Creating the Perfect Wedding Video

Award-winning wedding cinematographers Mark and Danielle capture stories around the world for their company Kismet Creative, surpassing the expectations of many happy wedding couples from Toronto to Vancouver and far beyond.

They specialize in producing wonderful films with a strong narrative designed to show the couple’s personalities, documenting their turning points and ceremony into a defining story that lives in the memory and will be a treasured celebration of the marriage.

“The ceremony is the end of one chapter and the beginning of the next,” says Mark. He and Danielle first met in Bali (kismet!), were married in Italy—and have since lived in Sydney, London, Vancouver, and Toronto. They now call the GTA home.

Fast forward a few years, and their life is also now filled with the wonder, boundless energy, and thrills of enjoying each day with beautiful daughter Isla—so they fully understand the importance of capturing life’s special moments.

“We’re pleased to be able to capture and showcase the wonderful weddings that memories are made of.”

Mark and Danielle work together in the business and are extremely skilled at portraying the unique captivating stories of their wedding couples. They bring true professionalism to the task, with experience of writing, directing, and editing videos for the BBC, Warner Brothers, Universal, and Disney—to name a few.

Mark is the main shooter and Danielle tends to be the key contact for clients and couples for the contract side of things. But they often work together on shoots— Danielle may be involved with filming or, via her other company, providing hair, makeup, and wedding styling through

Since the public health pandemic has thrown a hiccup in the plans of a number of couples, they have been adjusting schedules to accommodate, Mark says. Kismet Creative tends to be booked up quickly and, while it has only a few shooting dates still open this year, they are trying to be as flexible as possible. “Because of the current conditions and with everything so unpredictable, we want to do the utmost for our customers.

“Some couples are being super-proactive and rescheduling –booking dates for later this year and next. Others are hoping for the best that everything will be able to go ahead as planned. Many couples are not quite sure what to do.”

Mark’s advice is that if you think you may have to reschedule to touch base sooner rather than later.  Perhaps consider other days of the week so you are able to book your venue and all the other vendors on the same page/same day—keeping in mind that everyone else will be doing the same thing.

“Saturday summer days have become the new must have—like a certain product that everyone stockpiled at the start of the health scare(!) so if you can go for Friday or Sunday, this will give you more flexibility.”

“Considering the strange and unusual time we’re living in, there is no penalty for change—although early re-bookings and confirmations means we can schedule key cinematography to suit everyone’s needs.”

Kismet Creative works with associated excellent cinematographers they can call on during these trying times. Since Kismet already has wedding-experienced and industry-skilled associates in Toronto and BC when additional shooters are needed in a normal year, they can accommodate more change during this period. Although Mark likes to be the principal shooter on 4 or 5 key BC weddings annually, they do have a network of professional associates in BC and in Ontario who can assist.

Everyone works under Kismet Creative’s direction and this allows the company to be more flexible.

Kismet’s skill behind the scenes—and the creative way they go about portraying and telling each particular wedding story—is what clients seem to find most special—and this is ensured regardless of who is behind the camera, says Mark.

Many of their clients come through referrals from other bridal couples and their families and friends, but Mark says there is a pretty even mix. “People find us on Instagram and via googling and recommend us to their friends. This is very heartening as it shows us how much people love the finished videos.”

Costs vary but a ballpark investment for a Kismet production is $4400 to $6400. You will be able to view and choose your ideal approach—narrative, cinematic, portrait, highlights, etc.—and Mark always recommends face-to-face consultation so they can be sure to deliver a film experience that meets your dreams and needs on the day and incorporates all the elements and background needed for the production.

With everything still uncertain re dates and schedules, Mark suggests planning and booking as far ahead as you can—and then be ready to adapt should the situation change.

Going forward, he foresees an increase in how video is used to tell and share wedding stories.

With date and venue changes, travel bans, and flight delays, some guests may not be able to be present. Couples may hold a smaller, more intimate ceremony, live stream the wedding, or share it as soon as they can. “We see weddings on Instagram, more use of streaming services, or really short turn-arounds to share if attendance has to be limited by circumstance. Kismet Creative already does a same day edit for couples who want to view or share their day on the actual day—so this can be handled easily.”

Mark and Danielle love being able to define and record love stories and wedding ceremonies so that they reflect the unique joy and specialness—with all the wonderful details  and elements that simply don’t fit into a photograph album.  Mark’s final piece of advice? “If you’re planning a wedding this year or next, think about getting in touch with us, or other cinematographers quickly. Not only are 2021 dates going fast, but we’re also best placed to offer you unique video and streaming solutions in case your wedding is affected by the pandemic.”

Weddings and Families

Families and Weddings

You may feel you have the date, you’ve booked the Rabbi, and you’re ready… However, as almost any wedding planner will tell you, that may be when things start to go awry.

Your wedding ceremony will stay in your memory as one of the most important days of your life (and probably the most astonishing so far!). It’s essential that the ceremony lives up to your dreams and hopes.


“Sometimes family attitudes and judgments or their expectations of your wedding may get in the way,” says Rabbi David Gellman. “We’re very pleased to be of service, so this doesn’t happen. We will work with you to incorporate the rituals and customs you would like to include from any faith or background, and that may be important to both sides of the family. Every wedding ceremony is individually created for the couple with observances dear to you both.”


Initially, the two partners to be married may feel somewhat overwhelmed with how to plan the perfect ceremony. How do you include Jewish and non-Jewish traditions and customs, or highlight elements that may be significant to you both or to your respective families?

“Through our personal experience, Alexandra and I know both the challenges and joys of a ceremony that’s inclusive, sensitive, and meaningful to everyone. This is why we use a tailored approach to bring couples, families, loved ones, and friends together to share in an ecumenical ceremony that respects your past, enshrines your moment of the day, and collectively puts faith in your future as a loving couple.”


Understanding everyone’s wishes in advance helps to avoid tensions with extended families that could intrude on the happiness and specialness of your day. Your ceremony will be written for you individually. It will be customized for you with the rituals and traditions that you choose to honor and reflect both religions. Whether you select only a few traditions or all—these are woven into the ceremony for you.

Often, some simple guidance is all that is needed to craft a service that will be a dream ceremony for you, your families, and for everyone in attendance. Creating a ceremony that exemplifies the cooperation and love that will be central to the life you envisage together is always the goal, regardless of the starting point. “We find our tailored approach guides us to the perfect solution for our wedding couples and your families.”


So don’t feel overwhelmed if various family members sometimes look like they’re readying for an argument instead of a marriage.  Minimizing any anxieties for the couple and all interested members of the wedding party—and ensuring your wonderful precious memories of the ceremony of your dreams—sometimes takes just a little extra timely understanding, planning, and creativity.

Note: We are happy to meet with you and your family members beforehand for marriage and couple guidance counselling to help create a happy and healthy supportive framework for your life together based on love, respect, and trust.

Choosing a Ketubah for Your Jewish Interfaith Wedding

Ketubahs can be fine art or modern art—they can be papercut, gold leaf, letterpress, canvas—there are many different options to choose from re the design inspiration or approach, often by leading artists and very distinctive and unique. Choose budget-friendly or select a custom-design for this important element of your wedding. This decision will be totally dictated by your personal taste.

The Ketubah can be at the heart of your Jewish interfaith wedding and the signing ceremony may signify for you your first task or steps together into married life.

Traditionally, the Ketubah outlines the husband’s obligations to his wife and establishes provisions for her protection. The Ketubah is also considered a religious document and a binding legal and official marriage contract. It may be a good idea to check with your Rabbi or wedding officiant before you order yours, according to one of the key suppliers (, for text decisions. You may need to determine whether this is crafted with Reform/Orthodox/Conservative or Humanistic text, for example.  You can also order specific interfaith Ketubahs from some suppliers—or select text that reflects your beliefs and vows or craft unique words that are meaningful to you both and created in your customized chosen design.

Regardless of your personal choices, the document has profound meaning and history behind it and is seen as a symbol of the couple’s devotion to each other and the marriage. The Ketubah often grows into a precious family heirloom and many couples love to display them in their homes.

According to Jessy Judaica, also an excellent source for the Ketubah, there are “usually five signature lines (for the groom, the bride, two witnesses, and a Rabbi or officiant) for Hebrew / English Ketubahs. For Orthodox and Conservative texts there are generally two witness signature lines under the Aramaic text.” Traditional Ketubahs are in Aramaic.

Whatever your choice, the Ketubah will not only be integrated to form a central part of your wedding ceremony, but it will likely hold a special place in your heart (and home).


Are Zoom Weddings Legal?

Recent reports on how a few Israeli couples were getting married remotely in Utah to bypass local regulations made headlines and prompted questions about whether Zoom or Facetime weddings are legal.

That depends. Weddings where the officiant or at least two witnesses are not present in person “on location” may not stand the legality test. To comply with Ontario laws, it’s not yet feasible to conduct entirely virtual ceremonies without the officiant present.  It may be different in your province or state.

Instead, many couples decide to hold a small virtual-ish wedding—connecting everyone who would have been on the guest list via Zoom or Facebook or sharing the video after.

So a number of weddings are proceeding almost to plan. It’s merely that the plan now includes delaying the celebration until everything opens up or their first anniversary, whichever comes first.

This isn’t ideal, and it may not be exactly the wedding of your dreams. But it gives a way forward for couples who don’t want to wait to tie the knot until the pandemic is in the rearview mirror.

The Rabbi has conducted a number of smaller weddings (Jewish -Interfaith and non-denominational) in a variety of locations and venues during the slowdowns and lockdowns.

Couples have chosen smaller groups to meet regulations for both outside and inside ceremonies. Outside, with such spectacular surroundings available, it’s added a certain specialness to the ceremony. The Rabbi has officiated at ceremonies in the lovely gardens at Sunnybrook Estates in Toronto, for example, where the scenery and the behind the scene effort at the venue ensures that the wedding is perfect.

Stacey and Gianni married in a beautiful spot in Muskoka where the landscape almost felt like a guest at the wedding.

Karianne and Adam enjoyed a lovely fall wedding in their backyard with as many friends and family as were allowed to celebrate.

Holding a wedding outdoors doesn’t mean masks and social distancing won’t be necessary —and smaller weddings inside may have special protective measures in place, subject to venue size and regulations at the time.

But even if it’s a small intimate group, the Rabbi (and Alex) work closely with the couple and family to be sure that all wishes are met and that the ceremony is a memory to treasure.

Since nobody knows when the current situation will end, and with travel and quarantine restrictions subject to change moment by moment, many couples are deciding to go ahead and hold a smaller wedding.

Sometimes it’s family expectations that are the roadblock—parents may have envisaged a large amazing wedding for their child, perhaps with guests flying in from around the world or across the country.

However, the intimacy of the smaller ceremony can make for a warm and memorable experience.

With pandemic restrictions and requirements on gathering sizes likely to last a while longer, and if you’re not ready to put your married life on hold, it’s a good idea to start planning ASAP. Popular venues (inside and out) get booked up fast. And if you’re going to connect via Zoom or otherwise, asking a wedding planner to help will simplify the day and make sure you’re not distracted by technology. (Wedding planner/Melissa Baum)

Check the Ontario website here or your local municipality—or your state/province for numbers and requirements, or contact us.

When the situation improves, and life feels like it can get back to normal will be a good time to hold the party of the century —whether you’re celebrating your wedding or simply with your friends and loved ones. What a party that will be!


Link to Israeli couples and virtual weddings in Utah


About Purim

Purim in 2023 starts on Monday, March 6th, and ends on the evening of Tuesday, March 7th. As you probably know, this is not a public holiday but a Jewish holiday that commemorates the delivery of the Jewish people from oppression and tyranny in the Persian Empire, which then spread over “127 lands” and is recounted in the Book of Esther (4thcentury BCE).

Esther rose to be Queen of Persia but failed to disclose to the King that she was Jewish. Her mentor was Mordecai, leader of the Jews and Esther’s cousin. Haman, the King’s Prime Minister, is determined to destroy the Jewish community in Persia because Mordecai refuses to bow down to him. He picks a date by lottery. However, his plans are foiled by Esther. With Mordecai’s counsel, she reveals to the King that she’s Jewish and exposes and denounces Haman’s intent. This turns the tables on the oppressor, and instead of being the focus of Haman’s decree, the Jews are able to “destroy their enemies by royal proclamation.” Mordecai is appointed Prime Minister.

Go to our YouTube channel–the Rabbi David Gellman Show–for a reading of the Book of Esther and an explanation of the holiday.

Celebrating Purim

The day before Purim is often a day of fasting, but Purim is considered a joyous community celebration and is usually marked by reading from the book of Esther in the evening and the following morning.  It is also celebrated by giving mutual gifts of food and drink to friends (two gifts are the tradition), plus two gifts of food, money, or clothing to the poor. It’s also traditional to enjoy a festive, joyous meal with family and friends of meat and wine (and other intoxicating beverages!)— and children and adults often dress up in masks and costumes—usually from the Purim story.

This year for the first time we’re celebrating online—and I hope you’ll come in costume.


If you’re in the GTA and need masks or something for parties—(weddings as well—especially if you’re a fan of vintage!). Reflections (Vintage) have some amazing masks.

You can check out their wares online (thanks to Dominique and Karen, proprietors for the mask photos) or in person at the store—here’s the link:  to view vintage and new theatrical costumes, clothing, and accessories.

The Ketubah Story

More and more marriages are putting it in writing—and it’s not only Jewish wedding couples who are adopting the Ketubah as part of their wedding ceremony, a tradition that dates back thousands of years.

One of the largest suppliers is—a trendsetter in design and online service well-known internationally for museum quality work, was founded originally here in Toronto by Michael Shapiro and reports that Ketubahs are being ordered for all faith weddings as well as to mark significant days. Ketubahs also commemorate milestone occasions such as anniversaries.

Wedding couples are able to order from hundreds of unique designs from classic to modern to suit every budget and timeline. Many parents also like to purchase the Ketubah as a gift. Since it is often viewed as a precious family heirloom and passed between generations, the style, look, and wording are significant decisions.

Choose from an extensive range of limited-edition artist creations that can be personalized and customized—from wording to colors to the craftwork involved. This may be beaded, canvas, gold or silver leaf, crystal work, luminous—the variety is limitless.

Lovely paper cut Ketubahs, considered a traditional Jewish fine art since the Middle Ages, are also a specialty.  Fine art archival paper cut Ketubahs can include your personal details incorporated into the design—which can involve 18 layers of paper cuts!

Once you’ve found your style, you’ll need to decide colors, theme, language, and the amount of personalization. This is when you’ll choose whether to include names, wedding date, and location, which are integrated (seamlessly!) in the calligraphy—or the rabbi can write in the names in blank spaces.

You may need to check with your rabbi before you order —you’ll be asked to specify text and the company offers many options including Reform/Orthodox/Conservative or Humanistic —also ‘Canadian Reform” and LBGTQ.

You can also choose an “Interfaith” selection or write unique words to reflect your beliefs, vows, or that are meaningful to you both.

Regardless of which you choose, the Ketubah is often the heart of a Jewish or interfaith wedding. The Ketubah has profound history behind it and is seen as a symbol of the couple’s devotion to each other and the marriage.

Traditionally, the Ketubah catalogs the husband’s obligations to his wife and establishes provisions for her protection. The traditionaltext closely resembles the one codified 2000 years ago.

Two witnesses sign the Ketubah—friends or distant relatives/close relatives do not sign—and generally consider it an honor to be asked. (The bride and groom don’t sign traditionally/it’s not the same as signing the register or license in a church wedding. However, there are choices that have lines for the bridal couple to sign if they so choose.

The rabbi may read out the Ketubah under the Chuppah—Jewish tradition is that it is a significant part of the ceremony.

Costs for the Ketubah range from budget friendly—as low as the $150 range—to $1000 and everywhere in between. However, if it involves a lot of artisan work, such as for crystal creations, gold leaf, or a complex paper cut Ketubah—for example, an 18-layer piece of archival art with all your personal details incorporated—this may set you back even more.

But the finished piece is likely to become of historical importance to your family—and be viewed as a truly unique and original piece of fine art that also happens to commemorate your wonderful marriage!

To see more examples, see





Relationship/Pastoral Counseling

Everyone seems ready to get back to full speed ASAP as soon as things really open up—but new stresses may have been highlighted from working in isolation, too much Zoom instead of relationship-time, or even staying home more often.

Extended family or relationships may have felt the strain, or there may be interfaith questions that  impact family life to discuss before you get going with what’s next.Relationship/Pastoral Counselling GTA interfaith

As well as providing  guidance and support to individuals and groups, congregation members, and couples through ongoing counseling, webinars (and possibly workshops) are under consideration. Please connect for more information/questions or contact and arrange a personal session.

God’s Promise

Izzy is the most precious gift, says mom Susan. And after such a challenging journey, Susan and her husband Edgar knew they wanted to celebrate the birth and naming of their daughter in a very special way that would stay with them always.

“We wanted Rabbi David Gellman to perform the baby-naming ceremony because we knew he would make the occasion unique and memorable,” says Susan. “And he did.  A traditional baby-naming service for girls in a synagogue is generally fairly brief and quick. We wanted to celebrate and welcome Izzy with a ceremony that would have a lot of meaning for us and be truly out of the ordinary.”

Susan and Edgar, who call the beautiful area of north Toronto near Avenue Road home, knew Rabbi Gellman would
create a ceremony to remember. He had officiated at their wedding on August 18, 2019, in the lovely surroundings of Sunnybrook Estates off Toronto’s Bayview Avenue. The beautiful ceremony fulfilled all expectations. “Everyone had a wonderful time, and the Rabbi’s attention and approach made it especially memorable.” The wedding was pre-pandemic before most people had any cause to even think about Covid health regulations, so there were no constraints, and the bridal couple could celebrate with loved ones and friends exactly as they’d hoped.

They were able to do the same at the baby naming for Izzy, which was held in the delightful surroundings on the farm of a family friend in Uxbridge. The ceremony was in June when the weather was terrific, and their friend set up a tented area in the woods on the property that was shaded, comfortable, and big enough for all the family and friends.

The ceremony and celebrations with family and friends took place in the afternoon from 12-3 with refreshments and a little party atmosphere. Not that Izzy noticed, said her mom. She was only seven-months old, so she slept for half the time, but it was truly special and a lovely memory to treasure.

Izzy: a name of Hebrew origin, meaning God’s Promise.

Susan and Edgar’s wedding at Sunnybrook Estates.

Wedding Planning 101— #2

Wedding Photography and What You Need to Know

Top of the list of questions when you’re planning your wedding is how do you want to capture this significant and wonderful event in your life?

Couples often think they can economize on the photographer—since everyone carries a camera on their phone these days. This is not a good idea. It’s the professional shots that will portray the essence of your wedding and that you and your loved ones will likely frame and keep on display to capture the wedding in your memory forever. In Ontario, photography usually takes up 8 to 10 percent of a typical wedding budget.

As part of our ongoing series on how to make sure your ceremony and special day lives up to your dreams, we’ve asked a number of wedding specialists to share their best advice. Thank you to GTA wedding and fine art photographer Paula Visco for her best suggestions for bridal couples.

Paula was the photographer at a lovely wedding officiated by the Rabbi at the Vaughan Estate at The Estates of Sunnybrook for Yulia and Leo.

Yulia and Leo.

After many wedding shoots in a wide range of venues, circumstances, and places—including destination weddings, Paula is an expert. She suggests, “Consider a wedding planner. It makes everything that happens before the wedding and at the ceremony easier on the couple and the families.”

Paula has been shooting weddings, engagements, showers, maternity shoots, and family portraits since 2012. Her portfolio also includes destination weddings from Brooklyn, N.Y., to the Caribbean and she offers complete wedding packages, customized services, and also a la carte.

Today’s typical wedding package might include the rehearsal, ceremony, family groups, reception, and some of the wonderful elements that you want to remember, from table settings to the bridal gown. Discuss these with your photographer and prepare an itemized list—do you want to record the arrival of the flowers, the makeup artist doing his (or her) thing, or a still life of the head table?

Keepsake pictures of the elements that make up your day are a wonderful part of today’s wedding photography that your mother and grandmother probably don’t have.

Paula’s top 6 wedding photography tips?

  1. Hair and makeup frequently run late. Plan to finish 30 minutes before the official photography. Perhaps even take photographs of this intimate part of your pre-wedding fun—a photo of mom and daughter sharing a quiet moment often turn into a keepsake forever photograph!
  2. Always have a very detailed list of family members for key photographs—which the photographer’s assistant or one of the bridal party should be aware of. Otherwise, distant relatives or friends may squeeze into close family groupings.
  3. Keep in mind that family and relatives may be delayed or events intervene so your reception starts late. Ensure that a bridesmaid or wedding planner secrets away some snacks for the couple and others in the wedding party to keep the energy going.
  4. Snacks (and time outs!) may be important, too, for page boys and flower girls—or even for elderly relatives, who may be participating in the ceremony.
  5. Have treats or quiet playthings for any children involved—and assign someone to keep an observant eye to prevent any little ruckus that might break out if tiredness sets in.
  6. Consider your surroundings when making color choices—especially if you’re planning on a wedding outside. “Muted colors or tones for the bridesmaids, for example, are often nicer—so as not to compete with nature’s wonderful colors.”

Paula’s main tip for wedding photography?

“Choosing a photographer you can trust and that you like—who is experienced and can guide and advise so you have photographs you will treasure forever is very important.”

It’s not usually the memory of the limo or the menu or the invite that will travel with you through the years—as the images of you and your families and friends uniting on this wonderful special day. Spending a little time beforehand to make sure your wedding is captured exactly the way you hope is vital.