Archive for Alison McGill

What Could Meghan Markle’s Engagement Ring Look Like?

Planning

meghan markle engagement ring

Photo via Getty Images

As we continue to sit tight for news of a royal engagement, we’ve had loads of time to immerse ourselves in imagining all the amazing possibilities for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s day. Will the wedding be in London? At Windsor Castle? Will it be epic like William and Kate’s, or more intimate? What will she wear? And since we’re now firmly in the midst of engagement season, what about the ring?

We thought we would have some fun speculating about what Meghan’s engagement bling will look like and asked Toronto jeweller extraordinaire Mark Lash for his thoughts on what he would love to see her rock.

“This ring will obviously become an instant hit and style classic,” Lash says. “I predict it will be especially trend setting because I see this ring being rather unique, balancing effortless casual chic with show-stopping glamour which Meghan herself embodies. The ring will sparkle with her everyday jeans and tee look—neat and tidy, but not without the added luxury and elegance fit for royalty.”

Here Lash shares five of his ring designs which he thinks would be a perfect match for Meghan.

5 Details We Love From Kate Upton And Justin Verlander’s Wedding

Planning

Supermodel Kate Upton and newly minted World Series champ Justin Verlander were married this weekend in what can only be described as the PERFECT destination wedding in Tuscany. Verlander and the Houston Astros clinched their World Series victory last Wednesday night, and on Saturday the all-star pitcher was looking oh-so-dashing walking the down the aisle with his stunning bride.

There haven’t been a ton of pics released from the wedding, but Kate posted this beauty and her wedding décor and dress got us all kinds of inspired. Here are five ideas we spotted and loved from Kate and Justin’s day.

1. The Modern Rustic Florals
Kate and Justin incorporated tons of greenery into their wedding decor and we love how things look wild, rustic, but also elevated and chic. The oversized café-au-lait-hued dahlias are a particularly beautiful floral element.

2. Kate’s Romantic Lace Gown
This Sport Illustrated cover model is famous for showcasing her killer curves and barely there bikinis. We love that for her wedding day Kate kept her look sexy, but completely covered up in a stunning Valentino gown with a high illusion neckline, sleeves and full floral lace skirt.

3. Kate’s Easy Beauty Look
Kate opted to wear her blonde waves down, pinned behind one ear with a simple veil. We love that her hair looks like a more special version of her everyday style. She kept her makeup pretty, romantic and natural.

4. Justin’s Tuxedo
Though suits have recently been the fashion choice for grooms, we have always argued there is nothing like a sharp dressed man in a tux. This proves our theory. We suggest steering your mister-to-be in this fashion direction.

5. It Was A Secret Wedding!
The couple had announced their engagement but not their wedding date. We love that the couple kept their romantic Italian wedding in Montalcino off the radar (even if a few paparazzi did show up to snap some pics before the bride had a chance to share her own on Instagram).

Why You Need To Create A Social Media Strategy For Your Wedding

Planning

Making_a_social_media_wedding_plan

Photo courtesy of Genevieve Albert.

Getting engaged in the age of social media means there’s one more thing you have to add to your wedding to-do list. Creating a wedding social media strategy is a relatively new concept, but that doesn’t mean it should be overlooked as something that will organically roll out. How your event is presented on social is something you definitely want to have as much control as possible over, which means starting to think about Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat the moment the question is popped.

We spoke to Toronto-based etiquette expert and columnist Karen Cleveland to get her take on social media at weddings. Here are four things to consider as you map out your strategy.

To selfie, or not to selfie.
It’s become the calling card of an engagement, but is posting an engagement ring selfie really necessary? “There is something a bit showy about in the ring shot, but it’s ubiquitous,” Cleveland says. “If it doesn’t feel right to you, don’t post it. You’re taking a very intimate moment — one of the most important in your life — and trying to reduce it to a Facebook or Instagram photo: No matter how beautiful the shot is, it won’t do the moment justice. Rather than post a picture, get in touch with your friends and family who may be asking to see the ring on social and thank them for their excitement (relay that you’re thrilled too!) and that you can’t wait to see them in person and share your new sparkler.”

Create a hashtag…like, immediately.
As soon as you’re engaged, put some thought to what the hashtag for your wedding will be and start using it. The best hashtags are short, smart and easy for your guests to remember. “A hashtag also helps consolidate all guest photos related to your wedding,” Cleveland says. “Again it’s a great idea, but not one that each and every one of your guests will embrace, so realize that. As a traditionalist — though of the modern variety — I think hashtagging takes an intimate event and turns it into something really, really public. But hey, it’s your party, you can hashtag if you want to.” The best way to get the word out about your wedding hashtag? Include it in your wedding invites and save-the-dates, or like any good social media campaign, seed it with strategic influencers within your circle of family and friends.

Appoint a social coordinator.
On you wedding day, you are obviously going to be busy and likely won’t have a lot of time for Instagram or Snapchat. Consider appointing someone in your circle who is very social savvy to handle it on your behalf. They can snap photos, then have a quiet meeting with you to edit shots and decide what you want posted. “Having a person to steward your posts will take the pressure off you while also giving you the confidence that it is being handled correctly,” Cleveland says. Let your guests know who this person is and that they’ll be around to help out with any questions about hashtags, Instagram handles, etc.

Make social sharing guidelines known.
There’s something to be said for living in the moment so know that if you don’t want your wedding on social media, it’s absolutely acceptable—after all it’s your party. “I was at a wedding recently where the bride and groom asked, via their officiant, that everyone please stay present, and that meant putting phones away and no taking photos of the happy couple,” Cleveland reports. “It made the event feel much more intimate, and the later the bride confided in me that she and her groom wanted to pick the wedding photo that they shared online. There’s something very special about your wedding being witnessed by only those you’ve chosen to invite.”

Have A Honeymoon Bed-In In John And Yoko’s Hotel Suite

Travel » Honeymoons

All photography by Stephane Brugger

If you love pop culture as much as we do, there is a super-cool new spot in Montreal you should definitely consider for your wedding night, honeymoon or pre-wedding romantic getaway.

Suite 1742 at the Fairmont Queen Elizabeth has been one of the world’s most famous hotel rooms since 1969 when John Lennon and Yoko Ono made it the site of their second Bed-In for Peace.

The hotel recently closed for a year to undergo a top-to-bottom renovation, reopening in July 2017 with modern, mid-century modern interior style. The last space to re-open was the John & Yoko suite, which the hotel took great care to preserve and retool in the spirit of the iconic couple.

Preserving the original character of the suite was paramount. Furniture was positioned in the same way John and Yoko had it set up for the bed-in—with the bed moved  in front of the suite’s living room window. Above the bed are reproductions of the Bed-In’s famous handwritten messages “Hair Peace” and “Bed Peace”. The suite’s eclectic décor is inspired by the places the couple lived or visited, including London, New York, Tokyo and New Delhi.

The suite is home to a host of original and distinct artwork to give guests a fully immersive experience. Installations produced and designed by Montreal art direction agency MASSIVart found in Suite 1742 include a cabinet containing photos, videos and historical items. The suite also has a virtual reality angle—you can don headsets placed on the nightstands next to the bed, which immerse you in John and Yoko’s world.

We vote giving peace a chance and checking into this iconic suite—it’s an experience that’s bound to be almost as special as your wedding day itself.

5 Signs Prince Harry And Meghan Markle’s Royal Engagement Is Happening Soon

Planning

Prince Harry Meghan Markle Engagement

Photo via Getty Images

We are on the verge of one of our favourite times of the year: engagement season! This magical window between November and February is typically when everyone is feeling the love and popping the question.

With the announcement of Sophie Turner and Joe Jonas engagement this weekend, the season is off to an unofficial early start. Next up: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.

Rumours have been swirling for sometime, but things are hitting a fever pitch thanks to a few key developments since the loved-up twosome took their relationship public at Toronto’s Invictus Games last month. Here’s why we are predicting a November engagement announcement.

1. They are hanging with her mom. Meghan brought her mom Doria Radlan to the closing of the Invictus Games last month and there were MANY photos of Harry snapped inside the private box with the ladies, laughing, chatting and getting on like…family.

2. Meghan is apparently departing her show Suits after the season seven finale. Princess life and Hollywood life are not quite a match made in heaven. Her rumoured departure has only fuelled speculation a royal wedding is around the corner (if not already in the works).

3. The couple are apparently house hunting in the exclusive Cotswolds. It’s said they have focused their attention on Oxfordshire, a stunning rural region an hour away from London. Prince Charles also has a home in the area, Highgrove House. Other celebs who could be neighbours—the Beckhams, Stella McCartney and Kate Moss.

4. They are big into PDA. Hand-holding, whispers, giggles, nuzzles and cheek kisses–Prince Harry and Meghan are not shy about letting the world know they are besotted with each other.

5. There are engagement ring rumours a plenty. It has been speculated Harry will gift Meghan with an engagement ring design incorporating a gem stone from his late mother’s treasured collection; or perhaps he will go completely bespoke with a knock out diamond custom-made for his princess-to-be. Whatever the ring, it will become an instant trendsetter—we are watching and waiting eagerly for this announcement and a look at Meghan’s royal bling!

Blue Ivy Carter Rocks A Couture Wedding Style

Fashion & Beauty

Photo via Instagram

If you are looking for chic attire for the little ladies in your wedding party and there is a budget for couture, let the darling party dress Blue Ivy Carter wore to a weekend wedding be your style inspo.

The Carters were in New Orleans this weekend for the nuptials of friends Lawrence “Law” Parker and Jessica Clemons. Beyoncé looked gorge in a silk peach, cleavage-revealing, draped Grecian style gown, but it was little Blue who stole the spotlight with her Mischka Aoki dress featuring hand-sewn crystals and sequins and darling pleated silk tiered skirt.

Mischka Aoki is renown as one of the only couture houses for children. Blue’s dress carries a hefty price tag of $4,915 USD and is available at exclusive retailers Harrods and Bergdorf Goodman. It’s definitely not your average party dress and most definitely may be out of budget, but we love the style and princess vibe as an inspiration for your flower girl dresses. Consider having a similar dress custom made at a more budget-friendly price point.

Everything You Need To Know About Bridal Fashion Week

Fashion & Beauty » Wedding Dresses

Photo via Ines Di Santo

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Closing out fashion season is Bridal Fashion Week in New York City which kicks off today and runs through October 9th.

Designers will be showcasing their latest and greatest styles for Fall/Winter 2018 (yes, bridal works even farther ahead than most fashion houses) and we’ll be rolling out all the latest gown galleries as the shows hit the runways.

Floating inside a tulle cloud for a few days in the Big Apple is pretty much every girl’s dream. Some of the runway shows headlining the schedule include Monique Lhuillier, Marchesa and Galia Lahav. We will cast our keen fashion eye on these shows as well as few trendsetting others. This year Pronovias brings its show-stopping glamour to New York with a couture show that is guaranteed to be full of an all-star front row and dazzling red carpet ready gowns and Pnina Tornai for Kleinfeld is always the hottest ticket in town. The self-professed ‘Sparkle Queen’ always delivers a show that is buzzy, beautiful and super-sexy. Meanwhile, Canadian design darling Ines Di Santo will be bringing over-the-top glamour to the bridal runways, pushing boundaries with her dreamy couture creations.

Follow us @weddingbellsmag for all the best buzz from the shows!

5 Things Nobody Tells You About Wedding Planning

Planning

secrets_of_wedding_planning

Photo by Chelsea Roisum from CBR Photography as seen in this real wedding.

You’re engaged, and everyone is offering you advice. EVERYONE. Your parents, in-laws to be, siblings, friends and co-workers are an ever-present peanut gallery offering their well-intended thoughts about your venue choice, cake flavour, and guest list. Advice is good, but, when it comes to a wedding, it can hit a fever pitch and quickly morph from helpful to hellish. Here are five (actually helpful) things to remember during the wedding planning process.

1. Remember to enjoy your engagement. You’ve said “yes,” now enjoy a window of time to just celebrate the amazing news. Give yourself at least a few weeks to just be engaged before diving head first into wedding planning. It’s important to savour this exciting time in your life without being bogged down with stressful decisions.

2. Don’t sweat the dress, you will find the one! Securing a venue will likely be the most stressful task on your to-do list and once you’ve got that done, everything else will fall into place (including your dress). There are lots of choices out there and lots of places to shop—today there is more selection than ever when it comes to styles and retailers. Shop with an open mind and know that while it might take you more than a few appointments to find “the one,” it will happen.

3. Schedule some alone time. “It’s amazing how fast your wedding day flies by,” says just-married Chantal. “You have to carve out a little time for just the two of you. Even if it’s five minutes, take a quiet pause, have a drink together and enjoy your time away from the crowd.”

4. Have a private photo session before or after your ceremony. “The highlight of my wedding day was when we were alone with our photographer after our ceremony,” shares newlywed Jessica. “We were laughing, crying and enjoying the moment—those photos are my absolute favourites of the day.”

5. Enjoy the best party ever—you planned it! When are you ever going to have another crazy, exuberant party like your wedding? Probably never. So make it count and be a part of all the fun you spent months and months (and months!) planning.

Prince Harry & Meghan Markle Have Made It Official

fun

Prince Harry Meghan Markle

Photo via Getty Images

Admit it, you swooned. We did too. At long last the universe delivered the long awaited first official public appearance of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle…and it was glorious!

First off, it happened in Toronto (our home turf!) The two attended a wheelchair tennis game at Prince Harry’s third annual Invictus Games. They walked to their match seats holding hands and looking besotted with each other and totally adorable. Courtside the two shared mega-watt smiles, laughs and looked like a couple of beautiful people who are mega into each other. Sigh.

This appearance all but seals the deal on an impending engagement announcement (squee!) It’s reported that British bookies have stopped placing odds on if an engagement will happen, but now are placing bets on when. It’s thought it will definitely happen before year end, with a royal wedding on the horizon in the first half of 2018. Our thoughts? The news won’t break until after Suits season seven finishes airing (early November) and Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary (November 20th). Watch this space and in the meantime let’s hope there’s lots more Harry and Meghan sightings to come.

How To Create The Perfect Vintage Bridal Fashion Vibe

Fashion & Beauty » Wedding Dresses

Photo courtesy of Blush Photography

A throwback wedding style that’s romantic and beautifully boho is one that’s on many bride-to-be’s radar, but creating the perfect vintage fashion look can be more challenging than you think. The perfect dress is often the star element that will set the style for the day. Trista Smith is the creator of Vancouver Island-based Reclamation, a fashion label designed and constructed in British Columbia and she creates the most dreamy vintage wedding gowns that mix both old and new materials.

“My line merges the two by creating lovely one of a kind pieces infused with meaning, intention and purpose and are made with reclaimed materials,” Smith explains. “I love reclaimed vintage lace. There is a sweet and palpable energy to it. I attribute that to the care and love that has been bestowed upon it over the years by all the grannies who cherished each table cloth and piece of linen and lace. I’m grateful to them every time I find an especially gorgeous piece!”

Weddingbells: What are the key fashion elements for a bride looking to rock a vintageinspired look?
Trista Smith: “I love the timeless effortless beauty that comes with a great vintage style. I do have a few key tips for vintage brides. First, do your research! Spend time creating style boards for yourself which reflect your favourite looks and style eras you love. You can see how they fit together and go with your overall wedding theme. Secondly, choose a dress that fits your body type. One thing I really love about vintage style is that 40 years ago fashion catered to the average size woman. The vintage inspired dress is intended to shape a body that is not a size zero which is a great option for most women. Lastly, when curating your vintage look don’t forget about shoes and accessories. Don’t discount the uniqueness and romance of choosing authentic vintage pieces. You might love the hunt as much as I do! And these authentic accessories are often much less expensive than what you’d find in the mall.”

WB: Do you have a favourite fabric or design silhouette you think embodies a vintage bride?
TS: “At this time my favourite vintage-inspired style features gorgeous lace sleeves and deep plunging necklines. My current collection merges the sultry silhouettes of the roaring 20s with all the romance of boho-chic style. The results are dresses that flow and move with weighty crochet lace and sleeves for days. There are even some tassels in there for good measure.”

WB: What’s the most important thing you think a bride needs to consider when it comes to finding her perfect wedding gown?
TS: “The most important thing a bride should consider when choosing a dress is how she feels about it. It’s easy to listen to outside opinions and current trends get in the way of that “feeling” deep in the belly. My advice is to let yourself be still and take in how you feel at the moment you see a dress that speaks to you. Let your intuition and heart guide you to the dress that was made to be yours. The dress that makes your heart sing will always make you happiest.”

Photo courtesy of Myrtle & Moss Photography

WB: Do you have a famous wedding dress that you love? If yes, why and what do you love about it?
TS: “I adore Audrey Hepburn’s wedding dress with its three quarter length puffed sleeves and high peter pan collar. I love her floral crown and simple elegant make up. She embodied romance, girlishness and true style like nobody else ever has.”

WB: Complete this sentence: “A vintage vibe is perfect for a bride
TS: “…who wants to immerse herself in a timeless style and beauty. The great thing about vintage style is it’s already won! There’s no worries that you’ll have regrets as you look back on photos of your fur corset and feather skirt dress chosen because it was all the rage in Paris. When you thoughtfully curate a vintage style wedding look you know that your efforts will be rewarded with compliments and admiration. Vintage style wins every time.”

Every Dress From Ines Di Santo’s Stunning New Bridal Line

Fashion & Beauty » Wedding Dresses

Ines by Ines di Santo Wedding Dresses - Posey Wedding Dress

Ines Di Santo is renown as one of Canada’s superstar bridal designers who crafts dream dresses that are beyond exquisite and ethereal. If you are looking for glamour, drama and a couture confection, a gown by Di Santo is it.

“My design style is typically toward the side of glamour,” the designer shared with us. “It’s a place I am happy in as it allows for femininity with a good dose of strength. Women, given the opportunity are both lovely and strong. I love to play to both sides!”

We spoke with the designer about her thoughts on bridal fashion and her beautiful new line Ines by Ines Di Santo (see all the gorgeousness in the attached gallery).

Weddingbells: What is your bridal style philosophy? 

Ines Di Santo: “I have found over the years that listening for thoughts both spoken clearly and expressed subtly has been the single thing that has had the greatest influence on my design. If you focus your attention on a women, she will express what is important to her. It’s up to me as a designer to interpret who she is and design a gown that reflects her beauty and personality.”

WB: Who is the Ines Di Santo bride? 

IDS: “She is a woman that not only loves to wear beautiful designs, but also understands that her allure lies in her personality and that which she brings to the world that is unique to her.”

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

IDS: “To select a gown that is completely you! Too often, a bride’s voice is diminished by well-intending relatives and friends. Feeling a connection is important so that she is able to find a gowns that reflects her taste and desires.

WB: Tell us about your new line Ines by Ines Di Santo? How is it different than your signature line?

IDS: “We wanted to create a line that featured on point designs and what brides want now. Ines by Ines Di Santo was created so I had the freedom to move my collection forward in a way that was perhaps not as safe as I could have in the past. I want to be able to be a visionary in this industry that I love so much, and this has allowed me to push forward and take chances. This collection also allows us to work with a wide variety of budgets, which is important for today’s bride.

Why Chanel’s New Fragrance Is A Wedding Must

Fashion & Beauty » Skin Care & Makeup

Your wedding fragrance will be one of the most memorable scents of your life; it’s one that you will have an intelligible bond with, forever linked to your day. It will become an iconic aroma in your life.

Chanel, a fashion house synonymous with iconic scents, has just launched a gorgeous new juice, Gabrielle Chanel (she was known as Coco only to her nearest and dearest), the latest addition to its fragrance hall of fame. Perfumer Olivier Polge wanted to create a perfume that embodied the most gorgeous white bouquet. The flowers selected are emblematic to the House of Chanel—ylang-ylang, orange blossom, Grasse tuberose and jasmine. The scent has a beautifully feminine depth that is a little unexpected with such a full floral bouquet.

“I put the emphasis on floral notes to find a new realm of expression,” Polge explains. A hint of sandalwood gives Gabrielle its subtle sexiness—sounds absolutely wedding perfect, right?!

The packaging is almost a beautiful as the juice it houses. A simple square bottle crafted of feather-weight glass lets the warm golden hue of Gabrielle shimmer and shine. We are smitten with this fragrance not only for brides but for bridesmaids too—a bottle of Gabrielle Chanel is the perfect gift for your girls, a beautiful memory of your day.

The Folksy Wedding Accessories Every Free-Spirited Bride Needs

Fashion & Beauty » Veils & Accessories

folksy accessories you need for a free-spirited bridal vibe - shay lowe pink tassel earrings

The new free-spirited bridal vibe is less romantic dreamer, more folksy bohemian princess. And let’s face it: an effortless, carefree spirit is one that every bride should aim to evoke on her big day. Incorporating fun, trendy accents into your bridal look is one way to do this.

Add some whimsy to your wedding style with tassels, embroidery and accessories bursting with colour. Our folksy wedding accessory favourites include pineapple-adorned sandals, tasselled earrings and turquoise cocktail rings that will instantly add interested to your overall look.

Photography by Carlo Mendoza. Product sourcing by Tara Williams. Off-figure styling by Breanna Gow/Judy Inc.

This Couple Met on Jeopardy! And Had A Gorgeous Canadian Wedding

Real Weddings

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All photos courtesy of Shannon-May Photography.

You never know where you’ll find your love match…it may even be while you are a contestant on Jeopardy! That is exactly when cupid’s bow stuck for New Brunswick native Maryanne Lewell. She met Michael Townes from South Carolina when the two were contestants on Jeopardy!’s Teacher Week in 2013.

The quiz show competitors became a twosome and when it came time to tie the knot they decided on the bride’s home and native land, marrying in St. Andrews-By-The-Sea at a darling 19th century church and hosting their reception for 90 guests at the historic Algonquin Resort (one of our 2017 picks for Canada’s Loveliest Venues).

At Algonquin Resort, the pair had giant Jenga and lawn games set up while the wedding party took pictures. The speeches featured a toast to six Jeopardy! casting coordinators and production crew invited to the wedding who played the role of matchmakers. Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek also received a special nod and invite even though he could not attend.

With a desire to let guests graze all night, the couple selected a tapas-inspired menu in lieu of typical plated meals. Staff served traditional east coast staples like clam chowder, pulled pork sliders and fish and chips that also satisfied the taste buds of the groom’s Southern guests, none of whom had ever visited Canada before.

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