I’ve been lucky that my summer has been spent alongside some incredible people doing beautiful things. Prior to Mary and Pascal’s intimate wedding at the Toronto Island Cafe, I had the pleasure of grabbing some craft beer with them and really get to know the essence of who are and their vision for their wedding day. Coming from creative industries themselves, I immediately recognized that they were preparing to create a memorable experience for their friends and family, allowing spectrum of emotions to amalgamate with deep thought and reflection.
The authentic vintage aesthetic of the Toronto Island Cafe Clubhouse made for the perfect milieu for Mary and Pascal’s intimate ceremony and reception. Pascal opting to get ready within the clubhouse itself, surrounded by vintage decor such as trophies, old photographs and a stuffed deer head, made for an understated atmosphere that seemingly was the essence of Pascal.
On the flip side, Mary and her close friends got ready inside a beautiful and authentic Toronto Island home that had an incredible garden and the perfect kitschy decor within its interior. The flowers from the garden were only superseded by the beautiful florals of Mary’s bouquet and Pascal’s boutonniere courtesy of their friend Sarah Wu of Petite Studio, adding yet another extremely personal touch to their already highly intimate and personal wedding day details.
Staying on trend with who they are, the bride and groom most definitely approached the wedding day with an alternative twist, creating their own traditions and status quo on what a wedding should be. Unlike 99.99% of weddings that have first looks, Mary and Pascal opted to flip the now trendy tradition on its head by having Pascal walk up to Mary while she waited anxiously in a pocket of forest within Toronto Island. There was something utterly cinematic and romantic about that entire scenario and how it unfolded. The joy and wave of emotions was palpable, a beautiful and candid display of the bride and groom’s love for one another. The surprise on Mary’s face after seeing Pascal wearing a tie she had designed was only surpassed by the shock and joy she felt from receiving her mother’s watch as a surprise gift from Pascal. An incredibly touching moment considering Mary’s mother was unable to attend the wedding.
We followed the first look by talking a walk around Ward’s Island, taking in all the natural beauty that Toronto Island had to offer. Something that really stood out to me during the portraits was when Mary and Pascal decided to take a quick break and sit by Lake Ontario, absorbing the sights of the Toronto Skyline. That in itself creating a stunning sight for me as a photographer, but what stuck was when I overheard Pascal telling Mary how incredible it will to be revisit this very place in 20 years and recognizing how much will have had changed over that period. To have that sort of introspection and thoughtfulness on your wedding day, a day full of anxieties and range of emotion is truly amazing. I wish more people had that sort of self-awareness on their wedding day because it does truly fly by, fleeting moments merely become fragments of our memories and sometimes it’s incredibly important to take time in our lives to just look around and recognize where we are in that moment in time and cherish it with the one’s closest to us.
With her mom back in the US, Mary’s siblings stepped-up and simultaneously walked her down the aisle, providing one of my favourite moments of 2018 as a wedding photographer. The display of love and unison was touching and the perfect kickoff to their incredibly thoughtful and beautiful ceremony. Along with friends and family reading beautiful pieces about love and its meaning, Mary and Pascal echoed powerful vows written to express their own thoughts and feelings.
As the bride and groom looked into each other’s eyes during the reading of the vows, we were seemingly suspended in time. Despite Ward’s Island being an incredible busy and popular Toronto hotspot on the weekend, we felt seemingly alone, their friends and family completely enthralled by the display of love right in front of them. Strangers watched in silence in the distance, stray cats made momentary and timely appearances throughout the ceremony. An incredible experience for all those who managed to catch a glimpse.
The reception was opened with a margarita hour, instead of the usual cocktail hour, once again, staying on the alternative wedding theme. (Many) drinks were had, lawn games were played and hugs were given throughout the mingling, providing beautiful candid moments and memorable conversations, including a quick FaceTime chat with the bride’s mom back home. As the sun set on the Island Cafe, the bride and groom snuck away for some portraits at the nearby tennis court, as the glowing pink light slowly faded on them, Mary and Pascal enjoyed another quiet moment together, but this time as bride and groom.
The Island Cafe’s specialty is tacos, so that’s what Mary and Pascal decided on for dinner. The perfect accompaniment to the strong margaritas. As the stars began to shine over Toronto Island, friends and family gathered for speeches that ranged from the funny, the embarrassing, and the powerfully metaphoric. The night finally kicked off by intense dancing and partying into the dead of night. As I took my ferry back to downtown Toronto, I took a page from Mary and Pascal’s book and took the time to settle into that moment in time. In the distance I could hear their celebrations, and as the ferry got closer to dock, I could slowly see the light of the Island Cafe fade away in the distance, but not before allowing the powerful experience of witnessing true love and the power of friendship and family enchant me one final time.
Songs of the day - RHEYA - Gold / Sandals - Polished