Emma & Neal's Fall Wedding at St George's Golf Club, Toronto

Emma & Neal were married at St George’s Golf Club in Toronto last fall, and I am way too excited to finally share photographs from their intimate, meaningful, and spectacularly beautiful Sunday lunch wedding. 

            Fall is a drop dead gorgeous season for weddings anywhere in Toronto, but St George’s Golf club is truly something special.  As the leaves begin to turn, Ivy stands out across the turrets and elegant lines of the old building, tall pampas grass turns golden and leads you around the property, and colourful leaves swirl past gabled windows with every gust of wind.  Inside the golf club feels like a castle, and is the perfectly cozy location for a fall wedding, with a spectacular fireplace in the rotunda, and an elegant, classic luncheon room with big windows looking out over the golf course.

            Emma has a deep appreciation of all things art and beauty, and along with Neal, is one of the most stylish people I know.  So, it was no surprise that every detail of their wedding was incredibly beautiful and sophisticated, and created the perfect complimentary contrast to the relaxed lunch reception they held for their closest friends and family.  

            Take a scroll through for infinite bride and groom style inspiration, the cutest furry wedding guests dressed for the occasion, and a lunch reception that will make you re-think your whole wedding timeline!  I love love loved getting to work with Emma and Neal to document their day, and cannot wait to share some of the beauty that came out of it.

Vendors:

Florist: Apricot Flowers
Calligraphy/Stationary: Paula Lee Calligraphy & Sally Choi
Hair: Bridal Hair Collective
Decor: The Day Cor
Decor: Vintage Bash
Dress: Lovers Land
Cheese: The Cheese Boutique
Venue: St George’s Golf and Country Club
Music: The Jazz Collective
Coordinator: All Event Videos
Chuppah: Chuppah.ca 
Ketubah: ketubah.com

Helping your Photographer Capture Beautiful Getting Ready Photographs

toronto wedding photographer

 The getting ready portion of your wedding day is often when some of the most intimate moments occur between you and your best friends and family who are there with you.  Your photographer can capture these beautiful moments no matter where you are, but it helps to put a little bit of time and effort into making sure that your ‘getting ready’ spaces will look just as good as the rest of your wedding photographs.

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Clean Up

Cleaning up the rooms you’re getting ready in will go a long way in helping your photographer create gorgeous photographs of the morning leading up to your wedding.  It helps to ask your bridesmaids and groomsmen to keep their bags and clothing stored in a separate room where you won’t be taking photographs,  request that your hair and makeup team keep a tidy workspace, and generally remove any clutter that’s housed in the room you’ll be getting ready in.   As a photographer I absolutely don’t mind doing a bit of tidying and re-organizing, but the more time we spend doing this the less time we’ll spend capturing candid moments.  A clean background brings an emotional photograph from touching to visually stunning. 

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Choose a Bright Location

People often spend so much time selecting a beautiful ceremony and reception space, but don’t think about where they will be getting ready.  I often spend several hours photographing the getting ready portion of the day with couples, and usually shoot important photographs during this time such as bridal and bridesmaid portraits, detail shots, and father/daughter reveals.  Make sure to do these photographs justice by choosing a location that has as much natural light as possible.  The brighter and airier the better!  Don’t count artificial lighting such as floor lamps and pot lights when considering how bright a location is.  These lighting options create a yellow/green skin tone and cast awkward shadows, so your photographer will likely turn them off to shoot anyways.

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Set Up Close to a Window

No matter where you choose to get ready, the best light for your photographer to work with will almost always be next to a window.  See if your hair and makeup team can set up close to a window with the natural light falling across your getting ready scene.  Try to clear a space close to a window or in a well-lit room for photographs such as putting your dress on, and spending some time with your wedding party and family members. 

Create Time and Space for Moments to Unfold

The best way to create great photographs from your wedding morning is to allow yourself to enjoy the time without feeling rushed.  You’ve picked a beautiful space to get ready in and cleaned it up; now make sure you create time to spend there with your favourite people.  If it’s important to capture some meaningful portraits with your grandmother, invite her to sit and chat with you for a while.  If you want to capture images with your mother, ask her to get dressed early so she has time to help your into your dress.  Don’t worry about the camera being there, don’t hold back on hugs, and make sure everybody there knows how important they are to you.  

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3 Reasons to Consider Planning a First Look at Your Wedding

I’m regularly asked by couples to discuss the pro’s and con’s of scheduling a first look or ‘reveal’ into their wedding day timeline.  People are often torn between the traditional approach of seeing each other for the first time walking down the aisle, versus planning a more intimate moment together before the wedding day kicks into gear.   If you’re on the fence, take a look through the following three reasons why I love when couples plan a first look together.

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1. Get Your ‘Jitters’ Out
That moment when you put your dress on is often when things start to feel real, and the pre-wedding excitement nerves start to kick in.  Getting to see each other before the ceremony often calms people down and releases all that tension that builds up before the much anticipated walk down the aisle.  It’s a great chance to hug it out, smile, laugh, joke, and get excited together about your ceremony.  I typically find that people feel less need to be stoic during this portion of the day, and am often able to capture the kind of emotional ‘seeing each other for the first time’ shots that are more difficult to create during the ceremony when things are more rushed and too crowded to get the best angle. 

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2. Take Time to Enjoy a Quiet Moment Together
Once the ceremony begins, the rest of the wedding day can pass in a whirlwind of activity spending time greeting and visiting with all the loved ones who are there with you.  The first look is a chance to soak it all in quietly, say what you need to say to one another, exchange letters or gifts, and spend a few peaceful moments together to acknowledge your wedding day before getting started.  

3. Create a More Balanced and Fail-safe Photography Timeline
Planning a first look also helps create a more balanced photography timeline for the day.  First, it allows us to take some bride/groom portraits before the ceremony, reducing the long cocktail hour photography session when you’re feeling hungry, thirsty, and want to greet your guests.   It also creates the option of getting some family or wedding party photographs done earlier in the day, when everybody is looking and feeling fresh (and we won’t lose any wayward family members to the snacks and bar after the ceremony). 

Finally, it splits up our photography time rather than planning it all for one portion of the day.  This helps us keep your wedding from feeling like a photo shoot (boring!), and also builds backup time into the schedule so we don’t risk losing our time to take photographs if things start to get behind!

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I love when couples plan time for a first look together into their wedding day.  Some of my favorite photographs with the most emotion are created during the first look portion of the day, and couples always tell me how much more they were able to enjoy the ceremony after having had a few moments to spend together and relax.  Of course there's something equally beautiful about an emotional first look walking down the aisle towards each other, but if you're on the fence about the pro's and con's I always recommend the functionality of planning a first look!

xo
-c

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