pearl + howard | film noir toronto wedding at the Eglington Grand

I started doing work with a foundation called JDRF a few years ago. Each year I document a few events to help raise awareness and funds for Juvenile Diabetes research, a disease that holds a place in my heart and families. 

Through documenting these events I have met some incredible people, one being a lovely human named Stephanie (who's wedding I am photographing next week!). Stephanie introduced me to her equally awesome sister, Pearl, and I am so fortunate she did. Not only did I get to document Pearl and Howard's wedding at the Eglinton Grand, but I get to photograph Stephanie's at The Great Hall too! Love these gals, their hubbies, and their families. 

I asked Pearl + Howard to talk a little bit about their wedding day, how it came about and more. Have a read! 

What are 1-2 favorite memories/moments of your wedding day?

Pearl: I have been so blessed to have found such great friends whom I got to share my special day with as my bridesmaids. We are all "grown up" now and live pretty far away from each other, but the wedding was an opportunity to bring my besties all together in one place, for one big party! Getting all dolled up with them and taking our RBF pics along with the remake of "Bridesmaids" photo was absolutely hilarious moments. I will also never forget the pure joy that was felt after Howard and I were named husband and wife.. and then when we turned to the crowd and walked back down the aisle to see everyone there for us was such an overwhelmingly happy moment.

Howard: Seeing Pearl for the first time, seeing all of our friends from different times in our lives joining together and having such a great time and creating new friendships

When you were planning the wedding, what things were most important?

Pearl: When planning the wedding, we really wanted to keep things simple. Looking at bridal magazines and pictures on the internet can be overwhelming with the amount of "things" one could have at a wedding. Being our thrifty selves, we found ourselves with the opportunity, tools, and desire to do some DIY projects for the wedding and I think that it gave us a feeling of fulfillment that we had our own special touches to our day (and were able to save a few bucks!). Also, our dogs are very important to us and we hated that they could not make it. We tried to figure out a way to incorporate them into our big day and decided to name our signature drinks after our sweet pooches. Hopefully they didn't give too many people headaches!

  ** Sidenote: when we were looking for photographers, really early in our search, I made it very clear to Howard that as much as we were trying to "penny pinch", I wanted him to know that the photography was really important for me and I wanted someone that was worth the price. Photography captures more than just an image, but rather a feeling that has the ability to take a person back to a special moment, and relish in it. That's powerful stuff, and I wanted to thank you for being able to capture these memories that we will be able to look back on for years to come and share for the generations that come next. You were an amazingly positive energy, and that shows in your work.... Again, THANK YOU! **

Howard: Getting the big things in place before sweating the details, having an organized and creative fiancé!

Why did you choose Eglinton Grand?

Pearl: We wanted to find a place that held its own charisma where we didn't feel pressured to fill any voids that some venues may have. We somewhere where we could do our reception and ceremony at the same place, so people could relax and enjoy themselves without facing the city traffic. The venue felt special even without any decor. It's history of being a movie theater immediately drew my attention because I know how much Howard loves a good film. I'm pretty sure we hit a home run with having our big day at The Eglinton Grand! We have nothing but amazing reviews for the Eglinton Grand, from it's own natural beauty, to the food, and then to its wonderfully helpful staff!

Howard: We felt that it was a grand enough venue for our special day but not over the top or too lavish, I like movies and old movie theatres so respect that they have retained elements of the buildings past in its current use.

 If you could go back in time, would you do anything differently?? if yes, what and why?

Pearl: Having an unplugged ceremony. It really wasn't a main thought until after when we realized some moments may have been missed or ruined due to people having their phones up and over their faces.  (I will be sure to clarify this to my family before Steph's wedding!!)... I would also go back and eat more than the one bite of cake I had! 

Howard: Stood closer to Pearl at the Alter (!!!) 2. Remind family and friends ahead of time that they would all be getting lovely photos from our brilliant photographer after the wedding so that they could focus just on enjoying the day vs. taking pictures!

Curated ByTallie Garey

Caterer: IG: @eglintongrand

Hair + Make up : Make Up IG: @judylim.makeup

Dress Maker: IG: @casablancabridal

Other Vendors you are using:: cake/desserts IG: @cakecreationsbym

deanna + josh | picturesque wedding at black creek pioneer village

Where to begin with Deanna + Josh's beautiful, perfect, fun and emotional wedding at Black Creek Pioneer Village in Toronto. From start to finish I was laughing, crying, laughing again and we are so darn happy to of met Deanna and Josh. 

This was our first time shooting at Black Creek Pioneer Village and I really hope we get back there, it is a dream to photograph at and also, the guests just love it too! 

"As soon as we saw Black Creek, we knew it was the right place. We loved the simplicity of it. We have some guests with limited mobility, and the ease of our ceremony/cocktail hour/reception being on the same lawn and area was super helpful. We loved the backdrop too. The juxtaposition of this old, rustic village with our guests all dressed up and fancy just made it more unique. It was exactly the type of comfortable we wanted, where there were lots of places for people to talk, chat with guests they haven't met before, dance if they chose to, or walk around the village to check things out." - Deanna

Deanna and Josh made sure to have so many personal touches throughout the day that made their day so special and all about them and not only what they want for their day, but for their guests too. 

"Before we had a venue or any concrete plans, we knew small details. Like, our baby pictures at each table and the memory table honouring loved ones who had passed away. The three things we kept in mind were concepts - we wanted comfort, warmth, and an intimacy. We wanted the guest list to be limited to people who knew us well and loved us. We wanted the venue to be comfortable with a lot of places to hang out so people could move around as they wanted. And we wanted the night to be celebrating us and our families, with small details (like the baby pictures/memory table) to warm the heart." - Deanna

"This is easy...the OPEN BAR.  Our families love to drink and have fun and they did just that! Some maybe a bit too much but they were having a blast." - Josh 

When we first met with Deanna and Josh, their main want for photography and what attracted them to our style was the candidness, moments and emotion we document. We asked them both what their favorite images were after seeing their whole gallery:

"The image of Deanna and myself with my Grandfather was something really special. He has Alzheimers but that day he knew exactly what was going on and even asked if he can walk down the isle with us! (cue tears) . He also said "thank you so much for letting me be here with you guys" which I just don't have the words to describe how special that really was." - Josh

"I will pick two because our pictures were so gorgeous I cannot possibly choose one. The first is the image of Josh and I hugging/dancing at sunset. We sort of went away and I remember feeling awkward, but Josh and I do awkward best and the picture is totally us. It's so beautiful and honest and I love the balance of our outfits against the natural trees and leaves. The other picture (or many of them) are the dancing photos right at the end - it was a real moment of pride to see our family join in the dancing and hold each others hands or watch each other for support. Macedonian dancing is quite intimate, so you're super close with people who you may not know, either holding hands or hugging shoulder to shoulder. There's no room for shyness or questioning who is who, and our guests totally ran with it. You can see the joy in everybody's faces. It's exactly the vibe we wanted. "

D + J, THANK YOU! We could not of had a more fun day and we are so thankful to of met you both. Such a perfect wedding that will be a favorite for years to come

Blog curation by: Tallie Garey

Second shot by: Tami Klein

Florist: @rootsandwildflowers

Hair : @jodi77 (hair)

Make up : @maquillagebypriya (bridal party), @catmaikeup (bride)

Dress Maker: @mikaellabridal

DJ - @djintrinity

Furniture Rental: Marvelle Events

Save Our Scruff - Spay + Neuter Clinic in Dominican Republic

If you follow along any of my social media channels, you know that a few weeks ago I was volunteering with Save Our Scruff down in Dominican Republic. I traveled with 12 other SOS volunteers to go work alongside volunteers from all over the world who were working for our partner organizations: Geo Veterinary International, AAAS and Moringa's Mission.

My main role was to head down there to document the project and give the media (photos + video) to all the organizations to use for future promotions, marketing and fundraising efforts. 

Soon I am going to do a piece on my experience and curate my favorite images, but for now, here is the highlight video I shot and edited. So incredible to be a part of and I can't thank everyone enough for bringing me along. 

christina + zach | an intimate grand bend family cottage wedding

Now I will start this post off by saying that Christina and Zach's wedding in Grand Bend was absolute wedding goals and will forever be one of my favorites. They did everything for them and for those that mattered to them most. 

So Christina and I go back now I believe a decade and met through her brother Jason and we all played softball together (she was good, I am not haha). After years of playing together and hanging out a lot, I got to meet Zach. I don't think I could of ever imagined up a better person and best friend for Christina, they really are two peas in a pod. 

Christina rocked not one but TWO unique and beautiful dresses. The little white top over the first one was made by Christina herself. It was so fun to do a second look with the next dress, on the beach at sunset. 

The venue was their cottage growing up and then a few years ago when Christina's parents were ready to retire, what better plan then to renovate the cottage and live there forever. Their home was so perfect and as you will see, the backyard space was the BEST! To have your ceremony outside, on the water, surrounded by 50 of your nearest and dearest while boats are driving by and honking... perfection.

The night was filled with some of the best first dances, speeches and even live music (by one of my favs Kevin Foster) that I have ever seen. It was one of those weddings I did not want to leave and I am so excited and happy to share it with you all! 

C + Z, THANK YOU!! xo

matt + monika | fun archeo toronto wedding

Monika and Matt found my photography through Instagram and contacted me about five months before their wedding and I am so darn happy I was still available. We scheduled a phone chat to make sure we were on the same page and we were laughing our butts off within seconds and I knew it was going to be a great day. 

Monika and Matt got ready at the Thompson Hotel and then had a outdoor ceremony and intimate reception at Archeo Trattoria. This was my first time photographing at the Archeo (I shot a wedding a week later here too!) and I was blown away by the beautiful decor and moody lighting and the outdoor space is perfect!

It was a day full of laughs, tears and romance. Monika and Matt were so fun to hang out with and so easy to photograph as their love is so natural and it translates through all the photos. 

Since their wedding, I submitted a photo from their wedding to a show at the Gladstone Hotel, The Love Actually Exhibition, and it was accepted. I am so happy to be sharing this milestone with such a rad couple.

The Love (Actually) Exhibition is a group photo-show showcasing the power of love & happiness in real moments during weddings. It’s returning for it’s second time and will be an annual show at the Gladstone Hotel. 

Curated by Toronto photographer Scarlet O’Neill, the diverse images of a variety of Toronto Wedding Photographers will be accompanied by a description of what made this moment meaningful along with a list of the wedding vendors who contributed to making the couples day special. This show shows a deeper view into the wedding world and the vast emotions that make weddings memorable days in people’s lives.

Opening Night Reception: February 8th at 7pm-10pm
At the Gladstone Hotel, third floor.
Cash Bar.

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

Couple: Matt + Monika

Venue: Archeo

Dress: Davids Bridal

Monika Rings: Peoples

Matt’s Rings: His Grandfathers with more modern gold added by Meg Lizabet (@meglizabet, @bespokejewellery)

Hair: @savannamunro_  from @bobandpaigesalon

Makeup: Bride @monikadarling

derek + catherine | beautiful urban wedding, the drake hotel, downtown Toronto

As a small town girl who moved to the big city of Toronto almost a decade ago, I have frequented and loved the Drake Hotel for a very long time and since day one. As my photography business has grown and I myself have grown as a photographer, I have been recently booking many new venues I could only dream of shooting at, Drake being one of those. 

Almost a year ago I met up with Catherine and Derek to meet for our first time and explore around the Drake for photo spots. Along the way, we shared many stories and many laughs and I knew it was going to be a perfect day together. 

The day was fairly laid back: a western ceremony in the restaurant,  a Korean ceremony in Room 222, a cocktail hour and cocktail style reception on the rooftop (the Sky Yard), incredible finger foods like oysters and tacos, a few wardrobe changes and adventures around queen west. 

Catherine and Derek, you guys were AMAZING to work with and we had so much fun capturing your day. I hope you enjoy reliving the day through our eyes. Can't wait to see you guys again 

xo Megan

 

Second Shot by Tami Klein

Bridal Bouquet: Sham's Florist

Bridesmaids Bouquets: Catherine (the bride)

1st Dress: Missguided

 2nd Dress: Lulu's

Bridesmaids Dresses: Lulu's

Dessert: The Drake Hotel

DJ: @ec4uevents

Makeup: @primandpretty.ca

Hair: @gstylist

ron & tiff | a stunning brooklands farm Muskoka wedding

Ron and I have known each other for quite some time now and when I met Tiffany, and they got engaged, I was secretly hoping they were going to ask me. I am so happy they did.  This is one of those wedding's where I want to show every single image because holy moly was it ever a perfect day. 

About 6 years ago I photographed another friends wedding at Brooklands Farm and still to this day, even though I was still figuring out photography, one of their images is still one of my favorites I have ever taken. Brooklands Farm has everything you could possibly want for a setting for your wedding: a waterfall, large ponds with docks, so many beautiful trees, a beautiful barn and the best tree tunnel driveway. I wish I could capture weddings on their driveway all day long haha.

R + T's day was filled with so much candid laughter, emotion and laughs. From the tearful first look with Tiff's mom, to the groomsmen surprising Tiff with Halloween costumes, to the best best man speech I have ever heard, the day was perfect. 

R + T, THANK YOU! I am so happy I not only got to be there but to capture your love was an honour. Enjoy reliving the day through my favorites xo

that time we got engaged in Scotland | surprise proposal in Glencoe

This whole trip started to become reality when my best friend got engaged to her other half, who is from Manchester and then she made me her MOH. Obviously I would never miss her wedding so Corrie and I decided that since he had never been overseas before and I never travel to a country without seeing others, that we were going to turn this into an epic trip. When we started planning, Corrie had one request and that was Ireland. I didn't care where we went but with having family in Ireland, we needed to make that happen and whatever else we did I would be a happy gal. So what's between England and Ireland, SCOTLAND! It only made sense to do all three while we were over there, and so we did. 

Before embarking on the trip I reached out to a photographer colleague/friend who I have been following for a long time and who's work I adored, Keith Bridle. I knew he traveled alot but thought "what the heck, worth the try" and wrote him to see if by chance he would be in any of those countries and close by while we were there. Well it turns out, Keith and his other half (Em) were wanting to plan a trip to see her family in Scotland and they wouldn't be too far from us. So, we planned to meet up and for Corrie and I to have couple photos taken together in one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen, Glen Etive. 

If you have been to Scottish Highlands, you have probably driven through Glencoe (and if you haven't you need too). Glen Etive is about 45 minutes away from Glencoe, down a single car road into the "middle of nowhere". Em has been going to Glen Etive since she was a young girl and has since, introduced Keith and it has become a very special place for both of them. Keith always wanted to photograph people there so when I reached out, all the stars aligned.

We piled into Keith's jeep and hit this tiny little road without a clue as to where we were going but were trusting Keith and Em that it was worth it. The entire drive was full of "omg look" "holy @#$! look at that!" "omggggggggg". Everything along the entire road was picture perfect from the deer to the waterfalls cascading the mountains to the rivers to the natural rock walls to the abandoned shed (in our pictures). Everything was perfect...so perfect that Corrie decided to pop the big question. 

Now Corrie didn't have any idea he was going to do this but "brought the ring along for the ride". Did he let Keith know? NOPE! Keith had no idea, Em had no idea and I had absolutely NO idea. Obviously when you get to be our age, people constantly ask "so do you think you will get married" and all those silly questions and of course, I had thought about it and Corrie and I had (drunkingly) talked about it but I never thought this would be the time and place, but I am so glad he did as it couldn't of been more perfect. 

At the end of the road we stopped at this body of water with an old home, surrounded by highlands and Keith asked us to climb down on to the rocks... so we did. As we got down there, Corrie and I just looked around taking it all in and looked at each other and just started cuddling for the camera. All of sudden, Corrie says "can we do adventures like this forever?" and I said something romantic like "ya" (clearly no clue what was about to happen) and then boom, he's on the ground and the first words out of my mouth are "@#$! off!" because well, I am romantic. After I said it a few more times, and continually asking if he gave Keith a heads up (because that was a big concern for me apparently haha), the poor guy was still on one knee asking for my answer and with a giant yes and a bunch of tears, I crouched down and embraced him.

I never thought I would be someone who would have their proposal on camera but I am so darn glad we do. This day will forever be remembered through these beautiful photos and we both can't thank Keith and Em enough for introducing us to their special place, exploring with us and documenting this life moment. 

All photos taken by Keith Bridle

Ring designed by my good friend Tyson Taylor, Taylors Jewellers

leslie + mack: planning a wedding through hard times

Back in January Leslie reached out to me about capturing their backyard wedding and I was super excited. I had never met Mack or Leslie, but we came from the same town and siblings knew each other etc. so I knew this would not only be a fun wedding, but that they were my kind of people. 

L + M started the planning process before reaching out to me and had been searching for the perfect venue. Everything they looked at, wasn't what they wanted, then Mack's Dad came to the rescue. 

"We wanted to get married on the Sweet property because we love it there! Mack grew up there and his dad built that house so it was pretty special to get married there. We were looking around at different venues for a while (always saying the Sweet house was the dream), and we weren't finding anything we liked when one day Mack's dad offered to have the wedding there, which was kind of perfect!"

Planning a backyard wedding is not for everyone and can really test your organizational and planning skills, but L + M knocked it out of the park!

"Our advice for planning a backyard wedding is to be prepared for details! A lot of planning goes into a backyard wedding and once we got some of the big things out of the way (tent, caterer, bathrooms) we thought it would be smooth sailing from there, but a lot of last minute things we didn't think of came up in the weeks before the wedding. We had a lot of great help from our friends and family though, which is something we recommend, call in those favours! Haha"

L + M and I had exchanged a few emails leading up to the wedding day in regards to the day of schedule and shot list, but not much beyond that. When I arrived on the day of, Leslie informed me of something they had been going through, something I never expected to hear. 

Three months before the wedding, Mack was diagnosed with Leukemia. L + M had been tossed a curve ball and their lives instantly changed. 

"Mack had to be hospitalized for 30 days in a hospital in London, which is about three hours away from where we live, since there were no beds available closer to home. At first we didn't know if the wedding would still happen, and in a way it seemed like the last thing on our minds. All of our focus just shifted to getting Mack through this. The doctors told us that Mack might not be feeling the greatest, but that the wedding would be something for us to look forward to once he got out of the hospital. Which was true, it was nice having something to look forward to and visualize together. Since we were pretty far from home I did quite a bit of wedding planning from my hotel room in London, I even sent out my invites from there"

You never know what life has in store for you and to those of you who are planning a wedding, and may being going through something similar, Leslie has some advice for you.

"To anybody going through something similar...stay positive. It's unfortunate that it takes something like this to put things in perspective, but it really does. Your wedding is your day to have fun and celebrate and not worry! It's really hard not to, but don't sweat the small stuff! The small things that don't turn out or that were overlooked don't matter at the end of the day. It's not exactly ideal to plan a wedding while going through something difficult in life, but it can and does work out. And, as for Mack, he's been busy kicking cancers ass and is doing great"

I am so incredibly honoured to of been able to work with Leslie and Mack and to of captured such true emotion and candid love. We laughed together, cried together and these two will forever inspire me to push through anything life throws my way.

 

Flowers: Tottenham Foodland 

Leslie's engagement ring is by Heidi Gibson, wedding band Bluboho in Toronto.

Mack's ring: Madani, Richmond Hill

Dress: Sash and Bustle in Toronto, by Theia Couture. 

Caterer: Little Red Catering co., Newmarket

Bartenders: A Great Mix, Barrie

Bridesmaids dresses: Dessy, from best for bride in Barrie. 

kate + chris | a relaxed wedding at The Spice Factory in Hamilton

Over the last few months, some amazing photographer friends put together all black and white blog posts (Jessy and Jennifer to name a few..) and I was super inspired and thought "I need to try that!". Well when I started editing Chris and Kate's wedding at The Spice Factory, every single black and white I did was so emotional and beautiful and thats when I knew this was the one to share this way.

Kate, Chris and I met through a fellow photographer who sent them my way when she was unavailable for their wedding date and I am SO happy she wasn't available haha I feel like these two have become friends and before the wedding, we explored our neighbourhood for their engagement session and were even drinking beer at 10am on a rooftop, it was amazing. You can see the session here.

Kate and Chris' wedding brought me to a venue I had never been to before (which I always LOVE) and when I walked in and saw all the exposed brick, old wooden beams, the staff were SO friendly, I knew I loved this place. As the day went on I kept saying "Um, I want to get married here" :)

"The minute we walked into the Spice Factory we both just knew it was the place we were going to get married.   It was unique, relaxed and felt like our kind of place.  We didn't want an overly formal wedding and the space is anything but formal.  We loved all the old features like the brick walls, original hardwood floors and the tin roof.  We loved the fact that the reception space opened up onto a large outdoor patio.  We could instantly picture our family and friends mingling, dancing and having a blast there. Everyone at the venue was extremely receptive and accommodating in letting us utilize the space to make it our own.  It was also really important for us to chose a location that would be convenient for the majority of our guests to get to so that was a huge bonus!"

Kate and Chris' planned one of the most "untraditional" weddings I have shot too date. They still included traditional elements, but with their own spin. Like the ceremony, they wrote letters to each other to be read by the officiant in front of all their friends and family. 

"From day one neither Chris nor I envisioned having many traditional elements for our wedding- we really just wanted to have a big party to celebrate our marriage. Over the course of planning stages, we decided to include a few traditional things that were important to us however we put our own spin on them to keep the overall vibe less formal.  Our ceremony was completely personalized, we decided to have a late start and serve cocktails and apps in lieu of a long sit down dinner, we did have speeches but they were intermixed throughout the night.  Instead of the traditional father-daughter/ mother-son dance, we had the band learn a few sentimental songs to play during their sets so we could still enjoy a special moment with our parents."

Another favorite moment of quite possibly any wedding I have photographed or attended, Kate and Chris had us photograph a family tradition where they write beautiful messages to her mom on balloons, who had passed away a few years ago, and release them into the sky. To witness something like this, and document it, is something I will never forget. 

Chris and Kate are beautiful souls who I feel were a perfect match of photographer and couple. The day was emotional, unique, relaxed and will forever be a memorable one. K + C, thank you from the bottom of my heart for including me in your day, it was nothing short of perfect.

- Megan xo

andrea + shane | a relaxed, fun cottage resort wedding at Bark Leadership Centre in Haliburton

Andrea and Shane were recommended to me by one of their friends who has been a guest and bridesmaid at several weddings I have shot (thanks Robyn!!). When we initially met for a coffee, it was love at first sight (photographer and couple sort of love) and I knew we were a great fit. They had booked Bark Lake Leadership Centre, which for the most part is a kids camp, but you can also book for weddings too. When they described their wedding, they used the words "fun, relaxed and personal" which are the three words I would want for my wedding too, it doesn't get much better then that. 

"When we looked for our venue, we wanted a place that would hold all of our friends and family together for a weekend. We saw our wedding as an opportunity to bring everyone we loved together and spend quality time with them, instead of being rushed through an evening. Bark Lake gave us the opportunity to have an outdoor wedding with our favourite activities, while having the added bonus of being an absolutely stunning place to get married. We loved having everyone stay over and having brunch with everyone the next morning- we felt surrounded by love the whole time. The staff at Bark Lake were also very flexible and open to our ideas when we met with them, and were happy to support our visions, like finding room for an amazing twelve piece band to help us dance the night away, and having the groomsmen paddle in in a voyageur canoe
 

Obviously a venue like this isn't for everyone and it can take a lot of blood sweat and tears to make it perfect and personal, but Andrea and Shane did it, with flying colours. 

"I don't think we realized when we booked our venue that getting married in an less traditional location would require extra work and coordination, as we live in Toronto and we tried to get vendors that were local to the area.  We ended up doing a lot more DIY work than we originally thought we'd have to, and our biggest stress was trying to figure out how much alcohol to bring in to the woods. But we were lucky to have a supportive family, and a venue that was so open to talking with us (maybe a million times!!) to figure things out. In the end, it was totally worth it, because we really got to design every aspect of the entire weekend, and we truly felt like the wedding was a perfect reflection of who we are as a couple. We also had to be a bit flexible with the weather which was stressful on the day; we received multiple tornado warnings and weather alerts. We were so lucky that our dream came true and we got married under the trees... but we hid from a massive storm for the rest of the night!!  If you're doing something similar, make sure you have a solid rain plan in place!"

As a photographer I continue to try and grow and improve but more importantly, find those couples who make their day about them and aren't afraid to throw tradition to the curb and have fun with their wedding and make it unique and relaxed. When I find those couples, the connection is much stronger as I find those couples are my kind of people and whom I would want to be friends with and surround myself by. These two were positive, fun, candid, so deep in love and overall, a fun amazing couple who I can't wait to hang out with and hopefully work together again in the future.

Love you guys! 

xo - Megan