Archive for Rachel Cravit

5 Fresh Ways to Style Your Purple Wedding

Planning » Planning » Wedding Decor

In 2011, roughly one in four couples included purple in their wedding colour palette, according to XO Group Inc., and this outrageously popular shade is showing no signs of slowing down in 2013. Unfortunately, you can only attend so many purple weddings before they all start to look the same. But what if you’ve been a lifelong devotee of the colour before it became a fad? Do purple-loving brides now need to choose between their favourite colour and an original wedding celebration that won’t look like every other purple party on the planet? Weddingbells votes a resounding no! To prove that you can take even the most tiresome trend and inject some originality, we’ve combed through the vaults to show you five fresh ways of styling a purple wedding celebration. From outrageously girly hues inspired by powder and blush to jewelled tones brazen enough to tempt the most daring of brides-to-be, we’ve got you covered!

The secret? Whether you gravitate toward an Italian garden bursting with lavender or a downtown industrial space awash in amethyst lighting, let your favourite colour inspire your big day without dictating its entire look and feel. While selecting a colour as an actual theme may be a comfortable move for couples overwhelmed by their limitless options, doing so puts the reins on originality and prevents your personality from playing the starring role it deserves. Rather than scouring for the perfect shade of purple napkin to circulate during cocktail hour, focus on compiling cute pieces of trivia about you and your partner to print on them. If the ink is purple, excellent, but your guests will likely be too entertained reading about how you spilled a massive roti on your lap on your first date or how you didn’t even like one another until you realized you both had pet rocks as kids to even notice that your wedding colour is the same as everyone else’s.

Whether you decide to spice up your purple palette with one of our original style boards below or prefer to stick with the tried and true, remember to keep the focus on you and your partner, because if the two of you are the “theme”, your wedding will always be original.

Never-Before-Seen Winter Wedding Ideas

Planning » Planning » Reception Ideas

The weather outside may be frightful, but winter weddings can sure be delightful! From marshmallow garlands to adorn your reception space to cookie-filled dessert tables that would make even Santa wish he were on the guestlist, here are a collection of our favourite winter wedding ideas to turn your frosty fete into a heart-warming, jaw-dropping celebration.

A Rustic Autumn Wedding in Merritt, British Columbia

Real Weddings

After discussing their engagement, Jason couldn’t wait to pop the question, and proposed to Melissa on the drive home from the jewellers where they had just picked out a ring. The couple celebrated with a rustic autumn wedding at Centennial Park in Merritt, British Columbia, followed by a civic centre reception. Several autumnal details were included throughout the festivities, from the bride’s green and orange bouquet to the bridesmaids’ exquisite chocolate-coloured gowns, straight out of a woodland fairytale. Even the wedding cake reflected the rustic autumn wedding theme. In lieu of standard wedding fare, guests were treated to seasonal comfort food, including BBQ chicken, roast beef and stuffed potatoes. Guests departed the rustic autumn wedding with coffee bean favours packaged in burlap bags, a final nod to the season.

Melissa and Jason Robinson, October 1, 2011, Merritt, British Columbia.

Photography courtesy of Candid Apple Photography.

Ceremony location: Centennial Park
Reception location:
Merritt Civic Centre
Dress: Blush Bridal
Groom’s tux: Moores
Bridal party attire: Etsy
Music: Eclectic DJ Services
Cake: CAKE by Alana
Caterer: Elaine Gill
Favours: DIY by the bride
Flowers: Selena Voigt
Stationery: Merritt Printing

See all of the photos from this rustic autumn wedding.

A Romantic Outdoor Wedding in Cobble Hill, British Columbia

Real Weddings

After Jessica told Brad — who she had just met at a pub while watching the Canucks playoff game — that she was fond of beer and hockey, he proclaimed her his future wife. On July 28, 2012, the two were officially married in a romantic outdoor wedding with 120 guests in attendance. Set against the lush backdrop of Merridale Estate Cidery, Jessica and Brad took photos on the sprawling grounds before exchanging vows. The pair then proceeded to a relaxing reception where they enjoyed a sumptuous meal with their friends and family. “Our three criteria for choosing a wedding venue were that it was outside, with good wine and great food. Merridale was a slam dunk in all three categories. The setting was lovely and simple, the food was magnificent, and the local wines and ciders were perfect complements to the amazing menu,” says Jessica.

Jessica Hartog and Brad Finnerty, July 28, 2012, Cobble Hill, British Columbia.

Photography courtesy of Kim Kalyn.

Ceremony and reception location: Merridale Estate Cidery
Alvina Valenta from Bisou Bridal
Groom’s tux: Outlooks for Men (250-384-2848)
Bridal party attire:  Bridesmaid dresses by Maureen Patricia (250-590-6264); groomsmen suits from Banana Republic
Hair: Marylou Butler, Shampoo Hair Bar (250-285-7837)
Jen Clarke Makeup Artistry
Favours: Jam from Merridale Estate Cidery
Flowerss: Rook and Rose Floral Design Boutique
Stationery: Kristen Legare and Paula Westwood, Pure Luv Designs (250-382-9867)

See all the photos from this romantic outdoor wedding here.

Goosebump-Inducing Proposal Videos You Need to See

Planning » Engagement » Planning

Marriage proposals are one of the oldest milestones in the books, but that doesn’t mean we can’t refurbish them along the way. Since the new year is a time for starting fresh, we couldn’t think of a better time to share with you nine people who have done just that — found new, exciting ways to pop the age-old question — all of which were fortunately captured on camera! These inventive proposal videos are guaranteed to bring on the goosebumps.

A Rustic Mountain Wedding in Canmore, Alberta

Real Weddings

Maribeth Faustino and Christopher Hill’s rustic mountain wedding was filled with DIY details and charming personalization. The bride designed her own wedding dress in tandem with Calgary dressmaker Cindy Wong, who also created custom dresses for the bridesmaids. While Maribeth handmade her flower girl’s dress, maid-of-honour Rosalyn Faustino worked to create ties and handkerchiefs for the groom and groomsmen. Maribeth’s mother also lent a helping hand, making a flower girl basket and a ring bearer pillow, while the parents of one of Maribeth and Christopher’s friends created the floral arrangements. The rustic mountain wedding was a true labour of love, from the wedding cake baked by the groom’s aunt to the DIY stationery made by the bride and groom themselves. “We had a part of us in everything,” says Maribeth. “It meant so much that our family and friends helped out as well.”

Maribeth Faustino and Christopher Hill, September 29, 2012, Canmore, Alberta

Photography courtesy of David Guenther, Rowan Jane (

Ceremony location:  Quarry Lake Meadow
Reception location:
Stewart Creek Golf & Country Club
  Designed by the bride in collaboration with Calgary dressmaker Cindy Wong
Groom’s tux: Harry Suits
Bridal party attire: Designed by the maid of honour, Rosalyn Faustino, and bridesmaids Charlene James, Rochelle Maitripala and Jenny Batuyong in collaboration with Calgary dressmaker Cindy Wong; flower girl dress handmade by bride.
Hair:  Robin Hubert of Virtual Beauty
Music: David Gilhen, Patrice Cloutier and Margaret Tannett of The Hillside Collective (friends of bride and groom); DJ Jason Cathcart of Dance! Shout! Productions
Cake: Homemade by Dona Duquette (aunt of the groom)
Caterer: Stewart Creek Golf & Country Club
Favours: Donations to  Wellspring Calgary
Flowers: Ed and Ruth Kieboom (parents of bride and groom’s friend)
Stationery: Designed and handmade by bride and groom; paper sourced from The Japanese Paper Place and The Paper Place.

See all the pictures from this rustic mountain wedding here.

A DIY Vintage Picnic Wedding in Truro, Nova Scotia

Real Weddings

It’s hard to imagine a more personal and creative celebration than Ashley and Devon’s DIY vintage picnic wedding. Crafted entirely from scratch, Ashley spent an entire summer before the big day sewing napkins and buntings with her aunt; she also hand-painted the watercolour wedding invitations, programs and signs. A true labour of love, Devon’s father built a photo wall complete with wallpaper and crown mouldings. The DIY vintage picnic wedding was hosted in the sprawling backyard of the groom’s grandmother, spotted with colourful picnic blankets and oversized balloons. The bride’s mother and a friend arranged all the bouquets and floral decorations while a couple of pals provided live music throughout the festivities. Guests, meanwhile, stocked up on refreshments served in fabric-tied mason jars (with bright retro soda shop straws to boot) and enjoyed a cookie and cupcake bar. Ashley wore a whimsical polka-dot dress handmade by a local seamstress; its pattern was mimicked by the polka-dot wedding cake sourced from an Italian market in nearby Halifax — just one more of the bountiful details lovingly incorporated in this DIY vintage picnic wedding.

Ashley Herder and Devon Forshner, September 8, 2012, Truro, Nova Scotia

Photography courtesy of Candace Berry (

Ceremony and reception location: Private residence
 Anne Marie Rogers (
Groom’s tux: Banana Republic
Bridal party attire: Modcloth
Hair: Kelly Desmond, Hair and There Mobile Hairstyling
 Bride and bridesmaids did their own makeup
Music: Live music sung by two friends of the bride
Cake: The Italian Market
Caterer: The Italian Market 
Favours: Donations to Ark Ministries
Flowers: Arranged by bride’s mother and friend
Stationery: Designed and hand-painted by bride (

See all the pictures from this DIY vintage picnic wedding here.

Your Guide To Canadian Bridal Designers

Fashion & Beauty » Fashion & Beauty » Wedding Dresses

With a crop of outrageous talents across the country, Canadian bridal designers have made names for themselves on a world stage. Their own homegrown bridal couture is sure to set even the most fanatic of fashion plates in a tizzy. Below is a primer on some of the biggies that you might not have even realized hailed from the Great White North: Rita Vinieries of Rivini, Ines Di Santo and Sarah Houston, plus some newbies like Mike Derderian and Gianni Falcone, childhood pals from Montreal whose lavish collection Pavoni is already in demand in Abu Dhabi and Dubai just two years after launching. We’ve also included some essential pointers: style, price range and bridal boutiques where you can browse a bevy of jaw-dropping Canadian designs. We can’t promise you’ll spot your dress in Bride Wars like your friend who wore Vera Wang, but we’re willing to wager a healthy sum that you’ll find something equally spectacular.

A DIY Outdoor Wedding in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario

Real Weddings

Carissa and David met in high school then re-connected at Brock University. Four years later, they celebrated a DIY outdoor wedding at Kurtz Orchards in Niagara-on-the-Lake. From DIY stationery and “spread the love” jam favours to the fresh baked pie buffet to wine homemade by the father of the bride himself, the celebration was filled with touching personal details to delight Carissa and David’s 125 guests. The laid-back charm of the DIY outdoor wedding even extended to the mismatched blush bridesmaids dresses, independently sourced from various locations, and fuss-free bouquets in beautiful shades of pale pink and ivory. After exchanging vows in an intimate outdoor ceremony, Carissa and David took pictures on the back of a tandem bicycle, further fitting the rustic theme. After an evening filled with merriment and love, the pair enjoyed a festive sparkler send-off from their nearest and dearest; Carissa and David then departed on a road trip across Canada’s eastern seaboard for an adventurous honeymoon.

Carissa and David Gilmore, August 24, 2012, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario

Photography courtesy of Daniel Ricci (

Ceremony and reception location: Kurtz Orchards
Cake: Kurtz Orchards
Caterer: Kurtz Orchards
Favours: DIY
Stationery: DIY
Homemade wine by father of the bride

See all the pictures from this DIY outdoor wedding here.

A Refined Destination Wedding in Costa Rica

Real Weddings

After getting engaged on a trip to Mexico, it came as no surprise when adventurers Jennifer and Josh decided to return to paradise and celebrate a refined destination wedding. With just 26 guests in tow, the pair exchanged vows in Costa Rica, surrounded by rugged beach and billowing palm trees. “Our goal was to allow the natural beauty of Costa Rica and our love serve as the décor,” says Jennifer, who selected orchids and hydrangea to serve as fuss-free centrepieces at the tented reception. Owner of Etsy shop Pura Vida Creative, Jennifer also designed her own invitations for the refined rustic destination wedding, contributing to the laidback charm of the occasion. After the festivities concluded, Jennifer and Josh remained in Costa Rica, ziplining through the tropics on their first adventure as newlyweds.

Jennifer Meyskens and Josh Kavanagh,  May 11, 2012, Guanacaste, Costa Rica.

Photography courtesy of A Brit and a Blonde (

Ceremony and reception location:  Hacienda Pinilla
Wedding planners: Aimee Monihan and Alessandra Silveira, Tropical Occasions
Maggie Sottero from Enchanted Bridal
Groom’s tux: Stars Mens Shops
Bridal party attire: David’s Bridal
Hair and makeup: Diego Alfaro
Music: Costa Rica Wedding DJ 
Cake: DIY
Caterer: Hacienda Pinilla
Favours: DIY
Flowers: Arranged by Tropical Occasions
Stationery: Pura Vida Creative (owned by bride)
Videography by Jonathan Yonkers

See all the pictures from this refined destination wedding here.

A Vintage Garden Wedding In Muskoka

Real Weddings

Krystyn and Matt couldn’t have selected a more perfect backdrop for their vintage garden wedding: Windermere House, a sprawling resort perched above Muskoka’s Lake Rosseau. Krystyn, who took the helm as wedding planner, tapped into the timeless grandeur of the surroundings to craft a vintage garden wedding bursting with personal details: hand-scrawled chalkboard signs, program fans, old-timey Muskoka postcards and mason jars filled with fresh blooms. Nothing, however, was more spectacular than the ceremony itself, when 150 guests congregated on the resort lawn to witness Krystyn and Matt exchanged vows beneath a lush floral arbor, the glittering lake behind them. Documented to perfection by A Brit and a Blonde, the vintage garden wedding ended on a sweet note with a massive dessert bar complete with homestyle favourites like red velvet cupcakes and cake pops.

Krystyn Coombs and Matthew Harrison, September 1, 2012, Windermere, Ontario.

Photography courtesy of A Brit and a Blonde (

Ceremony and reception location: Windermere House
 Vera Wang
Groom’s tux: Harry Rosen
Bridal party attire: Bridal Couture by Carma (905-271-3156)
Hair: Family friend
Ashley Harrison, MAC Cosmetics
Music: Music of Our Times
Cake: Le Delice Pastry Shop (905-278-9684)
Caterer: Cathy Beneway, Creative Catering by Cathy
Favours: Cathy Beneway, Creative Catering by Cathy
Flowers: Seasons in the Country (
Stationery: DIY by bride

See all the pictures from this vintage garden wedding in Muskoka, Ontario.


An Intimate Wedding in Banff, Alberta

Real Weddings

Both Jill and Mike worked as summer students at their university, and just after the first “hello” they knew they had something special—at least Jill did. “I called my mom and told her I had met the man I was going to marry. Two and a half years later he was finally convinced, too,” Jill explains. The two planned an intimate wedding in Banff for 35 guests ornamented with blush pink accents to create a romantic atmosphere. The newlyweds agree that their favourite details were the old (and funny) photos of each guest they used as place cards, “and hearing Mike vow to try and be on time for the rest of our lives,” Jill laughs.

Jill Bjornstad & Mike Barker, June 9, 2012, Banff, Alberta.

Photography courtesy of Shawna Coates, Infinite Images (

Ceremony and reception location: Juniper Hotel and Bistro
Bridal gown:
 Mikaella from The Bridal House
Groom’s tux: Henry Singer
Bridal party attire: Dessy from Bridal Debut
Hair: Karla Gjini of Melange Salon
Botega Salon
Caterer: Juniper Hotel and Bistro
Cake: Shelly Lahaise (403-398-7375)
Favours: Personalized bottles of Jones Soda
Flowers: Willow Haven Floral Shop

See all of the photos from this pink winter wedding in Calgary, Alberta.

15 Fresh Wedding Cakes Inspired by Everyday Items

Planning » Planning » Wedding Cakes

One of our favourite things to do here at Weddingbells is dish out original wedding ideas to inspire your one-of-a-kind celebration. Wedding cakes in particular possess tremendous creative potential; bakers can now create edible works of art to serve as a focal point for the entire reception, prompting couples to unleash their imaginations far beyond red velvet flavouring and quirky cake toppers. With the explosion of wedding blogs and websites like Pinterest and WeddingGawker, brides can now peek behind the doors of unlimited celebrations and we are seeing the results: an accelerated emphasis on personalization and individuality, wedding cakes included. Expressions of hobbies and interests may have once been the exclusive domain of sports-themed grooms’ cakes, but brides are beginning to discover more meaning from confections that tell their story instead of simply matching their bouquet with frosted floral adornments. Wedding cake inspiration may come from a passion such as art or literature, or even a single item, whether significant to the couple or a stylistic inspiration for the overall wedding. Here are 15 insanely original wedding cakes resembling everyday objects, from bird cages to board games, papel picado to gingham aprons, stained glass to shower curtains, 80’s outfits to vegetables, all of which demonstrate the uncanny creativity that has exploded in the world of wedding cakes.

A New Year’s Eve Wedding in Vancouver, British Columbia

Real Weddings

When Ben Cadiz proposed to Stephanie Palmer in front of the Princess Castle in Disney World, he set the stage for an equally dramatic New Year’s Eve wedding celebration. After selecting their wedding date, the duo planned a glitzy New Year’s Eve wedding complete with a count-down at midnight. After exchanging vows at St. Luke’s Catholic Church, Stephanie and Ben joined their 105 guests at the Sutton Place Hotel, which had been transformed into a winter wonderland complete with glittering ornaments, metallic pinecones and — of course — plenty of candles. A Tiffany-inspired wedding cake in various shades of blue served as a sweet touch to the New Year’s Eve wedding celebration, which also included a photo booth for guests to enjoy throughout the night.

Stephanie Andria Palmer and Benjamin Christian Cadiz, December 31, 2011, Vancouver, British Columbia.

Photography courtesy of Dana Smith Photography (

Ceremony loaction: St. Luke’s Catholic Church
Reception location:
Sutton Place Hotel
Dress: Christos from Blush Bridal
Hair and makeup: Tracey Le of All Dolled Up Studios
Music:  John Alviz (
Groom’s tux: Hugo Boss
Bridal party attire: Dresses from RW&Co with furs from Aritzia
Cake: Valley Bakery
Caterer: Sutton Place Hotel
Favours: Made by the bride, groom and bridal party
Flowers: Made by the groom’s sister
Others: Photo booth provided by Smallfry Media

See all of the photos from this winter wonderland themed New Year’s Eve wedding.