Sexy silhouettes have become a staple of bridal fashion over the past several seasons. Plunging necklines and dress backs, sky-high skirt slits and sheer side panels running the length of the leg have become almost as prevalent as demure designs, but the 2017 wedding dress trend that everyone is talking about most is cut-outs. Several designers, including Christos, Ines Di Santo and Christian Siriano, showed gowns with peek-a-boo panels just above the hips. Some dresses were fitted with barely there sheer inlays, while others had a little more coverage with pretty lace and fishnet fabrics. The good news? This daring design detail creates a sleek and slimming effect that is incredibly flattering on almost every body type.
For his first bridal collection for Kleinfeld, Christian Siriano showcased a buzzy lineup of textured gowns and gorgeous silhouettes. This particular gown’s cut-outs blend seamlessly into the design to create an elongated, elegant silhouette.
Gowns with very minimal detailing are becoming increasingly popular and what we love about this one by Kenneth Pool is that it has some small, delicate lace panels on the sides to give a hint of sexiness to an otherwise clean and classic gown.
Rhode Island may be the smallest state in the union, but it’s also one of the most picturesque and romantic. Taylor Swift owns a home in the tony Watch Hill area and, ICYMI, The Ocean State’s shoreline has served as the backdrop for Taylor Swift and Tom Hiddlestone’s sizzling new romance.
We visited Tay’s favourite summer hang out spot recently to see why she’s so smitten. What we discovered was a truly enchanting honeymoon destination. From luxurious Victorian hotels and rustic hideaways to vineyards and breathtaking beaches, Rhode Island has it all. Here are four more reasons why we love this little slice of New England:
1. It’s home to one of the world’s most luxurious hotels Swift’s neighbourhood of Watch Hill runs along a dramatic stretch of the Atlantic Ocean. If Swifty has yet to extend a personal invite to her pad, you can stay in the same area at the historic and iconic Ocean House. Built on the bluffs of Watch Hill over 135 years ago, the Victorian-style property is one of only 10 Forbes triple five star hotels in the world—everything from the accommodations to the food, service, grounds and OH!Spa are incredibly luxe. The 49 guest rooms and 18 suites are spacious and feature coastal décor that combines modern and antique design finishes. With 13 oceanfront acres to explore, this seaside Relais & Chateaux resort also has a private 650-foot white sand beach perfect for strolling.
Photo via iStockphoto
2. Autumn in Rhode Island is unforgettable Though it’s an amazing destination in spring and summer too, autumn is when Rhode Island truly shines. Bordered by Connecticut and Massachusetts, Rhode Island is surrounded by natural beauty and that means gorgeous fall colours. The best way to see it is to take a little road trip around the area and even dip into the neighbouring states (if you’re staying at Ocean House you can borrow one of the property’s Mercedes convertibles for a sexy sightseeing tour).
3. It’s close to wine country Did you know that neighbouring Connecticut is a hot bed for wine makers? In fact, one of the best vineyards in New England is located in North Stonington, just across Rhode Island’s state line. John Edwards Winery has been in business since 2000 (they also have vineyards in Napa Valley) and a visit to property is a must for oenophiles. Book a tasting and tour of the property where you can explore its rambling 48 acres, see the wine-making process, and enjoy a sampling of both John Edwards east and west coast vintages. You will definitely want to take a few bottles home with you too as a honeymoon souvenir.
4. It has a rustic and romantic side If you truly want privacy and to be surrounded by nature’s serenity, there is a beautiful and plush hideaway in Rhode Island that’s perfect for that. The Weekapaug Inn, a sister property to Ocean House (and also a Relais & Chateaux property), boasts similarly exceptional food, service and accommodations with a vastly different laid-back vibe. Built on the shores of the tranquil Quonchontaug Pond, the inn dates back to 1899 though the property as it stands today was restored in 2010. There are just 31 cozy guest rooms here, all of which feature charming country-luxe décor (Weekapaug designer Nancy Taylor made each room unique) and pond or cove views. You can hit the beach, canoe, kayak, bike, bird watch or just relax in the beauty of your guest room and the inn’s common areas. You will be well rested and very well fed thanks to the Weekapaug’s incredible menus—the traditional Sunday Roast lunch is a must.
The spiral staircase in the grand entrance of the Four Seasons Resort Orlando was made to flaunt a high-impact dress like this one with its incredible train. <br />
<i>Dress, <a href="http://www.pronovias.com/ca/" target="_blank">Pronovias</a>. Bouquet, <a href="http://www.leejamesfloral.com/cms/" target="_blank">Lee James Floral Designs</a>.</i>
A two-piece with lace sleeves is an elegant compromise between a modern wedding dress design and a classic creation–especially if you're tying the knot in a balmy destination like Florida. <br />
<i>Dress, <a href="http://www.impressionbridal.com/" target="_blank">Impression Bridal</a>. Earrings, <a href="http://mnross.com/" target="_blank">Michelle Ross</a>. Necklace, <a href="http://www.cuchara.ca/" target="_blank">Cuchara</a>. </i>
Own the ceremony aisle with a jaw-dropping jumpsuit complete with a detachable train. <br />
<i>Jumpsuit with detachable train, <a href="http://inesdisanto.com/" target="_blank">Ines Di Santo</a>. Bracelet, <a href="http://www.thelovedone.ca/" target="_blank">The Loved One</a>. Shoes, <a href="http://www.emmylondon.com/" target="_blank">Emmy London</a>.</i>
Featuring Spanish Revival architecture and situated in the heart of central Florida, the Four Seasons Resort Orlando is the perfect choice for a Euro-feeling destination wedding close to home.<br />
<i>Dress, <a href="http://angelsanchezusa.com/" target="_blank">Angel Sanchez</a>. Earrings, <a href="https://www.hm.com/ca" target="_blank">H&M</a>. Shoes, <a href="http://ninashoes.com/" target="_blank">Nina Shoes</a>.</i>
Match your wedding dress to your venue, like we did, with this glamorous yet sleek sweetheart neckline wedding dress.<br />
<i>Dress, <a href="http://enzoani.com/" target="_blank">Enzoani</a>. Earrings, <a href="http://www.thelovedone.ca/" target="_blank">The Loved One</a>. Bracelet, <a href="http://www.cuchara.ca/" target="_blank">Cuchara</a>. </i>
Love that Old Hollywood glamour look but with a bridal twist? Keep your locks curled, pair with a dark lipstick and don a gorgeous gown with a high neck and pretty belt to cinch the waist. <br />
<i>Dress, <a href="http://www.alfredangelobridal.ca/" target="_blank">Alfred Angelo</a>. Necklace, <a href="http://mnross.com/" target="_blank">Michelle Ross</a>. Earrings, <a href="http://www.lielandlentz.com/" target="_blank">Liel and Lentz</a>. Ring, stylist’s own.</i>
The spa lawn is one of Four Seasons Resort Orlando's most picturesque wedding photo locations, highlighting the property's verdant, Mediterranean-inspired gardens and landscapes. <br />
Dress, <a href="https://houghtonnyc.com/blog/houghton-bride/" target="_blank">Houghton Bride</a> from <a href="http://whitetoronto.com/" target="_blank">White Toronto</a>. Necklace, <a href="http://www.cuchara.ca/" target="_blank">Cuchara</a>.
Sunset at the Four Seasons Resort Orlando creates a tranquil, romantic ambience that's a beautiful complement to this dramatic, pearl-embellished gown and cape. <br />
<i>Dress & cape, <a href="http://www.francescamiranda.com/" target="_blank">Francesca Miranda</a>. Earrings, <a href="http://www.thelovedone.ca/" target="_blank">The Loved One</a>.</i>
Girl meets boy when they are both members of their respective best friends’ wedding party. The two fall in love and then those best-newlywed-friends are in their wedding party two years later. In short, that’s the sweet story of how romance bloomed for Pamela and Bryan. “My best friend, Brittany, and Bryan’s best friend, Aaron, were getting married in Nantucket and that’s where we met,” Pamela recounts with a smile. “Bryan was just back from a year in Afghanistan with the U.S. military. We had never met before that weekend, but sparks flew. The weekend trip was extended for a few days in Cape Cod together, then Bryan spent the next month visiting me in Toronto and wooing me with surprise trips and romantic dinners.”
Bryan proposed to Pamela while the pair was visiting her hometown of Winnipeg a few days before Christmas. The couple decided the city was the perfect place for their wedding and found their dream venue in the 200-year old Fort Gibraltar. “The Fort has an incredible history and enchanting natural beauty,” Pamela says. “We found a place that perfectly captured both our personalities—I loved its sophistication and Bryan loved its natural charm.”
Rustic-meets-contemporary chic was the theme for the day and the couple created a party for their 100 guests brimming with country charm and beautiful elegance. The decor and stationery colours were crisp whites, enhanced by fresh green foliage and dark natural woods, mixed with gold. The bride and her parents crafted many of the wedding’s most gorgeous details. “I designed and created all my letterpress wedding stationery,” says Pamela. “I was in the midst of launching my own business, Pam & Paper, so it was an amazing opportunity to test some ideas and methods. I was inspired by the woodgrain of the fort walls. I used bold fonts and subtle textural impressions on the invitations to help set the theme for the wedding. The day-of pieces followed suit, incorporating laser-cut details.” Pamela’s parents crafted the altar decor—her mom is an avid gardener and her dad a carpentry enthusiast. “My dad built the structure and my mom grew the vines all summer in her garden,” Pamela says. “They actually built four altars with different vines to make sure we had the perfect one.”
Pamela had a running joke with Bryan leading up to their wedding: she was excited to marry him, but most excited to wear her dress by Canadian label Greta Constantine. The dress was the definition of a modern, sleek, non-traditional design, which Pamela adored. “It really felt like ‘my’ dress; the style was an extension of who I am. So much of my styling for the day was a spin-off of the gown design. The crew at Greta also created bespoke bridesmaid and groomsmaid dresses. Working with them was an absolute dream!”
The couple’s late-afternoon wedding kicked off with hot apple cider served to guests pre-ceremony. During the couple’s “I dos,” instead of readings they had seven special friends share their thoughts on love. “We called it the ‘Seven Sentiments of Love’ and had a variety of speakers, from my 10-year-old nephew to my grandparents, sharing words,” Pamela reminisces. “All of our guests were laughing and crying along with us.”
Between the ceremony and reception guests were entertained with music by Keith Macpherson, while consuming food and drinks or enjoying a round of hatchet throwing within the fort walls. Dinner, speeches and dancing followed, as well as a cake, and finally a late-night Scotch bar, which was the groom’s labour of love.
“I crafted every detail of the wedding, but the ‘SandBar’ was all Bryan,” Pamela says with a laugh. “He personally curated a selection of scotches, whiskies and bourbons, and created an amazing outdoor bar. Another important task he looked after was our honeymoon planning. We had a three-week adventure which started in Spain and ended in Paris—the trip was absolutely perfect!”
Pamela Ritchot and Bryan Sand, October 10, 2015, Winnipeg, Manitoba.
While, yes, it’s largely about the dress on your big day, wedding accessories are still a huge part of completing the look. Considering this will likely be the most-photographed day of your life, you need to take into consideration every little detail from your shoes to your jewellery and headpiece.
We asked Melissa Evans-Lee, style expert and marketing director for Toronto’s Bayview Village to recommend some must-have wedding accessories for 2016 brides. Evans-Lee says this year it’s all about contrast, bling and statement pieces with a little tradition thrown in for good measure.
Statement Pieces “A lot of wedding dress necklines call for sleek updos, which in turn offers the perfect opportunity to showcase gorgeous jewels,” says Evans-Lee. “From glittering collar necklaces to glitzy earrings, don’t be afraid to go big with your jewellery pieces.”
“Your wedding is the time you don’t have to worry about overdoing it with the sparkle,” Evans-Lee explains. “I love jewel-encrusted clutches, shoes, and amazing jewelry. The more bling the better!”
Incorporating colour into bridal style is not a new trend, but what designers showed for spring 2017 was an explosion of pastel colours ranging from delicate ombré effects in skirting to all-over soft shades and pastel detailing. From mint, to blush, baby blue and even hints of lavender, pastels made headlines on the runways of Marchesa, Jenny Packham and Romona Keveza just to name a few. We love this trend for the bride who wants something just a little bit different.
For a classic bride that wants a bit of a twist, this romantic blush-toned Legends by Romona Keveza gown is a stunning choice. The princess silhouette is the definition of timeless elegance and the lace is absolutely exquisite.
Minty fresh for a luxe boho bride, this Jenny Packham gown had us swooning the moment we spied it on the runway. Packham is a favourite designer of Kate Middleton and you too can absolutely have a royal moment wearing this beauty at your wedding.
Marchesa is famous for their dramatic, red carpet style gowns that literally take your breath away. This peony pink confection is no exception. The colour, plus the feathery details on the neckline and the miles of tulle ruffles on the skirting are perfection.
For your something blue, this periwinkle gown by Hailey Page is a stylish choice. In addition to the gorgeous colour, this dress combines several of our other favourite trends: sleeves, embroidery and a dramatic illusion neckline.
Switzerland is a bucket list destination that delivers a one-of-a-kind travel experience. The country boasts clean, efficient (and fascinating) cities, gorgeous countryside and incredible food—plus Switzerland is a melting pot of European cultures (there are four national languages!)
The best and most picturesque way to travel the country is by rail, journeying effortlessly from end to end (tip: buy a Swiss Travel Pass for complete access to all trains, buses and boats).
Though Switzerland is small, with a population of just eight million, there is much to see. To get a taste of everything the country offers, visit the four cities of Zürich, Bern, Lausanne and Lugano. Here we plan your perfect Swiss honeymoon.
Within moments of opening your wedding invitation, guests will undoubtedly begin pondering what on earth they should wear for the occasion. They will inevitably wonder if white is off limits and whether suit jackets and ties are expected, which, depending the type of people your loved ones are, may result in a barrage of emails.
Get ahead of these queries by offering concrete outfit advice from the get-go. Include somewhere on your invite (fine print at the bottom works perfectly) a few words about the style of wedding you’re having, which will give guests some direction on what they should wear. You may not think it’s your duty to tell them how to dress, but helping your guests with sartorial choices will actually ensure they’re comfortable and able to focus completely on the main event (rather than feeling self-conscious about being over- or under-dressed).
We asked Melissa Evans-Lee, style expert and marketing director for Toronto’s Bayview Village for advice on decoding the what-to-wear question for your wedding guests. “Most people don’t know what to wear and it can be tricky to navigate a wedding dress code based on whether it’s a casual or formal affair,” Evans-Lee shares. Here is her fashion advice for you to pass along to your guests based on the type of celebration you are hosting:
Summer Backyard Casual Weddings “’Wedding’ and ‘casual’ in the same sentence is almost contradictory,” Evans-Lee says. “If you don’t clearly define the style for your guests, you will see some very casual shorts!” Evans-Lee explains that this is arguably the toughest wedding dress code for guests to decipher. If it is indeed in a backyard, advise women against heels in favour of sandals or wedges (there will be grass to contend with). Easy, breezy summer dressing is the thing you need to stress to guests—for women, maxi dresses, jumpsuits or floral dresses are perfect. Sunglasses, sunscreen and a cardigan for after the sun goes down are also advised. For men, dress pants paired with a polo shirt or light linen dress shirt is apropos.
Destination Beach Weddings Two words: beach chic! This is the dress code you need to enlighten your guests about says Evans-Lee. Sleek sundresses, bling-encrusted sandals, dramatic sunhats, movie star-worthy sunglasses and stylish shawls for cooler nights are perfect. For men, think light summer suits in linen, sans tie.
Formal Evening Weddings “My definition of formal is that it’s an opportunity to dress up,” Evans-Lee explains. If you decide to have a formal affair, you need to let guests know that that means pulling out all the stops. For women, it’s a cocktail gown or evening dress; for men it’s a suit and tie—and if you want tuxedos, you must specify black tie.
Sunday Brunch Weddings “I love the idea of a wedding transpiring over Sunday brunch,” says Evans-Lee. You have to be clear with dress expectations though, since many guests will assume a level of informality as it’s not in the evening. For women, suggest beautiful day dresses in bright colours or print, or even classic little black dresses. For men, dress pants and a jacket are perfect.
Balancing a wedding budget is delicate business. It’s easy to go off the rails quickly when it comes to wedding spending, but there are also a few parts of the party-planning process that warrant a bit of a splurge. We’re always asked for our take on where it’s most important to drop the bucks, so here our editors share insights on which elements of your wedding you absolutely shouldn’t skimp on.
THE DRESS “It’s your Cinderella, red carpet moment and you don’t want to feel anything less than incredible going to the ball, right? There are so many styles of gowns to choose from today at so many different price points, I don’t think any bride has to settle for something she is not completely in love with. You will be looking at your wedding pictures for the rest of your life and the last thing you want to think is that you should have paid a little extra for that dress you really loved.” —Alison McGill, editor-in-chief
PHOTOGRAPHY “You absolutely cannot skimp on photography (because this is what happens when you do). Your wedding day is going to go by in a flash and the images will become priceless mementos of the time you spent with all of your favourite people. Look for recommendations on the top photographers in your area and flip through their portfolios to see who will jive best with the overall theme of your celebration. The best shooters will command higher prices but they’ll also ensure that you end up with a collection of artful images that you adore. When it comes time to book, make sure you reserve your chosen photographer for the entire day (not just the ceremony) so that they can capture all the tearful reactions to heartfelt speeches, your first twirl on the dance floor as husband and wife, and your beautiful sparkler send-off.” —Jen O’Brien, executive online editor
MUSIC & SOUND
“For a great party-like wedding atmosphere, splurging on your music and surround sound is key. If you can, hire a live band because there’s nothing like live entertainment to get the crowd pumped. Spending on quality sound equipment, especially in larger venues is also a must. The last thing you want is for your guests to talk through the heartwarming speeches that your bridal party or parents have prepared for you.” —Roseanne Dela Rosa, associate editor
FLOWERS “Great flowers can make a wedding. They create a mood and add luxurious drama to your décor. It’s not about the number of flowers you have or even having an over-the-top display of them; great flowers mean putting together creative arrangements using the freshest blooms available. Work closely with your florist to come up with a plan that won’t break the bank but also may necessitate dedicating some extra dollars from another area of your budget. It is a spend you definitely will not regret.” —Alison McGill, editor-in-chief
HAIR & MAKEUP
“Unless you work as a hairstylist or professional makeup artist, you need to abandon the notion that you’ll do your own hair and makeup for the big day. Part of the process of putting together a cohesive bridal look is working with pros to test out hairstyles that will complement your dress and makeup that will look natural yet flawless in photos (and last from the vows through to the last dance). For this reason, hair and makeup trials are an absolute necessity. Even if you’re a die hard DIY bride, go ahead and hand-make the decor, favours, stationery and even the cake, but splurge on the pampering experience of hiring pros to handle your bridal beauty look.” —Jen O’Brien, executive online editor
FOOD AND DRINK
“Every amazing wedding I’ve attended and every great real wedding I’ve written about always highlights food and drink as a top priority. Trust me, the menu can have a huge impact on how your guests will rate your celebration. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box: for appetizers have food stations highlighting your favourite dishes, and for dessert go all out with a wide range of sweet and savoury options. For drinks, serving personalized cocktails goes a long way. An open bar is a necessity and treating your guests to some nice wine with dinner will also enhance the culinary experience.”
—Roseanne Dela Rosa, associate editor
Photo courtesy of Tiffany & Co., Tiffany 2016 Blue Book collection
Maybe you are shopping for that dream ring (translation: dropping hints to your guy about the perfect ring) or perhaps you’ve just been proposed to and are busy capturing ring selfies, but we bet you didn’t know there is a long and interesting history behind left hand bling.
The Tradition Engagement rings date back to ancient Roman times, but the diamond engagement ring as we know it was not widely seen until the Victorian era. The ring is worn on the ring finger of the left hand because it’s thought that finger contains a vein that leads straight to the heart.
The Design In 1886, Charles Tiffany revolutionized the engagement ring by introducing the six-prong mount, which was trademarked as the “Tiffany Setting”. That famous setting, which lifts a radiant cut diamond up and away from the finger, allows the stone to sparkle from every angle.
The Most Popular Rings
The Tiffany setting turns 130 years old in 2016 and, incredibly, it remains the most popular setting in the Tiffany & Co. engagement ring portfolio. We were recently in New York to celebrate this monumental anniversary of the Tiffany Setting with Tiffany & Co. and spoke to Melvyn Kirtley, the company’s chief gemologist, about why the six prong setting is still tops with brides-to-be. He says it really comes down to the simplicity and timelessness of the design and how beautifully it showcases a stone. “You can literally spot this ring from across a room no matter what the size of the diamond because the stone is so shiny and bright and the setting allows the light to filter through it giving a beautiful sparkle,” Kirtley explains. “The setting itself remains the same as it was when it was introduced 130 years ago and was Tiffany & Co.’s only engagement setting for about 100 years. It is still our most requested and purchased engagement ring today.”
The Holy Grail of Bling How does an 8.5-carat radiant cut diamond sound for your engagement bling? To celebrate the Tiffany Setting’s anniversary, the company’s design team lead by creative director Francesca Amfitheatrof crafted the ultimate dream ring as part of the exclusive 2016 Blue Book collection. This year’s Blue Book offering called “The Art of Transformation” featured 200 one-of-a-kind, eye-popping pieces, one of which was a 8.5-carat radiant cut diamond mounted in the classic Tiffany Setting and bigged-up with pave set diamonds on the prongs and band. The cost? $2.3 million. A girl can dream…
Rustic vineyard weddings are ever-popular in British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley, but it’s rare to see a Provence-inspired celebration brimming with luxe details. That was, however, the goal of the genius team who put together this gorgeous shoot in Osoyoos. “Our inspiration was a very sophisticated celebration centred on a colour palette of gold, blue and ivory,” shares Lara Taylor from Watermark Beach Resort. “We wanted to convey a different level of sophistication in the heart of British Columbia wine country with décor elements including velvet fabrics, chandeliers, large estate urns and a champagne tower with Marie Antoinette glasses.”
Birthday cake, red velvet, dulce de leche…all delicious wedding cake flavours, but a little 2000-and-late when it comes to what’s hip for sweet treats.
For 2016, it’s all about getting really creative and serving your guests the unexpected. And nobody does cool cake flavours like Winnipeg-based Jenna Rae Cakes. Partners Jenna Rae Illchuk and Ashley Illchuk are renown for their quirky cake designs and incredible tasting treats. “We love experimenting with different and fun flavours,” says Jenna Rae. “It’s fun for us and incredibly fun for our clients. We have some really amazing combinations that are super popular right now.”
Read Jenna Rae’s current top wedding cake flavours and get inspired to dream up a few new and amazing ones to include in your layers of love.
Canadian designer Christopher Paunil made his debut at Toronto Fashion Week to showcase his latest bridal and special occasion collection and the vibe was modern, chic and subtly sexy. With silhouettes ranging from sleek form-fitting sheaths to structured mermaid gowns and strapless, tulle-skirted designs complete with hi-low hemlines, every style of bride has a dream dress in this lineup.
Paunil’s use of fabrics was particularly gorgeous, blending satin with lace in many of his designs. One particular standout that stole our hearts was a blush pink beauty. This particular strapless gown, with a Chantilly lace bodice and sculpturally-pleated trumpet skirt in silk wool, was a show-stopper and a perfect option for a bride that wants something ultra-feminine yet non-traditional.
We bet you want your bouquet to look amazing, but shouldn’t it smell otherworldly too? A bouquet with a light, bright and feminine fragrance is a beautiful touch on your wedding day and it can also have a therapeutic effect! Scents like rose and lavender are known to soothe the soul while greens like eucalyptus can have an amazing energizing effect.
We asked Alex Cole, creative director and owner of Toronto’s Patchouli Design, for her favourite aromatic blooms for brides. Her picks may surprise you!