I have wanted to shoot at Hart House for as long as I can remember! Driving by University of Toronto as I kid, I always used to think we were driving through England or somewhere in Europe when I would see all of the stunning buildings and incredible architecture. Every time I come downtown I always think, “Man, I would love to shoot a Hart House Wedding!”
Finally, the opportunity presented itself to shoot there with Mackenzie and John who are both currently students at University of Toronto! It was so fun talking on the phone with Mackenzie and styling their outfits (Mackenzie ended up borrowing my dress that I bought from Pinkblush and it ended up fitting her like a glove!! She rocked that dress!!)
While we were strolling the University of Toronto campus, we started walking through a walkway and Mackenzie said “this is the walkway where my parents got engaged.” So of course I let out a big “AWEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE” and said “alright, let’s get some photos here!” If you look about half way through this session, you can see the photo of Mackenzie and John having a quiet moment in the walkway. I just love how much meaning this photo has!
I asked Mackenzie if she would share the proposal story and this is what she shared!:
“John was sweet enough to make the trip up to camp and was planning to stay for the week… little did I know he had a big surprise in store! He arrived in Bracebridge on Canada Day, just in time for our yearly Canada Day car wash to send a kid to camp and fireworks in Bracebridge. During the fireworks, John grabbed my hand and made some comment about how tiny they were (not atypical, but relevant to the story). I held my hand out for him to see and he put his hand next to mine. He said; “Yeah! Your ring finger is like the size of my pinky.” I just laughed and turned my focus back to the spectacles. After that, he was pretty quiet for the rest of the night. I figured he was pooped from the long day.
John and I spent a little quality time together that night. As we sat and caught up (we hadn’t seen each other for a few weeks!) somehow the conversation of engagement came up. We’d talked about getting married many times before (as I said above, John knew he was going to propose a month into our relationship!) however on this particular evening, we got into logistics. Both being students, we realized we were a little crazy for wanting to jump into such a huge financial commitment. After I sneakily asked a question about how much an engagement ring might cost, John threw me well off track by replying that he hadn’t even started looking into it (aw, bummer). I replied by complaining about how stupid our society is for expecting a fancy diamond ring as a commitment to getting married. As far as I was concerned, we were already engaged, but the rest of the world wasn’t going to recognize it until he’d put his entire savings into something I’d wear on my finger! John laughed at me and said, “Be patient! Our time will come when we are ready for it!” (what a sneak!!!) John asked me before we parted ways that night if I’d like to go for a walk the next morning before breakfast. It had been a busy day and we wanted to get some more alone time in.
That night, I went to bed thinking, “Wow- I’ve totally misread this whole thing. I clearly need to just relax a little bit.” It’s not that I was expecting it soon, but I thought that with all the talking we’d done about getting married, he would have at least looked INTO it. Clearly I needed to chill out.
When I got up the next day, I remember looking at my hands and thinking, I need to apologize to John. I was nervous that I had somehow portrayed a sense of impatience during my rant about our “stupid” society and I didn’t want to put pressure on him! He was right, our time was going to come and life truly couldn’t get any better as his girlfriend. We were in no rush. I walked down to his cabin in a sweatshirt and jeans and he greeted me with a big hug. I started down the camp road but instead he grabbed my hand and asked if we could walk to the docks.
It was a beautiful morning and the mist was still on the lake. I walked a little bit ahead of him down the dock, and from behind me I heard; “Sorry that I was so quiet last night at the fireworks… I just realized it wouldn’t fit.” “What wouldn’t fit?” I replied as I turned around. There he was, my best friend on his knee with literally the ring of my dreams and a HUGE grin. The air literally left my lungs and every bird vacated the trees surrounding the lake when I screamed: YES! I hugged him and kissed him with all my might before he peeled me off of him out of fear that I was going to knock him, and the ring, into the water! He had totally blind-sided me and I’m so glad he did. He was right… the ring didn’t fit! He had imagined my fingers as much tinier and daintier than they are in real life. I couldn’t resist… I wore it over my knuckle from the Sunday until the Friday when we went downtown to have it resized.
The rest of the day was spent calling our friends and family. You must remember that this happened around 7:15am so not many people were awake. We first woke up my brother and sister, Creighton and Evy who were both on staff at camp with us this summer. We called John’s parents and my parents (who didn’t pick up the phone!!!! They were still asleep! It was torture!) We called best friends and more siblings and let the news run its course. It was an absolutely blissful day and I will remember it forever.”
What a sweet story! I loved watching Mackenzie and John interact during their session, and it just got me so excited to photograph their wedding in October at Roseville Estate!
After she sent the story to me I asked her what are you both most excited about for the wedding and she replied “we’re most excited to have all of the people we love in the same place and making our families into one!” Mackenzie and John are two peas in a pod, it was so great working with them! Thank you both for freezing your little tushies off for your engagement session! No one would know you were photographed in -5 degrees!!