Dear Newly Engaged,
Planning a wedding is TOUGH. I've been there myself and can be the most indecisive person on the planet. And to be honest, if I were to plan my wedding now, it would be completely different. (Don't get me wrong, I LOVED my wedding day and it was beautiful and fun and people are still talking about it 8 years later!)
What I mean is that I would follow my heart, despite everyone's input and logistics. Yes, everyone has an input when you get engaged and it can be really hard to take it all with a grain of salt and remain true to yourselves. Are you both kind of shy and introverted? Then why are you planning a wedding with 300 guests in a big hall with your head table on a stage where everyone can stare at you all night? Maybe you are the outdoorsy type who love nature - then choose a venue outside with the flair of real life elements, or a rustic old barn, or get hitched on the waterfront. My biggest peice of advice - do not do something because "someone else did it and it was fun and you think you may like that too", because guess what guys?! Its YOUR wedding day, the celebration of the rest of YOUR lives and let's begin your marriage with the most personality and "you-ness" that you can.
And with that, I will leave you with 5 totally rad and unique places I have shot at over the last few years right here in Ontario, Canada. Some were low budget, some high, some big and some had small guest lists but what remained constant was how accurately these venues complimented the couples who got married there.
1. A Hip Restaurant - such as The Saint Lawrence Market Kitchen
We all know the St. Lawrence Market downtown Toronto is super cool but did you know you can rent the upstairs for a wedding? Small but unique its one big room with amazing views of the city lights at night, and it overlooks the market. If you ask the security guard nicely he will even let you go into the market for some photos. Best for a cocktail reception like Robyn and Mike or even a small ceremony.
2. A Campground
One of my favourite weddings ever was Ayshia and Misha's country camping wedding at the Mansfield Outdoor Centre in Mansfield Ontario. They rented the entire campground for friends and family to stay the entire weekend and hosted a fun reception under the stars. Plus you get to have your first dance at golden hour as the sun sets and get married under a giant Oak tree! There are so many options all over Ontario and many people would not think to ask a local campground to host a wedding but why not!? So much fun for everyone! (if your crowd is an outdoor crowd!)
3. An Apple Orchard
Whether you prefer a spring wedding when the trees are flowering, or a fall wedding with the pops of red and green apples, an orchard is a gorgeous backdrop for a wedding ceremony and reception! Great Lakes Farms is a perfect example of a great wedding venue, located just outside of Port Stanley Ontario.
4. By the Waterfront
By a Great Lake, by a stream, at a beach resort, or by a small lake up in Muskoka - Ontario is filled with waterfront options! Kelly and Tom got married in a little opening on the edge of the water in Port Sydney, Ontario. I had trouble finding it, that is how remote and private it was! If you are lucky enough to know someone with waterfront property, ask them to host your ceremony and find a local place nearby to have your reception, or better yet, rent a tent and have it all at the same place! Muskoka area also has some great waterfront resorts you can rent the entire place for your friends to spend the weekend such asor various resorts in the area.
5. An Old Mill or Ruins
There are actually more spots in Ontario like this than you think! Try the Alton Mill in Caledon On, or Goldie Mill in Guelph. For portraits you could head over to the old mill ruins at Rockwood Conservation Area. There are ruins in Cambridge, and Ottawa - just do a google search like this one and you will find more!
Where are you planning on getting married!? I would love to hear aobut it in the comments!