Super excited to share Shannon & Rob’s gorgeous wedding at Whitevale Golf Club. With the possibility of snow, rain, or sun in early April, someone must have been watching over these two because we couldn’t have asked for a better day. The sun was shining and all of hard work and planning made this wedding so beautiful. Birch trees, white bouquets, and soft blue dresses made capturing the details of the day so easy. Shannon had a vision and everything came together so perfectly!!! The girls were stunning and the guys made me laugh behind my camera. Getting genuine laughs and candid moments through out the day is why I do this. Those hidden moments often go unnoticed, and everyone was having such a great time during Rob & Shannon’s big day!!! Rob topped it off with an epic entrance and although my day ended early, I’m sure a there was an amazing party after dinner. Congratulations and thank you so much for allowing me to capture these timeless memories.
If my first wedding of the year is any indication of how 2017 will play out – I’m over the moon excited!! Hallie & Tom contacted me a few months before their wedding at the Millcroft Inn and Spa and they told me all about the vision they had for their winter wedding. Although we didn’t know how the weather would play out, I knew that Hallie wanted some classic and romantic portraits and Tom wanted an artistic element to their wedding day, as he has a keen interest in photography. After watching the weather report for the entire month of February, I couldn’t believe how lucky we got!! When I arrived at the Inn, I met Hallie inside the most amazing bridal suite. The decor of the room set the tone for the day with many romantic elements. Hallie was able to wear her beautiful lace gown outside with only Tom to keep her warm, and touring the grounds of the Millcroft Inn was every couples dream. The snow, sun, trees and intimate atmosphere of the Inn made the perfect backdrop for a first look.
After spending some time outside, we warmed up while the guests arrived. The ceremony room had beautiful stone walls and a floral backdrop. The smile on Tom’s face as his bride walked down the aisle was exactly as I thought it would be. These two are so cute together, I knew the smiles would be ear to ear. Hallie’s mom surprised the couple with a sparkler exit from the ceremony as everyone walked to the reception area. The night ended with a dance floor that had a juke box and string lights. I am so honoured I was able to capture this special day and I have high hopes for the rest of 2017!! Congratulations Tom & Hallie!
Venue: Millcroft Inn and Spa Florals: Snowberry Botanicals Makeup: Nicole Richards & Co. Hair: Karissa
Planning your wedding is something that many of us think about from a very young age. The visions of that perfect dress, amazing party, and beautiful photographs are almost instantaneous after your partner asks you that monumental question!!! One thing that doesn’t get thought of right away is the dreaded budget. If we could all have amazing weddings on a dime, I personally, would love my job even more (if that’s possible)!!! Imagine photographing the most beautiful details, the most glamorous dresses, and the most unique buildings every weekend!! According to Weddingbells, the average cost of a wedding last year in Canada was $30, 717. Yes, you read that correctly!!!!!
One of the biggest questions that come from brides planning their own wedding is how to cut costs. I’ve dug deep, asked other wedding professionals, and researched to a great length so I can best answer this question. Although there may be many other ways to save a few dollars, these were my favourite!!!! Before I go into ways to save money, I think it’s very important for all brides to remember this one tip. Pick the top one or two things that you will be disappointed if it doesn’t turns out the way you want. For instance, if your dress and your decor are the most important aspects of your day (other than your significant other of course), then it may be wise to invest a larger part of your budget here and reduce the amount in other areas. If your pictures are the most important, do not find entry level photographer. Invest in your memories and decrease your budget in other areas!! You can still save money and get exactly what you want!!!!!
Here are my top tips in regards to wedding planning!!!!
Venue: Venues often give reduced rates for midweek, Friday and Sunday weddings. Saturdays are by far the most popular, so if you are able to pick a different day, you can save $1000+. Getting married in the winter months can also save you a lot. Keep an eye out on your favourite venues website. They may offer a Dec-April weekend discount for their off season weeks!
Florals: Choose a florist who is knowledgeable about in season and out of season flowers. If you order peonies in August, you are going to pay a pretty penny. Instead, ask your florist what flowers would match your colour theme AND would be in season during your wedding day. They will work with you to find several flower options for you to choose from.
Photographer: Many planning guides suggest you hire a photographer 8 months from your wedding date. There are many photographers out there, BUT if you have your heart set on one, you most definitely need to contact them before 8 months. Photographers book quickly, often a year or more in advance – especially photographers in high demand. With that being said, many photographers increase their pricing annually. If you can secure your photographer before they change their pricing for the following year, you can often save hundreds.
Dress: If you’ve had your eye set on a specific style or designer, research who sells that particular dress. If you can find out who sells the designer you are looking for, wait for a trunk show. This is a great way to save 25% or more off of your dress. If you live in the GTA area, a great way to start searching for that perfect dress is to search #torontobridalstore, #torontobridalboutique, etc. Make sure you are searching for places and not tags!!! If you check out their Instagram feed, you can often find out when they are having sales.
Decor: DIY is great, but believe it or not, renting may be a cheaper option!!! There are many great rental stores that offer centerpieces, table decor, seating charts, etc. I was a DIY centerpiece maker and I ended up spending $10/center piece after all was said and done (a simple mason jar with some ribbon and gel beads inside). You can often find beautiful items at some rental stores for that price. With that being said, if you do opt to make your own decor, keep an eye out for sales. Michaels often has a 40% off coupon that you can use. If you start collecting items well before your wedding, you can save a lot by waiting for the deals to be promoted.
Cake: I love a fancy cake!!! However, fancy cakes can cost you hundreds or even thousands of dollars. If you do want to splurge on a cake, cut the dessert out of your catered meal and eat the cake instead!! A dessert serving can cost up to $5/guest, so if your caterer or venue will agree to a dessert free option, you can save $1000 if you have 200 guests!!! If a cake isn’t important to you, there are some great low cost alternatives (a family member who bakes, Costco, or a faux cake!!!) You may be thinking…who gets a faux cake?? If you want the beauty of an amazing cake and your caterer/venue will not forgo the dessert option, you can rent a cake!!! Seriously…they are beautiful!!!!
Makeup: There is no question that a bride wants to look flawless on their big day. While a professional makeup artist may not be in the budget for everyone, there are some ways that can help you cut costs associated with a professional. First, plan to book your trial on the day of an event or engagement session. This is like a two-for-one. If you are going to pay for it regardless, you may as well go somewhere nice afterwards!!!! Ask your makeup artist if there are any price reductions based on the size of your bridal party. If 8 girls are getting done, they may offer you an incentive. It never hurts to ask. If you are still unsure if you want to hire a professional, I’d recommend taking a photo of yourself after you’ve done your own makeup and really analyze the results. If you are happy with your own abilities, this may be the best option for you. If not, you may regret not hiring a professional. Professional makeup artists know how to keep your makeup on for the entirety of your day and they know the tricks to not make your face shine in your photos!!!
Hair: I’ve always applauded hair stylists because they have such a talent. A lot of brides spend hours upon hours looking for the perfect hair style and hair stylists are supposed to mimic a look after seeing a photo once. Well done!!!! If you have a hair stylist that you regularly use, I’d recommend asking them how much they would charge for a wedding party. If you are a long-standing client, they may offer you a great price for your wedding hair.
Wedding favours: I’m not sure how many weddings you’ve been to, but how many wedding favours have you kept throughout the years? The majority of people will likely say none, nilche, nadda- unless it was food of course!!!! Personally, as a thank you from a bride & groom, I’d prefer a heart felt speech or a donation to a personal cause. Skipping over those wedding favours can save $500+ for a 200 person guest list. How crazy is that!!!
I know the list goes on-and-on when you think about costs associated with a wedding, but remember, an expensive wedding is a luxury. Elopements and city hall weddings still celebrate the love and joining of two individuals and they can be lovely. When I hear about or see photos of an intimate elopement, my heart always grows two sizes. They are absolutely beautiful. If a traditional wedding is what you have always dreamed of, then go for it!!! Everyone values things differently and my best advice would be to invest in what truly matters to you and try to cut costs on things you feel you “should” have but don’t really value. One last tip I think is really interesting – Each guest you invite costs roughly $200 to accommodate. If you are able to cut back eight “acquaintances” (the ones who your mother’s cousin told you to invite), you can invest $1600 in another area that adds value or you can keep that to yourself!!!!!!!
Happy wedding planning and I hope you enjoyed these tips!!
It’s not very often that I shoot an engagement session inside, but this was one of those times and I absolutely adore photos we captured! Caitlin & Andreas asked me if I would mind shooting their engagement session at the venue they are going to get married. When I found out how awesome The Old Flame Brewing Co. was, I knew how much fun this was going to be. Driving to Port Perry in the drizzly September rain, I hoped that Mother Nature wouldn’t dampen anyone’s spirits as we were planning on hitting the beach afterwards. The rain stopped for 2 seconds so we ran outside only for it to start right back up. Sometimes having a van full of umbrellas is a good thing, because these two weren’t afraid to get a little wet. We headed down to the Port Perry beach and got some beautiful Fall engagement photos. I can’t wait to shoot here again, and I promised Caitlin that it couldn’t rain during her engagement photos and wedding photos, so if you’re listening Mother Nature…… you better keep those tears back in September!
While the snow is beautiful, I’m still dreaming about these beautiful Fall colours. It doesn’t seem like too long ago that I was shooting Tina & Peter’s engagement session at the Scarborough Bluffs in Toronto. One of my hands down favourite places to shoot, which is why I was so excited when Tina said this is where they hoped they could do their photos!!! I can’t even get enough of this couple. They were so much fun and so easy to photograph. So many smiles, laughs, and genuine closeness. You can always tell when a couple is perfect for each other – and this was one of those times. After an amazing session, a few random conversations, a spider bite, and a pants mishap, I’m am even more excited for their September wedding!!!! It is going to be beautiful and so much fun.