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South Pond Farms – Feast On Rural Retreat

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.

South Pond Farms Event Wedding Venue

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.

Serenity Cottage Fall Wedding, Georgian Bay Owen Sound

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!

Special thanks to these amazing vendors:

Caterer – The Kitchen Meaford – https://www.thekitchenmeaford.com/
Florist – Leuk Florals – http://leukbijhermas.ca/
Hair – Mane Street Hair Salon (Owen Sound) – https://manestreetsalonandspa.ca/
Makeup – Makeup by Lee – https://makeupbylee.com/
Muscians – Keira McArthur (Cellist)

Waupoos Winery Wedding Photography, Prince Edward County

I finally found some time to blog this Prince Edward County wedding at Waupoos Estates Winery! Truth be told, I’ve had a heck of a time trying to choose which photos to share, because sometimes the stars align on a wedding day and Mother Nature gives you perfect lighting, and every photo is worth sharing. It helps that Liz & Matthew are beautiful people inside and out too. Speaking of these newlyweds, they have been so kind to share some wedding planning ideas and advice with you! Their day was flawless, so it might be worth reading their notes:

1. Tell me your story / How did you meet?

Once upon a time in the far lands of the Afghan desert, two individuals crossed paths when their stars aligned. It was not love at first sight but became something beautiful over time. After many nights of teasing we built a strong foundation for a friendship that later supported an ever-growing relationship.

2. What was your favourite moment from your wedding day?

Bride: After the ceremony was over, the recessional walk down the aisle was my favourite part. The stress of planning was finally over, I married a great guy and there was nothing ahead but a great celebration with family and friends. The Boney-M Rasputin song playing in the background added to the atmosphere, while Christine was able to capture moments of pure happiness and a little bit of relief!

Groom: First look, after chugging a Corona to calm my nerves while waiting to see my future wife for the first time in her wedding dress. I remember this being my favourite moment since it was the only time of the day where it was just the two of us. Being able to take in her beauty and embrace what was about to happen was the best feeling.

3. Do you have any wedding planning advice for newly engaged couples?

Don’t hesitate or think twice, remember it is your special day and nobody else’s. So be true to each other and work as a team to make all your wishes come true. Don’t get caught up with everyone around you, just let things play out and keep enjoying the moment because it all happens in a flash. If you are able to take a week off before the wedding to reduce the stress before the big day, do so.

4. How did you choose your wedding photographer?

We spotted Christine on social media and loved her work that stood out from everyone else’s. Her photos were full of light and candid moments, which is exactly what we were looking for. Her sense of humour and bubbly personality kept us smiling during our cool 7-degree photo shoot!

List of vendors to help inspire:

Bride’s dress: Pronovias from La Maison Bridal (Ottawa, ON)

Hair: Slate Studio (Kingston, ON)

Groom’s Suit: The Kooples (Spain)

Bow Tie: Guillotine Bow Ties (Montreal, QC)

Flowers: Mood Moss Flowers (Ottawa, ON)

Cake: Thimble Cakes (Ottawa, ON)

Party Favours (Llama cookies): Sweet Shop Cakes (Ottawa, ON)

Catering: Waupoos Winery (Picton, ON)

DJ: Carlos from Future Vibes Entertainment (Toronto, ON)

Lake on the Mountain Resort, Prince Edward County Wedding

Lake on the Mountain has always been a special spot for me. The lake is a natural curiosity because of it’s ability to have a constant flow of clean, fresh water, with no apparent source. It’s also 60 metres above Lake Ontario with views of the Bay of Quinte an the Glenora Ferry.

On the shores of this lake is the Lake on the Mountain Resort, a perfect little getaway spot to escape, get married, eat delicious food or all of the above, and that’s exactly what Will & Kirsten did.

Their day started with getting ready at the House Across the Road. Not only is the house quite literally across the road from the Resort, there’s enough room in the house for both the bride and groom to get ready for their big day and not see each other, so it’s perfect!

Once they were ready, they opted for a First Look before the ceremony so they could spend more time after the ceremony enjoying the cocktail hour with their family and friends. We decided to do most of their photos before the ceremony, and then sneak off after dinner / before sunset for photos on the dock.

Before I get to those photos, there’s just a couple more ideas that made their day a little extra special:

  1. They didn’t have a large wedding party, so they had their ENTIRE family walk down the aisle led by their Officiant to start the ceremony. I thought that was a nice way to open up the celebration.
  2. The served BBQ for dinner! There was fresh corn, brisket, BBQ chicken, you name it! Followed by homemade pies for dessert. It really added to the laid back vibe of the day and complimented the backyard feel of the venue. We served ribs at our own wedding, so naturally I was eager to document this!
  3. Just a quick shout out to the lovely and talented Laura Fenny who helped me capture the couple getting ready that day. Having a second shooter for part of the day is a nice way to “clone” myself.

Now that you know more about the day and how the couple made sure their personalities were included into the day, here are the photos to inspire some ideas for own event / upcoming wedding, and if you’re going to serve BBQ at your wedding you know where to find me….

Drake Devonshire Prince Edward County Wedding – Jaime & Dave

Confession:  I love visiting the Drake Devonshire in Prince Edward County for both work and play.  The Drake is equal parts delicious and photogenic, making it the perfect office and escape for me.  When friends come to town, there is no question which patio is at the top of our list.

I met Jaime while she x-rayed and cleaned my teeth.  We got to chatting, actually she chatted and I nodded a lot, and we soon realized that our wedding ideas were in line and a collaboration had to happen.

This beautiful couple met while being in the same wedding party and it all started with a dance.  Fast forward 6 years later and they’ve planned a beautiful intimate afternoon with family to celebrate their marriage.  The wedding took place at the side patio, which is alot quieter than the waterfront location, followed by cocktails and then a private plated multi-course meal inside the decorated Glass Box.

It was perfection!  We had the best weather, the entire beach to ourselves for photos and the food was beautifully plated making this quiet intimate wedding feel that more special.

Special thanks to Runway Bridal for helping Jaime find the perfect dress for her big day, and Gayle Wilcox for her stunning makeup application.

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