Archive for Jean Grant

Toronto’s Favourite Tableware Shop Now Offers The Chicest Home Goods

Local Finds

All photos courtesy of Hopson Grace.

Since it opened in Rosedale in 2015, Hopson Grace has become the wedding registry of choice for dinner party-loving couples who care about more than toasters and fine china sets. Owners Martha Grace McKimm and Andrea Hopson (a former Tiffany and Co. VP) stock the downstairs space with a beautiful mix of tableware from designers and artisans around the world—couples swoon over items like minimalist porcelain bowls handmade in Sydney and abstract champagne coolers from Danish silversmith Georg Jensen.

Now, the brand has expanded into homewares, meaning couples who registered at Hopson Grace in order to receive their made-in-Provence olivewood salad bowl no longer have to set up a second registry for their towels and bedding. The second floor, which was formerly used for supper clubs and workshops, is now decked out like a swank ‘shoppable’ apartment, with plush daybeds topped with cashmere throws, funky candlesticks sitting on marble coffee tables and a sleek kitchen stocked with all kinds of tried-and-true essentials (yes, even toasters).

“Our philosophy is that luxury doesn’t have to be formal,” Hopson says. “We try and reflect the way people are living today, which is casual, yet still sophisticated.” For couples all about cozy nesting, we recommend requesting one of their super-soft alpaca throws from Peru, or these monogrammed bathrobes from Massachusetts linen brand Matouk.

1120 Yonge St., 416-926-1120, hopsongrace.com

A New Toronto Wedding Venue With A Swanky Palm Springs Vibe

Local Finds

Good news for couples craving a California-cool venue that doesn’t require a plane ticket: Casa La Palma, a lounge-slash-dining room on top of Dundas West favourite La Palma, is now open for business. It’s an extension of Craig Harding and Alexandra Hutchison’s downstairs restaurant, and while that one is all about the classy-yet-boho Venice Beach vibes, the second floor was meant to have a moodier, late-night feel. Says Hutchison: “It’s a contemporary take on the quintessential Palm Springs interior: a sunken living room with a central hearth that evokes the familiarity of domestic hospitality.” Here, guests can nosh on pescatarian snacks from chef Julian D’Ippolito and lounge in front of the fireplace on modular floral-printed sofas—until 2 a.m. every night.

Photo via Toronto Life

It’s perfectly suited for intimate affairs or pre-wedding festivities (the 1,400-square-foot space can fit 60 people, max )—especially if the goal is to make guests feel like they’re at the laid-back LA house party of someone famous. Come spring, garage-like doors will slide up to reveal a rooftop patio, complete with a DJ booth, from which you can gawk at the Dundas West partiers stumbling home. Oh, and the separate unmarked entrance means your guests can come and go as they please without having to traipse through the La Palma dinner crowd.

849 Dundas St., 416-368-4567, lapalma.ca

This Might Be The Most Stylish Bridal Boutique In Northern Ontario

Local Finds

All photos courtesy of Sabrina Johnson Photography

Calling all northern Ontario brides who thought they’d have to trek to Toronto for decent dress shopping: save your gas money for the gown. Since September, North Bay’s selection of bridal wear has been dramatically improved by the opening of Elliot and Olivia, an intimate boutique run by 31-year-old Bailey Puddister. Puddister studied psychology and is a family mediator, but felt the urge to open a bridal boutique after she went dress shopping in Toronto with some pals. “We went into tons of cute shops and I realized there was this gap,” she says. “Bridal shops in the north need a bit of a refresher.”

A few years later, she decided to go for it, and found a cozy space in a heritage building in downtown North Bay, with exposed brick and large, bright windows. She recruited her family and friends to help her turn it into a serene, neutral-hued oasis—and named the shop after her brother and sister.

The racks are hung with a carefully edited selection of looks that range from slinky sheer numbers from Aussie brand Made With Love to more traditional pieces from labels like Maggie Sottero. “I really wanted to offer more boho, unconventional styles, but I also wanted to try and cater to every kind of bride in the north,” she says. Right now, she’s particularly into Vancouver-based brand Truvelle, and carries their new line of sweet, romantic dresses that would look fab against the wild northern Ontario landscape. Prices range from $1,200 to $3,500 and bookings are appointment-only.

269 Main St., Suite 302, 705-493-2245, elliotandolivia.com

 

 

These Sandwich-Style Wedding Cakes Are The Stuff Dreams Are Made Of

Local Finds

When Toronto chef and restaurateur Anthony Rose—the guy behind popular eateries like Rose and Sons, Fat Pasha and Bar Begonia—came up with the idea to add a bakery to his Ossington Avenue smoked fish and bagel shop, Schmaltz Appetizing, at the end of last year, he didn’t want to peddle just any old pastries. He partnered with pastry chef Nicole Bilyea, and together they invented the concept for Schmakes (and yes, they are the only schmake store in the world). The schmakes are basically like playful cake sandwiches, topped with icing and stuffed with all sorts of decadent goodness. “We wanted to do something fun and different, that was similar to how you’d build a bagel,” says Rose.

At Schmaltz, visitors can come in, choose their schmake flavour, decide on a sweet schmear and add their “munch” and “crunch” (the former includes toasted meringues and fudge sauce while the latter features ingredients like malted sponge toffee and pop rocks). They’ve also pre-approved a few schmake combos, like the Tutti Frutti, which is a Froot Loops schmake layered with confetti schmear, whipped maraschino nougat and Froot Loop streusel. When it comes to wedding-appropriate schmake options, “The sky’s the limit,” says Rose. Bilyea will work with couples to figure out their schmake goals: couples can order mini schmakes stacked in a pyramid, buy one extra-large schmake or get something totally customized—like a personalized schmake bar for guests. It’s rare in Toronto when a totally new, non-gimmicky dessert (that’s actually easy to eat!) hits the scene, and we predict your guests will want to have their schmake and eat it, too.

Schmaltzappetizing.com

A Love-Inspired Line Of Jewellery Your Bridesmaids Will Adore

Local Finds

Any Toronto bride with a penchant for the perfect gold hoop probably already knows Jenny Bird, the local designer who creates ever-so-slightly unusual jewellery that instantly become cult classics (we’re obsessed with these architectural drop earrings). Her designs have adorned the ears of celebs ranging from Michelle Obama to Kylie Jenner, Bella Hadid and Solange Knowles, and manage to strike that rare balance between statement-making and tastefully minimalist.

The designer’s latest, love-themed collection happens to coincide with Valentine’s Day, but is anything but corny. Bird says the collection was meant to be enduring: “I think that the pertinence of keeping the spirit of love alive in the world today is so important,” she explains. “I have wanted to do something that represented our hearts for a long time, but hearts are something that are really hard to do with an edgy appeal.”

She’s made it work, though. The resulting collection is strong and fierce, with that signature Jenny Bird edge. There are pendants featuring a wavy, Carrie Bradshaw–esque ‘love’, elongated asymmetrical heart-shaped earrings and oversized gold hoops with a tiny heart at the clasp. Brides will find the pieces make for sentimental bridesmaid gifts that still retain that cool-girl aesthetic—ensuring your pals will want to flaunt them every day. Everything sells for under $115.

Jenny-bird.ca

A Revamped Barn Wedding Venue In Manitoba

Local Finds

In 2006, Manitoba couple Robert and Tammy Belanger embarked on a two-year project to restore a nearby 1940s barn and turn it into a wedding venue. They relocated the structure to their property in East Selkirk, about half an hour northeast of Winnipeg, and it instantly became the rustic venue of choice for prairie-residing couples. The original, dome-shaped barn burnt down at the end of 2016 in a fire, but the Belangers were committed to rebuilding—and unveiled the new-and-improved, 6,000-square-foot venue, made mostly from recycled materials like unused beams from the logging industry, in the spring of 2018.

The new space retains its bucolic charm, but is decked out with everything couples could possibly hope to have on their big day—including, crucially, air conditioning, so your future hubby doesn’t have to hide extra shirts in the bathroom. There’s also a chic-looking bridal suite for getting ready, an impressive stone fireplace and a second-floor mezzanine with a billiards table and an excellent view of the dance floor (just add twinkle lights for décor). The grounds have a rural trifecta of landscaped trails, lush forest and wild-looking fields, and couples can hold outdoor ceremonies atop a giant granite boulder that functions as a natural altar. It costs approximately $4,500 to rent out, but you’ll have to book far in advance.

76024 Rd. 33E, St. Clements, Manitoba, hawthornestates.ca

Host The Ultimate Pre-Wedding Party In A Custom Lipstick Lab

Local Finds

Bite Beauty on Toronto’s Queen Street is known around town for its excellent lip lab: a sprawling countertop where the pale-mouthed can sit and watch as colour artists mix and blend bespoke hues suited perfectly to their taste and skin tone. Bite’s tubes are unbelievably creamy and vibrant, made with organic ingredients and finished with custom sheen and flavour.

 

The place is usually packed every weekend, but there’s another option for brides hoping to treat their gal pals: an upstairs event space, with its own private lib lab bar where you can get tipsy and gossip in peace without worrying who might be sitting a few seats down.

The fee is $350 per hour plus $75 per guest, and includes unlimited vino, appetizers from local Queen West restaurants and, of course, a signature shade crafted by one of Bite’s colour artists—a take-home favour that goes way beyond a stale cookie.

After a couple glasses and more than a few lustrous tones made (anything from a fire engine red to a perfectly nude pink), we predict you’ll also leave with many gorgeous duck-faced photoshoots to post on Instagram.

678 Queen St. W., 416-860-5652, bitebeauty.com

The Must-Have Photo Booth For Selfie-Obsessed Brides

Local Finds

Selfie-obsessed brides, just imagine: a full-length mirror that takes your photo without forcing you to ruin the frame (and your best angle) by holding up your iPhone. This ultimate vanity-approved invention comes from longtime Montreal photography studio Le Group Grafica. They launched a side business, called “Fun Snaps” a year and a half ago, with the goal of providing top-quality shots to clients instantaneously—so that everyone can walk out of a wedding with a physical memory to stuff in their purse and stick on the fridge.

After searching around for an extra-fancy photobooth that no one else in town would have, they settled on the three-by-five-foot Mirror Booth.. The thing is seriously high-tech: it’s backlit by LED lights and is totally interactive, so you feel like you’re playing with a giant iPad. There’s a countdown to the shot, and the mirror actually gives you a compliment when you’re done (it’s like a freakishly nice version of the magic mirror in Snow White). Couples can also have their custom logo or insignia show up as a template in the corner of the frame, easily tying the take-home photos to the rest of the bridal theme. The booth starts at $499 for two hours of use, and comes with a variety of chic background options.

Funsnapsmirrorbooth.com

Design Your Own Engagement Ring With This Toronto-Based Website

Local Finds

Sisterly duo Mercedes and Alexis Smith launched their custom ring site, Turnsmith Jewelry, earlier this year. Alexis has been a custom jeweller for over a decade, designing gorgeous one-of-a-kind engagement rings for clients, while Mercedes spent six years working in PR and content creation before joining forces with her sister. The result? An intuitive, fashion-forward website inspired by what the next generation of brides is looking for, and how they want to shop for rings (hint: not by blindly trusting their fiancé). “We wanted people to be able to jump in and get their hands dirty,” says Mercedes. “It’s super-approachable, and we put everything out there, including the size of our stones and the pricing.”

The stones are all alternative and ethically sourced: Alexis gets black and gray rose-cut diamonds from a small family-run company in India, and lab-grown white diamonds from the States. The designs are purposely simple, in order to showcase the uniqueness of the stones, but clients can customize them how they like, by adding a halo, pavé band or using a different colour gold. “These stones have so much character,” says Alexis. “Some are opalescent, some are salt-and-peppery while others have a galaxy effect in the centre.” (Personally, we’re obsessed with this milky-gray oval.) Once customers have played around on the site to create their rings, they’ll have a one-on-one consultation with Alexis (either over the phone or in person) where they get to see a rendering of their final design before it’s handcrafted in Toronto. Prices currently range from $2,000 to $4,500, depending on the level of customization.

Turnsmithjewelry.com

A Chic, Canadian-Focused Bridal Boutique In Edmonton

Local Finds

Five years ago, Chantelle Harley quit her nine-to-five HR gig in Edmonton to study fashion design at the Blanche Macdonald Centre in Vancouver. She spent a few years working on her own bridal line before deciding she’d rather own a boutique. “This way I have the best of both worlds,” she says. “I can showcase other Canadian designers, and still put out a collection on my own schedule.” She found her dream building—an abandoned 1915 heritage property that used to be the city’s Telephone Exchange—last March (it was in the midst of a drastic restoration process), and took possession in July. She spent months building out the industrial space to her more homey tastes (“I wanted it to be bridal–meets–Restoration Hardware,” she says), and officially opened the doors to The White Gallery at the end of October.

Her vision was a sophisticated, grown-up space in which Edmonton brides can browse styles they likely won’t have seen elsewhere. “I ultimately look for uniqueness and pieces that aren’t overly traditional,” she says. She exclusively stocks Canadian designers, since she realized at school that the country has no shortage of bridal talent. While looks range from modern to boho, her favourite designer in the shop right now is Christopher Paunil, whose high-fashion gowns are only carried at her boutique and at Kleinfeld in Toronto. Overall, shoppers can expect to drop anywhere from $1,500 to $7,000 in private appointments—but can trust they’ll be exposed to the freshest north-of-the-border bridal looks out there (ahem, like Paunil’s ever-so-chic Dulce gown).

12021 102 Ave., Unit 202, 780-288-6637, thewhitegallery.ca

An Intimate Victorian Venue In Gananoque

Local Finds

Your fiancé’s family doesn’t own an adorable country home suitable for hosting your quaint nuptials? No worries: the Woodview Inn in Gananoque is an excellent option for equally intimate affairs (like, up to 50 people standing), where you can still very fairly tell peripheral friends, “Sorry, the venue can only fit family.” After an inspiring road trip to Gananoque and the Thousand Islands in 2015, owners John Nagy and Stephen Campey ditched their Toronto jobs to purchase the abandoned Victorian inn, which had been empty for two years before operating as a B&B and restaurant for over half a century. At the time, Nagy was in media sales, but he has a background in hospitality, and Campey owned his own contracting-slash-design business. They overhauled the entire 10-room place, keeping the historic bits and modernizing everything else, and officially opened for business in June of 2016. “I’d describe the style now as classical, art deco with a twist of modernism,” says Nagy.

Since opening, they’ve hosted nine weddings, and are incredibly flexible, offering free consulting services to couples (including organizing photographers, officiants and cakes). There’s an outdoor patio that can accommodate 30 guests, and their on-site restaurant, Graydon’s, can seat the same for a cozy meal featuring their popular braised lamb shank, smoked duck breast or AAA beef tenderloin. Venue rental fees range from $500 to $1,500 depending on the season, and prix fixe meals start at $55 a head. Plus, the house is just a five-minute walk from the St. Lawrence River, meaning couples can easily stroll over for Instagrammable photo ops between the ceremony and cocktails.

250 King St., Gananoque, 613-382-1110, woodviewinn.com

Find Lavish Jewels At Canada’s First Graff Boutique In Vancouver

Local Finds

Some brides opt for simple statements on their ring finger, while others obsessively research colour, cut and clarity and literally swoon over rare colourful heirlooms. For the latter type of bride, there are really only a few places to source outrageous hand candy, and Graff is one of them. The British brand has been discovering rare diamonds and gemstones and transforming them into brilliant works of wearable art since the 1960s. For instance, they recently found the largest rough diamond in more than a century—a 1,109 carat stone dubbed the Lesedi La Rona. To the delight of many Canadian brides, Graff has officially announced it will be opening its first Canadian outpost later this year — a brand-new standalone boutique on West Georgia Street in Vancouver.

Inside, jewels will be displayed in decadent brushed-gold suites, where brides can try on their fantasy rings, like a five-carat pear-shaped diamond surrounded by swirling baguettes, or a 23-carat yellow radiant-cut diamond. It’s the kind of place that will make you feel like you should probably be going about your daily life dripping in all possible kinds jewels—including this positively regal diamond-and-sapphire Nuage bracelet that apparently costs $1 million. A piece of advice, though: before you get your heart set on the 43-carat heart-shaped diamond, make sure your hand is actually strong enough to lift the jaw-dropping piece. In the new store, which opens to the public in December, collections will start at $6,000 (though they will obviously go way up from there).

An Ultra Creative Florist In Calgary

Local Finds

FaintFloral is where to go if you want your bridal centrepieces to look like they were randomly plucked from a magical nearby forest and dropped at the tables by a whimsical wedding fairy. After a floral design course at university piqued her interest, founder Bailey Richards spent a year working in a local studio before launching her brand in January 2017. She sources her blooms from local wholesalers, and also forages around the city for accents. “I’ve been finding amazing textures in dried greens in the winter months,” she says. “My approach involves taking something that would be ordinary by itself, and transforming it into something completely different.”

A peek at her Instagram shows unusual variations from the standard rose-hydrangea-peony arrangements most couples tend to opt for. There are giant clouds of baby’s breath and eucalyptus, exotic-looking bouquets filled with all sorts of puzzling flowers, and boutonnieres that your rugged hubby might actually want to wear. She loves to create sleek looks, and her signature style is simple: “I like to incorporate dominant lines and usually one or two varieties of flowers,” she says. These days, she also appreciates a strong statement orchid, and creates large-scale installations for couples, like this lush green altar that’s basically like getting married in the middle of nature.

Faintfloral.com

Get Married At A Striking Maritime Library

Local Finds

After nearly a decade of planning and three years of construction, The $57-million Halifax Central Library opened in 2014 to country-wide buzz and plenty of design mag praise. The contemporary space was imagined by Danish architecture firm Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects, and the exterior looks like rectangular glass boxes stacked on top of each other. Inside, four floors of stacks are connected by a collection of criss-crossing staircases, which are kinda similar to the gently curved ones at the Toronto Reference Library (a.k.a. the scene of The Weeknd’s video for “Secrets”)—and just as insanely photogenic.

But the institution isn’t just for book-wormy Nova Scotian couples dying to get hitched amid as many literary works as possible, but anyone who enjoys epic rooftop patios and ocean views: the upper-most cube of the library happens to be home to an art-filled sunroom, sun-soaked café and expansive water-facing deck. According to the Halifax Public Libraries’ website, there are a few options for booking Central Library spaces, which are referred to as their “premium venues” (for obvious reasons). Since it’s a public space, fees are still reasonable, and start at $125 an hour.

5440 Spring Garden Rd., 902-490-5768, halifaxpubliclibraries.ca

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