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Style Shoot



Toast Events Ottawa Wedding Planners

Having a "personal brand" is a relatively new term. But it's something I've been doing for years - slowly curating my business to subtlety emit the essence of who I am, my philosophy's & what I'm all about. Incorporating this properly is not only hard because you need to know yourself well, but how you want others to perceive you.

There's only 2 things I want- 1. clients to know me before we even sit down for a cappuccino and 2. my work to speak for itself. 

Toast Events Ottawa Wedding Planners
Toast Events Ottawa Wedding Planners Hugo

Work hard until you no longer need to introduce yourself..

It's a tall order when you ask a like-minded professional to capture this "essence" through photography. But at the time, all I knew was that I wanted light and airy imagery and a photographer that didn't make me camera shy. Did I forget to mention I'm insanely picky? I hate cutting corners and better yet wasting time. I really am a "go big or go home" kinda girl and that's a tough act to follow. It's true, I demand nothing but the best from my team and more-so the industry professionals I work with. 

So before we delve into the awesome team who made the shoot what is was- let me set the scene days leading up to the shoot. I was pretty much hanging on by a thread. We we're in the midst of the most logistically intense weddings we had ever planned to date. I'm not talking small operations here, I'm talking about 300ppl + vip guest list in a venue that doesn't have a stick of furniture, electricity or even running water.......paired with Madison being the first planner to undertake Zibbi's inaugural wedding in their industrial space... To say I was stressed is an understatement. Basically the last three months had been solely dedicated to clients and my 10 minute return-time on emails. I almost cancelled our shoot. But I sat back and thought to myself - you know what?! It isn't fair to them. I organized all of this and I'm not going to flake out and disappoint- noway would I let this stress own me.

Toast Events Ottawa Wedding Planners
It’s either cappuccinos with Hugo or Champange on the balcony....with Hugo. That’s how I see her - and thus how we shot her. There’s just no two ways about it.
— Laura, of Laura Kelly Photography
Toast Events Ottawa Wedding Planners
Toast Events Ottawa Wedding Planners
Toast Team Photos 2016-0073.jpg
Toast Events, Wedding Planners Ottawa Elise Schmitz

So who were these awesome ladies that raised me up when I felt overwhelmed?! Who made me feel beautiful and laugh uncontrollably? Well, it's no other then Laura of Laura Kelly Photography, Kirsty from Topknot and Klava from Klava Zykova MUA. Words can not express how lucky I am to have these girls in my life. 

Toast Events Ottawa Wedding Planners
Toast Team Photos 2016-0019.jpg

Since this shoot was to profile our team, it was important to me that we all looked natural, approachable and recognizable. Kirsty and Klava pulled this off magnificently with a crisp fresh makeup looks and effortless hair styles that matched the girls personalities. 

I have to give Laura a little bit of extra credit. I really was stumped on how to create this shoot. It's easy for me to do fabulous things for others and hit it on the nail. But when it comes to myself...I'm  overly judgmental and overthink things almost to obsession. It only took a three second pause on the phone and Laura replied "I'm thinking patio, sunset, you and your girls sipping champagne, just loving life." Her exact quote, I died! All we had to do was factor in Hugo (you all know who that monster is) and we were good to go:)

Toast Events Ottawa Wedding Planners
Toast Events Ottawa Wedding Planners Elise Schmitz

Not once did I feel awkward in-front of Laura's camera. She made us laugh, she captured us candidly and did little to no touch ups on the images afterwards - she's that good. I'm thrilled to say Laura killed it in ways I can't even explain.

It's rare that I step back and make time for me. Its all to easy to become consumed with the needs of others, that you forget about the most important person -yourself! Thank you Klava, Kirsty and Laura for helping us shine bright and capturing our bright light!

Toast Events Ottawa Wedding Planners


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Champagne, Roses & Love Notes

I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where. I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride; so I love you because I know no other way -Pablo

I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.
I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride;
so I love you because I know no other way -Pablo

I've been teasing my Instagram followers for a little over a week now with teasers from a shoot I styled back in spring with was just released as a 6 page spread in the Ottawa Wedding Magazine.

For this shoot to be published, the Editor had some specific requirements which she wanted to provide readers.


So as you can well imagine, I and all collaborating vendors had quite the task at hand. Since this shoot was primarily laid out before us, the real devil was in the details with the main question of - how do we convey a romantic feeling with the request of a more youthful shoot? And how do we tie two very different stories together? Let me tell you it wasn't easy and I still begrudgingly feel like I somewhat missed the mark. So let me break it down as to how we chose to represent these 4 requirements at hand.

Champagne Saucer Known by champagne aficionados as the Coup, to me, evokes connotations of popular romantic eras and luxury. With this detail I hopped to create a feeling of remoteness from everyday life and a little bit of an aristocratic influence.

Naked Cake was an initial ask by the Editor as a "new cool non-traditional" cake. To me, I've had clients for the last three years request and have naked cakes. So how can I take this "relatively" new idea and put a fresh twist on it? Lightbulb! Semi naked cake with a sculpted fondant base adorned with hand painted calligraphy quote... Rosie from Osso Sweet delivered just that! 


Como White Washed Charger. Craftmanship is also very important to me as a designer when selecting pieces. These handcrafted and hand-painted charger plates are made in Italy with techniques that date from the 13th century. An addition to envoke a more romantic feel by Plate Occasions.

Gold Cutlery The perfect pairing to continue our theme of a more mature sense of design aesthetic. 

Eclectic Chairs I always like to use a bold accent to grasp immediate attention from it's onlooker. I find chairs are a great conversation piece.  I often use different chairs when designing floor plans. Especially if my bride has expensive taste like me!

Floral Embellishment This detail is one of my standard go-to's when looking to soften the look of a stark object. I find small floral additions can add design continuity throughout any wedding or style shoot. Current obsession: Floral Drink Picks. Floral Reef 

Furniture is what I used to tie the boudoir to reception snaps hoping that it would make the shoot more congruent. 

Stationary.... another element I'm really crushing on. My clients will tell you, I always say, "Your invitation is your weddings first impression. This set's the tone for what your guests can expect on your wedding day". Working with Jessica from Ink Blossom is such a treat. She's always on point and I literally think she can read my mind. Not to mention, she exclusively hand draws most components in her invitations for a truly custom invite.

The transitional fashion pieces needed to be "one-of's". So naturally I call Meg from The Handmade Bride...  Our fashion pieces comprised of the boudoir rhinestone & tule overlay robette & custom dupioni raw silk bustiere, Maureen Patricia halter wedding dress, finishing with a dupioni cigarello pant & top. 

Linen can make or break your look. It can either look too heavy, no existent, busy or way too metallicy. (that's probably not a word).. So for this shoot I grabbed 6 different table linens and napkins from Mastermind Events. I spent 30 minutes staring into the abyss before the shoot contemplating linen colours and coordination. I'm telling you, colour pallets are HARD! Naturally I chose Ivory sequence with the Icy Pink polyester napkin. Side note it's okay to use polyester! not everything has to be silk!! 

Hair & Makeup was flawlessly executed by Stephanie Richardson & 2BU Esthetics to embody a fresh, clean and simple effortless look. 

For this shoot we were also very fortunate to have Up North Wedding Films capture some great behind the scenes footage which I've uploaded before vendor credits.


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