There’s something about a Shangri-La Toronto wedding that is timelessly chic and effortlessly elegant. As wedding photographers, we are constantly scouting for awe-inspiring wedding locations even though we might have shot in the venue dozens of times before. There’s always something new to discover and learn, whether it’s a new fixture or that magic window light. That is why it’s important for us to stay connected to the best wedding venues in Toronto in order to deliver unique wedding photographs every time we shoot there. We have shot at Shangri-La Hotel Toronto numerous times, yet we always come back to the studio with a completely new set of images that set the weddings apart. How do we do it? We are always in contact with their event planning team to pinpoint the best backdrop locations, hidden gems and best suits!
This week we met us with Lisa Wilson-Lall, Director of Events at Shangri-La Hotel Toronto to pick her brain on some awesome spots in this gorgeous venue and talk about all things wedding planning. With over 15 years in luxury service and event management, Lisa knows all there is to know about making your special day a flawless and A-list experience. Find our interview below and some of my favourite Shangri-La Toronto wedding photographs we worked on together.
Mango Studios (MS): Tell us a bit about the Shangri-La.
Lisa Wilson-Lall (LWL): Shangri-La Hotel, Toronto has established itself as an elegant sanctuary in the heart of the city. The hotel is located between the business and entertainment districts, within walking distance to the city’s best shopping, sports, live theatre, and cultural venues. Art, fashion and entertainment meet in style in Toronto’s urban living room, the hotel’s Lobby Lounge. The décor reflects an understated opulence, from hand-crafted crystal chandeliers, Asian-inspired works of arts, and breath-taking couture dresses on display. The emotive ambiance draws corporate globetrotters and special occasion indulgers looking to engage in memorable experiences. Our luxurious and contemporary rooms and suites are amongst the largest in the city, and deliver the perfect combination of comfort and style with thoughtful amenities and distinctive touches. Our guests experience uncompromising five-star hospitality delivered with Canadian thoughtfulness that reflects the city’s cultural mosaic and Shangri-La’s hospitality from the heart.
MS: What makes wedding photographs at your venue unique?
LWL: On the 3rd floor of the hotel, we have 3 primary event spaces. Museum Room (up to 120 guests seated) is by far the most photographed. With stunning crystal chandeliers hanging from the 25 foot ceilings, and floor to ceiling windows, this room guarantees a perfect shot from any angle. Our Queen’s Park Ballroom (up to 250 guests seated) has incredible wooden pivoting doors that open onto a Terrace overlooking University Avenue, a rare feature for ballrooms in the city. While it is beautiful year round, the Terrace truly comes alive in the Summer months. A unique feature found amongst the lush greenery is our Bee Wall which was created by Birks who sure knows how to create beauty out of anything. From our bees we harvest our own honey which you will notice is used directly into our food and cocktail menus, a great shot AND it tastes good. Lastly, our beautiful bridal salon located on the same floor provides the perfect location for those private moments during your special day.
MS: What do you wish photographers, other vendors, and couples knew about shooting on your location?
LWL: Shangri-La Hotel Toronto has so many beautiful areas that are beyond the obvious shot locations. We have a stunning porcelain blue and white tea wall, larger than life artwork and a floor to ceiling champagne wall featuring the best bubbly in town. We also have an incredible art installation located right outside the doors of the hotel. “The Rising” by Zhang Huan was conceived as a direct reflection of the living space of mankind. The polished stainless-steel sculpture is comprised of countless peace doves and twisted tree branches that resemble the body of a dragon – it makes for an absolutely stunning backdrop. If you are looking for more private areas we have several specialty suites that will suit the needs for every type of shoot. The Garden Suite for example has a soft and elegant glow that is perfect for the bridal party to be photographed getting ready in. If the weather is on your side this suite also has a beautiful terrace with an archway that beautifully contrasts the skyscrapers in the background. The sky is the limit for backdrops and locations at the Shangri-La Hotel, Toronto!
MS: What photos are you most excited to see post wedding day?
LWL: I really love seeing candid moments between couples. Posed images are great to have, but I personally really love those moments the couple didn’t realize the photographer was capturing. The authentic and natural emotions caught on camera are the images you end up treasuring for a lifetime. We work so closely with couples during the planning process while forming a relationship during such a pivotal time in their life that seeing the photos of their perfect day afterwards is such a great feeling. And as the events director here, I am of course excited to see full room photos that capture the unique décor and details each couple chooses.
MS: How do you help your clients to search for a wedding photographer?
I think understanding what their needs are for photography, and other vendors, is so important. When we invite couples in for a site inspection, that is our time to get to know them and understand the vision for the day. What is important to them? Then we can recommend the right vendors based on personal style, not just on who we have relationships with. That natural ability to get couples to relax a bit and feel comfortable will assist with getting the best images. A lot of people can be camera shy, and an exceptional photographer can pull people out of their comfort zone.
LWL: What attracts you and your couples to MANGO each year?
There is a journalistic approach that has become much more common in recent years in photography. Pictures are looking less posed and more natural which in turn conveys the love story. I tell all our couples, your guests don’t remember all the little details after the wedding, neither do you, but the photos will give lasting memories that will reflect the day for you to hold onto for years to come. I think that the MANGO photography team has a really special way of capturing those memories. They are the kind of photos that transport you back to the day when you look at them years later – the kind that you want to print off and frame.