I still remember my first trip to Collingwood. I was driving a 1987 Chevy Cavalier, that had too many kilometers on it to count, blaring a Killjoys tune over the speakers while I had one hand on the wheel headed toward Elvisfest. I had my trusty Nikon FE2 camera with a roll of black and white film in it, ready to capture some of the performers and behind the scenes shots. It was a warm day, so I had the driver's side window down and one arm half out the window, rested on the door. The scenery was magical and it was a blast that day photographing everything.
Fast forward to today, living in the Georgian Bay area and photographing weddings and portraits for awesome clients. I still use Nikon, albeit digital now, and the Collingwood and surrounding areas still have an allure and esthetic beauty that in my opinion is hard to beat in Ontario. Our company, Brad Quarrington Photography, has been fortunate enough to photograph many weddings/engagements that are in this lovely area and I want to share that with you, the reader. Whether you are planning your wedding now, or already have gotten married, I hope you enjoy this list. I didn't want to get into any sort of ranking or anything like that. But rather, to share our experiences at these places along with some of the images that we've captured. So here they are, and again, in NO PARTICULAR order:
This venue is super spacious, with tall ceilings and plenty of room for guests! Our wedding clients got married out on the back deck which spans a fair distance and allowed for a nice entrance by the bride and her father. One of the neatest experiences we had was that nearby, an older couple who owns a home adjacent to the property allowed us to photograph in the front yard. While this isn't included in the wedding package, LOL, it was a happy accident that really gave us a different look for the client's photos.
The ski hill is also a fun location to photograph the bride and groom and wedding party, and there is trail driving access to the top, but I wouldn't recommend taking a car. This is 4x4 territory.
Not far from the venue, maybe 5 minutes, is the water of Georgian Bay. If you can time it right for sunset, then taking the bride and groom there like we did is a great option.
Imagine getting married at the top of the hill, then taking a gondola ride for 2 down to the base of the hill just in time for your reception. It's a lot of fun and very romantic. One thing we learned, it being our first ride in them and all, was that those "buckets for 2" really do sway a lot! Nothing that feels unsafe, but maybe a little tricky to get the right shot just perfect. But, we must've done something right, because Blue Mountain asked to use a few of our images to promote their venue.
This place was location of one of our COOLEST winter weddings to date, no pun intended. The groom and his father in law both rode down the hill, right on to the back deck of the venue, for their entrance to the wedding. How cool is that! Funny part of that story is, from a photographer point of view, is that with no walkie-talkies to warn me of when exactly they were coming down the hill, I had to keep a sharp eye to figure it out because other skiers were using the same hill at that time.
Inside, the venue is warm and inviting with plenty of natural light.
This venue is certainly the place where we have most of our wedding venue experience, and the main reason for that is it offers a multitude of options for venue and ceremony locations. It also boasts the only waterfront ceremony location (Bear Estate) in Collingwood, of all the wedding venues.
These are the varied location possibilities of Living Waters that couples can get married: Atoka House, William Watts, Bear Estate, the rooftop of the Living Waters Hotel, and the restaurant Lakeside Seafood and Grill. Believe it or not, we've photographed wedding, engagement, or reception decor photos in ALL of these locations. The staff is awesome and they really help us to do our job successfully for our clients.
Bear Estate is the main venue, and the location we have the most experience at. It never disappoints. Whether it's raining, snowing, or blowing the creative possibilities are too numerous to count. We've even photographed an indoor winter ceremony here and the vast windows made for excellent lighting and background scenery.
We don't have as much experience at this venue, having only photographed an engagement session there. However, we're really looking forward to our clients' wedding there this October. The hilltop views and scenery are amazing, and inside it's a beautiful mix of rich wood tones and naturally lit rooms. Even the bar area is funky and fun and a sweet spot to hang out! This is a private club located very near to the waters of Georgian Bay, as well.