Not all wedding days are going to be sunny and bright, and with a particularly wet spring this year, it’s be a challenging season for weddings. It didn’t make a bit of difference for Stephanie and Zak. Sure, the beach they were going to have the ceremony was entirely gone due to the high levels of Lake Ontario, and sure, they could’t take full advantage of the beautiful surroundings of Prince Edward County, but with an eclectically cool venue like Drake Devonshire, the rain didn’t ruin anything. What makes a Drake Devonshire wedding so memorable is the ambiance and intimacy, perfect for their 50 guests to eat, drink and dance the night away.
If you’ve been to the Drake in Toronto, you know it’s a cool place to be. It’s exactly the same at the Drake Devonshire Inn in Prince Edward County. While we were pretty much stuck inside for the photos, there were so many great nooks, art, colours, and plenty of light spread throughout the hotel, including a vintage photo booth, great wall paper, a beautiful glass room and lots of yellow accents. Noting the yellow accents throughout the hotel, our bride Stephanie had her nails painted a bright yellow, making her the greatest accent of the hotels accents.
In addition to everything else, Stephanie and Zak had a super fun wedding party and super fun guests. This can be easily demonstrated. For the kissing game, instead of clinking glasses or singing or showing the bride and groom how to kiss to get them to kiss, they had an open mike for anyone to come up and tell a joke. There had to be 30-35 jokes told, and the crowd loved it. So did I! Want an example? What do you call a chicken looking at lettuce? Chicken Caesar Salad. Maybe you had to be there, but man, I loved it.
One of the highlights of a Drake Devonshire wedding is the bridal suite on the second floor. The floor to ceiling windows overlook Lake Ontario, and while we didn’t get to use the deck, it’s a stunning room with perfect lighting.
More great photos of the ceremony and reception below: Read More
There are a number of historic hotels in Toronto, but none match the charm and character of Queen Street’s Gladstone Hotel. Emily and Malachy chose wisely in bringing their friends and family to the core of Toronto, to showcase not only their love, but their love of the city. And what better place to capture the city than from their suite’s balcony overlooking the skyline, or from the front steps of the hotel watching the iconic Queen streetcar passing by. A Gladstone Hotel Wedding is an embrace not only of a gorgeous venue, but the liveliness of the city itself.
As far as wedding couples go, these two were an absolute charm to work with. Their easy going personality was 100% responsible for that. It helped that they also used an exceptional wedding planner, Planned With Grace, who saved the day a couple of times. Things are bound to go wrong at some point during the day, but with calm and experienced people around you, it’s easy to circumvent most challenges. For example, on this day, the flower bouquets were left at home (easier said than done, we actually did that on my wedding day too!). Grace was able to make a new set of bouquets that looked just as good as the real things. It was impressive.
Check out more great photos from the Gladstone Hotel wedding below.
Barn weddings are hot right now. The rustic backdrop provides a great canvas for gorgeous ceremonies and beautiful parties. There are a lot of rural venues providing similar environments in and around the GTA, but I think I found a new favourite, Sequel Inn Creemore. For one, the property provides a great inn for the wedding parties and family to sleep in the night before and of the wedding. The inn accommodations looked amazing and it can’t be anymore convenient. Waking up at the very location you’re going to get married is pretty much ideal. In addition, the environment provides the full rural experience, far from the maddening crowds of the GTA, a beautiful oasis appropriately located on Garden of Eden Road in Creemore, less than two hours away from the city. The food was great, the space was gorgeous and the staff was super friendly…There are multiple reasons a Sequel Inn Creemore wedding is ahead of the crowd.
Speaking of friendly, Magda and Alireza were amazing! Calm and cool and sophisticated, they floated through the day soaking in the joy of their union, playing amazing hosts to their friends and family. The two combined traditional Polish and Persian elements into the day seamlessly and made even the most casual wedding guest comfortable. Let’s be honest, it’s hard not to feel comfortable with a venue as gorgeous as below:
Below is the inn used by the wedding party and family the night before the wedding. It’s featured in many of the photos below, and both the bride and groom were able to get ready on different floors in the inn, keeping the bride and her wedding party away from the groom and his wedding party.
Many more great photos below, click the continue reading link below for additional photos and information.
As I’ve never been to a butterfly conservatory, I didn’t entirely know what to expect, but was pretty excited about shooting a wedding at one. My excitement was well founded, it turns out a Cambridge Butterfly Conservatory wedding is a thoroughly fantastic experience.
When I pictured a butterfly conservatory I was expecting a greenhouse with a couple butterflies floating around and you would be lucky to see one. I was wrong. The place was filled with them and the bride even had a chance to hang out with one! Turns out she hung out with this butterfly for a very long time, the butterfly didn’t want to let go!
Working with Mercedes and Simon was a pure joy. Their love shines through with unabashed smiles and playfulness. It didn’t even matter that nature surrounded them, the birds and the butterflies rejoiced, they were going to be happy no matter what… it was just a bonus their venue was so awesome.
I love first looks so much, it’s one of the highlights of my job!
Many more great photos from the wedding including full shots of the ceremony below.
I’ve been wanting to post these photos since the moment I took them, but alas, this 2015 wedding will finally get it’s day in the bright light of 2017! What a beautiful wedding this was to shoot! It didn’t seem to matter what was going on, the incredibly photogenic bride and groom couldn’t seem to stop beaming the most wonderful smiles the entire day. You couldn’t tell from the bright blue skies in the photos below, but there was some pretty significant precipitation right in the middle of the formal photos. They say that’s good luck, plus, when you got two people who love each other and just so happy to get married, nothing really matters! Can’t rain on their parade! You get my point. The stunning church for the ceremony is Merciful Redeemer in Mississauga. Formal photos were taken at Coronation Park in Oakville, a beautiful location with old trees, some interesting structures and a waterfront. While it usually has plenty of parking, on a busy weekend in the summer it can be a tough place to find a spot. Finally, the reception was held at the Bellagio Boutique Event Venue byPeterandPauls in Vaughan. As you can imagine, a Bellagio Boutique wedding is a pretty glamorous experience, fitting for such a lovely bride and groom!
This was definitely a party! Great energy at the Bellagio and it seemed like the entire room was on the dance floor! More great photos at the bottom of the post.
This is by far the longest veil I’ve ever shot on a bride and it was simply stunning! The great thing about veils is that you can just take them off when they are bothering you or not needed anymore, and you’ll see Kristyn swapped it out for a small white garland flower crown later in the day. If that’s not what it’s called, I apologize, but I did a little bit of research online, and I think that’s pretty close.
I don’t usually share personal photos on my blog, but my wife and I had such an amazing experience participating in the Women’s March on Washington this weekend, I couldn’t help but share some of them. The size and scope of the march was impressive, and I was mesmerized by the sea of colours and miles of humorous posters. I’ve never done anything like this before, and so glad I did!
The above video is actually a panoramic photo I took on my phone, but it can be turned into a video, which is pretty cool. It gives you a 360 perspective of the mall at approximately noon. See if you can spot Kathy and a surprise thumbs up at the end!
I didn’t go to the event to photograph it professionally, but I went to support my wife and take over the national mall a day after the inauguration. It was inspiring and I was proud to be an American. Also, very happy to be a Canadian.
Love this poster: “I can’t believe we’re still protesting this $hit”
Another cool panoramic photo turned video. Kathy makes another appearance, but no thumb this time.
Of all the really fun posters from the march, this was one of our favourites. As my wife is from New Jersey, once we spotted this poster, we hunted it down to get a photo with it.
Love this poster: “I’m a gay christian and I make America great”
Love this poster!
Many more photos below but be aware that a couple of the posters are a little more NSFW below.
There are many advantages to having a wedding at a golf and country club, especially for photography. The greatest advantage for photography is the opportunity for grand vistas and clear horizons for sunsets. As this was my first Sleepy Hollow Wedding, I didn’t entirely know what to expect. On top of that, the extremely photogenic bride and groom had asked for some grand wide shots and I didn’t want to disappoint. I wish I could take some of the credit, but Krista and Eric were amazing models and Sleepy Hollow Country Club in Stouffville, ON provided a stunning backdrop. I lucked out getting some truly beautiful photos.
This beautiful couple conveniently had a beautiful wedding party that included six flower girls and one ring bearer.
To show the strength and history of the friendship between the groom and his groomsmen, I must point out that they all share the same tattoo. You can see it on their shoulder, calf, shoulder in the photo on the left. Now that’s brotherhood!
Someone wasn’t too eager to give the groom his tie…
… but they made up just fine afterwards.
More great photos below of an outdoor ceremony, more great vistas and some pretty adorable dancing.
A Kortright Centre wedding is beautiful any time of year, but at the peak of fall colours, it’s truly breathtaking. Anymore, with fall arriving later and later into the year, it’s getting harder and harder to plan the peak weekend, but Laura and Lucas could not have picked a better weekend for a wedding.
Outdoor ceremonies are amazing, but so many things can force it inside. Not this wedding! Keep in mind, as beautiful as everything was, it was actually really cold, and a few snowflakes graced their ceremony. Now this sounds corny, but what doesn’t involving both truth and love, their love kept Laura and Lucas warm as there was no debate, the ceremony was going to be outside! Such a good decision, it was a glorious ceremony!
Above and below you’ll see the bride and groom bringing their personality into the wedding. We entirely encourage couples to bring props and ideas that will make the wedding pictures even more special and applicable for them. Like reading book? Check out Laura reading and showing off her old school classic collection. Love watching and playing sports with your bros? Brings golf clubs and some baseball gloves and let’s see what happens. Anyway, you get the idea.
For more fall colours at a Kortight Centre for Conservation wedding, the link below.
In anticipation of the new Star Wars movie coming out this weekend, I thought it was appropriate to finally post this Star Wars Themed Wedding from this summer. As a science fiction fan myself, encompassing all things geek, this was about as fun a themed wedding as I could have hoped for.
I’ve seen a lot of partially themed weddings with a couple references to something the couple might like, but Mike and Lori went above and beyond, fully committed to their Star Wars theme. The highlights are many, not just the lightsabres and lego figurings, but how about the bouquet handles, cupcakes and wedding cake. It was a cornucopia of nerdness and I loved it.
Of course the venue alone would have been fantastic enough as the Grand Victorian and Reif Estates Winery supply and incredible background for any wedding.
Look at these cupcakes! Just amazing! Look at the attention to detail in those Wookiee cupcakes!
Many more great Star Wars Themed Wedding images below, click continue reading to see them all.
A smiling bride is my favourite kind of bride. Few smile brighter than Aimee. It wasn’t shocking then when I looked through my favourite photos from the wedding and I couldn’t help but notice how many had her beautiful smile shining bright. I get the sneaking suspicion that marrying her sweetheart Joe had something to do with it! And thanks to a beautiful sunset and a perfectly placed balcony, they look like movie stars! On top of a beautiful bridge a groom, the location certainly helped! While it had been a while since I shot a wedding at Cambridge Mill, I knew a Cambridge Mill Wedding was a thoroughly classy experience.
Weddings at Cambridge Mill are run with military precision. On a busy weekend, they cater to multiple weddings, there were four on this day, and rotate the wedding parties and guest through the expansive groups efficiently and exactly. We were escorted to no less than five different locations, including the park across the street, and we never saw another wedding party or guest. To add to the experience, I hadn’t shot a wedding at Cambridge Mill since they built their new ceremony space, and I have to say, it’s gorgeous. Surrounded by windows and overlooking the water, it’s a gorgeous place to get married.
Great party with super fun guests and a kick ass wedding party, it was a joy to be a part of Aimee and Joe’s wedding. Second Joe I’ve photographed this year, I kind of dig it!
When I shoot a wedding, there are two things I love to capture – happiness and colour. Joe and Steph made my job really easy. There is no hiding the fact that these two absolutely love hanging out with each other and making each other laugh. Their infectious charm and spirit are what makes me feel so lucky to do what I do. Certainly, it didn’t hurt being at Kortright Centre for the ceremony and photos, didn’t hurt that the rainy day stayed away, didn’t hurt that the reception and party rocked, but really, it all begins with the love of a bride and groom. It’s for couples like Joe and Steph that I am honoured to do what I do for a living!
While the morning was rainy and the ceremony had to be inside, the rain stayed away in the afternoon and the overcast light made for some great photos. What made things even easier, the ladies all brought their rain boots to hike around the expansive Kortright Centre, there are just so many great places to take photos there!
One cool thing about Joe, other than his great name, is that he is really quite crafty. He made dozens of things for the wedding, including this ring box below, the card box and centre piece stands and numbers for the tables. Pretty impressive to say the least and it really added to the character of the wedding.
I don’t know exactly what it is, but barns make for great wedding venues. While it’s been a trend for a while, finding the right venue had previously been more of a challenge in the GTA. Fortunately, as barns become more and more popular, the GTA has seen a number of great new venues popping-up offering a wholesome country charm. This is great for couples looking to get out of the conventional reception halls and into the countryside. If you’re looking for that perfectly charming wedding on a farm with a beautifully glamorous barn, than an Earth to Table Farm wedding is about as charming as it can get and I think it will only get better. And get this, it’s located a short drive from downtown Hamilton and Burlington so it’s even convenient to get to and you won’t get lost. I’ve done that before for weddings really far in the countryside. Just saying.
Chris and Megan had a beautiful wedding aided not only by a perfect day and a spectacular sunset, but also by all the heart and soul and vintage charm they put into their DIY decorations and crafty ideas that graced the entrance to the barn and each and every table. Having the right venue is great, but the little things to highlight that venue can make such a difference and these two did a great job.
I’ve said it many times before, but having a venue with lots of glass is key to grabbing the sunset shots. During the reception, I was able to keep my eye on the sun and tap the bride and groom on the shoulder when it was too good to pass-up. This way we got another 15 minutes of shots with the absolute best light of the day and Chris and Megan took full advantage with their casual ease in front of the camera. Beautiful models makes my job fairly easy, I hate to admit it, but it’s true!
The outdoor ceremony location is beautiful at Earth to Table Farm, with the barn looming large in the background and enough trees encircling the guests that there is shade for those who need it. Directly after the ceremony there was a toast and a nice outdoor cocktail hour
When you feel like it’s been a while since you’ve had a vacation, the best thing to do is go on vacation! That’s what my wife and I did in early March this year. As for our eventual destination, Guatemala, we couldn’t have been happier. We had only decided on going on a trip about two weeks before we departed and my unwritten rules for traveling are 1) Go somewhere you’ve never been before 2) No all inclusive destinations. I’m not writing my unwritten rules down, just helping put things in context. Oh, and I don’t really like beaches. Since we only had seven days, we explored relatively close destinations. I had always heard amazing things about Costa Rica, but it turned out to be quite expensive with such late planning. A travel agent looked into flights in and around that distance and suggest we might enjoy exploring Guatemala. A quick google search later, and it was hard not to be smitten. Seven days be danged, we were going to make the most out of it, and we did! So, today, I thought I would share a few Guatemala images from our amazing trip to Guatemala.
The trip focused on four entirely different cities/destinations, each uniquely different in beauty/temperature/culture and all so worth visiting. I’m not the person to describe the history or cultural context of each of the regions, but I can give a brief summary. The first destination was the UNESCO World Heritage Site and former capital of Guatemala, Antigua. To quote Wikipedia, “famous for its well-preserved Spanish Baroque-influenced architecture as well as a number of ruins of colonial churches.” Founded in 1543, it served as the capital for over 200 years until it was destroyed in an earthquake in 1776. Cobblestoned-roads, cute cafe’s and shops everywhere, an iconic arch that I loved to photograph and massive volcanos in pretty much every direction, including Fuego, one of Central America’s most active volcanoes, pictured below in the distance.
The second destination was Lake Atitlán. Hard to describe how beautiful this lake is, so I’m mostly going to leave it to the photos, but a couple cool things about the Lake itself. The lake is not quite a crater lake, but was formed by a volcano. It’s actually a caldera, which is “a large cauldron-like volcanic depression.” And, it’s the deepest lake in Central America, so there you go! Anyway, similar to Antigua, Lake Atitlán is surrounded by volcanos and makes for the most amazing sun-sets and sunrises I’ve ever seen.
What makes the lake more impressive is the series of small towns, each with their own personality, that surround the entire lake. These are not tourists towns, but living and breathing towns with Maya people, and in case you didn’t know, Maya people of Atitlán are predominantly Tz’utujil and Kaqchikel. You get to the towns by boat from the main city of Panajachel. We stayed in Santa Cruz La Laguna, a 20 minute boat right from Panajachel on the north side of the lake and later visited San Marcos La Laguna for a most excellent day trip.
The third major destination was another UNESCO World Heritage Site, Tikal National Park in Petén. We decided against the 10 hour bus ride and took the one hour flight from Guatemala City and didn’t regret it for a second. Tikal is about as major a discovery as you get in the Americas. Mayan structures there date back as far as the 4th century BC. It’s a massive, massive park with endless trails that take you through what once was “one of the most powerful kingdoms of the ancient Maya.” It’s a pretty haunting place, one that honours natures ultimate power to reconquer what man has made. It is humbling when you see a 10 story tree growing out of once massive man-made pyramids. Only a fraction of the park has been restored but many of these buildings can be explored and even climbed to get amazing views over the tree line. I have a bunch more photos below to see what I’m talking about.
Finally, we come to the smallest city/region of them all, the tiny but powerful town of Flores. The entire town is the natural island I’ve photographed below. I love that Flores was “the last independent Maya state” and wasn’t conquered by the Spanish until 1697. The city is entirely charming, and while we walked around the whole island in about 30 minutes, we could have explored the alleys for the entire week in and of itself.
And while this only scratches the surface, many more great photos from the four destinations below.
Within hours of Prince’s death, the scheduled screening of Purple Rain at Bloor Hot Docs Cinema was sold out. The timing couldn’t have been more appropriate as an avenue to celebrate the life of the beloved musician and as expected, some of his most enthusiastic fans turned out. I’ve shot a lot of events at the Bloor over the years, but this will likely be the most memorable for a long time to come!
Purple was a natural choice for most patrons, and even the colourful marquee of the Bloor was in the spirit. Naturally, there was a line-up around the corner for the 9pm doors open and to the delight of many, audience members were given a purple glow-stick or necklace.
CP24 was doing live hits from the cinema all evening and these three gentlemen had at least four minutes of interview and screen time, a natural choice.
The highlight had to be the introduction and sing-along before the start of the movie. Not everyone, but almost everyone, rose from their seat to dance and sing to the Prince song Kiss. It was a blast.
For full photography portfolio you can visit my website at Joseph Michael Photography.
More photos of Bloor Cinema Purple Rain can be found at The Bloor Cinema’s Facebook page.
I’m not the resident photographer at Holland Marsh Winery, but I kind of felt like it in 2015, having photographed three weddings there. It was kind of flukey, but I even shot back to back weekends at the winery. And let me tell you, this was a treat, because a Holland Marsh Winery wedding is a fantastic wedding!
At one point in my career, pretty early, I kind of felt like a good luck charm when it came to rain on a wedding day. This past year was not a particularly good one when it came to that record. Almost every weekend wedding had some influence of rain on the day, and as a result, there were a lot of indoor ceremonies. As gorgeous as the outdoor ceremony is at Holland Marsh, they really do have a stunning indoor venue with floor to ceiling windows if you have to stuck indoors.
And like most weddings with a little bit of rain, there is usually some opportunity to jump outside and get some nice photos. I happen to adore the moodiness of an overcast day and you really have an opportunity to play with the sky for dramatic effect. Plus, a cute umbrella shot always works nicely!
Have a wedding at Holland Marsh Winery or another wedding in the GTA? Contact me at Joseph Michael Photography and I look forward to working with you.
Many more great photos below, including a grand staircase first look, photos from the indoor ceremony and hula-hoops!