Archive for Alison McGill

Floral Centrepiece Ideas That Are Seriously Fresh

Planning » Bouquets & Flowers


Photo courtesy of Vandaele Weddings

Baby’s breath garlands are in; so are table circles, wreaths and florals that pack a colourful punch, according to floral expert Elaine Martin, owner of From The Potting Shed. “There are so many cool ways to dress your space with florals and it doesn’t have to cost a bundle,” Martin says. Some of my favourite cost-effective blooms to work with are wax flowers, lisianthus and hydrangeas—they look amazing and modern and won’t break your wedding budget!”

We asked Martin for her top picks when it comes to upcoming floral centrepiece trends. Here’s what’s currently on her wedding décor radar.

Table Circles
“Think structured or more organic foraged wreaths placed flat on a circular table. It looks dramatic and unique!”


Photo courtesy of Justyna Sokolowski

Bold Colour Combos
“Red, coral and wine are going to be very big for weddings and they are a fresh change after seasons of blush and white. I call this mix of shades San Francisco Sunset!”


Photo courtesy of Justyna Sokolowski

Amber Glassware
“Crackle glass is over. When it comes to containers I love the vintage feel meets warm, modern vibe of vessels in this golden, glowy hue.”

Martin says a few other trends on the horizon include French hedging, a throwback to a garden technique used in France in the 1700s. “We are doing a lot of single stems like roses set in a geometric, linear, hedge-like fashion.” Also back in a major way is baby’s breath, which we have seen for a few wedding seasons now. Martin says recently she’s been doing cool things like massive billowy table garlands that run down the centre of the table. “It looks dreamy and super-fresh,” she explains.

What Every Bride Needs From Glossier

Fashion & Beauty » Skin Care & Makeup


Have you noticed there’s certain beauty giddiness in the air lately? That’s because the much-adored, It Girl, indie beauty line Glossier is now shipping to Canada (HOORAY!) Until a few weeks ago this line was only available in the US—getting your hands on it meant having a US postal box or friends south of the border who would ship to you. This beauty line (skincare and makeup) is simply MADE for brides-to-be because it’s all about imbuing your already glowy self with a dewy, lit-from-within radiance.

If you haven’t stocked up yet on Glossier (or even scoped out), here’s our hit list of six products every bride should pick up.

3 Ways To Rock Ribbons In Your Bridal Hairstyle

Fashion & Beauty » Hairstyles

3 ways to rock ribbons in your bridal hairstyle - ribbon in braids

Your wedding day is the perfect time to play with different hairstyles and change up your day-to-day look. Hair accessories are an especially fun way to add glamour to a classic updo, however they can sometimes be expensive. For that reason we set out in search of the coolest new hair accessory that’s also affordable.

Ribbons can be tied, folded or weaved throughout your locks to create an effect that is as subdued or as bold as you’d like. This trendy new bridal hair accessory is also incredibly versatile — play with different fabrics, colours, textures and widths to create a fanciful and feminine look. We’ll show you three of the most beautiful ways to work ribbons into your wedding ‘do.

Photography by Carlyle Routh. Styling by Tara Williams. Hair by Tony Masciangelo for Alcorn Hair/ Makeup by Cia Mandarello for Charlotte Tilbury/ Creative direction by Alison McGill. 

5 Cool Places To Tie The Knot In Las Vegas

Travel » Destination Weddings


When you think “wedding in Vegas”, a towering observation wheel, luxury penthouse with chic Japanese inspired decor, a botanical garden and an Italian piazza are probably not the sorts of venues that immediately spring to mind. Yes, you can still get married in a kitschy cool wedding chapel on the strip (with an Elvis impersonator officiating), but there are also many exclusive, luxe and unique places to consider for your day.

On our recent visit to Las Vegas, we did a tour focused on uncovering the coolest new destination wedding venues on and off The Strip. Here are five standout favourites.

Steal Miranda Kerr’s Couture Bridal Style



Evan Spiegel and Miranda Kerr photographed for the August 2017 issue of Vogue by Patrick Demarchlier.

When Miranda Kerr said ‘I do’ to Snapchat founder Evan Spiegel on May 27th at their Los Angeles home she wanted an intimate wedding (45 guests) and a dream dress in the style of the iconic gown worn by Grace Kelly for her 1956 wedding to Prince Rainier of Monaco.

In the August issue of Vogue, Kerr shares some exclusive photos from her gorgeous wedding day and her dress—an incredible haute couture creation that she collaborated with Maria Grazia Chiuri, the artistic director of Dior, to create. “I’ve had a lot of fun with fashion, and I used to be more wild, free and bohemian, Kerr tells Vogue. “But in this period of my life, my style is more pulled back. My greatest sources of inspiration have always been Grace, Audrey Hepburn and my grandmother, who at 80 has an effortless chic.”

Kerr has become an instant bridal style icon with her fairytale wedding gown. The satin, cream-puff-hued gown features a high neckline, elegant wrist-length sleeves a full ballskirt that’s nipped at her (very slim) waist. The dress featured an all-over delicate appliqué of lilies of the valley. “Honestly I could not have imagined a more beautiful wedding dress,” Kerr shared with Vogue a few days after returning home from her honeymoon in Fiji.

She finished her look with an incredible bespoke pearl encrusted headpiece and veil created for her by milliner Stephen Jones. While a Dior haute couture gown might not be in your wedding budget, you can certainly rock a similar look to Kerr’s with on one of these five gowns boasting similar silhouettes from the Spring 2018 bridal fashion runways.

miranda-kerr-inspired-wedding-dress-rosa-claraRosa Clara Spring 2018

miranda-kerr-inspired-wedding-dress-monique-lhuillierMonique Lhuillier Spring 2018

miranda-kerr-inspired-wedding-dress-marchesaMarchesa Spring 2018

miranda-kerr-inspired-wedding-dress-reem-AcraReem Acra Spring 2018

miranda-kerr-inspired-wedding-dress-pronoviasPronovias Spring 2018

This Is How To Honeymoon In Las Vegas Like An A-Lister

Travel » Honeymoons


Las Vegas is many things, but did you know it’s one of the world’s most luxurious spots to honeymoon? With a wealth of high end hotels, spas, shops and restaurants at your fingertips, Las Vegas is the perfect spot to rest and relax (yes really!) and indulge in amazing nightlife if your heart desires.

From super-swish spa indulgences to out-of-this-world dining, you can live the high life on your honeymoon in Las Vegas (even if you’re not a celebrity) by building a travel itinerary that includes these 10 over-the-top luxe experiences.

How To Pull Off Regal Bridal Style With A Chic Edge

Fashion & Beauty » Wedding Dresses

9 ways to add a chic edge to a regal bridal style - white wedding dress

Every bride wants to look like a queen on her wedding day, and there’s no doubt that royal icons from every era continue to influence bridal fashion trends. But why not add an unexpected twist to a traditional look? A regal bridal style with a dark, romantic edge looks especially chic against the backdrop of the stately Borthwick Castle in Scotland, an incredible property with a rich history of famous guests such as Mary, Queen of Scots.

We travelled to Scotland to showcase some of the castle’s most gorgeous spots along with nine ways to turn a regal bridal style into a chic, runway-worthy look.

Photography by Alvaro Goveia. Styling by Tara Williams. Shot on location at Borthwick Castle in Scotland. Hair and makeup by Shelley Lashley. With very special thanks to the team at Borthwick Castle, Michael McCuish from Visit Scotland, Jonathan Graham and Air Transat. First published in the Fall/Winter 2017 edition of Weddingbells.

Six Dramatic Dresses For A Gorgeous Luxe Wedding

Fashion & Beauty » Wedding Dresses

Six Dramatic Dress for a Gorgeous Luxe Wedding - 3D Floral Wedding Dress with Ostrich Feather Skirt

If there’s one day to really go all out with your wardrobe, it’s your wedding day. That’s why we’ve chosen six dramatic dresses that pack a powerful style statement when set against the gorgeous backdrop of the iconic and lovingly restored Crystal Ballroom at Toronto’s Omni King Edward Hotel. With a bold and beautiful makeup look and a sky-high updo inspired by the runway, these bridal looks are as grand as they are gorgeous.

Here we’ll walk you through a tour of the Crystal Ballroom’s history and restoration, as well as showcase how these dramatic gowns pair perfectly with the luxe venue.

Photography by Chris Nicholls. Styling by Tara Williams. Shot on location at the Crystal Ballroom of Toronto’s Omni King Edward Hotel. Hair by Tony Masciangelo for Alcorn Hair/ Makeup by Simone Otis for Prop styling by Catherine Doherty. Prop styling assistance by Annika Waddell. First published in the Fall/Winter 2017 issue of Weddingbells.

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.

Plan A Dream Castle Wedding At This Luxury Scottish Venue

Travel » Destination Weddings


All photos courtesy of Borthwick Castle

There’s something ultra-romantic about getting married in a centuries-old, historic castle property. What makes the event even more amazing is if you can have the whole venue all to yourselves to enjoy an unforgettable bespoke celebration (and even sleep a few nights on-site in true royal style). That’s exactly what you’ll find at Borthwick Castle, an exclusive luxury property in the bucolic Scottish midlands offering a once-in-a-lifetime fairytale experience.

Borthwick Castle is located a 30-minute drive from Edinburgh (and just a one-hour drive from Glasgow) and dates back to the 15th century. One of the finest surviving examples of medieval architecture, the castle was built by Sir William de Borthwick and has a storied history including playing host to Mary Queen of Scots and her husband the Earl of Bothwell during her reign in the 16th century, and surviving canon strikes by Oliver Cromwell and his forces in 1650 (these can be seen on the exterior of the castle’s east wall). In 2013 the castle underwent extensive, multi-million dollar renovations, which transformed the property into a luxury retreat now used exclusively for events.


What’s most magical about Borthwick Castle is how the authenticity of the 600 year old space has been preserved through very thoughtful design and décor—the vibe is pure luxury with rich fabrics, colours, textures and incredible bespoke furnishings featured throughout (the property recently took top honours at the Northern Design Awards winning the hotel interior design category).


For weddings, Borthwick can accommodate up to 80 guests in the magnificent and majestic Great Hall. The room looks incredible when set up to resemble a lavish royal banquet and it can also accommodate after dinner dancing and cocktails.


Located several winding staircases above this space, on the castle’s top floor, is the Garrison, a dramatic and cozy space where couples can say ‘I do.’ There is also a charming local church where you can tie the knot, but most couples opt to have their ceremony and celebration exclusively at Borthwick.


If you want to know what it’s like to sleep like a king and queen, Borthwick offers you this experience and trust when we say a stay in one of the castle’s plush bedchambers will be a memory of a lifetime. All 10 sumptuous bedchambers are unique and designed showcase the historic details of the castle. Favourite rooms include Mary Queen of Scots (pictured) which is the room Mary is rumoured to have stayed in while in residence; and Earl of Bothwell (the soaker tube, which features window views of the rural Scottish countryside and hand-carved canopy bed make this one extra special).

What truly makes Borthwick a dream wedding destination though is not just the interior and exterior beauty, but the staff. They will make you feel as though the castle is your home and ensure your celebration and your stay is absolute perfection.

Fun Bridesmaid Gifts For Every Girl In Your Party



Your bridesmaids are some of the most important players in your wedding day, so gifting them each with something amazing is essential. There are so many great present options for your pals (at every price point so don’t think you have to drop major bucks!) We asked Melissa Evans-Lee, style expert and marketing director for Toronto’s Bayview Village, for her gift picks and she gave us an amazing lust list of prezzies. From statement necklaces to lipstick, champagne and macarons she’s suggested a gift for every lady in your bridal party!

Pnina Tornai Shares Her Top Bridal Gown Shopping Tips

Fashion & Beauty » Wedding Dresses

Pnina Tornai Shares Her Musts for Bridal Gown Shopping - Wedding Dress

Photo courtesy of Pnina Tornai.

When it comes to wedding dresses that are OTT in the most amazing way possible, nobody does it better than Pnina Tornai. The beloved designer and Say Yes To The Dress favourite was recently in Toronto for an appearance at Kleinfeld Hudson’s Bay where she definitely made some bridal dreams come true showcasing her new 2018 LOVE by Pnina Tornai collection. We had a chance to chat with her about bridal style and sparkle.

Weddingbells: What is the style philosophy behind your latest collection?

“My 2018 LOVE by Pnina Tornai Collection was designed keeping in mind the love I receive each and every day from my brides from around the world. I was inspired by the beauty of the simple pleasures in life: flowers, sunrises, sunsets, and most of all, the divine magic of this amazing world we live in. This collection has a gown for every bride from the girl who has dreamed of her own fairy-tale moment to the bride who loves the sexiness of red carpet glamour. It takes the best of my couture collections and makes it possible for a bride with a stricter budget to buy the gown of her dreams. I want every bride to be a Pnina bride.”

WB: Who is the Pnina Tornai bride?

“The Pnina Tornai bride is fashion-forward and has confidence in who she is. She appreciates fine details, quality fabrics, and a killer silhouette! She dares to be a different and always stays true to herself in fashion and in life.”

WB: Do you have a favourite dress style or silhouette for your brides?

“It’s so hard to choose because all of the gowns are like my children! I love them all for what they are. My favorite silhouette for my bride is the one that makes her feel the best, but if I had to choose one, I love a fitted gown with a detachable skirt. That way you get two looks in one.”

Pnina Tornai Shares Her Musts for Bridal Gown Shopping - Wedding Dress

Photo courtesy of Pnina Tornia.

WB: You are the sparkle queen of bridal design…can a girl ever have too much sparkle on her wedding day? 

“I am a firm believer that a bride should do whatever makes her feel her most beautiful on her wedding day, whether that’s wearing a simple slip dress with no sparkle or wearing a two-piece ball gown with a crystal encrusted bodice and embellished skirt. I haven’t met a bride yet who wore too much sparkle!”

WB: What is the most important thing a bride needs to consider when shopping for her dress?

“I think one of the most important things a bride needs to consider when dress shopping doesn’t have to do with the gown at all. It has to do with who she brings to her appointment. I’ve seen too many appointments end in frustration because a bride’s entourage didn’t have her best interests at heart. Too many opinions can get very confusing, so make sure you bring only the people who will be completely honest, know your sense of style, and are the closest to you. The day should be fun, not stressful!”

WB: “_______________ will never go out of style when it comes to bridal fashion.”

“Confidence will never go out of style when it comes to bridal fashion. It’s the best accessory!”

Pippa Middleton Is Responsible For These New Wedding Trends


Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

We’re still swooning over Pippa and James’ perfect day. This wedding was pretty close to perfect (with a rumoured price tag of £400,000!) and definitely on par with sister Kate’s royal affair (if Kate hadn’t married a prince, we bet her wedding would have been a very similar upscale English country-chic celebration in her hometown).

From the dress to floral décor, Pippa’s day was chock-a-block full of incredible details and trend-setting wedding ideas. Here are five of our favourites:

1. The Sexy Lace Dress
Pippa’s bespoke Giles Deacon guipure lace gown (with a reported price tag of £70,000) was definitely traditional, but it was form-fitting and skin-baring in the most ladylike manner. The corset bodice and cap sleeves showcased Pippa’s killer bod (those arms!) and we love that she flashed just a hint of skin with a gorgeous keyhole detail in the back of the gown.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

2. Drop Earrings
Pippa wore the very same earrings she did as a bridesmaid for Kate—diamond drops custom created by Robinson Pelham, the Middleton family jeweller. We love the understated elegance of her accessory choice and the fact that she chose to sport diamonds over more traditional bridal pearls.

Pippa Middleton Wedding

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

3. The Veil
Pippa proved this is one accessory every bride should rock on her wedding day. Her delicate tulle veil dotted with pearls was created by milliner Stephen Jones and added an instant air of romance to her bridal style without eclipsing her dress.

Pippa Middleton Wedding

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

4. Petite Bouquets
Pippa took the floral décor at her ceremony to the next level. Historic St. Mark’s Church in Englefiled, England was kitted out in incredible swags, arrangements and floral archways featuring lush greenery, and a pink and white floral mix of garden roses, peonies, sweet peas, astilbe, freesia and waxflowers. With the verdant décor, the bride chose to keep her bouquet teeny, tiny—we’re loving the return to small and compact arrangements after seasons of oversize bouquets.

Pippa Middleton Wedding

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

5. The Cutest Kids Outfits
There’s no denying the wee ones stole the show with their adorable (and very British) outfits. Spanish children’s wear label Pepa & Co designed white Peter Pan collar shirts and sage knickerbockers for Prince George and the boys; and white smocked dresses trimmed with Millennial Pink sashes for Princess Charlotte and the girls. The best news: Pepa & Co. has just launched a collection inspired by these darling designs so your bridal party littles can rock the same look.

This Luxury So-Cal Paradise Will Make You Want A Destination Wedding

Travel » Destination Weddings


Photo courtesy of Rancho Valencia.

There’s nowhere on earth quite like Southern California; the breezy ocean vistas, chill vibes and the flawless weather make this destination positively utopic. The weather is also pretty much perfect year-round, meaning you won’t have to stress about your outdoor ceremony being rained out.

In terms of wedding venues in the area, there’s no property more beautiful than Rancho Valencia. This exclusive resort, located 30 minutes north of San Diego, is private, intimate and oh-so-luxe. Rancho Valencia is Southern California’s only Relais and Chateaux property and will spoil you with incredible food, luxe accommodations, pristine lawns and verdant Mediterranean garden vistas (olive and citrus trees abound on the property’s 45 acres and you can exchange ‘I dos’ amidst any of these amazing backdrops!) The five-star resort, which repeatedly tops travel best lists, recently underwent a tip-to-toe multimillion dollar renovation and everything on property is absolutely OTT.


Photo courtesy of Rancho Valencia.

Let’s start with the accommodations, which are positively plush. There are just 49 hacienda-style casita suites on property (it’s not huge so you can easily take over the resort for your celebration) all of which are spacious and luxe, complete with fireplaces, private patios and plunge pools. Freshly squeezed orange juice arrives outside your door every morning to kick-start your day (it’s always the little things) and we recommend having breakfast in bed for the duration of your stay to enjoy these gorgeous rooms to the fullest.


Photo courtesy of Rancho Valencia.

We recommend checking in a few days before your wedding so you can get organized and kick the pre-celebration anxiety by indulging in Rancho’s incredible spa with its zen approach to modern wellness. Set amidst lush gardens guaranteed to soothe the soul, the spa menu here is extensive and inspired, all focused on bringing balance and wellness back to you (book the Lovers Ritual or Sensual Plunge for two). The adults-only pool is a beautiful place to relax and you can even get your sweat on in one of three studios: fitness, Pilates and yoga. Rancho is also one of the world’s top tennis destinations, so if that’s your game, this is the place to sharpen your serve.


Photo courtesy of Rancho Valencia.

There are a number of spots to host your wedding, whether it’s an intimate gathering of 10 or a rollicking bash for 250+. For larger celebrations, gorgeous outdoor spaces include The Croquet Lawn (pictured) and The Valencia Lawn, both of which feature manicured lawns and lush gardens framed by hibiscus, bougainvillea and palm trees (these areas can also be tented for to create a reception space). The Rose Garden is also located outdoors and is for a smaller gathering of up to 30 and it’s one of our favourite spots on property as it overlooks a stunning olive grove (don’t miss the wedding photo op here!)


Photo courtesy of Rancho Valencia.

For a wedding indoors there are also ballroom options available and one very special space we adore for intimate celebrations is The Wine Room (above). This gem is tucked in the lower level of the resort and is a gorgeous spot brimming with warmth and character.


Photo courtesy of Rancho Valencia.

Of course a key part of any wedding celebration is the food and the all-star culinary team at Rancho Valencia more than has that covered. With plenty of fresh local produce at the ready, you can custom-create a California cool menu (and even go shopping for veg to be served at your wedding with the chef at the local market!)

Rumoured to be a hideaway that celebs adore (the Clintons and Robert Redford to name a few), Rancho Valencia delivers nothing but the best travel experience possible, exactly what you want your destination wedding to be!