University of Toronto Wedding At Hart House ChapeL
I had met Margaret and Ian on a lovely afternoon at the start of April. He had immediately struck me as someone who–if not intimately familiar with photography in general–did quite a bit of research about it beforehand. They were both very excited about the prospect of me photographing their wedding at the University of Toronto’s Hart House Chapel. After we got on the same page in terms of their vision, they agreed I would be the best person to help them achieve it.
The day prior to their wedding was hectic and stressful: L and I had moved out of our condo. It was hot and muggy. The last-minute wrapping was done last-minute, which is always a bad idea. To ensure that none of that anxiety would sneak its way into my wedding day work, I decided to go to bed early with the help of a stiff drink. Despite a bit of shoulder pain in the morning, the extra sleep had helped to refresh my body and mind, and primed for another day of
physical labour wedding photography.
My plan for the day was to park near the restaurant where the evening would culminate and take a cab between the other locations. The futility of this plan became quite clear when I discovered that there was no parking near the restaurant and that street parking was limited to three hours during the afternoon. I decided to park at the condo from which I moved the day before. It was nearby, we still had possession, and I had plenty of time before my scheduled arrival. Once parked, I grabbed all my wedding photography gear except for my studio flash kit – which I use only for lighting emergencies – hailed a cab with Hailo (alas, no more), and was on my way to photograph the bride at the Trump International Hotel.
Although the Trump Hotel is one of Toronto’s less attractive buildings, the interior is lavish and gives off the impression of having spared no expense to impress its guests. It’s definitely a building meant to be enjoyed from the inside looking out. And there, standing amidst the opulence of her chamber, surrounded by her brother and two friends, I found the bride wrapped in white. I immediately got to work as our time at the hotel was limited. Most of the preparations were done – hair, makeup, etc. – leaving a few finishing touches: a lovely necklace and earrings. In the lobby, two limos were secured for the party’s transportation to Hart House. During the ride, I photographed the bride and got to experience my dream to act as navigator for the driver, who was unfamiliar with the destination.
At some point between the hotel and Hart House, the weather turned sour and it had started to rain. As the limo pulled up to the doors, I attempted to make a quick exit from the car so that I could photograph the bride’s. By some flash of stupidity and absent mindedness, I had forgotten that I wasn’t holding on to the strap of my Canon 5D Mark III (with 16-35mm F2.8L II) as I slid out the door. The camera rolled off my backpack and crash-splashed into a shallow puddle. D’oh! I picked it up, slung it over my shoulder, and readied my second camera. At that moment, the bride’s brother, who was approaching the car, advised us that she should stay a bit longer because we were early. I took the opportunity to quickly survey my poor fallen camera. Everything was fine and I didn’t have to switch to my backup. (Always have a backup)
Once the lovely Humanist wedding ceremony was underway – officiated by Mary Beaty, who was great – everything went according to schedule. One couple showed up a few minutes after Mary had commenced with her introduction. It made for a great wedding photography moment. Following the ceremony’s conclusion, everyone proceeded to congratulate the couple by the reception desk. Formal portraits of family and close friends were done on the intermediate level between the library and main floor, right by the archives of the Board of Stewards and Committees of Hart House.
After a short interlude spent walking around and throughout Hart House, we made our way to the final destination, Splendido Bar & Grill at Harbord & Spadina. Cocktails were served in the cellar and dinner took place on the main floor. The food was delicious, the speeches were short and concise, and people had a spectacular time. Towards the end of the evening, I noticed that one of the guest’s children had fallen asleep on the floor, tucked away by the wall. It’s one of my favourite photos from that day.