Archive for Alison McGill

5 Secrets To Making DIY Bridal Makeup Look Professional

Fashion & Beauty » Skin Care & Makeup


Photo courtesy iStockphoto.

Thinking of pulling a Kate Middleton on your wedding day and doing your own bridal makeup? More and more brides are doing this in order to save money and ensure they have a look they’re comfortable with. However, your wedding makeup will definitely need a few tweaks from your daily routine. You not only want to create a gorgeous, glowing and not overly done look but you also want to create a face that lasts (you need to look fresh for at least 12 hours!).

We spoke to Lori Taylor Davis, global lead artist for Smashbox, and asked her for the secret to making DIY bridal makeup look flawless and professional. “On your wedding day, you should look effortless, Taylor Davis says. “You want to look like the best version of yourself, but with a little extra glamour.”

Here Taylor Davis shares the five key components to creating a beautiful bridal look on your own.


The Top Wedding Dress Trends For Fall 2015

Fashion & Beauty » Wedding Dresses

bridal trends fall 2015 high skirt slits

New York bridal market is a wrap and, as has been the case with the last few seasons, bridal fashion continues to grow incredibly fashion-forward. Soft-hued gowns continued to dominate bridal runways this season, but it was the sexy details like thigh-high slits, bare midriffs and dresses with deep V-necklines that really made headlines. Time to kick that pre-wedding workout (and that core regime) into high gear. Here’s our exclusive rundown of the 10 biggest and best wedding dress trends spotted on the runways for Fall 2015.

Canada’s Finest Bridal Hair Stylists Of 2014

Fashion & Beauty » Hairstyles

Best Bridal Hairstylists 2014

Your wedding day is definitely the one day in your life when only perfect hair will do. Finding a stylist to work with you to create and execute your beauty vision should be one of the most important things on your wedding to-do list.

In our second annual roundup of the finest bridal styling talents in Canada, we’re profiling hair pros from coast to coast who are renown for creating gorgeous wedding day locks.

Each and every one of these beauty stars tell us working with brides is one of the best parts of their jobs. “It is pretty amazing to work so intimately with brides and their families on such an important and special day,” shares Elena Roberts from Conscious Hair By Elena in Victoria, British Columbia. “My work days are filled with love and emotion.  I get to see people at their very best, both inside and out. I love being surrounded by beauty and I love being part of the process of making women look and feel their very best.”

Flip through the gallery below to meet all 10 of the finest bridal hair stylists from across Canada.

Stunning Wedding Ensembles For The Unconventional Bride

Fashion & Beauty » Wedding Dresses


For this fashion shoot featured in Weddingbells Fall & Winter 2014 issue, our creative team aimed to showcase the latest bridal trends with a touch of whimsy. The accessories are big and bold, from oversize lip and star headpieces to chunky statement jewellery. We tinted model Celestine’s hair pink and created a custom backdrop to match. Inspired by edgy street graffiti and a recent installation of script writing at The Room created by Helen Krispis, National Visual Presentation Manager of The Room at Hudson’s Bay. The backdrop for our shoot features a series of secret love notes painted onto a large canvas. The results are beautiful and dramatic.

From architectural silhouettes to pantsuits, there’s a trend within this season’s fashion lineup to enchant every bride.

Photography by Gabor Jurina. Styling by Tara Williams. Hair and makeup by Michelle Rosen using Tresemme for Judy Inc. Styling assistance by Victoria Chan. Backdrop art by Caitlin Doherty.

Considering Wearing A Veil? Read This First!

Fashion & Beauty » Veils & Accessories

bride and veil

Photo courtesy of iStockphoto.

Are you on the fence about wearing a veil on your big day? You’re not alone. Andrea Anastasiou, owner of the chic bridal boutique White Toronto, says she has seen many brides change their minds about veils as soon as they are given the opportunity to try one on. “Most girls are surprised that they end up loving the look of a veil,” says Anastasiou. “I think, initially, many women feel this accessory is too traditional — but it is for a reason! When you’re a bride, it is only for a day and a veil often tops off the look.” According to Anastasiou, 85 percent of brides that come into her shop end up opting for a veil in the end. “It’s so cute to see the attitude completely change once you put a veil on their head! It makes them truly feel like a bride.”

Here Anastasiou shares four things to consider when it comes to veils:

1. Listen to the pros. “Allow your bridal stylist to pull some veil options to show you how you can change the whole look of your dress with a different veil as a key accessory,” Anastasiou advises.

2. Consider your dress. “The shape and scale of the dress you are purchasing directly impacts the veil you choose. Veils come in a variety of lengths, fabrics and designs and different models suit different gowns. A super skinny dress looks killer with a long cathedral veil, especially for the bride wanting to add a modern twist to her look. Sometimes a short veil can be best if you just want a hint of something to feel a bit ethereal. Work with your bridal stylist to get it right,” says Anastasiou.

3. You can pass it down. “Think about your veil as an heirloom that you can pass down in your family,” says Anastasiou. “There’s nothing more special than a vintage veil and this sweet notion is not one that a lot of brides consider when shopping.”

4. Veils make your skin look amazing! “It’s a fact that skin looks prettiest when shot through a veil—it diffuses light and gives skin an amazing glow,” says Anastasiou.

The Top Beach Honeymoon Spots In The Caribbean

travel » Honeymoons

Honeymoon planning is one of the best parts of wedding planning, right?! And what could be better than luxuriating on one of the world’s most beautiful beaches after months of intense wedding planning?

To find the best-of-the-best hotels for your beach honeymoon in the Caribbean, we asked Tiffany Dowd, a Boston-based luxury hotel inspector who reviews the toniest hotels and resorts in North America and the Caribbean (she has a huge social media following too—find her @LuxeTiffany), for her favourite beach honeymoon hotspots.  “I have seen everything in the Caribbean and these are my absolute top destination picks for an incredible beach honeymoon,” Dowd shares. From secluded pristine white sand beaches in Turks and Caicos to a romantic escape in Antigua with a world-class wine cellar, here are five amazing beach honeymoon hotspots that will not disappoint.

Enzoani Spring 2015 Wedding Dresses

Fashion & Beauty » Wedding Dresses

Enzoani Spring 2015 Wedding Dresses

Dramatic silhouettes punctuated with just the right amount of glitz and glamour were the stars of the Enzoani spring 2015 runway show held recently at the Ray Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, California. An all-star lineup of new gowns from the Enzoani, Blue by Enzoani, Love and Beautiful collections floated down the runway. Also appearing were the latest bridal designs from Badgley Mischka, which became part of the Enzoani family last year.

Some of our favourite trends spotted on the runway included delicate key-hole backs, dramatic ruffled skirts, delicate detail work and of course amazing lace, one of Enzoani’s style signatures.

The Best New Bridesmaid Dress Trends

Fashion & Beauty » Bridesmaid Dresses


Once you’ve found your dream dress, it’s time to start thinking about what your ladies will be wearing. The good news about bridesmaids’ dresses today is that literally anything goes. At recent weddings we’ve seen every colour from black to white (and every shade in between) in styles ranging from casual sundresses to sweeping full-length gowns.

The type of dresses you choose for your girls will really depend on the style of wedding you’re having. You’ll also want to take into consideration which sort of silhouettes will flatter each of your friends and whether you’re interested in selecting each girl’s dress yourself or giving them free reign to pick a suitable frock within certain parameters.

To help get you started in your search for the perfect gowns to complement your wedding dress, we’ve isolated six of the best new bridesmaid dress trends for 2014.



Essential Summer Wedding Makeup Tips

Fashion & Beauty » Skin Care & Makeup

summer wedding makeup tips

Photo courtesy of Bobbi Brown from Carolina Herrera Spring 2015.

For your summer wedding, chances are there are two things you are stressing about: rain and makeup meltdown. You can’t control the weather, but you most certainly can take steps to ensure your makeup looks flawless even as the temperatures soar. We asked Toronto-based beauty expert and makeup artist Bahar Niramwalla for her advice when it comes to summer-friendly wedding makeup. She shared an essential list of products and tips to ensure your wedding makeup looks perfect from morning until night. Whether you’ve hired a pro, or are doing your makeup yourself, here are Niramwalla’s tricks of the trade.

• Use an oil-free primer, which is a key base product to help your makeup stay on longer. A mist of makeup-fixing spray once the look is finished will also ensure it wears well.
Try: Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer Pore Minimizing.

• A translucent setting powder that’s not too white or chalky is essential for keeping shine down.
Try:  MAC Prep + Prime Transparent Finishing Powder/Pressed. Blotting papers will also help pat off excess oils throughout the day.

• Waterproof mascara is a non-negotiable wedding beauty-must. You will shed tears and in the summer heat and regular mascara can breakdown and cause smudging.
Try: Bobbi Brown No Smudge Mascara.

• Use a highlighter on your cheekbones to give a skin a glowy finish as well as some soft contouring.
Try: Benefit Cosmetics Watts Up.

 • Line lips with an invisible lip pencil, which will prevent lip colour from bleeding as it acts as a barrier for lipstick to stay within the lines.
Try: Rimmel London Moisture Renew Universal Transparent Lipliner.

The Best Honeymoon Hotels In The Bahamas

travel » Honeymoons

Pink sands bahamas-honeymoon-hotels

There is no shortage of fabulous accommodations in the Bahamas. This playground of the rich and famous is home to countless intimate, luxury properties as well as several must-see resorts and humble beach cottages. There’s is literally a place to suit every budget so first consider which island (or islands) you’d like to visit and go from there.

From the hustle and sexy glamour of Atlantis Paradise Island Resort to the romantic hideaways found on Harbour Island, here are five of our favourite hotels for your Bahamas honeymoon.

Bahamas Wedding and Honeymoon Guide

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How To Plan A Destination Wedding In The Bahamas

travel » Destination Weddings

Photos courtesy of Alvaro Goveia.

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.

Bahamas Wedding and Honeymoon Guide

View more from our Bahamas Wedding and Honeymoon Guide ›

Unique Honeymoon Experiences You Can Only Have In The Bahamas

travel » Honeymoons

Explore The Versailles Gardens

The Bahamas truly offers something for everyone and has regularly topped Weddingbells’ Reader Survey as the top honeymoon destination for Canadians.

Each of the islands of the Bahamas offers a diverse experience. Nassau is definitely the island with a little bit of hustle mixed with island relaxation and glamourous nightlife, while idyllic Harbour Island is a place to truly unplug and get on island time.

From snorkeling with manta rays amidst ancient ruins to exploring one of the biggest personal wine collections in the world, there are unique honeymoon experiences available in the Bahamas to suit just about every type of traveller.

Bahamas Wedding and Honeymoon Guide

View more from our Bahamas Wedding and Honeymoon Guide ›

A Food Network Star’s Wedding On Prince Edward Island

real weddings


Bucolic Prince Edward Island is home for Chastity Fizzard, a singer/songwriter, and chef Michael Smith, a Food Network host, nutritional activist and food media producer, so it was naturally the spot they chose for their picturesque summer “I dos.”

“Our wedding day was magic from start to finish,” Chastity says. “I spent months conceptualizing what the day would look like and buying antiques and props from all over PEI to decorate with. I had a visual plan, and everyone we knew came together to make it a reality. Every element of the day was locally sourced.”

Chastity’s vision was to throw a dazzling 1920s Hollywood-themed affair that still had a country feeling. “Sophistication and romance were the key words for our wedding day,” she notes. “The colour palette I chose comprised pastel shades including pink, green, beige, yellow and taupe.”

In keeping with her dream, it was important to Chastity that her wedding dress fit the deco theme. Her Maggie Sottero dress was pure Daisy Buchanan glamour. It was only natural that Michael would also dress to the nines, in a top hat and tails to match his bride, but it took some coaxing to get him to see it that way.

“Michael is a casual guy who lives in shorts and button-down shirts,” Chastity admits. “He didn’t want to wear a tux and said it’s something he never, ever does. When I told him a wedding dress is something I never wear either, he couldn’t argue with me.”

The celebration began with a church ceremony in which their three children each played an important role. Michael’s son Gabe was the ring bearer, and the couple’s two daughters, Ariella and Camille, were flower girls. When little Camille, 2, started her walk down the aisle and saw her dad, she ran straight into his arms. “She turned to wave at all our guests like she was the queen of England,” Chastity shares with a laugh.

Post-ceremony, the couple hosted a cocktail party where guests enjoyed croquet, pizza stations and an oyster bar. From there it was off to the reception at a local community hall which had been transformed to look like a vaudeville circus tent. Massive rolls of construction paper were used to create a draped ceiling finished with pretty scalloped edges.

“I was so overwhelmed when I saw everything, I started to cry,” Chastity reveals. “The tables were filled with my vintage props. We had a photo booth, a lace-covered cake table, a wine cellar where guests could select their wine and an espresso trolley.”

Food was a major part of the reception. Michael worked with his good friend, Charlottetown-based chef John Pritchard, to design the wedding menu. “We served dinner family style with courses coming out on silver platters,” Chastity explains. “We had eight courses, and all the food was incredible.”

When asked for a word to sum up their wedding day, Chastity says there’s only one: perfect. “Perfection is found by letting go and enjoying the moment, which is exactly what we did.”

Chastity Fizzard and Michael Smith, August 17, 2013, Souris, Prince Edward Island.

Photography courtesy of Rachel Peters Photography.

Ceremony location:
Bay Fortune United Church (902-969-3069)
Reception location: Fortune Community Hall (902-687-2891)
Bridal gown: Maggie Sottero from The Wedding Place
Cake: Anne Marie Peters (902-687-3351)
Caterer: John Pritchard Cuisine
Music: The Count and Cuban Cocktail (902-629-5798)
Hair and makeup: Irene Dunlop (902-620-8873)
Flowers: Daisy A Day (902-687-3328)

The One DIY Makeup Technique Every Bride Should Master

Fashion & Beauty » Skin Care & Makeup

bridal beauty skin secret contouring

Photo courtesy of Maybelline Canada.

If you are not already contouring, you should be. Probably the most famous fan of contouring today is Kim Kardashian. Notice how her face is always perfectly defined, her cheekbones appearing razor sharp? There’s most definitely a little photoshop happening on those selfies to be sure, but Kim’s first step to flawlessness is contouring.

A makeup technique that was huge in the ‘80s, contouring is back with a vengeance but the difference today is the effect is softer, prettier and much more natural. Grace Lee, Maybelline New York’s lead makeup artist in Canada describes contouring as “a technique that defines, shapes and recedes features.” She tells us contouring has always been a constant with makeup artists but it’s recently made a comeback with women who have discovered the flattering results this technique offers. “It gives the face more dimension, and if done correctly, it gives the illusion of dramatically thinning your face,” says Lee.

Here, Lee explains the secret to DIY contouring and the best product for mastering the technique on your own.

Why is this contouring especially effective in wedding photographs?
“Contouring gives the face more dimension, so the face does not look flat. It brings out the facial features without having to pile on a lot of makeup. Basically, the face looks more three-dimensional when contouring is involved. You can also change the shape of your face.”

What are the steps involved with DIY contouring?
You can contour the cheekbones, the eye crease, down the bridge of the nose and along the jaw line. You will need appropriate brushes depending on what you are contouring. For the eyes, usually a tapered crease brush that fits in the crease is perfect for blending. You can contour the eyes with taupes, browns, greys and blacks. Anything darker will contour naturally. You can fit the brush in the crease of the eye and blend back and forth like a half moon. Blending is key to ensure it looks natural. Cheeks are the most popular facial feature women contour. An angled blush brush works well. You want to stick with more taupes and less orange. Blend the color right under the hollows of the cheeks and blend, blend, blend! You want to refrain from having brown streaks on the sides of your face. Once you are happy with the contour then you place your blush on the apples of the cheeks and blend into the contour.”

What is the best product for easy at-home contouring?
“I absolutely love contouring with the Maybelline New York Fit Me Shine-Free Foundation. Choose a colour three shades darker than your natural skin tone. You can apply the stick directly under the hollows of your cheeks and blend with your fingers. It’s so easy!”


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