Archive for Jen O'Brien

Watters Spring 2019 Wedding Dresses

Fashion & Beauty » Wedding Dresses

Watters’ founder and designer Vatana Watters admits that her inspirations often come from her world travels. The brand’s most recent offering pays homage to the textured dunes found along the Oregon coast with gowns in varying shades of ivory and nude.

Titled “The Sun Was Shining on the Sea”, the spring 2019 collection also draws inspiration from Lewis Carroll’s narrative poem, “The Walrus and the Carpenter”, which appears in the book, “Through the Looking Glass”. Flouncy ruffles and whimsical accessories appeared on the runway beside structured corsetry and ribbon details — a nod to both Victorian-era fashion and Carroll’s dreamy prose.

Five Great Reasons To Honeymoon In Cartagena

Travel » Honeymoons

Photo by Jen O’Brien

Strolling the rainbow-hued streets of Cartagena’s old town, it comes as no surprise that this astoundingly beautiful Colombian city inspired an entire literary genre. This is the place that famously fuelled the imagination of Nobel Prize-winning Colombian author, and godfather of magical realism, Gabriel Garcia Marquez. It is a place where he envisioned the fantastic intermingling with everyday life.

To see Cartagena in person is to realize this surreal dream. Perched on the Caribbean Sea and encircled by an elaborate stone wall built centuries ago to ward off invading pirates, the city’s old town tells the story of Cartagena’s history as a thriving port. Magnificent churches and colonial mansions bursting with bougainvillea appear around every corner, solidifying the city’s status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Photo courtesy of Casa San Agustin

The accommodations
To experience Cartagena to the fullest, booking a stay at one of the walled city’s boutique hotels is a must, and there’s no spot more honeymoon-appropriate than Casa San Agustin. Step through the property’s ornate gates and you’ll discover a tranquil escape where history meets modernity. With just 20 guest rooms and 10 suites spread across three exquisitely-restored 17th century colonial homes, Casa San Agustin has the intimacy of a luxurious family home with all the thoughtful amenities of a five-star hotel. A palm-fringed courtyard frames a pool set against an ancient aqueduct, while original frescos adorn the walls. Guest rooms feature wood beamed ceilings and modern Colombian decor along with luxe Frette linens and Ortigia toiletries. This hotel is indeed a refection of the city, highlighting the area’s rich past and exciting future as one of the most fashionable destinations in South America.

Photo courtesy of Casa San Agustin

The food
Even extremely well-travelled foodies will be astounded by the quality of cuisine in Cartagena. World-class chefs from Colombia and abroad have flocked to the city in recent years and are truly making the most of its fresh fish and local produce. Visit Donjuan Restaurant for perfectly prepared seafood in an elegant setting, or Carmen for a modern take on Colombian cuisine. El Burlador Gastrobar, sister property to a restaurant of the same name in Seville, Spain, serves up some of the best tapas imaginable (the huevos rotos with truffle oil poured tableside is a must), while Alma Restaurant, nestled at the heart of Casa San Agustin and consistently rated among the best places to dine in Cartagena, offers the ultimate romantic date night experience with outstanding seafood (try the lobster empanadas), outdoor terrace seating and live music most nights.

Photo by Jen O’Brien

The architecture
Locals often refer to Cartagena’s old town as “el corralito de piedra” (the little stone corral) and its stone walls built in the 17th and 18th centuries enclose some absolutely jaw-dropping colonial buildings. The best way to discover the city’s architectural gems is by spending a day wandering the old town on foot. A few must-see spots include the Torre del Reloj, an iconic clock tower built in the 19th century, and the Iglesia de San Pedro Claver (pictured here), a former Jesuit monastery turned museum. Cap the day off by strolling atop the city walls to Cafe Del Mar, the ideal spot to grab a cocktail while watching the sun sink into the Caribbean Sea.

Photo by Jen O’Brien

The shopping
With a burgeoning fashion and swimwear scene that’s making headlines worldwide and street side kiosks bursting with colourful hand-woven bags and straw hats, Cartagena is heaven for shopaholics. Start by picking up a signature mochila, perhaps the most popular Colombian souvenir. These woven bags are created by the indigenous Wayuu tribe residing in the La Guajira desert close to the Venezuelan border and while the colourful carryalls are found on virtually every street corner, you’ll find the highest quality versions in the city’s boutiques. Anyone interested in Colombian fashion should pop into St. Dom, which carries clothing and accessories from the nation’s top designers. For swimwear, OndadeMar is the spot to score stylish Colombian suits and cover-ups, while Loto Del Sur, a luxurious yet fairly under-the-radar Colombian skincare and fragrance brand, carries high-end soaps, scrubs, candles, lotions and perfumes created using ingredients sourced from around the country.

Photo via iStockphoto

The islands
One of the most interesting aspects of honeymooning in this part of the world is that you can split your time between the city and the beach. Cartagena is well-known for its incredible shopping, dining and nightlife but venture roughly 100 kilometres off shore and you’ll find the Rosario Islands, which encompass all the signature pleasures of the Caribbean, from clear blue seas to white sand beaches and fresh local seafood.

Helpful Guidelines For Tipping Wedding Vendors

Planning

Photo via iStockphoto

Budgeting is undoubtedly one of the most difficult parts of planning a wedding. The majority of couples are clueless when it comes to figuring how much a celebration should cost (because, really, when is the last time you bought a bejewelled gown, booked a venue, and hosted 150 people for dinner?!) So it comes as no surprise that most don’t even consider factoring wedding vendor tips into the equation until the eleventh hour.

The fact that you found this article means that you’re already considering vendor tips (bravo!) So which of your vendors will expect a gratuity? “I think tips are never expected but always appreciated,” says Nicole Hilhorst, owner and principle planner at Details BC. “I always advise my couples that it’s up to them who they want to tip. If they feel their vendors have gone above and beyond, then a tip is always appreciated. Some vendors build tips into their pricing such as caterers and bartenders so it’s good to be aware of that too,” she adds. Lynzie Kent, owner and creative director of Love By Lynzie, agrees. “I think that despite being service-based, many wedding vendors charge a rate that is fair and compensates them well and would not expect to be tipped,” she says. “If the vendor is not the business owner, then you could consider tipping. If the vendor is in the food service industry, tipping is a must,” she adds.

When it comes to how much to tip, Kent says anyone in the food service industry (your caterers, waitstaff and bartenders, for example) should receive 18 to 20 percent. She recommends flat rate gifting for all other vendors.

Tipping recommendations by vendor
Wedding planner or day-of coordinator: $100-$500 depending on length of service and type of service, or a small gift but it’s not expected
DJ: $100-$200
Band: Anywhere from $40-$100 per musician
Officiant: $50
Bartenders: Check your contract as most staffing/food and beverage contracts build this in at a standard service rate of 18-20 percent
Catering staff: Check your contract as most staffing/food and beverage contracts build this in at a standard service rate of 18-20 percent
Photographers: $100-$500 depending on length of service and type of service, or a small gift but it’s not expected
Videographers: $100-$500 depending on length of service and type of service, or a small gift but it’s not expected
Hair and makeup: 15-20 percent just like going to the salon

Hilhorst and Kent agree that it’s not necessary for the bride and groom to hand out gratuities themselves. “It’s a nice touch, but as day-of coordinators we usually do it for our clients so they don’t have to worry about it on the day of the wedding,” says Hilhorst. “Some prefer to wait until after the wedding and send out tips that way,” she explains.

As with every part of your big day, tipping is totally personal. If your budget absolutely won’t allow for monetary gifts, consider sending thank you cards and writing glowing online reviews for vendors you truly loved.

Keep in mind that these people will play a huge part in pulling together one of the biggest parties of your life, from conceptualization to execution, so anyone who has gone the extra mile by offering referrals, accommodating last-minute changes or offering advice and services outside of their contracted duties is likely deserving of a token of appreciation.

The Only Wedding Makeup Tutorial You Need

Fashion & Beauty » Skin Care & Makeup

When it comes to bridal makeup, natural is the way to go. The ultimate goal is to pull off a beauty look that’s going to appear flawless on camera without looking too heavy in person (because, hello, you want to make sure your groom recognizes you as you walk down the aisle!) With this in mind we asked Barri King, a lead artist for Charlotte Tilbury, to walk us through the steps necessary to achieve a gorgeous red-carpet-worthy glow.

Watch this wedding makeup tutorial video featuring YouTube beauty guru Jackie Wyers to learn which products you need, and how to properly apply them, to get photo-ready for your big day.

A Growing Salon Chain With Celebrity Cred

Local Finds

When Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle visits Toronto, master colourist Luis Pacheco is her mane man. Pacheco is the founder of Medulla & Co. and his chain of casually upscale salons is expanding across Canada to serve brides and A-listers alike.

Pacheco, a master colourist with 22 years of experience, opened his first location in Toronto’s Yorkville neighbourhood back in 2007. A second Toronto location followed on Queen Street West in 2014 and now Medulla & Co. has partnered with luxury retailer Holt Renfrew to coif its well-heeled clientele at Square One Shopping Centre in Mississauga (with another salon opening in the Vancouver location in 2019).

With more than 40 expert hair stylists and colourists on staff, Medulla & Co. will guide you through every step of prepping your hair for the big day. Start by booking in with Pacheco for celeb-worthy hand-painted highlights that will give your locks the perfect sun-kissed glow, then get to know senior hairstylist Chris Wood, Medulla & Co.’s go-to expert specializing in temporary extensions and chic bridal styles, whether you’re looking for a sleek updo or perfect waves.

Medulla & Co.’s services for wedding parties are available both in-salon and on location, so no matter where you’re tying the knot you can rest assured that your bridal ‘do will be on point.

medullaco.com

How To Plan The Perfect Mini-Moon In Montreal

Travel » Honeymoons

With its world-class restaurants, beautiful architecture and pervading laissez-faire attitude, its no wonder Montreal remains one of Canada’s top tourist destinations. And for an exotic post-wedding vacation close to home, there’s no place quite like this island metropolis.

Even those who have visited the city a dozen times before will be captivated by how it has evolved recently. Stylish new hotels such as the AC Hotel Montreal Downtown are revitalizing Montreal’s downtown core, while mind-boggling art installations will have you looking at the Old Port in a whole new light.

Use this itinerary to plan the ultimate romantic vacation in Montreal.

Photo via AC Hotels

Check in at a chic new hotel
AC Hotels’ first foray into the Canadian market is this beautiful modern hotel in the heart of downtown Montreal, which opened in March 2018. The Spanish hotel chain, which was acquired by Marriott in 2011, prides itself on modern design, thoughtful service and European-inspired amenities that combine to create the perfect stay. Settle into your spacious room (complete with a Nespresso machine and Netflix) then hit the hotel’s indoor pool for a few sunset laps overlooking the city. In the morning, enjoy a European-style breakfast (including freshly-shaved proscuitto) at AC Kitchen. The AC Hotel is conveniently located walking distance from Old Montreal and the chic boutiques on St. Laurent. After a day spent exploring the city, cap off the evening on property with a spectacular dinner of tapas, paella and cocktails at La Palma.

See Old Montreal’s iconic church in a whole new light
Notre-Dame Basilica is as revered as the French-Canadian songstress who famously tied the knot here in 1994; and now there’s an exciting new reason to pay a visit to this Montreal landmark. Renown local entertainment studio Moment Factory has developed a multimedia spectacle to highlight the beauty of the church’s interior using orchestral music, lighting, mirrors and projections to illuminate the building’s exquisite architecture, carvings and frescos. Even for the non-religious, this immersive presentation is a transcendental experience.

Indulge in a gourmet meal
Located in the heart of Old Montreal, Chez l’Epicier offers casual gourmet cuisine inspired by the best seasonal products available in Quebec. Start with the house-made sourdough with wild honey and brown butter then move on to duck corndogs followed by lobster with wild garlic and radish, and pulled Quebec lamb with green peas and purple shiso for a dining experience you won’t soon forget.

Photo via The Coldroom

Hit a speakeasy
The best way to pass the time between dinner and poutine is with a nightcap (or three) at one of the city’s hip speakeasies. Our go-to, The Coldroom, lies down an unassuming alleyway at the corner of St-Vincent and St-Amable in Old Montreal. Ring a doorbell, wait for someone to let you in, then proceed down a flight of stairs following the duck insignias and behind a fridge door you’ll find one of Montreal’s best hidden bars. Try the Albatross, a mix of Guerra vermouth, Lucano amaro, sour grapefruit, black pepper syrup, Ms. Better Bitters black pepper and cardamom or the Duck, a surprising combo of Plantation dark rum, Amaretto, Suze, duck fat and Angostura bitters — all mixed by some of the best bartenders in country.

Summer Wedding Cocktail Recipes

Planning » Reception Ideas

Beer and wine are great, but creative cocktails really take a party to the next level. For summer weddings, having refreshing drinks on hand to serve between the ceremony and the reception is pretty much essential — and it helps if they contain alcohol (bonus points if they’re photogenic).

With this in mind, we set out in search of the tastiest new summer wedding cocktail ideas. These six drinks are reinvented takes on classic recipes and they’re all guaranteed to kick off your night of celebrating in style.

White Sangria (pictured above)
Swap brandy for premium tequila for an updated take on this summer classic.

1.5 oz. Casamigos blanco tequila
1.5 oz. white wine
1 oz. simple syrup
0.5 oz. fresh lemon juice
0.5 oz. orange juice
2 pineapple chunks or .25 oz. pineapple juice
2 mango slices

Combine all ingredients into a tin shaker and muddle fruit. Add ice and shake vigorously for 6-8 seconds. Fine strain into wine glass and add block ice. Garnish with a large thin mango slice and thyme sprig.

The Better Caesar
“The Whole Hog” features maple bacon whisky in place of vodka.

1.5 oz. Saddleback Maple Bacon Whisky
4 oz Clamato juice
Chipotle Tabasco
1 tsp. barbecue sauce
Bacon strips
Montreal steak spice
Lemon wedge

Wet rim of glass with lemon wedge. Pour Montreal steak spice on plate and fully coat the rim of glass. Combine whisky, barbecue sauce, Clamato juice and 2-3 dashes of Chipotle Tabasco in a glass filled with ice. Stir and garnish with strip of bacon.

The Instagram-Worthy Gin and Tonic
Indigo gin infused with butterfly pea blossom turns soft pink with the addition of tonic.

2 oz. Empress 1908 gin
3-4 oz. premium tonic water
Grapefruit slice

Build on ice in a rocks glass. Stir well. Garnish with a grapefruit slice.

The Chic Paloma
Nicknamed “Pauline’s Paloma” after Chandon’s winemaker Pauline Lhote, this trendy cocktail is enhanced with bubbly rosé.

2 oz. blanco tequila
0.5 oz. fresh lime juice
0.5 oz. fresh grapefruit juice
0.5 oz. simple syrup
2-4 oz. Chandon Rosé
Lime
Kosher salt

Shake all ingredients (excluding Chandon and garnish) in shaker tin. Strain into a highball or tumbler glass over ice, finish with Chandon Rosé. Garnish with lime wheel and sprinkle with kosher salt to finish.

The Pina Colada Remix
This lighter take on a tropical icon features premium coconut- and pineapple-infused vodka in place of rum.

1 oz. CÎROC Summer Colada
1 oz. pineapple juice
1 oz. coconut water
0.5 oz. lemon juice

Blend with ice until smooth, then pour and garnish with pineapple leaves.

The Modern Spritz
This reimagined take on a classic was inspired by Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s elderflower-flavoured wedding cake.

1 part St-Germain elderflower liqueur
1.5 parts Bombay Sapphire
0.5 parts lemon juice
1 part grapefruit juice
2 parts sparkling rosé.

Combine and serve in a Collins glass over ice

Honeymooning In The Islands Of Tahiti

Travel » Honeymoons

Experience overwater luxury at Le Taha’a. Photo courtesy of Le Taha’a Island Resort & Spa.

Anyone who has visited The Islands of Tahiti will tell you it was love at first sight. This group of 118 idyllic islands surrounded by the South Pacific have long enchanted visitors with dramatic mountain peaks, impossibly blue seas and tropical landscapes bursting with exotic flowers – but the beauty extends far beyond these obvious physical attributes.

Look below the surface and you’ll discover a place where unity is intrinsic: from the way land and water work together to support daily life to the way man and nature collaborate to create the islands’ prized vanilla and pearls.

Even the culture marries French and Polynesian sensibilities. And then there’s mana, a complex concept that Tahitians hold dear, that has unity at its core. It’s the energy in the land, the sea and the air that envelops the soul and connects people to this place and one another in an indescribably beautiful way. Think of it as the elusive nirvana of French Polynesia – your first visit may only provide you with a glimpse, but it will be enough to serve as the first step towards travel enlightenment helping you deepen your connection to the destination and each other.

Get to the heart of the islands and discover the mana that lies beyond the iconic overwater bungalows of Bora Bora using this curated honeymoon itinerary.

Step into the past at Marae Taputapuatea. Photo courtesy of Tahiti Tourisme.

Get immersed in Polynesian culture in Raiatea
For a primer on the history of the islands, make Raiatea your first stop. A quick 45-minute flight from Tahiti’s capital, Papeete, this wild island sits at the heart of the Polynesian Triangle and is still considered by many to be a place of great spiritual significance. The island’s most important site, Marae Taputapuatea, is a traditional temple and sprawling seaside plaza where some of the most important ceremonies in Polynesian history took place. The marae (sacred place) garnered international recognition in 2017 when it was declared a UNESCO world heritage site. Book a tour with Polynesian Escape’s Tahiarii Pariente, one of the area’s foremost scholars, who will walk you through the site and explain why Marae Taputapuatea remains a place of pilgrimage for Polynesians from as far away as New Zealand, Hawaii and Easter Island.

Few travel experiences can compare to watching the sun set over a South Pacific lagoon. Photo courtesy of Taha’a Island Resort & Spa.

Become one with nature in Taha’a
Raiatea’s neighbouring island, Taha’a, shares a common lagoon but the vibe is entirely different. In fact, Taha’a is about as laid-back as it gets, making it the perfect place to shack up during your time exploring these two Society Islands. As far as accommodations go, you’re spoiled for choice. Splash out on an overwater suite at Le Taha’a Island Resort and Spa, the only Relais and Chateaux property in French Polynesia where five-star service meets traditional design, or book one of the nine villas at Vahine Island Resort & Spa, a family-owned luxury property on a private island.

Each resort has its own coral garden with world-class snorkelling and both are a short boat ride away from the main island of Taha’a.

In addition to its fabulous accommodations, Taha’a is also the biggest producer of vanilla in all of French Polynesia. Pay a visit to one of the island’s farms and you’ll learn about the magic that sprouts from the soil on “the vanilla island”. In fact, the process of cultivating French Polynesia’s unique strain of vanilla involves hand-pollination or “marrying” the plants to produce the treasured crops.

Check swimming with stingrays off your bucket list. Photo courtesy of Tim McKenna for Intercontinental Moorea Resort & Spa.

Have an otherworldly experience on the water in Moorea
Water has always been an integral part of life in The Islands of Tahiti. Emerging from the sea after great volcanic eruptions, these islands and atolls were originally settled by ocean-going people who navigated their way to paradise using the stars as their guide. These days, the area is considered home to the most majestic swath of sea on earth and its crystalline waters are one of the biggest draws for visitors. The island of Moorea, in particular, provides once-in-a-lifetime experiences at sea for modern-day explorers.

Settle in at the Intercontinental Moorea Resort and Spa, a luxe property nestled between striking mountain peaks and a tropical lagoon, then get out and explore the ocean. For adventurous honeymooners Moorea Jet Surf, a company owned by veteran waterman Denis Grosmaire, offers a unique way to explore the lagoon on a motorized surfboard, while Corallina Tours operates excursions that will have you heading out past Cook’s Bay and Opunohu Bay, while spinner dolphin’s swim alongside your boat. You’ll drop anchor in a playground for stingrays and black tip reef sharks where you can hop in the water and come face to face with these fascinating sea creatures.

Head out in search of waterfalls on Moorea. Photo courtesy of Tahiti Tourisme.

Connect with the land in Moorea
Moorea’s dramatic, mountainous landscape also begs to be explored, and a day trip with Enjoy Moorea is just the ticket. A typical tour of the island with this company begins with an exhilarating 4×4 climb up Magic Mountain, where bewitching panoramic views are par for the course. A visit to The Belvedere provides a different (though equally stunning) perspective of the island and the famed volcanic peak of Mount Rotui. You can commemorate your visit, and your recent nuptials, by adding a personalized “lock of love” to the site. After a lunch of poisson cru, a local delicacy, on a secluded beach you’ll cap off the day with a hike through tropical forest to a remote waterfall where you can take a dip in fresh mountain water and truly revel in the lush natural beauty of the island.

Indulge in a treatment at The Brando’s Varua Te Ora Spa. Photo courtesy of The Brando.

Experience uniquely Tahitian luxury in Tetiaroa
Few places in the world can compete with The Islands of Tahiti when it comes to luxury accommodations, and The Brando is the best of the best. Located on Marlon Brando’s private atoll, Tetiaroa, and serviced by its own private airline, this ultra-refined retreat has been consistently listed among the best resorts in the world since opening in 2014. Designed to blend seamlessly with its pristine surroundings and run on renewable energy, The Brando is also home to the Tetiaroa Society, a non-profit organization simultaneously carrying out conservation efforts and educational programs for guests. With impeccable service, Polynesian-inspired cuisine created by famed French chef Guy Martin, and a beautiful spa sanctuary built into a series of wooden nests cocooned in tropical greenery, its no wonder this property is a favourite hideaway of celebrities like Leonardo DiCaprio and Barack Obama.

Photo courtesy of Tahiti Tourisme.

Regardless of how you fill your days, The Islands of Tahiti will send you off with a souvenir you just can’t find anywhere else on earth. Mana, and the connection it inspires, will undoubtedly enhance your first few weeks as man and wife and fuel your desire for a return trip to this magical slice of paradise.

Planning your trip
The experts at Goway Travel, a company that has been providing unforgettable travel experiences to some of the world’s most exotic and interesting destinations since 1970,  can help you plan everything from your international flight to your accommodations.

Air Tahiti Nui offers direct flights from Los Angeles to Papeete that will transport you to the islands from the moment you step on board – cabin crew even distribute tiare flowers to welcome you! After landing, plan to spend at least one night on the main island relaxing at a luxurious property like Tahiti Pearl Beach Resort.

Island-hopping is half the fun of honeymooning in the The Islands of Tahiti and internal flights can be arranged with Air Tahiti. Once you’re ready to get out and explore, everything from car rentals to diving excursions can be booked through Tahiti Tours, while boat transfers and excursions can be arranged through Terainui Tours.

How To Plan The Ultimate Bachelorette Party In Mexico

Travel

bachelorette party in mexico - hotel

A bachelorette party in Mexico does not necessarily have to revolve solely around tequila drinks and tanning. Pick the right location and your pre-wedding bash can be an exciting trip of a lifetime with agave cocktails and adventure in equal measure.

When it comes to upscale-yet-accessible girls’ trip destinations, there are few better places on the planet than Punta de Mita. This burgeoning area, part of the Riviera Nayarit, has become a hot spot for high-end resorts and the W Punta de Mita is the hippest of them all. With with surf lessons, yoga, a 4,000-square-foot spa, multiple cool eateries (including a beachside ceviche bar built into the back of 1950’s Chevy truck) and a location that’s just a short drive from the boho beach towns
of Sayulita and San Francisco, everything you need for an amazing, well-rounded vacation (that will please even the pickiest travellers) is at your fingertips.

Read on for tips on planning the perfect bachelorette party itinerary in this beautiful part of Mexico.

Honeymoon Like Royalty At These Canadian Hotels

Travel » Honeymoons

Few of us will tie the knot in a castle ceremony attended by Oprah and televised worldwide, however, when it comes to honeymooning, the royal treatment is a little more accessible.

Canada has long been favourite getaway destination for royals (Toronto, in particular, played a major role in Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s courtship) and there are plenty of luxurious accommodations across the country fit for monarchs on the move.

From Calgary to Nova Scotia, we’ve tracked down some of the most beautiful hotels in Canada that have played host to members of the royal family over the years. With palatial suites, exquisite food and five-star service, these properties are particularly ideal for romantic staycations and honeymoons close to home.

These Royal Wedding Floral Details Will Make You Weepy

Royal Wedding

Photo credit should read Jane Barlow/AFP/Getty Images

Along with the arrival of Oprah, the unveiling of the dress and Prince Harry’s reaction to seeing Meghan Markle walk down the aisle, the floral details designed by Philippa Craddock were a highlight of the royal wedding.

Photo by Danny Lawson/AFP/Getty Images

Beautiful blooms transformed St. George’s Chapel and the sentimental details behind the royal wedding flowers will make you swoon. White peonies, Meghan’s favourite flowers, were paired with white garden roses, which were selected to pay homage to Harry’s mother Princess Diana.

Photo by Danny Lawson/AFP/Getty Images)

Lush greenery not only framed the chapel entrance, it also acted as a stunning backdrop for the couple’s vows giving Windsor Castle the feel of a wild English garden.

Photo by Danny Lawson – WPA Pool/Getty Images

Meghan’s white bouquet was as understated as her now-famous gown but, though minimal, the arrangement was filled with meaning. It included Princess Diana’s favourite flowers, forget-me-nots, alongside jasmine, sweet pea, lily of the valley, astilbe, astrantia and myrtle, which is a royal tradition. The particular myrtle included in Meghan’s bouquet came from the gardens at Osborne House on the Isle of Wight, from a plant which was planted by Queen Victoria in 1845. Queen Elizabeth had the same myrtle included in her wedding bouquet, as did Kate Middleton.

Photo by Jane Barlow – WPA Pool/Getty Images

On top of all this, Harry hand-picked some of the blooms in the bouquet! He selected them from the couple’s private garden at their home at Kensington Palace and gave them to Philippa Craddock to include in Meghan’s arrangement.

Romona New York Spring 2019 Wedding Dresses

Fashion & Beauty » Wedding Dresses

The latest collection from Romona New York was built on classic silhouettes modernized with beautiful oversized bow details. Airy tulle ballgowns and trumpet silhouettes were cinched at the waist and tied at the back to create looks that dazzle from all angles.

A stunning gown with sequinned spaghetti strap bodice and playful tulle skirt is bound to be the most coveted look in the collection.

Superfood Skin Care Products You Need Before The Big Day

Fashion & Beauty » Skin Care & Makeup

superfood skin care

Photo via iStockphoto

Life’s big events provide great incentives for adopting new healthier routines, whether that’s a change in diet or a more regular workout regime. Since you’re likely to start paying more attention to what you’re putting into your body in the lead up to your wedding day, it’s also a good time to start reconsidering what you’re putting on it — especially where skin care is concerned. Did you know that certain superfoods can be just as beneficial for your skin as they are for the rest of your body? According to Charmaine Cooper, lead educator at Dermalogica Canada, nutrient-rich ingredients commonly found in trendy superfoods have long been on the radar of skin care professionals as topical treatments.

“Superfoods support the internal health of the body, which includes our internal organs. However, only about 10 percent of what we ingest, makes its way to the outer organ of the body: the skin,” Cooper explains. “The majority of those ingested nutrients work to support internal functions and our internal organs. Since our skin is the largest and most outer organ of our body, it undergoes a lot of assault. Pollution, harsh climates, UV radiation are among the few elements that we are dealing with daily. The skin also secretes toxins that have been accumulated and loses daily nutrients and moisture that it naturally possesses. It is therefore crucial to skin health that we apply nutrients topically that support the daily function of the skin.” She adds that many of the nutrients available in antioxidant-rich food that you also see cropping up in skin care products are nutrients that the skin should have normally produced on its own, but with age, lifestyle and the weather, the production of key nutrients decreases.

We’ve rounded up three of the hottest new superfood ingredients out there that are also great for your skin.

superfood skin care products

Photo via iStockphoto

Tamarind

What is it? A pod-like tropical fruit that contains sticky sweet and sour edible pulp.

What does it do? “Tamarind seed extract is rich in polysaccharides,” Cooper explains. “It possesses a similar structure to hyaluronic acid and is therefore abundant in its source of hydration for the skin. It also prevents trans-epidermal water loss.”

Where can you find it? Tamarind seed extract is a key ingredient in Dermalogica’s Sound Sleep Cocoon, a revitalizing gel-cream designed to be applied at night to help skin stay hydrated while it works to repair, rebuild and recover from the stresses of the day.

superfood skin care products

Photo via iStockphoto

Kombucha

What is it? A fermented sweet black tea.

What does it do? Rich in vitamins and organic acids produced through the fermentation process, kombucha is thought to offer protection against skin-damaging pollutants and free radicals while enhancing skin luminosity, reducing the look of fine lines and pores, improving elasticity, and enhancing skin tone, texture and moisture levels.

Where can you find it? Kombucha is centre stage in Fresh’s Black Tea Kombucha Facial Treatment Essence. This age-delay product, which is applied after cleansing morning and night, is designed to protect skin from pollution and promote a youthful clarity while fading fine lines.

superfood skin care products

Photo via iStockphoto

Coconut

What is it? The fruit of a coconut palm, which is filled with fatty, nutrient-dense meat.

What does it do? Packing with essential fatty acids and vitamin E, coconut oil hydrates skin while delivering antioxidants to fight the signs of aging.

Where can you find it? Kopari’s line of coconut skincare products celebrate the tropical fruit and its many beneficial properties. Start by removing impurities with the company’s cleansing oil, then balance pH levels and tighten pores with the Coconut Rose Toner. Finish by replenishing nutrient levels and hydrating while strengthening skin’s protective barrier with the Coconut Face Cream.

Why Namibia Is The Perfect Place For A Royal Honeymoon

Royal Wedding

namibia honeymoon - sossusvlei

Yes, there are cheetahs, lions and zebras galore, but these once-in-a-lifetime safari encounters are only a small part of Namibia‘s charm. The country, known for its breathtakingly vast deserts and seemingly endless horizons, is perhaps one of the best places in the world to really get away from it all and spend time alone with your new husband.

Located in southwest Africa, Namibia is not only home to some of the continent’s most jaw-dropping sights but also some outstanding, remote, luxury properties so you’ll understand why Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie were repeat visitors and why Prince Harry and Meghan Markle would choose this destination for their honeymoon.

Since gaining independence from South Africa in 1990, the country has also developed a strong culture of conservancy. Endangered animal populations that were once dwindling are now on the rise and scenic attractions, like the stunning dunes of Sossusvlei and parched white clay pan of Deadvlei, remain pristine.

Here we’ll introduce you to six of Namibia’s top honeymoon attractions, which are currently some of the best kept secrets in Africa — trust us, they won’t remain so for long!

Namibia Honeymoon Guide

View more from our Namibia Honeymoon Guide ›

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