How to Choose a Photographer/Videographer) for Your Wedding

The first step to choose your photographer should be to check their portfolio. Each photographer has a certain style, so the photographer can be very good, but the style might not be to your liking. Once you found a photographer with the style and quality you like, you should arrange a meeting.

The meeting is important for two reasons. First to see the printed portfolio, there is something different about seeing printed pictures. Secondly, and actually more important, is to talk to the photographer and get a feel for the person in front of you. Do you feel comfortable around this person?

The photographer is going to be the person that will follow you for your entire day, so it’s important you like this person and you have good chemistry, as the last thing you need is a person that is angry or impatient. Another thing that is very important and can tell you a lot about the photographer is communication. How quick will the photographer reply to your message. It can be via Facebook messenger, email, phone, or whatsapp. Wedding arrangements are very intensive and some can find it stressful, so a photographer that replies in a timely manner and is polite means there is one less thing to worry about.

Don’t be ashamed to ask how long has the photographer been in business. The market is flooded with people who buy a camera and think this is all they need to photograph a wedding. It can take years to learn to control the camera correctly and develop a personal style, yet sadly many people don’t know that and they might end up with very amateurish looking pictures.

Ask your photographer if they shoot in RAW or JPEG. When shooting in RAW you can mould the picture, and make changes to the exposure (brightness) while still keeping quality. Once you shoot in JPEG there isn’t a whole lot you can work with, so be sure your photographer shoots in RAW and processes the pictures.

Finally, check online to find out more about the photographer and their company. See what type of reviews they’ve received. Last thing that I think is very important is to look for someone who is very passionate about doing wedding photography. Working in this type of environment can be challenging, so someone who loves doing this will always find a way to make you look amazing even if not everything is going according to plan.

An added bonus for those who want photography and videography, is to try and get one company that does both. So when hiring one company you know you get a crew that is not competing with each other and they know how to work together.


Amir Eshel has been married for 25 years, and a resident of Canada for almost 20 years. He first got into photography after his dad passed away, and found it filled a certain void in his heart. He’s been doing professional wedding and event photography and videography for over five years now.

Eshel Art Photography


Your Choice for an Intimate Wedding on the Water

I have hosted many special occasion events on the Gone Sailing Adventures’ yachts since starting the business in 2010.  The most common are bachelorette and birthday parties, corporate events, and summer long brand experiences. I have presided over a number of ash-scatterings and hosted four weddings on board.

The latter have been intimate events with most occupying only one yacht (8-12 people).  In 2018, we had a three boat wedding with 26 people.  Last year, we hosted our largest wedding yet, with 45 people among four yachts.

During each of the previous weddings, I played a minor role in providing the venue coupled with my regular captaining responsibilities.  Our couples arranged their own officiant and details. In 2018, I became a licensed Ontario Officiant and the first and only ship’s captain to do so. Now you can be part of a unique community of getting married on the water in an intimate ceremony aboard the luxury sailing yacht WhiRLygirl.

Celebrating 10 years in the charter business, multi-yacht events are common occurrences at Gone Sailing Adventures.  Despite this, each one is unique and requires special attention. For our first official on-board marriage, I engaged my partner, Heather Henderson, (aka ‘the Admiral”) to outfit me. Beyond her day job as an ER nurse, she is a talented artist, decorator, seamstress, and amazing organizer.  She designed the Captain’s epaulets for my official uniform.  Working with our in-house florist, the two created a unique floral and textile design on the front of our 41′ yacht –  WhiRLygirl.  The two created a beautiful frame while still having an open view forward of the bow.

Being in the city of Toronto, we have to escape east in order to avoid the restrictions on drone flying near Billy Bishop Airport.  Asbridges Bay, just off Woodbine Beach is far enough away to fly drones to capture the event and creates an excellent view of the city as the sun sets during the wedding ceremony.

With groups of 13-28 we sail close together on multiple yachts so that the whole group are in sight of each other as we make our way out of the Harbour and east to Woodbine Beach. At the Anchorage, the flotilla rafts together.  Everyone gathers around the foredeck of WhiRLygirl.  Captain Howie, makes the call to begin the ceremony with a long blast of his conch shell. “Pirates, Sailors, Scallywags, and Stowaways… In other words… friends and family.

The couple may seal their wedding vows by tying not just the proverbial knot, but the real knot too.  Prepared by Cap’t Howie, the wedding (fisherman’s) knot tightens as the two work together pulling each end to form a single knot from the two pieces of rope.  A toast is made and King Neptune is asked  “to watch upon the couple and provide fair seas and safe passages as they continue their life long journey together.” This request is sealed with a sacrificial libation and a shared swig (“sailor style” from the bottle) by the newly married couple

Let the party continue ashore at the many great venues along the waterfront upon returning to the dock.

Gone Sailing Adventures

Howie Colt 416 240-0202

Unique wedding day clothing will make you look your best

The House of Sass & Magic is an inclusive brand that empowers you to celebrate your individuality and express your true self. We all have sass and magic inside of us; and in a world where it can be challenging to live outside the standardized norms, The House of Sass & Magic’s designs are here to help you shine.

We believe that “The Future is Everybody”–many of our garments are designed with gender fluidity in mind. This is because we know that each human is unique. All garments are handmade with love in Toronto, Canada.

The House of Sass & Magic brings fantasies to life. We specialize in one-of-a-kind, short-run and limited edition expression-wear for all people. We are fiercely passionate about celebrating individuality, self-expression, and authenticity. These ethos inspire us to create garments that reflect the wildest, most glamorous dreams of ourselves and our clients.

It is important that The House of Sass and Magic promotes ideals surrounding individuality, self-expression, authenticity and advocate for the LGBTQ+ communities as well as human rights as a whole. I design for all genders and non-binary alike. We contribute to sustainability and up-cycling by giving new life to existing garments, as well using byproduct/leftover fabrics from its sibling company, Flash Design Company. This embodies a “zero waste” philosophy.

The vision of The House of Sass & Magic is to continue creating garments for individuals who can’t find the items they want in traditional retail outlets. The goal is to create an experience for the person wearing the clothing. The clothes need to evoke a feeling in the wearer. We want the person to be the best version of themselves. The opportunity to create experiences through clothing is incredible.

The excitement that is experienced from seeing others enjoying The House of Sass & Magic is the magic. I’ll use the word comperison to explain… I experience joy because joy is experienced by the wearer of the clothing. It’s priceless to be honest. There is nothing better than seeing, hearing and knowing that somehow a garment we have created is bringing someone comfort, empowerment, knowledge of self and/or self expression.


Stacey Gonder is a Fashion Designer based out of Toronto, ON. Stacey grew up in Pontypool, located in Victoria County, an hour outside of the bustling city. From a young age she knew that she had a passion for dance, and the talent to pursue it. After a quarter century of dance instruction and performing professionally, she decided to enrol in the International Academy of Design, with a focus on costume studies. In 2001, immediately after graduating, she launched her first endeavour – Flash Design Company. Catering to some of the GTA’s most prestigious dance companies, she found a way to combine her two passions–dance and fashion. Flash DC designs and crafts costumes for a range of ages and dance styles. In the competitive dance world, costumes creators must master three things; great construction, comfort/function for stage, and realizing the artistic vision. After 14 years of honing these skills, Stacey decided that dance land wasn’t enough, and thus created the House of Sass & Magic.

House of Sass & Magic 905-409-9511

The Brides Wore White…

It was a beautiful sunny September day, the perfect day for an outdoor wedding. A gentle breeze blew across the vineyard as guests settled into their seats in excited anticipation. It was time! The music began and our beautiful bride appeared in the distance as everyone rose to their feet. Walking on her own across the lawn, she met her parents at the back of the ceremony site where they joined arms and walked up the aisle together. After warm embraces at the front, her parents took their seats and our bride took her place beside me. The music changed, all eyes turned and our beautiful bride appeared in the distance.

Being a wedding officiant is my passion work, it is the greatest privilege and joy to be part of such a happy, important moment in a couple’s life together. As an ally, it has been my particular delight to officiate many same-sex weddings, while appreciating first-hand the complexities that these events can bring. Brides experience their own set of complexities, and so I asked some of my couples what was easy, and what wasn’t easy about their big day. Here is what they shared.

Pleasing everyone is one of the greatest challenges, they said. Not only can it be hard to invite certain people who haven’t shown support of your relationship, with two brides you may also have two sets of very involved and opinionated parents to contend with.

Having two brides also takes some extra planning. “We found it hard wanting traditional elements within our wedding, but not necessarily having a traditional relationship,” offered Darcie and Brittany, our vineyard brides. For example, both brides may want to walk down the aisle and have that special moment. You may have two brides needing to get ready at the venue, but only one bridal suite. You may need to ensure equal time is given to photograph both brides getting ready. You also must navigate and select vendors who are comfortable with same-sex relationships so you feel comfortable and accepted on your big day.

Finally, pick your officiant carefully. “Most important for us was to find someone we felt comfortable with,” advised Andrea and Jaclyn, who tied the knot a few months ago. “It’s a big moment and nerves may get the best of you. It’s important to have someone up there you trust and feel at ease with.” Give yourself lots of time, they added, to find the right person and craft the perfect script. It is the officiant’s role to help you work through ceremony complexities and set the tone so everyone feels the love you have for each other and you are relaxed and fully present in the moment.

What was easy? “Honestly, everything that didn’t include people, their opinions and feelings was easy for us!” laughed Darcie and Brittany. Flowers, venue, cake, music, colour scheme, wedding dresses (once they decided they wanted warm, not bright white), décor, who they wanted in their wedding party, all that was easy.

“Our biggest advice,” added Brittany and Darcie, “is it is one day and it is your day to share with your partner. Don’t forget that!” Try hard to separate the feelings and opinions of others from your own, even if they contradict. At the end of the day this special day is for you to celebrate your love and future together. Make sure it is the way you want, surrounded by people who love and support you. The brides wore white … matching kilts … suits … and every combination in between! Congratulations on your happy news. Let the planning begin.


Kim Adeney is a wedding officiant with All Seasons Weddings and serves the GTA. From backyards to banquet halls, Kim has the experience of over 400 weddings to draw upon for your big day. She would love to be part of your plans.

All Seasons Weddings


Create memories and say “I do” in an atmosphere that speaks to you

When choosing your wedding venue, you want to find a space that makes you feel welcome and represents your own style and vision. That can be a limited experience for the LGBTQ+ community; as we are accustomed to seeking out specific spaces that are owned or operated within our community to feel represented. The Palais Royale Ballroom understands this and invites the community to enjoy the space for private events and for public events.

Palais Royale opens its doors to the LGBTQ+ community several times a year, not just for weddings, but to give the community a sense of pride and belonging. From afternoon tea dances to fundraisers and an annual Pride dance, Palais Royale is beaming with all the colours of the rainbow. This creates a space to say “I do” in an atmosphere that’s familiar and sprinkled with nostalgia.

“We hear so many nostalgic stories of people whose parents met at the Palais, or used to dance here,” says Mary Lou Borg, partner, Pegasus Hospitality Group and CHIC Productions. “Our public LGBTQ+ events provide an opportunity for our community to make their own memories and to wed and celebrate in the location where generations have done the same.”

Every June, a Pride event is produced by Mary Lou Borg inviting all who identify with the LGBTQ community and their friends to gather at Palais Royale. This event provides an evening of celebration and acceptance, with a full VIP opportunity for those looking for a heightened experience. Twice a year Mary Lou produces Salon Sundays, a “Modern Tea Dance,” to bring out the community on a Sunday afternoon.

With an emphasis on customization and attention to detail, the Palais Royale prides itself in creating elegant, personal events that give guests a night to remember. Palais Royale encourages their clients to express what vision and inspirations will shape each event to bring an originality to everything they do.

Catering is no exception to the Palais when it comes to customization. The diversity of their guests matches the diversity of their culinary offerings. Premium suppliers and chefs with international experience, can be credited in how they manage to cater to Toronto’s multicultural foundation. “We are blessed to live in a city that celebrates all multicultural backgrounds,” says Steffan Howard, Corporate Executive Chef, Pegasus Hospitality Group. “In 2019, there is no reason for people to feel that they are being served ‘banquet’ food from a menu that is one size fits all.”

Palais Royale is located on Toronto’s beautiful waterfront, creating a secluded space with a busy urban backdrop. As an exclusive venue, their guests have come to enjoy the privacy and intimacy of hosting only one event at a time. The Palais Royale Ballroom is one of three exclusive venues under the Pegasus Hospitality Group umbrella including: The Grand Luxe Event Boutique, and the Harding Waterfront Estate. They also run Food Studio Catering known for its customizable food truck and offsite catering.


Robert Van Horne, Senior Sales Coordinator, Palais Royale Ballroom.

Robert first encountered Palais Royale when he was hired to perform in drag as his alias Alisha Van Horne, for Chic Productions in 2009. He was then hired on as an Executive Event Assistant, where he learned the ropes and was then promoted to become an Event Coordinator within the company. Currently, as Senior Sales Coordinator, he works on various projects and locations within the company. Robert became a more involved member of the LGBTQ community when he started his drag career as Alisha Van Horne in 2005, working alongside many other queens and performers at various establishments, fundraisers and Pride events on Church Street and beyond. He holds many titles, Miss El Convento Rico 2008, Miss Gay Ontario 2008, and Miss Gay Toronto 2014.

Mary Lou Borg, Pegasus Hospitality

Mary Lou Borg has spent her career in the hospitality business. For the past ten years, she has been partner at Pegasus Hospitality Group, which encompasses the Historic Palais Royale Ballroom, the Grand Luxe Event Boutique, The Exchange Café and The Food Studio Catering. She has also established CHIC Productions, an event company which produces leading edge events for the LGBTQ community. Pride events at the Palais Royale are one of the largest in the city of Toronto. Much of the business at Palais Royale and the Grand Luxe cater to weddings, and Mary Lou strives to continue to produce weddings for the LGBTQ community with style and originality.

Pegasus Hospitality Group 416 533 1573


The three words that ring true when planning any event, including the most monumental day of your life. The most asked questions to ponder when planning your big day are pretty clear – When…where…. cost and availability.

When is a very personal decision: Best advice, ensure that the date does not land on a statutory holiday or a time of year where you’re guests will have a hard time finding accommodation. Take a look at different hotel sites and call them directly, as group blocks can be made specifically for your needs.

Whereno matter where you choose, check the weather during that time frame. Most couples love pictures taken outside, but always have a back up location just in case of last minute changes or inclement weather.

Cost...the sky is the limit depending on the needs of each individual couple. One solid piece of advice is to have an idea of the total cost before hand, then once you know the number of people attending an estimate can be prepared. It will give you a ball park figure that you can then budget around if necessary.

Availability – believe it or not this can be the biggest obstacle of all, as wedding venues are booked heavily in advance. The good news is when you have made your decision and the venue is available, everything else falls into place.

Your wedding day should be a no-brainer… remember to let the professionals worry about the little stuff, enjoy family, friends, good food and your first dance as a married couple.

Cartier Place Hotel Information:

Cartier Place Suite Hotel provides an ideal venue for meetings, weddings and more, offering a total of 4268 square feet of flexible, private event space. All rooms are bright and airy with floor to ceiling windows, located on the lobby level overlooking the gardens- making them not only private but easy to navigate. Catering service include breakfast, lunch, dinner and afternoon breaks, served ala carte or buffet and provided by our onsite restaurant, Big Daddy’s Bourbon Street Bistro. Conveniently located downtown, surrounded by trendy restaurants for post meeting get togethers, the hotel is also within walking distance to government and corporate offices.

Adaptable for a variety of occasions, we also offer a charming garden area for small wedding ceremonies of up to 70 people, and our lovely Brittany Salon is a venue that can easily cater up to 100 people in a comfortable setting. You’ll enjoy special amenities to enhance the décor along with a floatable dance floor and full wedding set up including chairs, chair covers, dance floor, tables, table numbers with stands, table linens, skirting, dishes, podium, wired microphone, projection screen, and wedding arch. We look forward to hosting your memorable event.

Venue highlights

  • Complimentary Romantic Suite with Jacuzzi is included with the booking of a dinner reception
  • Complimentary trial dinner for two with the booking of a dinner reception
  • Complimentary services: tables & linens, chairs, table numbers with stands, podium, wired microphone, easel, dance floor, riser, Wi-Fi
  • Banquet rooms with floor to ceiling windows, Penthouse Hospitality Suite with city views
  • Indoor pool, hot tub, sauna, fitness room, playroom, outdoor garden patio with play-ground and shuffleboard court
  • Catering provided by Big Daddy’s Bourbon Street Bistro. Traditional or custom banquet menu available.
  • Special group and wedding room rates for your guests.


Ann Freel is the Sales and Banquet Manager at Cartier Place Suite Hotel in Ottawa. She comes to us from the Emerald Isle of Ireland, she has been lucky enough to plan beautiful weddings in some of the most sought-after destinations such as Canada, the US and the Caribbean, including the Turks and Caicos Islands. Ann has been the Sales and Banquet Manager at The Cartier Place Suite Hotel for 8 years and still going strong. Surrounded by true hospitality professionals, she now calls the Cartier Place Suite Hotel her home away from home.

Cartier Place Hotel 1-800-236-8399 or 613-236-5000

Finding the Perfect Officiant

When newly engaged couples start “planning,” one of the first topics that comes up is, “Who will marry us?” It’s an important question because whom ever it is, they will set the tone of your wedding. Will you be relaxed and confident? Will you feel heard and understood? Will both of you get what you truly want? In some cases, this can be a deal breaker for couple’s, as you want someone to embrace culture, language, religion/non-religion/dual-religion, personality and style.

Bancroft Centre for Awakening Spiritual Growth trains its non-denominational ministers to perform legal wedding ceremonies for the Province of Ontario. We make sure all legalities are taken care of so you don’t have to. We also have the freedom to work with you directly to create impactful, meaningful and emotional ceremonies that fit your specific needs.

I often give my clients this advice: You will know in your gut, when you know it’s a right fit. Whether it’s the right venue or planner or wedding officiant, you both need to be at ease during the planning stages and on your big day. I offer my clients three unique packages. Sometimes, you just don’t want a big fuss and that is okay. Sometimes, you have this vision of your wedding day to be unique and creative, and you want your ceremony to reflect your own individual styles. Whether it is me that fits your style or not, most officiants do what we do because we LOVE, LOVE. I have many officiant’s that I refer clients too and most are from BCFASG.

As a first step, I offer all my potential couples a no-obligation consultation. This call, usually by facetime, WhatsApp, phone, or in person has a fundamental goal. Its mission is to learn about you as a couple, and I encourage couples to ask as many questions as necessary. This interaction will allow us to become familiar and comfortable with each other, so that we can prepare the beginning of your customized ceremony (civil, spiritual, romantic, secular, short). We will build in all the legal and personal elements into the ceremony with unlimited calling and emailing.

Remember… This is your wedding and it should be a pure reflection of your love and wishes. I think it is very important for a couple to be comfortable with their officiant. During your research, please make sure that whomever you get as an officiant is licensed and registered with the Provincial Government by visiting:

Rev Manny


Ministry website:, 416 565 5804

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