Kortright Centre Wedding - a Wedding Photographer's Perspective
Kortright Centre weddings
As a wedding photographer, I get around quite a bit. And I have seen no shortage of wedding venues. Many of them are quite similar, and has a very ordinary look. Today I want to speak about, the Kortright Centre, in Toronto which cannot be called ordinary.
Set on a huge sprawling conservation area, you aren't going to find too many locations just like this one. With an eco-friendly bent, this place seems to bring the outside in. Huge windows flood the place with natural light, and give it a bright and cheery feel. It is a bit of a destination, and depending on the time of year there will be lots for your guests to do. Just prepare them that they may have to do some walking, and exploring to get the most out of it.
This isn't the sort of place that would immediately jump to my mind, to have your wedding at but lots of couples do. I have had the pleasure of photographing a few weddings here, and it's always been lovely. Apart from the fact that the grounds are outstanding, and the light is just as good, the staff has been exemplary. Since I am technically the hired help, sometimes wedding venues treat photographers like me like crap. I think maybe, a few too many photographers have been divas and now wedding venues and staff are sort of on the defensive. Not here. The staff was insanely helpful, very attentive and you could tell really cared about the couple and the wedding taking place. It was really an inspiration.
The Kortright Centre, plays host as a wedding venue in Toronto. It is highly sought after, for all kinds of reasons. It's romantic, a bit secluded, offers a ton of variety, is very eco-friendly and also it is not insanely expensive.
From what I can gather on their website, you are going to look at around $140 per person. Which includes the venue rental fee and an open bar. To have only your ceremony there, you are looking in the range of $975.
You might want to jump on it quickly, if it is available as this place tends to book up fast.
There are a number of places, that you can get married or hold your reception.
The food here, was really super good. I am a harsh critic of wedding meals, having had hundreds of them myself. I also come from a food town, where there are a ton of amazing restaurants. I try not to be critical, but to be honest I am. ;)
That said, I was super impressed, the meals I have had have been top-notch, and despite being super pleased with my own meals, I was always envious of my neighbour’s plate at the table as well.
Wedding ceremony locations
Just outside the main building, they have a sort of glass gazebo, which has an octagonal structure and it's completely surrounded by trees. It serves as a backdrop for, a cozy and intimate wedding. You are at the mercy of the weather however as it is not air-conditioned or heated. It has lots of windows, sort of like garage doors that they can roll up for air flow but you should just keep that in mind. There are sort of rafters as well that you can wrap all kinds of twinkly lights around to make the place magical. I think you can fit around 120 guests here.
The Forest Gallery
In the main building, on the lower floor you'll find the forest gallery. You can accommodate about 135 guests in this room, and it is a beauty. Much like the Glasshouse, there is no shortage of light. The entire exterior wall is windows. As a photographer, this is easy to appreciate. It also lets in light from just one side, making for beautiful side lighting. The view looking into the forest is also great, and it's surrounded by a large balcony where guests can chat and schmooze during cocktail hour. I have seen a few different setups with this room after the ceremony, from a dancing location to a dinner location to just cocktail hour.
The main hall
The main hall is a floor above, and sort of sits elevated over the forest gallery. It too has interesting views, and sort of looks down over the forest gallery like a little mezzanine. Again I've seen this set up for dinner, and the dance floor here as well. There are stairs between the two rooms, and it can feel like you are going upstairs all day, if you have to go back and forth a lot. Since I was the photographer, I was running up and down these stairs all day. That might not be the case for your guests, and there is an elevator however getting between the two spots can be tiring for people who don't like stairs. Decorate the spot up with string lights, and I think you are good to go.
In terms of accessibility, there is tons of parking but it is a bit of a walk from the main parking lot to the main building. I learned out after the fact, that there is a vendor access road, which would've saved me quite a few steps. Let's just say I always seem to get my workout in, when I'm shooting here!
You are going to need a photography permit if you intend to do your wedding photos here. For someone who is renting the space, it comes as part of your wedding package but for those other couples who are just looking to use the grounds, make sure you call ahead and reserve your space.
Photo locations around the grounds
The centre itself, sits on a 325 hectare conservation area. It was opened in 1979, and is named after a businessman and engineering pioneer in conservatism: Francis Kortright. You will find it sandwiched in between Maj. Mackenzie Drive on the north, Pine Valley Drive on the east, and Rutherford Drive on the south. All the way to the east it reaches the Humber River.
The place is massive, there are no shortages of places to take your wedding photos. From forest paths, to Cathedral like stands of trees. Winding nooks and crannies, or the interesting buildings that I already mentioned earlier. I haven't done it but apparently there is an opportunity to take pictures with horses. Make sure to ask the wedding planner about that, if that is your speed.
In the pine tree forest, all the trees are planted in nice rows, which can make for some very striking and graphic images. As a photographer, I don't know what it is but I am always drawn to that sort of repeated vertical line pattern that you get when pine trees are planted just so. Slap on a wide-angle lens, and it seems to be a recipe for success every time.
If the weather is good, you will have more places to shoot your photos then you will need. But if the weather is crummy, the indoor light is really great as I mentioned. Between the Forest Gallery, and the Glasshouse you won't be shut out from awesome photo land.
Things to keep in mind
Keep in mind that this place is a bit more rugged, then a venue in the middle of the city. Depending on the time of day and year, you and your guests are going to want to and year prepare for outdoor conditions. I'm talking about bugs.
There can be 2 to 3 ceremonies happening, on the same day so be prepared for that. From what I understand there is typically only one reception for a wedding at a time, but you might just want to double check on that with their wedding planner. Since things are a bit spreadout, and the terrain can be a bit rugged make sure you bring comfortable shoes. I like those crazy stilettos as much as the next bride, but it's no fun twisting and ankle or navigating through a soft forest floor in those bad boys. Don't be too proud to bring a pair of flats, or other shoes along. Which is just good advice for the wedding date anyway.
If you are getting ready there, the bridal suite doesn't have a ton of light. Where it seems every place in the building has tons and tons of beautiful light, it is located in an interior room, and doesn't have the best lighting. There are nice hotels in the area however, so maybe plan to do your makeup before you get there.
It goes without saying, that the popularity of this place makes a great destination for an engagement session. There are plenty of trails, greenhouses wind turbines solar panels and interesting things to use to pose and his props. There are lots of different events and festivals held here so make sure it's available