September wedding at Edgewater Manor in Hamilton, Ontario.
September 7th & 8th, 2018
Juliana and I used to work together, so when she asked me to be her wedding photographer I was ecstatic. There is something so special about working with people who you already know and love - and it always shows in the photos. Our first engagement session was in December of 2016 (seems like ages ago!) and that’s when I met Jordan. We spent a chilly afternoon in Bronte capturing some romantic winter engagement photos before sitting down for lunch together. Getting to know my couples is one of the best parts of this job - and it’s so important to get to know them as much as I possibly can so that I can capture the real essence of their relationship in our portraits. I could tell you how perfect these two are for each other, but I would much rather show you…
Our next engagement session was just under a month before their big day. These two thoughtful lovebirds wanted to make their parents albums as thank you gifts, plus who doesn’t love a summer golden hour photoshoot?! I really love that Juliana brought a whole Pinterest board of photos she wanted to try - some photographers don’t like this, but I think it’s great to use other great photographer’s work for inspiration - and it’s always fun to try new things!
A couple of weeks later, it was time for Juliana and Jordan’s traditional Vietnamese Tea Ceremony, which takes place the day before the wedding. I had never captured a tea ceremony before and I was so excited to see all of the vibrant colours and intricate outfits. I had done some research beforehand to see what the afternoon would be like, but nothing I read prepared me for the intimacy, emotions, and family bonding that took place that day. Before Jordan arrived, Juliana’s sister and Maid of Honour helped her get ready along with their mother and grand mother. This has got to be the most beautiful three generations of women I have ever seen!
Jordan arrived a little later with his offerings. Both Juliana and Jordan’s families were all there to greet him with hugs. Juliana came down then for the Tea Ceremony. Their family members took turns accepting tea from the couple and, in exchange, they offered them marriage advice. I was in awe at the pride that beamed from their parents during these intimate moments.
After the Tea Ceremony, we took family and couple photos outside in the garden. Soon everyone was ready for lunch, and I left to get ready for the big day!
I arrived in Brantford at 11am on September 8th. The first order of business was to hang with the girls while they got ready, and to take some photos of Juliana’s gorgeous dress, shoes, flowers, and the rings. I adore how every wedding has its own unique little details - like Juliana’s robe that her cousin had embroidered with three dates: two of her cousins’ wedding dates and her own, all in their wedding colours. Each cousin had worn the robe on the morning of their weddings - it was her “something borrowed” <3 Just down the hall, the boys were getting ready, so it was easy to bounce between the two groups to get lots of “getting ready” shots! My favourite being Juliana and her sister jumping on the bed in their robes.
Once everyone was all dolled up, we headed to Whistling Gardens in Wilsonville, just a short drive away. I had seen the gardens for the first time on a site visit with Juliana, Jordan, and their wedding party a few weeks before their wedding. It is absolutely gorgeous with tons of amazing spots for photos. We picked the spot for their first look together, so Jordan was already there waiting for us when we arrived.
After their first look, Jordan left to greet guests with his best men at the ceremony site, while we got some adorable portraits of Juliana and her sister.
I quickly trotted over to the ceremony location to catch some guests arriving. This was when one of Juliana’s aunts noticed that I wasn’t wearing a coat, and went to GET ME ONE! I was really touched that a complete stranger was so worried about my comfort. Don’t worry, I remembered to give it back to her at the end of the night!
Juliana and Jordan’s ceremony was short and sweet - and what made it so personal was that the officiant was the mother of the best men! It’s always lovely when you can have someone close to you officiate for you <3
After their receiving line, we got through a thorough list of family photos before moving on to some portraits of the wedding party. I have to give some credit to the amazing videographer Akil McKenzie who was not only a blast to work with, but came up with a ton of these brilliant poses!
When we were finished with the formal photos and the guests were done viewing the beautiful gardens, everyone made their way to The Rope Factory for the reception. The wedding party made their entrance and the buffet was open. The decor was exceptionally beautiful - and it was all done by Juliana, Jordan, their family, and friends! The Maid of Honour and Best Men made their speeches, and then it was time for the first dance. Soon after everyone was up and dancing - and even doing the limbo!
We went outside to take a couple of night portraits before it was time for me to head on home. I have to say a huge thank you to Juliana and Jordan for having me capture their engagement sessions, tea ceremony, and wedding day. It was such a blast and absolutely gorgeous to witness. They recently adopted a puppy, so life is not dull for these newlyweds! I wish them all the best in this new chapter of their lives together <3
August 18th, 2018
This was one of my favourite weddings that I have ever had the pleasure of capturing. It was also one of the shortest times I’ve spent working a wedding, the furthest in Ontario I’ve ever travelled for a wedding, and the only time an ambulance was needed!
I met Justine and Kevin over FaceTime while they were at the Firehall one evening a few months before their wedding. I knew we’d get along because they had their dog with them (and I’m dog-obsessed) and also because their dog’s name is Nala (and I’m also Lion King-obsessed). I also learned that these two met while volunteer fire-fighting, in the same hall where they were calling me from, and the same hall where they would be holding their wedding reception… sign me up!
On August 18th I made the four-hour drive from Oakville to Haliburton. I had never even heard of Haliburton, but my trusty GPS led me north through a whole lot of trees until I finally arrived at my quaint little motel. As I was checking in, the lady asked me “are you here for the wedding?” and when I told her I was photographing the wedding she said “you don’t have far to go!” She pointed, I turned my head, and there was the bride’s house right next door! I headed over to Justine’s around 3:30pm just in time to see her slip into her dress before snapping a few family photos before heading to the ceremony. (On a side note: Justine warned me that I wouldn’t get a photo with her brother smiling - challenge accepted, and mission accomplished!)
I arrived at the ceremony location and was instantly amazed… it was a little opening in the forest off a dirt road right on the edge of a stream. I asked the guys where the benches came from and they replied “oh we made those earlier today!” Just after I arrived and the guests were seated, Justine and her father pulled up in their vintage car. The ceremony was short, but sweet. My favourite part was the reading of Dr. Seuss poem “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!” (Side note: Dr. Seuss and I have the same birthday!) And of course their baby girl Nala was the guest of honour!
As soon as the ceremony ended Justine, Kevin and I hopped in the car and drove a minute down the road to take a few pictures of the newly-weds. We then returned for more family photos before heading to the firehall for dinner and their reception.
It’s time for my favourite photos of the evening! Justine had this idea to take photos with their firetrucks and gear. It was honestly a photographer’s dream… and she set it all up on her own!
After our firetruck extravaganza, we went inside for Justine and Kevin’s first dance to Tracy Byrd’s “Keeper of the Stars”.
After the first dance, it was time for dinner. While everyone was eating, I ran out to my car to grab something. When I came back in, everyone was crowded around one of the guest tables. I asked someone what was going on and was told that Justine’s grandfather was not feeling well, and nobody knew where Justine had gone. Next thing I knew, an ambulance pulled up and out hopped Justine! Turned out that Justine was feeling overwhelmed and went for a walk. She saw the ambulance parked around the corner on standby - and since she works with the paramedics, she stopped to chat with them. She then heard a call come in requesting the ambulance at her reception!
They had Justine’s grandfather in the ambulance for a few minutes while everyone waited anxiously. Finally they told us he was fine and had just gotten dehydrated… but needless to say, the bride and groom needed a moment to themselves. Justine had mentioned earlier that she would like to have some sunset photos taken down the road, so once we knew her grandfather was alright, we headed down to the beach just the three of us.
When we arrived at the beach, I told Justine and Kevin to take some time to themselves. It is rare that a bride and groom get any alone time on their wedding day - which seems ridiculous but is so true. Also these two definitely needed a breather after the unexpected and emotional events of the evening. After a while, I started taking photos of them, asking them to slow dance or whisper things into each other’s ears. I eventually pulled out my sparklers and they certainly had fun with those! We stayed at the beach for nearly an hour before it was time for me to go and time for them to get back to their reception, and it was the most romantic part of any wedding I had ever seen. If I could give one piece of advice to every couple, it would be to take time on your wedding day to just enjoy each other (and of course bring your photographer to stalk from afar).
August 5th, 2018
I first met Carmel and Jon at a Starbucks in downtown Toronto. Right away I could tell how calm, collected, and in-sync they were as a couple. After a lovely meeting over some coffees and lattes, I hoped and wished that they would choose me to capture their big day! A couple of weeks later the contracts were signed and we were all set for their big day on August 5, 2018.
We did an engagement shoot in May at the gorgeous Guild Inn Estates in Scarborough. Carmel and Jon had requested a second photographer for a couple of hours on their big day, so the talented Matt of Matt Besenyodi Photography joined us at the engagement so we all had a chance to work together before the wedding. The adorable intimate images we captured during the engagement had me even more excited for their upcoming wedding! Not to mention the practice bouquet that Carmel brought as a prop… crocheted by her mother - absolutely beautiful.
Finally August 5th arrived, exactly five months after our first meeting. The day began with the girls getting their hair and make-up done in the rooftop lounge at Carmel and Jon’s Toronto apartment. I got to see all of the intricate bouquets and boutonnieres all hand-made by Carmel’s talented mother.
Carmel went to get her dress on while Jon came in to get himself ready. He went outside to the rooftop patio to await his bride. When that elevator door opened and we all saw Carmel’s stunning pink wedding dress, we were all in love! She then headed out to the patio to meet Jon for their first look.
After their first look, Carmel, Jon and I headed out to get some portraits of the two of them. We found this gorgeous park across the street from their apartment that made for the perfect backdrop! I never would have imagined finding such a luscious, green spot for wedding photos in downtown Toronto.
After their formal portraits, Carmel and Jon shared an intimate lunch with their family. We then headed to The Carlu for some family photos and a cocktail hour before the ceremony.
Carmel and Jon had a traditional Jewish ceremony. After signing the official documents, they joined back-to-back in a circle of their family and friends. This was one of the most meaningful moments I have ever witnessed as a wedding photographer. Their Rabbi asked them to think of each other’s faces the first time they ever saw each other, the first time they said I love you, when they became engaged. Tears were streaming down everyone’s faces as the couple turned to face each other, and the Rabbi announced that they would remember this look on their partner’s face for the rest of their lives. It was breath-taking.
Afterwards, the more formal ceremony took place under the Chupah, including bubble boys, flower girls, and of course stepping on glass! We then moved into the Round Room at The Carlu for my next favourite part of the day: the Hora — note the chairs hand-painted by their parents!
Carmel and Jon’s friends and family gave some very moving (and sometimes hilarious) speeches while everyone ate dinner. After that it was time for fun, games, and dancing — starting with the first dance that invited everyone onto the dance floor while “Time of My Life” played. (The Dirty Dancing fan inside of me jumped for joy!)
Thank you so much to Carmel and Jon for choosing me to capture such a unique and memorable day. All the best to both of you! <3
July 27th, 2018
When my cousin Ryan and his girlfriend Paige announced their engagement, I was over the moon! When they asked me to Emcee their reception - I was ecstatic! You see, I had offered to be their wedding photographer, but they had already hired the photographer who took their beautiful engagement photos in Alberta (where they live). So I was happy to still be involved somehow - and truth be told - I would make an amazing Emcee…
But a few weeks later, Ryan messaged me to say they had thought it over and wanted me to be their wedding photographer after all! Now I could stop pretending to be happy with the Emcee job - and REALLY get excited! Not only are Ryan and Paige two of the sweetest humans I have ever met, but they also happen to be gorgeous creatures who I knew would make the photos extra special. Though I could not have imagined though the beautiful moments that we ended up capturing on their big day.
The day started at 8am when my partner Dan and I met the boys at Fox Meadow Golf Course in Stratford, PEI. They were well into their full game of golf, and let us follow them around for an hour to get some candid shots of the game, as well as capture the groomsmen receiving their gifts.
Next it was time to meet the bride and her girls at the salon! For the first time ever, I did not know where the bride was getting her hair done until the morning of the wedding… that’s right - this bride was so chill, she did not make an appointment for her hair until the day before her wedding! And she was happy as a clam with her choice. We hung out with the bride, her maid of honour - who is also her mother - while the talented hair dressers at Cleopatra Hair Design worked their magic.
We then drove to CNG Country Cabins where the wedding party and many of the guests stayed. This is where the bride and her girls were to do the rest of their getting ready! Paige was surrounded by her family and her dog - and some of Ryan’s family joined in. One of my favourite moments during this part of the day was after Paige’s mom had helped her daughter get into her gorgeous dress, she went to get Ryan’s mom, Cathy, to put on the veil. It was one of those moments when two families become one, where a mother knows how much a moment like this means and wants to share it.
After a beautiful and emotional time getting ready with the girls, it was time to head back to Stratford to meet the boys at Ryan and my grand-parents’ house. There were many beers and laughs involved!
We got to Our Lady of the Assumption Catholic Parish Church in Stratford as all of the guests were arriving. Ryan and his groomsmen greeted and sat everyone, and then took their place at the end of the aisle. The girls arrived soon after, and everyone piled in except for Paige and her parents. I loved watching the last moments before their ceremony, as Paige and her parents shared a laugh outside of the church.
Ryan and Paige had a traditional Catholic ceremony. Afterwards, they exited the church to greet their family and friends, followed by a few family photos outside the church.
Next we went back to Nana & Grampy’s for a quick beer stop before driving to the picturesque Victoria Park in Charlottetown. Here we took photos by the water and then headed to the baseball diamond to get a few shots as Ryan is a baseball player. Incredibly, there were two teams about to play, and they lent us their gear and the field to get a few pictures!
Ryan and Paige’s reception was held at the wonderful PEI Brewing Company. As guests ate dinner, the couple entertained us with the adorable shoe game. They then made their way to the dance floor where they had their first dance, and father-daughter dance.
Last but not least, we went outside to take some night shots followed by one last miraculous photo in front of the PEI Brewery’s unique lamps. It was one of the longest days I have ever captured, but felt like the shortest thanks to these two vibrant gems. Thank you dearly to my cousin Ryan and my new cousin Paige for allowing me to be a part of such a wonderful day.
July 28th, 2018
My first-ever engagement blog - how exciting! Monic and I go way back… I met her when I moved to Prince Edward Island in grade four. We used to catch mice around her farm house and smuggle them into school in our pencil cases. And now, 17 years later, here she is ENGAGED to her very best friend!
Monic reached out to me when she saw a post I made offering engagement sessions. Since I live in Ontario and she’s back home in PEI, she asked when I would be on the island again to take some shots of her and her beau! I was travelling back to the East coast to shoot my cousin's wedding in July, so we set up a session for the day after the wedding. Living near Lake Ontario is nothing compared to the smell and feeling of the ocean, so I naturally asked if we could shoot on the beach!
My partner Dan and I met Monic, Cody and their pup, Shelby, at Kinlock Beach in Stratford, PEI. The best thing about south shore beaches in PEI is that you can walk for miles when the tide is out and the water is shallow and warm - not to mention all of the picturesque sandbars! We walked for a bit, catching up and leaving behind all of the tourists and their families who came out for an afternoon swim.
First I got some shots of Monic, Cody and Shelby walking up and down the beach, while my partner Dan screamed dad jokes at them: “The price of velcro has gone up and it’s such a rip-off!” Then we climbed up onto some famously red PEI rocks while the dad jokes got more raunchy.
Although making people laugh is my all-time favourite thing to do, I also love capturing some serious, intimate moments during my sessions. This is easy when you ask people to touch foreheads, noses, or just stare into each other’s eyes… until someone licks someone else’s nose.
Next we braved the attack of the hermit crabs to get these gorgeous shots - it was totally worth it.
Then our brave couple decided to climb up a cliff! Meanwhile Shelby waited at the bottom, guarding mom and dad in case of danger (or more hermit crabs).
What we really came for was a new album cover for their band “Shelby and the Shades”.
After an hour of fun, it was time to go. I want to thank Monic and Cody so much for asking me to capture these moments with them, and wish them all the best with their wedding next September!