Archive for Alison McGill

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.”

Wedding Style Trends For 2015

Fashion & Beauty

2015 wedding trends - style - ear cuffs

Photo by Alvaro Goveia.

This year, when it comes to bridal fashion and beauty, the vibe is classic with a modern edge. Beautiful dress silhouettes that show some skin, unexpected statement jewellery, and a new twist on the traditional ponytail are just a few of the wedding style trends that will continue to build momentum over the coming year. More than ever before, bridal trends are influenced (and even dictated) by fashion runways and what’s happening on the red carpet and in pop culture.

Our first wedding style trend: Dresses that show some skin.

How To Take The Perfect Engagement Ring Selfie

engagement » Fashion & Beauty » Jewellery

He asked, you said yes, then naturally you snapped a selfie! However, it wasn’t until he slipped that sparkler on your finger that you realized how difficult taking the perfect engagement ring selfie is. “Hands aren’t always photogenic and tend to be tricky to flatter and pose,” says Rita Remark, the lead nail artist for Essie Canada who regularly creates fashion-forward, photo-ready manicures for Canada’s top fashion and beauty magazines.

We asked Remark for her essential tips for engagement ring selfies. From the right way to pose hands, to the best shade of nail polish. Read her expert advice before you start posting:

What are the key elements for a successful ring selfie?
“When taking an engagement selfie, it’s important that the ring is the focal point — you want to be sure it dazzles! When it comes to hand placement, never hyperextend your fingers in a star position because it emphasizes your knuckles and shortens your fingertips. Instead, try shooting your hands flat with a gentle bend in the knuckles or, better yet, holding something like a glass of celebratory champagne. Natural lighting is always best and never use a flash because it will bounce too much light off of your ring and give the image a harsh contrast.”

Are there any tricks for giving fingers an elongated appearance?
“A great illusion for making fingers look longer is an oval or almond nail shape. If you have small hands, a square nail shape can actually make your fingers appear stubby or blunted. Oval nails give elegance and have a high-heeled effect on your hands.”

What shade(s) of nail polish do you recommend to make a diamond ring pop?
“It’s important not to out-shine the ring with vibrant neon or a high-impact glitter. Make the ring the entire focus of the photo by choosing a nude like Essie Topless & Barefoot or Mademoiselle for a fresh and feminine look. You could also choose a colour that complements your ring like a playful Tiffany-inspired blue or a classic red — I love Essie A List.”

Do you recommend an accent nail on the ring finger to make the bling really pop?
When considering nail art for an engagement selfie, remember to keep it simple and chic rather than bold and distracting. I love blending colour and metallics with classic nail art looks for a trendy, yet timeless, look. Try a blue polish with a silver moon. I also recommend a two-tone French manicure like the one seen on the runway at Wes Gordon in New York. The mattified red with a shiny burgundy tip was very sophisticated. If you’d like to keep it simple, try a ring finger accent nail with a small crystal near the cuticle.”

What’s your favourite Instagram filter for engagement ring selfies?
My favourite filters are Valencia and Nashville. I love Valencia because it brightens the photo and gives a warm glow that’s both flattering and romantic. I love Nashville because it also brightens the photo, but gives a slight hint of blue that brightens and whitens everything from teeth to the tips of your nails. It’s important to remember to choose a filter that doesn’t deepen, or over-colour to make it distracting (like the Kelvin filter) and to always forgo the frame option to keep the focus on the photo.”


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.


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