Sandy & Mike Married!!!

Ok, I felt right at home at this wedding.   Let me explain…and for those who know me you will probably agree with what I am about to write.  Backtrack to… oh… 20 odd years of my life.  First off, as you may know I am Chinese (with some Trini =) )  and I grew up  in a pretty traditional Chinese upbringing.  But on the flipside, I also know the Italian culture extremely well too since I grew up hanging around ALL Italians.  My neighbours were Italian, most of my closest friends are Italian, one of my best female friends is Italian… I was even cheering on Italy for the World Cup…ok.. I think you get the picture =)

Back to my point, I learned to really appreciate all aspects of both cultures growing up, and with Sandy and Mike being of Chinese and Italian descent, this wedding made me feel right at home.

Sandy and Mike are an awesome couple.  They are creative, open for anything and super easy to get along with.  So needless to say on the wedding day, everything went smoothly. I just want thank a few people before I let the few handful of pics tell the story:  Michelle Kwong Rutherford for introducing me to Sandy and Mike, the talented Eugene Choi for helping me with this shoot and of course Sandy and Mike for giving me this awesome opportunity to do what I love.

Thank you!

Leon Chai
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Christina & Kevin MARRIED!!

The last time I saw Christina and Kevin was back in October for their lifestyle session and I remember thinking to myself “what a good looking couple!”.  As we got into the shoot and got to know each other, I quickly discovered how great they really were outside and in.

Their wedding day started off in the morning where Kevin (aka the photographer.. not Kevin the future husband) was with Kevin (the groom-to-be) and Kevin’s guys (holy tongue twister Leon..).  Meanwhile, I was with Christina and the girls at her parent’s place.  I think the moment I walked in I was surrounded by smiling faces, extremely friendly family offering me food and drinks – which basically set the tone of the whole day – like I said just great people. I was also pleasantly surprised to see Maggie Ng and her team working on the girls… for those that don’t know her, she is just one of the best make up and hair stylist Toronto has to offer!

The guys soon arrived to Christina’s parents and that was when the fun really began with some traditional Chinese door games to get past the ladies.  Throughout the rest of the day, everything went super smoothly - the weather held up and personally it is always really awesome to see familiar faces as guests, especially when it is a past client /friend that’s now expecting.. good times!!!

So before I let the pictures do the talking, I just want to thank a few people:

Christina and Kevin – Thank you for having me and my team document your big day!  An honour to be there.

Maggie Ng – I’ll write it again.. “one of the best make up and hair stylist Toronto has to offer.. full stop!”

Kevin Chan – My second pair of creative eyes and awesome friend of mine.

Here are just some pics to tell the story.  Much thanks again!

Leon Chai
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Colleen and Bryan MARRIED!!!

Bryan and Colleen are not only client’s to me but really, really close friends, “family” is probably the best word if I had to choose one.  Don’t get me wrong, this gig wasn’t an “in the bag ordeal” as I remember I had a three hour interview with them last year before they signed with me...hehe. I actually really appreciated that process as it showed me how serious photography meant to them – I like that. Most importantly, I really want to thank you guys for allowing me to document your big day, to do what I love to do, and to help me grow my business.   Whenever I get the opportunity to be the wedding photographer for my close friends I am not only honoured but it is what makes my work that much more enjoyable.  This is not just a business for me, it is a passion of mine that I can share with my closest friends on their most special day.

Bryan and Colleen’s wedding was awesome and I enjoyed every minute, from the beginning to the end.   As every wedding is a collaboration of efforts that help to make everything picture perfect, I would like to first thank the following:

Make up artist / Hair Stylist – Leah Francisco-Flores / Alexis Jardin

Wedding Coordinator – Gigi Chang - toughest boss ever… but everything was spot on :)

Photographer – The very talented Eugene Choi

Photographer  -  The very talented Kevin Chan

Venue  - Paramount Conference and Event Venue

Cake – Kuppy Cakes – Crystal Yuen

Catering – Rovey Catering – Harvey Tam and Team

As a photojournalist I try the tell each moment through creative images, as their wedding was a very detailed story, forgive me in advance for all the pics.   It was pretty tough to nail down just a handful of teasers  :)

Congratulations again Colleen and Bryan! Much love to you both.

Leon Chai
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No Wedding Shoot on Sat = Date Night with the Wife (Night Market)

I go through this unwritten ritual the night before every wedding shoot… that basically I don’t leave my house and I spend hours packing my gear, packing my back up gear and packing up my back up’s back up gear.   I also made this weird un written rule that I don’t want to leave the house and stay “safe” at home so I can be there for my client in the morning.  Given this, this always kinda sucks for Gi, since Friday nights we would be at home chilling.

Since I booked a wedding shoot this Sunday, Friday night could be date night!  We started off the evening shopping at Yorkdale  (as you see in the pics below, when leaving Yorkdale the skies had some amazing colours…), grabbed a quick bite at a local sushi joint, and it was off to the night market to join some friends.

It’s a weird feeling not having to shoot early Saturday morning... but it’s also a great feeling hanging out with the wife and seeing some close friends.
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Linda & Chris Engaged!!! – Lifestyle Session

I like working with good people and I’m blessed in a lot of ways that every client is a friend. I am blessed that all those people I document are all GOOD PEOPLE.  Linda and Chris are no exception to this statement – really good people who are both creative and very fun. People I would love to hang out with as friends.

I met both Linda and Chris through a referral from Colleen (aka – Colleen and Bryan – Thank you!!) and when I had the opportunity to meet with them, I remember showing them my portfolio and it was  crazy that they knew over 90% of my clients that I showcased!  Talk about an easy way to validate my services  :)

Linda and Chris met Gi and I at the School Bakery and Café (my new favorite café).  We started off our afternoon utilizing the surrounding area at Liberty Village and later headed down to the Lakeshore, finishing off in the downtown core.   When scouting for locations, I always asked my clients if there are any special locations that are meaningful to them – as you will see in the images below, we totally utilized a unique spot where they met.  You guys are awesome and I can’t wait for the big day this year!

Your friend(s)

Leon & Gi
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Michelle + Ian Lifestyle Session

In hindsight I’m kind of glad we didn’t do this lifestyle during the weekend of the G20 (as this was one of the weekends we were looking at), given all the chaos that happened downtown.  But, at the same time it would have been kinda cool…well..as long as we didn’t get arrested...

Michelle and Ian were referred to me by Eric and Kathy Ho (who also referred me to their brother Mandy and May). I think my goal is to be the official photographer for the all of the Ho family..hehe.  Needless to say, it’s going to good times to see some familiar faces at the wedding next week.

This shoot was fun and hot… literally… (+30) even scheduling this shoot at 4pm onwards didn’t help beat the heat.  Michelle and Ian are a really fun couple, one of those couples if you leave them on their own, they’ll naturally do their thing.  We decided to meet at the Distillery District and when we got there it was jam packed with people for Luminato.  So we worked around the area and headed off downtown to other spots I had planned out.  It was great spending time with Ian and Michelle and it’s definitely going to be a good wedding this Sunday.  Here are few of my favorite shots and see you this Sunday!

Your friend,

Leon Chai
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