We’ve detected a pattern among style-savvy brides and that is, well, patterns! From retro-inspired polka dots to unabashedly modern black and white stripes, patterns have been popping up everywhere: cocktail napkins, drink flags, table runners, even bouquet wrappers and dresses with bold geometric prints. Gone are the days when weddings were stamped with a run-of-the-mill monogram; with weddings embracing an entirely new level of personalization, brides have looked far beyond their married names for inspiration. Wardrobe favourites — such as beloved pair of striped wedges — or that bright chevron couch sitting in the couple’s apartment can now be just as influential in determining wedding decor as the actual colours or locale. In addition to providing an alternative twist on typical wedding motifs (flowers and lovebirds) patterns also allow brides to express a particular style without going overboard. Poodle skirts, mini cheeseburgers and root beer floats might make your celebration feel like a sock hop, but bridesmaids in cute polka dot party dresses will reinforce the retro vibe without subtracting from the elegance of your wedding day. Likewise, navy stripes would make a charming addition to a lakeside celebration but aren’t in-your-face “nautical”. In spirit of style that can carry its own weight, we’ve rounded up our favourite pattern-inspired wedding details.
Archive for Rachel Cravit
Truth be told, beach weddings have a tendency to all look the same. This isn’t surprising, considering the beach is not only a blank canvas but — if you’re lucky to find the right spot — a truly spectacular setting. One glance at the seaward horizon and you’re practically ordering those chocolate seashell favours by telepathy. Trust us, we’ve been there. It’s hard to not look at a great beach and immediately envision a boatload of cutesy nautical details (if only you could persuade your bridesmaids to wear boat shoes!).
The wedding industry, for its part, doesn’t help much: beach-themed favours and knick knacks capitalize on the initial excitement: your ceremony site overlooks the water, therefore you have to snatch up these shell-shaped program fans before you send out your message-in-a-bottle invitations.
We say, pause. The oodles of items available for your beach wedding aren’t going anywhere. You’ve already scanned the surface and know there are infinite ways to incorporate your seaside surroundings into your wedding celebration. However, if you’re willing to dive a little deeper, you’ll discover an entirely new realm of creative beach wedding ideas that haven’t been done a bajillion times before. Here are 40 of our favourites.
While we’re hardly ones to argue against a gaggle of flower girls skipping down the aisle with baskets of petals, there are several alternative ways to herald your arrival that don’t involve flowers or pint-sized relatives for that matter. We’ve rustled up some of the most charming, sweet and downright spectacular flower girl concepts to come our way to put a new spin on this age-old tradition. Whether you’re planning a sleek soiree in the city or homey backyard celebration, these ideas will translate into practically any venue (with some thematic options thrown in for good measure!)
For many a bride, Etsy is the first stop for resourcing odds and ends to enhance their wedding celebration. A bona fide bazaar of sorts for artisans, designers and craftsmen to sell their creations online, the website contains a treasure trove of endless wedding goodies; veils, garters, cake toppers, candle holders, guestbooks, jewellery, even wedding dresses can cross your path once you enter the magical wardrobe. Launched in 2005 in Brooklyn, this North American mecca for craftsy, creative types has rapidly expanded to 22 million users, with over 18 million items listed on the website. Unsurprisingly, they have a vast wedding section, but as blogs such as Regretsy can tell you, not all goods are created equal. Always on the hunt for awesome stuff to delight and inspire you during your wedding planning process, Weddingbells decided to dive right in and tackle the massive world of Etsy weddings. Here are 15 finds that we’re going nuts over.
Bridesmaid selection can be one of the most daunting and potentially damaging tasks a bride can face during the course of her wedding planning. The fear of resentment or hurt feelings among friends and family who didn’t make the cut is certainly understandable; some brides decide to forgo a wedding party altogether, or only appoint a single friend or sibling to stand beside them on their big day. Others opt to include as many people as humanly possible a la Katherine Heigl in 27 Dresses. But one way to ultimately solve this bridesmaid conundrum is by finding creative alternative ways to include your nearest and dearest in the wedding ceremony, even if they aren’t toting matching bouquets. Here are a few ideas:
Witnesses: Two witnesses are required for a legal marriage ceremony in Canada. While filling out forms may not be the most romantic aspect of your wedding day, you can turn this bureaucratic procedure into a thoughtful gesture by appointing close friends or family members to the role. By including their names in the program or having your officiant call them up when it comes time to sign the documents, these close friends and relatives who didn’t quite make the cut for your wedding party will be less likely to feel like B-listers on your big day.
Readers: You know that kind of loud friend who you love to death but has a tendency to always steal the show? Instead of banishing her to the back row, let your pal take centre stage with a reading role. Not only will she be in her element, she’ll be able to contribute a meaningful portion to your ceremony by delivering a poem, religious passage or even a line from your favourite movie, a famous speech or any of the other boundless options for ceremony readings.
Ring Warmers: A ring warming ceremony can be a touching addition to the usual wedding fare. Include your nearest and dearest who aren’t standing up as bridesmaids by asking them to bestow a quiet blessing or happy thought on your wedding rings before they’re exchanged. Attach the rings to a ribbon so they don’t get lost and then pass them around the first few rows of guests or, if you’re having a smaller wedding, the entire group of celebrants!
Pole Holders: Brides who are including a traditional Jewish wedding canopy or chuppah in their ceremony can honour friends and family by asking them to hold one of the four poles. Some pole bearers make a grand entrance by carrying the chuppah down the aisle and assembling it before the bride and groom arrive.
House Party: Everything is bigger in Texas, and weddings are no exception. When Jenna Bush, daughter of former U.S. President George W. Bush, tied the knot, she nixed bridesmaids altogether in favour of a 14-member “house party” (in addition to the maid of honour, whose role was filled by her twin sister). Predominant below the Mason-Dixon line, house parties are “a Southern tradition through and through,” says Texas wedding blogger Clare Liguori of Belles, Bouquets and Galveston Bay. ”The main difference between a house party member and a bridesmaid is that the house party does not stand up with you at the altar in the church; they sit with your family in the front row. There are lots of other duties that the house party can help you with: reading during the ceremony, attending to the guest book and gift table, handing out programs, serving cake, and just helping you get through the day. Other than the whole altar thing, the house party is just as much a part of the wedding party as the bridesmaids.”
Whether you decide to expand the roles of your ceremony participants or not, the biggest safeguard against hurt feelings is making sure your friends and family feel appreciated, even if they aren’t officially part of your wedding party. Pulling someone aside after the ceremony and personally thanking them for coming or including heartfelt welcome message in your program can go a long way.
Though brides often spend hours determining their wedding photographer, a makeup artist is usually one of those smaller details that doesn’t come in until later. Who you hire, however, can make a meaningful difference, ensuring you look and feel your absolute best on your big day (and in the photos that follow). Weddingbells recently got the full scoop from Toronto bridal makeup expert Colette Cormier, on what brides should look for when evaluating potential wedding makeup artists to hire. “When you look at photos of an artist’s work, you want to look for these signs that the makeup is technically well applied,” says Cormier.
- Photos featuring real people with visible skin texture and pores, a sign that the artist’s work has not been falsely enhanced with photo-editing. “Look for photos of real brides, not only models from magazines,” advises Cormier.
- Blended makeup free of harsh, sharp edges between two shades. It should also not be evident where the skin ends and makeup begins.
- Correctly applied lip colour: straight, without going over the edges of the lip. Lip liner should not be obvious.
- Uniform, well-groomed eyebrows. There should not be any stray hairs or blank spaces with the skin visible beneath. “Brows are often completely untouched in an amateur artist’s portfolio,” warns Cormier.
- Symmetry. Eye shadow and liner shouldn’t be darker or differently lined on one eye or the other.
- Matte makeup applied in the T-zone (nose, forehand and chin). This area should not look shiny or greasy. Appropriate areas for shine include limited highlighting below the brow bone, on the upper cheeks and inside of the eye near the tear duct, as well as a small amount of sparkle above the cupid’s bow (upper lip).
- Proper concealing in the under eye area. “It’s the most neglected step,” says Cormier. “You can often still see dark under the eyes, or they overdo it, using a formula that is too thick and dry, drawing attention.”
- Perfect match between face colour and neck/shoulders
- Restricted use of bronzer. “You don’t want to see bronzer used in the wrong areas,” advises Cormier. “Bronzer placed correctly will find its rightful spot on areas that are naturally kissed by the sun” (upper forehand, nose, upper cheekbones, tip of the chin).
- Connection between makeup and the bride’s dress and hairstyle. “You don’t want to see strong bright colours that are trendy now but will date your wedding photos 15 years later. You want muted, neutral tones that are classic,” says Cormier.
Cormier also suggests looking for before and after shots which demonstrate the artist’s ability to tackle larger skin issues like blemishes. Ideal portfolios should also include a range of ages. “Mothers of brides want to know the artist doesn’t target only 20-something faces,” says Cormier.
Keep our handy little checklist in mind when you’re looking over potential makeup artists’ portfolios. Taking some time to find an experienced wedding makeup artist for your big day will ensure that you look your absolute best for your walk down the aisle.
Even though a cluster of votives can make almost any space romantic, there are some wedding venues that are so spectacular on their own, you have to wonder if the architects knew that one day brides and grooms would want to get married there. We’ve rustled up some of our favourite wedding venues across the country, from an industrial space in Montreal to a French cottage in Toronto to a lodge in the Rocky Mountains, and everything in between.
Warning: The romance factor in the wedding venues we’ve selected is already so high that use of votives, tapers or any sort of candle could make things so over the top that guests may break out into a musical number, recite poetry or propose to one another on the spot. Use with extreme caution.
This year, especially for February 14, we’ve decided to indulge in our single biggest Valentine’s Day feature to date — 100 unique wedding ideas inspired by this love-filled day. We’re pigging out on unique wedding ideas and gorging on delectable details, which can be incorporated into a wedding at anytime of the year. To make sure you enjoy every morsel, we’ve sorted our big heart-shaped box of wedding goodies by flavour: classic, crafty and modern. Which type of Valentine’s bride are you?
Classic: You see your day as the ultimate romantic occasion. Your abode is completely IKEA-proof, filled with items you’ve collected over the years like heirloom crystal candle sticks, silver picture frames and a lace tablecloth your mother gave you. Your fantasy wedding looks like a modernized version of Father of the Bride. Your dream wedding gift is stemware from Tiffany & Co. Your biggest wedding pet peeve is super trendy mermaid gowns; you’d rather walk down the aisle in a classic ball gown that will still make you wistful 50 years from now. Your favourite wedding adjective is “timeless”.
Crafty: You’re looking forward to a cozy celebration filled with handmade details. Your home is crammed with assorted DIY projects in various stages of completion. Your fantasy nuptial affair looks like a mash-up between an Anthropologie catalogue and your grandmother’s wedding album. Your dream wedding gift is an all-expense-paid Etsy splurge. Your biggest wedding pet peeve is large, impersonal banquet halls; you would much rather celebrate in a charming inn or restaurant with the snowflakes dancing on the window sill. Your favourite wedding adjective is “lovely”.
Modern: You’re looking forward to a celebration that’s completely outside the box. Your walls are covered with pop art prints from Society6, you have an Andy Warhol magnet on your fridge and your closet is bursting with bright, bold apparel. Your fantasy wedding looks like a Kate Spade fashion spread and your dream wedding gift is the complete striped dinnerware collection from Mackenzie Childs. Your biggest wedding pet peeve is pearls; you would much rather accessorize with a massive ruby cocktail ring. Your favourite wedding adjective is “cheeky”.
Whatever your style, we’re sure these 100 unique wedding ideas inspired by Valentine’s Day will set your heart aflutter.
From prudent WWII wedding corsages to the abundance of fake flowers colonizing banquet halls in the decades that followed, brides have always embraced methods of managing their floral costs. The most common technique, in this regard, is, of course, deception: beefing up bouquets with filler, ordering “real touch” silk flowers to trick Great Aunt Gertrude. What happens, though, when brides suddenly don’t want flowers, real or imaginary?
Over the past few years, alternative plant bouquets, boutonnieres and centrepieces have burst onto the wedding scene with gusto, and brides can’t get enough (truthfully, neither can we). Blame a renewed sense of financial restraint triggered by the recession, a heightened concerned for environmentalism nipping the appeal of short-lived floral displays in the bud or the explosion of wedding blogs, Pinterest boards and online connectivity enabling brides to explore entirely new realms of ideas and inspiration. Propelled by affordability, sustainability, creativity, or a combination of the three, brides are now flaunting their alternative arrangements, liberated at last from the thirty pound Princess Diana bouquets of the 80′s and perfectly trimmed long-stemmed roses of the 90′s.
At Weddingbells, we’re absolutely tickled by this new non-floral wedding trend and have rounded up our favourite plant finds, from bouquets to boutonnieres, centrepieces to favours, and everything in between. We’ve also compiled our knowledge on this season’s hottest specimens and where to find them. While such arrangements can include anything from moss to tropical foliage, a few perennial players have emerged as major kingpins:
Succulents – Thick, fleshy plants which often retain water and are native to warmer climates, succulents come in several shades of green and some purple. They began to appear a few years ago on the Los Angeles indie wedding circuit and have proceeded to charm the socks off practically every rebel bride to glance their way. Unlike flowers, which wilt and die shortly after the wedding celebration, succulents can live for years, earning them major points among the DIY set, finally able prepare their own centrepieces months in advance. Due to their popularity, succulent shops seem to be opening every day on Etsy (SANPEDROCACTUS, The Succulent Source and Succulentsplus are some of the biggies, all based in California).
Canadian brides, however, don’t need to resort to international shipping to get their hands on the wedding world’s plant du jour. Sprouts Greenhouse in Winfield, Alberta (a one-hour drive from Edmonton) stocks their own supply of locally-grown succulents, as does Valley Succulents on Vancouver Island, which ships to brides throughout Canada. Solar Gardens in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan grows succulents in on-site greenhouses and also offers workshops in succulent bowl arranging, a fantastic alternative bridal shower or bachelorette activity.
Air Plants – Plentiful in Australia and South Africa, air plants — famous for their soil independence — come in a variety of shapes with a tendency towards striking, even architectural configurations. More elongated and ethereal than their pudgy succulent counterparts, air plants have been gaining understandable popularity among alternative brides, who can’t resist their delightfully whimsical presence. Fortunately, air plants are relatively easy to track down online, with Etsy shops CTSairplants and Twisted Acres both being fantastic resources. JTLCREATIONS, also on Etsy, supplies an eccentric offering of air plant terrariums and mobiles we’d love to see suspended in a funky ceremony or reception space. In Toronto, cult-favourite flower shop Sweetpea’s stocks an abundance of air plants at their quirky West-end mecca for eco-savvy urbanites. Multiple varieties of air plants can also be purchased at Sheriden Nurseries, which operates several locations throughout the GTA including North York, Mississauga, Etobicoke and Scarborough.
Cacti – Cacti are spiny plants generally found in arid regions throughout the United States and Mexico. Cities such as Austin, Texas and Palm Springs, California — both of which boast a vibrant indie wedding scene — have popularized their local response to the succulent. Although difficult to use in bouquets, cacti can make fantastic unexpected additions to centrepieces and other standing arrangements. Cacti are harder to track down in Canada but can be purchased online from various Etsy suppliers, including SANPEDROCACTUS and Succulents Galore.
Whether motivated by budget, ideology or aesthetics, brides continue to power this affordable, alternative, eco-tastic wedding trend, which presently shows no signs of withering. Who says it’s not easy being green?
In 2011, roughly one in four couples included purple in their wedding colour palette, according to XO Group Inc., and this outrageously popular shade is showing no signs of slowing down in 2013. Unfortunately, you can only attend so many purple weddings before they all start to look the same. But what if you’ve been a lifelong devotee of the colour before it became a fad? Do purple-loving brides now need to choose between their favourite colour and an original wedding celebration that won’t look like every other purple party on the planet? Weddingbells votes a resounding no! To prove that you can take even the most tiresome trend and inject some originality, we’ve combed through the vaults to show you five fresh ways of styling a purple wedding celebration. From outrageously girly hues inspired by powder and blush to jewelled tones brazen enough to tempt the most daring of brides-to-be, we’ve got you covered!
The secret? Whether you gravitate toward an Italian garden bursting with lavender or a downtown industrial space awash in amethyst lighting, let your favourite colour inspire your big day without dictating its entire look and feel. While selecting a colour as an actual theme may be a comfortable move for couples overwhelmed by their limitless options, doing so puts the reins on originality and prevents your personality from playing the starring role it deserves. Rather than scouring for the perfect shade of purple napkin to circulate during cocktail hour, focus on compiling cute pieces of trivia about you and your partner to print on them. If the ink is purple, excellent, but your guests will likely be too entertained reading about how you spilled a massive roti on your lap on your first date or how you didn’t even like one another until you realized you both had pet rocks as kids to even notice that your wedding colour is the same as everyone else’s.
Whether you decide to spice up your purple palette with one of our original style boards below or prefer to stick with the tried and true, remember to keep the focus on you and your partner, because if the two of you are the “theme”, your wedding will always be original.
The weather outside may be frightful, but winter weddings can sure be delightful! From marshmallow garlands to adorn your reception space to cookie-filled dessert tables that would make even Santa wish he were on the guestlist, here are a collection of our favourite winter wedding ideas to turn your frosty fete into a heart-warming, jaw-dropping celebration.
After discussing their engagement, Jason couldn’t wait to pop the question, and proposed to Melissa on the drive home from the jewellers where they had just picked out a ring. The couple celebrated with a rustic autumn wedding at Centennial Park in Merritt, British Columbia, followed by a civic centre reception. Several autumnal details were included throughout the festivities, from the bride’s green and orange bouquet to the bridesmaids’ exquisite chocolate-coloured gowns, straight out of a woodland fairytale. Even the wedding cake reflected the rustic autumn wedding theme. In lieu of standard wedding fare, guests were treated to seasonal comfort food, including BBQ chicken, roast beef and stuffed potatoes. Guests departed the rustic autumn wedding with coffee bean favours packaged in burlap bags, a final nod to the season.
Melissa and Jason Robinson, October 1, 2011, Merritt, British Columbia.
Photography courtesy of Candid Apple Photography.
Ceremony location: Centennial Park
Reception location: Merritt Civic Centre
Dress: Blush Bridal
Groom’s tux: Moores
Bridal party attire: Etsy
Music: Eclectic DJ Services
Cake: CAKE by Alana
Caterer: Elaine Gill
Favours: DIY by the bride
Flowers: Selena Voigt
Stationery: Merritt Printing
See all of the photos from this rustic autumn wedding.
After Jessica told Brad — who she had just met at a pub while watching the Canucks playoff game — that she was fond of beer and hockey, he proclaimed her his future wife. On July 28, 2012, the two were officially married in a romantic outdoor wedding with 120 guests in attendance. Set against the lush backdrop of Merridale Estate Cidery, Jessica and Brad took photos on the sprawling grounds before exchanging vows. The pair then proceeded to a relaxing reception where they enjoyed a sumptuous meal with their friends and family. “Our three criteria for choosing a wedding venue were that it was outside, with good wine and great food. Merridale was a slam dunk in all three categories. The setting was lovely and simple, the food was magnificent, and the local wines and ciders were perfect complements to the amazing menu,” says Jessica.
Jessica Hartog and Brad Finnerty, July 28, 2012, Cobble Hill, British Columbia.
Photography courtesy of Kim Kalyn.
Ceremony and reception location: Merridale Estate Cidery
Dress: Alvina Valenta from Bisou Bridal
Groom’s tux: Outlooks for Men (250-384-2848)
Bridal party attire: Bridesmaid dresses by Maureen Patricia (250-590-6264); groomsmen suits from Banana Republic
Hair: Marylou Butler, Shampoo Hair Bar (250-285-7837)
Makeup: Jen Clarke Makeup Artistry
Favours: Jam from Merridale Estate Cidery
Flowerss: Rook and Rose Floral Design Boutique
Stationery: Kristen Legare and Paula Westwood, Pure Luv Designs (250-382-9867)
See all the photos from this romantic outdoor wedding here.
Marriage proposals are one of the oldest milestones in the books, but that doesn’t mean we can’t refurbish them along the way. Since the new year is a time for starting fresh, we couldn’t think of a better time to share with you nine people who have done just that — found new, exciting ways to pop the age-old question — all of which were fortunately captured on camera! These inventive proposal videos are guaranteed to bring on the goosebumps.