Wedding Venue Recommendations
After the novelty of the engagement has worn off, the long, hard, yet rewarding process of whittling down wedding vendors begins, and one of the toughest choices is deciding upon a wedding venue. Are you going to choose a wedding location that can accommodate the ceremony and reception in one place, or will you travel between the two? Does your wedding venue provide varying photographic backgrounds and a choice of inside and outside opportunities in case the weather decides not to cooperate? As a photographer, I can’t make those decisions for you, but I have compiled a summary of some of the most popular wedding venues in Toronto and the GTA.
As it is my job to capture a flawless documentation of your special day, I personally do a site visit and walk thru of your chosen location ahead of time. I familiarize myself with the available lighting, backgrounds, angles and vantage points, and this allows my creative juices to flow before the big day even arrives.
Have a read through the descriptions of some popular wedding venues I have experience working with, and browse through my DA Photography website for images shot in these locations to give you an idea of the possibilities.
Constructed in 1936, this breathtaking mansion looks like it belongs in a Jane Austin novel. Nestled in the bustling city of Toronto, overlooking the Don Valley, this high-end boutique wedding venue oozes class and refined elegance. The walls of the building are constructed of ancient stone that have a historic, natural, weathered look, which offers a beautiful photographic backdrop. There are many levels to the indoor and outdoor spaces, not only for photos, but for guests to mingle and move around. I especially love the use of the balcony, either for myself; allowing me to capture unique picture angles and perspectives, or the wedding couple themselves. The staff at Graydon Hall Manor are eager to please their guests and offer endless opportunities to customize your event. I have seen weddings and engagement parties held here with a variety of different accent colours used, and although they changed the look of the scenery dramatically each time, the venues sophisticated and luxurious feel was never compromised.
Dating back to its original use as a stone mill in 1881, the Millcroft Inn and Spa is steeped in history and the perfect spot to host a smaller wedding guest list. The property sits on 100 acres of woodland so there are plenty of outside picturesque photographic opportunities. One of my favourite spots to utilize as a backdrop is in front of their infamous cascading waterfall. With on-site accommodation and full spa facilities and pool, it is ideal for out of town guests or for the bridal party to relax in the night before. The grounds are perfect for exploring and there are plenty of different rustic looks for pictures. A perfect country retreat away from the hustle and bustle of the city.
Everyone can join in your celebration at a venue the size of Toscana Banquet Hall! With a staging or décor vendor you can use this as a blank canvas to really make your event stand out. While Toscana Banquet Hall isn’t ideal for a photo shoot, the venue is in a prime location and easily accessible to Highway 401. There are some great parks nearby for you and your wedding party to travel to for photos while your guests are mingling or grabbing a bite.
From the ceremony, to the wedding photographs, to the end of night party, the Estates of Sunnybrook is a gorgeous backdrop for you and your loved ones to celebrate your commitment. With your choice of three beautiful, historic buildings nestled within 40 acres of tree-filled land, you have the ability to make your reception and ceremony unique. The numerous gardens create nooks and crannies within the grounds to take photos of the bride and groom, their attendants and loved ones. Buildings that are historically intact, like the ones at this estate, provide interesting backgrounds and textures for my images. Between the buildings, the sunlight-filled indoors and the landscaping, Sunnybrook is a dream location to photograph at.
Estates of Sunnybrook is especially noted for their commitment to green living and fair trade. The chef at the estates has access to a vegetable garden with various herbs and vegetables such as cherry tomatoes, sage and rhubarb. As you can imagine, this ensures the food at Sunnybrook is always fresh as well as delicious!
If you love your modern, fast-paced lifestyle, Trump Hotel is the perfect location for your wedding. Sleek, sharp, structural lines and contemporary black, white and silver accents provide a background for eye-catching indoor photos. Make sure your wedding reception stands out with lighting and decorations that give your party a high-end, VIP club feel. When your guests feel like they need to take a walk, give them the scenery of a lifetime with a corridor that looks out over Toronto’s city lights. Lavish yourself in luxury at Trump Hotel Toronto and you won’t regret a single dollar spent!
6.) Destiny Banquet Hall, Toronto, ON
If you are interested in a banquet hall, then this is definitely a good option due to its ability to provide a variety of indoor photographic opportunities. Located in the heart of Woodbridge, it is in within close proximity of some fantastic outdoor spaces if you choose to take advantage of the local forest like parks such as Rowntree Mills Park and G Ross Lord Park. The vivid green grass during Spring and Summer or the vibrant Autumnal colours of Fall will highlight you and your wedding party. My favourite part about photographing weddings at Destiny Banquet Hall is that there are so many options for indoor photos. The lighting is spectacular, and due to the layout, the transition from ceremony to drinks to reception flows nicely as you are moved on to a different area without having to see the behind the scenes clean up. Utilize the available fog machine to create truly magical first wedding dance photos.
Overlooking Lake Ontario in the heart of Toronto is the Liberty Grand Entertainment Complex. Constructed in the 1920’s, the castle showcases the depth of intricate detailing that is often lacking in modern venues. From the solid stone castle walls and a gorgeous outdoor courtyard, to the strong pillars and romantic water fountain, the range of backdrops are incredible. The thing I love as a wedding photographer at the Liberty Grand is its historic look and feel, yet the spaces still seem modern. The courtyard is the perfect spot for the ceremony or for guests to use as an area to take in the fresh night air and engage in conversation with a drink in hand.
8.) Terrace on the Green, Mississauga, ON
An idyllic hidden gem of a property that offers an escape from the city without the commute. Impressive manicured grounds provide the perfect spot for an outdoor ceremony, and Terrace on the Green offers the unique opportunity to host a firework display which is always sure to surprise and wow your guests. With backdrops including a waterfall, a covered rustic barn, weathered wine caskets, gazebos and endless tree lines, I love to photograph weddings at Terrace on the Green. Inside you get the feeling that you have stepped out of the GTA and into the streets of Europe, with refined, classy, wood paneled dining rooms that overlook the grounds. They have a strong focus on fresh, fully customizable wedding menus and are renowned as a fine dining steakhouse and seafood restaurant. Easily accessible and on the border of Brampton and Mississauga, it really is the perfect place to spend your entire wedding day.
Perfect for hosting 100-450 guests, Paradise Banquet and Convention Center is a beautiful, well-located wedding venue. The staff prepare and serve gourmet main dishes, delicate desserts and colourful plates. Gorgeously decorated, my favourite part about this hall is its ability to transform. The lighting can be changed to accent your wedding colours, there are variations to the place settings and you can even hold your ceremony outside. There are plenty of areas for your guests to mingle and catch up and you have the option of having photographs either on location or at one of the local parks.
Overlooking the Credit River, rolling sand coloured rocks, and the golf course, Caledon Golf and Country Club offers a beautiful backdrop for your wedding. Tucked away in the Caledon Hills, it is hard to believe you are only 45 minutes away from Toronto. With several options for either an indoor or outdoor ceremony, your guest will love the space that comes with the property and you will love the golf cart that you can use between locations! A fantastic wedding venue for Fall weddings when the vivid colours of the leaves are amplified by the white of the brides dress. This is an all-round great country escape.
If you’re looking for award winning dining set within a high end venue to impress your guests, Edgewater Manor is the place to go. The mansion, which sits on the shores of Lake Ontario, instantly transports you back to the Great Gatsby era and oozes elegance and class. From the sweeping marble staircase from the 1800’s, to the impressive main dining room which overlooks the grounds and lake, the attention to detail throughout will have your guests talking for years to come. The well landscaped garden makes the perfect place for an outdoor ceremony or first dance under the stars, or why not take advantage of the Juliet balcony for a truly romantic photographic opportunity. Located in Stoney Creek, it is just off the QEW so easily accessible and the perfect place to enjoy your entire wedding celebration.