Archive for Vanessa Campbell

The World’s Most Beautiful Destination Wedding Locations


destination wedding location - santorini greece

Has this cold, dreary weather left you uninspired about your wedding plans? Allow us to change that: Think warmer, brighter and, quite possibly, cheaper. Tying the knot abroad may seem like a pricey option, but it doesn’t have to be. With a smaller guest list, less decor, and the convenience of packaged wedding deals, destination weddings can actually be much less stressful to plan and often work out to be cheaper than planning a wedding at home.

So, where in the world should you plan your destination wedding? We’ll take you on a tour of 21 of the most beautiful places to tie the knot from Iceland to Australia.

A Romantic Fall Wedding In Halifax

Real Weddings


It took more than a decade for long-time friends Katie and Luke to realize they were madly in love. “We met about 15 years ago while studying political science at Memorial University in St. John’s,” says Katie. “In 2005, we both moved to Halifax to study public relations at Mount Saint Vincent University.” The pair finally started dating in 2012 and a year later, on Katie’s birthday, Luke proposed.

The couple decided to tie the knot at The Halifax Club, an historic property in downtown Halifax. Known for its white walls and gold accents, the two opted to use these colours, as well as navy blue, for their theme. “Navy blue is Luke’s favourite colour and our venue was only two blocks from the city’s waterfront. Adding in a few touches of blue was a nod to those two things,” Katie explains.

The couple also used seasonal items like pumpkins as a nod to their October wedding date. “We didn’t want the typical orange fall wedding colour scheme, but we did want to acknowledge the time of year,” says Katie. “We ordered white pumpkins from Dill’s, a farm in the Annapolis Valley, then we spray-painted some gold, left some natural, and added flowers to a few carved ones.”

Katie and Luke admit that one of the best parts of their day was reconnecting with friends and family. “We got married in Halifax, but we’re both from St. John’s, Newfoundland,” Katie explains. “We’ve lived in Halifax for almost 10 years so it can be challenging to see everyone as often as we like. The wedding was a special opportunity to have everyone we love in the same place.”

Katie Mallam and Luke Gaulton, October 18, 2014, Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Photography courtesy of Chantal Routhier Photography.

Ceremony and reception location: The Halifax Club
Bridal gown:
St. Patrick
Groom’s suit:
Little Red Kitsch’n
Caterer: The Halifax Club
True North DJs
Hair and makeup:
Sykea Spa
Pilcher’s and Costco
Napkins: Wedding Paper Divas
Earrings: Boutique Joliette
Bridal fascinator: Oh Dina!


A Whimsical, Pop Art Wedding In Oshawa

Real Weddings

art gallery wedding - bride and groom

An art gallery wedding couldn’t have been more fitting for newlyweds, Melody and James. The two wanted a unique and unforgettable celebration that was equally romantic and personal.

“Throughout our décor we incorporated aspects of our own personalities to make every aspect truly reflect us. We wanted to keep things crisp and simple so that the venue was the focal point. We chose red, blue, teal, and peach as our colour scheme because these rich tones complemented some of the feature art in the gallery.”

The couple chose “love” as the theme of their day and incorporated statonery and decor accents that referenced Robert Indiana’s iconic pop art sculpture. Melody says her favourite decor detail was one that was handmade by her new husband. “James made the marquee LOVE letters that were prominently featured in the Gallery Lobby,” she explains. “These became a fantastic addition to many pictures and lit up the dance floor for an evening of dancing.”

The couple also admit they loved the intimacy of their celebration. The wedding ceremony was performed by Melody’s father and just 80 guests were in attendance. “We kept to a smaller guest list because we wanted to spend time with each of our guests. We wanted everyone at the wedding to know how much we cared for them personally,” says Melody.

Melody Ploeg and James Mason, December 13, 2014, Oshawa, Ontario.

Photography courtesy of Haley Photography.

Ceremony and reception location: Robert McLaughlin Art Gallery
Bridal gown: Bridal Desires
Groom’s tux: Men’s Wearhouse
Best man’s attire: Men’s Wearhouse
Maid of honour’s attire: Lord & Taylor
Caterer: Pilar’s Catering
Favours: DIY
Music: Durham Wedding DJs
Hair: Salonik
Makeup: Princess Parties by Simone
Flowers: Graceline Paper Studio
Stationery: Papermints Shop
Guestbook poster: Marshmallow Inc LLC

A Beautiful Floral Wedding In Victoria

Real Weddings

floral wedding in victoria - bride and groom

On a sailboat in Puerto Vallarta decorated with rose petals, Scott popped the question to his now wife, Ashley. “Scott carefully got to one knee and opened a glow-in-the-dark ring box and asked me to marry him. Of course I said yes!” Ashley remembers.

The pair tied the knot at St. Ann’s Academy followed by a reception at the luxurious Fairmont Empress in Victoria, British Columbia at a beautiful floral-themed celebration with coral, white, silver and gold accents. And while their luxurious venue was enough to make for an impressive day, Ashley shares that her favourite details were of a more personal and family-oriented nature. A silver, horseshoe charm (a family heirloom that had been passed down to each woman in her family for four generations) was embedded into her bouquet and Ashley’s mother was responsible for the beautiful calligraphy on the menus.

Ashley McMaster and Scott Burley, April 19, 2014, Victoria, British Columbia.

Photos courtesy of Kim Kalyn Photography.

Wedding planning and decor: Decorate Victoria
Ceremony location: St. Ann’s Academy
Reception location: The Fairmont Empress Hotel
Catering and cake: The Fairmont Empress Hotel
Makeup: Erin Bradley
Hair: Chatters
Bridal gown: Shades of White
Bridal party attire: Shades of White
Favours: Rogers’ Chocolates
Music: Alexander’s Music Service; Chris Millington Big Band; Harp by Samantha Nielsen (best friend of bride)
Flowers: Flowers on Top
Stationery: Graphic FX Signworks
Marriage commissioner: Iain Hooey

The Secret To Stress-Free Wedding Planning

advice » Planning

wedding advice from newlyweds - stray

Planning a wedding is just as exciting as it is overwhelming. You’re overjoyed to marry the love of your life, but you’re also likely torn between colour palettes and seating arrangements and choosing the perfect photographer.

If you don’t have people in your life that have recently tied the knot, it can also be hard to navigate budgeting and even decide on small aspects of your day like your wedding favours. For this reason, we reached out to a group of newlyweds for advice. We got the 4-1-1 on everything these couples learned during the planning process. We also asked these recent brides and groom for tips on how to take the stress out of wedding planning and what they’d do differently given the opportunity. Check out this gallery to see what they had to say!

The Ultimate Great Gatsby Wedding Hair Tutorial

Fashion & Beauty


If you’re looking for a Great Gatsby-inspired hairstyle for your wedding that’s as elegant and bold as the roaring 1920s, then look no further. The new book Create Vintage Inspired Wedding Hairstyles, written by Colorado-based makeup artist and hairstylist Lauren Rennells, not only provides beautiful looks, but also clear and easy-to-follow instructions. So, whether you’re a beauty pro or just a confident do-it-yourselfer, you’re sure to be inspired by the way Rennells has re-imagined 29 classic hairstyles for the modern bride.

“In working with brides for the past 12 years, I have learned a lot about communication and interpretation,” says Rennells. “I designed [the book] to be helpful for anyone involved in the bride’s final hairstyle, including the bride. The styles are fresh, modern revivals…as opposed to reenactments.”

Here we’ll show you how to create one of our favourite looks from the book: a loose, wavy updo perfect for a modern Gatsby-inspired wedding.

What You’ll Need:
Thermal hair setting spray
1 – ½-inch tapered curling iron
Carbon tail comb
Wide-tooth comb
Grip bobby pins
Ripple hair pins
Hair clips
2 ¾-inch long plastic craft needle
Lightweight monofilament (which is like very fine fishing line)

Beautiful Bridesmaid Dresses Under $100

Fashion & Beauty

bridesmaid dresses under 100 - blue maxi with open back

Being selected as a bridesmaid is an honour, but it also comes with great responsibility. From making sure the bride is happy, confident and picture-perfect, to ensuring that the day runs seamlessly, there’s never a dull moment for the bridal party. And while it’s a fun title to have, it’s often an expensive one, too. After forking over cash for shower gifts and bachelorette party fun, your bridesmaids may be feeling a little short on funds before the wedding day even begins. So, when it comes to selecting bridesmaids dresses, help your besties out by selecting gowns that won’t break the bank. We’ll show you all of the beautiful bridesmaid dresses out there that your girls can pick up for under $100!

A Luxurious Styled Shoot With Red And Gold Details

Real Weddings

luxurious toronto shoot with gold details - bride and groom

When wedding planner Lauren De Koster of Twelfth Night Events dreamed up the concept for this styled shoot she had a very specific theme in mind: luxurious. “We wanted something romantic, dramatic, and rich in colour and texture,” shares De Koster.

The Burroughes in downtown Toronto was the ideal venue within which to bring this luxe, modern vision to life. “We worked to create a style that would complement the intricate detail of the space,” De Koster explains. “Our goal was to show brides how beautiful a wedding can be when you think outside of traditional colour palettes and design.”

Photography courtesy of Eric Rockburn from Red Button Photography.

Location: The Burroughes
Bridal gown: Petrov Bridal
Cake: Every Occasion Cakes by Martha Zacharias
Groom’s tux: Joseph’s Clothiers and The Dapper Company
Wedding planner: Lauren De Koster from Twelfth Night Events
Hair and makeup: Vanity House and AlyCat Hair & Makeup Artistry
Flowers and decor: RL Designs Inc
Stationery: Primarily Paper
Marquee letter rentals: Bespoke & Word
Chair rentals: Detailz Chair Couture
Catering rentals: A & B Party Rentals

Alternative Ceremony Ideas Sure To Inspire Any Bride


unique ceremony ideas - ribbon cutting

Are you looking for ways to make your ceremony stand out? Searching for a fun new tradition to work into your “I dos” to make them extra unique?

Whether you’re planning a mostly traditional celebration or a totally alternative wedding, there are lots of little details you can include in your ceremony to make it unique. Think about props and creative ways to include your guests as more than just spectators.

From alternative seating arrangements to ring warming ceremonies and unexpected wedding attendants, these ideas should definitely get your creative juices flowing.

A Beautiful Vancouver Island Wedding With Geometric Details

Real Weddings


To spite living in New Zealand, Kiyomi and Timothy decided to plan a destination wedding in Canada where Kiyomi grew up. “We both really love a good challenge,” says Timothy.

“We wanted to achieve very specific things at our wedding,” Timothy explains. “Obviously we wanted it to be the most personal, unique and amazing experience for the two of us, a day that we would never forget, but we also wanted it to be an opportunity for two families to come together as one. For the majority, this was the first time they would meet,” he adds.

“The venue was the nucleus of all our creativity and planning,” says Timothy. “Located in a remote area on Vancouver Island, our venue was home to a private, gorgeous, secluded beach and about twenty basic old logging cabins with lots of bunk beds and no televisions. This little hidden gem was a regular holiday spot for Kiyomi’s family. With such a spectacular natural setting, and holding such special place in Kiyomi’s heart, it was the obvious location for our wedding.”

Celebrations officially began a few days before the couple’s wedding day as guests began to arrive. Friends and family members were each assigned a cabin. “Guests quickly drew straws for bed selection and then went on to replace their shoes with sandals and their car keys with local craft beer,” says Timothy. “We hired kayaks and canoes for the guests to use during their stay and they were quickly out on the water slowly disappearing from view.”

When it came time for Kiyomi and Timothy to tie the knot, the couple chose a a quiet, grassy dell as their ceremony venue. Garlands hung from the surrounding trees framing an aisle strewn with rose petals. “The band, acoustic and bare-footed under the surrounding trees, kicked things off,” says Timothy. “All the children, dressed in outfits Kiyomi hand picked for each of them, formed a kid parade armed with balloons and walked the aisle first. Many even made it all the way down the aisle! It was there that Kiyomi, in her stunning grey dress, and I, in my dolphin blue Crane Brothers suit, said our vows that we wrote to each other and became husband and wife.”

The couple and their guests moved to a tented venue by the water’s edge for their reception, which featured a pastel colour palette, geometric decor details and locally-sourced food.

“Planning our wedding in a remote location of another country where everything had to be brought in was an amazing challenge for us,” Timothy admits. “Actually getting married was the easy part.”

Kiyomi Kitagawa and Timothy John Bland, September 6, 2014, Merville, British Columbia.

Photography courtesy of Ameris.

Ceremony and reception location: The Alders Beach Resort
Celebrant: Young, Hip & Married
Bridal gown: Custom dress by Jasmine’s Bridal Shop
Groom’s suit: Crane Brothers
Cake: DIY
Caterer: Tria Fine Catering
Favours: DIY welcome hampers containing snacks, bug repellant and ear plugs
Music: Towers and Trees
Hair and makeup: Suzanna Chun, The Studio
Flowers: Rook & Rose
Stationery: DIY

A Modern Fairytale Wedding With DIY Details

Real Weddings


This summer wedding was nothing short of magical. From the enchanted meadow setting to the dreamy, romantic decor Laura and Jason’s summer celebration seemed straight out of the pages of a fairytale.

“Our wedding colours, rose gold, burlap and hints of mint, were chosen as soon as I put on my wedding dress, which was a blush/oatmeal tone,” Laura explains. “From the bridesmaids’ dresses to the centrepieces handmade by my sister everything had a touch of pink and a warm shimmer,” she adds.

While Laura admits to adoring her wedding decor, she says her favourite moment occurred during her ceremony. “We put a section in our vows where we made a secret whispered promise to each other, which we kept as a surprise until the ceremony,” says Laura. “When Jay heard mine and laughed and when I heard his and smiled, I knew this day, this moment in front of our curious and bemused friends and family, was special.”

Laura Sparks Whitfield and Jason Aalbers, July 26, 2014, Hubbards, Nova Scotia.

Photos courtesy of Chantal Routhier Photography.

Ceremony and reception venue: Hubbards Barn & Community Park
Flowers: Chelsea Lee Flowers
Bridal gown: Wtoo
Hair and makeup: Kayla Nickerson and Jessica Fletcher from True Beauty Spa
Bridesmaid dresses: TwoBirds
Groomsmen attire: The Gap and Harris Tweed
Cake: Katherine Peddle (902-488-1607)
Caterer: Boneheads BBQ
Ceremony music: Catherine Little
Reception music: Merimac
Stationery: Gabriella Sanchez
Favours: Donation to Bide Awhile animal shelter

An Elegant Winter Wedding In Winnipeg

Real Weddings

winter winnipeg wedding - bride and groom

After meeting by chance at a golf course, a simple phone number exchange was all it took to get the ball rolling for Mike and Jillian. “A week later, he asked me out on our first date and the rest is history!” shares Jillian.

The couple decided to tie the knot in mid-December but, to spite the cold weather, they wanted to make sure their celebration was warm and inviting. The pair aimed for an elegant theme with gold, champagne and ivory accents. Lighting, which gave the couple’s venue a beautiful warm glow, was also an important consideration for Mike and Jillian. “I truly believe you can never have enough lighting,” says Jillian. “We had all sorts, from chandeliers to string lights, candles, and uplighting.” The luminous celebration theme also included pre-lit Christmas trees due to the wedding’s proximity to the holiday.

Jillian says that the entire day went exactly as planned but if she had to pick a favourite moment it would have been her ceremony. “Seeing my future husband a few steps away as I started walking down the aisle was the most beautiful moment and it was a moment I had dreamed of since I was a little girl,” she remembers. “We locked eyes the whole way down and it literally felt like it was just the two of us in the room.”

Jillian Enns and Mike Renaud, December 13, 2014, Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Photography courtesy of Joel Ross Photography.

Ceremony location: St. Mary’s Cathedral
Reception location: The Gates on Roblin
Bridal gown: Essense of Australia from Bliss Bridal
Bridal earrings: Swarovski
Bridal shawl and bracelet: Etsy
Bridal shoes: Kate Spade
Bridesmaids’ dresses: Elsie Reimer (
Bridesmaids’ fur shawls: Hand Sewn by Robyn on Etsy
Groom’s outfit: ZEV Apparel
Cake: Chocolate Zen
Favours: DIY
Wedding planner: Tammy Oullet from Divine Weddings & Events
Music: Sensational Sound and Harp Oasis
Hair: Vankoft Hair
Makeup: Makeup Expressions
Flowers: Floral Fixx
Décor: Little Flower Shop
Stationery: Karta House
Videographer: A Moving Picture Studios
Linens: Planned Perfectly
Transportation: Five Star Limousine
Carriage: Equine Elegance Horse Drawn Services
String lighting and chandeliers: The Christmas Light Guys
Uplighting: Event Light

A Fun, Laid-Back Wedding On Prince Edward Island

Real Weddings


When Caley met Sean she knew almost immediately that he was the one. “He was wearing a tuxedo tee. I was in love,” remembers Caley. The couple’s wedding was equally fun and laid-back. Caley says they were aiming for an east coast “kitchen party” feel with natural colours. “We wanted the wedding to feel classy and classic; to blend in with the natural wooden tables, unstained floors, and the ocean outdoors,” she explains.

Caley describes her wedding day as the perfect July day on the Island. “The sun was shining and there was a light breeze off of the ocean,” she remembers. “We said our vows in a yellow historic church surrounded by red dirt roads, green potato fields, and the blue ocean.”

After their “I dos” the couple toasted their love with family and friends at a relaxed reception overlooking the beautiful harbour in Summerside, PEI, which started with an entrance led by a bagpiper. “Live musicians were handpicked from Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland to ensure everyone was toe-tapping, and singing along,” says Caley. “Signature cocktails, a fresh oyster bar, creative gourmet appetizers, and Island-brewed beer helped keep guests happy and full. Between the wedding pinata and the midnight fireworks, it was a truly unique customized party. We wore big smiles all day that made our jaws ache, and us smile more. We couldn’t have been more happy, more loving, and more thankful.”

Caley Sutherland and Sean Aylward, July 18, 2014, Grand River, Prince Edward Island.

Photography courtesy of JK Murphy Photography.

Ceremony location: St. Patrick’s Church
Reception location: The Shipyard
Bridal gown: Sash & Bustle
Groom’s tux: H&M
Cake: City View Bakehouse
Caterer: Chestnut Catering
Hair and Makeup:  Mint Spa
Flowers: Prestige Floral
Stationery: Joey Rutherford (
Music: Dave Whitty

14 Ingenious Ways To Save Money On Your Wedding


save money on wedding - stationery

Weddings can be expensive – that’s nothing new. With all the details involved in planning this one magical day, it can seem impossible to find ways to save money. Oh, but you can – and in at least 14 different ways! We asked Canadian wedding planners Julianne Cragg from A Modern Proposal in Edmonton, Roxy Zapala from Art of Celebrations in Toronto, Melissa Samborski from One Fine Day in Toronto and Barb Walker from French Kiss Events in Victoria to dish on their best cost-saving tips and tricks. With these clever wedding hacks we guarantee you’ll save money on your wedding and still manage to have the best day ever.