Laura & Zach – Almost Parents!

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I love photographing Laura and Zach.
Actually, let me correct that by saying I overall just love spending time with them.
They’re so easy-going, down to earth, fun, and so, so kind.
I photographed their engagement session and wedding, and I was beyond excited when Laura messaged me saying they’re expecting a little one!
I was of course honoured and *so* looking forward to documenting this new milestone for them.
Here, Laura is 6 weeks away from her due date – then they’ll embark on yet another new journey together, as parents. Life is pretty special like that.
Guys, I had so much fun with you while we walked around and had this totally chill maternity session.
Thank you so much for including me in this amazing stage of your life. And I’m so excited for the next one coming super soon!
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Hair & Makeup: Makeup by Carmela

Isabella & Lukas – Engaged!

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Well aren’t these two just cute as a button??

Isabella and Lukas mentioned they’re not usually comfortable in front of the camera, but I wouldn’t have known that if they hadn’t mentioned it – Isabella even thought she didn’t look good in photos… I beg to differ, miss!

Though they may not usually be comfortable around the camera it sure didn’t seem that way – maybe they’re just so comfortable being around each other, bringing the best out of one another. I’ve gotta say, these photos ooze comfort and coziness – Isabella and Lukas danced around, kept each other warm from the cold, gave the sweetest glances – they make me smile. It was super fun to be in the presence of such open hearts.

The day was definitely a bit brisk and the Fall air had a bite to it, but it was sweet to witness how Lukas held Isabella close to warm her up. Even sweeter to see the looks of pure smitten-ness in their faces and body language.

After some time outside we got to enjoy two beverages with each other. First, the two of them enjoyed a pint (Lukas joked that he should have had it at the start of the session since it warmed him up), then later we went to a nearby coffee shop to enjoy some hot tea and apple cider – mmm, like Autumn in a cup!

I had so much fun getting to know these two and I absolutely cannot wait to photograph their wedding Next October 17th!

(Be sure to check out some words from the couple themselves near the end of this post!)
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And now, some words from our lovebirds about their Love Story!

“Our love story was definitely not one of love at first sight. We met in middle school, where we found each other dorky and unappealing. A couple of years went by and a close friendship developed. At school we chose the same classes, would visit each other’s lockers, and laughed at each others jokes. We would phone each other nightly to discuss our latest crushes, often Isabella giving Lukas sage advice.  We saw each other through several brief and awkward relationships. Eventually we got tired of our friends interrogating us about our developing affections for one another and the inevitable happened. We weren’t sure if it would last past prom, but more than eight years later we are now planning a wedding.

Despite having no phone service, Lukas planned his big proposal while working at a hospital in the tiny northern town of Moose Factory, Ontario. He chose our favourite winery to stage a private dinner, featuring all of Isabella’s favourite foods and wines. He got down on one knee and an emotional Isabella nodded a yes.
Our relationship has been through long distance, three university degrees, many travels and a beautiful proposal. Nevertheless, our relationship remains much like it began – two friends who laugh at each other’s jokes.
We look forward to sharing our special day with our family, friends and with Olive Photography!”
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Family Session! Danielle, Jeremy, Damian, Jada

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I had the pleasure of photographing this sweet family last year and was thrilled when they asked me to do another session with them this year. It’s so neat to see how kids grow and how their personalities evolve over time. Damian is a sweetheart big brother who is so good with setting an example for his little sister, and Jada is so full of life and spunk!

During our session both of them would stop to marvel at the beautiful and cool things they saw, and of course I had to stop and marvel with them – it’s so much fun getting into the imaginative and exciting world of kids! For example we saw paw prints dried in the mud and wondered what animal could have left them, or when I spotted a ladybug at the start of our session Jada insisted on carrying it with us the entire time, which meant I had a ladybug crawling up my arm or finger between shots so she could pose without getting distracted by the cuteness. It surprisingly stayed with us from start to end without flying away!

Danielle and Jeremy have raised such wonderful kids and I had so much fun with their whole family.

Here’s to next year, lovelies! Thanks for the memorable and wonderful afternoon!

Much love,
Anastasia
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Ashley & Jalal – Married!

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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!

Details:
– Dress designer: Moon Light Couture by Val Stefani from Mona Richie Bridal
– Suit: Jack Victor Exclusive Collection www.jackvictor.com
– DJ: Rob Gri AKA DJ Greedo @ Del Vinyl Entertainment www.delvinyl.com
– Centrepieces: DIY
– Cake: Merry Cakes (Merrycakes.ca 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
Facebook.com/OlivePhotographyTO
@OlivePhotoTO
info@olivephotography.ca

Samantha & Darren – Engaged!

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Samantha and Darren actually met 20 years ago (!!) way back in grade 7, then they went to high school together. Darren apparently had a thing for Samantha but she wasn’t ever ‘available’… Then, years later, they ran into each other and sparks flew. They’ve been inseparable ever since.

What a beautiful day it was when we did this engagement session, totally mirroring the full, open love these two share. I couldn’t help but smile as I witnessed how totally into each other they are – and how much they love their fur-baby Froggy! Froggy was a rescue puppy who was originally often caged and used just for racing, and they love her so much and wanted to include her in the photos. I love that.

Thanks for choosing me to document this time for you, guys. Was such a pleasure and I can’t wait to photograph your wedding on July 26th!
Read about their love story from Sam herself at the bottom of this post! 
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And now, some words from our bride-to-be!
“Darren and I first met in grade 7, and were part of the same circle of friends in high school, but lost touch afterwards. Over the years we would bump into each other in random places, and would ease into a great conversation. A chance encounter on April Fools, at a local sporting venue I was working at , lead into another a week later with plans to go to dinner soon. There was a lot of emailing and texting in between, but something instantly clicked that first night. Those feelingsintensified by that dinner, which ran seven hours! We talked endlessly and didn’t want the night to come to an end, but neither one of us was willing to risk making a “move” so soon. The following week, while working an event, I watched Darren as he came up the stairs to my area and thought to myself “I can’t just be friends with him!”.  Lucky for me, Darren was thinking the same thing. By the end of the month we were a couple, but I guess you could say it was 20 years in the making.”
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Kashfia & Arber – Married! 04.19.2014

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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.
Details: 
– 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

Celso & Eini’s Lovely Winter Wedding at Fantasy Farm

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Celso & Eini’s wedding was so lovely and full of happiness! The atmosphere was incredibly full of love from everyone, and many happy tears were shed. My heart felt so full that day.

Their wedding took place on the second day of Spring – although Mother Nature had other plans… it was chilly! But we barely felt it with all the love and happiness warming us up.
Eini was proactive and got her bridesmaids glamorous white furry stoles and adorable fuzzy earmuffs and mittens to keep them warm.

She made the bouquets and boutonnieres herself, and the *incredible* cakes were made by her bakery – I’ve never seen such fabulous cakes.

She did a first look with both her hubby to be and her parents, and they were all so sweet!

The ceremony & reception were both held at Toronto’s Fantasy Farm and it was a such a lovely intimate affair.
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Warmest congratulations, guys!! It was an honour capturing your beautiful love!
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P.S. Here are some thoughts from the newlyweds about their big day:

What was your favourite wedding moment?
Bride: My favourite moment were the speeches – hands down!
Groom: Preparing for the “first look” moment – you can’t quite appreciate the feeling unless you experience it for yourself.
Any advice for engaged couples planning their wedding?
Bride: Have fun with the planning process. We had 2 months to plan everything, keep it simple and manage your expectations. Any aspect that stresses you out, delegate for someone else to do if you can 🙂
Groom: Do not allow the process to stress you out. Identify your absolute must-have’s and focus on those…good taste doesn’t have to cost a small fortune.
Any final thoughts about the big day/experience of getting married that you’d like to share?
Bride: Not everything will go as planned or on schedule. Just go with the flow and enjoy your wedding day to the fullest, because your guests will never know 😉 Take in each moment and make the day last!
Groom: Take some time to relax the morning of the wedding – it’s important to calm yourself (yet remain excited for your big day).
Details: 
Dress designer: David’s Bridal
Suit: Rented from Andrew’s Formals
Bouquets: DIY – Faux flowers from Canpol in Mississauga
Centrepieces: DIY
Cakes & favours: Eini & Co. (sweet table: wedding cakes, cake pops, french macarons as favours, cupcakes.)
Venues: Fantasy Farm & Brickworks
Other details of note: Decor – Rose Petal Decor (Felicia) – SHE DID AN AMAZING JOB with the backdrop and altar

May & Kareem’s Cozy Winter Engagement Session

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May and Kareem have been in a long distance relationship for six years, living in different countries and seeing one another only about four times a year. I can only imagine how much they miss each other while apart, and it’s no wonder they hold on so tightly when together.

When Kareem came to visit over the holidays he proposed. Soon they’ll get to create a home and life together – I’m so excited for them! They’ll likely be moving away to a country with no snow (where Kareem works), so they wanted to capture their engagement session in the snow to remember how beautiful winter can be.

What’s even more beautiful, however, is their full-on and completely adorable love for each other. What a remarkable love these two share. Their eyes shine so brightly when they look at each other, and their smiles are unbelievably warm and unmistakeably full of the deepest joy.

We had such a lovely time walking around as dreamy snowflakes fell around us. The weather was cold but our hearts were warm. The hot chocolate with marshmallows (one of their fave winter things) helped too. (Yum!)

Guys, it was such a pleasure capturing this happy time for you! Witnessing love like yours is part of why I love this job so much. Such an incredible honour.

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Elyse & Andrew – Engaged… Finally!

After a whopping 12 years together, this super fun pair are getting hitched!

It was a blast photographing this couple’s session – I’m so glad they won the giveaway contest!

They wanted to keep their session light-hearted and even silly at times, which was more than alright with me because the way they are together is gosh darned adorable.

Congrats, you two!

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