Archive for Alison McGill

The Hottest New Bridal Nail Trends

Fashion & Beauty » Skin Care & Makeup


Should you wear colour on your nails for your wedding day? Play with nail art? These are just a few of the questions we asked Madeline Poole, Sally Hansen’s global colour ambassador (pictured). “My best advice when it comes to bridal nails is to keep it simple,” Poole shares. “Don’t choose anything too colourful or overly complicated. Have your nails done the night before or morning of your wedding—the fresher and shinier the better!”

Read on for more of Poole’s expert tips.

The One New Beauty Trend Every Bride Should Know About

Fashion & Beauty » Skin Care & Makeup


Matte is where it’s at when it comes to lips. The trend has been creeping on to the beauty radar since early 2014 and now the only lippies landing on our desks are velvety matte formulas. Back in the day, when talking lip colour, matte meant one thing: dry. The new matte is anything but—lip colours are actually buttery soft and smooth and glide effortlessly across lips. They are seriously creamy and incredibly long-lasting which is exactly what you want for your wedding day. Here are eight of our favourite matte lipstick lines—a few old, a few brand-spanking new, but all amazing.

The Best Canadian Honeymoon Destinations

travel » Honeymoons


With the Canadian dollar currently in a free fall, that dream honeymoon in Napa, New York or Hawaii may no longer be entirely viable (*sniff*). But not to worry, there are plenty of awesome vacation destinations close to home that are equally as Instagram-worthy. Whether you and your new hubby are outdoor enthusiasts or city slickers, our home and native land offers an endless array of options for every type of honeymoon. Here are six of our favourite places across Canada to plan the romantic trip of a lifetime.

5 Things Nobody Tells You About Wedding Planning



Photo by Chelsea Roisum from CBR Photography as seen in this real wedding.

You’re engaged, and everyone is offering you advice. EVERYONE. Your parents, in-laws to be, siblings, friends and co-workers are an ever-present peanut gallery offering their well-intended thoughts about your venue choice, cake flavour, and guest list. Advice is good, but, when it comes to a wedding, it can hit a fever pitch and quickly morph from helpful to hellish. Here are five (actually helpful) things to remember during the wedding planning process.

1. Remember to enjoy your engagement. You’ve said “yes,” now enjoy a window of time to just celebrate the amazing news. Give yourself at least a few weeks to just be engaged before diving head first into wedding planning. It’s important to savour this exciting time in your life without being bogged down with stressful decisions.

2. Don’t sweat the dress, you will find the one! Securing a venue will likely be the most stressful task on your to-do list and once you’ve got that done, everything else will fall into place (including your dress). There are lots of choices out there and lots of places to shop—today there is more selection than ever when it comes to styles and retailers. Shop with an open mind and know that while it might take you more than a few appointments to find “the one,” it will happen.

3. Schedule some alone time. “It’s amazing how fast your wedding day flies by,” says just-married Chantal. “You have to carve out a little time for just the two of you. Even if it’s five minutes, take a quiet pause, have a drink together and enjoy your time away from the crowd.”

4. Have a private photo session before or after your ceremony. “The highlight of my wedding day was when we were alone with our photographer after our ceremony,” shares newlywed Jessica. “We were laughing, crying and enjoying the moment—those photos are my absolute favourites of the day.”

5. Enjoy the best party ever—you planned it! When are you ever going to have another crazy, exuberant party like your wedding? Probably never. So make it count and be a part of all the fun you spent months and months (and months!) planning.

The Best Honeymoon Hotels In The Cayman Islands

travel » Honeymoons


When it comes to choosing an amazing honeymoon hotel in the Cayman Islands, your decision will really come down to the type of vibe you embrace as a traveller. From super-relaxed and casual to unprecedented luxury, there’s a property to suit every style of honeymooner. You will likely spend most of your time in Grand Cayman but if you fancy island-hopping for a night there are some charming beach resorts further afield that embody the essence of romance. Here are four of our Cayman Island honeymoon hotel favourites.

How To Plan A Destination Wedding In The Cayman Islands

travel » Destination Weddings

Incredibly clean, safe and populated by some of the friendliest people on the planet, the Cayman Islands are one of the most beautiful and memorable spots in the Caribbean. This trinity of islands truly has it all: miles of beach, endless sunshine, plush hotels, natural beauty and some of the world’s best diving and coral reefs, so what better place to plan a destination wedding? Here’s everything you need to know to plan your dream day in paradise.

The best time to go: Any time between November to April is a great time to be in the Cayman Islands. Reduce the possibility of rain on your special day by heading to the Islands in March or April, the driest months.

The flight: Non-stop flights from Toronto are available. Air Canada offers these flights on Wednesdays and Sundays, and West Jet offers them on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. Both airlines fly from Toronto straight to the Grand Cayman, the biggest island. The flight time from Toronto to Grand Cayman averages about four hours. Upon arrival at the Grand Cayman, you can easily travel to Cayman Brac and Little Cayman with Cayman Airways, which has daily flights to and from these islands.

The legal paperwork: You can get married as soon as you arrive, provided you have a non-resident’s marriage license and a letter from the authorized officiant of your wedding. You can get your marriage license, which costs $250, and a list of authorized officiants from the Passport and Corporate Services Office, which is located on Grand Cayman. For visitors to Little Cayman and the Cayman Brac, both items can be obtained from the office of the District Commissioner. You will also need your passport or a birth certificate with photo I.D, proof of marital status, Cayman Islands Immigraton Department card, and two witnesses at your ceremony. Ceremonies must occur between 6:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m.

The local customs: Incorporate a sand ceremony, a popular ritual for beach weddings, into your “I dos”. Derived from a tradition where the bride and groom would throw handfuls of sand in the air to represent unity, these days couples combine two colourful shades of sand in a glass vessel to symbolize their coming together. If a beach wedding isn’t for you, embrace local culture by having your ceremony at one of the many independent art galleries popping up on the Islands in recent years. For your reception, consider including traditional foods such as Caymanian beef, a fish fry, or turtle meat. Caymanian music, influenced by jazz, reggae and calypso, could be a unique and local addition to your celebration. After the reception, guests can enjoy entertainment provided by local festivals such as the Cayman Arts Festival or Batabano, an annual street carnival. Give your guests a piece of the Islands to take home with locally made favours such as bottles of rum or jars of hot pepper jam.

The venue: There are many amazing spaces to choose from, it just depends on the style and size of wedding you want. We love the Ritz-Carlton Grand Cayman because the property will cater to your every wedding need no matter how large or small your celebration is. From an opulent ballroom bash, to an intimate affair on Seven Mile Beach, the Ritz’s wedding and events team make incredible magic happen. Host a beach reception set against the ocean an sunset, or opt for one of the Ritz’s five ballrooms (they can accommodate as few as 22 and as many as 180 guests).

Incredible Food Experiences You Can Only Have In Grand Cayman

travel » Honeymoons


The Cayman Islands may not be on your radar as a global culinary mecca, but they should be! In fact, Travel + Leisure recently named the Cayman Islands one of the top foodie destinations in The Caribbean!

Grand Cayman, in particular, has a wide selection of impressive gastronomic offerings. From romantic beach dinners in breezy outdoor settings to chic dining in cool modern spaces, there are plenty of options to explore. Chef Eric Ripert, whose namesake restaurant at the The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman is an absolute must for all discerning foodies, also hosts the Cayman Cookout each January, which celebrates the best culinary talent from around the globe.

Here we’ll show you some of the best places to dine during your honeymoon in the Cayman Islands.

Unique Honeymoon Experiences You Can Only Have In The Cayman Islands

travel » Honeymoons


The Cayman Islands, a three-island group comprised of Grand Cayman, Little Cayman and Cayman Brac located between Cuba and Jamaica, offers something for every type of traveller, from adventure junkies to beach lovers. From checking out classic automobiles (one of the world’s best collections calls Grand Cayman home), to indulging at a luxury spa, island hopping and incredible diving, you can do it all here (and then some!) Here are very eight unique experiences you can have on your Cayman Islands honeymoon that guarantee you will experience all the very best the island chain has to offer.

Romantic Bridal Makeup Ideas

Fashion & Beauty » Skin Care & Makeup

Romantic Bridal Makeup Ideas - Green Bridal Makeup

Blushing cheeks, rosy lips and eyes in muted woodsy, smoky shades come together to create the ultimate bridal style. The freshest looks this season are all about keeping your bridal beauty super-soft and feminine, right down to the pretty nail shades you choose. Here we’ll show you three ways to interpret the this flawless natural makeup look. Using shades inspired by summer’s most popular wedding hues, these romantic bridal beauty ideas would perfectly suit any warm weather celebration.

Photography by Chris Nicholls. Styling by Tara Williams. Hair by Justin German for Pantene/ Makeup by Michelle Rosen, Nails by Rita Remark, lead nail artist for Essie Canada.


Fairytale Wedding Dresses Fit For A (Disney) Princess

Fashion & Beauty » Wedding Dresses

fairytale wedding dresses - mon cheri

The “happiest place on earth” turns 60 this year, so to celebrate Disneyland‘s diamond anniversary we made some wedding fairytale dreams come true in the fairest kingdom of them all. These dresses are an absolute dream and set against the colourful, whimsical backdrop of Disneyland they look particularly magical.

Special thanks to the all-star crew from Disney Parks Canada, Disney’s Fairy Tale Weddings and Disneyland for helping us create the best-shoot-ever!

Photography by Carlyle Routh. Hair and makeup by Dee Daly, Judy Inc. using TRESemmé haircare and MAC makeup. Styling by Tara Williams. First published in the Fall & Winter 2015 issue of Weddingbells.

A Boho-Chic Wedding In Montego Bay

real weddings

A Boho-Chic Wedding in Montego Bay - Bride and Groom

The historic Round Hill Hotel and Villas is about as close as it gets to paradise. Located on a 45-hectare peninsula, this pristine and private oceanfront venue is a tropical heaven-on-earth destination for a wedding that is at once luxurious and incredibly relaxed. These are exactly the reasons Katie Green and David Michaud chose the beautiful tropical property for their intimate wedding celebration.

“David and I wanted the closeness of a small celebration, and a destination wedding lent itself perfectly to our style,” Katie shares. “We wanted a special and romantic place; a place that would be a wonderful and elegant experience for all. I did some intense research to find the perfect place and Round Hill had everything we wanted—except a date open in 2014.”

Fate, it would seem, was on their side: an opening popped up the very week in November the couple had been planning to wed. “I like to think it was serendipity!” Katie says. “I couldn’t dream of a more perfect environment.”

With the dream destination booked, Katie started planning. As the Director of Communications for Maybelline New York, Essie, Garnier and Ombrelle for L’Oreal Canada, Katie is no stranger to event-planning—throwing incredible parties and fabulous media events is part of her job. For her wedding, she knew exactly the vibe she wanted: luxe bohemian and timeless, not trendy.

“I wanted the overall look to be a bit vintage, but also polished and romantic,” Katie explains. “I chose creamy neutrals and blush as our palette. I loved my bridesmaids’ pretty mix of gowns in various colours ranging from cream to soft grey, dusty rose and blush.”

The couple invited 50 of their nearest and dearest to celebrate in paradise with them. Guests began to arrive two days before the main event, which gave everyone a chance to hang out. “The arrival of all our guests was a highlight for us,” Katie says. “For the two days guests arrived, we hung out between the lobby and the beach to ensure we personally greeted everyone and spent some quality time with them. Having our family and best friends come to this beautiful place to celebrate our love and life together was incredibly heartwarming.”

On the wedding day, Katie and her girls enjoyed a champagne breakfast in the couple’s villa and had their hair and makeup done by a duo of Toronto-based editorial artists: hair master Brennen Demelo, and Grace Lee, the Canadian lead makeup artist for Maybelline New York. “It was so amazing to have my friends doing hair and makeup on my wedding day,” Katie enthuses. “They both know me so well and made me and all of my ladies feel so beautiful.”

Wearing a stunning French Chantilly lace and silk chiffon dress by Rivini and custom-made floral crown, Katie floated down the aisle on her mother’s arm to meet David on Round Hill’s Spa Lawn. “He was waiting for me under a beautiful tree at the water’s edge with a cool breeze blowing and the sound of waves crashing in the background,” Katie remembers. “I chose the song “Halo” by Beyoncé as my entrance song, played by a string quartet. When David and I met and locked eyes…what a powerful, exciting and emotional moment for us!”

After the ceremony the newlyweds hosted a cocktail gathering followed by a romantic candlelit reception filled with toasts, dancing and amazing food in the Hanover Room. The wedding party didn’t stop that evening, as many of the guests stayed on for some chill-time in paradise.

“The best thing about our destination wedding is that it extended the special moments we had with our friends and family,” Katie says. “I just loved seeing our families interact with our friends, laughing, relaxing and having a great time. When do you ever get all the most important people in your life in one place like that?”

Katie Green and David Michaud, November 14, 2014, Montego Bay, Jamaica.

Photography courtesy of Chelsea Roisum from CBR Photography.

Ceremony and reception location:
Round Hill Hotel & Villas
Bridal gown: Rivini from Kleinfeld Hudson’s Bay
Accessories: Chanel
Shoes: Stuart Weitzman
Groom’s tux: J. Lindeberg from GILT
Cake: Round Hill Hotel & Villas
Caterer: Round Hill Hotel and Villas
Favours: DIY
Wedding planner: Racquel Bernard from Round Hill Hotel & Villas
Music: Live string quartet (ceremony), PACE Band (reception)
Hair: Brennan from Brennan Demelo Studio
Makeup: Grace Lee
Stationery: DIY, Wedding Paper Divas (menu, thank you notes), Dream State (place cards, canvas bags, seating chart)

10 Ultra Long-Wearing Wedding Makeup Essentials

Fashion & Beauty » Skin Care & Makeup


A summer wedding can mean sun, wind and sometimes even (God forbid) rain. Throw in tears and kisses and you’ve got a recipe for major makeup meltdown. So how do you make sure your bridal beauty look stays put? Use long-wear products that are built to withstand all a wedding day can throw at them! These are 10 of the best and brightest beauty essentials that no bride should be without!

Charlotte Tilbury’s Wedding Makeup Secrets

Fashion & Beauty » Skin Care & Makeup


Superstar British makeup artist Charlotte Tilbury counts the world’s style elite as her clients and friends. Penélope Cruz and Gwyneth Paltrow are just a few of the golden girls she beautifies, and let’s not forget her BFF Kate Moss. Tilbury and Moss are a dynamic duo that have worked together on countless fashion editorials—perhaps their most famous collab was creating Kate’s perfect boho-meets-rock-chic look for her 2011 wedding to rocker Jamie Hince.

Tilbury’s eponymous makeup and skincare line just launched at Holt Renfrew and we recently caught up with her while she was in Toronto to chat wedding makeup.

WB: What is your idea of perfect wedding makeup?
“A bride should always look like she’s wearing the makeup, not the makeup wearing her. Makeup should make the bride the most beautiful version of herself.”

 WB: What does a bride need to look her best on her wedding day?
CT: “Gorgeous, glowing skin! My ‘magic skin trilogy’ guarantees skin perfection. I use this on all of my red carpet clients to prep their skin for makeup. Apply Goddess Skin Clay Mask for 10 minutes to create glowing, poreless skin. Apply my infamous Magic Cream following that, then Wonderglow—it’s eight hours of sleep and eight glasses of water in a product! It will diffuse light over your face giving you a lit-from-within radiance.”

WB: What are some wedding makeup “don’ts”?
“Be careful of experimenting with new, bold colours on your wedding day. Get your look right by having a consultation with your wedding makeup artist so there are no surprises on the big day!”

WB: What sort of look did you go with for your own wedding?
CT: “For my 2014 wedding I chose one of the core looks from my makeup range, The Dolce Vita. It’s my signature look and I adore the beautiful burnished bronzes and browns of the palette. I believe it’s important to remain true to your look. On your special day you don’t want to look dramatically different, just the most mesmerizing version of yourself.”

5 Bridal Fashion Trends That Are Officially Over

Fashion & Beauty » Wedding Dresses

bridal fashion trends that are over - bright white dresses

Forget everything your mother told you a wedding gown was “supposed” to be. Today there are more choices than ever before, which means if you were never a fan of stark white ballgowns, you can absolutely stray from that look. Think about colour, sexy silhouettes and even separates – all of which are popular trends for the year ahead! And while there are most definitely some incredible fashion-forward styles hitting bridal boutiques this year, there are also ones that are not so haute anymore. Here we’ll show you five bridal style trends that have officially had their day.