Friday, July 22, 2011

Jane & Luis - Classy Retro Wedding at the Gladstone Hotel

The theme: a "Mad Men"-era feel
The location: The Gladstone Hotel in the super-cool West Queen West neighbourhood of Toronto
The couple: Jane & Luis, who we had already fallen in love with while doing their engagement photos a couple of months ago

We started the day off by meeting Jane & Luis near the Gladstone to enjoy the fabulous classic car that event planner Kristina Chau had found for them..

(We all loved this - apparently the rear window being able to go down is very rare..they only did it for two years on this model)

Classy start to the day or what?

Next, we headed inside (by now we were all in need of some air conditioning!)...

Monday, July 18, 2011

Norman & Jessica's Destination Wedding + Photography Adventure (Part 2)

Missed Part 1? Check it out here

Part 2 - The Wardrobe

We both really loved this pale pink lacy number, but it would have needed a bit of altering (on a tight schedule!). Even though I hadn't planned on something super "bridal" I completely fell in love with The Bijou as soon as I tried her on :) And then once I found out I could sit down and still breath, it was decided - this was the dress for me!

I really can't say enough good things about our experience at Cabaret - the dresses are fantastic, the shop has a really amazing feel to it, and Tao and Elizabeth were awesome! 

The next stop for me was shoes. A few doors down from Cabaret, there's a great shop called Response. They always have really nice window displays, and I'd been in a few times. This time, I was at the absolute end of my faith in Queen West as a great place to buy shoes - I'd been in at least a dozen places and still hadn't found something that was pretty and comfortable enough to not kill myself walking in them. And then suddenly, there they were.

Not too high, not too plain - I loved them! I wore them around the shop for about 20 minutes while I was talking to Andrea (who was immensely helpful and very sweet) and couldn't believe how comfy they were :) Andrea suggested a soft gold polish for my toe nails to add a bit of fancy (I ended up going with Gosh #554 Gold) which was perfect.

While we were talking, I notice this fantastic five-strand bracelet that seemed destined to be paired with these shoes..and so my hunt for the perfect shoes and accessories was almost over :)

The last thing I wanted to have to complete the look was something beautiful to go in my hair. I had very fortunately met Nicole from Oh Dina! at the latest One of a Kind show in Toronto. I loved her stuff, and we had stayed in touch. She very generously offered to lend us a few pieces to go along for the adventure, so we headed out to her great studio in the west end to make the hard decision of which ones were my favourites (and which wouldn't get killed in a suitcase for a few weeks!). We ended up going with a lovely little birdcage veil, as well as a few colourful and feathery hair fascinators. The one that actually ended up being my favourite in the end though was this amazing feathery headband..

but more of that later ;)

Now, in case you're getting worried that poor Norman wasn't also having a blast choosing his outfit(s) - fear not. He already had his jeans picked out (no, I'm not kidding!) and a few trips to Value Village and to Exile in Kensington Market found him a pair of perfect shirts. One blue with french cuffs for the "Irishy" part, and a beautiful gold ruffled tuxedo shirt for the Spanish part. 

How awesome is this shirt?? Just wait until you see it on!

He planned to bring a couple of his Dad's ties, which I thought was a really nice touch. The one on the left has millions of tiny elephants with their trunks in the air, which I remember being told as a little kid was supposed to be good luck for some reason (yes, I love good luck wedding superstitions!)
I got Norman the tie in the middle because he loves blue and I loved the pattern and I wanted to get him something that wouldn't take up too much room in the suitcase ;)

This was the first pair of Canadian shoes that Norman bought, after being forced to jettison all his pairs of dress shoes at the airport in Belfast when he was moving here (too much weight in the luggage) somehow seemed perfect to me that he would be taking this pair back across the ocean to get married in :)

Our biggest challenge in all of this would turn out to be figuring out how to fit it all (including my wedding dress, shoes, tripod, light stand and umbrella, plus everything else we would need for the 4 week trip) into two suitcases, and how to make all of my camera gear fit into what they consider carry-on luggage. It was tight, and a bit stressful at times, but it all got there in the end..

Stay tuned for Part 3, where we will actually be leaving for our destination wedding adventure!

xox Jessica + Norman

Photography: Jessica + Norman, Jessica Lin Photography
Dress: Cabaret Vintage, Toronto
Shoes and Bracelet: Response Clothing, Toronto
Feather Headband: Oh Dina!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Norman & Jessica's Destination Wedding + Photography Adventure (Part 1)

Part 1 - The Proposal:

This particular adventure started (for me, anyways) one sunny day at the beginning of April. Norman came to meet me after I got my hair cut on College street, seeming almost suspiciously cheerful and smiley. He asked me if I would like to go for a drink nearby (also suspicious - we are big fans of drinks in our own backyard or on our front steps..not so much for the "going out for a drink" type of thing). We decided on Kalendar because it looked nice and neither of us had been there before. It was lovely. The drinks were lovely (Norman's was a super-yummy vanilla and vodka cocktail called "cassis me you fool", mine was an awesome orange and lime juice with vodka and grenadine called "the garnet"..mmmm..).

After we were settled into our cozy corner window seat, sipping away at our lovely cocktails, Norman finally got around to what was on his mind. He said many lovely things, but the one that stood out and made my cheeks hurt from smiling was that he wanted me to be his wife :) and had made arrangements with Belfast City Hall for us to get married on May 5th. We had been planning our trip back to Northern Ireland to visit Norman's family and travel around for the past 5 months, and as it turns out Norman had also been secretly making wedding plans for almost as long. Even though I know that I would have been completely happy with Norman even if we never got married, it really made my heart sing to hear him ask that particular question :)

So - twinkly-eyed details aside - it didn't take me long to notice that we had one month less a day to plan everything for our destination wedding and the family party that would follow. Early on, we decided it would be a great idea if we (being photographers of other people's weddings) were to do our own wedding pictures. This solved the problem of trying to find someone to trust in such a short amount of time and from such a distance, plus it seemed like a really fun project to do together. We had already planned to spend 8 days driving around Ireland, plus a week in Spain, and Norman suggested (yes - for the record - it was HIS idea!) that we could just bring the wedding dress and camera gear with us everywhere we went and do our wedding photos in all kinds of fantastic locations. This was maybe the craziest idea I'd ever heard of, and I loved it immediately :)

First thing's first though, I needed to find a dress. We headed to Cabaret Vintage on Queen because it's one of my favourite places in the city and I finally had a really great reason to get a really great dress. I had originally intended to get something vintage, but then I found out that Cabaret's Tao and Elizabeth have started designing their own line of vintage-inspired and totally glamourous wedding gowns..

Which dress would you choose..? Check out Part 2 (coming on Monday) to see the lucky dress that got to tour Ireland and Spain!

xox Jessica + Norman