Jaclyn & Lars: An Elegant Alternative Wedding at Queens Landing, Niagara on the Lake

It’s no secret that I freeking love getting to photograph winter weddings.  They’re always so stylish, unique, and have a je ne sais quios making them endlessly classy.  Jaclyn and Lar’s December wedding at Queens Landing in Niagara On The Lake was no exception, and I have to say, I had been looking forward to photographing these two again alllll year after their fall engagement session the year before!

            First off, you’re going to melt when you see Jaclyn’s amazing wedding dress.  She decided to go the non-traditional route with her dress (she’s a girl after my own heart) and rocked a stunning forest green sequined number that oozed silver screen goddess sex.  Paired with Lars’s Fred Astaire style white tux, together these two looked like they’d stepped right out of a film noire movie.  Needless to say, I spent all day grinning behind my camera lens and making excited noises after every photo set.

            Despite the cold, they were game to take photographs outdoors, which is one of the best parts of a winter wedding.  The December landscape looks so different and beautiful, and it’s the perfect excuse to snuggle up nice and close to each other to stay warm!

            Their wedding was the perfect combination of sophisticated yet relaxed.  Their style was out of this world, I mean, they could have gone to a red carpet party post-wedding and fit right in.  Their ceremony took place in the ballroom as the sun went down over the lake outside, and friends and family took part in a Hershey’s kiss kissing game that had everyone in stitches throughout the reception.  By the time I left everyone was rocking the dance floor the way only family can, and I drove back to Toronto with that cozy happy feeling that I always get from intimate weddings that are really just all about the love. 

 Vendors:
Pianist: Frank Krahn
Venue: Queens Landing
Florist: Roses & Twine
Makeup: Beyoutiful Brides

 

Jessica & Domenico: A Winter Wedding at The Burroughes, Downtown Toronto

Even months later, I hardly have words to describe this wedding day.  It was everything I feel a wedding should be, good food, a gathering of the people who mean the most in the world to you, a chance to tell everyone how much they mean to you, and a kick-ass party to celebrate a momentous occasion.   It was life affirming, not to be too dramatic, but these two truly reminded everyone in attendance that day what a wedding and a joining of families and worlds is all about.

            Jess and Dom both have an immense appreciation for food, and met while working at one of the best of the best in the Toronto restaurant scene, Buca.  They have an endlessly warm and loving energy that radiates from them, both together and separately, and didn’t hesitate to wear their hearts on their sleeves all day.  All together, this created the perfect melange of happy tears, fantastic food, and a dance floor that had everyone laughing and crying at the same time. 

            Jess chose an elegant and sophisticated Ferre Sposa dress for her style, and Dom pulled off the most gorgeous burgundy velvet suit jacket I’ve ever seen.  They got ready at the Ritz Carlton in downtown Toronto, had one of the happiest first looks I’ve ever witnessed in front of Roy Thompson Hall, and gathered a huge group of loved ones together in true Italian wedding style at The Burroughes for their ceremony and reception.  Their first concern was making sure that their guests enjoyed themselves and as much food and drink as they possibly could.  They spent more time stopping in at each and every table to visit than they did at their own table, and once the dance floor opened I could tell that they weren’t going anywhere for a long time. 

            They danced on the rooftop together at sunset, laughed and cried their way through their ceremony and parent dances, and melted together on the dancefloor so comfortably that I must have taken a hundred photographs just of that moment alone.  I truly don’t have words for the feeling you get when you see these two together.  Good thing I’m a photographer and not a poet, scroll through to see what I mean.

Vendors:
Florist: Rosehill Blooms
Caterer: Buca
Make up: Lauryn Hopwood 
Hair: Chloe Greisman 
Dress: Ferre Sposa

xo
-c

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. 

A Toronto Winter Wedding at the Windsor Arms

Liz and Zac created an elegant winter wedding at the beautiful Windsor Arms hotel in downtown Toronto.  I absolutely love photographing winter weddings.  In my experience they usually go hand in hand with unique and gorgeous bridal styles, as well as stunning indoor venue spaces that photographers dream of getting to shoot creatively in.  This winter wedding was no exception! 

Everything was picturesque, from the gorgeous bridal suite with big picture windows and elegant drapery, to the stunning great hall where they were married under the incredible floor to ceiling tapestry painted by Zac's father.  The rooms were all artfully decorated, and the hotel lent a fittingly cozy and elegant vibe to the cocktail hour in the iconic Windsor Arms bar.  Beautiful florals on the tables, aisle, and alter were designed by one of my favorite florists in the city Leaf & Bloom, and one of the highlights of the evening was when the groom's brother performed a heartfelt set of songs that left us all in awe. 

Be sure to take a scroll through if you're a fan of winter weddings, mermaid bridal gowns, gorgeous floral work, jaw dropping ceremony backdrops, and heartfelt candid family moments.  I can't wait to continue photographing more winter weddings this year!  Also, a huge thank you goes out to Emily from Emily Jarrett Photography for second shooting with me!

xo
-c

Vendors:
Planner: Inly Events
Florist: Leaf & Bloom
Venue: Windsor Arms
Makeup and Hair: Eryn Shannon
 

Alexis and Collin's Winter Waterfront Wedding

One of my goals for 2018 is to book more off-season weddings, so I can reserve more summer weekends off to spend with friends and family enjoying the outdoors next year.  There, it's out in the universe.  I was lucky to photograph a number of stunning winter weddings this year, including an intimate outdoor ceremony by a frozen river, and an elegant indoor wedding at the Windsor Arms Hotel; and I have a few more fun ones coming up in December including a Christmas themed wedding, and a wedding in Barbados just before New Years.  All in all, these creative weddings are something I want to do far more of, and I realized that none of them have appeared on my blog so far!  (granted, I'm still catching up on blogging last summer's weddings, so it goes.)

Alexis and Collin got creative with their winter wedding photos (like they did with their engagement photos here)  and planned to take most of their photographs indoors having too much fun playing with a confetti cannon to add some action and colour, just in case the early January weather proved too cold to take any photographs outdoors.  The bridesmaids came equipped for winter temperatures with beautiful fur stoles, and the stylish bride sported the famous #justmarriedjacket by the talented Via Calligraphy.

Take a look through the photograph below to see how a little bit of creativity can make a Canadian winter wedding absolutely beautiful.

xo
-c