Archive for Nicole Keen

Helpful Tips for Picking Your Wedding Colour Scheme



After setting a date and picking a venue, one of the most important decisions that lies ahead is selecting a colour scheme for your wedding. The colours you pick should enhance your celebration, reflect your personality and tie all the elements of your day together. Here are six pointers to help you pick your perfect palette.

1. Consider Your Location.

Your venue sets the tone for your celebration, so it’s important to choose accent colours that work with the space. If there are elements of the space that can’t be changed (i.e. carpet, drapery, upholstery), you would be wise to start there and select colours that won’t clash! Is your venue old or new? Are you getting married inside or outside? The answers to these questions can put you on the right path to choosing your colours. For instance, a heritage building with lots of heavy wooden trim will likely look best with rich colours like gold and burgundy, whereas an outdoor ceremony calls for light airy colours like white and green.

2. Stay in Harmony with the Season.

What time of year are you tying the knot? This is another great place to start when it comes to choosing your colours. If you’re getting married in the fall, look to the turning leaves for colour inspiration and incorporate vibrant shades of yellow and orange. A springtime wedding, on the other hand, is perfectly suited to pretty pastel colours such as lavender, pistachio green and pale pink.

3. Create the Right Mood.

What type of celebration are you planning? Classic shades like ivory and navy blue convey a sophisticated air, while bright colours like Kelly green and hot pink are perfect for a funky fete. The right colour scheme is an easy way to create a certain ambience for your wedding. Want to know more about colour theory? Check out a colour psychologist’s advice here.

4. Think of Your Bridesmaids.

Don’t decide on a specific shade without considering your bridesmaids—especially if you expect them to wear the hue from head to toe! Each bridesmaid’s hair colour, eye colour and skin tone will affect how a certain colour looks on her, which is why you should choose a shade that flatters everyone equally or give them some options. For example, you can choose several shades of blue—from cobalt to baby blue—so there’s something for everyone. Also, Dessy has an ingenious way to make sure you and your bridesmaids are on the same page (no more squabbling about what coral looks like!). Through Dessy’s website you can order Pantone Wedding Chiplettes to distribute to your girls (and your vendors). Each Chiplette represents a specific Pantone colour (with a number), and each one corresponds with matching Dessy products such as bridesmaid dresses, ballet flats, etc.

5. Limit Your Options.

There are so many incredible colours to choose from that it’s easy to get carried away. Just remember, unless you’re planning a rainbow-themed wedding, you’ll want to be selective with your colours. As a rule of thumb, pick one main colour and two accent shades. You want your decor to look pulled together, not chaotic!

6. Get Inspired by Your Bouquet.

When in doubt, look to your favourite flower to establish a colour palette. This is a simple way to start narrowing down your colour options. For example, if red roses are a must-have, you might want to avoid green and white accents for fear of creating a Christmas vibe. Likewise, if you’re determined to have sunflowers in your bouquet, pastel bridesmaid dresses probably aren’t going to work.

Diamonds 101: The Four Cs and More

Fashion & Beauty » Planning


Photo via Forevermark.

You’ve already heard diamonds are a girl’s best friend (thanks, Marilyn!), but what else do you need to know about these precious stones? Here’s our easy-to-understand guide to diamonds, including the four C’s (cut, colour, clarity and carat), shape and origin.

The cut of a diamond is what makes it sparkle. A good cut is precise and geometrically perfect; thereby making the most of the stone’s brilliance. Of all the Cs, this is the most important factor to consider when choosing a diamond.

Diamonds are actually graded according to lack of colour, with completely colourless diamonds being the most desirable (fancy diamonds, i.e. canary yellow or pink are in a separate category). Grades range from D (no colour) to Z (yellow tinge). A slight yellow tinge (which is present in I and J diamonds, for instance) is undetectable to the untrained eye.

Clarity refers to the number and size of imperfections, otherwise known as inclusions. Truly “flawless” diamonds are extremely rare. Indeed, most inclusions are microscopic and do not impact the diamond’s appearance. Inclusions are what make each stone unique, like a fingerprint!

The carat refers to a diamond’s weight. A one-carat diamond is divided into 1oo points, a half-carat diamond has 50 points and so on. Tip: a diamond with an exceptional cut (see point #1) will look larger than it actually is!

Diamonds can be cut in a variety of shapes. Some of the most popular are as follows: round, emerald (a rectangular shape), princess (a square shape), oval and pear. Shapes come in and out of fashion, and ultimately this is a personal preference.

Where your diamond comes from can be just as important as what it looks like. Choosing a Canadian diamond is a great way to ensure your money goes to a reputable and environmentally sound mine.

Wedding Venue Options You Might Not Have Considered


cool wedding venues - brewery

When it comes to wedding venues, you might think you’ve considered every possible option — but, trust us, there are plenty of alternative event spaces to consider for your big day.

Obviously, the traditional banquet hall is always a great option when it comes to holding hundreds of guests, but versatile spaces like science centres can also accommodate large numbers. If you like the idea of a vineyard wedding, but want to do something a little different, why not host your party at a brewery instead? This is an especially good idea if you and your friends like to drink good local beer! One of the other wedding venue ideas we love is hosting your celebration at a campsite. This type of venue has the same feel as the ever-popular barn wedding, but it’s a bit of a twist on the rustic theme. Plus, you can turn your wedding into an affordable weekend getaway for your nearest and dearest. Other alternative wedding venue ideas include university clubs (there’s one on every major campus in Canada!) and yacht clubs (who doesn’t love spending a summer’s day by the water?).

For every popular wedding location you’ve thought of, we’ve got an unusual alternative. Here are five wedding venue ideas you might not have considered.

10 Awesomely Easy Washi Tape Wedding Craft Projects


Vases - Washi Tape Wedding Ideas

When it comes to easy DIY decor, these washi tape wedding crafts can’t be beat. For those of you who haven’t heard, washi tape—which originated in Japan—is like masking tape, but a million times better! Washi tape comes in practically any colour or pattern you can imagine (we’re especially partial to stripes and polka dots), and there are endless ways you can use it to transform everyday items into inspiring DIY wedding decor.

We scoured countless blogs and Pinterest boards to find the best washi tape wedding ideas out there, and what we found blew our minds! Washi tape can be used to add pizzazz to your paper goods—use it to spice up your place cards or thank-you cards. Some of our favourite washi tape wedding ideas also feature favours: washi tape can easily transform even the most simple packaging into something special. On the more elaborate end of things, we also found large-scale, but easy to do, washi tape projects such as table runners and buntings. Washi tape can also be used to customize small details like stripy straws and basic tealights.

If you’re a crafty bride—and even if you’re not!—these washi tape wedding craft ideas are definitely worth investigating. Washi tape in your wedding colour scheme can easily be found at your local craft store or ordered online (Pretty Tape, Wishy Washi Tape and Cute Tape are just a handful of the websites selling washi tape), so get crafting!

Wedding Ceremony Planning Tips


Photo courtesy of Rob and Julia Campbell from Ameris.

Your wedding ceremony is a crucial part of your celebration, and it’s a wonderful chance for you and your mister to share your beliefs and personalities with your guests. As you begin planning your wedding ceremony there are a few essential questions you need to ask yourself: Where are you going to get married? What type of ceremony are you going to have? Who is going to perform the ceremony? These simple questions will help you get the planning process started.


The place where you decide to hold the ceremony will determine what type of event it is. Naturally, if you choose a house of worship (church, synagogue, temple) the ceremony will take on a more traditional tone. As you begin planning, be sure to ask if the venue has any limitations: some places of worship might restrict outside decor or musicians. If you’re a less traditional couple, the venue options for your wedding ceremony are literally endless! Pick a friend’s backyard, an art gallery or a cliff overlooking the beach, and let your chosen locale dictate the decor and the tone of the proceedings.


Once you’ve decided on a location for your wedding ceremony, the next crucial question is what will the ceremony look and feel like? Will you recite traditional vows or write your own? Will you ask loved ones to perform meaningful readings? Will the readings be religious (i.e. from the Bible) or secular (i.e. a favourite love poem)? In addition to considering these important questions, you should also decide how long you would like the ceremony to be—typically they range from 15 to 45 minutes. Furthermore, think about whether you would like to incorporate any symbolic rituals into the ceremony (combining two different colours of sand or lighting a unity candle are popular options).


Above all, the person who performs your wedding ceremony should relate well to you and your partner. Meeting once or twice prior to the event is crucial to establish a connection, which will translate into an effortless ceremony. Perhaps you already have someone in mind—a childhood priest or rabbi—in which case your decision will be easy! If you aren’t religious, start looking for non-denominational officiants in your area. When in doubt, ask for referrals. Your friends, family members and other wedding vendors (photographer, planner, etc.) may have wonderful suggestions for who should perform your wedding ceremony.

Brag-Worthy Marriage Proposal Ideas


marriage proposal fortune cookie

A few key props can come in handy when it comes to creating the perfect marriage proposal, and there are tons of original ways to say “Will you marry me?” Tried-and-true approaches like putting the ring in a champagne flute or perched atop a slice of cheesecake could do the trick, but why not present a personalized Kinder Egg or custom crossword instead? And who could say “no” to a beloved family pet with a diamond ring on its collar? Without further ado, here are 10 creative ways to use props to craft a brag-worthy marriage proposal.

How To Pick The Perfect Wedding Theme



Photography courtesy of Sugar & Soul Photography. As seen in this real wedding.

Having an overall theme for your wedding can help all the other small details take shape, but it’s a big decision—one that’s not always easy to make. Are you struggling with the notion of a dream scheme? Read on for some inspiring ideas that will put you on the path to party planning success!

1. Choose a favourite place.
A location that’s dear to your heart is a wonderful starting point. Did he propose on the beach in Mexico? Why not throw a fabulous fiesta complete with a tequila bar, tasty Mexican feast and colourful, kitschy decor? Have you always wanted to visit Morocco? Consider throwing a party dedicated to your dream destination. Transform an outdoor space with tents draped in luxurious fabric and adorned with ornate lanterns.

2. Focus on your interests.
Did you instantly bond over the same quirky hobby? Highlight this shared interest as part of your overall wedding theme. You can even highlight your occupation as part of your theme. The bride pictured above owns a stationery company so, in addition to including tons of fun paper goods in her celebration, she had her wedding party pose as paper dolls in a group shot!

3. Pick a book you love.
Have you read Gone with the Wind more times than you can count? Get inspired by this iconic novel and host a wedding reception with an emphasis on Southern elegance. Wear a voluminous ballgown (it doesn’t have to be made of curtains!), and give your bridesmaids delicate parasols to carry. Are you obsessed with The Great Gatsby? An ornate Art Deco theme can inspire everything from your invitations to your cake to your bridal party’s ensembles.

4. Choose your favourite era.
Plan a party with retro flair—your guests will love playing dress-up and feeling as though they’ve been transported to a bygone era. Do you adore the 1950s? Consider renting a jukebox and hosting a good old-fashioned sock hop! Do you love the 1960s? Let Mad Men inspire your big day. Serve some classy cocktails, wear an adorable mini dress and ride off into the sunset on a scooter!

Unique Wedding Flowers to Make Your Bouquet Stand Out


Amaranthus2 - Unique Wedding Flowers

Unique wedding flowers aren’t for everyone, but mixed with some familiar floral suspects like roses and peonies, offbeat blossoms can be a great way to create a one-of-a-kind look for your bouquet. You’ve probably seen unique wedding flowers you like, but you might not know what they’re called, and if you don’t know what they’re called you can’t tell your florist what you want, right? That’s exactly why we’ve put together a guide to some of our favourite unique wedding flowers, including what colours they’re available in, when they’re available and why we love them! Some unique wedding flowers like king proteas and birds of paradise are exotic hothouse flowers that can only be grown in greenhouses, while others like globe thistles and astilbes abound in gardens right here at home.

Many of the unique wedding flowers we’ve chosen to highlight will add interest and texture to your bridal bouquet, and they can be selected according to your theme. Amaranthus, a romantic hanging flower, is perfect for creating a dreamy cascading bouquet for a vintage or rustic wedding, while the bright, otherworldly looking pincushion protea is best suited to a quirky, preppy celebration.

Wedding Checklist: Last-Minute Tasks to Complete


As you go through the planning process you will realize there are two major waves of craziness: one soon after your engagement as you scramble to secure a venue and find your dream dress (at this point your wedding checklist will be long and slightly overwhelming!), and another in the final month or so leading up to your big day. In the last weeks before the main event, many of the major tasks on your wedding checklist have been taken care of, and it’s time to turn your attention to the finer planning details (like deciding on certain elements of the decor and picking your bridal accessories). This is also your opportunity to follow up with your vendors and make sure everyone is on the same page regarding delivery details, expectations, etc. As a fellow bride in the home stretch of planning (my wedding day is just three weeks from today!), my final piece of advice is this: take a deep breath and try to enjoy this time with your mister and other loved ones. Enlist their help so you can spend quality time together as you tackle your wedding checklist. I guarantee your nearest and dearest will be happy to assist as you make banners or wrap favours or print place cards! Afraid you’re forgetting something? Here are a few last-minute to-dos to cross off your wedding checklist if your big day is four to six weeks away.

A Romantic Wedding Shoot With Show-Stopping Turquoise Details

Real Weddings

Bride's Train Flowing InThe Wind

The beauty of Vancouver in the springtime inspired this lovely styled shoot, according to makeup artist and photographer Annie Chang from L’Estelle Photography. “To capture the essence of spring and summer, we decided to do a cherry blossom stylized bridal session infused with Tiffany blue themes, which melds together the softness of spring with the vibrant energy of summer,” she explains.

Indeed, vibrant blue accents filled this wedding shoot — from the bride’s bejewelled gown to the stationery and even the sweets!

Tables were topped with antique tea cups and birdcages, while cherry blossoms, orchids and macarons added romantic appeal. “The theme flows throughout the shoot, from the setting and wardrobe, to the sweet table with the cherry blossom cake and the Tiffany blue macarons,” says Chang.

Photography courtesy of L’Estelle Photography.

Event planner: Live The Dream Weddings & Design Co.
Makeup: ACMakeup
Hair: Elena Tsang
Bridal gown: Clara Couture Bridal
Flowers: Proline Trading
Pastries: La Cuisson Cafe

An Elegant, New Year’s Eve Wedding in Vancouver, British Columbia

Real Weddings

Bride and Groom

With the help of the internet, Fraser and Dana not only met, but later became engaged under unique circumstances! “Fraser and his twin brother were new customers at my family-owned Tim Hortons,” Dana explains. “After a few failed attempts at getting my name, he emailed the customer comment email address asking me for my info, and signed off with his regular order. I instantly knew who it was, and we met up shortly after.”

When it was time to pop the question, Fraser thought up a creative proposal idea that Dana wouldn’t see coming. “He worked on a Pinterest storyboard piece displaying our relationship — from asking my parents for my hand in marriage, and ending it with asking me to marry him,” said Dana. “He uploaded it to Pinterest at the exact time that I always went on the site (right before bed), and waited for my reaction. It was Christmas Eve and I obviously got the best present ever!”

The two were married at the beautiful Rosewood Hotel Georgia in Vancouver on New Year’s Eve. They accented their stunning venue with brown, silver, and gold decor. Each table was decorated with a dramatic centrepiece comprised of branches adorned with pearls, crystals and candles.

Dana Hammoud and Fraser Goodwin, December 31, 2013, Vancouver, British Columbia.

Photography courtesy of Luke Liable.

Ceremony and reception location: The Rosewood Hotel Georgia
Bridal gown and bridal party attire: Lisa’s Bridal
Groom’s tux: Hugo Boss
Cake: Sweet Retreat
Music: Beyond Sound
Hair and makeup: Colleen Conroy
Flowers and decor: Wedding Design Studio
Wedding planner: Melissa Dabrowski from The Rosewood Hotel Georgia

See more photos of this elegant, New Year’s Eve wedding in Vancouver, B.C.

A Beautiful Beach Wedding On Florida’s Marco Island

Real Weddings

Wedding Party

Cathy and Adam had their first date together when they were still in high school. He picked her up in his red Honda Civic and they shared dessert at East Side Mario’s. Cathy admits that back then, she was a complete nerd, and Adam was the stereotypical sports jock. After their date, Cathy was unsure about Adam and hinted that she wasn’t interested.

As years went by their paths continuously crossed. They both worked at the same local hospital and over time they began talking more frequently. “I remember all week I just couldn’t wait to get to Saturday, when I could dress up and bump into him,” she admits. “I found the tables had turned and it was my turn to chase him. It was a long chase. But one day, I blinked, and our friendship turned into a solid relationship. The best kind of relationship is built from a foundation of friendship.”

Along with 50 of their family members and friends, the two traveled to Florida to exchange vows on the beach on sun-kissed Marco Island. The couple selected a colour palette of blue and green for their big day to complement the natural beauty of their venue, while beach-appropriate sand, starfish and sea shells were used to accent reception tables.

Cathy Williams and Adam Ghattas, April 8, 2012, Marco Island, Florida.

Photography courtesy of Barbara Cameron.

Ceremony and reception location: Marco Island Marriott Hotel
Bridal gown: Janine Adamyk
Bridesmaid dresses: Bill Levkoff
Groom’s tux: Le Chateau
Music: DJ Dominick
Wedding planner: Carrie Darling from Carrie Darling Events Florida

See more of this beautiful beach wedding in Florida.

Wedding Colours: 5 Common Blunders to Avoid


Deciding on your wedding colours early in the planning process is crucial. The wedding colours you choose will determine your stationery, your flowers, your bridesmaid dresses and more. Narrowing down your options can be challenging, especially when you have an entire rainbow at your disposal. Luckily for you, the rules aren’t as hard and fast as they used to be—almost anything goes when it comes to wedding colours so pick hues that express your personality. That being said, there are some guidelines to follow that will help you from committing a colour crime on your wedding day! Without further ado, here are five common blunders to avoid when picking your wedding colours. Please note, each of these photos represents a do not a don’t!

A Rustic-Meets-Urban Wedding in Toronto

Real Weddings


When Nicole and Jan embarked on a road trip through the Canadian Rockies,  she had no idea he was planning on popping the question. For their last night out West, the two checked into the scenic Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise—a property Nicole had always dreamed of visiting—where Jan surprised her with a beautiful engagement ring. “As soon as I saw the ring I realized why he had been carrying a backpack everywhere,” she laughs. “He had it on him the entire time!”

In search of inspiration, Nicole started perusing bridal blogs and found herself drawn to weddings with a rustic esthetic. She loved the idea of getting married on a farm, but wasn’t sure she could find the perfect venue near their home base in Milton, Ontario. For a time the couple toyed with the idea of a destination wedding, “but it just didn’t feel like us,” Nicole muses.

Returning to her original concept, she typed “weddings in a barn” into Google, and lo and behold a property 2o minutes away popped up—the aptly named Weddings in a Barn, located in Cambridge. “It was everything I had imagined,” Nicole explains. “I knew right away we had to have our wedding there.”

With the ideal ceremony location locked down, Nicole turned her attention to creating personal touches and DIY elements for their special day. To give loved ones a taste of what was to come, Jan and Nicole chose rustic wooden wedding invites packaged in boxes filled with moss. The invite packages also included hand-drawn maps folded into heart shapes courtesy of the maid of honour. Other crafty projects included send-off flags, which guests waved at the happy couple post-ceremony, and snack packs containing apples and cookies. “The snacks were to keep our guests energized,” Nicole confides.

Her bridesmaids helped pull everything together—they even hand-tied their bouquets of baby’s breath. For her own bouquet Nicole entrusted the professionals at Eco Stems to create a natural-looking arrangement. “I wanted my bouquet to look effortless, like I had just walked through a garden and picked out some flowers,” she explains.

On the day of the wedding 100 guests joined Nicole and Jan beneath the barn’s soaring beams to witness the two say “I do.” Following their vows, and some amazing photo ops in the surrounding countryside, the newlyweds and company hit the road for the urban portion of the celebration—a rocking reception at downtown Toronto’s Drake Hotel.

“A typical banquet hall wouldn’t have been a good fit,” Nicole admits. “The Drake has a lot of personality so we knew it would be perfect. Plus, we used to go there a lot when we were first dating.” The hotel’s mouth-watering culinary offerings also sweetened the deal—guests were treated to such delights as a pulled pork buffet, macaroni and cheese and corn dogs.

After dinner everyone was lured onto the dance floor by Jan’s personalized playlist—an eclectic mix of hip hop, house and oldies. Nicole and Jan didn’t plan on having a first dance but the crowd insisted, so their first twirl to Robin Thicke’s “U Center Me” turned out to be a highlight of the evening.

“During the song our 18-month-old daughter River wandered onto the dance floor and joined us,” Nicole recalls. “She is such an important part of our lives. She represents the best of both of us, so it made perfect sense for us to have a first dance of three.”

Nicole Fajardo and Jan Almanzor, August 19, 2012, Toronto, Ontario.

Photography courtesy of All This Happiness Studios.

Ceremony location: Weddings in a Barn
Reception location: The Drake Hotel
Bridal gown: Allure Bridals at Ritché
Caterer: The Drake Hotel
Flowers: Eco Stems
Groom’s attire: Holt Renfrew
Hair and makeup: Unbridled Images
Stationery: Wood Chick Studios

See more photos from this laid-back urban wedding in Toronto, Ontario.