• Cait O'Malley

Parisian inspired engagement shoot at Stonefields Loft


I adore dreaming up romantic ideas for wedding and engagement shoots. I love seeing how a couple gets swept up in the ambiance, forgetting anyone else is around, lost in each other. I am the uncontrollable ugly crier when it comes to romantic movies, and I want to bring them all to life.

The inspiration for this engagement shoot actually came from a TV show - the Gilmore Girls. It was the episode where Lorelei and Christopher were in Paris and they woke up jet legged and starving in the middle of the night. Christopher pulled a few strings and had a restaurant open up just for them. I loved the idea of this empty restaurant in Paris with just one couple at a little table together; I can't think of anything more romantic.

Sami & Lisa

Sami and Lisa got engaged on April 4th, 2016; their four-year anniversary. Sami woke up that morning, looked at Lisa and knew that that was the day he was going to propose. He spent the day cleaning, bought her flowers and got all of the ingredients to make their favourite meal.

When Lisa got home they got dressed up and had a romantic dinner for two in their apartment. Sami asked Lisa to run into the bedroom to grab something for him and when she came back out he was down on one knee with a blue sapphire engagement ring that he had designed with their mutual friend, Joanna, of Goldart Jewellery Studio.

The Engagement Shoot

I gathered some of my favourite industry creatives together to give away a stylized engagement shoot to one lucky, Ottawa couple. We had tons of submissions from couples with the most beautiful love stories, but it was Sami's that brought tears to our eyes.

I wanted to recreate that special, intimate dinner from Sami’s proposal and elevate it into a romantic, Parisian inspired dinner date. So, on a gorgeous fall day, Sami left a beautiful dress wrapped in a gift box, with a note inviting Lisa to join him at the Stonefields Loft.

We cleared everything out of the the Loft, save for one little café table set for two, adorned with beautiful linens, gold flatware, antique wine goblets, floral china, elegant hand-calligraphed menus and a soft, billowy centerpiece. We covered the floor in candles, brought in a grand piano and asked Ottawa singer/pianist, Kimberley Dunn, to serenade them.

When Lisa arrived, Sami was waiting with a south sea pearl pendant necklace which he delicately clasped around her neck. Then, with his hands covering her eyes, Sami led Lisa into the heritage barn for their surprise dinner, bringing back those special memories from when he proposed to her. They enjoyed an exquisite meal with wine and bubbly, and then danced into the evening while the soft sounds of a piano tune, composed just for them filled the loft.

Design, planning, decor: Bourbon & Bloom | Photography: Stacey Stewart Photography | Videography - Salt & Light Studio | Venue, catering: Stonefields | Hair, makeup | Seema Haider | Apparel: Counter Culture | Jewellery: Goldart Jewellery Studio | Calligraphy: Simply Steph Ko | Flower centerpiece: Sage Designs | Cake, decor: Ediblesins | Pianist: Kimberley Dunn | Grand piano: Ottawa Pianos & Keyboards


Tips for planning your own engagement shoot:

1. Tell a story. We absolutely loved Sami and Lisa’s proposal story and knew how important those details were to them. Rather than simply creating a beautiful setting for them to take pictures in, we opted to have the photos retell that story, making it more personal and helping them capture the memory of that proposal forever.

2. Make it personal. It’s not just about the latest trends, or a great outfit. Those details add beautiful layers to an engagement shoot but they shouldn’t take over the photos. The focus should be on you! Try to incorporate details that infuse your personalities into the shoot. Sami and Lisa own a tea company together, so we included a cup of their tea at the vanity where Lisa put her makeup on. We also had her wearing the dress she had on when Sami proposed while she was getting ready.

3. Have fun! Pick a setting or venue that you love and just enjoy hanging out together. Don’t worry so much about posing or finding that perfect angle because you will likely end up looking stiff and unnatural. Instead, have a little fun together! Whether it’s running through a field, splashing water on each other at the beach or dancing together, it will make you feel more relaxed, your smiles and laughter will be genuine and you’ll be capturing organic moments together.

#WeddingPhotography #EngagementShoot #Parisian #OttawaWeddingVenue #Ottawadesign

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