Spring is the perfect time to take engagement photos, especially if you’re a summer, fall or winter bride because these photos can double as your save-the-dates. Booking a spring engagement session is also a great way to test out potential wedding photographers so you can see if you jive during the shoot before booking them for your wedding day.
Along with the warmer temperatures and the budding tulips and daffodils, spring is also the season for cherry blossoms and all things Easter-related, so you should have no problem finding pretty photo props and backdrops. And, while April typically brings showers, there’s plenty of romantic ways to capture great pictures even in the rain (let’s not forget that one of the most romantic movie kisses of all time happened in a downpour).
Need more convincing? Check out five inspiring engagement photo concepts that can really only be pulled off in the spring.
Cherry blossom season is one of the best reasons to do a spring engagement session with your photographer. The beautiful pink blooms can create a romantic atmosphere unlike any other. However, the peak bloom season typically lasts for just a week, so keeping an eye on updates from local parks is key.<br />
Photo via<a href="http://nadiahungphotography.com/" target="_blank">Nadia Hung Photography</a>.
Worried it'll rain on your engagement photo day? Be prepared and use the stormy weather to your advantage. A dark, stormy sky with some rain can actually make for a dramatic but ultra-romantic setting. Play up the rainy day theme with a cute umbrella, Wellies (like this girl did), and a colourful raincoat. <br />
Photo via <a href="http://braedonphotography.com/" target="_blank">Braedon Flynn Photography</a>. <br />
As soon as the warmer temperatures hit, pack a picnic and head to the park. Not everything will be in full bloom, but having a few leafless branches can make your photos look chic and rustic. <br />
Photo via <a href="http://www.gideonphoto.com/blog/" target="_blank">Gideon Photography</a>.
Hosting a farm wedding? Spring is the perfect time to snap quirky save-the-dates that can double as Easter cards.<br />
Photo via <a href="http://galaxieandrews.com/" target="_blank">Galaxie Andrews</a>.
Nothing says spring quite like a field of beautiful tulips. Or, if there's no field nearby, head to your local flower market and purchase them by the bunch. The colourful blooms add an instant cheeriness to photos and also make great seasonal props. <br />
Photo via <a href="http://www.alexandraknightphotography.com/#hello" target="_blank">Alexandra Knight Photography</a>.
After you’ve found the perfect wedding dress, the next things on your to-do list are likely your accessories. And, with literally thousands of options to pick from, where does one even begin? Lucky for you, we’ve tracked down 20 pretty bridal accessories that are easy-to-wear and will give your entire bridal style an ultra-romantic look.
Inspired by the 2016 fashion shows, where floral hair accessories ruled the runways, we’ve found a few pieces that translate well into the bridal world. From cool tiaras and an ethereal cape to beautiful veils, shoes and pretty drop earrings, read on for more bridal fashion inspiration.
High school sweethearts Alyson Kelle and Ryan Kuemper first met during their school production of Little Shop of Horrors. “Ryan was working backstage and I was playing the role of a shop customer when we stumbled upon each other behind the curtains,” Alyson remembers. “Ryan’s sweet, quiet nature sparked my attention. After a few months of school and rehearsals together, we began dating and we’ve been inseparable ever since!”
For their wedding day, the pair opted for a vintage-meets-enchanted-forest theme. “We love trees and got engaged in California, so we found it only fitting that we tied the knot near some kind of foliage. We also love camping and being outside,” says Alyson. “However, we still wanted our wedding day to be a bit fancy and not overly casual, so we thought the enchanted forest idea might bring a level of elegance that we wouldn’t be able to achieve with a camp style wedding.” Moved by her love of vintage, Alyson also tried to incorporate some antique touches throughout the day.
The wedding day started with the bride arriving to the ceremony in a blue 1955 Chevy Bel Air. “I was so nervous before the wedding, but riding in that gorgeous car offered a nice distraction from my anxiousness,” Alyson explains. Surrounded by 70 of their closest friends and family members, the two exchanged vows at the Linden Garden in Kaleden, British Columbia. Following the ceremony, the Alyson and Ryan ushered guests to their seats where they were greeted by a pretty tablescape complete with a grassy runner, vintage place settings and lots of pretty wildflowers. “We got our flowers from a lovely lady in Penticton, Lisa Yang, who grows all of the flowers in her backyard garden,” Alyson shares. “We chose her to do our wedding florals because we wanted a more natural, forestry feel to the arrangements, and that was something a lot of local flower shops couldn’t provide.”
After some heartfelt speeches and the couples’ first dance, the two opened up the dance floor to their guests. “The dancing was so much fun,” recalls Alyson. “My childhood best friend and I sang along to Vanilla Ice, my family from Tillsonburg, Ontario all got on the dance floor to sing along with Stompin’ Tom’s ‘Tillsonburg’, and my mom and mother-in-law got really into “Uptown Funk”–we had no idea they could dance like that!”
Alyson Kelle and Ryan Kuemper, June, 19 2015, Kaleden, British Columbia.
Canadian bridal designer Lea-Ann Belter has just unveiled her latest Astrid & Mercedes collection, a lovely, youthful line, which is also surprisingly budget-friendly.
Named after Belter’s two free-spirited nieces, the Astrid & Mercedes line features playful details such as sequins, tulle and dainty sashes. Each gown is patterned, cut and draped in Belter’s Toronto atelier and sewn by hand. The result is a collection of dreamy wedding dresses perfect for laidback outdoor celebrations and dancing barefoot under twinkling lights.
Chock-full of romantic tulle, lace and silk, Lea-Ann Belter’s new 2016 Avalon collection is perfect for any bride looking to accentuate her femininity. With traditional silhouettes and modern touches, the collection offers something for every style of wedding.
Whether you’re channeling a glamorous Old Hollywood starlet or a classic Victorian princess, the collection covers a wide range of looks. Gorgeous lace details lend a sophisticated feel to the line, while eye-catching elements like oversize bows, delicate embroidery and sweet sashes reinforce the collection’s ladylike appeal.
Michelle de Villenfagne and Michael Stone (an Arizona Coyotes player) have known each other since they were teenagers–after all, Michael was billeted with Michelle’s aunt and uncle so he could play for the Calgary Hitmen at the time. “When I was 14 and Michael was 16, he moved to Calgary to play junior hockey. He was lodging at my aunt and uncle’s place,” Michelle explains. “Our family is very close and we have family dinners every Sunday. For the first year, we avoided eye contact. We finally built up the courage to start talking to each other, and we haven’t gone a day without talking since.”
For their celebration the two were sold on Sirocco Golf Club–a stunning venue known for its views of the beautiful rolling hills. The couple exchanged vows outdoors under a DIY arch. “This was one of our favourite details,” Michelle says. “I explained what I was hoping for to my uncle, then he and my aunt made it happen. They kept it a surprise, so it was amazing seeing the result.”
Following the ceremony, the two ushered guests into their reception room, which was decorated with elegant floral centrepieces alongside a candy buffet and sweet table. To open up the dance floor, Michelle and Michael chose ‘Come Away With Me’ by Norah Jones–a fitting song choice that explained their hectic lifestyle. “With Michael being in the NHL, we have had to uproot our lives,” Michelle shares. “His career path is full of uncertainty, so the lyrics ‘come away with me’ really spoke to us–our love will always be our home.”
As the evening continued, the newlyweds opened up the mic to guests in lieu of glass clinking. One memory in particular stood out for the couple. “Our favourite story came from my aunt and uncle,” says Michelle. “When I was 15, Mike was practising his autograph, so apparently I practised mine, too. They showed our guests a sheet of paper with Mike’s signature, and there was ‘Michelle Stone’ in my writing. It was funny to hear that I had planned on becoming Michelle Stone since I was 15.”
Michelle de Villenfagne & Michael Stone, July 11, 2015, Calgary, Alberta.
For Vanessa Taylor and Robert Eddy, a vintage English garden look with a boho vibe was what they had in mind for their wedding. “I wanted everything to feel fresh, beautiful and effortless–nothing that seemed too forced or posed,” explains Vanessa. In keeping with their theme, the two chose to exchange vows and celebrate their reception at The Berkeley Fieldhouse. “I loved this location for the vintage feel and particularly for all the natural light that came from the floor-to-ceiling windows,” shares Vanessa. “The outside tent area was also ideal to let kids run around during dinner.”
Although their theme was more vintage, Vanessa and Rob tried to incorporate as many fun and personalized details into their day as they could. “Rob walked down the aisle with his mom to ‘Juicy’ by Notorious B.I.G.–yes you heard that correct,” laughs Vanessa. “I went more traditional and walked down the aisle with my dad to ‘Ho Hey’ by the Lumineers.” Other custom touches included personalized Drake and Biggie cookies, which showcased the couples’ love for hip hop music, and a laser-cut custom cake topper.
When it came to her wedding dress, Vanessa had a pretty specific gown in mind. “I loved how my bespoke gown came together, and it was a dream to wear,” smiles Vanessa. “It was light and comfortable, and I was particularly in love with the flutter sleeves, which went down in the back to create an almost cape-like effect. I also used a piece of my mum’s wedding-day headpiece in place of a barrette on my veil–it was the perfect way to include a bit of the past.”
Vanessa Taylor and Robert Eddy, September 20, 2015, Toronto, Ontario.
Nicolas Lo and Klara Chen met through a mutual friend–sort of. “We had a friend who thought we would be a great match,” explains Klara. “However her boyfriend at the time (now husband) didn’t think I was Nick’s type, so we never met.” However, it was Nick who messaged Klara through social media with a smiley face. “His profile picture at the time was very interesting, it was taken in Mexico with a monkey around his neck,” laughs Klara. “I was intrigued so I messaged back ‘nice monkey’ and the rest is history!”
For their wedding day, the two chose to have their ceremony and reception at Reflections at Hotel Georgia. “We had a difficult time picking a venue because I always envisioned an outdoor wedding, but with Vancouver’s unpredictable weather we needed a contingency plan,” says Klara. “We loved the laid-back yet glamorous vibe of Reflections and they had an indoor and outdoor space–perfect in case of rainy weather.”
With their unique venue choice, it was only fitting that the couple opted for an non-traditional reception: a cocktail and lounge party. With the exception of some reserved seating for their family, guests were free to mingle, sit anywhere, try different eats from Nick and Klara’s food stations and enjoy specialized drinks. “Our wedding vision was to have guests walk around and mingle while enjoying some of our favourite foods from places we’ve visited around the world,” explains Klara. “Each dish we served told a particular story about our travels. For example, we had Anna Elizabeth from Anna Elizabeth Cakes create a layer cake, which was inspired by Milk Bar‘s cereal milk ice cream.”
The couple both agree that the best moment of the day was having one of their groomsmen, Bryan, sing their first-dance song. “Bryan went all out–he even booked studio time to practice,” the two share. “He sang Ed Sheeran’s ‘Thinking Out Loud,’ which embodied everything we saw in our future.”
Klara Chen and Nicolas Lo, August 2, 2015, Vancouver, British Columbia
Megan Loach and Mitch Tomulka may have met in school, but they didn’t exactly start off as high school sweethearts. “Mitch and I met through mutual friends,” Megan starts. “He used to tease me a lot in the beginning and I considered him slightly rude. However, I wasn’t aware that he would purposely come over to my friend’s house when he knew I was there. He told his friend that one day he was going to marry me!” The two kept in touch and their love story began five years later when Megan received a last-minute invite to Mitch’s annual birthday party hosted in Muskoka. “That weekend was the beginning and we have been together since, getting married eight summers later,” Megan shares.
For their wedding celebration the pair looked to the south of France as inspiration for a classic but effortlessly chic event. “We pulled in our own love of great food and wine and an estate-feel environment,” Megan says. “Casa Loma provided the perfect venue and we had an amazing four-course meal—a Provençale-inspired menu that ended with lavender crème brûlée.”
As for their palette, the two were inspired by a 2013 Zegna ad campaign, which featured navy, medium blue and cloud blue suits on a background of antique blush.
As the marketing and vendor relations manager at The Room at Hudson’s Bay Company, Megan’s dress options were endless. “I was searching for a non-traditional dress to wear for the reception and one of my very favourite designers we carry at The Room is Erdem,” Megan says. After looking at older collections, Megan located a long, lace gown with a cropped lining that was shown in Spring/Summer 2012. “They were able to make the gown in white for me, it was so light and had the most beautiful, delicate lace,” Megan recalls. “I loved every singe moment of wearing it.” For the ceremony, Megan wore a beautiful Atelier Pronovias gown complete with a huge train, fitted bodice and pockets. “That dress was the Scarlett O’Hara drama I couldn’t help but also have,” Megan admits. “It felt elegant, and made a pretty fantastic moment in the church with some high drama.”
Adding to the day’s drama were the decadent decorations. Working with Melissa Haggerty and Gabi Armenia from Spectacular Spectacular and Gisele Sterling from NOUS Design, the team created a fabulous event blooming with rich details. “The terrace was filled with cocktails, the oyster bar and lavender lemonade,” Megan divulges. “Our reception inside the room was brimming with candles in metallic holders alongside David Austin roses, dahlias, lisianthus, and blue satin tablecloths, which all came together to create the most romantic ambiance.” For that added European touch, Megan and Mitch asked Aileen Fretz from Plume to create calligraphy that mimicked the look of a century-old love letter. The font was then used on the place cards, invitations, menus and ceremony programs.
Beautiful details aside, the highlight of the evening for Megan and Mitch was their speeches, which also led to their first dance. “It was an incredible moment to be standing together in front of all our family and friends to thank them, share special wishes for our parents and hear each other speak about one another with such love and affection,” the newlyweds happily confirm.
Megan Loach and Mitch Tomulka, August 22, 2015, Toronto, Ontario.
Couples planning on tying the knot in Italy will have an array of magical backdrops at their fingertips.
In Rome, take advantage of the renaissance structures in the Vatican as well as the marbled statues dispersed throughout. For couples tying the knot up north, Lake Como and Lake Garda are a wedding photographers’ delight with glorious views galore.
Here are 10 epic wedding photo shoot locations to consider when planning your destination wedding in Italy.
Italy is home to a plethora of scenic landscapes, from coastal views on the Amalfi Coast to the rolling hills of Tuscany, meaning wedding location options are endless. However, hosting a destination wedding overseas can mean quite a bit of extra planning considerations. Here’s what you need to know if you’re a Canadian couple planning a destination wedding in Italy.
The best time to go: If you’re looking for fewer crowds and great weather, pick a date between April and June or September and October. Steering clear of the most popular summer months of July and August will save you money and you’ll avoid the scorching hot European weather.
The flights: Rome is an international hub for stopover flights, making it easy to find direct flights via Air Transat, Alitalia and Air Canada. If you are getting married further north or south, you may want to look into a non-stop flight or connecting flight to Venice, Milan, Florence, Naples or Turin.
The legal paperwork: Before jetting off for your big day in Italy, it is important that you have all the documents needed to prevent any problems along the way. First and foremost, if you and your partner aren’t Italian citizens, you must have a “Nulla Osta,” also known as a certificate of non-impediment. This is to certify that there isn’t anything in the way of the impending marriage. The Government of Canada doesn’t provide this certificate, but the Embassy of Canada can issue Canadians a declaration with the information needed. Canadian citizens must each complete and swear a Marriage Affidavit. If swearing the affidavit in Canada, it must be before a Notary public, or a person authorized to perform legal contracts for use in other jurisdictions. If swearing the affidavit in Italy, it must be at the Embassy or one of the Consulates of Canada. The sworn affidavit(s) should be submitted to the Embassy of Canada in Rome through mail or appointment at the embassy. Alongside the sworn affidavit, supporting documents must be provided, such as a certified true copy of your passport. A complete list of these documents can be found here. Keep in mind that there are fees for each declaration and each sworn affidavit. You can find more information here. After you receive your declaration, you must have it authenticated by a “Prefettura,” also known as a provincial authority. You can find a list of them here. You can then bring the authenticated declaration to the Marriage Office of the Municipality in Italy. You will then be asked to return in a few days with a witnesses and an interpreter for a declaration before the Registrar of Vital Statistics of the municipality. Only then can a date be arranged for the civil marriage ceremony, where two witnesses and an interpreter are required. After the ceremony, before you leave Italy, it is advised that you pick up several copies of your marriage certificate both in English and in Italian to be authenticated by the Prefettura and the Embassy of Canada in Rome.
To simplify the process, we suggest completing the legal paperwork here in Canada and performing a symbolic ceremony in Italy.
The local customs: One of the best parts of having a wedding in Italy is that it allows you to include the country’s wedding traditions. Consider breaking a vase or bottle at the end of your ceremony, where the glass is counted to symbolize years of marriage for yourself and your partner. For the reception, foodie couples should jump at the chance to serve Italian specialties such as prosciutto, specialty cheeses and fresh pastas. For desserts of the pastry variety, serve bow-shaped pieces of fried dough sprinkled with icing sugar, which are called wanda. Or, order a traditional one-tiered giant wedding fruit cake to slice into. After the dessert, adopt the Italian tradition of holding a satin bag, called la boursa, around your neck for guests to put envelopes and money in in exchange for a first dance. Finish off your reception by having your guests take home traditional favours of candy-coated almonds, which symbolize the sweetness of marriage.
The venue: There are literally hundreds of places to choose from, but if you’re looking for a venue that is both old and new consider Castello di Casole in Tuscany. Situated atop a mountainous hill, the venue offers a sweeping view of its hilly surroundings and lots of spaces, such as their rustic courtyard, for romantic wedding photos. Outdoor space among the vineyards can accommodate up to 200 guests, while an on-site restored church can fit an intimate gathering of 30. There are 41 private suites on the estate–perfect for all your guests, as well as three on-site restaurants to pick from.
Looking for an ultra-luxe honeymoon hotel in Italy? Trust us, there are lots to choose from. To help you with your search, we’ve scoured some of Italy’s most popular destinations and picked out the 10 best honeymoon-worthy retreats. From seaside suites on the Amalfi Coast to a hilltop escape in Florence, these properties are truly perfect for the vacation of a lifetime.
Take the most incredible food and wine on earth and add to that jaw-dropping landscapes and awe-inspiring historical monuments at every turn and you’ll see it’s no wonder Italy has long been considered one of the world’s most romantic travel destinations.
Plan a honeymoon in this part of the world and you can expect to go from sipping wine under the Tuscan sun to touring some of the world’s best art galleries all in the span of a day – and that’s just the beginning. Read on to discover Italy’s most unique honeymoon hot spots and how to work them into your travel itinerary.
A surprise proposal in Greece is what prompted James Zibarras and Sarah Conlin to choose the location for their dreamy destination wedding. “Four years after we started dating, James planned a trip to Greece, where his family is from. I had no idea at the time, but he was planning to propose on the trip,” Sarah says. “He enlisted the help of his mother, Anna—who is in the diamond business—and picked out the most stunning ring, which he carried around in the bottom of his backpack during the trip.” The engagement happened halfway through the trip while the pair were enjoying a romantic dinner overlooking the water in Santorini. “To say I was surprised would be a huge understatement,” Sarah says, smiling. “It was the biggest and best surprise of my life! I, of course, said yes.”
Inspired by their surroundings, the two instantly knew a wedding in Greece would be perfect. As for the location, Sarah and James chose to get married by the Athenian Riviera, just south of Athens along the Aegean coast. “There is absolutely no competing with the jaw-dropping scenery, so we decided to work with it,” the pair shares. “We had a Greek Orthodox ceremony outdoors at 8 p.m. in front of a tiny white chapel perched above the water.”
Sarah walked down the aisle to a classical trio playing “All You Need Is Love” by the Beatles, one of her favourite songs. She wore a unique boho-style dress purchased from the Stone Fox Bride boutique in New York. “I loved my dress; it was the only dress that felt right and was exactly what I wanted: simple, clean and elegant,” Sarah says.
Following their “I dos,” Sarah, James and their 85 guests enjoyed dining al fresco outside of the villa underneath a pergola. Upon arrival, friends and family were met with an elegant display of hanging chandeliers, fairy lights, white flowers, candlelight and miles of lush greenery and olive branches. “We wanted a glamorous and timeless aesthetic,” Sarah says. “We worked with event planner Paige Lewis—who is truly a goddess—to help execute our vision.”
For their evening entertainment, Sarah and James had a DJ spin a classic playlist of ’70s and ’80s music during dinner. “It was perfection,” Sarah says. “Everyone was singing along—it was so much fun!” The night was filled with music and dancing, followed by a midnight buffet of sweet and savoury treats planned by the newlyweds. “James loves sweets and I don’t—to satisfy both palates we had a completely overindulgent and decadent dessert bar,” Sarah recalls. “The menu included Greek pastries, crème brûlée, chocolate mousse, pavlovas and gyros!”
One of the best parts of the couple’s incredible party was the perfect weather, which meant celebrating into the wee hours under the stars. “The night sky was absolutely stunning, even more so because we were in the most incredible place,” she says. “We ended the night by taking some wedding cake back to our hotel room and popped some champagne to enjoy with our friends.”
Sarah Conlin and James Zibarras, June 9, 2015, Athens, Greece.