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A Surprise Backyard Wedding at the Bride and Groom’s Home!

Surprise, We’re getting Married! is the sign that greeted family and friends as they arrived at this couple’s home and what followed was a beautiful, intimate celebration captured by diana marie photography. It’s a family affair, with the prettiest backyard setup dining under the stars and a true celebration of love paired down to the simplest of details. See so much more right here.


From the Bride… Mike and I met extremely briefly through a friend in college. He had graduated from the same program I was currently taking and we probably said 2 words to each other. Years later, I just so happened to intern at the same advertising agency he worked for (in a totally different city) – one might say it was fated. The first time we hung out, Mike took me out for drinks and a movie for my birthday and after we went for coffee and talked. We talked so long that the coffee shop closed and we were forced to leave. Not feeling as though the night was over, we made our way to the 24 hour grocery store and wandered the aisles, randomly bought some sparklers and proceeded to the parking lot where we burned them down one by one, before finally saying goodnight. We started hanging out as friends, but over time realized we were together more than we were apart and have been ever since. In hindsight, that first night foreshadowed our relationship to come, as we’re rarely apart and we never run out of things to discuss, argue, or talk about – and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

Inspiration behind the day: We wanted to do something elegant and slightly vintage, that was pretty and special (above and beyond a normal dinner party), yet comfortable and casual. We wanted our family to TRULY enjoy the day, no drama, no effort, just a celebration of our families coming together. We spent the last 2 years of our lives designing and building our home, so it was only natural that we get married there. It’s a memory that will always live in these walls.

Favorite memories of the day: Besides marrying my best friend, this question is tricky. The surprise was OBVIOUSLY a highlight, though nerves and excitement make the memory slightly blurry. However watching my two nieces on Mike’s side, guide my youngest niece (on my side) down the aisle, to me, really symbolized our families coming together and filled me with joy. Late night sparklers with the girls, was also something I’ll never forget.

Music choices: The ceremony and our first dance were Jill Barber a favorite of ours. We had a very mixed playlist for the rest of the day, primarily bossonova at dinner and happy celebratory songs during the cocktail reception.

Advice for brides planning now: I have to admit it was nice to have everything under my control, as no one knew what we were doing so couldn’t offer their opinions, but at the same time we missed out on a lot of the ‘tradition’ of a typical service. My advice would simply be to be mindful of your family and friends that are being left out of the process and try to find ways to minimize their hurt feelings. This for me, meant making up special gift boxes and bouquets for my nieces who have always talked about being a part of our wedding and using some family heirlooms throughout the decor (Nana’s ring and Grandpa’s cigar box, etc) to make sure my Mom knew that great sentiment went into the planning – it’s the little things that matter.

Photography: diana marie photography | Videographer: Matt Dorman | Florist: Fleurish Design Studio | Makeup Artist: Rebecca Marie | ties: Moaning Minnie | Grooms Suit: Hugo Boss | Bride's dress (custom made): Lisa Van Hattem | Chairs: Pat's Party Rental | Rentals: Special Events Rental | Rentals: My Key Event | Wedding Cake & Caterer: General Chefery

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Burlington, Ontario Wedding at Le Dome Banquet Hall

It doesn’t happen often, but this wedding left me completely speechless. The colors, the style, the ridiculously gorgeous couple – everything.single.moment of this drop dead gorgeous soiree is stunning to say the very least. It was captured beautifully by Grey Weddings, leaving us all with a gallery so pretty I could cry. See even more here, and don’t miss their fabulous film from Elle & Be below.

Event Venue

From Bride…A romantic & intimate wedding full of personal details, and symbols of both our relationships history and love. Our first ceremony was hosted on a piece of land two footsteps from my family home. Our decor featured sheer draping lining the path of 100 year old trees, a birch tree four pillar mandap with hanging chandeliers, a DIY photobooth made of hanging gold frames, vintage books, glass coke bottles and wingback chairs for guests to relax. Ambience was created by a violin player serenading guests throughout the morning with classic love songs. Our second ceremony took place inside a large Sikh temple with our closest family & friends. Here, we solidified our future for the second time, the sunlight streaming through the large glass windows. Ending the day was at my home where my family through rice & rose petals as we departed in a vintage Ford.

I always knew I wanted to marry a friend. Someone with whom I could share my tears or laughter and who I knew would always stand by my side. But it was as my best friend was standing in front of me, his smile peaking through the sheer fabric of my mothers vibrant red wedding sari – the divider between us, that I realized today my dream was coming true.

Sunny and I met over a decade ago and though we were inherently different people, each with unique interests, upbringings and cultures there was a draw that always pulled us together. And though the friendship lasted for years, it was one day that he confessed his feelings to me with the disclaimer that he hoped I wouldn’t be mad.

The friend crush they called it. The moment when you take the greatest risk in your life of loosing your friend but the best chance you could take at gaining a new love. From this moment on our love story began full of fireworks, laughter and ongoing chapters of love.

With us both being of Indian heritage, our wedding was a week full of festivities and traditions. A perfect symbol of us. We celebrated with religious ceremonies, turmeric masks, henna parties and both a Hindu & Sikh wedding ceremony. Best of all, we had the opportunity to share with our friends & family the love that we had felt for so long.

Thinking of our Hindu ceremony, I can still hear the soft sounds of the violin serenading our love as we made four circles around the symbolic fire, the panels of my traditional skirt moving with every step. The warm feel of the summer breeze as our families embraced and laughed in our antique inspired lounge full of hanging gold frames, vintage books and wingback chairs. Finally, the moment when Sunny took the sindhoor and marked a line in the part of my hair, signifying that I was now his wife.

Then, the Sikh ceremony where I smiled at my groom as I held onto his scarf tightly, symbolizing the unity of our future after my dad passed it from him into my hands. The rounds we made signifying our vows to one another, and the moment I had to leave my parents home in our vintage Ford, my mother whispering in my ear don’t look back for this was the start of our beautiful future.

Photography: Grey Weddings | Cinematography: Elle & Be | Wedding Planner: Zardozi Events | Reception Venue: Le Dome Banquet Hall | Catering: Avani Asian Indian Cuisine | Hair & Makeup: Andrea Ellingson | DJ: Empire Entertainment | Ceremony Music: Tino Pop Violin | Bride's Outfits: Sagar Couture | Decor: Petals & Pearls | Groom's Reception Attire: J. Crew | Henna: Shikha

Ontario Engagement Session from With Love Heather

Call me a dork, but I totally got goose bumps when I read this adorable couple’s engagement story. I don’t want to ruin it for any of you, so I’ll just tell you that it involves a plane ride and a surprise meeting half way around the world. And when they returned to Canada, they met up with the fabulous With Love Heather for their oh-so-cute e-session. See it all right here. 

From the Bride-to-Be . . . This past summer my family had planned a trip to the Olympics in London, England. The trip was 2 weeks long and we were so excited to be there at all of the events as well as spending time with our family. Every night before bed I would update Peter at home about our day, Skyping him, and wishing he was there to share all of the incredible sites and events that London and the Olympics bring. The night of the 1st of August ended with a message sent to Peter about our Water Polo event, and how he should just jump on the next flight out and come! Little did I know…he was already on a flight. The next day, August 2nd 2012, was one that continues to give me goosebumps. My family woke up, went for breakfast, and got on the tube to go to our Olympic event. After a few hours of China vs. China in the Table Tennis finals (China won…go figure.) my family took a stroll through Hype Park in London before our dinner reservations. My sister and dad had to use the restroom, so my mom and I walked down a path towards the water. She then said “Let me have your camera and I’ll take a photo of you over there by the water” So I did…

I took 5 steps down the little dirt path overlooking the Serpentine lake to find my very well dressed boyfriend sitting on a bench with a rose. Everything went numb. He walked towards me with that brilliant smile that I love so much and hugged me tightly. We sat on the bench while he slowly read me all of the things he loves about me that he had jotted down on a restaurant menu. We both couldn’t stop smiling. Then, at 6:04pm, halfway around the world, Peter got down on one knee and asked me to marry him.

Wedding Photography + Design: With Love Heather / Location: Bruce Trail in Burlington, Ontario / Cupcakes + Treats: Fortinos Bakers / Decor: MichaelsSalvo Gifts / Bride’s Attire: Talula “Navy Shorts” + Top Shop “Jacket” “Scarf” + J Brand “Jeans” + French Connection “Sweater” / Brides’s Shoes: Coach / Groom’s Attire: Zara “Cardigan” + G-Star “V Neck” + Energie “Sweater” + Rock & Republic “Jeans”


Burlington Wedding by VP Studios Photography

The weekends are great, but by Monday morning, I simply can.not.wait to jump into all of the pretty, pretty inspiration we have in store for the week.  And, believe you me, with its drop-dead gorgeous florals by Sweetpea’s, seriously amazing waterfront venue and explosion of vibrant purple hues, today’s intimate Burlington affair was most definitely worth the wait.  Luckily, VP Studios Photography was on hand to capture every amazing moment, because this, my friends, is the PERFECT way to start the week.  Click here for more!

Click here for the FULL wedding!

From Mike of VP Studios PhotographyDamon and Naomi were surrounded by about 40 of their closest friends and family as they exchanged their wedding vows to each other. Their ceremony and elegant reception were held at Spencer’s at the Waterfront in Burlington, Ontario, where the glass-lined venue overlooked beautiful Lake Ontario.  

Earlier that morning, after all of the final touches to makeup and hair were completed, Naomi donned her killer stilettos and adorable cocktail length wedding dress. It was then off to Paletta Mansion to meet the florist, Sweetpea’s, and to let Damon have his first look at his beautiful bride. After enjoying those first magical moments of seeing each other we took Damon and Naomi around the mansion grounds to create elegant images of the love that they share with one another.  

The evening concluded with a sit-down, four-course dinner at Spencer’s on the Waterfront. In between the ceremony and reception, cocktails and finger foods were served to the guests while the staff at Spencer’s transformed the ceremony room into a breathtaking reception. To continue on the intimate theme that Damon & Naomi had chosen for their day, the guests were all seated at one long table. Tall candelabras, tea lights and elegant purple and white flowers made the ambiance of the room feel so warm and graceful.

Wedding Photography: VP Studios Photography / Wedding Venue: Spencer’s at the Waterfront in Burlington, Ontario / Wedding Cinematography: Deja View Studios / Flowers: Sweetpea’s / Music: Derek Macrae / Wedding Gown: / Bride’s Shoes: Le Chateau / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Ricki’s

Burlington Wedding by Jayme Van Geest Photography + Eph*ra Event Design

If you’re a vintage lover like me then you are sure to find loads of inspiration in this Burlington wedding by Jayme Van Geest Photography and Eph*ra Event Design.  All the details are perfect for a romantic, summer affair with a sweet vintage vibe.  Yellow and grey is a color palette that works in any style and this fun fête is no exception.  I love all the unique touches that were included like the handmade lemonade stand and vintage frames holding each table assignment.  Click here to see all the details!

Click here to see the entire gallery of images!

From the Bride…It was the beautiful summer day overlooking Lake Ontario that I had dreamed of.  I wanted everything to be soft and elegant so I chose yellows, greys and ivories as my colors with giant bouquets of yellow mums and fresh lemons to give the day a fresh but old vintage feel.  I really wanted our guests to be cool and comfortable, despite the heat, so we made a vintage lemonade stand from an old barn board and had cute little grey/white stripe straws to sip through during the outdoor ceremony.

The wedding party had a bit of a sorority feel to them with the guys their grey suits and yellow ties and girls in cute lemon yellow dresses.  I wore an off-white mermaid dress with a long train of ruffles which I thought fit the scene perfectly. The theme throughout the day was “love and family tradition” and I really wanted the reception room completely ‘decorated’ and inviting.  It’s not always easy to get that when your wedding is at a venue like a golf course, but we totally pulled it off!

We added vintage-chic old antique frames (removing the other things from the walls), an abundance of flowers in pale yellow and white shades, bird cages everywhere. The ceiling was filled with cascading Chinese lanterns and touches of the vintage theme were shown through silver tea pots filled with baby’s breath, carpenters boxes filled with lemons and antique family candelabras placed on the head table.  Super cute mini Lemoncello bottles were given to the guests as favors with cute little tags thanking them for the day. A yummy cupcake table filled with a variety of flavors and daisy decorated cake topper filled the sweet table area. The setting was cute/adorable and fun it turned out exactly the way I envisioned it for so many months. I had a hard time choosing what I wanted in a number of cases, so I decided that I didn’t have to choose!  I had both yellow and grey shoes.  I had a black sash on my dress (for the ceremony and the photos) but changed into a yellow sash and cardigan for the reception (and put a pony in my hair too!).  Why choose on your wedding day? All in all, and with the help of my awesome vendors, the wedding was unique and memorable from start to finish!

From Eph*ra Event DesignKate had a dream for her wedding and it came to us in the form of hundreds of inspiration photos! From the moment we met Kate we were inspired by her energy, her love for her groom-to-be and her vision for her wedding.

We loved working with the grey and yellow color scheme. We created a look that was fresh, cheerful and stylish using lemons (of course) and loads of bold fabrics and unexpected details.  We wanted to give Kate & Spencer lots of surprises and personalization, so we designed and hand-painted a lemonade stand, had aprons for the guests to sign, used charming vintage silver, hand-painted “Mr. & Mrs. Kent” signs, and each guest table had a unique centerpiece. The seating chart was divided into different frames and printed on playful paper. It wasn’t all smooth sailing though. Unbelievably, the fabric we ordered got caught up in a labor strike and didn’t arrive until 3 days before the wedding. But it was obviously meant to be because it arrived with just enough time for us to sew table runners like there was no tomorrow! Due to the level of detail it took our team of 2 over 10 hours to set up the reception – this wedding definitely raised the bar for us!

From Jayme Van Geest PhotographyKate and Spencer were one of my favorite couples of all time!  I had done both fall and spring engagement shoots with them so by the time their wedding came around they felt like good friends more than clients.  Although the golf course was limited in terms of where we were allowed to go for photos (as is the case with many golf courses) I was so impressed by the grounds at the Burlington Golf and Country Club.  They are were well taken care of and gave us a number of beautiful backdrops to choose from during the official portrait taking time.  It was such a pleasure to photograph all the little details Kate and her planner had put together.  Regardless of budget, it makes you realize how big of a difference all of those ‘little things’ do make to the overall look and feel of the day and especially the difference it makes to your ‘photo story’ at the end of it all.   Kate was one of those brides that had a ton (A TON!) of ideas ahead of time and admittedly spun out of control a number of times, but she and Spencer both did a really good job of just letting go on the day of, trusting the vendors they put in place (which I would recommend every bride try to do!).  I think that it definitely came through in their photos because they look so relaxed and happy!

Wedding Photography: Jayme Van Geest Photography / Event Designer + Coordinator: Eph*ra Event Design / Floral Design: Sticks and Stems Floral Studio / Cupcakes: The Cupcake Diner / Venue: Burlington Golf and Country Club