It was impossible to narrow this Serenity Cottage destination wedding down to one simple blog post, so I’m splitting into two parts. There’s just too many fun memories to share from Jen & Trevor’s day! I have traveled to Serenity Cottage for weddings every year for the last 4 years, but this year was truly unique because Georgian Bay was covered in fog for the big day. Most couples might be bummed about the foggy skies, but we were all obsessed with the ambiance it created and the photos turned out amazing. No harsh light = no squinting!
Before we get to the photos, let’s start with the first half of their story:
Tell Us How You Met
“We will cut it short, sweet and very unsappy. Trevor was receiving cancer treatment at the hospital I work at, we bumped into each other a year later. The rest is history. “
Do You Have Any Tips / Advice for Newly Engaged Couples Who Want to Plan a Small Wedding?
“Make lists, lists and more lists…. There is a certain satisfaction of crossing things off a list and feeling accomplished. Hire people that you trust, we found that by hiring the experienced vendors that we did, we were able to have full confidence in that the job would be done seamless, and that alone made us feel less stressed. Lastly, have the wedding that you as a couple envisioned and not what you think other people would want. There will be a lot of people who share their opinions and judgments. It is okay to break traditions to make the day your own. ”
Part two of this Serenity Cottage wedding will share their favourite moments of the day and how they chose their photographer. In the meantime, here’s some moments to help inspire your own day.
Fact: I’m not afraid to get a dirty to take your photos. If you tell me you would like photos by the water, chances are I’m getting my feet wet. If you tell me you want photos done at your family farm, I’m probably wearing rubber boots and ready to get muddy.
But What Should YOU Wear to Your Engagement Session?
Wear something comfortable, but makes you feel confident. It’s okay to pick up some new threads for the session, just make sure you’re not tugging at it to make it fit where or how it should. Also, try to avoid clothing with large logos or distracting designs. Patterns are totally okay! I’m a huge sucker for anything plaid and floral prints can totally work when paired with something neutral. Don’t be afraid to layer or accessorize, especially in the fall. Things like jackets, scarves, sweaters or mixing textures can be fun!
It’s important to think of the location too. If we’re working on a rocky beach, heels are probably a bad idea. If we’re on your family farm (like the engagement session posted below), then totally pack your rubber boots or Blundstones and get ready to off-road. There is also a chance we might be sitting down. I usually pack a blanket, but it’s no good if you’re pants are too tight to sit on the ground cross-legged.
Lastly, be yourself. Don’t wear something that you’re going to look at later and cringe because it’s not something you’ll ever wear again. These photos are more than just a formality. They are meant to capture your relationship as it is now, so you can look back and remember how you were when this new chapter was about to start.
I’m going to use Jackie & Kyle’s engagement session below as an example of keeping it real. These guys dressed comfortably, and included elements that says a lot about who they are as a couple, like their cute pup, lilacs and some fun four-wheeling…. (and I cannot wait to see again for their farm wedding this fall!)
I’m embarrassed to say that I’ve been sitting on this Lake on the Mountain Resort wedding in Prince Edward County since last August. I have no reason why, but I’m pretty darn excited to share it now! Before we get to all the pretty photos, let’s touch on a quick topic or two.
Why Should We Get Married in Prince Edward County?
Prince Edward County is becoming an Ontario destination wedding location for those looking to escape the city and potential drama of a large wedding. This island on Lake Ontario provides a variety of venues and cottages to accommodate the vibe you’re looking for on the big day. It also turns your event into a celebratory weekend getaway with trips to the beach, wineries or the delicious local food scene. The wedding day ends up being a part of a weekend away with friends and family, rather than a one-day event.
Tips to Planning your Prince Edward County Wedding / Elopement
Here’s a quick few tips to consider while planning your wedding / elopement in Prince Edward County:
– Hire Local Vendors: We are a seasonal community and appreciate you using our talents to make your day special. Plus, we know all the fun spots for photos, places to explore, eat and have a few tricks that vendors outside The County wouldn’t know.
– Use the Telephone: Prince Edward County wasn’t always popular and the influx of inquiries is new to the community. Don’t be discouraged if you’re favourite venue or vendor doesn’t respond quickly to online inquiries. A lot of the locals have limited internet speeds / are slow to respond. Also some locations are “old school” appreciate the personal touch of a telephone.
– Less is More: The County has a lot to offer in terms of charm. Your wedding doesn’t need all the bells and whistles you think it might, so save your money and spend it on the local wine for your guests instead. If you need a little something extra, the local florists are always happy to fill in the blanks.
Today’s blog features Cynthia and David’s wedding at Lake on the Mountain, which was all planned from their home base in Toronto. They followed the above tips and their day was a beautiful success! (vendors are listed below)
If you follow me on Instagram, you might have seen some stories of food being cooked over fire-pits at South Pond Farms a couple of weeks ago. If not, then you’ve also missed my new obsession with spicy honey (also from South Pond Farms). While I normally use this blog platform to share my passion for wedding photography, you should also know I’m a HUGE fan of food and value the hard work that goes into the farm to table process.
This year I had the amazing opportunity to join my talented sister and cook, Keirra (her Instagram) to experience the 2019 Feast On Rural Retreat. If you’re like me and have a great respect for the relationships between farm and chef, then you should know about Terroir (pronounced: terˈwär ) Hospitality and their outlook on culinary diplomacy (They call this Gastrodiplomacy: “Terroir Hospitality is transforming global food systems through gastrodiplomacy – giving chefs, producers, restaurateurs and industry leaders a valued platform through which to connect, learn and interact within their own industries & communities, as well as others all across the world”). Terroir’s Founder, Arlene Stein, spends a lot of time travelling around the world to research responsible food systems and and this spring I had the pleasure of meeting this brilliant human while she brought her food family together at South Pond Farms.
What Happens at a Feast On Rural Retreat?
Invited guests are welcomed to South Pond Farms and immediately shown to a hilltop area with jaw-dropping views. This area also houses a giant wood-burning outdoor oven and a large bar. Chefs are cooking over open fires and the air smells of smoke, butter, cedar and fresh bread. Everyone is eager to connect and taste a sampling of the innovative recipes being cooked on site. My favourite was the grilled flat bread, brushed with butter, then South Pond’s Hotter than Hades Honey and sprinkled with salt. I could have eaten that all day! Also memorable and super tasty was Rich Uncle Tavern’s Chef Ben Lillico’s duck smoked with fresh cedar clippings, followed by a refreshingly smooth gin and rhubarb cocktail by Black’s Distillery.
The tour didn’t stop there! We took a small walk down the hill into a cedar grove for more delicious food being cooked over the open flame, including a trout with puffed rice and leeks dish that was a texture party in my mouth. The day eventually ended with everyone taking home some freshly baked bread and flaky-perfection butter-tarts.
A full list of the local Chefs and vendors involved can be found here: http://www.terroirsymposium.com/rural-retreat , and before I get to the photos I want to thank my sister for taking me, the Feast On Chefs for their delicious innovative dishes that inspired, and of course Arlene Stein / Terroir Hospitality for founding such an amazing experience.
For the last 3 years, I’ve had the beautiful opportunity of capturing weddings at Serenity Cottage on Georgian Bay near Owen Sound, and I’m excited to be invited back again this June! In the meantime, I wanted to share Mary & Casey’s fall wedding shot last October with you, and all the other wonderful couples looking for some cottage wedding inspiration.
Speaking of inspiration, Mary & Casey were kind enough to share their story with me, hoping it helps inspire the perfect day, just like they had while being surrounded by their close family and friends.
1. Tell me your story / How did you meet?
“Casey and I met in University and had a close friendship for several years before we started dating. It took us a little while to figure out that our friendship could be even better if we just dated and eventually got married. We have been a couple for four years now, and have known each other for a decade. Last year, we decided to pick up our lives and move to the Yukon Territory to have an adventure. Casey proposed to me on top of a mountain in Kluane National Park our first month in the Yukon which was a beautifully surreal experience, and we have been soaking up our new life in the mountains together ever since. “
2. What was your favourite moment from your wedding at Serenity Cottage?
“We have a few! From my mom surprising us by piping us in to dinner, and the sun coming out during the ceremony and while we signed our registry on what had been an otherwise blustery day, I think a favourite moment for both of us was having a slow dance at the very end of the night. Casey’s niece put on a slow song, and every person there danced with their partner or spouse. It felt wonderful to steal a second dance as husband and wife and look around and see everyone else- newlyweds to couples who had been married for 40 years- dancing with us.”
3. Do you have any wedding planning advice for newly engaged couples?
“If you can plan it from the same province/territory that would be a great start! Planning our wedding from across the country definitely made it more challenging but if we can do it from the Yukon, you can make it happen anywhere. Make sure that you are planning a wedding that is meaningful to both of you – if your partner is excited about planning certain aspects of the day, then go with it, as the day ends up having more memorable details when you both put your heart into it. One of the biggest things we learned to do while planning our wedding from afar was asking for and accepting help from friends and family. We will never forget how amazing our friends and family were in coming together and helping us create the perfect day. We would never have been able to make it happen alone. “
4. How did you choose your wedding photographer?
“We were looking at a blog of another wedding that had taken place at Serenity cottage and immediately fell in love with the candid photos. Before meeting Christine, it was obvious through the photos that she is a great photographer as everyone in the photos was smiling, laughing and appeared genuinely comfortable and like they were having a great time. That is exactly how our day went- we were cracking up like good friends and we forgot that we had literally just met. “
If you’re looking for a cottage style / waterfront venue for your wedding, I highly suggest checking out Serenity Cottage. While it means bringing all your favourite vendors to you, I’m sure none of us mind – I know I’m always up for a road trip! In fact, there’s a list of vendors listed below who would totally help make it happen!