Archive for Alison McGill

The Top Wedding Dress Trends For Spring 2016

Fashion & Beauty » Wedding Dresses


At the Spring 2016 Bridal Week shows, designers were unanimous in their message to brides: anything goes. Bridal styles have never been more diverse than they were on the runways this season. A new sexiness in bridal fashion is here to stay with dresses hugging figures and exposing skin via plunging backs and necklines (and even strategically-placed sheer side panels). From chic, belted and cinched styles to pantsuits, modern princess gowns and 3D textured creations, here is our rundown of the top wedding dress trends you’ll see hitting stores later this year.

How To Put Together An Effortless Bridal Look

Fashion & Beauty » Wedding Dresses


Photo via J. Crew.

Just like its ready-to-wear offerings, J. Crew’s bridal collection is synonymous with easy-breezy silhouettes and beautiful, fashion-forward styling. We spoke with Molly Schaul, weddings and party designer at J. Crew, to learn more about the inspiration behind the dresses and what you need to pair them with to achieve an effortless, modern bridal look. Here’s what she said:

 What is your vision of a modern, 2015 bride?
“A modern bride is one who is willing to make daring choices and do whatever feels right for her.”

Current favourite bridal look?
“I am loving the tousled, hair-down look and natural makeup.”

Describe the style philosophy behind J. Crew bridal?
“Effortlessly chic, understated elegance.”

What inspires your bridal designs?
“Our designs are inspired by the places we envision our brides wearing them—the ultimate destination wedding, a charming city hall ceremony, eloping to a faraway tropical island. It’s all about location!”

What’s the most important thing a bride should remember when shopping for her dress?
“Don’t be afraid to try something different than the mainstream bridal look because what matters most is that you have feel like a million bucks. Have fun and enjoy your special day!”

Must-have bridal accessory?
“A great dancing shoe.”

Favorite iconic celebrity bride?
“Carolyn Bessette Kennedy. She is the epitome of the effortless, modern bride.”

 What bridal style have you seen too much of?
“The sweetheart strapless mermaid gown. Enough!”

Finish this statement: “A bride’s perfect dress is…..
…one that makes her feel like herself.”

Galia Lahav Spring 2016 Wedding Dresses

Fashion & Beauty » Wedding Dresses


Red-hot Israeli label Galia Lahav is famous for its slinky skin-baring gowns. For Spring 2016 the focus continues to be on the sexy bride as a modern princess. For the “Les Reves Bohemiens” collection the inspiration is classic romance with fairytale elements. Gowns were big, beautiful and definitely showed off the body with plunging necklines and backs. The mermaid silhouette dominated the show as did lace and precisely placed sheer panels to reveal slivers of skin down the sides of gowns. For the bride who wants to be super dramatic and is not shy about flaunting her bridal body, consider the ‘Wendy’ gown, a slinky tailored crepe dress with a deep plunging neckline and a completely sheer embroidered back.

Photography courtesy of Galia Lahav

Houghton Spring 2016 Wedding Dresses

Fashion & Beauty » Wedding Dresses


The buzziest show of Bridal Fashion Week definitely belonged to Houghton Bride where the fashion lineup looked more rock and roll festival fabulous than traditional bridal beautiful. Held in a studio space, guests previewed the collection as models posed in a cool tableaux housed in a makeshift barn complete with hippie style chaise lounges and décor. According to the show notes,
the collection was inspired by “the light an airy spirit of a gypsy…a collector of world travel, shells and beads.” Runway highlights included French Guipure lace overalls paired with a silk chiffon bow blouse, a French eyelet swing dress, and a series of statement-making watercolour gowns that were sexy, feminine and absolutely perfect for a bride daring to be different when it comes to her wedding style.

Photos courtesy of Maria Valentina

Inside Weddingbells’ 30th Anniversary Party

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A 30th anniversary calls for an amazing fete and this is exactly what we did on April 1 when we celebrated our big 3-0 at Toronto’s Design Exchange.

The party included tons of amazing decor and culinary details that we highly recommend incorporating into your big day. Highlights included our name in bright marquee lights and a custom dance floor at the heart of the party. Delicious food, custom cocktails, a five-tier wedding cake, 30 flavours of macarons, a candy bar, a manicure bar, hair styling, an aeralist, salsa dancers, incredible tunes plus amazing prize giveaways from Maison Birks and Atlantis Paradise Island, Bahamas. Hopefully some of our party ideas inspire you for your wedding day!

A huge thank you to all who made our event such a smash success: Atlantis Paradise Island, Bahamas, CND, Maison Birks, Revlon Professional, Design Exchange, Aperol, Appleton Estate Rum, Balloon Trix, BarChef, Bonnie Gordon College, Bottlegreen, Cake Opera, Candice & Alison Events, Dance Floor Decor, Event Graffiti, FIJI, Grange of Prince Edward Estate Winery, Ice Guys, Latin Energy, LoversLand, Michael CoombsO&B, Paleterra, Partypix, Petite & Sweet, SKYY Vodka, Sitra Furniture Rentals, Snapz, Starlight Productions, Steam Whistle, Stemz Flowers, Sutherland Models, Zero Gravity Circus.

All photos by Wedding Editorials. Video by In the Moment Productions.

What Does A Fashion Expert Wear On Her Wedding Day? We’ll Show You!

Fashion & Beauty » Wedding Dresses


What does a national TV personality and one of Canada’s top fashion experts wear on her wedding day? That is exactly what we wanted to know when we dropped by Kleinfeld Hudson’s Bay’s exclusive photo shoot with CTV personality Erica Wark. Wark, a fashion stylist on The Social—who has also appeared on The Marilyn Denis Show, etalk and styled celebrities including Kiesza—is getting married this July 11th to her long-time sweetheart Corey Laurysen. For the shoot, Wark modeled eight diverse dress styles and silhouettes—some traditional, some alternative—in the search for her dream dress. While we were on set with Wark, we asked about her aisle style philosophy and the fashion advice she has for other brides.

On her bridal style: “I would say it’s definitely more alternative—I love something that’s less formal and more unique. I guess I would describe my style as more red carpet than bridal. I love the idea of a dress that is something truly special and fashion-forward.”

On wedding dress shopping challenges: “I wouldn’t say I’ve had any challenges per se. I am more surprised by how many amazing options there are to choose from! It’s hard to narrow down so many incredible options to just one.”

On her favourite look from the shoot: “This shoot was amazing because I tried on lots of gowns I would never have tried before. I loved having the choice of going from traditional silhouettes to avant garde ensembles. I loved them all, but if I had to choose, I would say the beaded Naeem Khan because it’s a show stopper!

On dress shopping in general: “Go in with an open mind and try on lots of different shapes, styles and silhouettes to give yourself the opportunity to find the perfect fit.”

Photography David Pike courtesy of Kleinfeld Hudson’s Bay. Hair Ryan Dowell. Makeup Rachel Renna from FACEatelier at Kleinfeld Hudson’s Bay. Styling Jessica Mulroney for Kleinfeld Hudson’s Bay. Shot on location at the Arcadian Loft.

5 Things Every Bride Should Know About Wedding Dress Shopping

Fashion & Beauty » Wedding Dresses


Photo courtesy of Verve Photo Co. As seen in this real wedding. Dress from White, Toronto.

After the excitement of your engagement settles and you’ve picked your venue, it’s finally time for the moment every bride waits for: dress shopping! While this is definitely one of the most fun parts of wedding planning, it can also be one of the most stressful if you head into the experience unprepared. To ensure dress success and a dream shopping experience, we asked Andrea Anastasiou fashion stylist and owner of White, Toronto and White, Montreal what you should start thinking about before even scheduling that first atelier appointment.

1. Keep to a schedule. “I advise brides to schedule the start of the dress-shopping process eight to 10 months from the wedding day. This allows you to visit various shops and keeps you from stressing about ordering time once you find the dress you love. This time frame also helps brides factor in final details like the alterations, which are just as crucial to the process.”

2. Know that your venue will dictate your wedding style. “You must consider what type of venue you are getting married in and what type of dress is suitable to the setting,” Anastastiou says. “If you’re tying the knot on a tropical island you are going to want to avoid wearing a full ballgown with a never-ending train. If you’ve having a big wedding with a black-tie theme, you will want to kick up the wow factor to another level. Venue and wedding style have a huge connection!”

3. Prepare to share your research and ideas. “This is the first thing you need to do when you meet with your retailer and consultant so be prepared,” Anastasiou explains. “You should have a good idea of what you like and what you don’t.  Once you begin working with your consultant, don’t be afraid to trust some of the suggestions he or she will give you. You may find these suggestions lead you to a dream dress you would never have considered, which makes for a totally amazing shopping experience.”

4. Think carefully about who to bring shopping with you. “Limit your first bridal appointment to your bestie or a few people you really trust,” Anastasiou says. “There’s nothing worse than having a disappointing first experience trying on dresses, and then getting overwhelmed by other people’s opinions.  Everything about your first appointment should be happy.”

5. Keep your budget in mind. “It’s important to have your budget in mind at all times as well as a realistic idea of what you are willing to spend on your wedding dress,” Anastasiou stresses. “You need to share this with your bridal consultant who will help keep the budget on track and prevent the shopping experience from being a frustrating one. There is nothing worse than falling in love with a gown that you can’t afford and then forever comparing every other gown you try to it. Save yourself the heartache.”

How To Plan A Destination Wedding In The Bahamas

travel » Destination Weddings

If you can picture your feet in the warm white sand while the waves splash onto the shore as you get married, the Bahamas is the place for you.

Here we’ll fill you in on everything you need to know to plan your dream destination wedding in the Bahamas, from the legalities to the costs involved.

The best time to go: The rainy season in the Bahamas runs from the middle of May until the end of October. This is when there is high humidity and the possibility of showers most days. Hurricane season is from June until November and during this time the chance of rain increases further. The best time to tie the knot in the Bahamas and have the weather cooperate would be in April or early May.

The flight: Both WestJet and Air Canada offer daily service to Nassau from Toronto and the flight time is roughly three hours. Once in Nassau, it’s easy to travel on to other islands via a local carrier like Bahamasair. Most of the islands are a quick flight away from each other (ie. travel time from Nassau to North Eleuthra, the destination closest to Harbour Island, is 20 minutes!)

The legal paperwork: In order to legally be married in the Bahamas, it’s a good idea to ask for the help of a Bahamas wedding destination planner in order to forgo the headache of planning figuring out the paperwork yourself. If you choose to take on the task yourself you’ll need to start by applying for a marriage license. You will also need an Apostille, a special seal applied by the authority to certify that the marriage document is a copy of the original. Both parties must also present a valid passport, birth certificate, and photo identification. You must also show evidence of your arrival date in the Bahamas and have two witnesses over the age of 18 to sign your marriage license, whether it be family and friends, or two provided witnesses.

The local customs: The yellow elder is the national flower of the Bahamas and is very popular choice for bouquets and centrepieces. As for music, Junkanoo, a fun and expressive style of percussion with African influence, is the local music of the Bahamas and one that many couples enjoy working into their celebrations. Include a Junkanoo rush-out — a parade of musicians in masks with cowbells, whistles and drums, to add some traditional flair to your wedding day. Now that the music and flowers are taken care of, you can’t forget about the food. The Bahamas has a wide array of cuisines that feature spice and seafood. The most popular food in the Bahamas is conch, a large ocean mollusk, which is commonly eaten raw with spices and citrus. Rock lobster, coconut and rum are also featured at many Bahamian weddings.

The budget: The cost for a destination celebration in the Bahamas can cost as little as $5,000 (for an intimate daytime wedding) to $25,000 and up—it really depends on the size and scope of your celebration. Virtually all resorts offer destination wedding and honeymoon packages, which include on-site planners to help you execute each and every details of your day.

The venue: The newest and buzziest wedding venue in the Bahamas is at Atlantis Resort Paradise Island, which has recently opened Ocean’s Edge, a gorgeous new event space exclusively for weddings. This space includes a beautiful indoor pavilion, which can be used for ceremonies with up to 120 guests or receptions with up to 60 guests. Ocean’s Edge also features a beach deck and event lawn, which both can host up to 150 reception guests. All spaces can customized by the Love Atlantis weddings team. The team will work with you to plan catering, guest accommodations and your Atlantis honeymoon—we recommend the Cove Honeymoon Escape package for an amazing VIP experience. Also, happening for 2015, Atlantis is offering Canadians some amazing travel savings to help you make your dream honeymoon in paradise a reality.

Bahamas Wedding and Honeymoon Guide

View more from our Bahamas Wedding and Honeymoon Guide ›

A Guide To Wedding Bouquet Types

planning » Bouquets & Flowers

bouquet types - classic

Chances are until you started planning your wedding, you didn’t know there were so many different types of bouquets to choose from. From classic to cascading arm arrangements, there are a number of styles to choose from. So which type of bouquet is best for your particular celebration? We asked Joseph Delarge, owner of eco|stems, an environmentally-sustainable flower shop in Toronto, to explain which arrangements work best for each type of wedding. Read on for the ultimate wedding petal primer.

Unique Wedding Ideas That Haven’t Been Done A Million Times Before



When it comes to what’s hip in the wedding world there is always room for more beautiful inspiration. Madeleine Kojakian, founder and creative director of Maddy K events in Montreal and Toronto (she is expanding her business into Ontario this year) and the Bridal Boudoir Affair, says for 2015 she’s encouraging brides to think about unique and different trends that will make their wedding standout. “Last year was the era of blush, gold and cream weddings,” Maddy says. “The palette is beautiful, but everyone has done it. This year it’s time for a shakeup!”

Here Maddy shares some unique wedding ideas that will make your 2015 party an incredible one.

Embellished Wedding Gowns Guaranteed To Make A Statement

Fashion & Beauty » Wedding Dresses


From flirty paillettes to delicate crystals and everything in between, embellishments were seen on just about every 2015 bridal runway. Whether you’re opting for a strapless mini or a voluminous ballgown with sleeves, there are a number of different ways to interpret the embellished wedding gown trend. Consider picking a dress with strategically placed appliques, embroidery and shimmer to play up your best assets. These nine gowns, shot against the backdrop of gorgeous Bal Harbour, Florida, represent some of the most beautiful embellished creations available for 2o15 weddings.

Photography by Gabor Jurina. Styling by Tara Williams. Hair, makeup and nails by Bo from Creative Management @MC2 using Chanel, Privé and MAC lacquer. Special thanks to the Village of Bal Harbour and Andrea Stevens from Jane Gill & Associates.

10 New Fragrances To Match Every Bridal Style

Fashion & Beauty » Skin Care & Makeup


Finding a signature wedding day perfume should be high on your list of bridal beauty to-dos. Just think of all the hugs you’ll be doling out on your big day! To kick off the year, we’ve rounded up 10 of the freshest new fragrances. Whether you’re a whimsical, sophisticated, or boho bride, there’s a scent out there to perfectly match your style. Read on to find your ideal bridal fragrance.

Beautiful Wedding Updos For 2015 Celebrations

Fashion & Beauty » Hairstyles


This season the only way is up when it comes to gorgeous wedding hair. For 2015, the prettiest bridal updos are wispy and undone. Our favourite styles include boho braids, a voluminous ponytail and a sexy, mile-high updo. Read on to discover how to wear these versatile new styles, which would be equally appropriate at a beach wedding or black tie affair.

Photography by Chris Nicholls. Styling by Vanessa Taylor. Hair by Justin German for Pantene/ Makeup by Grace Lee, Official Makeup Artist for Maybelline New York Canada/Plutino Group. Styling assistance by Holly Cheung. First published in the Spring & Summer issue of Weddingbells.

Inside ‘Say Yes To The Dress Canada’

Fashion & Beauty


We know you’ve been waiting for this one: Say Yes to the Dress Canada premieres January 7th at 10 pm ET on W Network with back-to-back episodes and you can absolutely count on lots of tulle, tears and, of course, drama. Filmed on location at Amanda-Lina’s Sposa Boutique in Woodbridge, Ontario, the Canadian version of SYTTD stars owner Rachelle Pollari, her husband Brian (the company president) and their team of seven bridal consultants. Also on the show and part of the Say Yes to the Dress Canada team is Joseph Spencer, bridal stylist extraordinaire, who helps turn each and every bride on the show into a real life Cinderella.

With years of fashion experience working for retailers including Chanel and Holt Renfrew, the charming Spencer (who has dressed glamour girls including Bette Midler, Patti Labelle and Aretha Franklin) is a natural fit for the show and is full of amazing bridal advice. We sat down with him to talk about the show and glean a few expert aisle style tips.

WB: How would you describe your role on Say Yes to the Dress?

JS: “My job is to make a bride and her style pop! In most episodes, the bride has already chosen her gown when I meet her so I’m brought in to consult on finishing the look. I tell her what I love about the gown on her and what I think she needs to finish the look and make it magical.”

WB: What challenges do most brides face when it comes to choosing a dress?

JS: “Families often get involved and that’s where things can get dramatic. I always support my brides, back up their decisions, make suggestions where necessary, but in the end it’s all about what the bride wants.”

WB: What is the most important thing for a woman to keep in mind when shopping for her dream dress?

JS: “You need to keep an open mind when shopping and consider dress styles and silhouettes that you may not have ever considered. Try things on, have fun, play and experiment because often times the dress you think you want is not the one you end up with.”

WB: When it comes to accessorizing, it there one piece that you feel always completes the bridal look?

JS: “A veil. It is the one thing that a lot of brides don’t think they want, but once they put it on, the look is simply magical. I believe it’s the ultimate finishing touch for a bridal look.”