Archive for Nicole Ballantyne-Choo

10 Must-Have Wedding Photos


From the ceremony to the speeches, your wedding day will undoubtedly go by in a flash. That’s part of the reason almost every couple has a wedding photographer on hand — to capture all of the special moments of the day so that you can look back on them for years to come. From the vows to the late night dance party, you want to make sure your wedding photographer captures every element of the day — especially those you may have missed.

We recently had the opportunity to speak with wedding photographer Corina Van Sluytman from Corina V. Photography and asked for her help zeroing in on the top 10 moments that should be captured at every wedding. She says above all else wedding photos should convey the sentiment of the day.  “When I photograph weddings, capturing emotions is very important. By just looking at the bride and groom you can see how happy they are, and their strong feelings for each other are so clearly displayed in their facial expressions and gestures,” she explains. “When the album of the entire day is put together, the pictures tell a story, and so when future generations look at these wedding photos they experience the moments as if they were there; and of course the couple themselves can relive the day step by step.”

Click through the slides below to see Van Sluytman’s list of must-have wedding photos.

All wedding photos are courtesy of Corina V. Photography.

10 Ways To Work Something Blue Into Your Wedding


Respect tradition by incorporating something blue into your celebration. Don’t know how? There’s plenty of beautiful, and unique, ways to work this pretty hue into your wedding, from hair accessories to fun props. Here are a few of our favourite ways to add something blue to your big day.

4 Wedding Budget Myths Debunked


Photo courtesy of iStock Photo

There are plenty of ways to cut costs on your wedding day. Trimming the guest list is one of the easiest ways, especially if you’re having a formal sit-down dinner. On the other-hand, there are a few wedding budgeting ideas that may be more fiction than fact. Here are four common budget mistakes worth reading about.

MYTH: Destination weddings will always be more budget-friendly.

FACT: If you are having a more intimate ceremony, that may be true. However, when you factor in the costs of flights, hotel accommodations, food, shipping of favours and extracurricular activities for guests–you may find your budget increasing. Have a destination wedding because you want to, not because you believe the cost is less.

MYTH: You can DIY your entire celebration to save costs.

FACT: There are plenty of DIY projects out there to help keep your budget down such as making your own favours or centrepieces. It’s the bigger things, such as making your own cake or creating your own gown (unless you’re a major baker or a seamstress), that should be left to the pros. Materials can be costly and hours of labour to create such huge projects can add to the stress. If it’s personalization that you’re worried about, vendors can make your wedding unique with custom ideas (and the added bonus of less stress).

MYTH: Buffets over sit-down dinners will keep your budget down.

FACT: Food is one of the fastest ways to eat up your budget. A three-course meal only requires you to buy as much food as the number of guests attending. When people hear the word buffet their eyes become bigger than their stomachs, which means a constant flow of food is required. Buffets also suggest a variety of food, which can also cost more than one set meal for everyone.

MYTH: It’s always more cost-effective for the groom and his men to rent tuxedos rather than buy them.

FACT: Depending on the suit and how many pieces (especially if you’re aiming for uniformity) renting shoes, ties, jackets, vests and pants can add up. Be sure to shop around, some stores will offer significant discounts for a group of suits bought together. And, obviously, if your guys buy their suits they’ll be able to use them for future formal occasions.

A Romantic Winter Wedding in Lake Louise, Alberta

Real Weddings

For Jana and Kelly, who share a passion for snowboarding, having a winter wedding was always in the cards. “We liked the idea of being surrounded by mountains, which is why we chose the Post Hotel,” Jana explains. “Kelly and I even got to snowboard the day before our wedding.” When their day arrived, the duo invited 50 of their closest friends and family to their celebration where they exchanged vows in the hotel’s library in front of a wood-burning fireplace. After their “I dos,” Jana and Kelly treated their guests to a four-course wine-paired meal, followed by dancing to the funky beats of a live jazz band in the hotel’s lounge. Taking centre stage, Jana and Kelly opened the floor with a Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons classic, “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You.” “I fell in love with it 15 years ago—thanks to my parents—and I couldn’t have picked a better first dance song.”

Jana-Jo Friedel and Kelly Moroz, February 25, 2012, Lake Louise, Alberta.

Photography courtesy of Kirstie Tweed of Orange Girl Photography.

Ceremony and reception location: The Post Hotel
Bridal gown: Watters Bridal from S2 Bride
Groom’s suit: Tom Ford from Harry Rosen
Cake: The Post Hotel
Caterer: The Post Hotel
Wedding planners: The bride, Jana Moroz
Music: Barry Shaw
Hair and makeup: DIY by the bride
Flowers: Willow Haven Flowers in Canmore
Stationery: Orange 81

See more photos of this romantic winter wedding in Lake Louise, Alberta.

A Lakeside Wedding in Field, British Columbia

Real Weddings

Emma and Rich owe their romance to swimming. It was during their years as amateur swimmers that the two met and fell in love. “We have both since retired from swimming, but it brought us together and taught us how to get through anything—we will always be a team,” Emma shares. After 12 years of dating, Rich brought Emma to the scene of their first kiss and proposed. The two chose the Emerald Lake Lodge, a location where they had previously vacationed, as their idyllic wedding spot. “The lodge is warm and welcoming and the lake and mountains are stunning,” Emma says. The two exchanged vows in a picturesque outdoor ceremony followed by an elegant reception complete with personal touches such as a photo station and table numbers made by the bride’s mom. “We loved every minute of our day,” the two smile. “It was magical.”

Emma Spooner & Richard Cormack, May 26, 2012. Field, British Columbia.

Photography courtesy of Kirstie Tweed from Orange Girl.

Ceremony and reception location:
Emerald Lake Lodge
Bridal gown: Enzoani from The Bridal Gallery
Bridal party attire: J. Crew
Groom’s tux: Canali
Cake: Panino Bakery
Wedding planners: Lynn Fletcher and Sheryl Boury from Lynn Fletcher Weddings
Music: DJ Patrick Smiley
Hair and makeup: Stephanie Roy
Flowers: Willow Haven Flower Shop
Stationery: Wedding Paper Divas

See more photos from this lovely lakeside wedding in British Columbia.


A Green Country Wedding in Halton Hills, Ontario

Real Weddings

Surrounded by friends and family, Laurie and Seth hosted a beautiful garden-themed wedding filled with green apples, Baby’s Breath and candlelit mason jars. “We decided to celebrate at my parents’ home for the reception,” Laurie explains. “Seth and I felt that it was such a natural setting. The feeling of the grass under our feet, the surrounding trees, and the casual setting really helped set the mood.” As for the highlight of their evening? “Definitely the first dance,” the two share. “Seth doesn’t like being the centre of attention, but when we started to dance, the guests melted away and it was just the two of us holding each other.”

Laurie Cameron and Seth de Fleuriot de la Colinière, August 27, 2011, Halton Hills, Ontario.

Photography Courtesy of Jesse Rashotte of Jesse Rashotte Photography.

Ceremony location: Hillcrest United Church
Reception location: Family home, landscaping work done by Scott Cameron (
Bridal gown: Oleg Cassini from David’s Bridal
Bridal party attire: Various designers and vendors
Groom’s tux: Moores
Cake: Family friend
Caterer: Mama Meals
Favours: Pine Needle Farms
Wedding planners: Desiree Johnston of Desi J Weddings
Music: Mickey Rodrigues of DJ Tronix
Hair and makeup: Amy Beth Duclos of Makeup in the City
Flowers: Karen’s Flower Shop
Stationery: Vistaprint
Photo shoot location: Chudleigh’s Apple Farm
Engagement ring and wedding bands: Peoples
Pianist and jazz quartet: Teri Parker
Cake topper: Vintage Green Limited
Groom’s gift: OruAka
Guestbook: The Handmade Boutique
Venue decorator: Sharon de Fleuriot from Colorworx
Custom jewellery: DreamJW

View more photos from this green country wedding below.

A Lovely Country Wedding in Newmarket, Ontario

Real Weddings

Touches of pink and white proved to be the perfect colour combination for Juliette and Francesco’s vintage wedding day. Everything from the couples’ wine favours, bought from Corks Winery in Georgetown, Ontario, to their iced cupcakes, created by Swirls, carried a tint of each hue. But, small details aside, it was their wedding venue, Waterstone Estate and Farm, which really impressed the couple. “It was absolutely what we envisioned, you couldn’t ask for a more picturesque venue; the trees lining the driveway, old pictures on the walls, the big stone fireplaces,” Juliette describes. “It felt so magical.” On top of that, Francesco’s father, who he hadn’t seen in 16 years, flew from Italy to surprise his son on the morning of the wedding. “Frank was speechless and so were many of the guests who haven’t seen Frank’s father since he left Canada 32 years ago,” Juliette shares. “It was by far one of the best moments of the day.”

Juliette Rose Robinson and Francesco Tata, May 26, 2012, Newmarket, Ontario.

Photography courtesy of Lyn Ismael-Bennett of Pink Bliss Photography.

Ceremony location: St. Joseph Parish
Reception location: Waterstone Estate & Farm
Bridal gown: Ian Stuart
Bridal party attire: Bridal Images
Groom’s tux: Bossco (905-893-7858)
Cake: Swirls Cupcakes
Caterer: O’Malley’s Catering
Favours: Corks Winery
Music: Alex Santini (
Hair and makeup: Cathy Daymon (
Flowers: Streetsville Florist
Stationery: Lovely Cards
Accordian: Robert Macerollo (

See all of the photos from this lovely country wedding in Newmarket.

A Modern Country Wedding in Huntsville, Ontario

Real Weddings

Elements of grey and yellow surrounded Jessica and Matthew’s entire day, from the billy button boutonnières and the elegant stationery to the bridesmaids’ dresses. While the two agree that the event looked amazing, the pivotal moment of their celebration was when they saw each other for the first time at their ceremony. “Oh my God, she’s perfect,” Matt said to his best man when he saw Jessica walking down the aisle. “I laughed when I heard this because I thought the exact same thing when I saw him at the end of the aisle,” says Jessica. In addition to all the day’s sweet moments and details, Jessica was especially fond of her flowers. “I left the designs up to the florists, and they were amazing. I loved that they incorporated tulips, Matthew’s father’s favourite flowers, in the bridesmaids’ bouquets. It was such a great coincidence and made us feel like he was with us on the day.”

Jessica Fitzpatrick and Matthew Towler, June 16, 2012. Toronto, Ontario.

Photography courtesy of Wendy Maccrimmon.

Ceremony and reception location: Hidden Valley Resort
Bridal gown: David’s Bridal
Groom’s tux: Moores
Cake: Whimsical Bakery
Music: J & E Audio Visual
Hair and makeup: Anthony’s Hair Design & Via Bella Spa
Flowers: Incarnations Design
Stationery: Etsy

See more photos from this modern country wedding in Huntsville, Ontario.

An Elegant Vintage Wedding in Haldimand, Ontario

Real Weddings

Think an elegant vintage wedding for 150 guests can’t be planned in 60 days? Well then you haven’t met Elizabeth and David. The two planned their dream day in just two months, spending plenty of late nights in finding the right vendors and putting all the details and DIY elements of their party together — and they did all this on top of studying for their final university exams! “We wanted a summer wedding but David was playing with the Toronto Argonauts. We didn’t wait to wait a whole year before getting married,” Elizabeth laughs. Their wedding was an elegant affair that included decor like sparkling chandeliers, vintage china place settings and a beautiful lace-motif cake reminiscent of Elizabeth’s dress. “David and I were so happy with the way everything turned out. Everything we pictured came to life,” Elizabeth says.

Elizabeth and David Lee, May 21, 2012, Haldimand, Ontario

Photography courtesy of Reid Lambshead, When He Found Her (

Ceremony location: St. George Baptist Church (519-448-1762)
Reception location:
Ruthven Park
Pronovias from Saratina Bridal Boutique
Groom’s tux: Collins Formal Wear
Bridal party attire: JenJen House
Hair: Eliegante Hair Design & Spa
Elizabeth Kim (
Cake: Jocelyn Burtis, Sugarbelle Cakes
Caterer: Martha’s Catering
Favours: Handmade necklaces from women in Uganda
Flowers: Hilary Myers, Myers Floral (
Stationery: DIY
Videography by Dave Tebbutt; Vintage china and decor from Happily Ever After Events, Inc.

See all the photos from this elegant vintage wedding here.

Non-Traditional Wedding Ideas For The Unconventional Couple


Do your wedding daydreams involve a princess ballgown and a ceremony at the church you’ve attended all your life followed up by a celebration at an elaborately decorated banquet hall? If so, you should have no problem putting together the exact celebration you’re after. It’s the brides that reject the ballgowns and crystal-adorned centrepieces that often have a harder time brainstorming ways to make their celebrations reflective of themeselves. However, the great thing about hosting a non-traditional wedding is that the way the day plays out can be entirely catered to suit your personality. Lately we’ve seen everything from Sunday afternoon BBQs to jetpack weddings over water — you truly can let your imagination run wild while planning your non-traditional wedding day. Whether you want an entirely non-traditional wedding, or want to mix traditional with originality, you have plenty of options. With so many details in a wedding, there are countless of opportunities to get creative. Look for a unique bouquet created from antique jewellery or craft items, or have some fun with your look – cool nails, dramatic makeup, a non-white dress – and from there the ideas will keep coming! Not sure where to start? Here are 10 unique ways to make your non-traditional wedding completely one-of-a-kind.

Inventive Wedding Signs to Decorate Your Venue

Planning » Planning » Wedding Decor

Hanging wedding signs around your venue can serve two really great purposes: One, they make navigating around your location easy for your guests, and two, they are a great way to add a bit of extra décor. Besides using them to direct your guests to the ceremony or reception venue, they can also be used to label the different sections of your celebration. For example, if you have a dessert table, a “Sweets” sign overhead would definitely catch your guests’ attention. Wedding signs are the perfect props to add a personal touch to your big day because you can cater them to match your wedding theme exactly. Having a rustic wedding? Wooden signs and chalkboards are a popular choice. For an elegant affair, monogrammed signs trimmed in silver or gold are a nice fit. Many couples also opt to hang cute signage over the head table with phrases such as “I do” or “I love you”, which definitely plays up the romantic tone of the evening. Stick to tradition and opt for a “Just married” sign on the back of your transportation as well. These particular wedding signs can double as hand-held photo props as well. Take a look at these 10 ways other couples have incorporated creative wedding signs into their celebrations.

Romantic Floral Wedding Gowns You’ll Swoon Over

Fashion & Beauty » Wedding Dresses

Floral wedding gowns with voluminous, rosette-embellished skirts and exquisite, hand-beaded blossom-adorned corsets have long been a popular choice among brides, but this season the time-honoured bridal fashion accent has truly been re-imagined with ultra-feminine blooms popping up in a variety of chic new ways. Designers such as Sareh Nouri, Oscar de la Renta, Amsale, Theia and Terry Fox (to name a few!) are using colour, embroidery, lace and even ruffled embellishments within their Fall/Winter 2012 and Spring 2013 collections to reinvent floral wedding gowns for the modern bride. This is one reinvigorated trend designed to stand the test of time. Whether you want an over the top wedding dress complete with bursts of colourful blooms, or prefer the type of floral wedding gowns that are more subtly inspired by nature, designers are finding new ways to interpret the theme for every bridal aesthetic. To assist you in your search for “the dress” we’ve picked 10 of our favourite new floral wedding gowns from some of the top names in bridal couture — a few dramatic confections for the glamour girls and some understated options for the ethereal brides —  in the hopes that these fresh-off-the-runway styles will help inspire the search for your dream dress.

Unique Wedding Ideas For The Celebration of Your Dreams


When it comes to planning your dream wedding, there are many factors to consider –venue, food, entertainment – to ensure everything runs smoothly and blends together. The number one priority for many couples is to have a unique wedding — one that truly reflects their personalities and wows the guests as soon as they walk in.

We approached, Brian Worley, the designer from event production company yourBash!, for some sure fire ways to create a unique wedding celebration. Worley has worked on both weddings and high-profile award shows and is known for his ability to transform plain spaces into jaw-dropping spectacles so we knew he would be the perfect person to approach for some unique wedding tips.

“People are getting a lot more creative these days,” says Worley. “Instead of having one style for everything, people are finding ways to mix and match styles and designs to come up with something completely original that not only represents who they are, but is also fun and enjoyable for their guests. I think it’s important to think outside the box because there is always potential to create something that has never been done before.”

Here Worley gives you the inside scoop on how to personalize your celebration and create a unique wedding day that your guests won’t soon forget.

How To Design A Stunning Sweet Table

Planning » Planning » Reception Ideas

Want an eye-catching sweet table? Your wedding desserts will definitely attract your guests’ attention, but an aesthetically appealing display will also make the spread memorable long after the treats are gone. Drawing inspiration from the theme and the season of your wedding, you can do a lot with colour, decorations, props, and customized candy to transform a drab, boring table into a must-see spectacle. We had the opportunity to speak with Stephanie Brown, the sweet designer from Sweet Table, to get her input on why a sweet table should not only feature delicious wedding desserts and candy, but also fit seamlessly into the overall theme of your wedding day. “A lot of effort goes into your special day, so it makes sense that you’d want everything to look perfect. A display of wedding desserts may be appealing to your taste buds, but if it’s not visually appealing it will be hard to draw your guests over to check it out. You want a sweet table that catches your guests’ eyes as soon as they walk in.”

Not sure where to start with designing your own stunning sweet table? Here are 10 items Stephanie and her co-designer Izabela Chmielewska (the table designer) like to include in the sweet spreads they create.