An Intimate Affair | Catalina & Sami

Intimate weddings like the one I'm about to share really do something to my heart and soul. Maybe it's because my own wedding was itty bitty, or maybe it's because there are only a handful of people who hold such intimate affairs, that when I do get to be a part of these kinds of days, well, they just feel extra special.

Catalina & Sami were all smiles from the first moment I saw them each on their wedding day to the moment I said my goodbyes. I started the day with Sami (as much I love bride prep, I also really love groom prep and get excited on the wedding days where both are on the schedule for me), then headed to the private golf club where Catalina got dressed. Each little event was laced with moments to remember. Calm, intimate, giggle filled moments.

The ceremony was complete with their pup as their ring bearer, cultural traditions, laughter, tears and beautiful & totally personal vows. After their kiss, they walked down the aisle right into their first dance as their family gathered around to watch. There were no cell phones distracting anyone, everyone was completely present. You could feel all the emotion in each person who was honoured to share in their special day.

Weddings don't always have to be big events where you rush around, or things are overly drawn out. Sometimes it's just short and sweet, where everything flows into the next thing and everyone is present the entire time.

Now don't get me wrong I love big weddings too, but these intimate affairs really melt my heart in a way I just can't stop smiling about!

PS. in case you are wondering about the gorgeous blooms that add so much beauty to this wedding, which you should because they are STUNNING, they are by my girl from Hunt & Gather

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A Golden Hour Elopement | Liz & Steve

Liz & Steve. These two make my heart skip a beat. The first time I met this couple wasn't actually the first time.  A lot of my clients are referrals from other rad couples, and knowing who they came referred by, I knew they were good people (shout out to Amanda & Brian!!). But as a couple, with the focus being just them, we met for the first time over drinks at my favourite meeting spot in Queen West. We chatted, we laughed and we really hit it off. Apparently my own wedding (the small little intimate ceremony we managed to have in High Park) was inspiration for part of their wedding plans too. They had me more than smitten. And, I apparently was their lucky charm, as after meeting with me, they got word they got the home they had just put an offer in on. Woot!

Flash forward a few months later when it was finally wedding time. It was a two day event, but it was the Friday that made me heart cartwheel with excitement. Friday was the day that just me, a Rabbi and these two loves adventured into High Park to officially tie the knot. We met at their home, signed the official documents with their family & a few friends, then just the four of us jumped in Steve's truck and headed to a magical little spot in High Park where the sun set by a big tree on the waters edge. The intimacy, the sweetness and the sentiment was so strong and touching that I definitely had to wipe a few tears away behind my camera. These small moments have the biggest affect on me. This career of mine brings me into the most intimate of moments between people who define love in the purest form and it makes you know our world has so much good in it.

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A 99 Sudbury wedding | Lindsay & Justin

These two beauties couldn't have been more excited to get married and it was beyond a delight working with them along the way from engaged to married. We hit it off right away from our first meeting, then it's no secret around the time I was getting married, I was a bit of a comedic relief for them while they were going through some crazy planning moments. I couldn't have been more excited when their day finally arrived and you'll see all the love, all the fun and ease, as they sailed through their wedding day.

Couples like these two are so good for the heart. When two people know exactly why they are getting married, it makes the whole day pretty darn fabulous. Enjoy these moments from the wedding of Lindsay & Justin. And, a special thank you to Frances Beatty for coming along to second shoot this wedding with me.

Ps you'll want to scroll to the bottom to see the list of fab vendors too. It was a full deck of awesome. So much so that Ruffled featured this wedding on their blog here.

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Wedding Team:

Photography: Scarlet O’Neill
Wedding Planning and Design: Lustre Events
Floral Design: Patchouli Design
Venue: 99 Sudbury – The Glass Factory
Bridal Store: Kleinfeld
Hair and Makeup: The Beauty Team
Catering: The Food Dudes
Band and Live Musicians: The GriND
Rentals – Harvest Tables, Bar, Woodland Chairs: Marvelle Events
Rentals – White Tuscan Chairs: Divine Furniture Rentals
Table Linens: Around the Table
Runners and Napkins: Linen Closet
Tabletop Rentals: Chairman Mills
Officiant: Jeremy Citron with All You Need is Love
Stationery: The Paper Bakery
Videography: Timothy Muza

Love (Actually) Exhibition

The Love (Actually) Exhibition is a group photography show that made it's debut last year. This is it's second year running at the Gladstone Hotel (on the third floor) and will be an annual show- which is super exciting for me & the wedding industry.

The topic of the show is one very close to my heart; real moments from weddings.  It's as simple, yet as powerful as that. And, it's other focus is the community within the wedding industry, which is in fact a community, not a group of competitors.

 Photo by one of the artist in the show; Frances Beatty Photography

Photo by one of the artist in the show; Frances Beatty Photography


Where did the idea of the show come from?

A few years ago, my view on wedding photography completely shifted.

At this time, where things were shifting for me, I had already been a wedding photographer for more than 10 years and I was starting to get a little cranky shooting weddings. And, I truly believe in shooting weddings, this should never be the sentiment of your photographer. Never ever.

Some of the clients I was working with cared more about the height of their center pieces and were obsessing over the exact shade of barely-there-lipstick, instead of wanting to just spend time being present in the moment, or even over smooching their beloved. The photos were becoming posed and endless look-at-the-camera shots, and moments were being missed. Emotions from the day weren't been felt and the work was just images of things that didn't move me. These weddings were loosing sight of what mattered. The days were rushed, people were squeezing in everything they could, there were massive bridal parties that were stressing the couple out more than being there for them, and things of meaning were getting lost in the shuffle. Even I was getting distracted. 

When these things happen, one must take a step back and get perspective. And, I did just that. I became selective over the people I worked with, the venues I shot at, the vendors I worked with and made sure that love was the first thing that people were excited about when they talked about their wedding plans. Then, everything shifted. My work shifted. My heart shifted.

After a long, heart felt season, I came up with the idea and went to the Gladstone with the idea. It was a quick turn around too. I pitched the idea in December 2016, started taking in submissions over my honeymoon in January and the show opened that next month in February. And now, it's back for it's second show and I'm so happy about it I could burst.


Are all the photographs in the show yours?

NO. Only one is mine. There are 34 images in the show, 33 are images from other photographers. To be honest each year it's a battle if I will actually put my own photograph in the show or not, as I'd love to give as much back to the community and feature as many photographers as possible. When I started the show last year, I custom built each frame that holds the photographs. Because of this, every year there will only ever be 34 images in the show.

A lot of people ask me why I would put so much work into a photography show that is mainly other peoples work? Mainly, competitors work.... and I even get asked if I'm afraid this will take away work from myself. I disagree with this because truly there are enough weddings and work to go around. Not every wedding, not every couple, not every project is a good fit for me too. I'd rather give a project to someone it would match perfectly with.

As much as people might think we are all competitors, I don't believe we are. Over the years of being a wedding photographer, these are my favourite years because the community has become so vibrant and so welcoming. Photographers will refer weddings to one another, mentor each other, and even host events together. It's a very small community too and we are protective over each other too which is kind of nice to know that someone has your back. We have such similar strange schedules & obstacles, and being a community that helps one another allows us to grow in such a positive way. For this reason, it's with a happy heart that I love this time of year even more than usual as its the time of year I can create an opportunity to showcase the work of my peers- especially because often wedding photography isn't seen in an art frame of view.

You can see the collection of this years contributors below. Click on each image to be taken to that particular photographers site and explore. Their work is truly remarkable and I am so excited to have each and everyone of them a part of this show.


Why Real Moments?

I truly believe that wedding photographers don't get the credit they deserve for the work they put into their craft. Often wedding photographs are seen as cheesy pictures. But, they really really are not this!

Wedding photography encompasses so many things all at once. In one image you have million things going on and so often people don't realize that. It's not just point and shoot. It's not just your "fancy camera" doing all the work. It's not all Photoshop. The people in the photos are not models, they are real people, so different from each and every one of them. They are full of culture, traditions and even alternative or non traditions elements. As much as there are two people committing each other, the schedule of the day, the players, the place, the moments and the emotions are truly different at each and every wedding.

To me, wedding photography is art that can move you. It's a million real moments. Photos make it so that this day is never forgotten. Memories can be remembered for generations, making your love story the best real life fairy tale there ever was.

Real moments are the best. Why not have a day full of them, and then photos to bring you back to each one, over and over again.


The Photographs

Here is the collection of 2018 photographs for the Love (Actually) Exhibition.

The photos below are not in the same order as the contributor list below. Click each image to be taken to that photographers website.

And, come to the show to see the show in real life. You'll thank me, they are gorgeous.


I want to come and see it in real life

Show run: January 30th-Feb 25th. Open daily 12-5pm

Where: The Gladstone Hotel, Toronto. 1214 Queen street west. Third Floor

OPENING NIGHT RECEPTION: Thursday, February 8th, 2017 7pm-10pm

Come meet all the photographers, the planners, the florists, the venue coordinators, the dj's, the couples, the people who just really dig love! Last year the room was PACKED and we think we might be lucky again with a full house. There will be music buzzing in the air courtesy of DJ RIch Sweet, with a cash bar and nibbles from the Gladstone Hotel.


On the fence?

Last year we had some lovely coverage of the show from Toronto Life and Blogto.

Both articles were absolutely awesome.

This year there are some returning photographers as well as new photographers to the show. 

  A little secret I can let you in on is that there is some mega awesome love headed our way again from one of the same publications and also some new ones too. One in particular is one that I'm so very fond of.

You'll just have to check back real soon for that!

Hope to see you there!

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Abigail & Chris | An intimate tent wedding by the water

Abigail & Chris | An intimate tent wedding by the water

Abigail & Chris celebrated their love by the water's edge at their family cottage with all of their favourite people. It was one gorgeous day with a sunset to inspire all the love letters in the land.

Meaghan & JF | An intimate wedding by the water

Meaghan & JF | An intimate wedding by the water

An intimate boho wedding by the water with two lovers. It was windy, it was full of laughter and it was a day that made the heart want to burst from love. These two held a wedding that was truly representative of them and it makes me smile knowing how genuinely them their wedding day was.

Kelly & James | A Prince Edward County wedding at Crystal Palace

Kelly & James |  A Prince Edward County wedding at Crystal Palace

This past fall on a chilly, but sunny weekend, in Prince Edward County, the wedding of Kelly & James warmed everyone's heart. These two threw quite a shindig, complete with endless charcuterie, magnums of Norman Hardie wine, sushi, a band that brought down the house and some of the best dancing I ever did see, especially from the groom. There was laughter and there were tears (only happy, feel it in your heart tears) and it was one of those weddings you'll just never forget.

Sarah & Jeff | A Distillery District's art gallery wedding

Sarah & Jeff | A Distillery District's art gallery wedding

Sarah & Jeff's city wedding had all the fixings for a sought after day. From the 'to die for' blush dress and stunning florals, to the old Rolls Royce for cruising around as newly weds, to the nicest people that filled up the room with laughter, these two had it all and I couldn't be happier for them!