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Tips For A Successful Destination Wedding

Couples have different dreams about their wedding plans. Most organize local arrangements, however, some think of a destination wedding.

Choice of location varies for couples depending on their interest and passion. It’s usually a costly decision but it can definitely be worth it.

If do you decide to go through with a destination wedding then you’ll need to plan well.  Destination weddings are fun but they’re a bit complex compared to local weddings.

When everything is organized accordingly, it can be an awesome experience to enjoy. Despite the challenges that come with it, many couples go through with it with no regrets.

Here are some things to consider if you are thinking about having a destination wedding.

Choose Your Ideal Location
Whether it’s a beach wedding, a snow-capped mountain wedding, or a wedding on an island, an ideal location is your first step. Always ensure that the location has all the resources you may require for that day. Above that, it should be easily accessible by your guests. Don’t choose a location that your guests won’t be comfortable at.

Budget Properly
A destination wedding can be expensive (even more so than a typical wedding). It requires proper funding to be successful. Do thorough research about the charges of various things like the décor, the flowers, the reception, the cake and other little things.

Compare the cost from different vendors and consider the one that’s pocket-friendly to you. By doing so, you will be able to use your funds appropriately. If you’re feeling generous you may have to consider the cost to fly friends or relatives out to your wedding location as well.

Hire An Expert Planner
Getting a professional wedding planner will save you a lot of time. They’ve seen a lot and know a lot, making them able to give great advice and set things up without issues. Furthermore, they normally charge an affordable fee.

A wedding planner will help you choose a theme for your wedding, choose a good destination, plan for your guests properly including their travel expenses and their food amongst many essential things required for a wedding to be successful.

Inform Your Guests Way Before the Wedding Date
Send the invitation cards to your guests early (at least 6-9 months in advance ideally). It will help them get out of work and save enough cash for travel expenses.

Rushing a destination wedding means you won’t have many guests, but planning it well in advance will ensure you have a better turnout.

Visit The Wedding Location Before Your Big Day
Depending on your availability, try to visit your chosen location before the day of your wedding. This will help you to familiarize with the location. You should also double-check with your vendors to ensure everything is in place. In case of changes, you can always make them in good time.

It’s also good to have alternative plans in case a vendor falls through or something happens with the wedding location.

Watch The Weather
Consider a time of year when the weather is friendly in the location you’ve chosen.  You don’t want your wedding to get rained on or be scorching hot if possible (especially in Australia where Melbourne wedding photographers are used to it). Try to come up with a backup plan in case the weather is poor at the area you chose if its outdoors.

Destination weddings are a thrilling experience. It can be a dream come true when everything goes well. Just make sure to plan ahead and do your research.

7 Creative Wedding Ideas

Guests holding sparklers and partying at a Guelph wedding reception.Weddings are meant to be one of the most magical events of your life. But with so much to organize and prepare, you just might not have enough creative juices left to make things exciting for your guests. Good thing is, we have a list of creative wedding ideas that can help you have a wedding that everyone enjoys.

Interactive Wedding Invitations

When planning your wedding, why not start it off right with the wedding invitations. Make it an invitation that won’t just simply be a piece of paper they’ll throw out after they’ve RSVP’ed. There are several ways to spice it up. If you both love music you can send guests a ‘save-the-date’ CD, USB, or Spotify Playlist with all of the songs that show the story of your love.

If you want to make your friends guess a little, send invitations with clues then have them scratch a portion of the invitation to reveal the date and destination.

Some couples might even want to have an invitation on their favorite cereal box or snacks; nothing put to waste, right? Or have an invitation where they have to answer a question before they send it back for attendance confirmation. One thing they can write is their song request at your reception. Interactive wedding invitations set the mood and the kind of wedding you will have. It all just boils down to what kind of theme you want to have.

DIY Petal Station

Before guests get settled for the wedding ceremony, some might want to have their own bucket full of petals to throw. Consider setting up a station with various choices for petals to throw when the bride and groom walk out of the wedding venue. Here, you can set up different petals with different colors and flowers according to the theme of your wedding.

Those who want to throw some can get creative. Provide a customized newspaper cup to fill or simply another small bucket that could also serve as their souvenir. Either way, you can definitely walk down the aisle with tons of petals, all with the color of love chosen for your wedding. Make the walk out of the venue special with some beautiful flower petals raining down on you.

Fun Seating Setups

Buy some time and let your guests have fun before they make their way to the reception. Look for their funniest pictures or have them send in photos of their choice. Compile these and create a card wall with either funny pictures of your guests or fun facts about them. Put their pictures on their respective seats and have them find their way. Whether you group friends together or separately, it’ll be a great way to make the reception more interesting.

You can even decorate the tables with places significant to you, add a short explanation, and have people sit in these tables according to which places they most remind you of. Giving it a much more personal feel will make everybody sentimental as soon as they take their seats. This will definitely set the mood for a light and entertaining reception dinner after a romantic wedding.

Scatter Facts

Compile a bunch of facts, fun and romantic ones, and have them printed on napkins or decorations to scatter all around the reception venue. This is an fabulous way of sharing your life to the people who mean the most to you. It would also be something your guests would want to stumble upon when they want to learn about something new.

These little facts or notes around the reception would also make it more homey and personal. You can even make this a game during the reception to have some fun. Use these facts in a game and ask people questions. Find an appropriate prize and make it meaningful for them, as well. Let people know about how wonderful your story has been, even the little details.

Create An Entertainment Station

Have some other options for your guests to have fun during your wedding. Create a fun station where they can either refill their own beer or play some games. You can put this station near the edge of the wedding reception for when all the formalities have died down and the people are starting to get a little loose.

A wagon full of beers would be great for guests who want to have their fair share of fun. Or you can put some balloons filled with paint on a canvas and have your guests throw darts to create magical painting for the day.

All these activities would make it one key location in your reception that guests would look forward to visiting when they have the chance. This fun touch to your wedding will definitely make it a memorable one and make for some great shots for your wedding photographer.

Personal Messages

There are so many ways to create memories on the day of your wedding and one of these is receiving messages. Messages from people who have witnessed your beautiful day can give so much meaning to it.

Create personalized bookmarks or cards with the theme and date of your wedding and have it placed in one area where guests can write their wishes. You can even cut out little pieces of paper that guests can write short notes or pieces of advice.

Or if you’re feeling more extravagant, have them take a Polaroid picture and write their message on the backside of the picture. Place envelopes or boxes where these people can place their meaningful words. Let this go on for the duration of your reception so people have more time. This is a souvenir you can visit whenever you feel like doing so.

Advance Anniversary Gifts

Sometimes it’s fun to plan for special future moments. And one of the best ways to do it is to seal off something to open in the future. What better things to store than love letters and vintage wine (if you’re into Wine).

Before you get to your wedding, buy a vintage wine you both will love. Write love letters, whether during the reception or before the entire wedding itself. Place those in a box with both your initials and names carved on it along with the date of your wedding. You can even add polaroid pictures to store it with.

Make it part of the ceremony to formally seal the box with a key or a ribbon and promise to open it only when it’s already your first wedding anniversary. When the time comes that it’s finally your first anniversary, you can revisit the memories like they’re fresh. And if you want, you can make this a tradition by replacing the wine and adding more letters and pictures inside for each anniversary. Now isn’t that romantic?


All of these wedding ideas are great for a couple who wants to step up their game. Get inspired and plan the best wedding you can. Make it magical with your creativity.

If you’re looking for wedding photographers for your Ontario wedding, contact us today.

Guelph Arboretum Wedding

Guelph Arboretum WeddingThe Guelph Arboretum is easily one of our favourite places to photograph in Guelph. Having a wedding at the Guelph Arboretum is an amazing choice because of the broad palette of colours and backdrops for photos no matter what season it is.

You can see some of our photos from a wedding at the Arboretum at end of this article.

During the summer is our favourite time to shoot at the Arboretum because of the immense range of greenery and trees, providing lots of open shade for photos. Open shade prevents any speckly and unflattering photos by protecting you from harsh and contrasty light.

arboretum centre couple in japanese garden
The Japanese garden in the Guelph Arboretum.

There are so many areas to take photos at the Arboretum that you’re almost guaranteed to get some great shots with your photographer. There is over 400 acres of plant collections, gardens, walking trails, wetlands, woodlands, and meadows.

Plus it is located right next to the University of Guelph, right in the center of the city.

An amazing place for photos in the Arboretum is the Japenese garden. It’s an intimate spot with beautiful design elements.

When renting the Guelph Arboretum for your wedding day through the University of Guelph you get exclusive access to the Auditorium, Sun Room, West Lawn, and Boardroom from 8:00am to 1:00am the next day.

Their reception area has a capacity of 150 people and offer a stage, a large screen with a sound system, and they provide catering service with an L.L.B.O. license. There’s also free parking and complete wheel chair accessibility.

In the case of rain there is always an indoor reception area to take cover, and tents can be erected outside if necessary.

Interested in having your wedding at the Guelph Arboretum Centre? We can be your wedding photographers. Contact us today.

Guelph Arboretum Wedding Photos

Japanese garden arboretum guelph arboretum wedding venues guelph arboretum centre reception guelph arboretum wedding in fall photos arboretum centre guests having dinner at venue guelph wedding ceremony at the arboretum centre guelph arboretum centre bride and groom sharing a kiss arboretum centre wedding party arboretum centre couple in japanese garden

Interested in having your wedding at the Guelph Arboretum Centre? We can be your wedding photographers. Contact us today.

Elora Mill Wedding

Since the Elora Mill reopened this summer we were very excited that we got to shoot some weddings there. We’ve included photos at the end of this post from a wedding we captured there in August. Here’s what we have to say about our experience at the Elora Mill.

It’s a beautiful place to have a wedding for a number of reasons. The Mill is surrounded by lush greenery with the Grand River is situated alongside of it. From the Mill you get a panoramic view of the surrounding nature and can hear the relaxing sounds of the river running below.

It’s located just a short walk from a huge stretch of forest with walking and biking trails. It’s also a great place to go hiking.

If you’re searching for a high-end wedding venue then the Elora Mill is certainly that. The venue’s mixture of rustic nature and plush surroundings feels comforting and stylish.

The venue has 3 different event rooms: The Grand, The Irvine, and The Foundry. All of these rooms are beautifully designed, with The Grand seating up to 200 people.

The staff there are very organized and cater to the wedding clients and their guests.

The interior of the venue feels intimate and is wonderfully designed, offering many gorgeous areas to take photos. Outside of the Mill lies an endless amount of trees and greenery and the Grand River right beside you. The exterior of the historical buildings make for some gorgeous backdrops as well.

They also offer a variety of events to partake in with your wedding guests including: glass-blowing, pottery making, fly fishing and even ziplining over the Elora Gorge.

The huge stretch of walking and biking trails adjacent to the Mill allow for a relaxing trip into nature at any time. Another benefit of staying at the Elora Mill is the close vicinity of local shops nearby and events going on in Elora year-round.

Contact us if you’re looking for photographers for your wedding at the Elora Mill or another venue in Ontario.

Check out these images from an Elora Mill wedding we shot:

Elora Mill Wedding Photos

Contact us to learn more or visit our wedding packages page for pricing details.

How To Get the Most Out of Your Wedding Photographer

guelph youth music centre portraitWhen hiring a wedding photographer for your big day there are likely some important shots you have in mind.

Of course you want the important moments like walking down the aisle and the kiss, but there are a lot more things that you can have your photographer capture at a wedding.

If you want to get the most out of your wedding photographer then get them to take individual and group portraits of everyone at the wedding who wants one.

Instead of having to pay for a separate family portrait shoot you can all get it included in the cost of the wedding photography.

That’s hundreds or even thousands of dollars in savings.

Think about how many guests you’ll be helping get a great photograph for free! It’ll make your guests even happier they got invited to your wedding.

Whether you are renewing your vows, getting married young, or are a mature couple, our team has extensive experience working with all groups of people.

We specialize in putting people at ease and capturing them at their expressive, authentic best.

Our team at Trina Koster Photography is highly skilled in both wedding photography and portraits. So no matter which one of us is photographing your wedding you can be confident you’ll get amazing, high-quality images that you can cherish for a lifetime.

See our wedding portfolios and portrait portfolio for examples of our work.

Be sure to check out our recent shoot at an Elora Mill wedding over the summer.

11 Reasons to Have an Outdoor Wedding

ceremony with flowers at cutten fields guelph

Congratulations to all you engaged couples! We’re sure you can’t wait to walk down the aisle and marry the love of your life. This article is for those of you that have possibly chosen your wedding dress and come up with a guest list, but you still aren’t sure where you want the marriage ceremony to take place. You’ll need to decide between an indoor or outdoor wedding. Both have their pros and cons, so it can be a tough choice.

Here are 11 reasons why an outdoor wedding is a great choice.

#1. The Backdrop

It’s hard to resist the beauty of outdoor wedding backdrops. When you’re outdoors you get chiming birds, lush greeneries, breathtaking landscapes and fresh air. This is something you’ll get if you have an Elora Mill wedding. The backdrop of an outdoor wedding is perfect for photoshoots and creates a relaxing, charming ambiance. The natural beauty will add magic to your wedding photos.

#2. You’ll Get Stunning Pictures

Perhaps the biggest reason to opt for an outdoor wedding is the wedding album. Thanks to the combination of natural light with the beautiful outdoors, your wedding photos will look gorgeous. With natural light your wedding photographer will not have to use flash, HDR or artificial lighting to get great looking photos.

#3. Need More Space? No Problem!

If you have been to many church or indoor weddings, chances are that you have witnessed organizers trying to make space for unexpected guests, which can be cumbersome to handle at times. With an outdoor wedding, being pressed for extra space is a not an issue. An outdoor wedding can accommodate hundreds or even thousands of guests since it is not restricted by walls, floor plans and other obstacles.

#4. It’s Family-Oriented

You’ll probably want to include as many relatives as possible in your wedding photos, but sometimes it can be tough to control kids who don’t want to be at the wedding. You don’t want an upset baby or young child interrupting your wedding. Thankfully, keeping kids preoccupied and engaged at an outdoor wedding isn’t too difficult. There’s a lot more space for kids to play and be entertained. If anything, a screaming toddler echoes much less in the outdoors than inside a hall.

#5. Fewer Decorations

Not as much decoration is needed to get an outdoor wedding prepared because the natural beauty and scenic views add to the whole mix. No amount of flower arrangements can match the beauty of blooming spring flowers and no number of balloons can match the elegance of the open blue sky above your venue.

#6. Less Costly

The odds are that your event organizer will take care of everything, from moving tents, setting up the venue, and catering. Don’t forget that an outdoor wedding requires little décor. You can cater the wedding yourself or invite a local food truck to save money.

#7. Choose the Perfect Ambiance and Moment to Exchange your Vows

Whether you want to say “I do” with sunshine, a sunset, or the moon shining in the background, you can always get the moment right with an outdoor wedding. All you have to do is choose the picture-perfect ambiance for your vow-taking ceremony based on the time of the day. The flexibility of an outdoor wedding gives you the ability to choose what time the ceremony happens! You will have amazing photographs of you exchanging the vows.

#8. The Sentimental Value of an Outdoor Wedding is Priceless

You can hold an outdoor wedding on your parents’ backyard, on the beach or in an all-inclusive venue. It’s all up to you, but the sentimental value tied to an outdoor wedding can be priceless.

#9. Pick Wherever You Want

When it comes to an outdoor wedding, the whole world is yours to decide on a venue. You get to pick any location you want if you have the budget (and it is permitted). You can choose a location that carries some meaning to both of you. It can be an exotic location, a local park or a beach spot where you first met… the possibilities are endless.

#10. It Can be Formal or Casual – It’s Your Call

For the perfect outdoor wedding, you can be as formal or relaxed as you like without being bound to the conformity of traditional wedding venues. You have free reign with what to wear and the style of the wedding.

#11. Creativity and Entertainment Options are Limitless

With an outdoor wedding, you can add as many extras as you wish to make your big day fun and memorable. Do you love animals? You can add a petting zoo to add to the entertainment or have an exotic animal trainer come by. You could even have a marching band perform at your wedding if that’s what you’re into!


With all of these reasons to have an outdoor wedding you wonder why you would want to have your wedding indoors. However, the biggest issue with outdoor weddings is that bad weather can ruin things. Make sure to have a backup plan in case of rain, snow, wind, hail, or extreme heat. You want to make sure everyone at the wedding is comfortable and not rushing to get inside. We still love indoor weddings, but its helpful to consider the pros and cons of having your wedding indoors vs. outdoors.

If you are planning to get married in Guelph, check out our list of wedding venues in Guelph or contact us if you’re looking for photographers.

8 Last Minute Wedding Details That Will Transform Your Big Day

dining room at guelph youth music centre wedding venuesYou’ve booked your dream venue, found your wedding rings and your perfect dress is the perfect fit. The catering is under control, you’ve chosen your flowers and you’ve booked a great wedding photographer.

Now that the main aspects of your wedding have been organized, you can breathe a sigh of relief – and start focusing on the smaller wedding details that make a difference.

Would you like to know how to make your wedding unique and unforgettable? Here are some last minute wedding decorations and ideas to make yours the best wedding ever.

1. Pre-ceremony refreshments
Some of your guests will have travelled a long way to be at your wedding, so you could arrange for your caterer to set out homemade lemonade, iced tea and cold water as people start arriving for the ceremony. Your guests will thank you!

2. DIY wedding bar sign
Speaking of drinks, why not give your reception some character with an array of homemade wedding decoration ideas, such as a DIY wedding bar sign? Serve a small selection of your favorite cocktails (or even just two Mr and Mrs cocktails) to personalize your wedding.

3. Lawn games
If you’re planning an outdoor wedding reception, why not scatter some lawn games around the grounds? From croquet to giant Jenga, outdoor games are a great example of how to make a wedding fun for guests. Plus, they make for some truly unique wedding photos!

Newly weds and guests playing croquette on the Langdon Hall green in Cambridge, Ontario.

4. Patterned cocktail napkins
Trade standard white linens for colorful table runners and patterned napkins to make your wedding reception pop! Sometimes simple wedding decoration ideas for a reception are the most effective.

5. Wedding table decorations
For wedding decoration ideas on a budget, handmade place names are a great way to show your guests how much their presence means. You could also leave small pieces of paper on tables for messages and marriage advice. Some guests appreciate having things to do at a wedding reception besides dancing!

6. Restroom amenities
Luxurious hand towels, fresh flowers and a basket of essentials such as spray deodorant, perfume, make-up wipes and mints are a lovely way to make your guests feel like they’re part of the formal event, rather than an afterthought.

7. Dancing shoes
How to have fun at a wedding? Dance the night away of course! Keep a box of flip flops handy at the side of the dance floor so you and your guests can happily bop until midnight. An essential for enjoyable receptions, this should be on your list of wedding details not to forget!

Hanlon Convention Centre detailed wedding shots

8. Late night munchies
To keep your guests energized and on the dance floor, why not arrange for a wedding food truck to arrive towards the end of the night? From burger sliders to donuts, food vans are among the best little touches to add to a wedding to make the day a success!

Now you know some last minute tips for a good wedding, don’t forget to capture as many memories of your big day as possible. Whether you book a wedding photographer or leave Polaroid cameras on the tables, there’s nothing nicer than looking through those must have wedding photos as newlyweds.