Archive for Alison McGill

Muskoka’s Premiere Resort (And Wedding Destination) Debuts A Beautiful New Look

Local Finds

All photos courtesy of JW Marriott The Rosseau Muskoka

The JW Marriott The Rosseau Muskoka is on the verge of celebrating its 10th anniversary this December, and to get ready for the big event the resort—which has been named one of Weddingbells’ Lovliest Venues—has reimagined its foyer, lobby and public spaces. The results are fresh, modern, cozy and perfect for capturing some beautiful wedding photo ops.

The Lakes Lounge.

The Muskoka Room.

The resort, which is built on a 100-foot granite bluff, offers some of the most romantic and sweeping scenery for a wedding. The newly redesigned Muskoka Room and Lakes Lounge offers incredible views of the waterfront complete with a modern, Canadian vibe. When it comes to weddings on site, there are a host of options including three ballrooms (the largest can hold up to 350 guests, the smallest can host 50) and the Lakeview Lawn, which offers breathtaking views of Lake Rosseau and the most incredible sunsets. For a more intimate celebration, we also love Fish Rock, which is located on a jetty right on the shore of the lake.

Lake Rosseau makes a stunning backdrop for your wedding.

The JW Marriott The Rosseau Muskoka is the perfect spot for a wedding in any season and is a great place to stay on for a few days to enjoy gorgeous surroundings, incredible in-house restos (Teca and The Muskoka Chophouse are both stellar) and the plush Spa Rosseau. It’s one of the most relaxing, picturesque and luxurious resorts in Canada, a total dream wedding escape!

1050 Paignton House Road, Minett, 705-765-1900, rosseau.com.

Plan An OTT Honeymoon In London

Travel » Honeymoons

Photo courtesy of The Savoy

London is one of those addictive destinations. There’s never a lack of things to do in this electric city, you could literally spend weeks here exploring all it’s colourful neighbourhoods. It makes for the perfect honeymoon spot as it has something for everyone: history, royalty, art, world class shopping and dining as well as some of the most luxurious and renown hotels in the world. Here’s our hit list of to-dos to enjoy a perfectly posh London honeymoon.

Visit Kensington Palace
With all the excitement of the recent royal wedding, Kensington Palace is a must-visit. The childhood home of William and Harry and the royal residence of the Cambridges and the Sussexes is currently hosting Diana: Her Fashion Story, an incredible exhibition of Princess Diana’s dresses, where you can see many of her iconic outfits including the midnight blue velvet dress by designer Victor Edelstein that she twirled across the White House floor in in 1985 with John Travolta. While here stop by the palace’s famous Sunken Garden, a favourite spot of Diana’s and also the very place where Meghan and Harry had their engagement photo call.

One of Princess Diana’s famous dresses. Photo by Alison McGill.

Kensington Palace’s Sunken Garden. Photo by Alison McGill.

Enjoy a Sweet Sleep in Kensington
In the Kensington neighbourhood across just across from the palace is one of London’s most charming boutique hotels, The Milestone. Feeling more like a luxury home than a hotel, The Milestone has just 43 rooms and 13 suites, all individually decorated with luxe fabrics, antiques and bespoke art—every room here is romantic and quintessentially British. A favourite is the Meghan Suite, a modern, elegant room named after the new Duchess of Sussex. Not to be missed at The Milestone is the afternoon tea renown as one of the best in London. Enjoy tea in the cozy comforts of the hotel’s beautiful Park Lounge then sign on for the brilliant Tea Academy experience where a tea sommelier is part of your tea service, educating you on the finer points of making a perfect cuppa. Your two-hour tea service will include a sample of six tea flavours specially selected to complement the delicious array of tea sammies, scones, Devonshire cream and homemade preserves and sweets.

Photos courtesy of The Milestone.

Treat Yourself to a Luxury Facial
Glowing skin is a newlywed must and so is a spot of spa pampering. We found the best place in the city to enjoy such a luxury: Dermalogica Duke of York Square. The open and airy space is the flagship location for our favourite skin brand and is situated in Chelsea, one of the chicest areas of London (be warned the neighbourhood shopping here is amazing!) Sign on for a personalized skin treatment where you’ll be whisked into a perfectly Zen space where your skin will be cleansed, massaged, masked and moisturized to perfection accordingly to your individual needs. This experience is truly a little piece of heaven.

Photo courtesy of Dermalogica

Dine at Sketch
This is one of London’s buzziest and most Instagrammable restos. Famous for its chic art deco dining room that is a total millennial pink dream, Sketch opened in 2002 but remains one of the hottest tickets in town because of its inspired menu and incredible decor. There are five dining rooms to chose from with the most famous one being The Gallery, which features an incredible array of ever-changing sketch art by British artist David Shrigley. Afternoon tea with a twist is also a specialty at Sketch. Book early to avoid disappointment!

Photo courtesy of Sketch.

Book a Suite at The Savoy
A few nights at The Savoy, one of London’s most iconic hotels is something you’ll remember for a lifetime. Situated in the Strand neighbourhood on the north bank of the River Thames and close to theatres and Covenant Garden, the property boasts a rich history—it was opened in 1889, was a favourite stay of Claude Monet, Judy Garland, Fred Astaire—and is famous for its art deco and English Edwardian design as well as its unprecedented luxury. The hotel has 267 rooms and suites and for the plushest stay book a junior suite with a sweeping view of the Thames. Other musts while in house include drinks at the legendary American Bar, a traditional roast dinner at Simpson’s in the Strand, and daily English breakfast in the Thames Foyer, a breathtaking room complete with a stunning glass gazebo that’s the perfect spot to while away your time at the incredible Savoy.

Photos courtesy of The Savoy.

Edgy Bridal Beauty Looks (Shot On iPhone X!)

Fashion & Beauty » Skin Care & Makeup

Blouse, earrings and ring from the Métiers d’art Paris-Hamburg collection by Chanel. All makeup by Chanel. Editor, Marie-Andrée Guimont, Art direction, Nancy Pavan. Photography, Richmond Lam using iPhone X. Assistant photographer, Emily Velasquez Gilbert. Beauty direction and makeup by Julie Cusson for Chanel. Fashion styling by Yso at Folio Montreal. Hair by Louis Hechter using L’Oreal Professional. Nails by Chira Valiante for Bløme. All flowers by Bell Jar Botanicals. First published in the Fall & Winter 2018 issue of Mariage Québec.

When we had the chance to work with Chanel’s acclaimed makeup artist Julie Cusson, we wanted to create a beauty shoot that was anything but ordinary. Cusson brought a couture sensibility to these five modern beauty looks and photographer Richmond Lam brought it all to life with one simple tool: the iPhone X. We were blown away by the incredible clarity and resolution of the images Lam produced (you can see the feature in print in our sister magazine Mariage Québec) and by the drama and beauty of Cusson’s incredibly fashion-forward looks.

For these looks, Cusson used the latest and greatest from Chanel’s fall beauty collection. The looks are dramatic and daring marrying smoky eyes with both statement lips and barely there nude shades. “To create depth and richness with your bridal eye makeup, I love a smoky eye created by mixing matte brown with midnight blue,” Cusson says. “I love creating eyes with a matte texture paired with a luminous complexion. No blush required just matte beige pink lips.” Cusson also says she loves the idea of playing with textures when it comes to the skin and bridal makeup. “I love matte and shiny in the same look, it’s interesting and sexy.” Cusson’s runway to real way looks offer a fresh look at bridal makeup and we are completely smitten with her haute vision!

Hat, brooch and blouse from the Metiers d’Art Paris-Hamburg collection by Chanel. Veil by Château de la Mariée Nadia. Ring by Ecksand. All makeup by Chanel.

Dress by Stella York from Ivorie Collection. Bracelets and ring from the Métiers d’art Paris-Hamburg from Chanel. All makeup by Chanel.

Scarf and necklaces from the Métiers d’art Paris-Hamburg collection by Chanel. Rings from Tiffany & Co. Paper Flowers collection. All makeup by Chanel.

Jacket from the Métiers d’art Paris-Hamburg collection by Chanel. Dress by Pronovias from Chateau de la Mariée Nadia. Ring by Myei. All makeup by Chanel.

Ireland’s Adare Manor Is The Ultimate Honeymoon Destination

Travel

All photos courtesy of Adare Manor

Imagine a honeymoon getaway so grand you feel as though you’ve landed in the midst of a royal fairytale set in rural Ireland. That is exactly what’s on offer at the incredible Adare Manor.

Located in bucolic County Limerick, in the darling Adare Village surrounded by medieval ruins, Adare Manor is an absolute gem of a destination. The renowned castle property, which dates back the 18th century, closed for an extensive multi-million-dollar renovation in January 2016 and just re-opened in November 2017 debuting an ultra luxe new look and vibe embodying everything you want in a dream honeymoon.

Located on 840 rolling acres of parkland with walled gardens and walking trails, everything from the original Adare structure, which dates back to the 18th century, was restored and refinished including the intricate stone work, furniture, woodwork and windows. A new 42-bedroom wing was added on to the original structure bringing the count to 104 guest rooms.


For a truly memorable stay we recommend booking your honeymoon stay in one of Adare’s Signature Suites. With a spacious 1076 square feet of living space, you will have your own sitting room, an incredible oversize bathtub stocked with Acqua Di Parma amenities and panoramic views of the property’s stunning formal French gardens and tranquil River Maigue and a bedroom with the plushest king size bed.

Other new additions to new re-imagined Adare Manor include an in-house cinema, and a luxury spa serving up state-of-the-art La Mer treatments and products. We recommend trying a taste of something local with your service and booking the Sleep Sound massage, which incorporates four magical Irish Ogham stones into the mix of this therapy designed to help you kick jet lag and rejuvenate. It is also now one of the world’s most exclusive event venues with the addition of an incredible luxury ballroom that can hold up to 350 guests. Adare Manor is truly one of the world’s most magnificent spots to host a destination wedding!

Everything about Adare Manor is perfection and you’ll feel as though you’ve stepped straight on to a movie set. From falconry, hiking and exploring to incredible cuisine (the Oak Room, The Drawing Room and the Carriage House are where most meals are served and afternoon tea is served in The Gallery) and the awe-inspiring grounds (Adare is home to a new Tom Fazio 18-hole gold course), it is truly an idyllic country escape, trimmed with the most luxurious bells and whistles. From the moment you arrive in the magnificent Great Hall Reception you will be swept away in the romance of Adare Manor and never want to leave.

These Chic Bridal Outfits Are Perfect For A Las Vegas Destination Wedding

Fashion & Beauty » Wedding Dresses

viva las vegas - yellow dress

Dress, Di Carlo Couture. Sunglasses, Graceland Wedding Chapel. Earrings, Betsey Johnson from Hudson’s Bay. Shot on location at Graceland Wedding Chapel, Las Vegas.

From the glittery strip to the city’s gentrified downtown district, Las Vegas’ shiny sites and famous landmarks are the perfect backdrop for this season’s most dazzling bridal looks.

Photography, Alvaro Goveia. Styling, Tara Williams. Editor & creative producer, Alison McGill. Hair & makeup, Sheri Stroh for Bite Beauty/Oribe/Plutino Group. With special thanks to Rachelle Stark & Aerial PR.

viva las vegas - cape and jumpsuit

Jumpsuit & cape, Ines Di Santo. Shoes, Shutz. Location, the Neon Museum.

Tanya rocks a showstopping caped jumpsuit on location at the Neon Museum, one of the city’s most unique spots. It’s home to vintage Vegas signs dating back to the 1930s, which are artfully displayed throughout the museum’s two acres.

viva las vegas - poolside

Dress, Di Carlo Couture. Earrings, Hudson’s Bay. Bracelets, Rebekah Price. Shoes, Aldo. Location, Gold Spike.

The Oasis at Gold Spike hotel in downtown Las Vegas is home to one of the coolest pools in town, and Tanya looks party-perfect in this slinky and sheer sheath gown.

viva las vegas - art deco dress

Dress, Allure Bridals. Necklace & ring, Rebekah Price. Location, Bellagio Las Vegas.

Tanya’s art deco dress looks ultra-romantic among the cherry blossoms at the incredible Japanese-inspired floral display designed by Ed Libby and the horticultural team at the Bellagio Conservatory & Botanical Garden.

viva las vegas - elvis

Dress, & For Love. Jumpsuit & scarf, Elvis’s own. Location, Graceland Wedding Chapel.

We dropped by the famous Graceland Wedding Chapel for an audience with the King himself–not only does he sing and play guitar, he can marry you, too! These two make a gorgeous and glittering duo, don’t you think?

viva las vegas - high roller

Dress, Eddy K. Brooch, Betsey Johnson. Ring, Swarovski. Location, The LINQ Promenade.

The High Roller observation wheel on The LINQ Promenade has become one of Las Vegas’ most famous sites. It stands at 550 feet tall and each cabin can accommodate up to 40 guests–perfect for an intimate wedding aboard during the 30-minute ride.

An off-the-shoulder second-skin dress looks super sexy set against this spectacular view. The Skyfall Lounge at the Delano sits 64 storeys above the Las Vegas strip, offering a panoramic view of the city and surrounding desert area.

viva las vegas - mini dress

Dress, Daughters of Simone. Earrings, Hudson’s Bay. Boots, stylist’s own. Location, the Neon Museum.

A sassy mini-dress paired with a billowy boho cape and mod white ankle boots is the perfect look for a hipster bride. Tanya looks chic and effortlessly chill in the Las Vegas heat.

viva las vegas - princess gown

Dress, David’s Bridal. Necklace, Swarovski. Location, the Neon Museum.

Tanya’s pretty princess gown goes OTT glam when paired with an incredible statement necklace packing a serious blinged-out punch.

viva las vegas - bows

Dress, Rivini. Sunglasses, stylist’s own. Earrings, Betsey Johnson from Hudson’s Bay. Shoes, Tretorn. Location, the Neon Museum.

Bows are one of this season’s biggest bridal details, and this gown featured oversized bows paired with a sexy midriff cut-out and high slit to make the girlie trend uber-modern.

viva las vegas - caesars palace

Dress, Sottero & Midgley. Earrings, stylist’s own. Rings, Topshop. Location, Caesars Palace Las Vegas.

If ever there was a moment to look like a Grecian goddess, we definitely found it at the Forum Shops at Caesars Palace Fountain of the Gods. Here Tanya rocks an elegant column dress with a stunning illusion bodice.

Make A Style Statement With These Incredible Bridal Gowns And Jumpsuits

Fashion & Beauty » Wedding Dresses

Make A Style Statement With These Incredible Bridal Gowns & Jumpsuits - narces jumpsuit

Jumpsuit, Narces. Earrings, Design Lab. Shoes, Valentino from David’s Footwear.

Making a fashion impact with your bridal style choices is always a good idea and there have never been more options to choose from when it comes to style, texture and silhouette. For our Fall & Winter 2018 issue, we decided to have fun planning with all of these elements—the results is this amazing shoot by Toronto-based photographer Riley Stewart. These bridal ensembles are all about playful textural details like feathers, tulle and three-dimensional lace, which bring a fun, super-fashionable feel to your bridal style. Bet you can’t pick just one!

Editor and creative producer, Alison McGill. Photography, Riley Stewart. Styling, Tara Williams. Hair, Tony Masciangelo for Alcorn Hair/PIM. Makeup, Nikki Strachan. First published in the Fall/Winter 2018 issue of Weddingbells.

Make A Style Statement With These Incredible Bridal Gowns & Jumpsuits - watters vest and skirt

Feather vest and skirt, Watters. Earrrings, Jennifer Behr from White Toronto.

Make A Style Statement With These Incredible Bridal Gowns & Jumpsuits - paloma blanca dress

Dress, Paloma Blanca. Earrings, Top Shop.

Make A Style Statement With These Incredible Bridal Gowns & Jumpsuits - inbal dror dress

Dress, Inbal Dror. Ear cuff, Keren Wolf, all from White Toronto.

Make A Style Statement With These Incredible Bridal Gowns & Jumpsuits - justin alexander dress

Dress, Justin Alexander. Earrings, Kate Spade.

 

We’ve Found The Perfect Wedding Gift For Royal Lovers

Planning

Your guests want to gift you with very special something on your wedding day and that’s why giving them hints of what you love via your registry or by spreading the word through family is key. With popularity of Netflix’s The Crown, the recent wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, and the Queen celebrating 65 years since her coronation in 1953, the world has royal fever and if this includes you, we’ve found the perfect prezzie!

Canadian designer and artist Karl Lohnes has created a series of modern silhouette queen paintings. Lohnes has been producing this print for several years and they are world renowned, having been endorsed by famous faces including Dame Helen Mirren and PM Justin Trudeau. Each year Lohnes introduces a new colour into the royal mix and for 2018 her majesty in all her splendour is being showcased in purple.

Purple Reign ($795) is a blend of photography, paint and digital imaging. The 30” X 45” art pieces is printed on stretched canvas, hand-finished and signed by the artist. It’s available from Akasha Art Projects in Toronto and can be shipped across Canada and worldwide.

Do You Need Wedding Prejuvenation?

Fashion & Beauty » Skin Care & Makeup

Photo by Carlyle Routh. Hair and makeup by Vanessa Jarman, P1m. Styling by Tara Williams.

Next question: what does “prejuvenation” exactly mean? If you are worried you may not be putting your best face forward on your wedding day (translation: you’re looking at fine lines, uneven skin tone and even a little darkness and hollowness under your eyes) we’re talking to you. According to Dr. Lisa Kellett of Toronto’s DLK on Avenue, prejuvenation refers to preventative treatment targeting all of the above. It encompasses many things from skin treatments to injectables and the focus is on preserving your natural appearance or slowing down the aging process. “It’s easier to prevent a wrinkle from forming rather than treating and existing one,” Kellett shares. “We are seeing younger patients coming in and many brides-to-be.”

We wanted to know all when it comes to prejuvenation. Here’s what Dr. Kellett and DLK Cosmetic Nurse Diana Phillips shared with us and why it may be the perfect pre-wedding regimen for you.

Weddingbells: Why are more brides (and younger brides) having procedures done for their wedding day?
Dr. Lisa Kellett: Brides are older than they used to be in previous generations and some of the signs of aging have already started to occur. Brides want their pictures and wedding selfies to be perfect!”

WB: What is the process when it comes to prejuvenation?
DLK: “We always start with a comprehensive consultation and assess the skin and concerns, and of course work backwards from the date of the wedding.”

WB: What are the most common prejuvenation procedures?
Diana Phillips: “Procedures that brighten the appearance of skin which include IPL for skin tone and texture; lifting the brows using a neuromodulator; and treating dark under eye circles with injectable filler are the most common treatments for brides. Leading up to the wedding, a small amount of hyaluronic acid based filler can fill the hollows and have a profound effect improving a patient’s overall appearance and making them look less tired.”

WB: Is there any one thing that is being requested more than another these days?
DP: “Lip treatments are very popular and we don’t see this trend changing any time soon.  We have social media, and of course Kylie Jenner ,to thank for this.  Lip augmentation, when done properly can enhance a person’s features and give patients a boost of confidence that will definitely show on their wedding day.”

WB: What sort of timeline should a bride work on to book prejuvenation procedures before her wedding?
DLK: “Ideally brides should come in one year prior to their wedding day, but we know this is not always possible. Some skin issues need time to be properly treated so the more time we have to work with our patients, the better.”

WB: How long do injectables last?
DP: Neuromodulators (Botox and Dysport) last four to five months and injectable filler can last 10 to 12 months.

WB: What is the approximate cost for injectables and treatments?
DLK: “Starting at $400 and up.”

WB: What things should you consider before signing on for prejuvenation treatments?
DLK: “Have a look in the mirror and decide, what are the most important skin concerns that need to be addressed to feel your best!”

 

 

How To Plan A Very British Wedding

Planning

Photo by Lina Ricci.

With the royal wedding still very much on our minds, we are totally inspired by all things British (think: buntings, garden roses and floral tableware). When planning a Brit-inspired bash, who better to turn to for planning advice than our friend and fellow bridal industry insider Jade Beer, editor of Conde Nast Brides UK and author of newly-released book The Almost Wife?!

From the perfect British-inspired dress (ballgowns are big!) to styling the most beautiful English tablescape and choosing the right florals, sweets and members for your wedding party (hint, Meghan and Harry pulled a classic British move with their bridal squad), Beer shares all the hallmarks of a British celebration and what you need to consider to throw a royally-inspired British celebration of your own!

The Royal Wedding Has Launched These New Wedding Trends

Royal Wedding

royal wedding trends - photos

Are you over the royal wedding? We certainly are not! We’ve analyzed all angles of Harry and Meghan’s romantic and regal wedding day and there is so much to love. From the newly crowned Duchess of Sussex’s instantly iconic Clare Waight Keller for Givenchy wedding gown to the mini bridal squad to the incredible florals, this royal wedding has launched some serious new trends—here are 10 of the best.

How To Plan A Royal Wedding-Inspired Mini-Moon

Royal Wedding

When Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announced their wedding would be held at St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle, they shared Windsor was a place especially close to their hearts. It seems the castle was the secret meeting spot for the couple in the early stages of their romance, a place they could be alone and have privacy.

Windsor Castle is said to be the Queen’s favourite royal residence and a visit reveals why: not only is the castle spectacular, it’s situated in a charming medieval town on the banks of the River Thames and borders Great Windsor Park—4,800 acres of rambling, green parkland. If you are planning a trip to London, it is definitely worth taking a few days to spend in Windsor (it’s 30 minutes from the city)—you too will fall in love with the spot just like the royals.

STAY
The Sir Christopher Wren Hotel sits right beside the River Thames and offers a romantic riverside view from the restaurant, which is particularly charming over afternoon tea where you can watch the swans glide by while enjoying your brew with scones, jam and clotted cream. The charming boutique spot offers 133 rooms with both a historic and contemporary vibe, with accommodations spread across a few buildings: Thames House, Windsor House or Riverside House. If you want the most authentic traditional English experience, stay in the 17th century Heritage House, which features the structure’s original wood beams and floorboards. Waking up to a bird’s eye view of Windsor Castle’s Round Tower from your room with the Queen’s royal standard flying high is a sight any royal lover will swoon for.

PLAY
The town of Windsor is brimming with charming shops and pubs, which can easily be explored by foot wandering through the town centre. Make Windsor Castle the first stop during a day of exploration as the crowds will thinner earlier in the day. The castle itself dates back to 1080 and was founded by William the Conqueror. Queen Elizabeth is the 39th monarch to live at Windsor Castle and it was a place she spent much time as a child (this is the spot she and her sister Princess Margaret were evacuated to during the war). When you visit, there’s a good chance HRH could also be in residence (look for the royal standard flying high and for her Jaguar parked near her private apartments). You can tour through many parts of the epic castle including many of the incredible staterooms, Queen Mary’s dollhouses and of course St. George’s Chapel, site of the royal wedding. The chapel itself is not only impressive in its beauty but in its history: the Queen’s parents and sister are buried here, as is King Henry VII. Take time to soak in all its beauty, it truly is a most interesting and magical spot.

EXPLORE
The Long Walk is an impressive stretch of pathway that measures 4.2 kilometers, travelling in a straight line from the George IV Castle Gates to the Copper Horse statue of George III in Windsor Park. The Long Walk is a favourite traverse of the residents of Windsor and it’s not uncommon to see Prince Phillip out and about in a horse and buggy. Windsor Park is a beautiful expanse of parkland that is perfect for a picnic and wildlife spotting. Harry and Meghan’s processional carriage ride after their wedding will take them down the Long Walk, through the park and back into the castle gates. To get the most from your visit to the town and all its royal sites, we recommend hiring a private guide who can spill all the secrets and history of this royal hotspot. Amanda Brynett owns the area’s best guiding service Windsor Tourist Guides Ltd. and is an absolute delight and know-all of everything and everyone in the town!

GETTING THERE
Windsor is easily accessible by car from the M4 with town centre carparks. Windsor is also home to two railway stations. Windsor and Eton Riverside has two trains per hour direct from London Waterloo and Windsor and Eton Centre has three trains per hour from London Paddington with a change at Slough.

We’re In London For The Royal Wedding

Royal Wedding

On Regent Street there are buntings galore!

If you think people aren’t as excited about the #royalwedding as you are, you should be in London–here you will find your people! We’re here to soak up all the sights and sounds of the event and can tell you the city is alive and electric with the buzz of Prince Harry and Meghan’s impending nuptials. The buntings are hung (Regent Street has one of the most impressive displays with over 140 Union Jacks flying high), storefronts are decorated in the most elaborate ways and it seems there is an afternoon tea happening in every hotel in the city to celebrate the big day this Saturday.

Wedding tea has been released by Fortnum & Mason in honour of the special occasion.

The volume of royal swag available in London is also quick impressive. There are collectible tea towels, tea and biscuit tins a plenty (John Lewis, M&S and Fortnum & Mason are just a few spots brimming with royal wedding merch). Though the wedding is happening in Windsor (a 35-minute drive from London), Londoners are very much in the spirit—this is the royal newlyweds’ home base and we’re staying right across the street from their cottage at Kensington Palace at the charming Milestone Hotel.

Sources share that the palace has been a hotbed of action over the past few days with helicopters coming and going. Just down the street, the Queen hosted her first garden party of the season with 8,000 in attendance. Once that wrapped, we can only presume it was on to Windsor Castle for HRH to get ready for the royal weekend.

There are peonies aplenty in London–no surprise, since they’re Meghan’s favourite flower!

We’ll be on the ground over the next few days in London, soaking up the celebratory atmosphere, having a royal wedding afternoon tea or two, and working with some Canadian media outlets who are also in the city for the big day. Follow our social accounts @weddingbellsmag (and our sister publication @fashioncanada who we’ve teamed up with to bring you the best royal wedding coverage) to keep on top of all the royal action. The Weddingbells and FASHION teams will be up in the wee hours to get the royal wedding party started. Brew the breakfast tea, pop the champers, pickup some Pimms because this royal wedding is set to be a corker! We can’t wait to see it all and be inspired by all the amazing wedding trends that Meghan and Harry are about to launch.

How To Throw The Perfect Royal Wedding Viewing Party

Royal Wedding

Photo via iStockphoto

Have you made your royal wedding day plans yet? On Saturday, May 19th Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will wed in St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle and the entire world will be watching. Harry and Meghan’s wedding is set for broadcast at 12:00 pm GMT (that translates to 7:00am EST) and Kensington Palace has confirmed the royal wedding day action will get started as early as two hours before the event with the arrival of the couple’s 600 guests

This means you will be up VERY early for a date with the telly and what better way to celebrate Meghan and Harry’s big day than to host a viewing party for your BFFs?! As your guests will be arriving before dawn, they key to a beautiful and Instagram-perfect party is being organized and keeping it easy. Here’s some of our favourite ideas to help you host a royal wedding viewing party to remember.

• Break out your best (British) china
If ever there was a day to get out your best tableware (or borrow your mom or grandmother’s) this is it! We’re talking traditional floral and chintz tableware patterns, toile table linens, vintage teapots, teacups and tiered cake stands. Accessorize with mini Union Jack flags and buntings.

• Trim your table with florals inspired by Meghan’s wedding flowers
It’s been revealed the royal wedding florals will include white garden roses, peonies and foxgloves. Dress your space with mini bud vases filled with these pretty springtime blooms.

• Don’t Cook!
It’s early and nobody wants to be in the kitchen at 4am! Pick up sweet treats like empire cookies, pound cake, cupcakes and even mini wedding cakes to decorate your table and enjoy after Harry and Meghan say “I do.” Have someone hit a McDonald’s drive-thru on their way over or consider ordering McDelivery to your house through Uber Eats so everyone can enjoy their breakfast favourites. (Fun fact: more couples are serving McDonald’s burgers for their late night wedding meal. In fact, it’s rumoured even Harry and Meghan want burgers and fries as a late night nosh for their party!)

• Gift your guests with new PJs
Custom monogrammed PJs for royal wedding viewing are mandatory! Be the perfect host and treat your guests to new jammies, which you send them in advance of the wedding. Hit a party shop and pickup some sparkly tiaras too!

• Party favours are mandatory!
Send guests home with a wedding favour to remember the day and your amazing party. A few ideas we love: bespoke cookies made for the day, loose leaf teas, mini floral bouquets and  mini bottles of bubbly.

Why Not Having A Bridal Party May Be The Best Idea Ever

Planning

Photo via Julia Park

Consider this: on your wedding day, it’s just the two of you taking on the event together. No MOH (just like Meghan Markle), no best man, no bridesmaids, groomsmen or wee ones. Sounds like a sweet recipe for an easy breezy day doesn’t it?

While we appreciate how helpful a bridal party can be, we are also fully behind this new movement towards flying solo through your day. It can make things a little easier and let you focus solely on each other and your guests. Toronto-based event planner Gillian Roberts says this is a trend she has seen gaining popularity. “I am absolutely seeing a trend towards couples skipping bridal parties all together, or only have one person stand up with them such as a sibling or best friend,” Roberts shares. We quizzed Roberts about the pros and cons of abandoning attendants altogether.

Why do you think opting to not have a bridal party has become a thing?

“Couples going this route are ones who have already attended lots of weddings and been in a number of wedding parties themselves. They tend to go this route because they know how much work being in a wedding can be. These are the people who have been in countless bridal parties where people complain about the costs, the time commitment and the overall experience of being in a wedding and they don’t want to do the same to their friends.”

Do you think it’s a good idea? What are some benefits of not having attendants?

“I think that not having a bridal party is a great idea for the low key couple who don’t necessarily want a big production. These are the people who don’t want any drama on their wedding day, which large groups of close friends and family sometimes bring.”

Are there any down sides?

“The drawback of not having a wedding party is the help in planning that people often get from their party: someone to plan the bachelorette, bridal shower, help choose a menu, florist and so on. Many close friends will do this anyway, but it’s not as structured. You also miss out on that special time with your closest friends getting ready for your wedding, however you do skip any drama that comes with it.”

So in other words no bridal party equals a much less stressful wedding day?

“Yes, a very small bridal party, or no bridal party at all makes for a much more stress-free day. You’re not rushed to get hair, makeup, and pictures of a group of people—you just have to focus on you! There are always hair and make up issues at weddings and the last thing you want to worry about is that one of your bridesmaids isn’t happy with her hair…I’m telling you, it happens every single time!”

If a couple still wants to go the wedding party route, do you have any advice for making the decision more manageable and drama-free?  

“Give your bridal party as much freedom as you can. Let them be part of the decisions on what they have to wear, how many pre-wedding festivities they have to attend, how their hair should look, what colour their nails should be. Putting a lot of restraints on people causes them to put their backs up, therefore creating a tense day. One thing that bridal parties often really appreciate is being able to sit with their own spouses during the dinner, rather than at a bridal-party-exclusive head table. Wedding dinners can be long and attendants often feel guilty if their partners are at a table of people they don’t know.”

“Another tip that is often is overlooked is to actually ask your bridal party if they want to be in it. Don’t just assume. The gesture of being asked means a lot however some people just don’t have the capacity to take it on. They may have a new baby or have just bought a house or are too busy at work and although they’d love to be a part of the day, they know they would be better suited as a regular guest. The more relaxed you are about your bridal party, the more relaxed your day will be.”

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