Josh & Stephanie originally planned to have their wedding on Florida's white sand beaches in October, but called it off due to the Zika virus outbreak. (Smart!) They contracted with us for the Miami wedding and asked if we were still available for a change of date and location. Kev and I were so happy that we did and could finally meet this couple and their friendly, generous family.
It was our first trip to Toronto and wow, we loved it! The city is enormous, vibrant, full of modern buildings, great restaurants, all the city-stuff we country mice like to experience. Toronto sits on the west edge of Lake Ontario, close to Buffalo NY and the Canadian side of Niagara Falls.
Since the couple had to ditch Miami, their experienced and savvy coordinator Melissa Baum expertly brought Miami to them. They chose 99 Sudbury for their minimalist and chic wedding and reception venue, which Melissa transformed into a tropical retreat. Frank Rea helped bring their vision to life with his bright floral design, starring hundreds of fuschia orchids, succulents, and palm fronds. He kept the roots on the orchid plants and hung them from palms, driftwood, and giant sand-filled vases. The team brought in long, low couches and high counter tables with stools, breaking from traditional seating to create a South Beach late-night club vibe.
It was a stunning transformation and I cannot say enough about Melissa's abilities!
Even more stunning was Stephanie in her Elizabeth Fillmore hammered satin gown. It fit her perfectly, simple and glorious, bringing out her lovely olive complexion and bright eyes. She wore simple earrings and bracelet, Jimmy Choos, and had the prettiest little bouquet of winter fuschias. An heirloom fur stole gave her some warmth on the chilly day. She added a delicate long, hand-painted veil for the ceremony. This girl positively glowed.
Josh and Steph were so sweet. To have enough time for all the photos they agreed to a first look, but wanted zero fuss about it. We managed a couple of shots of her giving him a quick "hey!" as she quickly stepped into a waiting limo then we immediately got moving to his parent's house for a photography session. It was so cold outside that we needed to shoot everything indoors, but it worked wonderfully with their style, it was so beautiful. In between locations we chatted with the two of them and they were warm and funny (and so easy to photograph as they looked incredible together!).
Our favorite parts of the day were watching how this particular group celebrated the traditional Jewish wedding elements. Josh & Stephanie were married under a chuppah with the names and wedding dates of family and friends lovingly and painstakingly embroidered on it by family members. Their names will be added now. The Hora was so fun! I have never seen a pyramid of, like, 15 men before, or the bride thrown and tossed down a row of people clasping hands, but I saw it at this wedding. The dancing went on for so long, with so much love, laughter, and tradition. Later in the night we were treated to a Mezinka, which we have not had the pleasure of witnessing before. Stephanie and Josh were both the youngest children in their families and it brought tears to my eyes watching their parents crowned and honored with hugs and kisses by every wedding guest.
What a beautiful wedding and reception, and overall tasteful and lovely experience. We are so grateful to have had the pleasure of photographing Josh & Stephanie's wedding and wish them every happiness for their future lives together!