Steam Whistle Brewery Wedding

Occasionally, in life you meet couples who have a very quiet confidence about their relationship. They’re the couple who “just gets” one another without needing to put their love on display. That’s the type of romance I saw between Emma and Tom during their engagement session as well as their wedding day.
They’re the type of couple who challenges me to be more observant. Their moments of affection are very sincere and sweet but they also happen when no one else seems to be looking. They’re the couple who flirts with one another whilst everyone else is busy watching slides on the jumbo screen or giving a speech.
Emma and Tom are a very special couple who have clearly earned their place with their friends and family. It takes an exceptional couple to round up 20+ friends to join their immediate wedding party but they had a bus full of friends happy to celebrate their love.
Beyond their friendships and stolen moments with one another, Emma and Tom have a family who clearly loves them both very much. I can’t say I cry at weddings very often but I couldn’t help but choke back a few tears during the Mother-Son Dance. To date, the photo of Tom with his mother is one of my favourites. There’s no feeling quite like the bitter-sweetness of seeing a child you raised grow into an amazing adult…while also having to let them go and start their own legacy.

Ceremony Venue: Our Lady of Lourdes
Party Venue: Steam Whistle Brewing
Florist: Mint and Magnolia Floral Design
Hair and Makeup: Fancy Face Inc.
Catering: Barque Events

The Warehouse Venue Wedding

From photographing their engagement last year to watching them get married this summer, I can truly see what Mary meant when she said, “Alex the yin to my yang”.
On the surface they seem to be opposites but you know what they say about opposites…
Mary is an attentive and deeply caring person who seems to thrive in Alex’s presence. He has an incredible way of making her feel calm when she’s nervous. Although they’ve been together for a very long time (starting with their days working retail together), they have a fresh and loving energy that’s typically seen in new romances.
Their wedding day was very sweet and made a point to celebrate the moments they had both looked forward to: Mary’s father seeing her in her gown for the first time, their beautiful letters to one another, the look of happiness as they both left the church and, of course, Alex’s approval of the delicious wedding cake (courtesy of Love in Bloom Cakes). The kids at the wedding were the life of the party and there’s nothing like having Vladimir Putin close out the night.
Mary and Alex, thank you for allowing me to document one of the most special days in your life! I wish you all the best in your decades ahead, together.

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Ceremony Venue: St. Joseph’s Catholic Church
Party Venue: The Warehouse Event Venue

Wedding Coordinator: Open Sky Weddings
Florist: Thorn Floral
Cake Artist: Love in Bloom Cakes
Hair and Makeup: Glam Galz Inc
Videographer: Twenty5Films
DJ: Music in Motion
Fiddle Player: Brigit O’Regan

Toronto City Hall Wedding

Tall, slender and impeccably dressed, Dione approached me in her favourite coffee shop downtown.  We agreed to meet on a chilly afternoon and talk about her wedding next year.  The more she told me, the bigger my smile grew!  I seem to be a magnet for long-distance romance stories and this one falls uniquely into place.  With a smile on her face, Dione told me all about John - an accomplished professional, living in New York, who has a weakness for PC gaming. I can see why they are a wonderful compliment to one another.  On first glance, Dione may seem shy and demure but she is playful, funny and very charming.  Making friends comes naturally to her which must be why she enjoys going out dancing so much!

Although Dione and John are having their big wedding in 2018, they decided that before the big party takes place, it would be nice to have a quiet ceremony.  They've chosen to begin married life by taking more than one leap as (later this year) they will be moving to England.  I felt very honored to be there to document their more intimate elopement in Toronto before we photograph the big bash next year!

Our first destination, on the beautiful April day, was the Toronto City Hall.  There I had the chance to meet some of the couple's closest friends and relatives as they said their "I do's":

Once I got Dione and John alone, it didn't take long for the shenanigans to begin.  It all started with a simple zipper check that left us in near-tears with laughter!

Once you have a few laughs about a fly being down, it really sets a nice and lighthearted tone for the session.  We got to do a bit of dancing and crack a few more jokes about who can headbutt whom the hardest.  Can you tell that silly people are my favourite? ;-)

Not only are Dione and John an absolute joy to have spent an hour with, they are also incredibly sweet to one another.  There was an air of genuine happiness in their presence.  The day (having started out cloudy) seemed to have warmed and brightened up just in time!  Dione looked perfectly in her spring element with her elegant lilac dress.

I cannot express enough gratitude that such a wonderful couple has found my photography service.  Their genuine personalities and good nature made my time with them feel like anything but work.  

John and Diane, I wish you all the best in your marriage and I can't wait to see you again in 2018!

All my Love,
Valeria

First Venue: Toronto City Hall
Second Venue: Osgoode Hall

Zoella Yoanna Blue

*clears out crickets* Ahem....

  For those of you wonderful enough to have been visiting my website regularly over the past year, you may have noticed things have been quiet.  I should clarify that I haven't fallen off the face of the Earth.  In fact, I love getting emails from you guys and keeping up with the exciting updates in your lives.  As such, I have a big update of my own...

Zoella Yoanna Blue April 30th, 2018 - 2:30pm 6lbs, 4oz

Zoella Yoanna Blue
April 30th, 2018 - 2:30pm
6lbs, 4oz

  The announcement is a long time coming.  Ben and I have waited for this little girl for a few years and we're overwhelmed with joy.  There's no feeling like laying in bed with your husband and fussing over how cute every little detail about your baby is.  Her fluffy hair, her gummi feet, the way her baby breath smells like yogurt...they're funny, little things that remind you why small moments matter just as much.

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  Naturally, with pregnancy and a newborn, my time has been stretched pretty thin.  The pregnancy was not as easy as my first one and it's taken us some time to get Zoella on a sleeping schedule.  Although I've been keeping up and staying in touch with all the amazing people I work with, my website and social media presence has been on a hiatus.  

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  Now that Zoella is sleeping better I'm excited to get back on track!  I'll be updating my blog to catch up with some of the excitement I've kept up with since last summer.  

I can't wait to share more with everyone!

All my love,
Valeria

Toronto Distillery District Wedding

Their lives started out on opposite sides of the globe but somehow, destiny brought them together.  After meeting one another, Danielle and Scott spent the next few years moving their relationship between his home in Australia and her home in Canada.   As a couple, they were so sweet I almost got a toothache.  It was clear why the distance, once separating them, was only meant to prepare them for the closeness they would create in the years to come.

On a Friday evening, an intimate group of friends and family gathered at the Toronto Christmas Market to watch this gorgeous couple take their vows of marriage.  The warmth of candlelight and feel-good holiday vibes made Cluny Bistro the perfect setting for a winter wedding.

Tears of joy were shed by many and then those tears turned into complete and utter happiness! 
We made our way to the iconic Love sign where the couple braved below-freezing weather for their portraits.  Still floating on the adrenaline of the beautiful ceremony, their loving interactions and happy smiles kept the frostbite away. On our portrait adventure, we walked through a cloud of compliments from visitors of the Distillery District.  Everyone had their eyes on the beautiful bride!

Getting to know the wedding party was a blast!  Danielle and Scott's friends were as charming and funny as one can only hope.  Scott's groomsmen flew all the way from Australia to razz him about being "good...but not great..." at a lot of things.  Danielle has an entourage of her own:  elegant girlfriends, ones who clearly adore her for how beautiful, encouraging, educated and nerdy she is.  She's their go-to girl for deep discussions about the String Theory.

There were many tender moments and just as many silly and hilarious moments! But…nothing beat Danielle's stories of how she knew she was in love and how she knew Scott was The One.  She knew she loved him when, several months into dating, she found his hilarious Facebook letter to POM Wonderful.  Through his deep love of their fruit juice, Scott couldn't look past their outrageous 25% price hike.  Only a world-wide pomegranate crisis would justify such a financial leap.

When Scott moved to Canada, their bond strengthened when taking walks home after work.  Having heard all the horror stories of Canadian winters, Scott bought himself a proper winter jacket.  Although Danielle made fun of Scott's huge jacket, she soon found herself at the mercy of karma.  Day after day, Danielle under-dressed for the frigid weather and each time, Scott chivalrously offered his jacket, never complaining of having to walk home in a t-shirt.  If you were to see Scott's expression as Danielle retold the story of how she knew he was The One, you would see that each word accentuated how much she truly means to him.  

Danielle and Scott, thank you for the honour of welcoming me at such a special day in your lives.  I wish you nothing but the best as you begin your lives together!  May you never experience a pomegranate shortage. 

Venue: Cluny Bistro

Officiant: Kim Adeney

North York Engagement

When Mary reached out to me about her engagement, I knew immediately she and her fiancee Alex were my kind of people. Not only are they neighbours, but they love The Keg steaks and hate fussy photos as much as I do.
There was a very natural flow between the two of them which I couldn’t help but admire. It was easy to see that Alex is absolutely smitten with Mary. The way he looks at her is exactly the way most girls dream of being looked at.
Although the morning of their engagement session started out cloudy, I’m convinced their love cleared the clouds away just in time for us to meet!

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Hitched Wedding Magazine Feature

The May 2017 issue of Hitched Wedding Magazine is bursting with gorgeous bridal inspiration!  I have had the utmost pleasure of working with an amazing team in bringing this inspirational photo shoot to life!

The concept was the brain-child of Toronto hair stylist, Samantha Wilson of Sam's Hair Band.  Samantha organized an amazing team for the photo shoot which includes:

Beautiful Model: Lada
Makeup: Erin Wheatley Makeup
Custom Designed Gowns: Maureen Patricia Bridal
Flower Crowns: Lady Hayes
Candles: Live and Lather

And, of course, yours truly behind the camera!

Cute as a Button

Somewhere between the time we anxiously prepare the rooms of our soon-to-be-born children and a moments blink, they grow up.  They go from being adorable, little people-blobs to personalities with interests and preferences.  

When Zana's beautiful mom reached out to me to document her daughter's 2nd birthday party, I was excited.  Two year olds are some of my favourite people in the world!  They have no filter and no sense of self consciousness.  From the moment they wake up, they just wanna party and that's the vibe I'm all about! When I first met Zana, the first thing she showed me was her favourite place to take photos and her best dance moves. Once we did a bit of dancing and Zana finished posing for some of the formal family portraits with her grandparents, we took a play break so she could show me her favourite toys. The best part of the day was getting to see Zana's amazing personality!  She called me over to let me know that (now that she's a sophisticated 2 year old) she goes to the big potty. She's also really good at getting the party started!  I wish I knew how to get a room full of people to chant my name as I bust out some of my best moves. Plus, she is SO funny, I spent most of the time snort-laughing behind my camera!

Once all was said and done, it was time to get Zana into her party outfit, which proved to be a job for 3 people and a lollipop. Zana finally got to blow out her candles but not before sneaking a swipe of the frosting!

My dearest Zana, I hope you enjoy being a free spirited two year old!  Please, never change! :-)

A Boy and His Dogs

The arrival of a first child is monumental!  When a biological baby comes along, there's no doubt in anyone's mind that you're finally a mom or dad.  What some forget is that a lot of us have fur-babies before our own children are born.  They're sweet, little souls who are often practice babies as we settle into a life that's stable enough for the real deal.  

I first met Anastassia in my neighbourhood, years ago - back when (Dachshund) Angel was her only baby.  Seeing as how Angel and my Rottie took a real liking to one another, Anastassia and I chatted while the dogs played.  Over the years we'd run into each other at dog parks.  One day, Anastassia had a surprise with her: a brand new (Rottie-mix) puppy named Aurora and a pregnant belly!

When little Imari was finally born, I felt it was an honour to photograph him!  He is the absolute cutest puddin-pop I've seen in ages!

Being mindful of the baby and dog dynamic, I made sure to ask how the dogs are with Imari.  The bad news is the dogs are no longer the babies.  The good news is they don't seem to mind at all.  In fact, they love Imari and have settled into their nanny roles very comfortably.

All puppers aside, I spent most of my time fussing over how adorable Imari is.  His powdery baby smell and adorable coos were absolutely heart melting.  If he's this much of a lady-killer now, I can only imagine the trail of broken hearts he's sure to leave, some day...