After several emails, phone calls, and a few derailments, our engagement shoot date and locations are confirmed! Woohoo!
Choosing our engagement shoot locations actually involved a bit of work. Prior to booking photographers, J and I weren’t interested in engagement shoots. We thought they were a bit self-indulgent and we didn’t connect with the style of the photos–they involved a lot of frolicking and canoodling in parks. Not that there’s anything wrong with that–it’s just not us. Privately, we are very affectionate, but in public, around family and friends, we’re very casual. We are often at opposite sides of the room at parties! I just didn’t feel comfortable sharing that much intimacy in photos for others to see. However, through our photography search, we understood the purpose of the engagements shots: to get used to the camera and get used to your photoraphers’ style. Also, when meeting with Kumari and going through their photography, their engagement shoots looked like a lot of fun! They were quirky and creative , and J and I totally connected.
We knew we wanted something original and meaningful for us. We had some ideas–including a shoot at our high school (which we remember as a brown-tiled structure reeking of 70s-style architecture), but they didn’t work out for varoius logistical reasons. So, after brainstorming and bursts of inspirations, we decided on the following locations:
1) Awtash Cafe
Awtash is a Persian cafe/hookah bar that opened up recently near Kensington Market. My rommie, Z, went there with a small party and raved about the lush and luxurious decor–a lightbulb went off in my head. What a possibly great place to do our engagement shoot in! I checked out their facebook page and fell in love with the decor:
For more pics, check out the streets.to feature. I just love love love the rich colours, textures, and drama of the setting. The use of vintage furniture mixed in with the modern, sleek benches and ornate pillows is just…awesome. It will photograph amazingly! I also really liked this place because, interestingly, in one space, elements of J’s culture and my culture are also found–the embellishments, the shisha, the bold colours, the patterned tea cups and tea pots.
So, how did I get this place? I just walked in one day after work and asked to speak to the owner. Because I was not exactly prepared, I was a little nervous, but hoped my charm would work! And it did! Hamid (the owner) was receptive to the idea and is charging us a very reasonable rental fee!
Shopgirls is a boutique/gallery in Parkdale. My friend Wendy introduced me to this store a couple years ago, and I fell in love with it. It carries only Canadian-designed fashion and art. I have found a few great pieces there and have been purposely avoiding it since I got engaged–each time I go there, I am tempted to spend!
Not only does Shopgirls have great fashion and art, it’s also a GREAT space. It’s got a bit of a rustic, yet modern feel to it, which I think will photograph wonderfully. The artwork and displays add dimension to the space, contributing to its photographic appeal. I also like Shopgirls because of its focus on Canadiana–J and I are together because of this country and this city. The art and fashion combo also resonates with us–J’s the artist and, though I’m no fashionista, I do love fashion.
Asking to shoot here was really easy–I held a “Style Party” at Shopgirls for my 29th birthday, so I already have a relationship with the manager, Ashley, who is super friendly and approachable. I emailed Ashley a while ago, and she was completely supportive!! We are, again, paying a very minimal fee to use their space.
I think the shoot at Awtash will be more of the “high fashion” inspired shoot, and we’ll have the more cute, quirky shoot at Shopgirls, using the different merchandise, artwork, and sculptures for inspiration.
So, after this experience, a piece of advice to brides: if you are hoping for a unique engagement shoot, don’t be shy to share your ideas with your photographers and don’t hesitate to approach non-traditional places. For example, up and coming places (e.g., Awtash) love the exposure. Also, I’ve been finding that people, including strangers, are excited to learn about your upcoming wedding and appreciate being involved in in this wonderful time of your life.
Will keep you updated!!