Lauren & Sanjaya’s Epic, Stylish Airship37 wedding shared with unique perspectives from Eldie Photography.

What made Lauren and Sanjaya chose to have a new years eve wedding celebration and how did you bring out and highlight this intention?

– Lauren and Sanj had a New Year’s Eve wedding, because that’s what you do when you want to throw a party! It’s also a symbolic time of transitioning and new beginnings. New Year’s weddings are a guaranteed motivator to stay up late, drink champagne and dance well into the wee hours.

We were with them for more than 12 hours to ensure we captured everything – from hanging out and getting ready, to well past the midnight countdown.

How would you describe the wedding design and how did it effectively suit the mood and intention of the wedding ?

The wedding design was minimalist, floral, and fun, built around the idea of Gold and Champagne! Decor was white and fresh green, with elements of sparkle – because it was New Year’s Eve, after all:) From the start when you walked in, you knew that this was about love, and that it was going to be a party. Lauren and Sanj devoted they time and efforts towards the things that mattered to them, and didn’t fuss too much with anything that didn’t add to the experience for their guests.

“Art is something that makes you breathe with a different kind of happiness.” ~ Anni Albers

What does this quote make you think of in relation to photography ?

Oh I haven’t heard this quote before! And I know exactly the feeling it is referencing. When I capture a moment and it makes me inhale sharply – it’s special. With wedding photography I get that feeling when I make a photo that makes you feel what the couple is feeling; a photo that, when you look at it, you perfectly understand the emotions the two were having. It’s like being in their experience, instead of just observing it. And it feels awesome.

Looking back to this wedding what strikes you as one of the most memorable parts of the wedding day from your perspective capturing it?

Two things, one touching and one funny:)

1. Lauren walking down the aisle. Lauren was….particular, when it came to dating (as her mom detailed in her speech:) To know that she waited so long for her perfect person…well, it showed in her face as she walked down the aisle on the arms of both her parents. It was pure joy, and relief, and anticipation. I still look at the photo and feel like it perfectly encapsulates what a marriage is about.

2. The balloon drop that almost wasn’t. Ever the amazing hosts, Lauren and Sanj planned a midnight balloon drop! The clock struck 12, everyone yelled ‘Happy New Year!”, someone pulled a chord to release the balloons from the giant net overhead….and the entire net full of balloons came down! Everyone laughed, and tore the netting apart, and threw them around in a big, colourful, laughing, dancing mess.

You created warm dramatic lighting and achieved beautiful wedding portraits and cocktail hour photographs in the gooderham lounge.  

How did you work with the intimate candle light?

This one is less inspiration, and more technical! The most important thing about working in low light and candle lit lighting is to use flash, and to balance the colours of the light, I place speed lights on stands around the room covered in CTO gels (gels that are the same colour as candlelight). This ensures I have enough light to see smiling faces and sweet moments, while not ruining or overpowering the ambiance and romantic feeling of a candlelit room. My secret weapon is using Magmods, magnetic modifiers that help to soften and direct my flashes in creative ways.

“ I always tell couples to choose 2-3 things they really care about, and focus on those first; everything else will fall into place! “ This is a quote from a  previous interview ( link to interview ) what were Lauren and Sanjaya’s top choices ?

You’d need to check with them, but my guesses would be venue, band, and food!

Venue: Airship37 was the perfect venue, as it had elements of rustic minimalism while still being central to downtown. This means it was easy for guests to take public transportation or cabs to and from the wedding, without sacrificing the feeling of a private and intimate space.

Band (Janisa Music and Co)

Lauren and Sanj had heard the band play for the first time at the Soho House in Toronto. It was clear they were the perfect band for their wedding – the lead singers, Janisa and Steven, were magnetic and soulful, fusing contemporary hits with Motown favourites. They definitely contributed to making an epic party.

Food: The couple had selected a buffet style meal, fusing their traditional backgrounds with classic Mediterranean and Caribbean options

You took some very gorgeous getting ready photographs of Lauren with interesting composition and perspectives. How did you achieve this so well.

Thank you! My favourite aspect of the ‘getting ready’ portion of a wedding is time; it’s a slow part of the day, with a few things happening over a long period of time. For photographers, this is a great time to experiment! Try new lighting setups or angles, because there isn’t a lot of movement. For couples, this can be an ideal time to get lovely authentic interactions with the people you love. The rest of the day is fast and full, but the beginning is a calm time to enjoy the company of those around you.

What were some of the reasons your couple chose Airship37 as a venue and how did you bring  out the attributes they liked the best in the album?

I know Lauren and Sanj LOVED working with the team at Airship 37! They felt supported, and like it was a very easy process. Airship37 feels like a rustic, intimate venue – but in the heart of downtown! The look was just what the couple wanted, with the amazing benefit that it would be easy for guests to get home at the end of the night.

The big open space made it easy to move around and arrange the room to their liking. The urban proximity meant we could easily walk to the Distillery District for photos, or pop outside for a quick late night photo session by the vintage bus:)

Having a nighttime ceremony and capturing it in a modern industrial venue what were some of the stylistic and technical choices you made to achieve this gorgeous album  ?

I like to shoot mostly with a long lens, and close lights. This ensures no one sees me, and I don’t block anyone’s view or intrude on any moments. It requires couples to trust me – they may not see me for a period of time, but they know I’m around, hiding, making photos! All of my lights are controlled from a distance, so I can easily transition from shooting a speech to shooting the couple’s reaction, switching the lights with one flip, without missing a beat,

The other important element? A second photographer! Brittany Townsend is a phenomenal photographer in her own right, and I was lucky to have her own board for this special light.

What were some of the cultural celebrations your couple incorporated into their wedding day and how did you prepare to capture each special moment ? 

Lauren and her bridesmaids had a Mehndi ceremony, applying henna patterns to hands before the big day. I always love when this element is a part of the wedding, as it makes for striking photos.

During the ceremony the couple incorporated a traditional Jain prayer (Indian tradition; bride’s background),  and the lighting of the oil lamp (Sri Lankan tradition; groom’s background). Both traditions lended for beautiful, intimate moments to photograph by candle light.

Their cultures were also celebrated in the food! A buffet featuring Indian and Sri Lankan favourites, as well as classic Mediterranean and Caribbean options, meant there was something for everyone.

How did the live band contribute to the wedding experience and what are some of the ways you so effectively caught the excitement and movement ?

A live band feeds off the energy of the crowd, and can easily adapt. Are people chatting? Great time for some slow songs. Lots of energy? Pick it up with some Motown! The band had amazing energy, and had no problem getting the crowd involved and getting on the dance floor with their instruments. It turned the music from something to listen to into a full party experience.

The outdoor nighttime album is striking and unique. What were some of the best ways you mastered this?

Yet again, this one is all Magmods! (I swear I’m not an ambassador, just a fan:) They make it super simple to work with transportable lights, and change the colours and style of lighting in a matter of minutes. Remember – it was after midnight in January when most of these photos were taken! As much as I love stunning photos, I also want people to enjoy the experience, which means standing outside for more than a few minutes was not an option.

For outdoor portraits I choose a time when things are quiet, and have the second photographer stay inside while I go out to scout locations and set up. Once everything is ready, we can bring people outside and be ready to go! No waiting around in the cold:)

How do you find the distillery district as a setting for wedding portraits ?

The distillery district is iconic for a reason! It’s a beautiful place for photos, but one down side is the popularity – any Saturday in the summer you’re likely to find a half a dozen other bridal parties with the same idea. You know when you won’t find a lot of people? At 1:00 a.m. in January:) We had the place to ourselves!

We also had Lauren and Sanj’s first look at the distillery, during the day. Yes there were people around, but their excitement contributed to the couple’s excitement:) The whole area was also decorated for Christmas, and the festive lights make it feel like a real life fairytale.

” I had no idea that on midnight, as we entered 2020, that every wedding in the coming year would have to reschedule, adapt, or take a pause. It’s been a year. But looking back on this amazing celebration has me stoked for all the 2021 weddings!
You’ll find all the vendors at the bottom of this post; if you’re planning your upcoming wedding, I can’t recommend these people enough! We’ve all had a challenging year, holding onto our businesses and supporting our communities, and we’re excited to make magic in 2021:)” Eldie Photography


Music: Janisa Music and Co.

Photographer: Eldie Photography

Ceremony Venue: Airship37; Berkeley Events

Wedding Dress: Katrina Tuttle Bridal 

Wedding planner: The Event Design Co. (Katie Watkowski)

Flowers: Cool, Green, & Shady

Caterer: Berkeley Events

Hair: & Makeup: Toronto Beauty Group

Groom’s tux: Suit Supply

Cake: Gill McIver

Bridesmaid dresses: Self-selected black dresses from Aritzia and BHLDN 

Groomsmen’s attire: Suit Supply

Favours: A donation was made to the Multiple Sclerosis Society in lieu of traditional wedding favours. We decorated the tables with NYE themed party supplies.

 Officiant: Aileen Dockerty