Casa Loma is a majestic medieval-style castle on the brow of a hill overlooking Toronto. With 60 foot high ceilings and intricate details in mahogany panels, this is one of my favourite venues to shoot weddings. The castle itself and the deeper hues within its walls convey a very specific atmosphere that most of the weddings it houses adopt. The recent addition of its glass pavilion, a huge, all-glass structure placed amid the gardens, however, added a new dimension to this already phenomenal venue, allowing couples to play with new themes and allowing us to use a new style of photography less frequently used at Casa Loma. The unobstructed light shining through the entire structure, the lush greenery, and the meticulously landscaped gardens make shooting wide-open a real treat and results in some seriously airy photographs. Of course, having a huge castle in the background adds an element of regality so this venue is perfect for couples planning a modern wedding that seeks inspiration from the past. And that is precisely what Lauren and Sacha did for theirs.
We have been very fortunate to work with some amazing couples in the past and as soon as we met this lovely pair, we knew they would be no exception. The couple was very keen to find a seamless indoor/outdoor location, a task, as they found, that would prove more difficult than anticipated. As soon as they saw Casa Loma’s new glass pavilion, though, their vision of an alfresco affair started to materialize and thus began the makings of their unforgettable wedding.
Both parts of this unified whole are dazzling in their own right, each with a great sense of humour, contagious laughter, and an impeccable sense of style. By combining their unique attributes, Lauren and Sacha created a wedding day surrounded by loved ones, sharing laughs and stories over great food and wine. The food was particularly important for the pair since they actually bonded over their interest in experimenting with flavours and trying new dishes.
For their meal, guests were seated at a collection of horizontal tables lined from end-to-end with florals and foliage by the talented Coriander Girl. The combination of wild flowers and roses in blush tones gave the arrangement a clean feel while setting a vintage tone that perfectly suited Casa Loma. The simple tableware of white plates and sparkling glasses continued the wedding’s crisp vibes, and the golden trims added an air of luxury. These subtle golden details were continued on the sweet table where an assortment of glowing treats, from cakes to cupcakes to cookies prepared by Bite Me Bakery, waited to captivate everyone’s sweet tooth, especially mine!
To be honest, nothing is quite as sweet as that moment when the bride and groom share their first look on their wedding day. Lauren and Sacha are both very much into fashion and, as I mentioned earlier, have an effortless sense of style. Lauren kept her choice of gown, a pale and lacy Kleinfeld piece with a plunging neckline, crystal shoulder details, and delicate chains dangling across the back and off the shoulders, a secret from her soon-to-be husband, a common practice among many brides. This stylish couple made the moment even better because Sacha, the dapper gentleman he is, kept his wedding attire a surprise as well. He wore a royal blue suit with black satin trim and matching bow-tie that played off his crisp dress shirt in the most elegant of fashion. When shooting their first look, we wanted to capture all the very intricate details of Lauren and Sacha’s outfits while highlighting the emotions evoked by this exciting moment. One of my favourite shots of the day is composed in such a way that Sacha’s tender look at his wife and the loving smile on his face are the focus, but Lauren’s dress in the foreground is blurred ever-so-slightly giving it an airy feel that accentuates the light, delicate chains floating off her shoulder.
After the first look, I followed the couple on a stroll through the castle gardens to get a few intimate shots before the celebration commenced. It is interesting to note that Casa Loma was originally built by Sir Henry Pellatt between 1911 and 1914 as the result of his new-found admiration for romance. On his travels through Europe the financier developed an eye for romantic-style architecture which really materialized upon his betrothal to Mary Dodgson, whom he met in his twenties. The castle itself was built as a token of love for the new Lady Pellatt, and the Casa Loma Rose, a beautiful garden featuring the flower in different hues, represents the secret language of lovers. Red roses, for example, symbolize a passionate advance, while white roses mean purity. Being the historian I am, I find it heartwarming that Pellatt’s legacy has carried through time and the rose garden planted for his wife remains a beautiful location for couples to celebrate their own love. And as a photographer, what I appreciate even more is that Lauren incorporated white roses into her bouquet which, both visually and symbolically, tied in perfectly with the venue and her wedding theme.
Lauren and Sacha made shooting this wedding so easy and a real pleasure. When couples have an inspired vision (and a little help from the pros at Bisous Events) for their day that not only reflects who they are as people, but also plays off the surroundings available to them– paying attention to the history, the architecture, and the light, it allows us to apply our own artistic creativity to the shoot. The result, as you will see, are images that immortalize all the genuine emotions of the day while respecting the intricate details of the venue, the hard work of all the vendors, and the initial vision created by this unforgettable couple. Thanks Lauren and Sacha!