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 

Wedding Planner - Lucy Myers Events

Videographer - Kathryn Fudurich

Florals - Tanya List Designs

Band - Kim and Company

First Dance Musicians - Mike and Cassandra

Dress - Ferre Sposa

Tux - Sur Mesur

Custom Rings - Ron Pollock imports 

fel + mel | an intimate wedding in the Roncesvalles area of Toronto

Back in January (of this year) Fel and Mel reached out to me about capturing their wedding. When they described their wedding, a relaxed day filled with both families under one roof (Fel's from Australia, Mel's from here in Ontario) in my favorite neighbourhood (Roncesvalles) and surrounded by pizza and love, it sounded perfect. Before F + M booked me, I didn't even get the chance to meet them but took a chance that the match of couple and photographer would be great, my gut said it would be, and my gut was right. 

Fast forward a few months and I meet these lovely ladies for coffees (on Roncesvalles, of course!) and we instantly were laughing, getting along splendidly and turned out we had a lot in common and our paths had possibly crossed in the past. We ended up having a much longer coffee date then planned and I am still so thankful that F + M chose me to capture their day. 

I always love seeing unique ways of marrying your best friend and these ladies found so many ways to do so and throw "tradition" to the curb. When I finished capturing their wedding I ran home and said to anyone who would listen "it was exactly what I would want to do for my wedding". 

Ladies, you nailed the perfect relaxed wedding and it was a true honour to be a part of your day and love story. I hope we can work together again xo 

Rings - Devils Workshop (engagement rings) & Anice Jewelry (wedding bands)

Cake - I Do Wedding Cakes

Fel's Jumper - Halston Heritage at the Bay

Mel's Custom Dress - Breeyn Mccarney

Flowers - Willem & Jools

sarah + francine | a beautiful wedding at Sandos Finisterra Los Cabos

Almost three years ago I was sat at a table at a wedding I was photographing with Sarah's family and Francine. Francine asked me "do you shoot destination weddings?" and followed with "when we get married, you are coming with us and photographing it".

Well, fast forward to mid-April and I am boarding a plane to Los Cabos with Sarah, Francine and 25 other friends and family members.

The week away with everyone was amazing. F+S surround themselves with some great people and the resort they chose was so unique and beautiful. It was really incredible to photograph a destination wedding that had desert, beach and mountains. 

With S + F getting ready together to a ceremony on the beach to a rooftop reception with a 360 view of Los Cabos, everything was a dream.

I feel like I have gained some great friends from this week together S + F and I can't thank you both enough. Can't wait to work with you both in the future xo 

steve + mel | outdoor engagement session at Tiffin Conservation

This is Steve and Mel. Steve and I go way back, like 25 years back (crazy!) and have been through so much together. In college, Steve and I were roommates and one day he brought Mel over and I instantly loved this girl. They are such a fun, awesome, laid back couple and after almost a decade, are finally tying the knot. We are officially at the two month countdown (2 from today) until their wedding and I am so fortunate to be capturing it :)

Here is a peek at our engagement shoot from this past fall at Tiffin Conservation Area. Enjoy!

mackenzie + brayden | an in-home engagement session

A few weeks back, Mackenzie and Brayden went to NYC where Brayden popped the big question. This beautiful couple is now getting married in 2018 and I am SO stoked for them.

When Mackenzie contacted me about doing engagement photos, she was interested in some forest shots and I have been itching to do a in-home engagement session, so we made sure to make BOTH happen. From forest to knitted blankets to couch cuddles to pillow fights to boozy drinks to warm up, this session has it all! 

Thanks so much for having me m + b! I hope to work with you guys again soon xo

kate + chris | a junction triangle engagement photoshoot

The best thing about photographers in this country (and maybe even beyond) is that most of us support each other, encourage, inspire and mainly, have several social media groups where we post referrals and try and help each other with getting more work and providing referrals to clients when we are unavailable. 

Because of one of these groups this awesome couple, Kate and Chris, wrote me about capturing their wedding. When they described their wedding in their initial email, I had a really hard time not writing back instantly with an email scream "YESSSSSSSS!!". Their wedding is going to be unique and AWESOME!

When we had our initial chat, Kate and I had an instant connection. Live in the same neighbourhood, love the same music and restaurants and when it came to their engagement session, we knew we had to include some of those elements of our lives. 

When it came to choosing a location, I instantly thought "brewery/restaurant, art and the city", and we found exactly that. My friend Mel has recently turned her lofty apartment into a wicked art filled space used for markets, concerts and more, the Junction Art Crossing. They have monthly markets, weekly workshops and live music as well, it's a wicked space everyone should check out. Another reason to head over there? It's directly beside The Toronto Distillery Co. and Junction Craft Brewery.

Mel let us use her amazing space and rooftop during their November event and we decided to have some beers at Junction Brewery before and grab some for the shoot. 

Here are a few peeks from our day!

My experience at the November Refresh Workshop

At the start of 2016 I set two goals for myself: to take at least one workshop and to get booked for a session overseas. I have officially accomplished both.

Ever since I started photography, I have been following (and stalking) a few incredible photographers. There are quite a few I respect, follow and love but I can say I have two ultimate favs, Jennifer Moher and Hugh Whitaker. Months ago I FINALLY registered to take their Refresh Workshop and have been looking so forward to it since. 

The workshop came at the best time in my photography season, the winter "lull". Although I have a few weddings left in 2016 and quite a few sessions coming up, I was feeling blah. I needed a refresh if you will :) 

I can't recommend this workshop enough. Jennifer, Hugh and Erin Lester (Jen's second shooter) are so real. There's no question to simple or too blunt or too silly to ask them and you get a real answer, which I think is the most important aspect of a workshop. 

We covered everything from initial client conversations to how to present a finished product to SEO to social media, everything I wanted to hear them talk about, we talked about. 

The best part of the day was having real models (who ended up being so fun and perfect for our group). We started with the Groom getting ready, then the bride, to a first look and then a reception. It was great to see how Jennifer, Hugh and Erin would photograph with the light we had and the settings the models were in. We were then given our own time with the models to use what we learnt, which was wicked. 

Jen, Hugh and Erin, I can't thank you enough. You gave me the little fire under my bum to do better, which is exactly what I wanted out of your workshop. You have inspired me and motivated me to do just that much better when it comes to showing my work, building relationships and valuing my time. So thank you times 10000!

Here is a peek at our workshop session. Enjoy! 

brittany + drew | a rustic farm wedding at rainbow valley wedding barn in caledon

Brittany and Drew are one of those couples that make me feel so lucky to have my "job". I say it in quotes because honestly, hanging out with these two and their friends and family, never once felt like work. 

Brit and Drew found me through a free wedding magazine that I just happened to submit one of my weddings too. Brit and I met up in person for the first time and instantly it was a match and I wanted to capture their wedding so bad. I am so thankful they chose me. 

From the first second I saw them on the wedding day, to the minute I left, my face hurt from smiling and my make up was a mess from crying. Every little detail was perfect: walking in and everyone is rocking out to the Tragically Hip (my fav band), constant laughs all day with the whole group, horses chasing us while doing photos (and while we chased goats), truly emotional speeches, the best dance floor and the list goes on. 

B + D, THANK YOU!! I don't know how many times I can say it, I am so darn thankful I was lucky enough to capture such a perfect wedding. I am so happy you guys found me through that magazine and I really hope I get to work with you, your friends and your families again. 

-Megan xo