Archive for Vanessa Ortynsky

Sequin Bridesmaid Dresses Your Friends Will Adore

Fashion & Beauty

Nothing inspires a party atmosphere like the shimmer of sequins and these shiny decorative adornments are no longer just for the holiday season. Sparkle is wearable year-round and sequin bridesmaid dresses look especially fabulous at outdoor warm-weather weddings — just imagine yourself flanked by sparkle in the summer sun! Your girls will also appreciate the fact that they’ll be able to wear their shimmering party dresses for years to come.

From understated blush-toned sequin frocks to festive chevron-patterned ensembles, we’ve been spotting sequin bridesmaid dresses in tons of real weddings lately, so we decided to share some of our favourite styles, and tell you where you can score similar gowns for your big day without breaking the bank.

Wedding Ceremony Decor: 15 Unique Ways To Add Style To Your Aisle


As a bride, the aisle is your domain. It’s where your guests (and your husband-to-be, obviously) will see you, all dolled up, for the very first time. In order to make your grand entrance in high style, you’ll definitely want to incorporate some wedding ceremony decor that fits the overall theme of your wedding. Whether you’re getting married in a church or an outdoor venue, aisle decor that reflects your personality can really spice up your event. Say “I do” beneath a handmade wooden arbour or a cascading display of paper flowers. Line your aisle with candles, Mason jars or starfish. The possibilities for your wedding ceremony decor are endless. Whether your celebration style is classic or contemporary, here are some of our favourite ways to add pizzazz to your ceremony site.


Aisle Runner Ideas For Your Wedding Ceremony


marble aisle runner

Your aisle runner is sure to be one of the first things your guests see as they make their way to their seats at your wedding ceremony. For this reason, it’s worth considering how your aisle runner complements your theme and overall decorating scheme. Did you know that aisle runners were first created because most roads were unpaved? The aisle runner was used to protect the bride’s gown on her way to the altar! Nowadays, the aisle runner serves a more decorative purpose at a wedding ceremony and can be customized to show off your personality. From pastoral burlap to quirky zigzags to romantic rose petals, we’ve chosen 12 inspiring aisle runner ideas you’re sure to love. Wherever your venue and whatever your theme, there’s sure to be an aisle runner here that suits your wedding ceremony perfectly.

Awesome Non-Floral Centrepiece Ideas Your Friends Will Wish They Thought Of First


Centrepieces comprised of clusters of blooms are classics that work for almost any type of wedding, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t some amazing non-floral centrepiece options out there that are worth exploring for your celebration. In fact, non-floral centrepieces can allow you to show off your bridal personality and venue, and many of our favourites are even DIY! Incorporating unique materials into your non-floral centrepieces can also help reduce the cost of your decorations. Believe it or not, everyday items like candles, lemons, balloons and tissue paper streamers can transform your reception tables into something memorable! We’ve searched high and low to find 15 unique non-floral centrepieces for your wedding.

Unique Single-Layer Wedding Cakes to Spice Up Your Dessert Table


As of late, wedding cake design has literally been taken to new heights with sky-high cakes in exotic shapes, colours and flavours. Breathtaking cakes can be crafted to suit any theme under the sun. However, if you’d like something a little simpler for your big day, single-layer wedding cakes can be a pretty alternative. Sweet tables are becoming exceedingly popular, but many couples still want to include the more traditional wedding cake alongside other desserts—which is where single-layer wedding cakes come in! These delightful creations are also popular among weddings with smaller guest lists. If you’re having a larger party but still like the idea of a single-layer cake, why not serve several in a range of flavours? And just because they’re small doesn’t mean you can’t dress these simple wedding cakes up with flowers, creative embellishments and unique toppers — that’s half the fun!

If you’re considering a single-layer wedding cake for your celebration, here are 15 gorgeous, charming options to inspire you.

A Lovely Scottish Wedding in Ottawa

Real Weddings

Nikki and Barry had been working together for a few years, but it wasn’t until they both joined the company softball team that they had the opportunity to get to know each other. “I was injured during one of the games, and Barry came to my rescue that night at the hospital. Fate took it from there!” says Nikki.

The couple booked a trip to Barry’s homeland, Scotland, so Nikki could see the country for the first time and meet Barry’s extended family. Halfway through the trip, Barry took Nikki to one of his favourite spots, the gorgeous Glamis Castle, the site of a sprawling arboretum featuring trees from all over the world. After a week of rain and grey skies, the sun was shining as the twosome made their way through the ancient trees and took a seat on a park bench facing the arboretum. This is where Barry shocked Nikki by getting down on one knee and asking her to be his wife. “Barry still laughs when he tells the story, I guess I was so surprised I forgot to say “yes!” and just took the ring and started crying.” laughs Nikki.

The couple had planned an outdoor backyard ceremony with an open tent reception, but torrential rain forced them to make last minute changes and squeeze their guests into the tent for both the ceremony and reception. “We were so disappointed about the weather at the time, but looking back it made for a very cozy and informal gathering. Some of my favorite memories are of friends and family dancing up a storm in rain boots on the mud covered dance floor!”

“We really wanted to keep our backyard wedding as casual as possible,” says Nikki. “We had simple Mason jars with flowers and candles as centrepieces, a self-serve open bar, homemade desserts and late-night pulled pork sandwiches, which were a favourite among the guests.” Nikki and Barry loosely themed the day’s decor on trees, to pay homage to the proposal outside the arboretum in Scotland. Their table names were different tree species, their seating chart was a branch with hanging names as ornaments, and they incorporated a beautiful signature poster of a tree where each guest signed a different leaf – a favorite keepsake from the day, which now hangs their family room.

Nikki Nelson and Barry Anderson, September 8, 2012, Ottawa, Ontario.

Photography courtesy of Fleischer Photography.

Ceremony and reception location:
Private residence in Ashton, Ontario
Bridal gown: Haley Nelson
Bridal party attire: RW & Co.
Groom’s tux: Hector Russell
Cake: Homemade cupcakes and treats
Caterer: Bytown Catering
Favours: Homemade pulled pork sandwiches in paper bags to-go
Music: Jamie Whiteside
Hair: Courtney Cable
Flowers: Bloomfields and Costco
Stationery: DIY
Signature Tree Poster: Peachwik on Etsy
Tent: Cody Party 

See all the photos from this garden party in Ottawa, Ontario.


Wedding Traditions: 8 Age-Old Customs and How to Make Them Work for You


Wedding traditions (like the tossing of the garter belt) are still a huge part of contemporary celebrations, but they’re certainly not for everyone. As weddings become more and more personalized, some brides are choosing to skip certain wedding traditions—or put new spins on them. When it comes to planning, it’s all about figuring out which wedding traditions work for you. Here we discuss eight old-school wedding traditions and suggest some fresh alternatives for you to consider for your big day.

A Cherry Blossom-Themed Wedding in Edmonton, Alberta

Real Weddings

Arisa and Marty met nearly seven years ago after being introduced through a mutual friend. They bonded after taking classes together. Arisa describes their engagement as a “one-of-a-kind experience”. Marty’s family was right in the middle of production for the Quon Dynasty reality TV show, which meant they made frequent unexpected requests for activities as directed by the show producers.

“One evening I was told that a birthday dinner scene for Marty’s father was being filmed. We all gathered to eat, I had no reason to believe it was anything more than an ordinary dinner,” Arisa recalls. When dessert was served, she didn’t notice that hers was being served on a different plate than everyone else.  “The original plan was, of course, for me to finish the dessert and see that the ornate silver plate was engraved with ‘Will You Marry Me?’ I was too full and could only eat a small portion of the dessert, not exposing any of the message. As the rest of the family, who were in on the whole thing, stared on in anticipation, Marty practically force fed me the rest of the dessert until I saw the message. I said ‘Yes!'”

For their cherry blossom wedding at the Fairmont Hotel in Edmonton, Arisa and Marty put a lot of thought into their decor. Arisa’s favourite wedding details were the flowers. “I loved the cherry blossom centrepieces and my wedding favours: cherry blossom Japanese fans.” For their wedding song, the couple chose “Beauty and the Beast,” which is one of Marty’s favourite songs. He also made Arisa a memorable music video entitled “You Are the Only One” that was also featured on the Quon Dynasty.

Arisa and Marty Quon, May 19, 2012, Edmonton, Alberta.

Photography courtesy of Nicole Modde of NC Photography.

Ceremony and reception location: Empire Ballroom at the Fairmont Hotel Macdonald
Bridal gown: St. Patrick from Novelle Bridal Shop
Bridal party attire: Light In The Box
Groom’s tux: Derks Formals
Cake: Kathy Voon (780-974-1856)
Caterer: Fairmont Hotel Macdonald
Favours: Weddingstar
Music: DJ Aiden from The Fluid Lounge
Harpist: Keri Lynn Zwicker
Hair and makeup: Stefanie Carlson (780-909-9769)
Flowers: Linda Rinaldi from Flor Eterna (780-707-9041)
Stationery: Weddingstar and The Paper Tree
Rentals: Special Event Rentals

See all the photos from this cherry blossom-themed wedding.

A Colourful Bollywood-Themed Wedding

Real Weddings

Anuja and Jeff were definitely on the same page in terms of wanting to get married. “When I started dropping engagement ring hints, Jeff decided I should have exactly what I want around my finger, so he took me ring shopping,” laughs Anuja. With the perfect ring picked out, she was just waiting for him to pop the question. Valentine’s Day came and went, their anniversary came and went, and still no ring. “Where was it? When was it going to happen? I was going a little crazy,” admits Anuja.

“Then, one weekend I woke up to find Jeff waiting with his made-from-scratch chocolate chip pancakes with Nutella, fruit, and fresh flowers – and I knew something amazing was happening.”Jeff followed breakfast in bed with a sweet serenade, singing “First Day of My Life” by Bright Eyes. Anuja remembers him being so nervous about proposing that he mixed up the words. “But it didn’t matter, he could have been singing the alphabet and I would still have loved every minute of it.” Finally, he put down his guitar and got down on one knee and popped the question!

The couple chose the same Bright Eyes song as their first dance. “It was the song Jeff sang to me when he proposed and it’s a song that means something special to both of us.”

Anuja’s favourite moment of the day was sitting with her new husband at their head table during the reception and soaking in how beautiful everything looked. Another favourite detail were their wedding favours, Jeff’s homemade macarons (all 600 of them!)

Anuja Varghese and Jeff Geady, June 23, 2012, Richmond Hill, Ontario.

Photography courtesy of Rosetta Li Weddings.

Ceremony and reception location:
Sheraton Parkway Hotel
Bridal gown: Asiyans Boutique
Bridal party attire: Kala Kendar Exclusive
Groom’s outfit: Maharaja Fashions (416-406-2911)
Cake: The Cupcakery
Caterer: The Host
Favours: Macarons made by the groom and his friends
Wedding planners: Sapna Weddings
Music: Empire Entertainment
Brianne Doucette from Glam by Brianne
Makeup: Joy David-Tilberg from Joy of Makeup
: Precious Flowers N’ Things (416-537-3444)
Stationery: Designed by the groom, Jeff Geady
Wedding décor: Dulhan Mandap

See all the photos from this colourful Bollywood-themed wedding celebration.


An Intimate Destination Wedding in Mexico

Real Weddings

Engaged since 2005, Monica and Mathieu from Moncton, New Brunswick were the winners of our 12/12/12 wedding giveaway and eloped in a romantic sunset ceremony at at the Dreams Villamagna in Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico.

“We couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful setting,” says Monica. “The grounds of the resort were spectacular, the food was delicious and the level of service was truly phenomenal. The staff decorated our room with roses, chocolate-covered strawberries and champagne during our stay.”

“Our wedding didn’t cost us a penny, and we still pinch ourselves to this day. We had such a relaxing week at the Dreams Villamagna Resort and Spa,” explains the bride.

“Our private moments are sacred to us, so we decided to have a private ceremony without a reception,” she adds. “We celebrated with our family at a formal dinner once we returned to New Brunswick.”

“While I love heels and dressing up, I’m relieved I wore flip-flops for the ceremony,” says Monica. “I also wore a lightweight dress that suited the laid-back atmosphere of the resort.”

“It’s hard to pick our favourite moment. The private dinner on the beach after the ceremony was amazing. We were elated to be married and still in disbelief that we had won the contest,” says Monica.

Monica Duguay and Mathieu Vienneau, December 12, 2012, Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico.

Photography Courtesy of Boyfriend/Girlfriend.

Ceremony and reception location: Dreams Villamagna
Bridal gown: Casablanca Bridal
Groom’s suit: Tommy Bahama
Wedding planner: Thomas Cook
Hair and makeup: Dreams Villamagna
Flowers: Dreams Villamagna

View more photos of this intimate destination wedding below.

A Woodsy DIY Wedding in Winnipeg

Real Weddings

After arriving late at a big house party where they didn’t know anyone else, Sigrid and Skylor instantly bonded and ended up spending the entire night together. “We made up fake names and a complicated backstory that we told everyone we met,” Sigrid laughs. Their shared sense of humour and creativity came in handy when planning their woodsy DIY celebration. “Anything that we could DIY, we did. Not only did it save us money, it added a lot of personality to the celebration.” According to Sigrid, one of the most beautiful wedding details was the suitcase they used as a card receptacle. “Skylor bought the suitcase at a thrift shop, relined it with vintage fabric, and made an ‘Enjoy the Journey’ garland.” Speaking of which, the couple fondly remembers beginning their journey as husband and wife. As they left for their wedding reception, they were alone for the first time that day. “It was amazing to look at each other, laugh and say, ‘we’re married!’”

Sigrid Anderson-Warkentin and Skylor Tinker, September 2, 2012, Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Photography courtesy of Meghan Fowler from Blue Bird Creative.

Ceremony location: Canadian Mennonite University
Reception location: Qualico Family Centre
Bridal gown: “The Private Collection” by Jaquelin from Stella’s Bridal
Bridal shoes: Jeffery Campbell from Modcloth
Bride’s belt: Daughters of Simone
Bridal party attire: Zara, Rooster, Silver Lotus, and Vanilla & Lace
Bridal makeup: DIY
Bridal hair: Brittney Hiebert
Groom’s tux: Hugo Boss from Harry Rosen
Cake: Cake-ology
Caterer: Qualico Family Centre
Favours: DIY (succulents grown and potted by bride’s mother)
Music: DJ Wizzard
Flowers: The Floral Fixx
Stationery: DIY

See more photos from this woodsy DIY wedding in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

A Rustic DIY Wedding in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

Real Weddings

A love of photography brought Saskatchewan sweethearts Lauren and Jerrod together. “Jerrod initially contacted me because he wanted to network with other Saskatoon photographers,” Lauren recalls, “and the rest is history.” Naturally, the couple’s mutual interest in photography was incorporated into their wedding celebration. “Our Polaroid guest book was a great way to capture everyone in attendance,” Lauren explains. Other personalized details, such as barn-wood signs, lawn games and an antique-window seating chart, had a rustic flair. To conclude the night in style, Lauren and Jerrod created a “magical pathway” lined with Mason jars and tea lights that led guests through the trees from the tent (which housed the dining and bar area) to the bonfire (where smokies and s’mores were roasted as late-night snacks).

Lauren Winter and Jerrod Dietrich, August 31, 2012, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

Photography courtesy of Jesslaine Elise Photography.

Ceremony location:
The wedding garden at Saskatoon Forestry Farm Park & Zoo
Reception location: Maryann and Dave Deutscher’s Acreage
Bridal gown: Allure Bridals from Jenny’s Bridal
Bridal party attire: Aritzia and Asos
Groom’s tux: Mexx
Cake: Bridge City Cakes
Caterer: Chef Jenni
Wedding planners: Lux Events (set up and take down)
Hair and makeup: Megan Schorr from Urban Vogue (306-244-6646) and Lisa Hallam from Lisa Hallam Makeup Artistry
Flowers: Bill’s House of Flowers and Carlene Deutscher (306-222-8352)
Stationery: Invites designed by the bride, printed at Saskatoon Fastprint
Officiant: Pastor Jennifer Holtslander (306-531-8562)
Tent, table & chair rentals: Handy Special Events

View more photos of this rustic DIY wedding below.


An Elegant Blue Wedding in Winnipeg, Manitoba

Real Weddings

Janice and Danny met while working together eleven years ago. Oddly enough, they had both received their first communion years earlier at St. Patrick’s Church, the same place where they would later exchange their marriage vows. They even had their confirmation together at the same church! “These recurring encounters prompted us to jokingly ask our parents if they had arranged it all,” Janice laughs. On the eve of Janice’s birthday Danny popped the question at The Forks in Winnipeg. “After a brisk walk, Danny stopped me in front of the sundial and said, ‘you know why you’re here.’ The next thing you know he was down on one knee,” Janice recalls. Having dated for nearly a decade, Janice and Danny opted for a “now and then” theme for their wedding, encompassing their extensive history together.

Janice Baris and Danny Gonza, September 15, 2012, Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Photography courtesy of Kelly Bik Photography.

Ceremony location: St. Patrick’s Parish (stpatrickparish@shawcable)
Reception location: Canad Inns Polo Park
Bridal gown: Ella Bridals from Stella’s Bridal
Bridal party attire: Alfred Angelo from Stella’s Bridal
Groom’s tux: Aldo Formal Wear
Cake: Sugar Blooms and Cakes (
Caterer: Canad Inns Polo Park
Favours: Personalized chocolate bars by Grace Restar and candy table by Lindsey Davis (
Wedding planner: Lindsey Davis (
Music: DJ Gilbert (
Hair and makeup: Hair by Perly Lucero of Salon 28 (204-504-5123) and makeup by Johanna Cometa of JC Makeup Artistry
Flowers: Monica Middlestead of Timeless Florals
Stationery: DIY
Videographer: Ken Banares of Vertical Video Works
Decor and linens: Sandy Sumandasa of Chair-ish Your Moments
Ceremony musicians: Jeunelle Salanguit (204-960-5376) and Allan Suban

View more photos of this elegant blue wedding below.


A Black, White and Red Wedding in Winnipeg, Manitoba

Real Weddings

This hockey-loving couple met when Stewart was playing for the Everett Silvertips in Everett, Washington. “He was asked to do a motivational talk at my high school,” Christina recalls. Afterwards he asked Christina and two of her friends to attend one of his home games. Their relationship soon flourished, and they were caught off guard when Stewart was traded to Kelowna, British Columbia, which was a five-hour drive away. “Neither of us could have predicted that this would be the beginning of a long-distance relationship that would last for more than two years,” Christina reflects. Six years ago, Christina moved to Winnipeg and immediately fell in love with the Fort Garry Hotel. Needless to say, when it came time to choose a wedding venue it was at the top of the list. Inspired by the historic property, Christina and Stewart decided on an elegant black and white theme. “It was classy and elegant—everything I’d dreamed of for my wedding,” Christina concludes.

Christina Phillips and Stewart Thiessen, August 4, 2012, Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Photography courtesy of Kelly Bik Photography.

Ceremony location:
St. Luke’s Anglican Church
Reception location: The Crystal Ballroom at Fort Garry Hotel
Bridal gown:
The Bridal Shop
Bridal party attire:
The Bridal Shop
Groom’s tux:
Jenna Rae Cakes
Fort Garry Hotel
Vito Serino from Serino Sound
Krystal Watters from Time N’ Again
Chrissy Hegedus (
Lauren Wiebe from Academy Florists
Videographer: Ken Banares from Vertical Video Works

View more photos of this black, white and red wedding in Winnipeg.