Archive for Alison McGill

Should You Have A Virtual Wedding?


Photography courtesy of Sydney Takeshta of London Light Photography as seen in this real wedding.

As of today, April 7th 2020, weddings up until June of this year are impacted by COVID-19. Couples and wedding planners are working overtime to find solutions for booking alternate dates. “We’ve rescheduled all weddings and events through to the end of June at this point.,” shares Aly Armstrong, principal event planner at Vancouver’s Aly Armstrong Events. “We are then working on alternate dates for our July and August couples just in case, but so far they are holding onto hope that the original plan can be executed”

Armstrong notes that events which seem to be on track also have a number of X variables which will come into play as time ticks on. “Guest count is a big factor as is international travel. If any immediate family are set to fly in from other countries, this adds another layer to the thought process of how to handle your celebration.”

With so much flux and uncertainty happening in the wedding space, many couples have chosen to do their wedding, their way and the virtual wedding has quickly emerged as 2020’s most unexpected and rapidly growing wedding trend. Armstrong says in the case of her business and clients, anyone getting married in the next three months has opted to postponed and reschedule. She and her team are working with venues and vendor teams to get backup dates on the calendar ASAP as there is no way of really knowing how long COVID-19 will be a threat to events and weddings.

If you are considering a virtual wedding, Armstrong says it could actually be a very meaningful and significant choice. “Getting married to your partner is truly the most special and significant moment at any wedding,” Armstrong smiles. “Love always wins!” She does have some tips though for making the day even more meaningful.

Make It A Surprise
 “I recently saw a story about a couple who surprised their guests via Zoom. They had called a “meeting”, and everyone logged on to witness a surprise vow exchange,” Armstrong says. “It was beautiful. Many wedding vendors are still offering curbside pick-up or delivery and are using safe measures to prepare their products. Couples can still get creative and style their own ceremonies at home should they choose. Many florists are still active as are some bakeries & caterers. Why not create an intimate celebration from the comfort of your own home? If a certain date is especially important to you and you have planned your wedding around this—as is the case for many couples—don’t let it slip by! Remember you can always host a party and reception in the future with all your friends and family. Ask your guests to dress up to attend your virtual party, then enjoy a catered dinner following with your new husband or wife. Perhaps pull out the fancy dinnerware or any sentimental items passed down from parents and grandparents, this is the time to use it!”

Get Your Tech Setup Right
When it comes to setting up the virtual wedding, remember lighting is key. Face your light source and try to have some natural light source present if you can. Everyone will look beautiful and bright. Armstrong recommends Zoom as her platform of choice to use for virtual weddings and if you are not familiar with it, find a great friend who is tech savvy and have them join the call a few minutes early to help troubleshoot. Be conscious of your background and try to make it pretty and fun. Given the fact you can still access flowers, you can still incorporate them into your ceremony—a bouquet or boutonniere may be a nice touch if it suits. Photography may also still happen though that can be tricky as many are not currently working. Some may make exceptions if they can stay six feet away or take photographs outdoors.

Don’t Forget The Toasts!
“If you aren’t having a surprise ceremony you can send out a list of the events to your guests in advance along with the meeting link which could include a champagne toast following the vow exchange,” Armstrong says. “Your guests will also be able to virtually mingle with you post ‘I Dos’ and you may even want a few to give speeches and share some warm words.”

Though a virtual wedding is certainly not something for everyone, Armstrong says you may want to give it some thought before taking it off the table completely in your thoughts of rescheduling your wedding. “Each event definitely has its own set of variables. I love this idea if it makes sense for the couple. I recommend make a list of what is most important to you. Envision yourself exchanging vows with your partner. If having friends and family there in person is a non-negotiable, then waiting is your best bet. If exchanging vows at a certain venue and with specific decor elements, then waiting is best. Either way, it will be beautiful, and you’ll be glad you went ahead, or it will be worth the wait!”

Canadian Brand Zvelle Is Giving Away Three Pairs Of Shoes To COVID-19 Impacted Brides

Fashion & Beauty

Zvelle, the luxury Canadian footwear brand, wants to help 2020 brides in need. Company founder and Creative Director Elle AyoubZadeh has always made philanthropy a big part of her brand and company messaging. As female entrepreneur, she has always focused on supporting women and it has been an integral part of her branding since she started her company in 2015.

“At Zvelle we offer inspiration and accessories that support individual attitudes and unchartered pathways so we can move through the world in our own way,” AyoubZadeh shares. “Our mission is to modernize the way women and their stories are reflected through fashion. We do this through the products and stories we create and share. Our philosophy is #WalkHowYouWant

In light of COVID-19, AyoubZadeh recently launched a social media initiative with Zvelle aimed at honouring female healthcare heroes (winners were awarded a pair of the brand’s Stowe sandals which were named after Emily Stowe, Canada’s first female physician and founder of Toronto’s Women’s College Hospital). “I feel it’s important to give back in this time of crisis because we all have a responsibility to do what we can to leave this world a better place. It doesn’t matter how small we think our contribution is. Zvelle has beautiful shoes and making them is a labour of love. If we can give share this love to bring some joy and hope into the world then we should. It’s our small contribution and it is what keeps us going. Generosity is one of our core values at Zvelle and we take every opportunity we can to practice that.”

She’s now turned her attention to helping brides who have been impacted by COVID-19. Zvelle and Weddingbells have partnered to launch #WalkTheAisleHowYouWant and three women who’s weddings have been impacted by COVID-19 will be chosen and gifted one of three iconic Zvelle shoe styles: Rayna (flats or slingbacks), Noor or Tara sandals.

Tara sandal by Zvelle.

Rayna flats by Zvelle.

Noor sandal by Zvelle.

“When my husband Raymond and I were married I remember how happy our families were at our wedding,” AyoubZadeh says. “Celebrating love with your family is one of the most special things you can do. I feel for all the brides who have to postpone their public celebrations of love and I want them to know that it’s only a matter of time. We want to send these brides some love, bring them some joy and feel confident.”

Zvelle founder Elle and her husband Raymond on their wedding day in Venice. See this real wedding here.

Please visit our Instagram @weddingbellsmag for more details on sharing your story to walk the aisle in your very own pair of gorgeous Zvelle shoes.

Canadian Bridal Desiger Ines Di Santo On Spring 2021 Dresses, Sustainability & When Your Know You’ve Found The Dress

Fashion & Beauty » Wedding Dresses

Ines Di Santo at the finale of her Fall 2020 runway show.

Ines Di Santo is truly a legend in the realm of bridal style. The Toronto-based Canadian designer is renowned for her exquisite, romantic and fashion-forward gowns. The design darling is one of the most incredibly inspiring women you will ever meet and together with her daughter Veronica (who is a managing partner of the company) they continuously wow with extraordinary bridal collections season-after-season.

We had the chance to sit down with Ines and learn what makes her tick and drives her remarkable creative talents and why brides are so near and dear to her heart.

What are today’s brides wanting for their dream wedding dress?
“I find myself less and less willing to make broad sweeping statements about trends in any area of design. The confidence I see in women today defies trends and their styles are very individual. It’s important as designers we recognize there is no longer a standard point of view when it comes to fashion and bridal style.  It’s a fantastic time to be a designer as I am able to work with more freedom and focus on the women rather than the next big thing.”

Who is the Ines Di Santo Bride?
“The Ines Di Santo bride is sophisticated, looking for a gown with femininity, marked by superb fit, originality and inimitable construction. She also enjoys elegance, simplicity and glamour in her fashion choices.”

What are your signature design details?
 “I think my primary signature lives in the fit of my gowns.  I understand the female body in all of its forms and am always working to balance the beauty of the body with the beauty of a gown.”

Ines di Santo Fall 2020 collection.

Your shows are always a highlight of New York Bridal Fashion Week! Where do you find inspiration for your incredible and innovative collections?
“I am endlessly inspired. I truly feel when you live to celebrate life and create art, there is never a shortage of inspiration in the world around you. Whether it comes from my travels, or a movie, or something as simple sitting in my garden, I am surrounded by a world of colors and textures which inform all of my collections and inspire my over the top proportions I’ve become known for. I truly feel when you live to celebrate life and create art, there is never a shortage of inspiration in the world around you.”

What can we expect to see in your Spring 2021 collection?
“For the upcoming season, I was inspired by Makoto Azuma, the Japanese artist and botanical sculptor. I was very inspired by his juxtaposition of florals with modern textures and surfaces he uses when presenting them. I studied the contrast of the high polish lacquer backdrops, the glass luster display boxes, and the grainy textures of the ice blocks that house his color explosive creations.  I developed fabrics to mimic these textures, such as an organza that has structure and shine like glass but remains soft to the touch, and embossed floral jacquards with shaded definition.”

How important is sustainability in bridal fashion right now?
“More and more we are seeing brides and couples prioritizing sustainability and the environment as part of their decision-making process when it comes to their celebration and the wedding gown. This is our challenge as a bridal brand to speak to this emerging audience. Being a couture brand, we really create each gown with almost no waste as each gown is made custom for our brides’ measurements. We are not mass producing, so it is already in our nature to be more sustainable and eco- conscious. This season we are very excited to be introducing some new recycled fabrics into the line. We have one fabric made 70% of recycled bottles, but it is woven at such a high quality that one would never be able to tell upon touch; we are very excited about these types of new developments and plan on launching more and more each season!”

You are also always evolving your brand, most recently adding shoes and jewelry. Why are accessories just as important to the bride as the gown?
 “Accessories are all about punctuating your look. I always recommend you keep your look consistent and classic. What I love about our InesXCiner jewelry collaboration is this collection was designed for brides and beyond; jewels which can be worn on your wedding day and can be worn time and time again to add an unexpected touch to even the simplest outfits.”

Ines di Santo Fall 2020 collection.

Your daughter Veronica is very involved in the business and you are a powerhouse female team. How do you inspire and support each other?
 “When you look at successful design houses, you will often see a husband and wife or a parent and a child working together. I think it is the inherent understanding that flows between these relationships that make them work so well. Trust is significant and knowing my daughter understands my goals—and shares many of them—is everything. We are building something which will hopefully, shine well beyond our time. I run our design room and Veronica is the managing partner. This shared commitment allows both of us to work to our strengths.”

Finish this sentence: “A bride’s perfect dress is…..”
 “… one that makes her feel this is her red-carpet moment. A dress that best fits her personal aesthetic and makes her feel her very, very best.”

What You Need To Know About Booking A Virtual Bridal Gown Shopping Appointment

Fashion & Beauty » Wedding Dresses

Photography courtesy of Artiese Studios. Dress from Sash & Bustle Bridal Boutique. Styled shoot produced by Blush + Bowties as seen here.

With wedding planning continuing for many couples virtually (see story here) many bridal fashion retailers are also providing appointments in the digital space. Appointments can be scheduled, dresses selected and delivered to your home to try on and you can have your own stylist virtually on hand to guide you through and help you find your dream dress.

Toronto bridal retailer Sash & Bustle Bridal Boutique just launched virtual appointment for clients this week and Lindsay Colbourne who handles social media initiatives for the company walked us through how the process works.

Can you share what’s involved in a virtual bridal gown appointment.
“A virtual appointment consists of two parts; the first is your virtual consultation. You can schedule these appointments on our website with one of our stylists for bridal gowns or accessories. During your consultation your stylist will guide you through the collection of dresses, relaying info, and displaying dresses on mannequins to discuss fit and this is all at no charge. During this consultation you can select a maximum of five dresses or eight accessories. The second part of a virtual appointment is the at-home-try-on-service; this service is completely optional; we can always save your favourites to your profile for a later date. If you opt for this service, we will arrange curb-side drop-off or courier delivery (depending on where you live) of your favourite dresses or accessories to try on at home. During your at-home try-on party you can elect to schedule a time with your stylist to answer any questions you may have, offer sizing/alteration tips or provide styling advice. We have posted a comprehensive outline of our virtual appointments on our website.”

After a virtual appointment if a client find’s their dream dress what are next steps?
“If a bride says YES during her virtual consultation without a need for the at home service, she will have her lovely and enthusiastic stylist to celebrate with! That stylist will go over the measuring process, production timelines etc. They will also be promptly emailed this info. Also, if a bride says yes during the at home service there is a little package that comes with her dresses that we ask only to be opened upon finding her dream dress. In it will contain some treats and surprises for her, a way to celebrate and have an Instagram moment, as well as a measuring tape and a how-to guide on measuring at home, a congrats card and some next step instructions.”

How have virtual appointments been received by your clients?
“So far we have had a great response from our community and brides! Most brides seem grateful for a chance to shop in some capacity.”

How many of your brides have been impacted by COVID-19?
“Many of our spring and summer 2020 brides have had to postpone or cancel their weddings. So many of our brides are preparing for their summer weddings and there is so much uncertainty knowing if and when to postpone. We are trying to be there for them as best we can. We also feel that 2021 brides are feeling the stress as well, especially with regards to when they should start shopping, especially in the current climate. It’s hard to say how many brides have been impacted, but it feels like most are impacted in some way.”

Why Bindi Irwin’s Rescheduled Intimate Wedding Is A Lesson For Everyone


Why Bindi Irwin’s Rescheduled Intimate Wedding Is A Lesson For Everyone

Photo via Instagram/@bindisueirwin

Bindi Irwin married her partner Chandler Powell on March 25th in a secret, intimate wedding at the Australia Zoo in Queensland, which has been owned by the Irwin family since the 1970s and was famously run by her father Steve until his tragic death in 2006. Only Bindi’s mum Terri and her brother Robert were present. She shared the news of her nuptials with her 3.4 million followers on Instagram.

“We held a small ceremony and I married my best friend. There are not words to describe the amount of love and light in my heart right now. We’ve planned this beautiful day for nearly a year and had to change everything, as we didn’t have guests at the wedding. This was a very difficult decision but important to keep everyone safe. We wish all our friends and family could have been there with us, however it’s lovely that we were able to share photos and videos. Right now, we’re encouraging the world to hold onto hope and love, which will carry us forward during this profound time in history.”

Bindi and Chandler were to be married on April 4th in a much larger celebration. When they heard the government would be enforcing a ban on events consisting of no more than five people (and this too has just happened in several provinces across Canada), they rethought their wedding equation and quickly put a plan into play to still have their wedding but on a much different scale.

We know the coronavirus pandemic has completely disrupted the wedding space and so many of you are impacted by this. We know many of you are unable to have the event you had originally planned, leaving you scrambling to figure out next steps. Bindi’s is a feel-good story of turning a positive into a negative in a time when having your utmost nearest and dearest closest to you is key. Rethinking your wedding day on an extremely intimate scale may just be the answer to putting some of your current wedding stress to rest.

I personally had just the type of wedding Bindi did. A secret, intimate wedding, with just my parents present. Our wedding was on a scale of of our own choosing (I was married in 2009), totally reflective of us as a couple. There is something incredibly romantic and magical about this style of celebration—you can read more here. It may have you rethinking the type of 2020 wedding to have.

Why Sleep Is The Secret To Eliminating Stress


Photo via iStock.

Much is written today about sleep: our lack of it and how it impacts everything in our life and our quality of life. If you don’t get enough z’s your body and mind will tell you. And when you are stressed, it’s a guarantee you won’t be getting the rest you need which leads to more stress and worry. It can become a toxic, never-ending cycle. Today, more than ever, it’s critical to get your sleep to keep yourself physically and mentally well.

To help you understand why it’s so important and how to truly lay it down, turn if off and get the restorative rest you need, we spoke to Alannah McGinn, renown Toronto-based sleep expert and President of Good Night Sleep Site, who shared with us many interesting and eye-opening sleep insights.

Why is good sleep so integral to our being?
“Sleep helps our body repair and restore from the day its had and helps the brain and mind rest and prepare for the day ahead. We are able to file away our long-term memories and flush out toxins. Research shows our brain’s drainage system—the glymphatic system—washes the junk and toxins from our brains primarily throughout the night. This is one of the major reasons why we sleep.”

Straight talk: how many hours of sleep do we really need a night to function at our best?
“For a typical healthy adult individual you need at least seven to nine hours of consolidated sleep. Rare individuals require less or more. When you are frequently cheating your body of six or less hours of sleep each night you are more prone to future health problems and a shorter life expectancy. You can’t catch on up sleep by just sleeping in one morning. It takes 24 hours to recover from one hour lost of sleep.”

How does stress impact sleep? What if you just can’t turn off your ever-whirring mind?
“Busy brains is a main reason why people are struggling to fall back to sleep at night. Bouts of insomnia are common. You may suffer from acute insomnia, where for a short period of time you struggle with sleep and then you start sleeping well again. It could be due to illness, stress, excitement, worry. Others may struggle with chronic insomnia, where the individual has had loss of sleep for months or even years and now it could be affecting their overall health and quality of life. Some tricks to quiet your mind include practicing mindful breathing and relaxing techniques. Take a personal pause throughout your day where you allow your mind to shift to your worries or your to-do list. Right it down if you have to. This way once you go to sleep and the distractions are gone you’re not left to thinking about everything because you already gave yourself that opportunity to throughout the day. Also I advise keeping a worry journal on your bedside table where you can jot down worries, stresses, and to-do lists that may be keeping you up at night so that you are giving yourself a brain dump and off your mind so that you can sleep.”

What are the essentials for a good night sleep?
“You always want to start with the basics and that’s practicing proper sleep hygiene. Sleep hygiene are steps that you should practice promoting ongoing healthy sleep. There are a few main steps for this. It’s important to establish a consistent sleep pattern. It’s easier for us to fall asleep and stay asleep when we are aiming for the same bedtime and wake time each day. Next, protect the amount of sleep that you need. When we don’t meet our own personal baseline of sleep on a regular basis we accumulate a ‘sleep debt.’ Determine your wake time and base your bedtime on that. Lastly, turn off tech and keep it out of the bedroom! You may fall asleep to the TV okay or after you surf your phone, but being in front of that bright screen turns the sleep switch off in your brain. And even though you are sleeping, your brain still thinks that it should be awake, so you’re not able to get proper restorative sleep.”

On that note, how much do tech devices impact our sleep?
“Likely the biggest sleep buster in our bedrooms! Turn off the TV, the internet, the iPad, and the iPhone, whatever you use. That blue LED light from the screen can really over stimulate the brain. It suppresses melatonin and make it difficult for you to fall asleep. So at least 60-minutes before bedtime (90-minutes if you can do it!), turn off tech!”

How can a couple get a better night’s sleep as a collective? It can be very difficult when you are two different sleepers, with different wake times and bedtimes.
“If you can focus on the same bedtime at least a few nights a week this can provide you and your partner the opportunity to connect without life’s distractions. Establishing a healthy bedtime routine as a couple and as individuals is imperative in attaining a good night’s sleep.”

Why The Wedding Planners Is The Feel-Good Show Your Need To Watch


We chatted with the stars of the new series The Wedding Planners.

All photos courtesy of The Wedding Planners/CityTV.

Premiering March 27th on CityTV is the delightful new wedding show The Wedding Planners. The Canadian production follows the lives of the Clarkson family and their wedding planning business Clarkson Wedding Essentials. The family siblings Hannah (Madeline Leon), Paige (Kimberly-Sue Murray) and James (Michael Seater) step into their mother’s shoes to take on the biz but haven’t really a clue how to do the job at hand. We caught up with the three stars of The Wedding Planners in Toronto to chat about the show and their new love and understanding for the world of weddings.

Prior to being cast in the show what was your experience with weddings?
Kimberly-Sue Murray: “Well I’ve been to a few weddings…!”
Michael Seater: “I have been to a doozy or two!”
KSM: “I definitely have opinions on how I would like my own wedding. I have a visual reaction to PDA—for me there is something embarrassing about it and it makes me very shy. I have always envisioned myself eloping for that reason and also, I think there is something very romantic about it. Elope and throw a big party afterwards!”
Madeline Leon: “If you don’t need the crowd to witness it there is something really beautiful about having something contained and curated, I agree.”

We chatted with the stars of the new series The Wedding Planners.

How did you prepare for the role of playing a wedding planner?
MS: “I have personally been thrown into wedding planner mode many times via friends and family. I’m the guy that gets asked ‘Hey can you do these 20 things in the next 24 hours.’ I’m a very good swing into action kid of guy. I produce independent films, so I feel that production experience is very similar to event production. It involves putting everything things together in just the right way.
KSM: “I know nothing about wedding planning, but I think it’s a great energy to have. My character Paige is thrown into being the head of the family business, but she is constantly questioning herself on things like can she do this is she good enough. I have not planned weddings before, but I am very resourceful and have a few bachelorette parties I have helped organize.”
ML: “Prior to the show I have not had a ton of experience with weddings but what I have now learned is what a production these events are! We are talking two- or three-year ordeals to plan and execute! On the show we get to delve into the production details that create today’s todays weddings and we also capitalize on the roadblocks and exciting times for our couples which of course builds drama.”

We chatted with the stars of the new series The Wedding Planners.

There are ten weddings that take place over the course of the show’s seven episodes. Did you have a favourite part of being a planner and something that you found not so joyful?
ML: “I really like the human connection that a wedding planner develops with their couples. Of course, I loved all the pretty wedding details, but I really loved the personal connection we as actors had with our characters and the couples on the show.”
KSM: “I loved drama! That is who I am as a person so that was fun to experience. I also realized that as a wedding planner it requires so much energy because you have to constantly be on and be positive no matter what your life situation. You could be having terrible personal struggles, but you still have to show up. I found that to be a very interesting juxtaposition.
MS: “Weddings really delivery a universal life experience which is amazing. I deal a lot with the dresses in the show and really, I could use a little colour in them!

What will viewers get from this show?
ML: “It has tears, joy and a lot of fun. A little bit of everything for everyone!”
MS: If you are young and engaged you will find moments from your own life at the moment. If you are married, you will remember what you went through. If you are older you will be nostalgic about your own wedding day. The show hits on so many bubbles of emotion and it is the type of viewing that will bring joy, hope and happiness which we all need right now.”

How To Keep Your Engagement Ring Sparkling In The Age Of Extra Hand Washing

2020 Wedding Trends » Style

Photo by Maya Visneyi. Styling by Catherine Doherty. Ring boxes by The Family Joolz. All rings by Birks.

All the stringent hand cleansing and hand sanitizing now part of our daily lives with COVID-19 (the virus is transmitted via the mouth, eyes and nose so frequent cleaning is essential) is not just hard on your skin, it’s hard on your rings. Daily wear definitely takes a toll on your jewelry; add in all the stepped-up hand washing (experts recommend you do remove rings before washing or sanitizing) and you have even more stress put on the metal of your ring and even the stone which can lose its fire due to a buildup of residue.

Bringing the sparkle back to your ring can easily be done at home. Toronto based jewelry designer Liz Wright says you can do a quick DIY clean at home and all you need are three things: a bowl of warm water, dish soap and a soft toothbrush. Simply soak your ring for five minutes in the warm soapy solution, give a gentle scrub with your toothbrush and your ring will look shiny and (almost) new again.

Once we return to life being business-as-usual, take your ring in for a professional deep cleaning. If you have a white gold engagement ring, you may notice the metal may have begun to yellow. Here’s a little lesson for you: gold is an element and a precious metal, and it is always yellow. What jewellers use as white gold is actually an alloy mixture of gold and white metal (usually nickel, silver or palladium). To make it sparkle, white gold pieces are typically treated with a thin layer of rhodium electroplating (rhodium is actually a member of the platinum family) to make that jewelry shine. White gold plated with rhodium also helps to keep the piece looking its best longer as rhodium will not tarnish or discolour, and since it is a harder substance, it is much less likely to scratch. Rhodium does not last forever though, and is something you should have redone once you see your ring looking less than spectacular. It’s recommended to have your rings plated every six months to a year. Many jewellers offer rhodium plating as a complimentary service to brides just before their wedding day to ensure their ring shines on the day, so ask yours about having the service done.

A Note From Our Editor


A Note From Our Editor

Photography by Alvaro Goveia. Makeup and hair styling by Ashley Readings for Plutino Group. Hair colour by Jed Puznak; hair cut by Tony Masciangelo, both Alcorn Hair.

We have been talking a lot about weddings and COVID-19. It is a difficult time for engaged couples facing imminent celebrations or honeymoons who are now scrambling to reschedule and for the wedding industry trying to navigate things as the global health pandemic changes daily.

For us at Weddingbells that has meant pivoting our content to not only to inspire you, but most importantly to inform you of issues and developments impacting weddings. We are here to support you, our readers, and the wonderful wedding vendor community. We are committed to creating content that will keep you in the know and also entertained because we all need a little of that right now.

If you already have an event planned that you feel may be in jeopardy or are engaged and thinking of a 2021 wedding, get proactive now and get things secured. We have done some incredible content to help guide you and ensure you that you are not alone. Read up on how coronavirus is impacting weddings here. Hear from real brides who are facing rescheduling woes and how they are dealing with (and feeling about it!) here. Read some expert wedding planner intel on why you may want to consider postponing your wedding until 2021 here. If you want to get proactive with your wedding planning, our new columnist wedding planner Katie Gregg has some great advice here. And by all means you can absolutely still forge ahead with your wedding plans virtually and connect with all your vendors easily and effortlessly—read up on that here.

We of course are still continuing to deliver beauty and inspiration as well. Let our real weddings sweep you away and deliver some much-needed lightness to your day. You can also expect our daily mix of décor, florals, food, travel and gorgeous styled shoots done by some of Canada’s top talents.

Though we need to socially distance from one another right now, know that you are not alone, and we are here! We love hearing from you and interacting on our social platforms—we’re @weddingbellsmag on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook whenever you want to get in touch. Let’s be there for each other—now, more than ever, is a time to connect.

Should You Expect Delays With Your Wedding Gown Delivery?

Fashion & Beauty

Photography by Lily & Lilac for Weddingbells.

If your 2020 wedding date is remaining on track one question you may be wondering about is if your dress will indeed make it to you on time. We spoke to Neil Berg, president of Toronto’s Richman Group and Morilee Canada Ltd. to share some industry insider information on the subject of wedding dress delivery from the manufacturing perspective and how things are moving on his end in light of COVID-19. “We are fortunate not to rely entirely on China for our garments as we own three of our own factories in Indonesia,” Berg says. “We do deal with many Chinese factories, but many of our bridal and prom dresses come to us from Indonesia as well as Myanmar; all of our bridesmaid dresses come from Indonesia.”

Berg says as of today (March 24th), the company’s deliveries are running 95% on time. He notes there are a few delays in production (but this is something he deals with on a good day as it can be a routine part of the business equation) and timing is always accounted for with retailers to ensure gowns are delivered well in advance of the actual wear date. “We are able to expedite our process and, to date, have not had any issues whatsoever.”

Being a Toronto-based business, Berg will face a two-week warehouse shutdown beginning March 25th as part of legislature introduced by the Ontario government which impacts non-essential businesses. “We have already shipped many orders with due dates to the end of April,” he shares. “How this shutdown will affect us going forward is difficult to project, but we will make every effort allowable by law to fulfill each and every order. We have been in business for 65 years and we have amazing communication with our factories and retailers, and this has proven to be invaluable at this time.”

His advice if you are getting married in the back half of 2020 and have not yet ordered your gown: this is something you need to do as soon as possible when business gets back to normal. “My advice is as soon as you are able, get to a bridal retailer and have it ordered so we can start the fulfillment process ASAP. Currently we are operating from home offices and we have the ability to process orders from stores and begin manufacturing. If for some reason we are not able to fulfill orders and receive goods we have a massive stock of dresses available in our facilities in Toronto and Las Vegas.”

If you are getting married in 2021, there is no need to panic when it comes to the dress. We do, however, recommend you get proactive with your planning to ensure things stay on track as there is likely to be a ton of bookings now happening next year. For more on the subject of how retailers are handling the situation with clients, we spoke to Andrea Anastasiou of White Toronto and White Montreal who shared some valuable intel. You can read her thoughts here.

How To DIY Your Mani (And Remove Gel Polish) At Home Like A Pro

Fashion & Beauty

bridal beauty looks - exaggerated natural

Photography by Carlyle Routh. Styling by Tara Williams. Hair and makeup by Vanessa Jarman using Charlotte Tilbury for Hair and makuep assistant Alexandre Deslauriers. Styling assistant, Kat Fregillana. Editor, Alison McGill. Ring by Mark Lash. Dress by Pronovias at Kleinfeld Hudson’s Bay. Necklace and bracelet by Anne Sportun.

At home self-isolating and wondering how to deal with your gel polish manicure that is well past its 14-day expiry date? We spoke to Tamara Di Lullo, owner of Montreal’s Candy Nail Bar and lead educator for CND and about how you can easily remove it yourself, but you do need to have a key item handy: acetone.

“The tricky part right now might be finding acetone,” Di Lullo says. “Even nail industry suppliers are talking about shortages of this product due the current world health situation. To remove a gel manicure, you do need acetone. Not conventional nail polish remover, lemon juice or, even worse, alcohol.”

If you have acetone in stock, you will also need cotton balls or makeup remover pads, some small squares of aluminum foil and a small hand towel, preferably white, so it won’t risk damage from the acetone. Start the removal process by filing the edges and surface of your nail ONLY where the gel polish covers it. Wet the cotton pad and place it on your nail and wrap up your nails tightly with the foil (shiny side inwards—and yes, it helps!) like a burrito. Wait ten minutes for the first nail, then check it out—if the gel is peeling off completely, then you can begin removing it by pushing it gently off your nail with an orange stick. “With Shellac or any gel polish, the important thing is to never pull or rip it off your nails,” Di Lullo explains. “It’s so damaging to your natural nails, so please, let’s be delicate and good to them and execute a proper removal.”

Once your nails are free and clear and you’re washed your hands, hydrate your nails and cuticles with a product like CND Solar Oil (if you have some), or you can also use coconut or olive oil which are both equally effective. Di Lullo says this time at home is a great time to leave your nails bare and focus getting them in peak natural condition. She recommends using a keratin-based treatment like CND Rescue RXX to help promote natural nail health. If you do opt for polish, choose nude or soft shades as they don’t show chips as quickly. “I do love long-wear polishes like CND’s Vinylux, which stays chip free for a week or more and dries almost instantly.”

Di Lullo says this is also a time to learn some new skills and learn how to create some simple nail art. “I recommend watching some IGTV tutorials or YouTube videos,” she says (you can watch her videos here). “All you need to create some cool designs are a few simple household objects—sponges, cling wrap, toothpicks, and old toothbrushes are all tools to play with and create. Have some fun, there are no rules!”

15 Wedding Movies To Watch Now


It’s time for feel-good entertainment! We always have a hot list of wedding movies to recommend, but we did some crowd sourcing to add to our standing list and came up with this stellar lineup of wedding-themed, or wedding-inclusive watches.

Photo by Polygram/Working Title/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock.

Four Weddings & A Funeral, 1994
This Brit rom-com is a classic and Hugh Grant’s defining role. A generation fell in love with him then, and never stopped. You will laugh, a lot, and cry a little too.

Photo by Ronald Siemoneit/Sygma/Sygma via Getty Images.

My Best Friend’s Wedding, 1997
Julia Roberts is undoubtably the queen of the wedding movie scene and this is one of her best—this one is arguably one of the top wedding flicks of all time. The perfect mix of laughs and love.

Photo via Associated Press.

Sixteen Candles, 1984
While not specifically a wedding movie, the plot of this one revolves around Andie (Molly Ringwald) dealing with her 16th birthday in the mess of her sister’s wedding weekend. Two words: Jake Ryan. Watch it!

Photo via Vogue.

My Big Fat Greek Wedding, 2002
A classic tale of a massive family wedding is full of all the characters and drama that may be all too familiar as you plan your own day. Nia Vardalos and John Corbett will totally charm you.

Photo via The New Yorker.

The Parent Trap, 1961 and 1998
This Disney film, which was remade in 1998 with Lindsay Lohan, pictured above, is a retro trip and tells the tale of two teenage twins who want to reunite their divorced parents. Watch the original, then the remake!

Photo via Getty.

Notting Hill, 1999
Though not specifically a wedding flick, this Richard Curtis romantic comedy has one hell of a wedding scene which becomes a pivotal moment for the movie’s lead characters Anna Scott (Julia Roberts) and Will Thacker (Hugh Grant). Added bonus: it’s charmingly British from start to finish.

Photo via Bustle.

Bridesmaids, 2011
Consider putting this one on repeat if you haven’t already because the more you watch it the better it gets. Melissa McCarthy delivers the performance of a lifetime and there likely will never be an all-star lineup of women as funny as this in one film ever again.

Photo via New Line Cinema.

The Wedding Singer, 1998
Singer Robbie (Adam Sandler) and waitress Julia (Drew Barrymore) are engaged… but to the wrong people. Fate intervenes, life takes a turn for the couple and it’s all set against one of the best movie soundtracks (heavily ‘80s inspired of course!) of all time.

Photo via Shadow and Act.

The Best Man, 1999
Taye Diggs stars in this rom-com about what ensues when a newly published author reunites with friends from college for a wedding weekend… friends whom he wrote about in his book! Secrets come out, and drama unfolds, entangling all friends, including the newlyweds-to-be.

Photo via

Runaway Bride, 1999
The re-teaming of Pretty Woman co-stars Julia Robert and Richard Gere made this one an instant classic, with Roberts portraying a nervous bride who has left more than one fiancé at the altar.

Photo via Mental Floss.

Father Of The Bride, 1950 and 1991
The original film stars Spencer Tracy in the titular role and Elizabeth Taylor as the bride. It follows the ups and downs of wedding planning and parent’s involvement in it. The 1991 remake, pictured above, starring Steven Martin has also become a wedding-watch classic.

Photo via Amazon.

The Wedding Planner, 2001
Another favourite that topped our crowd-source list of must-sees! Jennifer Lopez and Matthew McConaughey make this fluffy watch a thoroughly entertaining one.

Photo via Variety.

Wedding Crashers, 2005
Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson are the crashers and play two guys we ALL know. There are some classic lines and moments in this one that, a film that still resonates 15 years after hitting theatres.

Photo via Amazon.

Muriel’s Wedding, 1994
This film marked Toni Colette’s breakout role and is perfect if you love a black comedy. Muriel is a flawed hero who you may have difficulty loving, but her story is interesting and her obsession with ABBA makes for an amazing soundtrack.

Photo via Digital Spy.

Mamma Mia, 2008
Speaking of ABBA, this literally is the movie the band made via their hit song of the same name from 1975. The feel-good story, the music, the breathtaking scenery of Skopelos Greece… all reasons to keep watch this one on repeat for the next few weeks.

How COVID-19 Has Impacted The Weddings Of These 2020 Brides


2020 Brides Share How Their Weddings Have Been Impacted By COVID-19

Photography courtesy of Tiny Photography as seen in this styled shoot.

Is this you? Suddenly what was shaping up to be your best year with your dream wedding on the books is now looking much less amazing and even questionable if it will actually happen. In a time of uncertainty it’s tough to know what will happen day-to-day and if you need to postpone your wedding or try to move it later in the year (at this point we are seriously recommending considering 2021 as an option to consider). We talked to the experts about COVID-19 and what to expect for your wedding day, but we also wanted to talk to you, our readers, to hear, what you are experiencing. Here, three 2020 brides share what they have been dealing with in the past few days.

Sarah Manson
Wedding Date: May 3rd, 2020 (moved now to August 30th, 2020)
“I have always dreamed of a destination wedding, so when Jeff proposed in November 2018 we began to plan our dream wedding in Las Vegas. We went visited in April 2019 and booked everything on that trip for May 3, 2020. We had no idea waiting a whole year would result in us having to scramble to change all of our wedding plans one month out. The sad part is that this not only impacts us, but our 40 guests as well who took the time off work and spent a lot of money to come and celebrate with us. When COVID-19 first came to light in January we started getting a little concerned, but it seemed like the governments had a handle on it and it was localized in a couple of countries. Like most people at the time, we had no idea in four weeks in would become a global pandemic. It hit us hard the week of March 9th when announcements were made regarding school closures and travel bans. We had our first couple guests email us to let us know they were dropping out so it became a very emotional time with everything hitting us at once. From there, things moved very quickly for us over the next week in terms of putting emotions aside and making the best decisions for us and our guests. We rescheduled our entire wedding until August 30th, still in Las Vegas. We notified all of our guests of the change and shared our deepest apologies with them for the inconvenience. They have all been extremely supportive, as have all of our vendors based in Las Vegas. The vendors have all allowed us to move our deposits to another date of our choosing with no push back or issues. The Wynn is where we are hosting our wedding ceremony and it has allowed us to keep our ceremony date on a Sunday, even though they stopped holding Sunday weddings over a year ago. We have found in the whole switch up our biggest stressors have been related to our guests. I had reached out to all of our Las Vegas vendors weeks ago to ask if things started to get worse would we be able to move our date without losing payment. They all assured me there would be no issues, so that stress was quickly eliminated. In terms of our guests, us making the decision to move our wedding would require them to re-book all of their travel, get new vacation time off work, all while not being 100% sure COVID-19 will be resolved by August. Also, with the airlines being swamped with calls and emails I knew it would not be any easy experience for those who wanted to change to be able to. The stress was far more about ensuring our guests were not overly inconvenienced or out any additional money vs. being stressed about our personal situation. At the end of the day we can get married anywhere, so we will make it work.”

Carly Ostroff
Wedding Date: August 16th, 2020
“At this point we have acknowledged the fact that we might have to reschedule our date, but right now it feels too premature to take action. We’re still five months out, so we’re staying hopeful. Obviously, a lot can happen between now and then. We’ve talked to everyone we’re working with. It’s a tough time for all of us, and everyone has been as accommodating as possible. We’ve added in COVID-19 clauses to any contracts we’re signing now. My planner has recommended that for now, we just hold tight and see what happens. Our wedding is in Toronto at the King Edward Hotel and they’ve been super flexible about if and when we need to move our date. As far as our planning goes, we are pretty far in as we started planning as soon as we were engaged in November. Our planner, venue, band, photographer and videographer are confirmed. My dress is being made by Lee Petra Grebenau in Israel. We recently took meetings for invites and decor too. Ideally, if we have to push it, I wouldn’t want to do it too far out. I’m thinking September would be great if it’s an option. Right now, our wedding is on a Sunday, but I would be open to doing something like a Thursday night to make it work if we have to reschedule. The tricky part is that at least for right now, nobody knows when it will be safe to rebook. As of today, we don’t have a firm date to make the decision but for now we are looking at June for reassessment. I believe it would give us enough time to reschedule everything and we’ll also have a better idea of when might be best to go forward.”

 Tara Leydon
Wedding Date: October 9th, 2020
“Cale my fiancé and I have know for a long time that we wanted to have our wedding in Palm Springs; we have visited there many times and it has become a really special place for us. The wedding planning was relatively quick and seamless. Our wedding is in October and I already had everything booked and deposits paid. The reason our wedding is impacted by COVID-19 is our wedding is planned for the newly announced date for Coachella. The hotel we booked and have paid for, for our guests to stay at (25 rooms) as well as host a welcome cocktail party on the Thursday and a lunch and pool party on the Saturday, basically came back to us and said that they had originally had a hotel buyout with a large prestige shoe brand for the first weekend of Coachella (when Coachella was supposed to be in April). They asked if we would move to another hotel. They have offered us a lesser hotel with basically no compensation. It’s become a huge mess and the event planner we had been dealing with at the property has become extremely rude to us as if it’s our fault we booked at their hotel. It has being really upsetting for us and if we do stay at this hotel we just feel awkward about it and feel like they would do a bad job, but if we decide to leave there are really not many choices as most hotels in the area have been bought up for weddings months ago. We’d really have to think about cancelling everything. We don’t have a wedding planner, I’ve been planning everything myself which as up until very recently had been perfectly fine. We have written the hotel an email explaining our side and how upsetting this has all been and how unprofessional this has all been handled. We basically feel like we’re being kicked out of their hotel, ultimately so that they can make more money by hosting a corporate event. The stress of what was supposed to be a happy occasion to now a really awkward and upsetting time. The hotel has been difficult and frustrating to deal with and our discussions are still ongoing.”

Event & Floral Designer Caspar Haydar, Co-Star of I Do, Redo With Jessica Mulroney, Shares Some BTS Show Secrets


Caspar Haydar

Photography courtesy of Caspar Haydar.

Premiering Sunday March 22nd on CTV (and coming soon to Netflix), I Do, Redo gives couples a chance at having the wedding day they’ve always wanted that didn’t happen the first time around. Show star Jessica Mulroney teams up with Capsar Haydar, principal at Toronto’s Caspar Haydar Design, renown for his magnificent floral and event design. We spoke to Haydar about the show and what we can expect to see—pull up the tissues because there will be tears and TONS of wedding inspo.

How did you work with couples on I Do, Redo to create their dream wedding day?
“In each show, Jessica meets our couple first and really gets to know them and collects all the information we need. We have a super-detailed wish list and Jess asks them many questions which really help us create the ultimate wedding they’ve always dreamt of.”

How did you and Jessica collaborate on the visions of these weddings?
“Once Jessica meets the couples, we have a design brainstorm together. She tells me all about them, what they’ve been through and why they’re so deserving of a wedding redo. I go through their asks and ultimate dream elements and together we create a vision based on their personal style and spirit, while still staying true to our aesthetic.”

What was your biggest challenge in creating these dream redo weddings?
“Many of the weddings were held outside or in beach destinations so anticipating the weather was definitely a challenge. As one couple on I Do, Redo experienced in their first wedding, there’s nothing like rain and high winds to make executing that special day a serious challenge!”

Caspar Haydar and Jessica Mulroney
Were the couples you worked with completely open to your vision or did they have ideas of their own?
“Our goal is always to give each couple the weddings they’ve always envisioned and make all the wedding dreams come true. They are so grateful for the redo opportunity we found they really trusted Jessica and I to completely create whatever we wanted for them which was a real treat.”

The I Do, Redo weddings take place in various locations. Can you share some of your favourite florals and design details from a few of the weddings we should watch for?
“That is a really hard one! They all were so special is their own ways, but I did love Jolicia and Adrian’s wedding redo. The colours were so vibrant against the beach backdrop and the reception with the twinkly light draped canopy with hanging chandeliers was so romantic and lush. I can’t wait for everyone to see that one! I also loved Rob and Tamra’s wedding. Toronto’s Casa Loma was the perfect setting for a classic, elegant, and romantic wedding. We worked to produce stunning florals that appeared timeless yet still modern. The ceremony floral structure was so glamorous. It felt royal and rich in detail.”

What is the most important thing to consider when it comes to florals and decor when wedding planning?
“I always say try not to follow trends too much. You want to look back and have the decor to look timeless and elegant, but some great things to consider are to not be afraid of adding colour—even deep red and blues. Hanging and cascading florals are always great. Forget the floral wall and have all green walls filled with lush, seasonal greenery. You can personalize it with meaningful quote or the classic initials and date.”