Denise and Charlie had a wonderful Toronto Island wedding. The ceremony celebrated Secular Humanistic Judaism, and was custom-written by this bright and funny couple (Denise is a kick-ass feminist Rabbi!). Reflecting their personalities the day was joyful, natural and full of laughter. I am honoured that Denise asked me to photograph this incredible occasion, and I am so happy to share it with you too. I caught the ferry over to the Island with Denise's friends, and while the skies threatened to rain in the morning, the day ended up an island paradise. That's the thing about Toronto Island - if you find the right spot it truly feels like you're away from the city... And Denise and Charlie definitely found the right spot.
The ladies spent the morning doing a personalized version of the Jewish Mikvah ritual on Ward Island beach (not depicted here). Afterwards, we strolled over to Smiley's B&B (not without stopping for iced-cappuccinos) to get ready for the day ahead. Like many Island houses, Smiley's is a sweet little haven, with a cottage/beach house feel.
After getting her makeup done by Toronto makeup artist Tiffany Encina, we walked over to a very special place: Alice's House of Big Hair. This is a sublime little secret that I was thrilled to be let in on! Apart from being a talented hair stylist, Alice keeps a house that is full of character and memories - a photographer's dream.
During the hair appointment, Denise suddenly realized she had forgotten something back at Smiley's so she phoned her friend, Kristy, asking if she could walk it over to the salon. When she arrived we saw that Kristy had dropped everything and rushed over in bare feet! The day was warm and as we wandered back to the house I couldn't help but look at these two women and think, "now that is love."
Since they were seeing each other before the ceremony (common in Jewish weddings), Denise and Charlie decided to do a "first look" (or "reveal"). Charlie waited in the long forested driveway of the venue. This waiting time is always when the groom suddenly gets nervous and excited, and as Denise walked up the path on that summer day, I could see that Charlie was right on cue - all smiles. I skulked behind some nearby bushes so that they could enjoy a private moment together.
After some photos with family and friends we moved over to the Algonquin Island Association, where the wedding and reception was about to take place, and got ready for the big moment.
As the sun set, the atmosphere lit up from a laid back island BBQ to champaign toasts and speeches that had everyone laughing and some of us in tears.
Then straight on into the party - starting, of course, with the horah.
Denise and Charlie, it was a privilege to photograph your incredible wedding and I still look through the photos and re-live the happy memories to this day. I am so glad we've had the chance to get to know one another - thank you!
Click here to read what Denise had to say about her experience working with Sweetheart Empire.
Here for Jeff & Kerri's Toronto Island engagement photos,
And here for Amanda & Kirk's Toronto Island wedding sneak peek!
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