Beauty Checklist

Be Wedding Ready

Whether you’re high maintenance or low key, everyone should have some sort of beauty regime on their wedding day. It doesn’t have to be complicated and it doesn’t have to cost a lot of money, but it should give you that added boost of confidence and have you feeling and looking great from morning to night. And beauty isn’t just for the bride anymore. It’s time to realize, guys, that those three minutes a day to get ready just isn’t going to cut it on this day. So add these few simple steps to your list and you’ll be feeling beautiful (and handsome) in no time.

Hands and feet

When you’re showing off the stunner on your finger or meeting and greeting guests in the receiving line, your hands are on display all day long, so having them not only look great but also feel fabulous is important.

Bride: A professional manicure and pedicure will give your hands and feet that clean and polished look. Most salons use a quality base and top coat to prolong the life of your polish and also give the nail a smooth finish so the polish can glide on easily. If you are going with colour, be sure to purchase the bottle. This way you’ll be ready for touch-ups throughout the day.

Groom: Men are also frequenting salons to ensure the upkeep of their hands and feet. If a day at the spa is not for you, then some simple grooming at home should have you wedding-ready in no time. To remove roughness around the feet, files, pumice stones or sanding blocks are great tools that work wonders. After showering, wet your scrubber of choice and gently buff the toes and heels until the foot feels smooth. Once clean, apply a moisturizer to eliminate dryness throughout the day. Consider purchasing a small nail kit to make sure your nails are trimmed evenly and the excess cuticle has been removed. Flip the cuticle tool over to clean under your nails, which can sometimes be forgotten, especially on such a busy day!

Tip: Leading up to the day, try to incorporate more olive, sunflower seed, grape seed, coconut and fish oils into your diet. They contain essential fatty acids that help to keep skin smooth and supple. Creams that contain shea butter or argan oil are great moisturizers for the hands and feet and last through multiple washings.


If professional tooth whitening isn’t in the budget, there are things you can do at home that will have you showing off your pearly whites with confidence.

Bride: The right choice of lip colour is an instant whitener for the teeth. Avoid oranges, salmons, peaches, browns and corals as they give the teeth a yellowish tinge. But reds and pinks with cool or blue undertones can make your smile look shades brighter. Creamy lipsticks with shine or shimmer are preferred to a matte formula. Although the matte may last longer, it tends to absorb more light, leaving the teeth looking darker. A cream or gloss will reflect the light and give you a whiter, brighter smile.

Groom: For cracked or dry lips, a lip balm is recommended. Have some on hand at all times to keep your lips refreshed day and night.

Tip: Leading up to the day, try to stay away from deeply pigmented drinks, such as pop, coffee, dark tea and red wine. Foods such as blueberries, cherries and soya sauce can also stain the teeth. Keep in mind that all vino, red or colourless, can roughen up the enamel and make the teeth more susceptible to stains.


When prepping your face for a photo finish, there are steps to follow before the makeup is even applied. Cleansing the face will not only give you a glowing result on the day, but will also ensure healthy skin for years to come.

Bride: Don’t leave everything to the last day. Pluck your eyebrows and any other facial hair at least one day before the wedding to ensure there is no redness where the hair used to be. Cleanse the skin with an exfoliator, followed by a toner. Apply a good moisturizer that doesn’t leave a greasy finish under your makeup. Too oily will leave you shiny for photographs; too dry will have your makeup cracking and bunching on the day.

Groom: More males are seeing and enjoying the benefits of looking after their skin. Men have 15 per cent oilier skin than women, so deep cleansing is the key to keeping pores clean and healthy. To remove dead skin cells that form daily, opt for a cleanser with an exfoliating agent, followed by a toner that removes residue left from the cleanser and prepares the skin for moisture. The toner also helps to prevent ingrown hairs. After shaving, avoid the heavy or fragrant after-shave lotions and creams as they can irritate the skin. Also look for products with SPF to protect your skin from harmful UV rays.

Tip: If you do opt for a facial, be sure to schedule the appointment a day or two before your wedding. This gives you time to heal if your skin reacts to a peel or lotion used during the treatment. Also, always try new products before the big day to ensure they are right for your skin type.

For all things bridal beauty-related, visit:

For more tips on men’s grooming prep, check out:

Article By Lindsay Ruck

Hair Care Checklist

Whether you’re easily overwhelmed by hair care or you carry around 600 hair care products just in case, this hair care checklist is for you. Try these six easy steps for fantastic hair. You’ll love the results! Do you get overwhelmed by the huge array of products and potions in the hair care aisle? Or maybe you’re the type who’s never without your trusty case of myriad gels, pomades and sprays? Hair care does not have to be complicated, expensive or take up a lot of your time. Use this checklist as your guide and before long all your friends will be asking you for hair care advice!

Six hair care essentials

1. Start with the right style. Haircuts and styles are not the place to cut corners. The right haircut can make any hair type or texture look fantastic. A good salon cut can be a money-saver in the long run because it will still look good as it grows, so you can cut your hair less often. Be sure to ask your stylist questions while he or she is doing your hair — you’ll learn the hair care products and techniques that will work for you at home to get the look you want. Oh, and if you wake up the next morning hating your cut, go back to the salon; most places will be happy to fix it (and make you happy!) without any additional fee.

2. Keep it clean and soft. Regular shampooing and conditioning are the foundations of healthy hair care. Ask your hairdresser which shampoos and conditioners are best for your hair and how often you should use them.

3. Use products with caution. When used correctly, products can enhance your look and protect your hair. Used incorrectly, any number of disasters could occur — flakiness, excessive oil or dryness, flat hair or frizz. Read product labels carefully and always start off with just a tiny amount; it’s easy to add a bit more but a lot harder to get rid of too much once it’s applied to your hair.

4. Work with your hair’s natural look, not against it. High heat from blow dryers, straighteners and curling irons as well as chemicals from dyes, perms and relaxers can all promote hair damage. Whenever possible, go au naturale. Your hair will thank you. Plus, that tussled “bed-head” look can be pretty sexy!

5. Don’t forget about trims. Dr. Jeni Thomas, a senior hair care scientist for Pantene, includes regular trimming in her recommendations. According to Jeni, the wear and tear at the ends of your hair can spread up the hair shaft if they are not cut off. Average hair growth is a couple of centimetres every four to six weeks, so you should trim about that much that often. The healthier your hair is, however, the less often it will need to be trimmed, so let the ends of your hair be your guide.

6. Eat right. You really are what you eat when it comes to hair care. A balanced diet with plenty of vitamins and minerals from fresh fruits and vegetables is important for healthy hair, but some additional nutrients stand out. Protein, especially from animal sources like meat, fish and poultry, allows your hair — which is composed of protein — to grow strong and healthy. And omega-3 fats, found in fatty fish like salmon, nuts and flaxseed oil, fight dryness and give your hair that natural shine. Include these foods in your diet on a weekly basis, and you’ll be quite happy with the results.

Follow these six easy hair care guidelines for strong and healthy hair that looks great every time!

Beat the Heat

Tips to keep your Face Fresh all Day Long

With temperatures on the rise, brides are always looking for ways to keep cool and look great in the summer sun. But whether you are travelling to a warmer climate or keeping it local, there are things to keep in mind when planning a heated affair. To ensure your face is picture perfect, here are a few tips to make sure you’re ready to brave the heat.

First things first

There are three beginner steps to every summer makeup regime. Intense UV rays can cause skin damage, so a quality primer is the first ingredient to a flawless face. “In the summer, primers are your friend,” says Heather Farmer, an Ottawa area makeup artist. The primer acts as a barrier between

your skin and your makeup, and absorbs the oils that may clog pores. In the summer sun, a primer is a must to ensure your makeup goes on smoothly and stays on throughout the day. “Skin primers such as Smashbox Photo Finish or Makeup Forever All Mat primer will help you from getting glossy or shiny,” adds Heather.

If you are opting for foundation, a water-based as opposed to oil based is the way to go, as it won’t feel as thick on your face. For a lighter choice, tinted moisturizers provide sheer coverage and still give you a light glow. This is a great option for those with oilier skin. There are brands that have created base foundations and tinted moisturizers with high UV protection, but beware that some SPF products have the tendency to be heavier and thicker on the face.

Once the foundation is applied, a setting powder or sealer is the key to your makeup staying put all day long. If you’re having an outdoors affair or taking pictures under the warm rays, your makeup can begin to break down from the sweat and oils on your face. A powder or sealer will adhere to the foundation and provide lasting coverage, in turn minimizing the amount of touch-ups. It’s also a great combat against excess shine. “I’m loving MAC’s Blot Powder,” says Heather. “They have a tiny amount of tint to them, and are mainly for keeping off the shine — great for keeping your skin fresh all day.” Now that you’ve got a blank, even canvas to work with, it’s time for the fun part — adding colour to your look.

When choosing between a gel and pencil liner, Heather says there are a few things to consider, from the style of application to the wear of the product. “When I think about summer, gel liner is not what comes

to mind right away because it has that liquid liner look that more often than not has a winter appeal. Gel liners do, however, have the ability to go on lightly if you are careful and can then be smudged to give a gentle smoky eye.” Products such as the Stila Smudge Pot or Smashbox Jet Set waterproof gel liners are great options to achieve this look. For sweat or tears, smudge- or water-proof mascara is always a good idea to avoid those racoon eyes by the end of the night. To avoid creasing, use an eye shadow primer before applying the shadow. Smooth primer over entire lid and extend upward to the brow bone. This will ensure even coverage and hold the shadow in place.


To add colour to the cheeks, a stain is an ideal choice as it has longer staying power and tends to leave your skin with a natural finish. Heather recommends the Benefit Benetint as well as Stila’s Lip and Cheek

Stain. “It takes some getting used to and needs to be applied quickly, so testing it out by yourself on your wedding day is not recommended.” To apply, dab a small amount and blend quickly, moving it along the cheekbone and gently wrapping it around the apple of the cheeks.


Lips can be extremely sensitive and, if not protected, can burn in the summer sun. If you are wearing lipstick on the day, start with an SPF-enhanced lip balm. If you’re going with gloss, it will last longer if

you begin by applying a translucent powder on the lips. Leading up to the day, it’s a good idea to have a hydrating lip balm on hand at all times to have your lips kissably smooth. So to all of you summer brides, Heather has these things to keep in mind: “The key to surviving a hot, sunny, summer day is SPF in your

moisture and base products, and everything needs to be made to last. Also, long-wearing and waterproof are your friends in this weather, where you are more likely to perspire.” So don’t be afraid of the sun, just be prepared!

Article By Lindsay Ruck

Fast Fixes

Eliminate Emergencies on your Wedding Day

The day has finally come and you want everything to be perfect. So when a spot suddenly appears on that gown that cost a fortune, or if your vision of the perfect sun-kissed tan has now turned into an oompa-loompa nightmare, the first rule to remember is ‘Don’t freak out’! Despite your best efforts, accidents happen, but they don’t have to ruin your day. With a little pre-planning and resourcefulness, no one will be the wiser. And remember, nothing is perfect, but keeping these tips and tricks in mind will help you get as close to perfection as possible.

Sayonara Stains

Once the vino starts flowing, spills happen, but not everyone has to know about it. Grab a clean white cloth and gently begin to dab the spot. (Rubbing may push the stain further into the garment.) Pour water or club soda onto the cloth and continue to dab. Keep dabbing with the clean parts of the cloth until most of the stain has come out. Use chalk or talcum powder to disguise anything that remains and head back to the party!

Your makeup belongs on your face, not on your dress. If you do find a smudge on your gown, press a little club soda onto the spot, then sprinkle salt on top to soak up the moisture and let dry. To remove a water mark, begin by blotting the wet spot with a clean, white towel to soak up excess moisture. You can run a hand steamer over the fabric to lift out the mark but be sure to ask your bridal salon about using steamers and irons on your gown when you make the purchase. Don’t attack wet spots with a hair dryer as it may spread the mark even further. If an ink spot tries to ruin your gown, apply hairspray to a cotton swab and rub lightly over the stain.

Fresh face

For touch-ups throughout the day, concealer is a must. This slim wand will do wonders for dark eye circles, pesky pimples and those makeup runs that tell others you’ve shed a few tears. Dab a few dots

under the bottom lid to brighten the eye area; a dab on a pimple will mask redness. Your concealer should be one shade lighter than your foundation, and keep in mind that if you are tanning for the day, you will need to go darker. For lasting coverage, the concealer will work best with a setting powder.

If you do discover a pimple the night before, acne spot treatments are made for fast-acting removal. There are options depending on your skin type, with many brands sold at your local drug store. Dab a small amount on the spot the night before and get a good night’s sleep to avoid any new stress spots in the morning!

To achieve the bronzed beauty outcome, fake tans may seem like the perfect solution without the harmful rays of the sun, but if not done properly, sprays and creams can leave you looking too dark, unnatural, or with a streaky or blotchy finish. To remove a shoddy outcome, mix lemon juice and sugar to make a consistency similar to toothpaste and use your fingers to rub the paste into the skin. The lemon juice acts as a skin lightener, while the sugar works as a scrub to remove the skin cells that have been coloured. A loofa can also help in the exfoliation process, but don’t scrub for too long or too hard, as you may damage the skin and bring out redness.

It’s always a good idea to have a small emergency kit on hand that can be retrieved easily if needed. Sometimes wedding planners will already have a 911 kit to deal with day-of incidents. If not, have a bridesmaid or someone who you are close to make sure the kit is nearby at all times.

Here are a few other helpful tools that may come in handy:

  • Mini sewing kit: thread, needle, extra buttons, small scissors
  • Double-sided tape: to make sure those dresses stay up
  • Static guard or dryer sheets: to eliminate static cling
  • Bobby pins: great for fly-aways
  • Safety pins: for broken bustles or attachés
  • Clear nail polish: to stop sheer stocking runs (always a good idea to bring extra pairs of stockings)
  • Emery board
  • Nail polish: make sure to purchase the colour you’ve chosen for quick touch-ups

Article By Lindsay Ruck


History in the Making: museums offer exceptional wedding experience

“We will provide the same quality to your event,” Roxanne Crain assures the bride and groom to be, “as we did when we hosted Will and Kate this past summer.” Yes, that Will and Kate, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

Roxanne is Sales Executive for wedding events at the Canadian Museum of Civilization and the Canadian War Museum. The museums have hosted many state dinners and ceremonial events, and have welcomed presidents, prime ministers and other dignitaries from around the world. They also play host every year to about 40 weddings, including marriage ceremonies, banquets and receptions.

Roxanne says people choose the museums as a wedding venue for the same reason the museums were chosen for Will and Kate’s royal tour: they offer an exceptional experience in surroundings that are world class and uniquely Canadian. These are, after all, Canada’s national museums of human history and two of the country’s architectural gems.

“If you’re looking for something extraordinary,” says Roxanne, “we should definitely be on your short list.”  

Rhiannon Beaubien agrees. She and her husband, Sylvain Pouliot, were married in September 2011 at the Canadian Museum of Civilization. Their reception was in the majestic Grand Hall, the largest of three venues available in the museum. With its six-storey window wall, towering totem poles and unrivalled view of Parliament Hill, the Grand Hall is perhaps the most impressive indoor public space in the country.

Rhiannon says most of their guests were from out of town, including many from the United States and overseas. She and Sylvain wanted to offer them an experience unique to Canada’s capital. “Your regular hall or restaurant could be anywhere,” she says. “We wanted something different and memorable for our guests. The view across the river? That is Ottawa. It’s iconic.”

Sally and Eric Gerestein had the same goal when planning their wedding. They wanted a venue they could proudly share with family and friends, some from as far away as Hong Kong. “We wanted to show them how beautiful our hometown could be,” says Sally.

Their reception was in the Voyageurs Salon, a venue perfectly sized for their 120 guests. Like the Grand Hall, it offers a panoramic view across the Ottawa River. By day, the space serves as the museum’s cafeteria, which made Eric a bit nervous. “I had trouble picturing what it would look like that night,” he admits. But when the wedding party arrived, the space had been transformed. “It took my breath away when I walked in,” says Sally. “It was gorgeous.”

Sally and Eric also had their wedding ceremony at the museum — on the grounds just outside the Voyageurs Salon. It was a perfect summer evening and the Ottawa River and Parliament Hill provided a stunning backdrop, as it did for an outdoor cocktail reception for Rhiannon Beubien and Sylvain Pouliot. 

“Everyone was standing outside with a glass of wine watching the sunset reflecting off the river and the Parliament buildings. It was phenomenal,” says Rhiannon.  

Another couple, Cheryl and Casey, checked out most of the high-end venues in Ottawa, but booked the one that had topped their list from the very start — the Canadian War Museum.  “Because Casey is in the military, it was a no-brainer for us,” says Cheryl. “But honestly, it would be a great venue for any couple.” Casey is a medic with the Canadian Forces. Cheryl is a nurse.

They chose the Lebreton Gallery, one of two wedding spaces available in the museum. The exhibition hall features a colossal wall of windows looking east towards the Peace Tower and the rest of downtown Ottawa. The room is also a stunning showcase for the museum’s collection of vintage vehicles and other large artifacts. “It’s a really interesting place,” says Cheryl, “and it dressed up really nicely. It was amazing.”

She says the artifacts were great conversation starters for their 150 guests during cocktails, and were beautifully illuminated—looking almost like works of art—during the dinner and dance, thanks to the museum’s in-house lighting expert.

“Every single person said it was a great venue, even the ones who aren’t in the military,” Cheryl says, “and several said it was the best wedding they’d ever been to.”

Both Rhiannon and Sally say their weddings were hits as well. “The venue was a huge component of what made the wedding so special,” says Rhiannon. “Everything was perfect. We wouldn’t change a thing.”

Because the venue itself is so spectacular, she adds, “you don’t have to worry about the extra frou-frou stuff” – the balloons and streamers and bells that are needed to doll up most other venues.

Sally agrees, and also mentions the convenience of having the one venue for the wedding photos, the ceremony and the reception. Plus, their guests were able to stay at a hotel right across the street. “It was super convenient,” adds Eric.

All the couples mention one other point: the museums are open to the public and will always be there. “It’s nice to know that the venue will be around for a long, long time, and that we can go back and visit the site of our wedding, and kind of re-live it every so often,” says Sally. “It’s wonderful to have that option.”

Further information about the wedding packages at the Civilization and War museums is available at, or by contacting Roxanne Crain ( or 819-776-8354).


Are the Civilization and War museums the right choice for your wedding?


  • you won’t find venues that are more memorable, elegant or prestigious
  • the museums symbolize what’s important and enduring
  • five indoor venues to choose from
  • outdoor spaces available, all with incredible views
  • convenient and prominent location
  • can accommodate everything from an intimate cocktail reception to a multi-course, customized meal for 800 guests
  • fabulous settings for wedding photos, inside and out
  • museum theatres are available for ceremonies
  • top-quality catering and technical services
  • convenient, hassle-free wedding packages
  • a commitment to client service from start to finish
  • no-pressure sales approach
  • prices competitive with other premium venues 


  • more expensive than an ordinary banquet hall or clubhouse
  • private functions cannot begin until 6 p.m. when the museum is closed to the public (set-ups are completed in advance)
  • the museums do not allow the use of outside catering or technical services
  • as national institutions, the museums cannot haggle over rental fees or offer “special deals” unavailable to other clients



Twist on Tradition

Finding your Perfect Dress

Your wedding is your moment to shine. And finding that perfect dress is one of the most important choices a bride will make for her big day. To keep up with the modern bride, designers are now showcasing looks in a variety of styles and colours. “There are a lot of options out on the market now, so you can actually make your perfect dress,” says David McCaffrey of McCaffrey Haute Couture. “When brides are working with me, they don’t have to settle for second best. People like the option to create their own look that’s unique to them.” So with so many options, get creative, break the rules and choose a dress that truly says you.

Show some leg

Not every girl is looking for a princess ball gown or an extremely long train. In fact, many brides are now opting for a shorter alternative. “We get a lot of requests for short gowns,” says Lisa Butler of Luxe Bridal Boutique, “specifically brides who are taking a less conventional route to their wedding ceremony and reception.”

A tea-length (hem that falls just below the knee) or knee-length dress is a fun and youthful look. Besides the stylish and modern vibe, the length also has several benefits. When the temperatures rise, a shorter dress is the perfect choice for a summer wedding. With less fabric, the dress is cooler and breathable in the summer heat. A cropped frock in chiffon, organza or tulle is the perfect combination for a breezy summer style. The alteration’s bill is also cooler on the wallet, which is a very attractive bonus to the budget conscious bride.


“The trick is to find a short dress that still makes her feel like a bride and not a guest!” explains Lisa. “Many of our clients who opt for a short look never wear dresses and it’s her way of dressing up without going too far out of her comfort zone.”

Image: McCaffrey Cleo Dress: A shorter-length option. Cocktail-cut ivory silk organza, deep scoop neckline with knotted, twisted straps, pleated bodice, and bunched and swirled bubble high-cut skirt and silk-edged finished crinoline.

There are a few things to consider, however, when going the shorter route:

• If you are having a formal wedding but are still attracted to the shorter look, then a mid-calf style is the way to go. It’s important to make sure that the dress complements the look and level of formality that you’ve chosen for the rest of your wedding party and your venue. A church wedding may call for something below the knee, while a beach or outdoor wedding is a great scene for a shorter look.

• No bride wants to feel uncomfortable or self-conscious on her wedding day, so make sure you’re confident and ready to show off those legs. A pair of showstopper shoes is a great motivation to want to step out in a shorter number. With fabulous footwear accessorizing his designs every day, David says the shoes are now a major component of the main event. ”Brides that come in looking for a unique dress all have amazing pairs of shoes. A short dress with a great pair of pumps is so much fun.”

Colour your world

White has long been accepted as the traditional wedding dress colour, but the idea of exploring other shades is quickly catching on. Whether it’s the bride’s favourite hue or a cultural tradition, white is not the obvious choice for every bride-to-be.

“Everybody’s moving away from white,” says David. “I have many international clients and I have done dresses that are black, burgundy, red, cherry black and ethyl green.” Many Middle Eastern and Asian brides choose vibrant shades of red, turquoise or hot pink. Red, being one of the most popular, is the traditional colour of good luck and auspiciousness.

If you are interested in some colour, but don’t want to go all the way, then accent embellishments are a perfect compromise. Coloured bows, flowers or a stylish sash can transform a white gown and produce a unique finished product. Some other options are coloured hems or necklines, contrasting inset panels or coloured beading. “Pops of colour is a major trend right now,” says Lisa.

“Brides love to showcase their individuality on their wedding day, and we love to offer options for our clients to do just that.” When fashion designer and singer-songwriter Gwen Stefani married rocker Gavin Rossdale in 2002, she chose a dress that would mix a touch of tradition with a modern twist. Designed by John Galliano for Dior, the gown introduced white on the top, cascaded into pale pink and concluded at the hem with a brighter, darker pink. The custom creation represented her over-the-top style and outgoing personality. While pulling away from the white gown wedding pack opens up a whole new world of design possibilities, you may want to keep the season in mind. Spring brides should try pale pink, lilacs and blues. A deeper shade of spring colours is perfect for summer brides.

Yellows, golds and shades of orange look great on a fall bride, and winter brides will make a bold statement in deep reds, blues and metallic hues. With women embracing their curves, shape is also transforming the designer world. “Especially over the last year or so, everyone is moving towards a fit and flare,” says David. ”It’s all about finding that perfect silhouette to really magnify what a woman’s body looks like. There’s a reason why women are created the way they’re created. So if you canshow your curves and you can show who you are, then that is a good way to go.” Whatever your wedding dress style, there are options and every bride should be able to find her perfect dress. So have fun with the search and think outside the box. It’s your day and you can wear whatever you want!

For more information:

McCaffrey Haute Couture

465 Sussex Drive
Ottawa, ON
613 789-4336

Luxe Bridal Boutique

206 & 208 Dalhousie Street
Ottawa, ON
613 241-LUXE

Article By Lindsay Ruck

Photos By MIV Photography

Dresses Designed by David McCaffrey