Brendan and Margaret’s Magrath Mansion wedding is one I find so hard to sum up into a collection of words. It was in every way, just right. It was truly “them”. If you’ve ever met them, you would know what I mean, and if you haven’t I think the photos will help you to understand.
Traditionally, their mornings started out apart from one another with their bride and groom tribes by their sides; Margaret at the Matrix Hotel and Brendan at home. For her dress, Margaret choose something a little more unique by BHLDN, an Anthropologie brand, while keeping her other details like shoes and jewellery simple yet meaningful. Brendan stayed on the classic side in black, genuinely matching his bride’s level of class and character.
Margaret and Brendan chose a first look because for them, that’s what felt right. They wanted that moment together, just the two of them. It was a moment that allowed them to connect, exchange cards full of meaningful words and get even more excited about the rest of the day ahead.
As always from a first look, we continued with photos of just the two of them exploring downtown Edmonton. Afterwards, their (hilarious!) wedding party joined in on the fun and everyone made for some serious laughs and memories.
They chose to get married at the Magrath Mansion with a ceremony and vows that pulled at your heartstrings and didn’t leave a dry eye. Tears of joy and happiness were impossible to hide.
Escaping after the ceremony, they took time for just the two of them. When we first met, I told them to find little moments in their day to focus on each other. Your day has a way of becoming a blur, and getting to press pause for just 15 minutes can be irreplaceable when the night is over. Their choice of escape was the coolest one yet, a 1930’s Cadillac!
Fast forward to the reception, I would say my favourite moment of the entire day was seeing Margaret’s face when members of his family and hers fulfilled a request she had dreamt of for her wedding day. She thought, “how cool would it be if she could have someone sing the song ‘All You Need is Love’ by the Beatles?”. Well, she got her wish and I can tell you it was hands down epic. The look on her face was priceless, especially when their guests joined in. I think time stood still…
Brendan and Margaret, gosh – I’m at a loss again. I absolutely loved being your wedding photographer, and even more I’ve loved getting to know you both. The sense of humour, puns and ridiculousness you share is one of my most favourite things about you two. You’re kind, generous, down to earth and such a joy to be around. I was honestly pretty bummed we couldn’t see each other when were both at the Oilers game that one night! Thank you so much for choosing me as your wedding photographer upon one incredibly kind referral.
Want to see more? Come get to know me and see more of my recent work on Instagram!
Photography is one of the only things left from your wedding day that really captures it all. From the digital prints, you can turn it into hand torn prints and heirloom albums that will stand the test of time. It will become to one thing you use to remember the moments and look back on your wedding day. The dress hanging in your closet won’t show you the moment when your groom saw you for the first time and your flowers won’t either. As a wedding photographer myself, there are certain key things that you should find when choosing the perfect photographer for your wedding day. Here’s what to look for in your wedding photographer…
If you’ve come across a photographer, figure out if they photograph weddings in a style that you love. If you’re unsure of what style you like just yet, take some time poking around Instagram and Pinterest. Like my Instagram feed, you can usually clearly tell their style right from the first nine images. The three styles of wedding photography as I type are: documentary, traditional and fine art (which is like my style and portfolio). From there, styles can range from dark and moody to light and airy so get researching!
NOTE: If you love the look of film, but the lighter and airy version, be sure that you didn’t just catch the one image that was brighter meanwhile their overall style is dark and moody.
If they’re local to where you live, see if anyone you know has ever used them as their wedding photographer. Reviews and learning about their reputation around your city will be your best research! If they aren’t local, do as much research as you can online. Sometimes, there are Facebook groups for brides that can help you with this too, especially if you are having a destination wedding. Secondly, ask them to hop on a FaceTime, Google Hangout or Skype call. It will make all the difference!
Second to their style, make sure your personalities mesh and that their personal demeanour is one that makes you trust them. Grab a coffee and hangout for an hour or two. Ask to see a full wedding AND engagement gallery so you can see what a full day looks like and they’ll most likely explain to you what was happening or how they get those iconic photos you love in their portfolio. As mentioned before, if in person isn’t possible organize an online date to get to know each other.
Next, browse through their packages, review their contract and ask all the questions! Choosing your wedding photographer is a big decision as you’ll be looking back at these images for the next 50+ years to come.
If you loved the images in this blog post, view my full portfolio here or connect with me on Instagram! And in case you were wondering, my wedding photography style is light and airy, fine art with a touch of documentary. Check it out for yourself :)
There are a lot of decisions you have to make when it comes to your wedding, your timeline being one of them! But where do you even begin? Here are the 5 decisions you need to make now to start planning your wedding day timeline:
01. Where do you want to get married?
I know this sounds like a no brainer but it can be a big deal when it comes to your wedding day timeline. Some venues plan to hold 2-3 weddings per day, and some only one. For those that hold multiple weddings, they will only allow specific time slots and sometimes they don’t exactly coordinate with your ideal wedding day vision. Ensure that you know the specifics of when your venue is happy to have you say your “I do”s before starting to plan your timeline.
02. Where are you getting ready?
Deciding where you want to get ready is a great start to planning your timeline and will also determine the amount of travel time you will need from there to the first look or ceremony location. If your parents house is a little bit out of the city, you will want to take that into consideration as sometimes travel can eat up 2+ hours of your timeline. Wondering what a first look is? Continue reading.
03. Do you want a first look?
First of all, what is a first look? A first look is an untraditional spin on seeing each other for the first time when you, the bride, walks down the aisle. The first look has an incredible amount of benefits when it comes to how you feel your wedding day, to your guest’s experience and to your images from your photographer. The downfall? It’s untraditional.
To incorporate a first look into your wedding day, your and your groom would get ready separately. With the help of your photographer, you’ll choose a photo worthy location. Before the ceremony, you will have your groom stand not facing you and as you approach him turn around to see you for the first time. It’s a moment that can be shared, unlike when he sees you walking down the aisle.
You can hug, kiss, share handwritten vows / cards and this is typically when you will take all of your portraits with your wedding photographer. By doing your photos now, not only are they full of emotion and genuine, but it leaves that hour of time to spend with your guests which leads us into question number 4…
04. Are guests your main importance?
If the answer is a yes, please refer back to question number three. 9 out 10 times, couples don’t get to spend enough time with their guests. The day is planned so meticulously that they didn’t leave any time to visit with their guests other than after dinner when they’re all stuffing their faces.
Whether you choose to do a first look or not, find a way to schedule in a cocktail hour that you can attend so you can mingle with your guests, grab some selfies and of course, some drinks to cheers to the occasion!
Oh, and another point – who likes waiting around for 2-3 hours before cocktail hour starts while the family, bridal party and couple does photos? Not me. I can say that for sure! Think about your guests and their overall experience. It’s much more exciting to bring the hugs and congratulations right into the reception after a small half hour break for family photos, don’t you think?
05. Do you want sunset photos?
Sunset photos are one of the last moments of the day to soak it all in, they’re romantic and as a wedding photographer, they’re sometimes my favourite photos I take all day. The lighting during sunset is flattering on our skin, the day is starting to slow down and you’ve finally realized that you’re married. He’s your husband and you’re his wife. I don’t think I need to convince you on this one…
There’s a lot to remember as a bride and sometimes the little things slip through the cracks. After photographing weddings for almost 10 years in Edmonton, California, across Canada and in the Caribbean, here’s my list of 10 things people forget when it comes to planning their wedding.
01. Bring a wooden hanger for your dress
Getting ready photos can be some of the sweetest from your entire day, second to the first look of course and every special touch makes a difference. For me, plastic hangers remind me of cheap department clothing stores and that’s the last thing I want for your dress, no matter how much it cost. It’s one of the biggest decisions you make as a bride, and the one that makes you feel like a million bucks. You can bring the simplest wooden hanger or invest in a special one that has your last name or “bride” in the wire bottom.
02. No cellphones in your front pockets
I’m talking to you, Grooms and Groomsmen! There’s nothing like taking the sweetest photo or epic moment and there’s a big huge square from your cellphone in your front pocket. That goes for keys too. Ask someone else to hold them for you for the day or keep them in your inside jacket pocket if you can.
03. Coordinate meals for your vendors like the DJ, photographer, videographer and bartenders
We love you as our clients, so much so that sometimes we forget to eat in between the moments of the day. I know as a photographer, wedding days are fast paced and even though, I always eat breakfast and bring some snacks throughout the day it’s never enough on a 10-12 hour day. When dinner time roles around and the venue hasn’t been notified that the vendors also require a meal, things can get awkward very quickly. Most vendors request a meal in their contract, but if they don’t – send them an email; I know they’ll thank you for it on the day!
04. Pick a pretty getting ready location
As I mentioned before, your getting ready photos are just as important as any other part of the day so don’t put finding the perfect location at the bottom of your to do list! So many emotions happen during this portion of the day and I believe the focus should be on them, not the mess surrounding them. Once you’ve found the location, specify one specific area for strictly getting ready. No water bottles, drinks, etc. allowed!
If you’ve hired a natural light photographer like myself, you will want to choose a room or location that has white or light neutral walls, aka no yellows, red, oranges etc. and the most natural light. What happens when light hits any other colour but a white / neutral wall? It reflects that colour back onto your skin. Ew. No one wants to looks like an Oompa Loompa or Shrek on their wedding day!
05. Leave more time than necessary for travel, we don’t have time machines yet
Now I say yet because who knows, this could change sooner than we think. Kidding, it probably won’t so schedule travel time like almost the worst will happen. Traffic, construction, accidents, and inclement weather all happen so better to prepare for them. Also, we’re forgetful sometimes. If it takes you 5 minutes to get from your hotel to the first look location, schedule 30 minutes. Sounds crazy, I know!
But think about this scenario: You and all the bridesmaids are ready to go, great! You leave at 1pm to be at the next location for 1:30pm.
1-1:05pm – You’re waiting for the elevator
1:05-1:10pm – You’re taking the elevator but someone clicked to go up but you’re going down
1:10-1:15pm – A bridesmaid forgot her flats so you wait for her
1:15-1:25pm – You drive to your next location but have to wait for pedestrians to cross the street and for some reason you didn’t get one of the the left turn lights.
1:25-1:30pm – Your ride has parked and you’ve finally arrived.
It happens at every wedding so always leave extra time. If you have time left on the day, you can spend it having a drink with your bridal party or just staying relaxed.
06. The sun will go down
When planning your timeline, remember that the sun will go down. Again, if you hired a natural light photographer like myself we rely solely on natural light aka the sun when taking almost all of your photos. This is especially important if you’re planning a winter wedding because the sun goes down a lot earlier in comparison to the summer. For example, if the sun goes down at 6pm, here’s a sample traditional (no first look) timeline:
3:30-3:45pm Congratulations / hugs
3:45-4:15pm Family Photos (maybe longer depending on the size)
4:15-4:45pm Bridal Party Photos
4:45-5:45pm Bride and Groom Photos
07. Have a few extra chairs
We’re all human and I know it costs money to rent extra chairs but the number of times I’ve seen people standing is again, more often then not. Want to know the science behind it? You ordered 100 chairs, and you have 100 guests. Why are people standing? Well Joey and Marissa want to sit beside each other but they can’t find two chairs beside each other, just singles are left so they choose to stand. People sit in all different combinations so by having a few extra chairs, you won’t have anyone feeling awkward and standing.
08. The invitation suite
You didn’t spend lord knows how much money on the perfect invitation to match your decor for it not to be photographed! I always encourage brides to bring me two copies of their invitation suite along with any other decor they’ve used. Ask the florist for some extra sprigs of eucalyptus, keep that little chunk of ribbon that wasn’t long enough and anything else that fits your decor. Your photographer will thank you and your images will look like they belong in a magazine because of a little extra work!
09. Don’t go hungry! Preorder breakfast or lunch
I’ve seen it more times than not, the bride and bridesmaids forget to eat, and not because she has the day of jitters or they can barely fit in their dresses, because there never seems to be enough time on the wedding day. Pre-order breakfast or lunch from somewhere or assign someone to pick up even just some simple takeout. You’ll thank yourself later because we all know anything is better than not eating for 4-6 hours and becoming hangry! I’ve even had a destination bride order a pre-wedding hotdog from the snack bar.
10. Prepare for rain
Mother Nature can be a jerk sometimes and no matter how many times someone says, “They say it’s good luck if it rains on your wedding day.” it still sucks. Instead of having it feel like a literal downer on your big day, plan for it to happen. Have a backup plan with your venue that is just as beautiful as the outdoor version. Need ideas? Have an arbor or backdrop that’s easy to move or a simple yet stunning macrame hanging to put on the wall behind you.
11. I know I said it was only 10 but, pick or hire a day of supervisor / coordinator to ease your stress and let you be in the moment
This should be number one. We all want less stress and especially on your wedding day. Hire a day of coordinator or pick a friend/family member who’s up for the task of being your right hand for the day. Give them the low down on what’s to go where, the timeline and every little detail so you can be free from answering questions and instead be in the moment with your groom, soon to be husband. The day flies by faster than you could have ever possibly imagined, and I say that from over 10 years experience. I’ve never heard a bride and groom tell me the day was going by slow.
It all started with a milk crate. When Mike and Vanessa first met, they really didn’t like each other much, in fact not at all. They worked together at a local Edmonton restaurant and for both of them, having to work together felt like torture. It wasn’t until years later that they reconnected and their love story began, or perhaps it already had and they didn’t even know.
Their Royal Glenora wedding started at the Matrix Hotel here in Edmonton followed by their first look. Mike’s reaction was one of the sweetest and most genuine I’ve ever photographed and the look on his face said just that. In that moment, I don’t think either of them could have been more excited to get married.
We ventured around the University of Alberta campus as the dark skies started looming and the began thunder rolling in. Thankfully Mother Nature held off just long enough for us to finish photos of just the two of them and on the way to the ceremony, the skies opened. With rain continuing the majority of the day, to say we were beyond thankful they decided on a first look would have been subtle.
We spent the rest of the day at the Royal Glenora celebrating their handwritten vows to each other, first moments as husband and wife, and toasting to all things Mike and Vanessa. As not only clients, but first as some of my first friends here in Edmonton this wedding will always hold a special place in my heart.
Mike and Vanessa, thank you for being such genuine and thoughtful people. You have a way of making others feel incredibly welcome, especially during some of my first few months here in Edmonton. You made me realize what is possible and shared my talent with such praise. For that, I will be forever thankful. Being your wedding photographer was something I couldn’t have been more proud to be.
Feel free to add some ambiance to the images if you wish
“Philip Phillips – Home”
ROYAL GLENORA WEDDING
Venue + Catering: Royal Glenora Club
Officiant: Noel Wadson
Invitations: Candace Brodhagen (freelance graphic designer)
Florist: Flowers by Aileen
Rings: Engagement – Peoples Vera Wang / Wedding – Paris Jewelers
Pies: Meaghan Ross (friend of Vanessa)
Wedding Dress Designer: Tara Keely
Bridal/Dress Store: Novelle Bridal
Groom’s Attire: Moores
Signage: Alixandra Jade Designs
DJ: Rebel Entertainment
Rentals : Special Event Rentals
Photographer: Tracey Jazmin, Edmonton Wedding Photographer
Second Photographer: Lindsay Guerette