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Archive for the ‘Unique Weddings’ Category

Erica and Luke are a fierce and funny duo and here is the layered back story of how they met:

“In 2009, Luke and his friends were randomly put on a Sail Croatia boat with two of Erica’s friends (one of them, Kayla, was a bridesmaid) for a week-long sailing trip.

Fast forward to 2011, Kayla was visiting Erica, who lived in Vancouver, and Luke was living in Whistler to do a snowboarding season with Richard ( a groomsman). Kayla, who had Luke on Facebook still, said “I met this guy a few years ago, I don’t really know him, but he was cool and he would probably let us stay on his couch for free if we want to go snowboarding”. And so Kayla and Erica went up to Luke’s. Kayla ended up deciding to stay in Whistler for a few months, so Erica would go up every weekend (between studying her masters degree) to hang out with Kayla, Luke and their friends.  Within a month, Erica & Luke were dating (but they pretty much got together after about 5 days knowing each other!). The rest is history!”

This story seems like perfect fate. I love to hear how couple’s meet and especially love circumstances so looming on chance.

Since Erica is a fellow Canadian and Luke is an Aussie, but both are living in Australia, the couple concluded that they would need to have two weddings in order to properly celebrate with all the people they love so dearly.

The Canadian wedding was chosen to be as casual and backyard bbq style as possible. 40 people flew in from overseas and they wanted to make sure that the wedding was focused on their guests and the party. Since neither Erica or Luke are very serious people, they wanted it to be fun and laid back!

A pig roast was the inspiration with lots of lawn games and outdoor seating to encourage guests to mingle and get to know one another. Since people were flying from all over the world for this wedding, Erica and Luke wanted to make sure that they could spend tons of time with each friend and family member.

Since the couple lives overseas, most of the planning and coordination was done by Erica’s extraordinary mom and Aunt Debbie. Aunt D made all of the chocolate favours, which were Canadian themed (loonies, maple leaves etc) and a campfire with feature smores were part of the Canadian integration. Since most Aussie’s have never heard of smores and are banned from making campfires, this was especially entertaining.

As for decor, Lesley Lebel, the owner of the stunning venue Sagewood Farms, handled all of that with her personal collection of vintage dishware, furniture, and more!

Even though I only knew you two for a day, I feel like I’ve known you for years. You make an obvious loveable pair, evident by the outpouring of love and admiration from your family and friends from around the globe. Wherever your adventure together goes, go with all of your heart.

xx- april

 

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“FROM THE BRIDE’S MOUTH”

FAVOURITE DETAIL

“The popcorn bar! We wanted an affordable way to provide food/snacks to everyone at the end of the night after all the shots, and the popcorn bar was a hit! Also, the cupcakes – Erica LOVES baking them at home, so they were a perfect touch, and the caterers did a BEYOND BEAUTIFUL job decorating all of them and our cake… just gorgeous. Luke’s was the beer cans!! The Molson Canadian beer cans were a bit retro and also very Canadian, and they just fit the scene perfectly (and the Aussies loved them… haha!)”

ERICA’S FAVOURITE MOMENT

“My favourite moment was reaching the base of the aisle with my dad; everyone under that big beautiful tree, and my husband-to-be looking like a stud at the other end of the walkway.”

LUKE’S FAVOURITE MOMENT

“My favourite moment was at the end of the night, with a sparkler send-off to the Canadiana camping tent where we spent our first night together as man and wife.”

FIRST DANCE SONG

“Island in the Sun by Weezer – It’s been my favourite song since forever, and when we got together, Luke really got into them as well. We even saw them live at a festival in Squamish BC, where the lead singer sang the song while walking beside us in the crowd! The band has always held a special place for us, signing along to their songs on road trips, seeing them live in Melbourne, and the song was perfectly upbeat, laid back, and very paradise-y (with a bit of a rock-y chorus), perfect for our day.”

WHAT ERICA HAD TO SAY ABOUT THE MOST IMPORTANT FACTOR WHEN CHOOSING A PHOTOGRAPHER

“Number 1 important factor, is that the photography was non-cheesy, candid and natural photography, which you don’t just nail in 80% of your portfolio; you nail it every time. So that was a major factor. But we also fell in love with your stuff the moment we read how you try to take lots of photos of the guests so that we can remember that too – obviously, with everyone flying in, that was a big thing for us. And finally, the finishing and editing of your photos is just so natural but with that light, pink-y kind of finish that makes it look like a fantasy (which it was). It’s just enough editing to make it beautiful but still totally imperfect like the subjects are. And to be honest, I totally think you could charge more than you do. The only other photographer that we considered other than you was $4,500 for one photographer. That was super expensive, but I thought you were a total bargain for what we got, and now that we’ve seen the result… like, we legit won the lottery.”

VENDORS

VENUE

Sagewood Farms

OFFICIANT

Rob Brouwer

CATERING

Feast Your Eyes Catering

CAKE

Feast Your Eyes Catering

FLORALS

Mint Floral Co

MAKEUP + HAIR + NAILS + TANS

Brooklyn Salon+ Spa

DRESS

Maggie Sottero

GROOMSMEN ATTIRE

Tip Top Tailor

SHOES

Klub Nico

FAVOURS

Homeade Chocolates

BRIDAL PARTY GIFTS

Coordinates bracelets from Etsy + Etsy Robes

STATIONERY

Custom designed by family friend

MUSIC

Spotify playlist

BUDGET

Between 30-35k

NUMBER OF GUESTS

130

SECOND SHOOTER

Jasper

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A few years ago I met Mike through shooting his brother Chris’ wedding. I have the extreme pleasure of often meeting clients this way and by default, developing a relationship with them before their wedding even approaches.

Mike and Shawna wanted their wedding outdoors and surrounded by a backdrop that they couldn’t get in Toronto; and that was a stunning beach! With the help of Luxe Weddings, the couple chose to stay at the intimate resort Azul Beach and have their wedding off-site at Marina Maroma in Playa del Carmen to be certain that their guests would have an exclusive and private wedding experience.

The day was perfect and typical Mexican weather other than an intense wind that got stronger as the day progressed. A high of 34 degrees, deep blue skies and a humid heat. I was thankful for the wind!

The groomsmen wore navy blue suits and the bridesmaids blush pink dresses. Shawna’s gorgeous and form-fitting lace gown by Paloma Blanca was a perfect selection for the tropical and hot climate. At the last moment she chose to have her hair down but partially pulled back because of the wind, and it couldn’t have been a better choice. She looked absolutely stunning and her hair stayed perfect all night!

The day started off relaxed as Shawna and Mike enjoyed the beach in the morning and got ready in the afternoon. As Mike got a massage, Shawna did her own makeup and she looked flawless!

The couple started with a first look in-between matching doorways which the couple say was the most romantic moment of the day. We then took family portraits, bridal party and couple shots and made our way to the venue for the evening beach ceremony.

The ceremony was lightly decorated since the scenery spoke for itself but it did include gold charivari chairs, white lanterns, and a beautiful arch with blush and white floral and branches weaved through the top. The ceremony was short and sweet and led by the couple’s cherished family friend Laddie Haines. Moments after walking down the aisle together, Shawna and Mike twirled and kissed in private bliss. They were finally married!

A cocktail hour ensued at the Dolphinarium and although not planned, the dolphins did a show for the guests as they enjoyed the couple’s signature Raspberry Mojito cocktail.

Guests then made their way to the reception set up on the beach for sunset. The wind had progressed to a level so high that the planner, Meghan got the venue to install a fabric wall to block the sand and wind from the tables. Luckily it helped! Although the wind prevented some decor details from being set up, it was really a Godsend to help keep it cool for guests. No one ever noticed either, as the setting was certainly stunning on its own.

Guests collected their star fish tag including their name and table number. At their table they found their name hand written on sand dollars placed on their menus. A sparkler was also attached to be used for the couple’s first dance.

The moonlight and custom love sign shined on the dance-floor as the couple entered the reception and went straight into their first dance. It was dreamy, as all the guests swayed with sparklers and Shawna and Mike danced to “Lost Together” by Blue Rodeo. This song is loved by the couple and symbolizes their love and life together. Near the end of the song, Mike picked up Shawna and twirled her around and around which got guests teary eyed and made for a great shot!

Shawna and Mike were so gracious to have such a huge turnout for their destination wedding. Many of their family and friends were able to attend and danced the night away with them.

Shawna and Mike; you were an extreme pleasure to work with and an even bigger pleasure to photograph. I wish you all the very best in your new adventure as husband and wife.

xx – april

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VENDORS

CEREMONY + RECEPTION LOCATION

Marina Maroma

HOTEL

Azul Beach

OFFICIANT

Family Friend

WEDDING PLANNER

Meghan Jakumowski from Luxe

CAKE

Lomas

DECOR/RENTALS

Lomas

DIY PROJECTS

Star Fish tags to find tables

Sand dollar place setting with calligraphy

Minted Menus

Welcome Bags

Custom Sunglasses @ Deal Cardinal

cocktail napkins @ Napkin Niche

welcome bags – @ Poppy Crate

travel mugs – @ Factory21

Gold tags for star fish – @ Karli Boutique

DRESS

Paloma Blanca

SHOES

Jimmy Choo

BRIDAL PARTY GIFTS

Swarovski Crystal Heart necklaces, Harry Rosen ties and socks

STATIONERY

Paper + Poste and Minted

MUSIC

Lomas

NUMBER OF GUESTS

80

FAVOURITE DETAIL

Sand dollar hand written place settings

FAVOURITE MOMENT

First Dance with the sparklers

 

 

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Anya inquired about photography for her wedding 5 months prior to it. This is unusual for brides, as most plan weddings at least a year in advance. I always like last minute inquiries because it tells me that the couple is laid-back and usually into the party more-so than the wedding which requires more candid shooting which I love. Of course, I always want my clients to want me, and care about photography – that is a must! Anya really wanted a photographer but she informed me that Lev was hesitant and not sure why they really needed one. So she came to meet me with Lev, her fiance in tow.

I was a little hesitant at first but I liked Anya’s demeanor. The two came into my studio and Lev was instantly my friend. He is a bold, charming, loud and funny man. He’s instantly likeable. He talked and talked about his wedding and what he liked and it didn’t seem to me like he was opposed to photography at all. It might have been because we had so much in common or maybe he genuinely saw the value in my work – either way they hired me for a 4hr a la carte session in Collingwood and it was a blast.

Anya and Lev are the perfect ying and yang.  He cracks her up and she laughs at his every joke….well almost. Their friends and family are equally as enjoyable and I was actually sad to go home so soon. They are an example of making a wedding fun, casual and about the party. It was truly a reflection of them. My photographs were documentary and I tried to ensure every guest was photographed. I love watching people through the lens. A good candid requires patience and being able to spot gorgeous light. I think that it is important to have your guests captured as much as the bride and groom. After-all, these are the people who have affected your life in meaningful and memorable ways. They should be remembered at your wedding day just as much as the bride and groom. Looking back on photos of everyone is reliving your wedding from a different point of view. You see moments that you missed, and moments that made you cry and smile. I think that Lev is happy that he ended up having a photographer there. I certainly know that Anya was.

Many thanks to deciding that a photographer was a good call. All the best to the both of you!

xx- april

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venue / craigleith ski club, the blue mountains, collingwood

 

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August 2, 2015 was a wedding that I wanted to really impress with my photo skills. I was hired by one of my former photo classmates to shoot his wedding. The pressure was on! lol. James Durant is a talented photographer and artist that chose me to shoot his wedding and I was honoured! It is especially a motivator to shoot some impressive work when you shoot for your peers.

The day was beautiful, hot and sunny. I started my shoot day photographing the gorgeous bride, Robin. She is laid-back and took the morning with ease, taking time to feed and relax with Charlie, the couples’ adorable baby boy.

I was truly impressed that someone would take on their wedding day with a small baby in tow. I silently wondered how the day would unfold as weddings in themselves can sometimes be stressful. Charlie however was a champ! He slept for almost the entire day – with a few feeding breaks and only one short crying stint. I was stunned! Perhaps the casualness of James and Robin was a reflection of Charlie’s calm personality. Whatever it was, I will forever have this idea that getting married with your baby is no biggie. 😉

The ceremony and reception took place at the adorable Enoch Turner Schoolhouse. Charlie came down the aisle with James and his mother in a gorgeous vintage pram. James looked dapper as ever in his electric blue suit and Robin of course looked classically elegant in her lace gown.

The moment after the ceremony, was my time to shine. You know – those bridal party and couple photos that I wanted to take to really avow that they chose the right photographer. And then a photographers nightmare literally happened right before our eyes; A STORM! I’m not talking about a trickle of rain – I am talking about those afternoon rain storms where the clouds roll in black as night. Yes, this happened. James looked stunned. I was terrified. We both looked at each other and laughed. I’ve seen this future for myself – if I ever get married. This will totally happen. It only happens to the people who really understand how much it affects good picture-taking. To be quite frank – for all the people who have been told that rain is lucky and that clouds are better for photos – it’s all BS. It’s only a comment to make you feel calm. Dry is always better and sun can be controlled by a good photographer. So – with our umbrellas in tow – we stuck it out. James and Robin knew the drill and I got soaked. The rain storm stopped exactly 5 minutes before we were supposed to enter the reception. I could barely handle the irony. To my delight – in that 5 minutes the sun cracked through the dark clouds, and a glorious pink glow shone down. We hurried to get some shots in this pink glistening delight and then it was over. HA! All in all, considering our severe down-pour and lightning storm I think we did pretty good. We got some great shots in the rain and I am pretty happy with the outcome. James and Robin are too.

The rest of the wedding was heart-felt. Between the family speeches, and James good friend singing a tune made just for the couple, I felt like this group of people really knew how to show their love for one another. This day was about celebrating the people who bring joy to your world, who make your heart smile and who ultimately you wouldn’t want to live without.

Thank you for having me document your day James and Robin.

xx- april

 

robin+james1 robin+james2 robin+james3credits:

venue / enoch turner school house

caterer / 10tation

bridal gown / maggie sottero; becker’s bridal

hair + makeup / arrowbow

flowers / patchouli

cake / made by a close friend, leah denov

favours / donation to the heart + stroke foundation ( in memory of James father ) + cookies with an R + J stamp

music / kenny saint

second shooter / patrick moher

favourite wedding details / incorporating James Barbados background and Robin’s

Thunder Bay background into the drink specials, decor + music / baby charlie’s outfit and vintage pram

 

 

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Last winter I found myself searching for winter wedding inspiration on Pinterest and I was surprised by the lack of snow-themed winter weddings. Every “winter” wedding was from Cali or Australia and it seemed to me as though the wedding industry had forgotten about the countries who actually experience a real winter. Surprisingly enough, people do get hitched in the snow! Where is the imagery? How do other couple’s get inspired?

Olive Studio has gone through some major changes in the last 6 months. I have expanded my studio, bringing on new first shooters, a wedding planner and offering my second passion as an additional service; decor styling. I created this winter inspiration as a lift off to introduce planning and decor styling as one of Olive Studio’s new services. With the help of a very talented team of vendors, here is our interpretation of a dark and romantic Canadiana winter wedding.

I couldn’t think of a more perfect setting for a Canadiana-themed wedding to take place than Linda and John’s dream farm called Holly Oaks. Linda is an avid horse enthusiast with a passion for horses and running a successful equestrian business. The property has maintained its 1857 farm roots but the couple has introduced a twist of modern and functionality operating as a very successful equestrian facility. Looking to expand, Linda would like to use the large property to host small functions and unions. With acres and acres of outdoor land opportunities; a huge stable, arena, and barn, the property hosts endless options for weddings. There are not only beautiful horses but also chickens, low line cattle and adorable Shropshire sheep.

When I think “Canadiana” I think of plaid, beards, hipsters, hipsters with beards, hunting, ice fishing, winter sports, woods, deer heads, the great outdoors, wood fires, cider, horse rides, snow, hay rides, blankets, evergreens, pies, cinnamon and shortbread cookies. Instead of focusing on a glamorous snow theme, I wanted the warmth and coziness of Canadian winters to be the over-all mood. After-all, with winter slumps comes generations of perfecting winter hibernation. We are the masters of indoor fires and cozying up in blankets for hours while the darkness sets in early. Why not use our long winters and celebrate something other than Christmas? Since Marsala was the colour of the season, the fairy tale of Red Riding Hood and the Wolf came to mind. It seemed to be fitting to create a dreamy woodland farm wedding in the snow.

With that fairy tale in mind, the table decor was based around my personal collection of brass candlestick holders and a fabulous plaid fabric I sourced. I made napkins out of the fabric and found a winter/deer theme plate at Anthropologie that was just perfect! Marsala, black, white, gold and contrasts of blue quickly became the colour scheme. Antique mixed with new seamlessly: silver goblets sat along-side glitzy gold + glass tumblers. Gorgeous gold-plated cutlery looked modern and as a final woodland touch, turkey feathers were placed in the centre of the gold plated bowls.

Leslie from Warehouse 84 provided even more brass candlestick holders and added quirky brass deer heads as decoration. Her beautiful antique chairs finished off the ends of the table as hay bales fit alongside as a rustic bench. Sheepskins lay atop the hay, adding another texture and making for comfy seating. Lastly, gorgeous deep coloured and textured fruits are scattered on the tabletop, inviting your eyes to dance from detail to detail.  Becky from Blush and Bloom, created a gorgeous whimsy of florals that posed in various brass containers of her own collection. Olive branch, garden roses, anemones, scabies, magnolia, spray roses, pivot berry, double tulips, carolina sapphire and asparagus fern decorated the table top creating a deep and luscious colour story. Asparagus fern was wrapped around the low hanging chandelier and centred over the long harvest table which was situated in the centre of the stable aisle. Horse heads poked in and out of the stall doors in curiosity creating an intimate environment mixing nature and glamour. Lastly, a bear rug anchored the table and posed under the grooms chair. The room was elegant, cozy, rustic, and of course romantic and you would never know it was the middle of January in Canada! The overall atmosphere was almost like a Medieval Royal Feast.

To continue with the theme, we set up a Spiked Cider Station in one of the empty horse stalls. Using hay bales, wooden planks and crates, we created a tabletop for the cider, decorating it with cut logs, garland and furs.  A huge chalkboard in an antique frame was used as the sign and farm tools laid about the scene. Fox taxidermy made their friendly appearance as well of course. In another stall, we created a vintage blanket station for guests to grab before they cozy up with their loved ones with a spiked cider in hand for a romantic and moody ceremony experience.

The ceremony set-up was simple and a little boho. In the centre of the huge horse arena, a tee-pee of circular patio lights was created. Using a 2×4 as a pole and many extension cords and staples, a perfect tee-pee was erected. An early evening ceremony sets the romantic tone. All the guests watch in the darkness which makes it feel as though they are witnessing the couple’s love privately. It is intimate, emotional and utterly romantic, especially when the guests are watching cuddled up in a blanket of their own.

Lastly, we set up a dessert station on one of Linda’s antique horse carts at the opposite end of the stable. A rustic chocolate cake iced imperfectly with asparagus fern was the feature dessert by Le Dolci. For the savoury types there was a delicious cheese platter of blocked aged cheeses adorned with honeycomb, olives, figs and walnuts. A stunning deer head watched over them both.

The ambiance was set and all that was needed, was some life. Gill Evans and Josh Mcaree from Lang Models, posed as our bride and groom. Anais Anette created a gorgeous boho inspired lace and silk gown just for our shoot. Canadian, native designer, Angela DeMontigny, selected some of her stunning fur pieces, jewellery and clothing and Audra Harris carefully curated the final look also using some staple menswear from The Bay and House of Vintage. To top off the look, Karima Sumar painted a sultry Marsala lip complimented with natural boho inspired hair. Flower crowns au’ natural and in silk were handcrafted by Blush and Bloom and Lady Hayes.

All in all, our team of creative vendors did a fantastic job of creating a moody, woodland winter wedding. It was romantic, off-the-beaten track and for me, very Canadian. I hope this inspires the winter wedding in you! Afterall, it is possible to create a beautiful wedding in a difficult climate. It may take some extra planning and care but even a real snowy winter CAN be beautiful!

xx- april

 

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credits

venue / holly oaks farm

floral + flower styling / blush and bloom

furniture + prop rentals / warehouse 84

photography / decor styling / art direction / olive studio

wedding gown / anais anette

native clothing + accessories + jewellery by designer / angela demontigny

select menswear / the bay + house of vintage toronto

wardrobe stylist / audra harris

hair + makeup / karima sumar

silk flower crown / lady hayes

cake / le dolci

cheese tower / cheese boutique

models / lang models / gillian evans + josh mcaree

special thanks to every horse owner at the barn for prepping the barn and their horses!

special thanks to photo and lighting assistants, David Wile, Scott Ramsay and Ally Chadwick

 This styled shoot was also featured on weddingchicks

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A gorgeous August Saturday grazed this sweet couple, Gianna and Dusan on their wedding day. The afternoon couldn’t have been more relaxed as I hung out with the bride and her two sisters in the couple’s cozy Liberty Village condo. Gianna ran around the apartment with a hussling ease as she finished some of her DIY projects – such as making her own cake, finalizing traditional Slav rosemary button-holes and even doing her sister’s hair! It was a pace that I don’t often witness but I admired how calm and collected she was and excited to see Dusan! She got dressed and ready in 20 minutes and unsurprisingly she wore a modern skirt with a chemise. She looked stunning!

Dusan clearly thought so too when he tearfully greeted her below the condo. We took some photos and walked to the restaurant where the couple exchanged their heartfelt written vows and then enjoyed their reception. They opted against a sit down dinner and instead chose an endless array of delicious passed canapes,  a grazing table and an oyster station.

The day’s focus was on the couple, their love for each other and the people that mattered the most to them. This wedding is an example of how a loving couple created a day they will never forget on a budget and without the elements some might expect you need for a wedding. It was a gorgeous day full of love, good eats, great chats, heart felt speeches and of course dancing the night away!

All the best to the both of you.

xx- april

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giana+dusan 2 giana+dusan3 VENUE

Mildred’s Temple Kitchen

Second Shooter:

Lelania Little

 

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On the eve of the first day of 2015, Melissa and Mireille recited their vows as darkness fell at Arta Gallery in the Distillery. The tearfully joyous ceremony was intimate and romantic and especially cozy as the night grew windier and colder.

When the ceremony was over the entire group lined up outside the “heart” installation in a tunnel effect with sparklers to send off the newly weds to their reception location. Melissa and Mireille ran through the sparkling tunnel formed by family and friends beaming with joy. The night ensued at Archeo restaurant just a few minutes walk away from the gallery. Archeo is a gorgeous venue offering delicious eats and great service. The atmosphere is perfectly suited for an intimate New Years celebration with the warmth of golden lights and rich wooden beams. Bringing in the New Year and simultaneously celebrating their love with all of their closest friends and family couldn’t have been any sweeter. Cheers and kisses were passed around the dance floor and the party continued in full force.

Congrats ladies! It was a blast photographing you and celebrating the beginning of 2015 with some pretty awesome people!

xx – april

 

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VENDORS

CEREMONY VENUE: ARTA GALLERY, DISTILLERY DISTRICT, TORONTO

RECEPTION VENUE: ARCHEO TRATTORIO RESTAURANT, DISTILLERY DISTRICT, TORONTO

OFFICIANT: TIBBY JOHNSON

 

 

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