Shelley & Dave’s Shabby Chic Toronto Restaurant Wedding

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I was holding off on publishing this wedding since it was going to be featured on Style Me Pretty – but now enough time has passed and I’m so excited to be sharing it with you.

I got to shoot this wedding on my birthday (June 21st) – First day of Summer, longest day of the year, and a day so full of love and beauty all around… such a fantastic way to spend a birthday!

Shelley & Dave went *all out*. This wedding is styled to the nines!

This shabby-chic affair was everything they are – sweet, stylish, chic, classic, beautiful, and oh so memorable.
Being there felt like I had stepped into a magazine or gorgeously styled blog post – you could tell these two had put so much thought into making this a special day with so many personal touches.
They painted and potted all the herb place card holders/favours themselves! Shelley’s mother beautifully calligraphed all the guests’ names as well, and Dave wrote out the seating chart by hand.
They had a super fun Polaroid ‘photo booth’ ‘guest book’, and guests pinned their special messages to the newlyweds onto cute twine lines strung over a wrought iron gate fixture. And, those who like to Instagram were invited to use the hashtag #thecolenbranders via an adorable bunting banner at the entrance.

… And let’s not forget about the DARLING sprinkle-covered cake with sweet fondant bowties! (A nod to the gents’ bowties, perhaps?) This cake wasn’t just awesome to look at, either – it tasted phenomenal. And the ice cream bar with topping choices next to it was a fun way cap off dinner and provide an energy boost for dancing!

There are almost too many special details to recount!

Congratulations again, Colenbranders!!

P.S. So much kudos is deserved to Fidan and Christina ofDesigned Dream Wedding Planning for setting up Shelley’s vision so perfectly, and to Alina of Flowers Time – Toronto Floral Design Studio for the gorgeous floral arrangements! And to Caffino Ristorante for being such a wonderful venue!
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Ashley & Jalal – Married!

Remember these two from their engagement session? They’re a super fun, super adorable and super in love couple — Ashley and Jalal are married!
It’s so sweet to see how magnetic their love is. Their attraction is so strong you can feel it just being around them! You can get a little glimpse of how fiery their love is by seeing how Jay looks at Ashley in some of these photos. And Ashley is just so smitten.
Love these two.
I had a fantastic time photographing this wedding – their friends and family were so friendly and man, do they know how to have fun! Music blasting in the limo, jokes and laughs the entire day, and such high energy and full-on happiness!
Ashley got ready at The Ivy at Verity hotel and we then headed to St. Peter’s Catholic Church for the ceremony, followed by The Distillery District for photos and Tappo Wine Bar & Restaurant therein for the reception; it’s a lovely rustic, intimate restaurant with such delicious food and a wonderful outdoor patio space where they set up a few hookahs! Super neat – love when couples incorporate cultural elements into their weddings.
Once we got to the Distillery District Ashley & Jay changed into their comfy Converse shoes – but not just any Converses — Jay wore sleek leather ones that he meticulously polished to look fab, and Ashley wore adorable white ones with a platform incorporated in them so her dress didn’t drag. She said her feet were sooo comfy, which is important when you’re on your feet all day! Even more so when you have to navigate uneven cobblestone streets. Cute idea, guys!
I’ll stop blabbing now and let y’all see some photos from this rad wedding!

** Scroll to the end of the photos to read some insights from our happy couple! **

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And now, some words from the newlyweds!

What was your favourite wedding moment?
Bride: I have so many favourite moments, but I think my top faves are when I received a pre-wedding love note from the limo driver upon his arrival to pick the girls up. When I read (or attempted to) and my maid of honour, Faye, finished reading Jay’s love note to me I was literally in happy tears. I thought, wow I am so lucky, I am about to marry the sweetest man! My second favourite moment was when my mom walked me down the aisle. She is the most important person in my life and I love that she had that honour and moment! Not to mention, that was the moment I finally got to see Jay’s smile waiting for me at the end of that long aisle! Finally, my last favourite moment would have to be when “Sweet Carolina” came on during dinner (the Fab 8/Boy’s song on Jay’s side) and I got to see my husband in his prime with his closest and bestest friends; dancing and singing and hugging! They made me so happy to see what wonderful friends he has in his life, who travelled long and far to be with him for his day! He was so happy and that made me so happy!
Groom: Other than the usual… Seeing Ashley that first moment on the aisle, kissing her and calling her my wife, and our first dance, I have quite a few favourite moments as well. If I have to pick I would say that the moments Ashley and I shared at the alter while listening to the priest and guest speakers was so special. We were both so excited and nervous. Each time one of us was about to have a moment of tears or nerves, we would whisper something funny to each other. Everyone wondered what we were saying. No one will ever really know lol Looking at her, and sharing this moment with her was more than I could have ever imagined to be so special. We never realized how truly special signing that piece of paper, having that day and having the “husband” and “wife” title really is!

Any advice for engaged couples planning their wedding?
If you had asked us a few months ago, we would have said “Run away just the two of you and forget the big to-do!” It is so much stress! BUT it is SO WORTH IT! Don’t dwell on the little details, no one will notice. Have fun, and stop to take in the moments happening around you. Do it your way! But most importantly, spend the time, money and energy on finding an amazing photographer. Your photos are all you will have when that amazing day whips by and is over! We are less than two weeks over with it, and so happy we already have our beautiful photos to reminisce with!

– Dress designer: Moon Light Couture by Val Stefani from Mona Richie Bridal
– Suit: Jack Victor Exclusive Collection
– DJ: Rob Gri AKA DJ Greedo @ Del Vinyl Entertainment
– Centrepieces: DIY
– Cake: Merry Cakes ( and merrycakesdotca on instagram)
– Venues: The Ivy at Verity hotel,  St. Peter’s Catholic Church, Tappo Wine Bar & Restaurant in The Distillery District
– Makeup: Shari at Sutherland Artistry
– Lashes: Jennifer Couto at Lasholiscious
– Hair: Daniel Palacio at Deberardinis Salon and Spa

Congratulations again, you two!! Had a blast, and feel so honoured to be your photographer!

Anastasia Giaouris

Kashfia & Arber – Married! 04.19.2014


How can I describe to you just how beautiful the love between these two wonderful human beings is?

Let’s start with how sweet they are individually – they are each so kind-hearted, caring, and considerate of others… multiply that by a lot between the two of them and you have an inspiringly supportive and nurturing couple. It’s amazing how they look at each other, and how attentive they are to one another. You can instantly tell these two have a solid bond.

In my initial meeting with the two of them I was so touched to see the care with which they each explained their ideas for their wedding – making sure the other agreed, and supporting the other’s statements, affirming the importance of their loved one’s ideas.
They explained to me that they’d have two separate days for their wedding festivities – one would be a simple home ceremony performed by an Imam in keeping with Kashfia’s Bengali culture, and the other would be a more Western reception with a Bengali twist: shared, family-style food and a stage set up with a backdrop for guests to get photographs with the newlyweds. Impressively, Kashfia and Arber created this stage setup themselves since Arber has a theatre design background and they’re both very artistic. You’d never guess the super cool backdrop was made using gold spray-painted straws!

Another pleasant – and totally amazing – surprise was Arber’s speech to his wife… After Kashfia’s lovely, tear-inducing words to her husband, Arber mentioned he’s not so good with words… so the DJ fired up some music and Arber began to sweetly sing Elvis Presley’s ‘Only You’. The whole crowd started hooting and hollering at how fun it was!
I’m so happy Arber’s sister Borana – an old friend from high school – referred her brother and Kashfia to me. It was such an honour being present to capture their heartwarming love.
Warmest congratulations and best wishes for a happy marriage, lovebirds.

I have no doubt you’ll have a beautiful life together ❤
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And now, some words from the newlyweds!

How did you meet?
We first met at a New Year’s Eve party. Arber had spent the entire night trying to learn the name of every single person who was there and almost burned down our friends’ apartment by passing out sparklers to everyone. To quote a friend of ours, the sparks have been flying ever since!
What was your favourite wedding moment (bride & groom)
Kashfia: My favorite wedding moment was definitely when Arber began singing “Only You” in lieu of a speech. It was such a wonderful surprise, and it captured how sweet (and funny) Arber is as a person.
Arber: My favorite moment was our first dance, to the wonderful singing of our friend Michelle and masterful accompaniment of our friend TJ on guitar
Any advice for engaged couples planning their wedding? 
•Whether or not you are doing a DIY wedding (like we did), ask for help and use your support network; our wedding would not have happened without all the friends and family who insisted on making sure our day went well.
•On the day of the wedding, hire a day-of coordinator or make sure that someone you trust is going to take care of any questions or problems that may arise
•Manage your families’ expectations early on in the planning process, especially if you and your partner come from different backgrounds. The hardest part of all of our preparations was trying to figure out how to do right by our families and our cultures.
– Dress designer: Off-the-rack white wedding dress, altered by Arber’s neighbour Moza who is the most talented seamstress we know; lehenga from Asiyans in Scarborough
Makeup: Asha Arabia
Suit: Custom made by Sun & Moon Ltd.
Centrepieces & Bouquets: We made them ourselves, with the enormous help of our friends!
Cakes & favours: The favours were local honey that we spent a day pouring into glass jars, that were then hand labelled by our friends. Instead of a cake, Arber’s parents got us a macaroon tree from a local Albanian pastry shop.
Venue: The Assembly Hall
Any final thoughts about the big day/experience of getting married that you’d like to share?
Try to make the planning process fun for the both of you; some things are going to be a chore and some things you won’t agree on, but it’s really nice to look back on the day and remember how it brought you and your partner closer together. KashfiaArberLRGoodWM-66

Meagan & Adriano – Sneak Peek!

Been pretty sleepy today after shooting Meagan & Adriano’s wedding yesterday, but I had such an amazing time! Couldn’t help but dance along with everyone as I photographed the party later in the evening.

I’ve sifted through the photos and picked out my favourites, and now it’s time for bed! But first, here’s a little sneak peek from this super nice couple’s beautiful big day. The warmth of the sunlight was nothing compared to the warmth in their eyes!

Can’t wait to edit the rest – More to come soon!