We love Romanian weddings. Apart from sharing a common language with just about everyone else in the party, there is this lightheartedness and openness of feelings permeating in all the proceedings. I’m not sure anyone really internalizes this but in the Orthodox Christian tradition once in front of the altar, the priest never asks the couple to say the I do’s or wows or anything, if you show up to this well in advance planned service, all dressed up, family and friends in tow, the Church assumes not only that you know why you’re there in the first place, but also that whoever had anything to say against the union they’re already forever holding their peace, so you’re there to tie the knot in joyous celebration.
Sorina and Bogdan’s wedding was no exception to those “rules” from getting ready, thru the Ceremony at St. George and the party, all done in good spirits and lots of laughter (including at the ceremony). Even Mother Nature was generous with us this day, offering perfectly spotless weather which lifted everyone’s mood. The evening ended at the Storys Building, a great venue, intimate and welcoming, the perfect place for a good meal and a fantastic party.
A great day indeed and we have the pictures to prove it!
We’ve been in Kleinburg many times and to the Doctor’s house a few times, we even went to a New Year’s party there but for whatever reason never got to photograph a wedding there. We can see why Kay and Sean wanted to tie the knot here. It’s a warm, charming place with perfectly manicured grounds, great food and good “old times” atmosphere, the perfect setting for nuptials. It is the kind of place that can make a large wedding feel like a small, intimate family affair.
Laughter, tears, midnight seafood buffet, this day had them all. We had a great time photographing this wedding. The following is a snippet of the day.
Note to wedding invitees of all ages: avoid mild awkwardness by rehearsing your Twinkle Twinkle Little Star lyrics a few times at least the evening before an event. You may never know when you’ll be called to “serenade” your happy couple with it. (see the “serenade series” below)
It’s nice to start the day bright and early, especially when the schedule is filled to the absolute max… Starting early however has some disadvantages as well as Aaron found out when he learned about one of his traditional game challenges. Pulling marbles out ice water with your bare toes outside, in a crisp October morning is pretty far from exciting but it turned out to do very little in keeping Aaron from acing everything Felanna’s bridesmaids threw at him. Onto the more significant events, we’ve been impressed by the emotions we witnessed throughout two tea ceremonies and by the extraordinary band playing at their wedding ceremony.
We’ve been lucky enough to catch perhaps the last appropriate weekend to shoot a quick outdoor photo session session at the Osgoode Hall before heading over to The Canoe where the reception and the rest of the day played out.
The day is perhaps best summarized in this message we received from Aaron:
“Both of us are so thankful for all the friends and family that surrounded us on our “big day.” We could not have asked for a better start to our lives together then to be so completely surrounded by love and affection. We were warned by our friends well in advance that the day would go by in a flash, and they were correct on all counts. The games, the ceremony, the photo shoot, and the reception all seem to be over in a shot. However, what we could not fail to notice was the joy that our family and friends celebrated our marriage with us. We will be storing up these memories and reminisce over them for the rest of our lives.”
The following is a bit more long winded photographic account of their day. Enjoy!
Cookies! An endless supply of cookies, jar upon jar of the stuff! That in itself would be enough to describe Shiela and Pedro’s wedding day but, as much as we love cookies there were other things, too many to list to love about their wedding. And a couple confusing ones like the elevator system in their hotel. I used to think I was a smart cookie (!) but I had to spend a minute or so to figure out that touch screen thing plus absolutely no buttons or screens inside, like an episode of Alias or something… Anyway… The script of the day was beautifully executed, from the ceremony at the Metropolitan United Church, to the gorgeous grounds and architecture of Knox College and the stylish reception at the Hazelton Manor (where they had cookies!). There was laughter, craziness and a few tears, no wedding is complete without these…
Here is the story of the day. Enjoy!
We’re back to Sandra and Balazs for their wedding day and this time around we were a bit anxious. Sandra’s parents are very dear friends of us plus a good part of the people invited are also good friends and colleagues. None of these people have ever seen us “in action”… so, we had to be… well… friendly, but we also had to manage the unavoidable distractions so we could concentrate on the reason we were there. Fortunately all our friends are easygoing, relaxed people who, on this occasion, gathered together to celebrate the happy union of Sandra and Balazs, so smile and laughter (along with some happy crying – see the ceremony below) were the order of the day, right from the get go. As couples go it’s simply impossible to imagine someone more in love, they reminded me of Alexandra and myself back when we got married, their love is simply contagious :-)
McMichael Canadian Art Collection provided the perfect photographic backdrop for this event along with excellent food and drinks aplenty.
We were among friends, we had a good time shooting this wedding, I can only hope we managed to show it in our pictures.
I must have driven past WaterStone Estate a million times never noticing what is really there. Just North of Hwy.9 on Dufferin St. lies this quaint, charming estate, well off the main road, an absolute perfect setting for Laura and Chris’s wedding. Chris likes hunting, something that will become obvious as you scroll down, so Laura decided to incorporate hunting details not only on the decor and groomsmen’s attire but also on her choice of wedding band for him.
If you visited this blog along the years, some of the people in the following pictures will indeed be familiar to you. To describe this event is not easy, it feels like we’re almost family here and we were treated as such. It is hard to describe the mix of emotions in certain parts of this day, the ones present celebrated and the ones not present were remembered and celebrated. Laura seemed to glide effortlessly on cloud nine while Chris’s joyful, easy going attitude proved to be simply contagious to everyone there. The atmosphere was warm, cozy and happy, a stark contrast with the rather rainy disposition of the weather outside. “It’s OK” I told the couple. “Raining on your wedding day represents not only luck and prosperity but also an opportunity for me to have one of those backlit umbrella shots!”.
Thank you guys for allowing us to be part of your day!
The following is a snippet of their day. Enjoy!
After shooting Marina and Omar’s engagement last fall we were fully prepared to try and overcome Omar’s inherent shyness on their wedding day but on this particular day there was no need for any of that, the whole event was so full with energy it was absolutely electric! There was so much laughter, so much emotion in the coming together of these two nice families.
The day was not without surprises however from an oddly sized wedding ring who took a bit of convincing to go on, to impossible downtown Toronto traffic and the hilarious brotherly stories shared at speech time. Would a lullaby alleviate stinging pain? Skateboarding at midnight thru the streets of Toronto a good idea? Jury is still out on these! Can Armenian people dance? OH YES!
What a great day it was! This is just a snippet. Enjoy!
I felt incredibly privileged to help H and A on their wedding day. From responding to their simple ad, to meeting them I knew they were a special couple. For them it started with getting engaged, with big wedding plans and living happily ever after dreams. Life, however, happens differently sometimes and 3 beautiful children later, having a big wedding somehow fell by the wayside. Life also occasionally has its way of throwing wrenches in the best laid out plans and when that is discovering you have breast cancer, the situation takes all of a sudden a very serious turn where everything gets put on hold so a family can concentrate on dealing with a life threatening disease. Getting married and making it all “official” takes a whole new meaning in these circumstances.
Having lost family members, including my father to cancer, I’ve become sensitive to situations like these so upon meeting with them our conversation turned towards what I could effectively do to help them have a proper wedding, an event they will look back at without any regret whatsoever. The least I could do in this respect was to shoot this wedding for no money. It turned out to be a very positive conversation and their planning went ahead.
I’m happy to mention other participating vendors also decided to offer their services for free thus making this event a happy, joyous affair I invite you to enjoy below.
P.S. The card I received from them at the end made me remember why I got into photographing weddings in the first place. It is one of the nicest and most valuable things I’ve ever been given and I will forever cherish it. Check it out at the end of this posting.
“Do not approach the bears that might be feeding on the property”. Yes, we knew this wedding will not be a run of the mill one exactly but I could sense Sandra tensing up after she read this little warning casually posted outside the hotel Macy was getting ready at. Speaking of Macy she was terribly late, caught up at her hair salon somewhere in Perry Sound. Gabrielle, the Maid of Honour found herself a little lost in an area where cell coverage is patchy at best. The day was off to a bit of a rocky start. However nothing could possibly ruin the mood of this day so things were smoothly brought back on track and we made it to St. Peter’s Church with minutes (admittedly not that many :-) ) to spare.
To say this wedding had everything would be an understatement. From the lighthearted, emotional ceremony to the swiss watch like organized services on the impeccably groomed parent’s property where the reception was held, no detail seemed too small or deemed unnecessary. This might sound a bit boring and precise but the day was anything but. Very casual attire was encouraged and flipflops were provided along with an extensive collection of baseball caps. Bug spray as well, as we were deep into cottage country after all. And if you believe this was not enough try to think how many weddings you attended had a big bonfire (marshmallows included), an ice cream truck, a poutine truck, pit roasted suckling pig, an open bar where there were no two wine bottles alike and enough cupcakes to keep a small town happy for a couple of days.
Good people, good food and good music. What a lovely day this was.
Here is how it went. Enjoy!
You might remember Kaitlyn and Ryan from a recent engagement session we had with them in Newmarket. I know them for quite some time as I used to regularly spend a few hours in Ryan’s establishment working on clients photos over a cup of Jasmine tea, while waiting to pick up my daughter from her Spirit of Math class. I’ve heard them talking about their wedding, the planning and all the details so when they noticed I was actually in the business, they started asking for my two cents on how to do things. The rest as they say is history and here we are today shooting the actual wedding.
We caught up with the girls getting their make-up and hair done at Charmichael and the atmosphere there was already almost electric in a “it’s actually happening today!!!” kind of way. It only kept going up from there. When we got to Ryan he was stressing over the last details of his wows and for a good reason: he was pouring his soul in them. When the time came, he was so overwhelmed by the moment his voice carried very little beyond the first two rows of family and friends gathered for the ceremony. Pity, for the people in the back missed some of the most heartfelt and well written wows we ever heard throughout our years in the business.
The reception setting was unusual as well, reflecting the easy going, relaxed tone of the party that followed. There were no set places at the tables, friends and family being able to move around, sit with whoever they wanted, grab a bite to eat, a beer and dance as they seen fit as the staff at Cardinal cared for their desires. Needless to say everyone had a great time, the photographers included.
Here’s a little taste of how their wedding day went.
We always love participating in weddings of couples who have been High School sweethearts. There’s this great atmosphere of joy and the irresistible tempo of an event long time in the making. Tanya and Kivar’s wedding was no exception to this rule. The day started on a high note with the boys in the morning with their flasks and their socks and kept getting better. Not even Kivar’s rather serious incident with a cordless drill while building the structures used in the ceremony managed to put a damper in his spirits, or anyone else’s for that matter. It only managed to put a big bandage around his left thumb and an even bigger smile on his face.
The event was held the Evergreen Brick Works, an excellent venue that combines cool and chique with old charm and character, providing the perfect backdrop for all the laughter, pranks and, oh yes, an impromptu recreation of a certain scene from Titanic you’ll see further down this post. Filled with emotion is a dreadful overused expression we photographers keep on going to but this time around it barely seems adequate. More like “enough emotion to last everybody a decade, at least”.
Here is the story of this day. Enjoy!
P.S. A special mention has to go to the Food Dudes . Their catering service was impeccable and the food finger licking good spectacular.
This day was one Sandra and myself were really looking forward to. You see, apart from minor things like an actual blood line, Michaela’s practically family. When we shot her and Jared’s engagement last Fall we knew this wedding is going to be special. The sense of anticipation is literally palpable when very dear people start an important new chapter in their lives and close friends and family come together, some from very far, places like Romania or South Africa, to celebrate their union. As a photographer and friend, such an occasion is one you really need to avoid messing up but at the same time you want to enjoy fully.
When you are surrounded by such warmth and genuine enthusiasm and joy it’s impossible not to be drawn in and participate. From the morning “butterflies” to jumping higher than David Lee Roth we hope we captured it all well enough to let everyone relive and remember it the way it was.
And yes, there was “mind melding” :-)
P.S. A final word has to go again to Raluca, Jared and the staff at the Rattlesnake Point who organized and run this event like clockwork. Excellent details, excellent dinner, excellent party, excellent everything.
For us this wedding was a bit of a première. We’ve been in the wedding business for quite some time already but it just so happened we never had an opportunity to shoot at Casa Loma. It has fantastic architecture and carefully trimmed and maintained, not to mention beautiful, grounds that are a pleasure to be in. Their Conservatory is a perfect place for a ceremony and there are plenty of rooms to hold cocktails and entertain guests.
Natalia and Erik’s wedding was a bit unusual in its setting. The ceremony, the cocktails and the pictures we’re held at Casa Loma. The dinner was set at the quaint Fieramosca Trattoria and finally the party was held not very far off on The Pilot‘s Stealth Lounge. The amount of effort and energy in designing, decorating and organizing this wedding was simply incredible, down to the exquisite custom hand-cut (by Natalia) invitation we received in the mail.
The ceremony and cocktails were classy (fresh oysters anyone?), the dinner delicious (fresh Italian à la carte anyone?) and the party crazy (pole dancing anyone?) yet when we say all this it still seems a bit understated…
Needless to say we, along everyone else taking part, had a great time at this wedding and the following is a small sample of the events of the day.
You might remember Eva and Mark from our Edward Garden engagement session last year. We had quite a bit of fun on that day, shooting, talking, getting to know them better… Their open, easy going, fun loving attitude could not have prepare us however to the level of energy this wedding had in store for us. There are parties and then there’s this one that must be one of the wildest we ever attended :-).
The morning started quiet enough with preparations at both Eva and Mark’s houses and the bride reveal we set up went very smoothly, precisely as planned. Mark reaction on seeing Eva the first time was just priceless (see the images below) and pretty much set the tone for the remainder of the day. The Spring weather being what it was (I don’t even want to talk about it) we headed over to King Edward Hotel, downtown Toronto whose staff was very kind to accommodate our late request for an indoor shooting permit.
The rest, as they say, was history.
Lighting the house on fire it’s usually just an expression but as parties go, this one is literally as close as it gets without the use of an open flame. Awesome !
The following is a small sample on how the day went. Enjoy!
Here it is, the last wedding of this year… Even wet, pretty cold and gloomy weather could not dampen the spirits of Laura and Shane on this day not even the late evening chill when we had our attempt at night photography seen below. Their wedding was held at the Richmond Hill Country Club, a quiet, welcoming and very accommodating host (they even allowed us to move their furniture around a bit for one of the group shots). Everything from the ceremony to the reception was exquisitely set and delivered as a surprise Shane prepared for Laura. The wedding cake too!!!
Stylish is the word Sandra and I used a lot when we were talking about this wedding. Warm, intimate, emotional. And crazy. All wrapped up in a smooth blend delivered appropriately at every moment. Just about perfect one might say…
Perfect for good photography too.
Here is a snippet of their day. Enjoy!
It was cold and wet. Perfect timing for my otherwise trusty Pocket Wizards to start acting up…
Two all Romanian weddings in a year, it must be a special year. You might remember Codrina and Liviu from their Distillery/ Downtown Toronto engagement last summer. Today is their turn to say “I Do” but funnily, in Romanian tradition when you show up in church all dressed up for a wedding ceremony, it is assumed your mind is set and you must be there for a reason so no one will neither ask nor question your grounds for standing in front of the altar. There are no vows and the priest sets the rings the other way around, the bride’s on groom’s finger and the groom’s on the bride’s. The couple exchange them toward the end of the service, this being the only confirmation they are getting married by their own accord.
Our day started at the Godparent’s house where everyone was getting ready. The atmosphere was cheerful and happy despite the cloudy, rainy weather outside and the seemingly ruined plans for a Richmond Green outdoor bridal photo shoot after the ceremony. Our fears were unfounded as the sky cleared in the afternoon allowing us to proceed undisturbed. Besides, speaking of Romanian tradition, a bit of rain on your wedding day is a lucky sign believed to bring good fortune to the couple.
Sandra and I were especially impressed with the service held in the Holy 40 Martyrs Church. It was emotional, heartfelt, beautiful. The priests, Marius Antonel Dumitru and Stefan Dan Morariu have beautiful, deep voices capable of intricate harmonies doubled by a humble, down to earth, truly dedicated approach to their duties. A special nod has to go to George, Codrina and Liviu’s Godfather and one of our old clients who was instrumental in bringing everyone together and making this event one to be remembered (not to mention the main negotiator in bringing the stolen bride back :-) )
Without further ado, here is the story of this day.
If you’d think Brada and Ryan are familiar faces you’d be right. No, is not the engagement session we had earlier you’re remembering them from but from a wedding last year more precisely the one in which a little flower girl was offering a healthy carrot to his Dad in the middle of the ceremony… Ryan is Amanda’s brother ,he and Brada were in the bridal party there. This event is shaping to be a bit of a revisit of the same families, a lot of familiar faces. Brada and Ryan have been together for 9 years and their life together had plenty of time to evolve to include three boys and a house in a quiet corner of Brampton but don’t think for one second the wedding was a mere formality, a piece of paper to make it all official. The tears at the ceremony, the emotion it’s all real, raw and genuine. And so was the party !
The morning preparations at the two houses could not have been more different. At Ryan’s house, a bit of late partying the night before was pushing things behind schedule. The little ones and especially the boys could not see a single valid reason to get all dressed up in what looked like pretty stiff, boring attire and were trying their best shot at something not unlike Ghandi’s Passive Resistance. In contrast, at Brada’s house everything was quiet, calm and relaxed, the girls were rolling with their wedding morning routine with absolutely no drama.
Things were sorted out eventually and the day proceeded right on time and continued that way with no hiccups. The weather held up nicely, the food was great and the party wild….
Here’s a snippet of how it all went. Enjoy!
You might remember Melissa and Ben from their engagement earlier this year. Now we’re back with them for their wedding day. We knew this will be one heck of a day the minute we stepped inside Ben’s parent’s house, where he was getting ready : the Coronas were free flowing and the boys could not wait to get started. The situation was no different at the Heintzman House, where Melissa and the girls were set into the house’s gorgeous corner parlor. Hair and makeup were on the go along with the last minute wedding dress preparations, lots of activity but somehow a relaxed, cheerful atmosphere. This atmosphere continued pretty much throughout the entire day, all the way to the last beats of the party. And what a party it was ! Kept us, the wedding photographers busy and with big smiles on our faces.
A few words about Heintzmann House. The venue itself is unusual in it’s setting and set up. It’s a designated historic property protected under the Ontario Heritage Act, a beautiful 13 room mansion, built sparing no expense in 1817, with a nicely sized ballroom, a lounge, a kitchen and several big rooms (parlors) one can hire for any kind of events. With carefully groomed grounds and original walnut paneling this is just about the perfect setting for a wedding day. Cue in a cloudless sunny but not overly warm weather for a great recipe for nice photography. The guests also absolutely loved the fact they could roam around and explore this estate.
Without further ado, here is a snippet of this day.
It is with a tear (of joy) I’m writing this blog entry, Andrei and now Raluca, are close family. Their joy on this day is almost palpable, contagious, overrunning all the anxiety caused by all the planning mishaps inherent in each wedding ( Will it rain? It did. Will everything be perfectly set up? Yes, almost everything was :) ). The families and friends on both sides, some coming from pretty far corners of the Earth, were running on that kind of high octane emotional fuel only weddings seem capable of producing. And let’s not forget the tranquility and, at times, sadness of the present grandparents who have been so instrumental in getting Raluca and Andrei where they are now. I can’t help thinking the happiest of them all would have been someone who was not with us. I close my eyes and I almost feel my father’s presence there with that special serene smile, that blissful expression on his face we’d only see when he was at his happiest moments.
So how does one approaches documenting an event which holds this much emotional weight, when one is involved personally so deeply ? “Dive right in” I thought to myself…
I could go at quite some length about all the wonderful details of this day but I somehow feel everyone is here to see the pictures. Here it is, the longest ever entry in our blog.
We knew Richelle and Noel’s wedding would be a meticulously planned day from the first meeting we had with them as prospective clients. Noel was very particular about what he wanted, a perfect day for Richelle, their families and friends to celebrate their union. With their fall engagement done last year everything started to take shape nicely and Sandra and I begun looking forward to this event. The day went without a hitch with Swiss clockwork precision despite the hot and humid, bright July weather which made the after ceremony formals outside the church and Humber Arboretum photo session a bit of a challenge especially for the boys who insisted on keeping their jackets on along with their smiles.
Down at the Embassy Grand venue the reception spotted impeccably set gorgeous decor, a relaxed atmosphere and friendly staff to go along with a tasty cocktail menu and , among other liquid things, ice-cold non alcoholic mango cocktail, a welcome way to quench the thirst after our session outside.
Another thing worth noting: Sandra and I were impressed by the number of guests which knew well ALL the steps to ALL the music the band played from waltzes to country line dancing. Awesome stuff.
The following is a snippet of this day. Enjoy!
Back with Raluca and Andrei for their first Wedding Day. In Romania a couple wishing to tie the knot still has to go for an official wedding and the marriage license to the City Hall before they can have a traditional Church Ceremony. Rather than rush and cram everything in a single day, Raluca and Andrei decided to have relaxed, separate ceremonies in two different days. We’re always very happy to participate in events like this but in this particular case I had tiny little knots of emotion going through pretty much thru the whole event. We’re photographers documenting the proceedings however this couple is very dear to us, they are family. And there is another personal reason to have this mix of emotions, undoubtedly shared by my Mom and my Sister also present. My late Father, Andrei’s Grandfather would have loved to be part of it all. Raluca and Andrei and their future together were about the only thing he would talk about before losing his fight with cancer last year.
A word of note of how everyone participating in this event was welcomed by Raluca’s family and Godparents in Brasov. Extraordinary warm would be perhaps an understatement as the way everyone pulled together to make this day memorable was simply incredible.
This is but a small photographic snippet of that day. Enjoy!
Wes and Rizelle had their engagement on Toronto Island last summer and today we’re back with them for their wedding day. As emotional wedding ceremonies go, theirs must rank pretty high up there. Reviewing the pictures for this entry brought tears to our eyes (and tears of laughter as well… ). Our host for the day was Le Jardin Event Center, a perfect setting for this stylish and joyous event.
This is the story of the day. Enjoy !
You may remember Brenna and Jordan from our last summer farm engagement shoot . Now we’re back with them for their stylish Big Day. Holland Marsh Wineries played host and provided the perfect fall backdrop for their ceremony and party. Equally gorgeous were the season colors on Brenna’s Dad property he so generously allowed us to roam free about. The only small kink in this perfect day was perhaps the cold and rather moody weather which forced us inside a number of times however, you’d be hard pressed to guess all that from the pictures as literally everyone focused on celebrating Brenna and Jordan’s union and on enjoying the day.
This is by far the largest entry in our blog so far…
“There’s nothing like a life threatening illness to help put your life in perspective and highlight your priorities”. Steve’s own words. We were chatting and taking pictures while he was waiting in St. Anne’s Church for his bride to be, Amanda to walk down the aisle. Dealing with cancer is tough, Steve’s got the scars to prove it, putting everything else on hold, including the best laid wedding plans. Well, almost 2 years later with good signs of a successful treatment, their Big Day was back on and no one was happier than their little daughter Peyton. As you can see, she cares about Daddy’s and wants him eating the nice, fresh , healthy veggies.
We felt privileged to be part of their day. Here is how it all happened.