Denise & Mark’s Fall Waterfront Engagement Session

DeniseMarkEngagementLR-Web-43DeniseMarkEngagementLR-Web-70 DeniseMarkEngagementLR-Web-8It was a super windy, cool day, but my goodness did I feel the warm love!
Every time I think about this engagement session I picture Denise’s bright, life-filled smile and her sheer joy being in the presence of her doting fiance Mark.

It‘s as though there were magnets pulling these two close to each other – they were embracing or holding hands the entire time. It was just the sweetest.

These two have been in a long distance relationship for – get this – 9 years! She’s been here in Toronto and him in Georgia. (The picture with the little maps with hearts on them is a nod to their long distance history.) I don’t know how they’ve done it. Seeing how much they love being together I can only imagine how difficult the distance must have been all this time. But, once they get married he’ll be moving to Toronto so they can share their new life together in the same place, finally.

It was fantastic spending time with you, guys. Thanks for inviting me photograph this beautiful time in your life – I can’t wait to also photograph your wedding on January 3rd!

** Check out the bottom of the post for their love story, written by Mark! **
DeniseMarkEngagementLR-Web-59 DeniseMarkEngagementLR-Web-71 DeniseMarkEngagementLR-Web-73 DeniseMarkEngagementLR-Web-74 DeniseMarkEngagementLR-Web-66 DeniseMarkEngagementLR-Web-67DeniseMarkEngagementLR-Web-2 DeniseMarkEngagementLR-Web-86DeniseMarkEngagementLR-Web-87 DeniseMarkEngagementLR-Web-47 DeniseMarkEngagementLR-Web-46 DeniseMarkEngagementLR-Web-42DeniseMarkEngagementLR-Web-41 DeniseMarkEngagementLR-Web-25 DeniseMarkEngagementLR-Web-26 DeniseMarkEngagementLR-Web-24 DeniseMarkEngagementLR-Web-35 DeniseMarkEngagementLR-Web-27 DeniseMarkEngagementLR-Web-30 DeniseMarkEngagementLR-Web-32 DeniseMarkEngagementLR-Web-34 DeniseMarkEngagementLR-Web-20 DeniseMarkEngagementLR-Web-5 DeniseMarkEngagementLR-Web-54 DeniseMarkEngagementLR-Web-53 DeniseMarkEngagementLR-Web-55 DeniseMarkEngagementLR-Web-57 DeniseMarkEngagementLR-Web-85 DeniseMarkEngagementLR-Web-79 DeniseMarkEngagementLR-Web-39 DeniseMarkEngagementLR-Web-37 DeniseMarkEngagementLR-Web-76 DeniseMarkEngagementLR-Web-78 DeniseMarkEngagementLR-Web-12 DeniseMarkEngagementLR-Web-19

** And now, some words from our groom-to-be Mark about their love story! ** 

Denise and I have been dating for nine years. The most amazing nine years of my life, I have to say. Our story began by the most unlikely of happenstances. She and I happened to be online playing a pool game at the same time. Yep, an online pool game. Many people assume that she and I met on some dating site or something like that because I am from Georgia and she is from Toronto. For those that know us, I’m sure that amuses them as much as it does us.

We spent a year getting to know one another over the phone and text messages or IM’s before I came to visit her in Toronto on September 22, 2005. We have been dating and seeing each other ever since. It has been hard to stay as close as we are and have grown to be over the last nine years, but soon the wait will be well worth it. She makes me the happiest man on Earth and could not or would not wish for a better wife to be. God has truly blessed us with love and a sense of peace when we are together. With a smile like hers, who wouldn’t be happy?”
DeniseMarkEngagementLR-Web-10 DeniseMarkEngagementLR-Web-77 DeniseMarkEngagementLR-Web

Winter Island – Is this actually Toronto?

Iland LR WM-8
Iland LR WM-4

These photos were actually taken in Toronto despite totally looking as though they’re from a Northern territory or the Arctic.

The Toronto Island is one of our absolute favourite places to visit.
We usually go in the Summertime, when the leaves are lush and the colours are vibrant… it’s an incredibly magical place, giving you a sense of calm and ease that makes you forget you’re in such a busy city.

We’d never visited the island in the Winter before, so we thought we’d try it out – something different (yet still of significance to our relationship) for our tenth anniversary.

What we saw was nothing short of awe-inspiring.
It was like the entire island had been white-washed – all the colours had been blanketed and muted with a soft, cool blue/white hue, and where we could normally see out into the horizon close to nothing was visible. We had to squint and double-take because it felt like our mind was playing tricks on us.
You can see in the picture of Kiron (my husband) on the beach, all we could see was white!

If you haven’t visited the island in the Winter we heartily recommend it. The crunchy, icy trip over is a little frightening (to me, at least), but everything about a winter island visit is invigorating!

Here are some of the pictures I took on our memorable trek.

Iland LR WM-5 Iland LR WM-6 Iland LR WM-7 Iland LR WM-3 Iland LR WM-10 Iland LR WM-11 Iland LR WM-12 Iland LR WM-13 Iland LR WM-14 Iland LR WM-15 Iland LR WM-16 Iland LR WM-17 Iland LR WM-18 Iland LR WM-19
After the island we went for dinner at the Mövenpick Marché in the Brookfield Place (formerly BCE Place) – you may recognize those arches – since it’s where we had our first ever date. We even sat in the same seats!  Iland LR WM-20

And this is one of the beautiful architectural details within Union station. You can see it on your next visit there if you just look up!
Iland LR WM-2

And, some final portraits we took of each other while enjoying our time out. You can see more photos taken by Kiron on his Instagram @kironcmukherjee if you like!
Iland LR WM
1896902_10153833775395089_1780122874_n

Stay warm, my friends!
– But also enjoy the beauty that Winter brings!

Lots of love,
Anastasia

Stephanie & Brian – Engaged!


Note: *Totally* romantic, movie-worthy proposal story after the photos!

Stephanie and Brian wanted to do their engagement photos at a place that was significant to them (which I love to do!), so they chose the neighbourhood where they first met, in downtown Toronto where they had gone to college together before their undergrads.
We strolled around, weaving through the streets on what was an unbelievably beautiful, warm Fall day.  I admired Stephanie’s ability to strut totally comfortably in her gorgeous plum heels as though they were sneakers.
It was totally cute hearing the two of them talk about the different buildings they had classes in, discussing memories, and pointing out the ways the neighbourhood had changed since they moved on from their former stomping ground.
Stephanie noticed the new Starbucks and joked about how she would have definitely been there all the time if it had been there back in the day. (You might be able to tell from some of the photos that she’s kind of a Starbucks fan.)
I learned that Brian doesn’t drink coffee (*gasp!* – kidding), but he does enjoy tea. I’m enjoying a nice hot cup of tea as I write this post – so this one’s to you, Brian!

We had a lot of fun frolicking about the city, and I love that these photos celebrate both their past and their future.

StephBrianLR-3StephBrianLR-27
StephBrianLR-31


StephBrianLR-24StephBrianLR-14

StephanieBrianNewLR-10StephBrianLR-25
StephBrianLR-15
StephBrianLR-12

And now, Stephanie’s account of how Brian so romantically proposed to her (with photos provided by them). Guys, I can’t. It’s so good.

“Brian told me that he was going to Boston for work and that I should go down on the Friday to meet him and stay for the weekend. The Friday that I was supposed to leave was the day in February that we had a really big snow storm so all flights out were canceled on that Friday and on the Saturday too. So I was never able to fly out to meet Brian in Boston. Also, at the same time, Boston had an even bigger storm and Brian was snowed in the hotel the whole time he was there. Brian ended up proposing the following Friday in our kitchen. I came home from work that Friday and there was a mailed letter on the kitchen table addressed to me. I opened the letter and it said the following….

StephBrianProposal1

Behind the letter was the following picture…

StephBrianProposal2
This was Brian proposing in the hotel in Boston where he was planning to propose all along! I found out though this that he never went there for work and he had only gone to Boston to propose! Poor guy was stuck in the hotel and snowed in for 5 days! I have yet to visit Boston!”
—-
How cute is that??
*Sigh* Ah, love.Can’t wait to photograph your wedding on April 12th, guys!

StephBrianLR-30

Alyssa & Bruno – Engaged!

AlyssaBrunoLR1-24

AlyssaBrunoLR2-4

I first met Alyssa 6 months ago in chilly March to photograph her son Mason’s first birthday Cake Smash. I couldn’t believe how unbelievably cute this little boy was! With golden locks, big  and soul-searching blue eyes and a completely endearing wide smile, Mason was somethin’ special.
Now, Alyssa’s got another special thing in her life – a fiance who truly seems to be utterly enamoured with her. When we were walking and casually discussing their relationship during our session he candidly mentioned the thought that crossed his mind when he met her: “Where have you been all my life?” It was the sweetest thing.

AlyssaBrunoLR2

AlyssaBrunoLR1-8

AlyssaBrunoLR1-17

AlyssaBrunoLR1

Alyssa and Bruno wanted me to take their engagement photos at a place they – and I – really love: Toronto’s Centre Island. There’s something so romantic about the whole experience of venturing to the island, exploring, breathing in that undoubtedly cleaner, fuller air amongst all the lush greenery and sounds of nature. Aaahhh… Let me just sit with that and smile for a moment…

AlyssaBrunoLR1-21

AlyssaBrunoLR1-19

… Gotta love that place.

AlyssaBrunoLR1-12

AlyssaBrunoLR1-16

Anyhow, we had a really great time on a Fall day that felt so much like Summer. The bright, happy sun was a reflection of the spirits of the two lovebirds in front of my lens.
They’re pretty smitten together. And the look Bruno gives Alyssa just melts my heart.

AlyssaBrunoLR2-6

AlyssaBrunoLR2-5

AlyssaBrunoLR2-3

Here are a few words from Alyssa about how Bruno proposed:
‘We were laying down in bed relaxing, and he asked If we could use the computer because he had made me a slide show of pictures of me, him and my kids. I said sure, we can look at the slide show, so we sat in bed watching the slide show. There were very cute pictures of me and him and a couple of pictures of my children. At the very end he wrote on the slide show ‘would you marry me?’ He had placed the open ring box on the computer but I hadn’t seen it until then since the room was dark… and of course I said yes :)’

Thanks for letting me be a part of your special time, guys. It was a pleasure.

Yentle & Geoff – Married!

 

Yentle Geoff Wedding-181
Ah, Yentle & Geoff. Two of the most kind-hearted, sweet individuals you’ll ever meet.
I won’t say too much about their wedding since they’ve so wonderfully captured the essence of their big day in the words to follow, but I will say that their love is the kind that could bring a smile to even the most hardened hearts (Mr. Grinch, I’m lookin’ at you). The twinkle in their eyes and glowing glances portray impossible amounts of breathless adoration and happiness filled to the brim. Just recounting it brings back the awe and amazement I felt as I released the shutter with each new smile-inducing moment at their lovely Toronto City Hall wedding.
Yentle & Geoff, I have no doubt that you two are perfect for each other. Warmest congratulations to you both!

The Engagement: From Yentle

Geoff technically proposed to me twice. The first time was on a pretty normal morning. We were getting ready for work in our apartment and mid-way through brushing his teeth, he stopped, looked deep into my eyes and said, “Do you wanna get married?” The rest of the day felt like a dream. From there we started slowly planning our small, intimate wedding and picked out an adorable white gold ring with pave diamonds as an engagement ring. I was under the impression that I would be able to wear it right away, but Geoff is a little trickier than that. He hid the ring as soon as I got it sized and playfully pretended to propose every so often.

I was kept in suspense for months and in March of 2012 I took a weekend trip to Montreal with my best friend. Upon my arrival home, I opened the front door of our apartment and was welcomed with the beautiful and breathtaking sight of 200 lit tealight candles and fresh rose petals leading from the foyer to our bedroom. Geoff had put up little love letters for me to read along the way, and as I arrived to our bedroom, there he was on bended knee, presenting the ring with a rose in his mouth.

The Significance of the 24th

May 24th is such a special day for us. Both of our birthdays, as well as that of our cat’s, fall on the 24th of our respective months, so we knew we wanted to have our wedding on the 24th too. May just felt right, and it’s also the anniversary of my mother’s parents. It was incredibly moving to spend time with my Lola (grandmother), who was also my Maid of Honour, and was a bride herself 66 years ago on that very day. It also doesn’t hurt that we get to celebrate every anniversary from here on with a long weekend!

The Big Day: Geoff’s Reflections

It all seemed to happen so fast. The day we had been planning for so long came and went, followed by a much deserved sigh of relief. The morning of the wedding I got to sleep in. This was crucial to the success of the day on my end. After I awoke, I found reminder messages on my phone from my lovely bride strangely reminding me to wear clean socks. I had just assumed that this was the time Yentle decided to tell me that my sock hygiene left something to be desired. I was happy to be wrong when I opened the sock drawer and found a new pair of stunning shark-themed socks packaged in a label which read “In Case of Cold Feet”. When I arrived at City Hall, I was able to finally see my beautiful bride to be fully decked out in her wedding attire. It was definitely a sight I will cherish for the rest of my life. Next it was off to the wedding chambers to do the deed itself. Everything was handled very professionally and the chambers were decorated beautifully. Our officiant George was incredibly thoughtful and conducted the ceremony with class. I got the chance to pour out my heart to my darling in front of friends and family as I read out my vows. I managed to keep my composure, but just barely; it was a very touching moment. When I finally had my wife officially ringed, there was much joy and celebration as we smiled and strolled back up the aisle which was the scene of so much nervousness only minutes earlier. It was done. It was then that I fully understood why people always said your wedding is the happiest moment of your life.

The Big Day: Yentle’s Reflections

Geoff and I got married on May 24th, 2013 and it is a day we will never forget. I spent the previous evening at my parents’ house and got ready there, while Geoff stayed at our apartment. I wanted his day to start off fun and playful, and I made sure to tell him to wear clean socks (which, I’ll admit, is an unusual request) to surprise him with a pair of socks  I placed in his drawer with sharks (his favourite animal) on them – in case of cold feet.

Spending the previous night and the morning of our wedding with my parents and sisters was incredible. We dipped into old memories and shared our hopes and dreams for the future. My dad made my favourite breakfast and those were the most delicious eggs I’ve ever had! My sisters are very talented, and after quickly doing their own hair and make-up they started on mine. At one time I had one of my sisters curling my hair, my other sister was applying my false lashes, while my mom was delicately painting my toenails and my dad was taking pictures. It was a zoo in that room, and I couldn’t help but feel all the love and excitement. (…continued)

(…) The ceremony was held at the Wedding Chambers at Toronto City hall. Before the ceremony our family members were able to mingle as Anastasia (Olive Photography) coordinated our “First Look”. His smile as he first turned around would have brought me to happy tears, but I kept it together for the sake of my make up! Our officiant, George, was fantastic. At our request, he began with the ring warming ceremony asking our family members to pass our rings among themselves as they silently wished or prayed for us. It was truly touching to receive the rings back with all of their love. We recited our own vows to each other in front of our loved ones, and I often play those words back in my head now.

After photos, we all rendezvoused at the Horizons restaurant at the CN Tower – which was greatly appropriate since we both felt like we were on cloud 9. The view was spectacular and the food was delicious! We all watched the sun set as its glowing, orange light bathed the city and continued liaising under the bright, almost-full moon. The staff was incredibly accommodating and very supportive of us staying well after our meals were over to continue celebrating.

Special Details

Each of our guests received a program – outlining the itinerary of the day, a hand stamped handkerchief with our initials (for happy tears), and little wands with long strands of ribbon to wave around instead of throwing confetti or blowing bubbles. My mother made beautiful silk flower boutonnieres for Geoff, his parents, his little sister (who was also our ring bearer), as well as one for herself and my father. I personalized Geoff’s with a little ‘1-up’ mushroom made of oven baked clay inspired by the Super Mario games. I made a matching one for my bouquet too, as they symbolized a “new life” for us.

Though our special day was pretty non-traditional, I definitely wanted to keep with the bridal traditions of having something old, new, borrowed, and blue. My something is old was the gorgeous veil, with a crystal-encrusted headpiece and hanging pearl, that my mother wore on her wedding day; my something new: my wedding dress that my extremely talented aunt custom-made for me; I borrowed lovely pieces of jewellery from the important women in our lives (from my mother, both of my grandmothers, my aunt, Geoff’s mom and step-mom) to create my bouqet; and my something blue was provided from my father. We cut out two hearts from one of his old work shirts and glued them under my shoes, so that throughout the day I would be walking with his heart.

Our day was amazing, and though it was fun and exciting, we’re both incredibly glad that it’s under our belts and we can begin building our life together.

Advice for Engaged Couples

Remember that your wedding day is for you and your love – and should reflect your personalities. It’s important to keep an open mind during the preliminary planning process, as you will get a lot of ideas thrown your way. Some of those ideas will be great, maybe some things you otherwise wouldn’t have thought of, but there will be others that will not feel right – don’t be afraid to say no to those.

DIY projects are great and affordable ways to add personal touches, but it is extremely important to choose those projects wisely and plan out when to do them ahead of time. You don’t want to be the struggling bride/groom-to-be wrestling with a glue gun on the night before your wedding.  Additionally, your friends and family members will ask you if there’s anything the can do to assist you, they love you and they mean it, so don’t be afraid to accept help. (…continued)

(…) After all is said and done, you will be incredibly surprised how fast the day will go. Remember to stop, breathe, and enjoy your special day.

Yentle Geoff Wedding-249