“YOU STOLE MY HEART, WHEN THE SMALL THINGS BECAME BIG THINGS”.
This photoshoot had so many sweet and resonating moments, I want to eat it up!
For starters, it was sort of a last-minute decision to go to Toronto for a week, which turned into a week of four unexpected back-to-back photoshoot mini adventures, all across the city of Toronto!
Although I technically grew up in the area, (and I have lived and worked downtown Toronto), long story short, I don’t know a thing about this city. Hence, I have never been to any of the places I suggested on any of my Toronto photoshoot itineraries.
Which is why this photoshoot was extra exciting …. apparently, neither have they! …
Viviana and Derek were the first of my couple sessions, and our first stop was The Thompson Hotel.
When the two lovebirds arrived, as soon as I saw sight of Viviana, I was so delighted!
She picked such a cute little flirty but sensible dress, the kind that reminded me of a Spanish Salsa dress. In one hand, she carried a pair of gorgeous red wine patent heels that were to die for. It was so “her”.
We caught up quickly for the first 15 minutes, then started their engagement session.
Since it was their first time here as well, I let them enjoy the view of the famous skyline on the rooftop lounge, casually taking snapshots. We even took photos of their condo in the background!
After the swanky hotel atmosphere, we strolled over to a bridge nearby. There was a cool architectural shot I wanted to take of them there, with massive rusty metal beams, and a view of the famous C.N.Tower from a different perspective. I always strive to give important landmarks a different point-of-view, or from a standing location that I haven’t seen before.
Next, I wanted to give them a different kind of backdrop; something soft and lush, with plenty of pretty outdoor greenery. I like to give lots of options and variety. So we strolled for a couple of blocks to a garden inside the city. When I think of downtown Toronto, my immediate thought isn’t green parks. Which is why I wanted to give them a feeling of natural organic shapes and colours in their urban photoshoot.
And for our final stop? It had to be the lake! Here, I left them to themselves, snuggling by the lake, just relaxing, and chilling, and enjoying the quiet lazy Sunday afternoon, kissing in the sunshine along the waterfront.
When we wrapped up, Viviana confessed that she was really impressed by some of the locations I had taken them throughout their photoshoot.
“I have lived around here for years, and I have never been to some of these places you’ve taken us! How do you know about them?”, she asked.
“Research.”, I said, smiling.
I was so pleased that I could actually surprise a local resident of Toronto, when I know nothing about this city! It is especially tricky finding quiet outdoor spaces, away from the mobs of crowds in the biggest city in Canada, during prime time summertime, on a weekend, to do a private romantic photoshoot. True challenger!
It is really special to me when I get to experience new places with my couples, together, for the first time. It made the experience more exciting, as none of us knew what to expect, and funny, as we were kind of getting lost together, while trying to find these places that none of us had ever been.
There were many moments throughout their photoshoot that really resonated with me. It was the things that they said. It was the things they did. It was the things that naturally flowed and unfolded. It all added up.
For instance, little by little, throughout our day together, Viviana and Derek slowly started to reveal layers of their relationship to me. It meant so much that they were being so open, vulnerable, and trusting about their relationship details with me, things that probably only family know. And I found myself more and more allured by the both of them, about their relationship, and I learned an interesting lesson from Derek that showcases the thoughtful caring person that he is.
I think their proposal story was so beautiful, and it touched me deeply.
It was simple, and sweet, and organic.
Nothing extravagant. Just extremely thoughtful.
This is Derek’s ultra romantic proposal, in Viviana’s own words …
‘We were at the cottage in Wasaga Beach just a regular summer weekend on June 11, 2016. We had just made steak on the BBQ and just like any other Saturday, we went to the beach to watch the sunset. It was the most beautiful sunset we have ever seen. I was sitting on a blanket and he was looking for rocks (he likes finding rare rocks). He found one and told me to come over and check out what he found. When I came to see what it was, he quickly turned around, and had the ring on his hand, and he was already on one knee! He asked me if I would give him the honour to spend the rest of my life with him. I said “Of course!” and we hugged and kissed. We stayed there, took pics, I cried LOL. Then we headed back to the cottage to call our families and tell them the news.
The next day, we went back home to Toronto and went to show the ring to his parents. This is when he pulled out all the surprises. He took me upstairs to one of the bedrooms, and when he opened the door, there on the bed were four dresses, displayed in a row. “These are for our engagement party.” he says. To my surprise, he had organized a surprise engagement party with both his family and mine (about 20ppl), hired the Mariachi band and bought me these four dresses to wear for our party. We partied it up that afternoon/night, ate and drank champagne. It was the best engagement party!”
The part that won me over with Derek were the small details he had arranged for this engagement party. Especially the part that showed that he knew Vivian so well as to pre-arrange an afternoon of shopping with V’s mom all over the city, and selected (and purchased), four dresses for her to wear for their engagement party. Lucky her! (And luckily she said yes!). He knew that she would want to look her very best for one of the key moments in their lives.
I was blown away.
I had never heard of that kind of thoughtful attention to detail! Putting himself in her mind, and understanding every detail imaginable that she would consider to be most important to her before planning and executing the proposal. It was all about her. I personally don’t think guys think to that level. I think most men think about the the ring, the date, the venue, the exact words, – basically the obvious. I don’t think they think as far as putting themselves in the perspective of their future bride during and after the proposal. Right then and there, Derek just taught me a new lesson in relationships, (and proposal planning, in case I decide to propose to Mark in the future!).
Viviana is such a delight to be around. She kept telling me how happy she was about this photoshoot, and how it was something that made her feel was “progress” towards her wedding day, that it was one step closer to becoming “real”. She kept repeating how happy she felt, how special everything was, and all the things that were so meaningful to her today.
I felt her gratitude.
I felt her appreciation.
I felt her joy.
And while I love doing what I do, Viviana’s enthusiasm and joy and appreciation made me feel that my work and service was important, worthwhile, and that it is contributing to someone else’s happiness!
When couples tell me how much my work means to them, that is the most fulfilling sense of accomplishment I can ever hope to receive.
Appreciation & gratitude & enthusiasm.
It’s so simple.
These two are going to be a love story success!
Thank you, you two, for the beautiful day and the beautiful lessons that continues to inspire me about love and romance and relationships. And thank you for simply being incredible human beings.
You two will always to be special to me!
[ LOCATION: Fun outdoor urban engagement session, Toronto, Canada. ]