Archive for Jean Grant

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

Source Celebratory-Yet-Practical Favours From This Ontario Company

Local Finds

Celebrities bopping around some of TIFF’s swankier gifting suites this year were able to sample some particularly lavish body products, courtesy of Perth, Ontario’s very own Perth Soap Company. The brand’s origins are slightly out-of-the-ordinary: it’s owned by The Shandex Group, a Pickering-based transportation and distribution company that bought the former Andrew Jergens soap manufacturing factory in 2011. Three years later, Shandex employees Jennifer Shannon and Becky Martinez decided to launch their own luxury line, born out of their obsession with argan oil.

Since then, the brand has grown from being solely for gifts for friends and family, to being sold in over 200 stores across Canada. They import the argan oil directly from Morocco, and it makes up a huge part of every single one of their products—a lineup which now goes beyond beautiful bars to include cruelty- and paraben-free liquid soap, oil cleansers and body lotion (they also sell 100 percent pure, totally natural argan oil). Of their 10 luscious scents, the sparkling champagne line has proven to be a popular pick among brides looking for celebratory-yet-practical party favours—with pretty packaging to match. Their golden crest is a nod to their Canadian roots, and they’ve already recruited some iconic north-of-the-border fans in Arlene Dickenson and Caitlin Cronenberg. Contact the company directly for large custom orders.

1-800-219-6225, perthsoap.com

A New Engagement Ring Line From An Insta-Famous Toronto Brand

Local Finds

Since it launched in 2015, Mejuri has been crafting the kind of high-end jewellery that modern millennial women love to buy for themselves—and that girlfriends instantly gush over. It wasn’t by accident: “I wanted women to shop for jewellery the way they shop for their shoes and bags,” says co-founder Noura Sakkijha, a former engineer, consultant and the third generation of her family to work in fine jewellery. Together with her creative director, Parisian art director Justine Lancon, they’ve developed a design-led, ethically sourced, direct-to-consumer brand (with nearly 300,000 Instagram followers to boot) that really just gets what women want to wear on their bodies, from zodiac-themed signet rings to barely there bangles and perfectly layered ear parties.

And now—hallelujah!—they’ve launched an engagement line. It’s the answer for every bride who’s ever cringed at cookie-cutter rocks and wanted something special that would still blend in with her everyday looks. “It’s an extension of our personal style,” says Noura. “We wanted something that represents the marital partnership, but isn’t about the price or what the stone size signifies.” The pair kept the materials (14k gold, ethically sourced gemstones and diamonds) and craftsmanship (handmade by expert artisans) traditional, and used unusual designs to make the rings stand out. A couple of our favourites include an asymmetrical cluster of 11 diamonds and an oval peach morganite stone wrapped in a semi-halo. Best of all, there’s no way your hubby-to-be will have to fork over three-months’ salary: the rings range in price from $195 to $2,500. The brand also just opened a stunning showroom in Toronto so you can try stacking all the styles in person to see what feels right.

906 Dundas St. W., mejuri.com

Head To This Toronto Boutique To Create Your Own Wedding Scent

Local Finds

Any bride who places the perfect wedding scent up there with their own gown on the scale of nuptial importance will be thrilled with the opening of Kandl Artistique in Yorkville. The three-in-one shop—luxury candle boutique, cocktail-serving café and candle-making lab—is from longtime Mississauga manufacturers Premier Candle Corp, who have made candles for brands like Tom Ford and Estée Lauder. Kandl’s renovated Victorian semi is outfitted in marble countertops and modern wood furnishings, and filled with the brand’s own high-end collection of totally unique made-in-Canada scents, as well as a few other specially selected luxury brands like Jonathan Adler and Cire Trudon. They also collaborate with wedding planners and have a bridal section full of various vintage-y vessels that can be filled with a couple’s custom scent (crafted on-site, of course) and used to adorn tables.

Alternatively, the space’s candle-making lab makes an excellent non-traditional bachelorette or bridal shower activity. In the hour-and-a-half sessions, up to 12 guests can craft their own custom candle from scratch, from mixing top, middle and base notes together to create their ideal aroma (there are 1,500 options—all of which smell amazing), to choosing their vessel and pouring the wax. While they wait for the wax to set, bridal parties can snack on gourmet desserts and sip on swanky cocktails that were made specially to complement the brand’s own signature scents.

88 Avenue Rd., 416-215-2150, kandl-artistique.com

Get Married In A Grand Co-Working Space In Montreal

Local Finds

These days, it’s actually kinda cool to get hitched in a shared office. In the spring of 2016, Montreal-based members-only co-working space Crew Collective seriously upgraded their digs, taking over part of the main hall of the former Bank of Canada corporate headquarters. They turned the space into a giant, 12,000-square-foot café that’s open to anyone, with freelance writers and designers still having access to assigned desks, private booths or designated meeting rooms. The cavernous space, with 50-foot ceilings and impressive stone archways, is not only ideal for out-of-the-box creative thinking, but also for the jaw-dropping, jealousy-inducing wedding festivities.

The building was originally constructed in 1928, and it’s still got oodles of Art Deco glamour, including marble flooring, elaborate dangling chandeliers and painted coffered ceilings that are impossible to ignore. The place can accommodate a wide range of parties (even, according to their website, one with cockatoos), and you can take a virtual tour here. With all the natural light that floods through, it would be an especially awesome setting for a daytime ceremony, followed by elegant snacks and cocktails. Just think of the regal poses you could do with your bridal party on this sweeping staircase.

Crewcollectivecafe.com

An Oprah-Approved Ceremony Setting In Kelowna

Local Finds

Sanctuary Gardens in West Kelowna is the brainchild of Kirstin Wakal, a photographer and vineyard owner who set out to build a dreamy chapel-inspired gazebo in 2012. She spent over a year working the grounds, planting trees, flowers and grasses, and hosted her first wedding in September of 2013. As she says in a blog post from the time, “I wanted it to look as though the gazebo just somehow landed in the middle of the meadow.”

Today, in addition to the timber-frame gazebo, there’s also a rustic indoor chapel, called the “rose room,” which is the perfect place for bridesmaids to get ready and can serve as an pretty great rainy-day backup option. It’s got whitewashed wood walls, chapel windows and barn doors. A stone pathway winds its way down to the gazebo, and both spaces can hold up to 60 guests.

The structures are stunningly designed, but it’s the natural setting that really shines: the chapel sits on a cliff that overlooks overlooking Okanagan Lake, and the views are truly next-level. A photo of the property even appeared on a finale of Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday, as Wakal’s “sacred space”. The cost to rent the grounds starts at $2,000 and goes up to $4,000, depending on the day of the week and the size of the wedding. Next year is already totally booked, so we’d recommend getting in touch ASAP to lock in plans for 2020.

Sanctuarygardens.ca

A Gatsby-Worthy Venue In Prince Edward County

Local Finds

Great news for PEC-loving couples: an iconic mansion has just been transformed into a beautiful new wedding venue. The Cape, formerly known as the Ross/McMullen House, is about to finish up its second round of restorations, and as of October will be fit for the Jay Gatsby–approved garden party of your fantasies. The place was originally built in 1864 as a private residence (legend has it John A. Macdonald stayed there), and has spent the past six decades as The Royal Canadian Legion. Toronto couple Jonathan Kearns, owner of an architecture firm, and Corrine Spiegel, a wealth management director at Scotiabank, purchased the place in early 2017, and have spent over a year painstakingly restoring every part of the space—from the yellow brick exterior to the coffered walnut ceilings in the “burned room”.

Now, for $7,500, the entire place can be rented for weekend-long wedding celebrations. Couples can have their rehearsal dinner in the ballroom, which can seat up to 140 guests, sleep their bridal parties in the four luxurious bedrooms upstairs, and have the ceremony on the mansion’s front lawn. The garden can seat over 500 guests outside, and the space has a massive commercial kitchen that can certainly handle the volume (the owners eventually want to turn the space into a culinary academy). For now, their preferred vendors include the nearby Guapos Cantina and EDO Restaurant in Toronto.

299 Main St., Wellington, ON, thecape.pe

A Beautiful Hotel Wedding Venue In Canmore

Local Finds

Though it often gets overshadowed by its slightly flashier neighbour (ahem, Banff), Canmore is one of the most beautiful towns in Alberta, and it’s about to gain a hotel that’ll rival the Fairmont. The Malcolm is a new $42-million lodge perched on the province’s stunning mountainside, and it’s also the perfect setting for your hubby to sport his tartan kilt: the hotel’s name is a nod to Canmore’s Scottish heritage—the town was, after all, originally named after King Malcolm the Third, who ruled until 1093 and was eventually nicknamed Ceann Mór, the Gaelic version of Canmore, meaning “big head”.

The hotel itself, designed by award-winning Alberta architecture firm Marshall Tittemore, looks like a rustic-chic ski chalet, and has views to match. The largest of their wedding spaces (and there are six of them), called the Edinburgh Ballroom, has towering floor-to-ceiling windows that look out onto the famous Three Sisters—a trio of peaks that are beyond picturesque and provide the ultimate dramatic wintry backdrop. With 124 rooms—and more than a few hot tubs to recover in—it can easily house your entire guest list in cozy comfort. The place officially opens this November.

321 Spring Creek Drive, 888-570-0603, malcolmhotel.ca

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