Archive for Alison McGill

A Fun, Colourful Wedding In Toronto, Ontario

real weddings

Fun Colourful Wedding - bride and groom

As Weddingbells’ associate editor, Roseanne Dela Rosa has seen more than her fair share of weddings, so when it came to planning her own party, brainstorming exactly what it would look like proved more challenging than she thought. “Jay-R and I could not decide what type of wedding to have,” Roseanne laughs. “At Weddingbells I look after the real weddings content for the magazine. Over the years I’ve saved every idea I loved. The problem was, while everything was beautiful, none were us.”

After much creative thought the pair decided to let their life-loves shape their day. “We planned a wedding that was totally personal,” Roseanne smiles. “A fun, modern party packed with details for everyone to enjoy. Their wedding day started with the two meeting up pre-ceremony for first-look wedding photos. “We wanted to be super-traditional and see each other for the first time at the church, but our wedding timeline was tight, so we decided to take some photos beforehand. It was the BEST decision. We had time to soak everything in.”

The couple’s 270 guests watched the couple say “I do” in a traditional ceremony. Roseanne and Jay-R confirm it was the most important part of their day. “We said our vows in front of God, our family, our friends—we wouldn’t have had it any other way,” Roseanne says. The church aisles were decorated with pillar candles wrapped in pretty green garlands to create a dreamy ambience, and the couple had a live band as part of their ceremony, too. “The music was an important element for us and we selected songs to match the romantic mood.”

When it came to planning the reception, finding an unadorned space they could transform into Roseanne’s perfect vision was key, and she found it in The Warehouse. “Our jewel-toned colour palette was very Kate Spade–influenced—emerald green, navy blue, mustard yellow and coral with hits of gold, sparkles and polka dots,” Roseanne says. Gigantic balloons (ranging in size from three to eight feet in diameter) floated on the ceiling above guests as they dined. Tall vases filled with lush greens and berries anchored each table. The couple created a lounge area for guests outfitted with fanciful DIY details likes a propped photo booth and hand-painted “RO&JAY” signage. The custom-crafted dance floor was another centrepiece of their wedding decor. “We had a black-and-white checkered pattern with the words ‘and so the adventure begins’ written across it,” Roseanne recounts.

Two other elements both the couple and guests admit were favourites: the same-day-edit video and a most epic dessert table. The video—produced by In the Moment Productions—featured beautiful moments from the day that happened up until about an hour before airing. As for the sweet table, it measured 18 feet and was stocked with all of Roseanne’s favourite treats.

“I am the queen of sweets so I wanted to treat guests to all the sugary things I love,” Roseanne admits. “I worked with three bakers to create it: Flour Studio, Patricia’s Cake Creations, and Nadia & Co.” There were multiple cakes (including a surprise groom’s cake that was Toronto Raptors-themed), cupcakes, mini cupcakes, cake pops, brownies, Rice Krispies squares, macarons, cookies and more.

The couple and their guests enjoyed dancing into the wee hours to the sounds of the All Star Band. After a few days’ rest post-party, the newlyweds jetted to Hawaii, a destination on their bucket list for years—an extra sweet ending to the sweetest of celebrations.

Roseanne Dela Rosa and Joseph Ricasio, September 20, 2014, Toronto, Ontario.

Photography courtesy of Photobolic

Ceremony location: St. Joseph the Worker Parish
Reception location:
The Warehouse Venue
Balloons: Balloon Trix
Bridal gown: 
Anais Anette from Vogue Sposa
Bridesmaid dresses: Alfred Sung from Best for Bride
Cakes: Flour Studio, Nadia & Co., Patricia’s Cake Creations
Calligraphy: The Lettering Studio
Helix Candles
Caterer: Yorkshire Pudding Catering
Dance floor: Dance Floor Decor
Day-of coordinator: Platinum Events Group
Emcees: JC Yulo and RD Dimen
Flour Studio
Groom’s tux: 
Hair and makeup: A Glow By Joan
Lights: Chris Hollywood Productions
The Linen Closet
Music: Allstar Band
Rings: Emilian Jewellery 
Videography: ITM Productions

Roseanne + Jay-R – The Same-Day Edit from Inthemoment Productions on Vimeo.

5 Common Proposal Mistakes To Avoid



Rings from Ecksand. Photo by Carlo Mendoza. First published in Weddingbells‘ Spring & Summer 2015 issue.

This one is for the boys (so if you have a friend that might be proposing to his girl….or you’d like to drop a few hints to your boyfriend, tune them in!). Engagement season is officially upon us, with December being one the biggest month for proposals (our 2014 reader survey revealed that 18 percent of men will pop the question this month). As you well know, proposals today are an event unto themselves. The can be big orchestrated affairs (think flash mobs, the Jumbotron and movie screens); or quiet, intimate moments between just the two of you. Whatever route is decided for a proposal, there are definitely a list of things you should NOT do—here are five common proposal mistakes to avoid.

1. Don’t embarass your bride-to-be. Though you may feel pressure to plan a big, bold proposal, make sure it’s something that she would want and be comfortable with. It is an incredibly personal moment for a couple and she may want it to be a private and romantic event just the two of you share in. Do your research and find out what you think will wow her.

2. Don’t plan your proposal alone. Chose one person to be your proposal confidante, someone you can trust to keep your news private and also to give you honest feedback on what you are planning. It may be your best friend, her best friend, a sister, brother, mother or father, but we recommend having a wingman on this one to help keep you on track and focused.

3. Don’t forget to talk to her family. While yes, this is an old tradition, it’s still one that is very much in play. Having the pre-proposal chat with your future in-laws is just good business and a great way to enter into the next phase of your relationship with her family.

4. Don’t buy a ring without doing your research! An engagement ring and wedding band are two of the most important pieces of jewellery a woman will ever own. She’s going to wear her engagement ring everyday and you want to be sure she adores it. According to our 2014 reader survey, 39 percent of brides were involved in picking out their engagement ring. We suggest closely listening to her thoughts on her friends rings and celebrity engagement rings to get a feel for what she likes and you may want to even do a little window-shopping with her to determine her cut, gem and metal preference.

5. Don’t forget to make a post-proposal celebration plan. Immediately following the proposal, share your news with the key people in your lives with a phone call (texting is easy but still not so personal). Once you’ve done that, it’s safe to change your Facebook status and post Instagram engagement ring selfies. Your engagement is just the beginning of months of celebrations that will lead up to your wedding day—sit back and enjoy the ride.

How To Shop A Bridal Designer Trunk Show

Fashion & Beauty » Wedding Dresses

how_to_shop_wedding_dress_trunk_showPhotography by Chris Nicholls. Dress and veil by Oscar de la Renta from White Toronto. First published in Weddingbells’ Fall & Winter 2013 issue.

As you’ve been on the hunt for your wedding dress you’ve likely come across several retailers offering designer trunk shows. These are typically weekend events (Friday through Sunday are the days most bridal trunk shows run) where a specific designer collection is showcased and promoted by a retailer giving you the chance to get up close and personal with the dresses, the designer or a representative from the company who is a bridal fashion specialist.

We recently attended Engage!14 in the Cayman Islands and gleaned some tips for shopping a bridal trunk show from Tara Maietta, global bridal sales director for Oscar de la Renta. “A trunk show is an opportunity to see a designer’s most recent bridal collection before it is available in market,” Maietta shares. “These dresses are the newest of the new, and are designs that the retailer does not yet have in stock—think of it as a special designer preview.”

Maietta says a bridal trunk show will feature an extensive collection of gowns by a designer and can be more than a little overwhelming if you are not prepared when you head into the shopping experience. Here are her three essential tips for successfully navigating a bridal trunk show.

Do your research. “Look at the designer’s collections and figure out what you love about them. Come prepared with an idea of specific dress styles and designs. It’s so important to pre-shop a designer before you commit to booking a trunk show appointment.”

Bring your decision maker with you. “Trunk shows are typically very busy events so there isn’t room for you to bring a lot of people with you to your appointment. Bring your number one confidante with you to your appointment who will provide you with honest feedback.”

Prepare to commit. Trunk shows typically offer special event pricing and incentives. Often times the designer or company representative will be able to make custom changes to gowns that would not be available at another time. Gifts with purchase can include a veil, shoes or another amazing bridal accessory. All of these offers are only available during that trunk show weekend so you have to be ready to make a decision.”


How to Plan A Destination Wedding in New York City

travel » Destination Weddings


Photo courtesy of The Surrey.

Not everyone dreams of heading for the beach for a destination wedding. If you crave arts, culture and city hustle for your day, New York City is the perfect choice. Extremely travel accessible from across Canada, you can have your New York wedding large or small, urban or uptown. The choices are truly endless in the city that doesn’t sleep.

 The best time to go: June, July, August, and September are the most popular months to get hitched in New York. These months bring fresh summery weather, but they can also be the priciest time of year when it comes to venues. If you want to avoid the increased costs of venues and accommodations, get married in the early spring, late fall, or have a winter wonderland wedding in the midst of the colder season. Try to avoid New Year’s Day and Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend in January if you want to be cost-conscious.

The flight: All major carriers offer daily service to New York. If you are traveling from the west, you may have a connecting flight. Travel time from Toronto and Montreal is just one hour.

Legal paperwork: In order to marry in New York, you must obtain a marriage license. There is a small fee of $35 for this paperwork. After attaining your license, you must wait a full 24 hours before your marriage ceremony can be performed, unless you obtain a judicial waiver. More information revolving around the necessary legal paperwork to be wed in New York can be found here.

The budget: Depending on the scope and size of wedding you choose, and the venue, your budget can run the gamut from a $10,000 to $100,000+! If you are planning a celebration at one of New York’s tony hotels expect to pay more for their total wedding packages, which typically include everything from the flowers, to the photographer, catering and entertainment.

The venue: For a gorgeous wedding in an intimate and exclusive space we recommend The Surrey, a quiet, cozy and dreamy hotel on the city’s exclusive Upper East Side. The only Relais and Chateaux property in the city, The Surrey is tucked away on the quiet corner of E 76th and Madison, steps away from the city’s best shopping, Central Park and Museum Mile (there are nine museums in the immediate vicinity). Originally built as a residence hotel in 1926, The Surrey has been home over the years to famous faces include JFK and Bette Davis. Recently renovated, this boutique hotel boasts sleek modern décor and ultra-spacious guest rooms and suites (a true luxury in New York City!). It also has a priceless collection of modern art sprinkled throughout which guests can get up close and personal with. You’ll see one of The Surrey’s most famous pieces as soon as you enter the lobby: photographer Chuck Close’s giant tapestry of Kate Moss. Ask the concierge to arrange an art tour so you can see all the gems The Surrey has on display. There are a variety of spaces at The Surrey that are perfect for weddings. The penthouse suite on the 17th floor can accommodate up to 25 guests and has incredible views of Central Park. For a larger party of up to 75 guests, the presidential suite is the perfectly chic choice. The Surrey’s in-house resto Café Boulud, Chef Daniel Boulud’s Michelin-starred eatery is also a perfect intimate spot. The restaurant has two private dining areas which hold up to 18 guests each or they can be combined to accommodate up to 40. Weather permitting, you can take your party to the hotel’s stunning rooftop—one of the most romantic and intimate spots in the city—for dessert, cocktails and soaking in the beautiful Big Apple skyline.

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

View more from our Bahamas Wedding and Honeymoon Guide ›


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