Category archives: Wedding

Heather + Chris | Royalton Punta Cana Wedding

I’ve actually had this Royalton Punta Cana Destination Wedding lined to be blogged for a while now but have been struggling with the text portion of this post.  I’m not sure why, maybe it’s because it’s difficult to put such a special week into words.Bavaro Beach, Punta Cana WeddingHeather applied to my Destination Wedding contest last year and the moment I read her entry I knew this was a wedding I HAD to be a part of.  You see Heather & Chris have had a wild couple of years.  A whirlwind romance, Chris working away from home, Heather’s sweet & hilarious son, plus 2 more babies meant time together was rare & precious.  This was going to be a once in a lifetime vacation where their whole family could celebrate together and they were understandably SO EXCITED!
I wish I had space in this post to show you alllllll the photos but we’ll start with the actual wedding day.  Heather & Chris had a gorgeous first look & portrait session before heading off to tie the knot.  The wedding ceremony was originally planned for the beach but after seeing the secluded garden area Heather & Chris opted to move things there instead.  It was a beautiful, private, tropical oasis where their family & friends gathered to witness an intimate ceremony.  Many tears were shed and comic relief was provided by a cheeky peacock who seemed to squawk at just the right moment.  I cried when I read Heather’s letter, I cried throughout the wedding day, and I cried as I selected images for this blog.
We enjoyed a fabulous dinner at sunset, heard some moving speeches under the stars, then partied the night away on the sand.  It was pretty perfect.
Thank you so much to the Royalton Punta Cana & Breakaway Travel for making this trip so lovely & for helping create a magical wedding day.  Thank you to Heather & Chris for taking me with you – I hope you love your photos as much as I do.  Oh and if you missed Chris & the groomsmen’s Sports Illustrated style pre-wedding shoot check it out here -> Beach Boyzzzz.  Stay tuned for part 2 – their day after session! Peacock, Royalton Punta Cana, Garden wedding Punta cana wedding, royalton Sunset bavaro beach, punta cana, royalton Royalton Punta Cana, Destination wedding Details Punta Cana Wedding Photographer

Mother’s Day | Thank You Moms

I’ve always enjoyed watching parents as they watch their children get married.  It’s a beautiful rollercoaster ride of emotion: stress, joy, nostalgia, pride, and a myriad of others… as a storyteller this is the stuff I live for.  The role of a mother at a wedding isn’t always an easy one.  They often feel so much responsibility and pressure that it can become overwhelming.  Mothers are occasionally the ones who take the brunt of those “bridal meltdown” moments when things don’t go quite right.  They fix broken buttons, settle screaming babies, make sure Grandma’s been picked up, and still need to get themselves ready (among so many other things).  Sometimes the bride is a mama herself, as you can imagine this can bring added challenges to an already busy day.  It’s chaotic.  It’s love.  It’s motherhood.
Now that I’m a Mom myself wedding day moments resonate with me more than ever.  I’ve selected a few of my favourite Mom images from the past year (there were wayyyy too many) in honour of Mother’s Day.  Thank you to all the wonderful mothers (including mine) who have helped make your children’s wedding days the best day ever.  You’re wonderful and we’d be lost without you xo.

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Thompson Hotel Wedding | Cobourg Wedding | Muskoka Wedding | Kortrigth Centre Wedding

Gillian + Matt | Parkwood Estate

It’s so rare for me to photograph a wedding in the town where I ACTUALLY live – rare and exciting.  When Gillian got in touch to let me know their wedding would be right here in Oshawa at St. George’s Anglican Church with photos at Parkwood Estate my heart leapt for joy.  One of the most stunning properties in the GTA and only 5 minutes drive from my home???  YES PLEASE!
Location was only part of the reason I was so excited.  You see I’d met Gill a few years ago when she modelled for a styled bridal shoot I had done with Tanis Emmett Wedding Style.  A couple years later my incredibly talented hair stylist Natalie got hitched and Gillian just happens to be her sister in law.  When I heard that Gill and Matt were engaged I crossed all my fingers in hopes that she’d call me.  Clearly she did lol!

St. George Anglican Oshawa, Toronto wedding photographer, parkwood estates oshawa, bride details, wedding dressI love Gill & Matt’s story.  These two were friends in high school who wound up dating for a few years.  Eventually they parted ways but found their way back to each other another 6 years later (via Facebook).  One date was all it took for them to rekindle the spark and the rest is history.  In Gill’s words “I never stopped thinking he was the one.”  It was meant to be.  Gill is one of the most beautiful women I know – both inside and out.  Matt can get her laughing like nobody else can and he looks at her in a way that I can’t describe.  They are the perfect match and it was a true honour to be part of this magical day.

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Church: St. George Anglican Oshawa
Venue: Oshawa Golf Club
Photo Location: Parkwood Estate
Makeup: Rebecca Grech
Hair: Julie Duncan
Flowers: The Bride
Dress: Bliss Bridal Boutique

Nicole + Tyler | Berkeley Church Wedding

Being a Toronto Wedding Photographer is pretty much the best gig ever!  2016 was a crazy year and I’m so thankful for the couples who chose us to document their biggest moments.  Our final wedding of the year was in early November on a BEAUTIFUL Saturday right in the heart of Toronto.  I’d been wanting to photograph a Berkeley Church wedding forever and I finally got the call!
Nicole & Tyler’s wedding was the perfect way to end the wedding season.  I can’t say enough about these two!!  So warm, welcoming, kind, and fun – it was one for the books.  N&T exchanged vows at the stunning Blessed Sacrament Parish after which we did a little tour of Toronto photo spots and wound up at the iconic Gooderham Building on Front Street.  It was perfectly Nicole & Tyler.
The evening’s festivities took place at Berkeley Church where emotional speeches and amazing food were followed by one of the best dance parties of the year.  Thank you so much for having us you guys!  Jacquie and I had the best time with you and we truly hope you’ll stay friends with us for a long, long time.
xoxo ~ Jen
(Scroll to the very bottom for vendor credits)

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It takes a pretty significant team of amazing vendors to pull off a wedding day!  We worked with some of the best wedding professionals in Toronto for Nicole & Tyler’s fabulous event this past November.  If you’re a fan of these photos you should definitely take a minute and check out their fantastic work. I’ve included the links to their websites here for your viewing pleasure – enjoy!
Secondary Photographer | Jacquie Reimer of Oak & Olive
Venue | Berkeley Church
Flowers | Ken’s Flowers on Avenue
Cake | Phipps Bakery
Bridal Gown | Felichia Bridal
Groom’s Attire | Indochino
Bridesmaids Dresses | 3rd Floor Studio
Bride’s Hair & Makeup | Katie Bradley

Wedding Lighting Tips for Great Photos

Let’s talk about lighting your wedding!  Sound boring?  I promise it’ll be worth the read!

If you’re like most people you likely don’t think about light all that often.  Unless you’re installing new fixtures in your home or trying to read in a dark room lighting probably doesn’t cross your mind.  On the other hand, if you are a wedding photographer like me, your whole world revolves around light!  Photography is quite literally (according to Webster’s) the art or process of producing images by the action of radiant energy and especially light on a sensitive surface.  With any old light source we can make a picture but when we have access to GOOD light… whoa… the game changes.

A good photographer should be able to create a decent image no matter their circumstance but when our clients make awesome lighting choices it can make a big difference in the look & mood of your photos.  I’m *hopefully* going to help break it down for you with some tips to help you make the most of light throughout your wedding day.  Keep these in mind and your photographer will love you SO MUCH.  Trust me.

Phase 1 – Getting Ready
This is a big one.  Most people book their prep spaces based on convenience & cost – there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that!  Unless of course, light is scarce.  A dark hotel room or home often means that natural light is limited and additional lamps are needed.  Mixed lighting never looks as good as even light.  Some things you can look for when making plans are big windows, open floor plans, plenty of natural light, and neutral tones.getting ready photos, bridal makeup, one king west, toronto wedding photographerThompson hotel Toronto Wedding Photographer muskoka wedding photographer

Phase 2 – The First Look
Not everyone opts for a first look session, if you’re not doing one you have my permission to scroll past this section ;).  If you ARE doing a reveal this likely means that you’ll be seeing each other for the first time earlier in the afternoon.  You may have heard the term “golden hour” which is the hour before sunset and most photographers will agree they love this light the most for portraits.  Golden hour doesn’t happen at 3pm ;).  So, if you’re gathering ideas for your first look location I’d recommend a spot with open shade or again, lots of window light.  Harsh lighting can be really cool when we can control how it’s being used but first looks are unscripted moments so planning ahead to avoid squinting & raccoon eyes helps a lot.

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Phase 3 – The Ceremony
I’m splitting this in half – first up, outdoor ceremonies.  Shooting outside can be the best EVER but it also means there are a lot of variables out of our control.  For instance: midday sun or dappled forest light creating unflattering shadows, people squinting or having their faces hidden behind sunglasses, the list goes on.  If you’ve ever been outside at noon in July you know it can get pretty harsh out there!  For starters, a later ceremony means you’ll automatically get softer light (I’m talking after 4pm, even later during long days of summer).  It’s also helpful to find a ceremony location with open shade as well as placing the bride & groom with the sun behind them.

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If you’re more of an indoor kinda couple that’s ok!  Or if you’re outdoorsy with a rain plan (aka smart) there are some things to think about.  Old churches & rustic venues can be preeeettty dark so asking if there is pulpit lighting or if you can add candles for added ambient light may be beneficial.  You’ll also want to ask your officiant if flash is permitted!  Actually, ask them about all their photo restrictions BEFORE you book them.  You should also ask whether your photographer can set up external light if need be.  Some photographers prefer to use only available light while others use a lot of flash so it’s nice to know this stuff ahead of time.

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Phase 4 – The Portraits
My biggest tip when it comes to portraits is to TRUST your photographer.  We want you to look awesome (cuz that makes us look awesome) so trusting that we’ll know where you look your best is huge.  Have a rain plan in case the weather isn’t perfect.  Include your photographer in the creating of your wedding timeline so that they can advise you on the best time to shoot these.  If you’re having a noon church wedding you’re probably thinking of doing photos right away but that might not be the best thing, so ask ask ask – there are no dumb questions.

My favourite part of a wedding day is sneaking my couples out of dinner for some romantic portraits when the light is ooohhh so gorgeous.  This also means they get to take a breather and enjoy a moment together to take it all in.  Great light + all the feels = magic. honsberger estate wedding, vineyard bride, vineyard wedding, niagara on the lake, niagara falls wedding, niagara falls canada, fallsview casino, destination wedding photographer, louisiana, rcmp wedding, toronto wedding photographer, father first look, huffington post weddings Toronto Wedding Photographer, Cobourg wedding photographer, kawartha lakes wedding photos, victoria hall cobourg, northumberland wedding ontario, DIY wedding canada, destination wedding photos, goodyear arizona wedding photographer

Phase 5 – The Reception
BRING IT ON!!!  As mentioned before, rustic or older spaces can be pretty dark but with some ambient reception lighting they can also be soooo beautiful.  I can’t speak for other photographers but I love shooting with as little light from flash as possible.  I can and will use whatever I need to but my preference is to use available light.  Candles, chandeliers, pin lighting, lanterns, string lighting, suspended bulbs… get creative with light that suits your style!berkeley church string lights, berkeley church wedding toronto, purple uplighting berkeley church string lights, berkeley church wedding toronto, purple uplighting doctors house wedding, kleinburg wedding, toronto wedding photographer, string lights, candle table decor Thompson hotel Toronto Wedding Photographer Kortright Centre, Toronto Wedding Photographer, The Junction Toronto, Urban Wedding Toronto, Documentary Photography, candid wedding photos, calgary wedding photographer, phoenix wedding photographer, goodyear arizona

So there you have it!  I could talk about lighting all day so if you have questions feel free to drop me a line.  It should be noted that every photographer has a different preference and I can’t speak for everyone.  If you’re looking for a specific style be sure to communicate what you like and how you hope your images to look.  Even more important than good lighting is finding a photographer who’s work fits with your vision.  Don’t be afraid to ask questions and trust your gut!

xo ~ Jen

Georgina + Jacob | Thompson Hotel Toronto Wedding

The Thompson Hotel in Toronto has been on my wedding bucket list foreeeevvver.  How excited was I when a fellow photographer referred an unbelievably awesome couple to me for this exact location?  Whoa.  You have no idea.
I met with Georgina & Jake in Toronto just a few short months before their October wedding and was immediately struck by 2 things.  The first was George’s smile – she smiles & laughs with her entire heart.  It’s so endearing and you can’t help but fall in love with her right away.  The second thing was the way Jake looks at Georgina – he’s more of a strong silent type but he is clearly her biggest fan.  They were the sweetest pair and I jumped at the opportunity to tell their story.

G&J’s wedding day was FREEZING cold and so windy.  As you can imagine it threw a couple snags into their plan for a rooftop wedding at the Thompson with a view of the Toronto skyline.  There was no way weather was going to rattle these two – they rolled with the punches and trusted their amazing vendors to get the ceremony set up in the safest & most comfortable way possible  The floral team from Roadside Florist tucked the beautiful chuppah out of the wind and everything went perfectly.  Shadow the rescue dog was the sweetest flower pup escorting Georgina’s adorable little nieces down the aisle.  Guests snuggled under warm blankets with drinks in hand as they watched 2 of their favourite people tie the knot.

We had the best time with this wonderful group from the moment we stepped into their hotel suite.  It was a beautiful, unique day that was perfectly Georgina & Jake.  I think it will always be one of my favourites.  Be sure to scroll down to check out the super talented team behind this lovely day ~ xo.

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 Venue & Catering: Thompson Hotels
Floral Design: Roadside Florist
Bride’s Dress: Becker’s Bridal
Groom’s Attire: Moore’s
Makeup: Kelly Cloney
Cinematography: Rowland Films
Cupcakes: Prairie Girl Bakery
DJ: Mike – Evolved Entertainment

Lisa + Chris | Muskoka Wedding Photographer

Warning:  You’re about to view a crazy gorgeous Muskoka Wedding and you might not be able to handle it – It’s been over 4 months since we shot this stunner and I still can’t quite believe this wedding was real.
If you’re not an Ontario resident you many not be familiar with the stunning beauty that is the Muskoka Lakes region.  Allow me to enlighten you.  Every summer (and fall, and winter) thousands upon thousands of urbanites flock to the Muskoka lakes to escape the city.  Picturesque rock cliffs, clear waters, and quiet woods are among Muskoka’s many treasures.  It’s no wonder that at least 10-15% of my annual wedding lineup takes place in this incredibly beautiful area.  Every time I have the opportunity to shoot a cottage country wedding you can bet I jump on it – Lisa & Chris’s wedding was nothing short of a dream come true.
For those who know L&C it will come as no surprise when I mention that these two are among the most lovely people I’ve had the pleasure of working with.  They are warm, welcoming, HILARIOUS, and oh so in love.  These high school sweethearts have quite literally grown up together so it was a no brainer to have their wedding in a place that meant so much to them.  Along their journey Lisa & Chris have gathered a wonderful group of friends and have the BEST family.  They made sure to host a great party packed with live music, delicious food, and plenty of unique details (ahem… a cigar roller?! what?!).  You will definitely want to scroll down for a list of super talented vendors who made this day one for the books.
Special thanks to Jacquie Reimer of Oak + Olive for travelling with me to shoot this awesome day!  I couldn’t have captured all the beauty you’re about to see without her keen eye & amazing attitude.

To Lisa & Chris – thank you for being your down-to-earth amazing selves and for being a pure joy to work with.  Can’t wait to see you in Prince Edward Island next year!!! xoxoxo

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Floral Design: Rachel A. Clingen
Event Coordination & Catering: Cravings Fine Food
Live Music: Jeanine Mackie Band
Stationary: Paper & Poste
Cigar Roller: Correnti Cigars
Videography: Focus Productions
Cake: For the Love of Cake
Hair: i.d. Hair Studio
Makeup: Esther Inka
Dress: Stella York
Groom’s Suit: Hugo Boss
Tent Rental: Premier Event Tent Rentals
Tables/Dishes/Linens/Flatware: Chairman Mills
Chairs: Detailz Couture Event Rentals

Kathleen + Aaron | The Gladstone Hotel Wedding

If you have never been to a wedding at the Gladstone Hotel in Toronto I’m sorry to tell you that you are missing out.  When Aaron & Kathleen first approached me about shooting their Gladstone Hotel Wedding I literally crossed all my fingers and prayed to the wedding photography gods to make them book with me.  As a past patron of the Gladstone for social events (and some pretty epic Karaoke) I knew that this charming boutique hotel was full of character & history – the perfect place for an intimate wedding.

Fast forward a few months and I finally met K&A in person at their engagement session.  They were adorable, a little shy, and just so so sweet.   Their warmth and love for each other is contagious!  My excitement over their upcoming wedding got a little out of control at that point – incredible venue AND dream clients????  Too good to be true!  But it was all real.  And I loved every moment.

Kathleen & Aaron are not flashy people.  They wanted to create an intimate and fun space for their deeply cherished family & friends – nothing over the top.  The entire day was relaxed, friendly, and beautiful.  Their creativity and personalities shone through in all the carefully selected details – if only every wedding were as wonderfully unique!  These two did things their way from having the groom’s sister officiate to a completely private 1st dance that even I was not privy to.  Ugh so perfect.  Going through these photos to select which ones to blog left me a little teary-eyed, this was maybe one of my all-time favourite days and I’ll miss it.  I hope you enjoy the photos & be sure to scroll down to catch the list of incredible vendors who lent their talents to a pretty wonderful day. xo

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Second Shot by: Julie LeBlanc
Venue & Catering: Gladstone Hotel
Floral Designer: Coriander Girl (Bouquets & Boutonnières) & Da Vinci Flower Shop (Fresh Table Florals)
Makeup: Alexandra Track Makeup
Hair: DKVS Hair (Daina Schreiber)
Bride’s Dress: Original
Groom’s Attire: Banana Republic
Cake: Jessica Tran
Cinematographer: 9Block Productions
DJ: Tommy Rajic

Miller Lash House Wedding | Jenessa + Jason

Jenessa & Jason’s Miller Lash House Wedding will forever remain in my memory as one of the craziest weather days I’ve ever seen as a photographer.  If you talk to any Toronto Wedding Photographer they will tell you exactly where they were shooting on August 13, 2016 because it was easily the most humid and wild days of the summer.  Our day began at Jenessa’s mother’s house for hair & makeup.  We knew that storms were in the forecast but when the tornado warnings began broadcasting over the radio they were quickly dismissed as amber alerts (not that you should ever dismiss an amber alert).  I remember turning to Ella who was shooting with me and saying “were those tornado warnings?”.  We shrugged our shoulders and continued about our day.
Fast forward to our arrival at Miller Lash House where we met up with Jason and the groomsmen… and a gigantic thunder storm.  Water was pouring off the roof like a waterfall and I was sure it would never stop.  Stress levels began to climb as Jay struggled to decide whether or not to bring the outdoor ceremony into the tent.  J&J knew the moment they laid eyes on the outdoor space at Miller Lash that they wanted to be married there.  You can imagine how difficult it was for Jason to resign himself to the fact that the outdoor ceremony just wouldn’t be possible given the storm cells that were yet to arrive.  He was understandably upset but the show must go on and nothing was going to ruin this day.
Finally after everyone was dressed the rain eased up just enough for Jason to tuck himself under one of the glorious overhangs at Miller Lash House and await Jenessa’s arrival for their first look.  I will never forget the looks they exchanged when these two first saw each other and the beautiful moments that followed.  Rain was nothing – love was all that mattered… (‘scuse me, I’m getting choked up again as I type).  We carried on with portraits and then something amazing happened… the rain stopped.
There was another large storm cell on the radar making it’s way closer but Jason couldn’t live with the decision to have the wedding in the tent.  He boldly made a last minute call to take things outside where we WOULD have clear skies and they WOULD get married in their dream location.  The entire mood of the day shifted to not just love but love and HUGE excitement.  High fives, hugs, and gigantic smiles made up some of my favourite moments.  The ceremony did in fact take place outside (in the sweltering humidity) and it was just about as perfect as you could hope for.  I’m so thrilled to share this post because this wedding meant so much to me.  At a time of the summer where things were starting to pile up and become insanely busy I was reminded of why I do this.  To quote James Day – I photograph to remind people of the love that exists in their lives.  It was an honour to be part creating memories of the love that exists between Jenessa & Jason, two of my new favourite humans.

Jenessa & Jason – thank you so much for being completely wonderful from the first time we sat down for coffee.  I’ll never forget Jenessa’s warm smile and Jason’s solid handshake.  I knew right away that your wedding would be incredible – rain, shine, snow, or hail.  I’m so thrilled for you and can’t wait to see what the future holds.  Much love xoxo ~ Jen

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AMAZING VENDOR SHOUT OUTS!

Hair: Nadine Bastien – Aphrodite’s Sanctuary
Makeup: Gracee Shorter
Gown: White Bridal Boutique
Groom’s Attire: Emporio Uomo
Floral Design: Pink Twig
Catering: En Ville
DJ: DJ Couture – Omid Nazeri
Cinematography: Rabian Ballan – Spring Films

Sarah + Jeff | George Restaurant Wedding

I moved to Toronto over 10 years ago and it still feels like just yesterday!  This city never stops surprising me and even though I’ve become a suburb dweller since getting married I still love it so much.  This summer I had the opportunity to spend a gorgeous day with Sarah & Jeff at one of my new favourite Toronto venues.  The Ivy at Verity Boutique Hotel and George Restaurant were the perfect settings for an intimate wedding ceremony and love-filled (and super delicious) lunch reception!  Sarah & Jeff are one of the sweetest pairs I’ve had the pleasure of working with and this day was seriously stunning.  Brick, ivy, city streets, and back alleys made awesome backdrops for tons of laughter and of course some romantic moments.

S&J decided to do a first look session at a nearby park and totally embraced having their moment in front of total strangers.  They didn’t even notice that they had an audience – they only saw each other and it was completely gorgeous!  We did almost all the formal photos before their ceremony so they were able to enjoy plenty of time with friends & family.

Sarah & Jeff – you made my job so easy!  You made me feel like an old friend from day one and your amazing crew treated Julie & I like part of the gang.  It was an absolute pleasure to spend your day with you – we loved your wedding so much and miss you already.  xoxo

(See below for all the wonderful vendors who contributed!)

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Second Photographer: Julie LeBlanc

Venue & Catering: The Ivy at Verity & George Restaurant

Wedding Planner: Willow Rose Events

Floral Design: Botany Floral Studio

Hair & Makeup: Blush Pretty

Bridal Boutique: Becker’s Bridal

Men’s Wear: MADE Clothing Co.

Cake Design: George Restaurant