weeks!

Roy & Kat's Winter Brickworks Wedding

I always struggle with the words to describe how amazing each and every one of the weddings I get to photograph is, so I can only say that Roy and Kat's January wedding was an absolutely stunning kick off to 2016.  I couldn't have asked for a better start to the year!  After getting ready all morning, we headed down to the Evergreen Brickworks to take photos with the family and wedding party.  It was a chilly day out, but everybody was too happy and game to notice.  The photos are full of beautiful misty breath, the bride kept her bridesmaids warm with sweet wooly arm and leg warmers, and we sipped on steamy hot apple cider from the Brickworks' winter market.  I love winter photo sessions!

We then continued on to their lovely ceremony and incredibly delicious dinner at the farm-to-table style Globe Bistro on the Danforth.  Guests ate and danced the night away, speeches were full of laughter and tears, and a unique German wedding tradition from the bride's cousin found the bride and groom racing to cut their way through a sheet while their guests watched and took sides cheering them on.  Needless to say, everybody present was thrilled to spend a crisp January day celebrating Roy and Kat's marriage, and I can't imagine a better kick-off to 2016 than celebrating with these two. :)

Venues: Globe Bistro, Evergreen Brickworks
Florals: Leaf and Bloom
Hair and Makeup: ESBridal
Dress: The Bride's Project

Menswear Shoot

This styled menswear shoot was really one of the first times I've photographed someone in the studio (having just practiced on myself and food settings before this) and I had such a blast working with our lovely model and makeup artist.  I can't wait to put together another styled shoot in the studio soon!

Hair and Makeup: @caitlinsam.makeupandhair

Model: Nicole Zorkin from @carolynstalent

Ashley and Jake's Wedding

From the groomsmen barbecuing their breakfast, to an awesome man-of-honour, to the pre-wedding calm that comes from having a bride who knows how to do hair and makeup, Ashley and Jake embodied the laid-back, fun, and joyful wedding clients who I love to photograph!  I couldn't have asked for better clients to kick off a busy August of weddings, and as always, I'm so grateful that I get to work with amazing people like these two!