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Carla and Russel are laid-back, fun-loving and quirky. The later I stayed into the wedding, the more I learned that this group of friends and family are incredibly FUN!!!! They might come across quiet and unsuspecting but really that is not the case at all! 😉

Since the couple got engaged at the Toronto Zoo, it seemed only fitting to incorporate their mutual love for animals. They made a donation to the Zoo in lieu of favours and included a gold animal with animal fact on each dinner table.

My first pleasant surprise was the reception entrance. The bridal party and couple entered with the fierceness of a wrestlers WWF challenge. AND – did I mention they had a wrestlers belt? This certainly set the tone for a party…and it just got started there.

“The Love Supremes” performed to impress that night and EVERYONE danced the night away! I find that many weddings music either makes or breaks the party and a band almost always is a guarantee to keep people moving and encouraged to be involved. Mostly, I think this is true because they play covers which every age group can enjoy. Secondly, they set the tone with their high energy. This party certainly was high energy.

I forgot to mention that before the dancing even began, a slew of karaoke wonders happened. The “kissing game” involved guests coming up to sing and WOW! There are certainly some musical talents in this crowd! The couple also played the traditional shoe game but added a quirky twist by holding up giant cutouts of their faces instead of shoes.

All in all, the day and night was a blast. Carla and Russel are a pleasure to be around and you could tell that was the case by how much their friends and family got into the wedding festivities. You could really feel the love this day and I think that you can see that in these photographs.

All the best to you two. I certainly walked away that night feeling like I should approach life with as much fun and gusto as the two of you.

xx – april

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VENDORS

Reception:

Angus Glen Golf Course

Wedding Planner:

Rebecca Chan Weddings + Events

Decor/Flowers:

Fete Boutique

Band:

The Love Supremes

Cake:

Bobbette & Belle

Transportation:

Red Star Limo

Hair:

Puzzle Creation

Makeup:

Fiona Man

Slo Mo Videobooth:

Event Circle

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I met Ashley and Greg two years before their wedding day. They are two of the most organized and analytical people I have ever met! They knew exactly what they wanted and I liked that. They made decisions well together and I have learned over the past 3 years of getting to know them that they also create a lot of DIY’s together too!

The fearless duo got sucked into the never-ending world of Pinterest and before they knew it, they were recreating every little detail they admired. They loved everything rustic and vintage and near the end perhaps they realized how time-consuming it all was and Greg’s mom ended up taking over a lot of their ambitious projects.

Some of the projects they undertook were creating bridesmaids dress shirts with fabric paint labels on each pocket. Ashley bought men’s shirts and labelled each one, saving on the cost of robes.  The couple also created personalized mason jar cups that would be used during cocktail hour and double as their wedding favours. They made it a bit more fancy by tying twine around the neck of the jar. For the boosta box, the couple used Ashley’s dad’s old suitcase and made the burlap “cards” banner together.

Greg’s mom was a crafting machine and made most of the chalkboards, game signs, burlap table runners, flower girl skirts, pew bows, and even “whipped” up some late night perogie’s for the late night snack bar. (As a Ukrainian myself – I know that it takes hours and hours to make perogies) Wow mom! Way to go! You are one talented and determined woman and I am sure Ashley and Greg are forever grateful for you dedication!

Ashley and Greg’s wedding day went without a hitch. The day was absolutely beautiful and their reception location was so naturally stunning. I was surprised at how country it feels even though you are only minutes from the city. Holland Marsh Winery is a perfect rustic barn nestled on a winery with stunning sunset views! What m0re could you ask for really?

When I asked Ashley to describe the best part of her wedding day, this is what she said:

“Best Day Ever” is a term you constantly hear while wedding planning. I always just thought it would be a great day but I really did not expect it to be as magical as it was and it truly was the Best Day Ever. It’s so hard to put into words the love, excitement, nervousness and emotion you feel throughout the day. We spent countless hours looking at pinterest and over-analyzing every single detail that when the day came together better than we could have expected or imagined, it blew us away. All of the most important people come together just for you because they want the best for you; I don’t think we have ever or will ever feel more loved in our entire lives. Even our vendors made us feel like they were our friends and wanted what was best for us and not like we were another pay cheque.”

I hear this a lot from couples and it makes me smile. I always feel special because I am front and centre at every couple’s most important day. I am engaged more than I ever am as a guest and I feel as though I have entered the gateway to the whale’s mouth so to speak. I learn of the family dynamics; the good the bad and the ugly, I sometimes have to mitigate special circumstances, I have to make people laugh and relax. I really have to quickly adapt and watch people in order to ensure that I document all the details and important people of the day but also get real emotion, all the while not knowing the people well or at all. So when I hear that a couple really had the “best day ever” I am fulfilled because I also know that I was the person responsible to capture it all and provide people with a tangible memory.

xx – april

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VENDORS

RECEPTION LOCATION: Holland Marsh Wineries

CEREMONY LOCATION: Holy Angel’s Catholic Church

OFFICIANT OR PRIEST: Father Peter

CAKE: The Rolling Pin

CATERING: O’Malley’s Catering

DRESS: Allure designer bought from The Bridal Suite

TUX: Michael Kors rented from Andrews Formals

SHOES: Ivanka Trump (bride), Ted Baker (groom)

ACCESSORIES: Comb was borrowed from my cousin. Earrings and Bracelet are from Artemis

FLOWERS: Zoki Eclectic Floral Designs

HOTEL: The Trump Hotel

MUSIC: Almost Famouz

HAIR/MAKEUP:  Julia and Julia Bridal

FAVOURS: Mason Jar Mugs from Michael’s and decorated by b+g

BRIDAL PARTY ATTIRE: Mori Lee

BRIDAL PARTY GIFTS: Bride and Groom paid for their dresses and bride made shirts to get ready in.

INVITATIONS: Our friend designed them for us and we printed them off at Vistaprint

ANY OTHER DETAILS:

Videographer: DMS Productions

Coordinator Fidan Ismayilova

CHAIRS:  The caterer

RENTALS:

Southern Charm Vintage Rentals

Empire City Trading Co.

BUDGET: $40,000

NUMBER OF GUESTS: 85

Your favourite detail:

“Marquee Letters behind the sweetheart table that read “LOVE” and our Welcome Sign that was written on a window and held on the birch easel. I was also obsessed with my bouquet when it wasn’t even something I cared much for when planning the wedding.

Your favourite moment:

“Meeting with Greg at the Altar. Sitting for dinner at our own table and watching the sunset. The limo ride back to our hotel at the end of the night.”

Your first dance song: why?

“We originally only wanted to do “Hey Ho – Lumineers” because that was our song and the whole time I contemplated whether it would be too fast for our first dance but thought I would regret it if we didn’t use it. A month before the wedding we ended up going to a dance class and heard “Tenerife Sea- Ed Sheeran” which we both instantly fell in love with. We ended up having our friend who is a DJ combine the 2 songs so we could have our slow song and not miss out on dancing to “our” song.”

 

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Janice and Mark said their personally written vows to each other at 2nd Floor Events in Toronto one gorgeous fall afternoon. The ceremony and reception took place all in the event space in a casual and laid-back atmosphere. The space is modern and reflected the couple’s taste of an environment that naturally persuades people to mingle and drink without a stuffy or too formal of a setting. Janice and Mark decided on focusing on good food stations and good drinks so that their many friends and family members could enjoy the interactions of each other much more easily than in a sit down dinner affair. These types of weddings are becoming much more popular as they are cost effective, casual and put the emphasis on mingling and partying as opposed to having to incorporate the traditional events of what most people expect to see at a wedding.

Many couple’s ask me how they should plan their wedding day schedule and as much as I can guide them on timing for photography – I always remind them that they can do whatever they want! Many people end up focusing on making everyone else happy and sometimes, I think they should rein it in. What is your goal? What is the most important factor for you as a couple to experience on your wedding day? Sometimes, photography is not a focus. Sometimes, dinner is also not a focus…or speeches, or even dancing. Decide on what your number #1 goal is and go with it! After all the planning and saving, it is ultimately a memory you want to cherish and not regret you did differently.

Janice and Mark were able to isolate their must have’s and went with it. Photography was important but their friends and family and interacting with each of them was more of an end goal – so we decided that I would capture the entire wedding in a docu-journalistic way. We still did some family shots and a few couple shots but the focus was on candids. I approached this wedding as any other wedding but I personally had a goal to photograph each and every guest in a cool way and I think I achieved that. I wanted to give Janice and Mark a series of images that documented what happened, who was there and of course keep it fun and beautiful. I didn’t need to distract them from their guests or take them away for hours. As long as the photographer and couple are on the same page, everyone will understand what kind of end goal they have and I can get the shots that my client expects. As a client looking for a photographer, you should never feel shy to tell the photographer what kind of photos you love the most or expect to see. If you don’t like details that is an important thing to communicate. The photographer should still photograph them, but they know where to spend their time wisely.

So, for the future bride or groom who is currently overwhelmed by the must have’s or the must do’s – rein it in. What is important to you? Do you have too many friends that you want in your bridal party? Have you started inviting all of Italy to your wedding day because they met you once upon a time? Have you cut down the speech times to 2 minutes per person and don’t know when you can start dancing?

Rein it in. You don’t have to follow any rules. Your wedding day should be as fun and laid-back as you want it to be.

xx- april

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Talia and Alex planned a picture-perfect fall themed wedding at the Manor by Peter and Paul’s. The elegant stone building was a perfect back-drop for their outdoor ceremony in the golden fall light.

They couldn’t have asked for a more perfect day. We had so much time to take bridal party photos and the couple was extremely enthusiastic and laid-back to explore various locations. They found an old barn nearby where we took some of the best shots. Each one of their friends in the bridal party came and trudged through the long grasses and mud without a squeak. It was refreshing to have such a huge bridal party so relaxed about the photo taking time! They even serenaded Talia and Alex while they got their couple shots done. It was a lot of laughs.

The barn was left open so we had a gorgeous light leak scenario to play with inside. I could have spent days in this barn shooting but we had a pond and a corn field and many more spots to shoot in.

The cocktail hour and reception ensued indoors and the couple had clearly marked their personal touches with many DIY projects. Using Pinterest as inspiration and a creative flair from both of them, they embarked on many personal projects.

Alex designed their invites with an engagement shot and printed them at mpix. The seating chart was written out on an 8 pane old window from an antique market near Talia’s cottage.

Madlib’s were made for cocktail hour entertainment and as a keepsake of their wedding day. Taking inspiration from the internet, the couple made their own that was suited to them.

Alex really wanted to incorporate pumpkins into the decor so they decided to use them as table number charts, and painted the numbers directly onto them in white.

Talia and Alex came across the idea of using an antique luggage as the busta box and thought that this fit perfectly with their rustic theme. They got the old luggage from a family friend and made a sign saying “Thank You” out of construction paper and twine that they strung across the top.

The couple couldn’t find a guest book idea that they really loved, so they created their own using cedar planks. They put the planks together and decorated it with nails forming three hearts. Using orange yarn, they wove it around the nails to define the heart shape and left sharpies for guests to sign their names on the wood. This would be a great decorative piece to hang on the wall in their home.

For the head table decor, Talia and Alex made a sign that said “Mr and Mrs Bass” that they strung across the head table. They bought a burlap banner cut into triangles from Creative Bag and then painted a letter on each one. In front of the table, they had large wooden candle holders, as well as pumpkins for a splash of colour. They even made the candle holders out of logs that they found on the side of the road. They drilled tea-light sized holes in the tops of each.

For guest favours, the couple bought bread dippers from a Canadian company called Wildly Delicious and then wrapped them in burlap. They added thank you tags that they designed in Photoshop and tied them to each bottle with lace. Instead of adding the customary confetti candy, they tied small bags of Jelly Belly’s to each favour because they thought they better reflected Talia’s love of candy and the fact that they are children at heart.

Lastly for the ceremony decorations, Talia and Alex wanted to keep their ceremony decorations rustic, simple and non-distracting. They collected some feather reed grass from the side of the road near Talia’s house, cut the stalks down to size, and stuck them inside two planters that flanked them and the officiant during the ceremony.

Talia and Alex clearly put a lot of time and thought into their wedding day. They wanted their guests to have an experience to go home with – a day to be branded into their hearts and memories forever. I certainly did. Talia and Alex, you are kind and humble and young at heart and in years 😉 I wish you all the very best and brightest future together. You are clearly a strong and dedicated team.

xx- april

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VENDORS

RECEPTION LOCATION: The Manor by Peter and Paul’s

CEREMONY LOCATION: The Manor by Peter and Paul’s

COUPLE/BRIDAL PARTY LOCATION: Kleinberg and a private barn

OFFICIANT OR PRIEST: Richard Bristow from Enduring Promises

CAKE/CUPCAKES: Ora Mangiamo

CATERING: The Manor by Peter and Paul’s

DRESS: Lara by Sottero and Midgley

TUX: BLACK by Vera Wang

SHOES: Nine West

ACCESSORIES: Headpiece: Nordstrom

FLOWERS: Da Vinci Flower Shop

MUSIC: S4 Entertainment and Audio/Visual

HAIR/MAKEUP: Hair – Hala at Cynthia’s Unisex Hair Design

Makeup – Gina Drougas

FAVOURS: Wildly Delicious Bread Dipper

BRIDAL PARTY ATTIRE: Bridesmaids: Alfred Angelo

Groomsmen: Black by Vera Wang

BRIDAL PARTY GIFTS: Groomsmen – Seattle Seahawks Jerseys

Bridesmaids: Coach Double Zip Wristlet

INVITATIONS: We designed our own and printed them through http://www.mpix.com/

BUDGET: $30,000

DÉCOR: All of our décor was DIY by the bride and groom.

NUMBER OF GUESTS: 120

Q + A with Talia + Alex

Q: How did you meet?

A: “We met through a mutual friend at the University of Waterloo when we were both doing our undergrad there. We became great friends and our relationship blossomed from there”

Q: What was the most important factor when deciding on a photographer for your wedding day?

A “The main factor for us was that we liked the style of the photos in the photographer’s portfolio. We were looking for someone that could capture both epically composed as well as candid photos of us and our guests.”

Q: What was your favourite detail from the wedding day?

A: “Our favourite detail was our ceremony. We both loved that we could completely personalize it by choosing every aspect of it. Our officiant, Richard, was great and helped us through the whole process. We were able to write our own vows, as well as pick the readings and all other aspects of the ceremony. By doing this, we were able to create a ceremony that reflected us as a couple, which we think made it more intimate and meaningful.”

Q: What was your favourite moment?

A: Talia’s favourite moment was hearing Alex’s vows. Alex’s favourite moment was watching Talia walk down the aisle.

Q: What was your first dance song and why?

A: Our first dance song was “I’m Yours” by Jason Mraz. We’re not very mushy so we liked that it was about love but not in a cheesy way. Plus we’re both Jason Mraz fans.

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Nicole is one of those women who sweeps you off your feet in the first five minutes you meet her. She is bubbly, enthusiastic and interested in what you have to say. She is that kind of sweet you wish you had – but the kind that would be the sickening sweet if YOU tried it. Her laughter is contagious and I am certain that Dennis got all twisted up in her kind of sweet, not long after he met her. These two are truly magnetic! I had a great time getting to know you both and love your carefree attitude and genuine support for each-other. I saw the spark in your love and hope that I was able to capture it. All the very best to you both!

xx- april

nicole+dennis nicole+mark 2

VENDORS

RECEPTION LOCATION: The Doctor’s House
CEREMONY LOCATION: Our Lady Of Sorrows
OFFICIANT OR PRIEST: Father Nino Cavoto
CAKE: CC’S Creations and Fine Desserts
CATERING: The Doctor’s House
DRESS: Leighton by Hayley Paige
TUX: Tip Top Taylors
SHOES: Rene Caovilla
ACCESSORIES: Haute Bride
FLOWERS: Pure Hue Dynasty
HOTEL: The Element
MUSIC: VIP Entertainment
HAIR:  Salon Gaboa

MAKEUP: Fancy Face Inc
FAVOURS: DIY – Bulk Barn & eBay
BRIDAL PARTY ATTIRE: MOH: Monique Lhuillier

Bridesmaids: David’s Bridal
INVITATIONS: DIY – CatPrint

RENTALS: MegaCityLinen
BUDGET: $33,000

NUMBER OF GUESTS: 100

 

Q/A with Nicole:

BRIDE + GROOM FULL NAMES: Nicole Leone & Dennis Naumann
JOB TITLES: Dance Teacher & Operations & Maintenance Program Coordinator

How did you meet?

“In a dog park.”

What was your favourite detail from the day?

“How can I pick just one? The wax seal…my dress… and especially that moment when we first arrived at the venue and saw it all come together – we were overwhelmed, it was an incredible moment.”

What was your favourite moment?

“Our first dance. Let’s Stay Together by Al Green. We love that Motown heart and soul; it makes us smile and we wanted to do something more than the standard side to side step! It was perfect for me to put my skills to good use and choreograph something special that I knew we’d both enjoy.”

Please explain some of your DIY projects.

“We were inspired by the medieval renaissance period that was reflected in the wooden beams, candle topped chandeliers, gold mirrors and lush gardens of our venue. Our vision was to incorporate details reminiscent of a time passed, while keeping it classic and intimate. We drew on this, and had a stamp made off of eBay of our initials. We used burgundy wax to seal our invitation envelopes with our personalized stamp. We also relied on one of our bridesmaid’s experience in graphic design to help create the vision of our invitations. We wanted rich medieval colours and chose gold, ivory and cranberry red for our colour scheme. We bought red ribbon from the dollar store and tied everything together in a little package. When it came to florals, we wanted deep vibrant colours that would add warmth and went with dark reds, deep purples and hot pinks. We also put together our wedding favours, having paid a lengthy visit to bulk barn and wrapping the goodies in little red boxes we bought off eBay. We also really wanted our guestbook to be something more than just a signature on a page; we wanted it to be something fun that we would look back on and appreciate many years from now. We bought a Polaroid camera and put our bridal party to work snapping photos of guests striking a pose with playful cut out props that we had put together, before placing them into our guestbook where guests could sign beside their picture.”

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Last summer I had the pleasure of meeting a bubbly woman by telephone. She wanted to hire me to shoot her casual wedding at the Old Mill in Etobicoke in September and I agreed. It was only a few hours of coverage for a Sunday wedding brunch. These are becoming ever so popular these days and refreshing, really. The day is short and sweet, revolving around brunch (my favourite meal). It keeps costs down, yet still makes the wedding day formal in a way of celebration. Jade was just as bubbly in person as the few times we spoke on the phone. She is the most giggly and positive woman I have ever met. She was as refreshing as her Sunday brunch. The day went without a hitch, and Mark her equal counterpart, was just as generous and friendly. I wish you both well as a married couple. If you are this high on life now, I suspect you will stay this way forever; as two peas in a delightful pod.

xx- april

 

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On October 19, Nancy and Joe tied the knot. It was the first month of the year that literally poured every Saturday. Each week would be lovely and then the Friday night forecast predicted gloom. I would never choose to shoot in the rain just because its, well, wet. It isn’t exactly the easiest of weather conditions to battle with a bride in a beautiful white dress and a bunch of lovely bridesmaids in dressy shoes and hair quaffed just so. My tactic however, is to get it done as painless as possible and hope that the bridal party will follow suit. This simply means, I embrace the droplets and let them be a part of my background. If you let the rain ruin your day, then you have looked passed what the day really represents. You have planned this moment for a year, and spent a ton of money. Don’t forget to have fun!!!!! Stressing will not change anything and so I tell my couples to think more along the lines of umbrellas, dramatic grey skies, reflections in puddles and a perfect soft box for lighting your skin. Get matching umbrellas and a flat change of shoes. That is luckily what this bride and groom and all of their bridal party did with pleasure which made my job a whole lot easier and their hour of photos a lot less painful. Let go of the fact that the hem of your dress will not be perfect. Regardless of the rain, it WILL get dirty. I am not suggesting that everyone can do what Nancy and Joe did, but if you have no indoor options for photos and you are somewhat okay with the idea of getting a little damp or a frizzy hair or two, then don’t overlook the beauty of rain. It can be well worth the challenges and your hair can be fixed! I promise. 😉

Nancy and Joe are great examples of a couple that focused on what they could change and not what they couldn’t. They embraced the rain because photography with their bridal party was a really important “must have” for their wedding day. To my sweet surprise, no one even peeped a complaint. It was truly a pleasure! We got some amazing photos outdoors despite the odds against us and everyone winded up happy. My goal has been reached and that puts a smile on my face at the end of the day. Sometimes we all have to endure something that isn’t the easiest but the pay-off is worth it. Please enjoy the sneak peek of Nancy and Joe’s beautiful wedding and for more photos of the reception please click on this link: http://smu.gs/1h41WCJ

nancy+joe1 nancy+joe2VENDORS

Theme: Rustic, Vintage, Elegant

Number of Guests: 230

Wedding Song: Sleepwalk, Ritche Valens

Favourite Detail: The 3 birch trees behind the head table and the wedding favour jam jars

Ceremony Location: St.Dominics Church, Mississauaga

Reception Location: Mississauga Convention Centre

Bridal Party Photo Location: Erindale Park

Bridal Gown: Ella Rosa from Josy’s Bridal

Hair/Makeup: Karima Sumar

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