I first met Carys almost 7 years ago, on the day my father passed away. She lived across the street from him, and even though we did not know her, she invited us into her home where she served us tea and cookies and allowed my family to grieve there for the afternoon. She is one of the sweetest and most genuinely caring people you will ever meet, but she is also strong. She went on to battle, and conquer, stage 2 breast cancer.
She met Phil while training for a new job. The two became friends and were so compatible that coworkers began to assume they were already dating. Obviously the two of them did end up dating, and I was so excited when Carys messaged me about wedding photography, telling me they were engaged by sending a picture of her gorgeous engagement ring. I met Phil for the first time at their wedding consultation. He is the type of person who will befriend you right away, and between the two of them, our consultations were always filled with laughter (even if that laughter was at my expense from time to time. Thanks for that, Phil. Haha).
Once they officially booked me as their wedding photographer, we planned their engagement session. I captured their engagement portraits over the winter, where the two braved the cold weather.
Their wedding was inspired by a teal bow-tie with flowers on it, which you will see in the background of some of my detail shots. They chose a 1940's vintage theme. Carys and Phil chose Ganaraska Forest Centre as their perfect wedding venue, and spent the whole weekend up there as a nice quiet retreat with loved ones invited. Their ceremony was Sunday morning, followed by a brunch reception catered by Berry Hill Catering. There were a lot of vegan and gluten-free options for the wedding guests.
I had been checking the weather frequently in the week leading up to their wedding. Every time I checked, the weather network called for not only rain, but also thunderstorms. It was supposed to rain all morning and afternoon. Rainy weddings can be beautiful, but when the bride and groom are planning for an outdoor wedding ceremony, rain is not always wanted. The rain held off and we had plenty of sunshine. It wasn't until literally seconds before we walked into the reception hall after portraits that I felt the first few drops. The storm finally came during the reception, which was perfect timing and very lucky.
Their ceremony took place in the woods, and it was the perfect place for an intimate wedding ceremony. Guests watched as they exchanged vows filled with smiles and laughter. Phil's Uncle/godfather played the guitar before the ceremony.
The florals had a huge impact on the look of the wedding. The wedding florist that they chose was College Park Flowers, which is an award winning florist. They are my absolute favourite flower shop, and I had hired them to do the bouquets and boutonnieres from my own wedding in 2013 as well. At Carys and Phil's wedding, they did the bouquets, boutonnieres, garlands in the reception hall and ceremony arbour, the centrepieces, and the petals along the ceremony isle. I loved all of it! Carys' mother worked at College Park flowers, and was one of the three people who worked on Carys and Phil's wedding florals. Her mother is retiring from the shop, so Carys' wedding was her big finale. Carys also used to work at the flower shop. Carys' mom used some of the greenery from her own backyard for the wedding. The boutonnieres included an air plant, so that Phil had something he could keep from after the wedding.
The bride's makeup was done by a close family friend named Natalie, and her hair was done by Natalie's sister Christina. Carys knew them through their mother, who worked at College Park Flowers during during her battle with Myeloma. She approached the shop after she heard that Carys worked their during her cancer treatment. They ended up becoming very close, with Carys speaking at her funeral, and the families are still linked today.
The dress was designed and created by Carys and her mom. Carys dreamed of making a wedding dress from her mothers, so they chose lace that resembled her mother's wedding dress, and then chose fabrics from the garment district on Queen St in Toronto. They were able to include the only two remaining pieces of lace from her mother's dress on the waistband for both the removable skirt and the dress itself. The convertible dress was so beautiful and 100% unique to any other. The skirt could button up directly on top of the knee length dress, so that Carys could have the best of both worlds.
The suits were from RW&Co. Each groomsman had a different dress shirt, tie, and socks. Carys hand made each pocket square herself. Phil's tie clip featured the same stone as in Carys' engagement ring.
The bride's accessories were all so special as well. She decorated her hair piece with feathers from her friend's wedding and also emu feathers from a time when her and Phil went to the zoo. The pearl bracelet was a special 'welcome to the family' gift from Phil's parents. The flower bracelet was her 'something borrowed'. Their necklaces had their names on it with their matching Gemini constellation.
The Details and Decor
Carys is the ultimate DIY bride. Every single wedding detail was so well thought out and personal. She sewed all of the napkins at each place setting, which were all completely unique. She collected vintage plates, glassware, and flatware, that matched her theme. Most of the teacups and saucers were from Phil's mother's family. Most of the China and Silver was from Carys' grandmother, including a special plate that helped inspire the theme. That plate featured a Pheonix on a teal-edged dessert plate, which was used at Phil's place setting. Every setting looked different, and every table looked different with a unique centre piece. Carys even made the bunting banner in the reception hall herself. The linen and chair rentals were from Fantastik Trading. They chose a naked cake that was gluten-free with berries and jam on it, and cupcakes that were vegan. They were done by A1 Gluten-Free Gals - Oshawa. The alcoholic cider and non-alcoholic cider was done by Archibald Orchards.
During the brunch reception, Carys and Phil told personal stories about their relationship and how they met. There was a lot of laughter and jokes. The parents of the bride, and the parents of the groom gave speeches. After that, Carys surprised Phil by singing 'The Way I am' by Ingrid Michaelson, and Phil's uncle played guitar. It was so sweet! Following that, the two gave a speech, cut the cake, and did a champagne toast. It was so beautiful!
The Wedding Photographer
The photography was all done by Michelle Lewis Photography. The primary photographer was Michelle Lewis, and the second shooter was Madison. Michelle Lewis Photography specializes in wedding photography in the Greater Toronto Area and all of Durham Region.
Carys and Phil, thank you both so much for trusting me to capture one of the most important days of your lives. It was such an honour to be your wedding photographer! The two of you couldn't be more perfect for each other and I wish you both a lifetime of happiness, laughter, and love.
Usually when I go out with my family, I leave my professional camera at home, especially when we go somewhere messy like the local waterfront beach. The rare time, I do bring it, because I love having good quality portraits of my children that I can print. I am so glad I decided to bring it this time, because we got some special images that I will always cherish, even if I did have to bribe my kids in order to get the posed ones. My kids love this area, where we go on a regular basis. After all, childhood is all about getting messy sometimes! There is nothing I love more than quality time with my husband and our two daughters, all together doing something special.
I'm so excited for Jessica and Josh, on their journey to parenthood! There is something so special about expecting a first child. Not only are they gaining a baby, but they are also transforming from husband and wife, to also mother and father. The two recently announced that their baby is a boy!
When Jessica first messaged me to plan their maternity session, she said she wanted some sunny and glowing portraits, which is my main style for portraiture. The date we initially planned called for rain, so we rescheduled. As luck would have it, the second date we scheduled not only called for rain, but it also called for thunderstorms. I had my camera bag all packed and ready to go, hoping the rain would clear or that we would miss the rain all together. It started pouring about two hours before their portrait session was scheduled. We decided to reschedule. About an hour before the session was supposed to start, the rain cleared up and we decided to go with the plans after all. I am SO glad we did, because we captured such beautiful portraits. The clouds were moody, which added some nice drama to the images. There were also small bursts of sunlight, when the sun came out between clouds for brief periods at a time, so we were able to get some of the back-lit portraits Jessica really wanted. It was perfect.
Thanks so much for booking with me, Jessica and Josh! Congratulations on your baby on the way!
Michelle Lewis Photography
Your Oshawa and Durham Region Photographer