Bridal Shower Fun

bridal shower

bridal shower

Throw a Celebration to Remember

Whether you’re a bridesmaid or the maid of honour, you want to plan a bridal shower that will delight the bride and impress the guests. Such a task can seem a bit overwhelming, but there’s no need to fear. This article will show you some fun ways to make any bridal shower a fabulous affair.


The key to a good bridal shower theme is to start with something you know the bride enjoys. This could include hobbies like backpacking, gardening, yoga or music. Or you could choose a more luxurious interest like visiting the spa or attending wine and cheese tastings. As the maid of honour or one of the bridesmaids, you probably know a little about what makes the bride happy and what she might enjoy doing. It’s a good idea to use this knowledge to your advantage when planning the shower.

One of the more popular themes these days seems to be a spa or “pampering” theme. This can be especially successful if the bride already has most of her kitchen gear. Instead of the traditional place settings and towels, bridal shower guests could give scented candles, lotions, or spa gift certificates.

Gift ideas

As hinted above in the case of the spa-themed bridal shower, you could ask guests to bring gifts related to your theme. If the bride enjoys backpacking, the hostess of the shower could request camping-related gifts. If music is central to the bride, guests could bring anything from favourite albums to concert or opera tickets. Assuming the shower isn’t a surprise, you could even ask the bride to make a special registry for her hobby items, guaranteeing she receives that lightweight tent or special violin she’s always wanted.

Activities and location

A creative hostess could come up with all sorts of activities based on any of these bridal shower themes. For a gardening theme, why not hold the event outside and have guests plant flower seeds in special pots to give to the bride or to take home as favours? If you choose a wine theme, consider holding the bridal shower at a nearby restaurant and have the sommelier give guests a wine tasting. For the spa theme, I have heard of very successful bridal showers where a manicurist or masseuse was hired for the day. I have even attended a bridal shower that started out as a relaxing yoga class.

Decorations and food

Decorations and food are an easy way to incorporate a bridal shower theme. Surround the room with potted plants and gardening aprons, pretty wine bottles, or even musical notes or pictures of famous musicians. Use scented candles and leave a buffet of different lotions for guests to sample. Serve wine and cheese for a wine theme, cucumber water for a spa theme or even s’mores for a backpacking theme!

However you choose to implement your bridal shower theme, just remember that it’s not picking the perfect theme that will make you a stellar maid of honour or bridesmaid, it’s just the fact that you took the time and made the effort to make the bride’s event so memorable.W

Source: From Ottawa Wedding Magazine files.

bridal shower

Mother of the Bride (MOB) Basics


What to Expect as the “MOB”

Being the mother of the bride (MOB) is a big job, and one that has changed over the years, as brides and grooms become more and more hands-on planning their own weddings. While customs vary from family to family, here is a general guide of what’s usually expected from the MOB.

Your role

Be a crutch. Listen, advise when asked, and generally be supportive of your daughter during this exciting – yet often stressful – time.

Lend a hand. Offer and be willing to take on wedding planning tasks assigned to you.

Introduce yourself. If you haven’t already met, contact the in-laws as soon as possible and arrange a time to meet.

 Prepare the budget. Discuss and help finalize the wedding budget with the bride, father of the bride, and perhaps the groom’s parents. Learn more about which side traditionally pays for which items at a wedding.

Pick your attire. Help the bride find her wedding dress (if asked), and choose your dress as soon as possible after she’s finalized the rest of the wedding party attire. Consult with the bride first about her preferences for your dress. Contact the groom’s mother once you’ve picked your dress to politely inform her of colour, style, and formality.

Prepare your list. Compile the guest list for your side of the family, consulting with the bride on space and budget limitations. Be the main point of contact and handle any delinquent RSVPs for your side of the list.

Attend the pre-parties. This includes the bridal shower, engagement party, and rehearsal dinner. (You may even help organize these events.)

Spread the word. As friends and family members ask, tell them where the couple has registered.

Be the hostess. At the wedding reception, make sure guests are comfortable and greeted. Stand in the receiving line and sit at the parents’ table if there is one.

Hit the dance floor. Dance with the father of the bride and the groom during the first-dance sequence. W

  • Source: From the files of Ottawa Wedding Magazine. 

Lots to Celebrate? Have a Wine Time!


Each Friday, sommelier and Wine Travel Specialist Monique Sosa introduces us to a new wine worth savouring and sharing. We call it the Wine of the Week: #wineoftheweek and #wotw

by Monique Sosa

It’s a big weekend for us here in the Capital! Whether you are pumped for the #OttawaRaceWeekend, treasure hunting at the#GreatGlebeGarageSale or just looking forward to sipping a bevy or two on a patio; cheers to the weekend!

Here are five reasons why the Villa Maria Lightly Sparkling Sauvignon Blanc is our #wineoftheweek.

LCBO 429969 | $17.95

1 – It’s different, yet familiar. It has all the glory of that zesty-lemony New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc character we sometimes crave but with a touch of fizz that adds an attractive complexity and texture.

2 – It’s just what the heat called for! It’s light, mouthwatering and refreshing with dominant notes of citrus zest, gooseberry and tropical fruit salad.

3 – It’s got easy access. At a cottage or party and no sign of a corkscrew? Well no worries here because this baby has a screw cap.

4 – It pairs very with a relaxing afternoon in the backyard – especially after some gardening work or tending to a garage sale all morning.  Enjoy with leafy green salads, chicken souvlaki, fried zucchini sticks, sushi, fish tacos… you name it!

5 – It’s boasting rave reviews! Check out the community reviews at


Fresh Faced Beauty for the Big Day


It’s called the bride’s day for a reason. All eyes are on you! Your gown will be outstanding; your hair will be stunning; and the beautiful features of your face will be fiercely flawless.

Whether you plan to marry on a beach at noon or at night under the stars, by keeping your makeup simple you will look and feel great. Your makeup should enhance your beauty, not hide it. Try these tips to achieve that perfect bridal glow:

If scheduling a facial, make sure it’s at least two weeks prior to your wedding.

If your skin is prone to breakouts, see your dermatologist three or four months before the big day.

Staying hydrated is important. Drink lots of water to flush out impurities from the skin.

Eyebrows should be shaped five to seven days before the wedding. Be sure not to pluck on the day to avoid unattractive red bumps that are difficult to cover.

Blend your makeup well and let it set.

Choose a lipstick that lasts. Apply just prior to walking down the aisle.

Go easy on the lipliner. Check the teeth for traces of rouge.

Line and fill mouth with a neutral pencil to make lipstick last longer.

To lengthen wearing time of your lipstick, apply a light layer of powder over your lipstick then apply another layer of lipstick.

If you are doing your own makeup, meet with a beauty consultant and purchase your products at least three months in advance. Then practise until you’ve got your desired look.

Waterproof mascara is a must-have for those tears of joy.

A very light application of facial powder will set your makeup.

Keep your powder, mascara, and lipstick in your purse to freshen up at a moment’s notice.

If you discover a pesky pimple on the day, do not pop it! Just apply a drop of Visine to remove the red, cover with concealer, and apply foundation.

Wear a buttoned-up shirt when applying your makeup to avoid any smudging fiascos. When slipping into your gown, put a towel over your face so you don’t get makeup on the dress.

Avoid glittery or dewy looks — these are not very receptive for photographs and you may come out looking greasy. Shine is the number one enemy for photos.

If your wedding is outside, be sure to apply sunscreen first.

Water-based foundation looks most natural in photos.

For eye contouring, apply a dark but neutral shade in the crease of the eye. You can line the upper and lower lids (optional) with brown or grey shadow, smudging the outer corners.

To make your eyes appear wider or brighter, use a white pencil to line the inside of the lower lids.

Don’t get too much sun before your wedding. Sunburns, peeling skin and tan lines can sabotage your special day.

Make certain your wedding photographer is not using grainy film, as it will ruin that flawless face. High quality film will do your look justice.

For the best results in photos, makeup must be completely matte and in neutral tones. Most brides usually prefer a little colour. Pastels look soft and pretty, but avoid glitter, shimmer and frosted eyeshadows.

Avoid white or black eyeshadow.

Olive complexions should stay away from grey shades and pale complexions should avoid vibrant colours.

To relieve stress, hire a makeup artist. If you enjoy doing your own makeup but need a bit of direction, visit a makeup consultant. W

Compiled by R Legault. 

Honeymoon: European Getaway


Iconic Santorini Hotel is a honeymoon hideaway in Greece. Credit: Iconic Santorini.

Romantic Luxury and Breathtaking Beauty Await Newlyweds

by Michele Peterson

One of the hottest honeymoon destinations for 2016 is actually a continent. Yes, Europe is back. And it’s back in a big – and exciting – way, offering an alluring alternative to the usual honeymoon choices. After all, your honeymoon should be every bit as unforgettable as your wedding day, shouldn’t it? From glamorous Greece to sultry Seville, here are three dreamy European post-wedding getaways you’ll want to return to year after year.

Santorini, Greece

VIBE: Timeless serenity

EXPERIENCE: With its spectacular scenery and classic spirit, the Greek Islands offer a wildly romantic setting for a memorable honeymoon. And Santorini, located in the Cyclades archipelago, is the most dramatic island of all. Formed from the remains of a volcanic crater, its dazzling white-washed homes, blue-domed churches and intimate hotels are set high on rugged slopes, which means incredible 360-degree views. If you can drag yourself away from the jaw-dropping vistas for a few hours, there’s plenty to explore nearby. After browsing the historical and cultural Archaeological Museum’s ancient frescoes depicting early Aegean life, customs, and events, relax on a black sand beach or sip ouzo at a nearby taverna. Or, go island hopping to tiny Milos, where the graceful Venus de Milo, a marble statue of Aphrodite carved in 100 BC was discovered.

DON’T MISS: Santorini is beloved for its sunsets and ambrosial wine. Why not combine the two with a sunset visit to Santo Wines? Located in the midst of weathered vineyards dating to the third millennium, the winery’s breezy terrace offers breathtaking views of the indigo blue waters of the southern Aegean Sea.

STAY HERE: Eros, the god of love and fertility, was one of the most important gods in ancient Greek mythology. Newlyweds can create their own heavenly memories at the Iconic Santorini, a stylish boutique cave hotel carved from the island’s volcanic caldera wall. This 22-room retreat offers heated private grotto pools, secluded terraces, an infinity pool and a luxury spa, all overlooking the sea. Other pleasures include a delectable menu featuring authentic dishes, such as manouri croquettes (cheese stuffed with pistachios and drizzled with wild cherry reduction), and poached pears in velvety Vinsanto dessert wine. A romance package offers many blissful extras. Check out



 Credit: Hotel d’Inghilterra.

Iberian Idyll through Spain and Portugal

VIBE: A sensory journey

EXPERIENCE: Brimming with culture, cuisine and charisma, the 13-day Iberian Elegance journey with Insight Vacations is ideal for honeymooners who want a grand European tour but would rather focus on each other instead of the logistics. Beginning in Barcelona and wrapping up in Madrid, this all-inclusive trip of a lifetime crosses the Iberian peninsula exploring seductive cities such as Seville, the birthplace of fiery flamenco, and the fairytale hilltop town of Sintra, a UNESCO World Heritage Site beloved for its romantic palace and ginja – a heady cherry liqueur. You’ll glide your way through legendary landscapes in a luxury Mercedes-Benz motorcoach, decked out with extra legroom, sleek interior styling and WiFi (perfect for sending honeymoon shots home to the new in-laws). No need to Google restaurant reviews, you’ll be accompanied by a tour concierge who can decipher a bewildering tapas menu, decode a wine list, or pull a few strings to arrange a sought-after reservation. High season honeymooners will especially enjoy Insight Vacations’ insider access, allowing guests to bypass lineups at museums and attractions. All of this leaves sweethearts more time to experience Europe and each other.



Credit: Hotel d’Inghilterra.

DON’T MISS: Cozy up with your loved one in a horse-drawn carriage ride through Seville’s leafy Maria Luisa Park at sunset. Located on the banks of the historic Guadalquivir River and designed in Moorish style to evoke paradise on earth, the park features fountains, pavilions and water lily ponds. You’ll have to pinch yourself at the sight of the majestic Plaza de España illuminated beneath a canopy of stars.

STAY HERE: Can you imagine waking up in a spa suite in a 16th-century palace overlooking a Roman aqueduct or a neo-baroque gem overlooking Madrid’s Neptune fountain?



Landscape on a tour of Spain and Portugal. Credit: Renegade Photography.

The design hotel M’AR De AR Aqueduto in Evora, Portugal and the elegant NH Paseo del Prado Hotel are just two of the many unique, centrally located hotels, hand-picked by Insight Vacations for its 10 Iberian journeys. Each itinerary includes luxury hotels as well as authentic signature experiences hosted at patisseries, family-run vineyards and restaurants. For those honeymooning couples who want to linger longer at a favourite spot, there’s the option to add extra nights at tour- joining points. Call 866 747-8120 or visit



A suite at Hotel d’Inghilterra in Rome. Credit: Hotel d’Inghilterra.

Roman holiday

VIBE: La dolce vita

EXPERIENCE: From 1953’s romantic comedy Roman Holiday starring Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck, to the modern romp When in Rome featuring Kristen Bell and Josh Duhamel, Rome has long been the backdrop to many a whirlwind romance. And the Eternal City continues to lure lovers to la dolce vita – the sweet life. Lovebirds can indulge in gelato while strolling hand-in-hand and exploring the beauty of the Colosseum, the Pantheon, and the lush gardens of Villa Borghese Park. Within Galleria Borghese, marvel over romantic masterpieces such as Bernini’s marble sculpture of Apollo and Daphne, as well as one of the most famous paintings of Renaissance Italy, Titian’s Sacred and Profane Love, itself commissioned as a wedding gift. Other pleasures include window-shopping designer boutiques such as Dolce & Gabbana, Giorgio Armani and Versace near the Spanish Steps.



Rome. Credit: Hotel d’Inghilterra.

DON’T MISS: No classic destination is complete without a legend. In Rome’s case it’s the reputed fountain of love, the 18th-century Trevi Fountain. Tossing a coin over one’s left shoulder into the fountain is said to ensure good fortune and a fast return to Rome. Another romantic ritual involves the small “fountain of lovers” on the left, where, according to legend, couples that drink from the mini fountain will forever be faithful to one another.

STAY HERE: A posh stay just steps from the Spanish Steps and Trevi Fountain is Hotel d’Inghilterra, a 16th-century palace that has long been a hideaway for aristocracy, high society and celebrities, including English romantic poet John Keats, beloved for his sensual literature. A member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World, each of Hotel d’Inghilterra’s 88 unique rooms and suites offers an utterly romantic Italian decor that marries traditional decadence of opulent silks, gilt antiques and marble, with sleek modern design. For the ultimate honeymoon splurge, choose the penthouse suite, a sumptuous haven complete with its own rooftop terrace. Evenings can be spent at Café Romano, a fine dining mecca that gets extra bling from its al fresco location on famous Via Borgognona, where you can toast your new life with a glass of Prosecco and dolce, such as chocolate tartufo with hazelnut cream. Check out niquesahotels. com/hotel-dinghilterra or W

Honeymoon Survival Guide

Europe’s most popular destinations can be crowded from April to September. Here are some handy tips for a hassle-free honeymoon.

LUGGAGE FORWARD: Eliminate long waits at check-in and baggage claim by having your suitcases picked up and delivered to your destination hotel. Not only can you save time, but you can stop worrying about losing your favourite Jimmy Choos or golf clubs in transit. Check out

ADVANCE TICKETS: Don’t want to miss Pompeii or Rome’s Vatican Museum? Avoid disappointment (and long queues) by making reservations in advance online. Many destinations offer city sightseeing passes that include entrance to a number of sites. Some also allow you to bypass admission lines. Check out tickitaly. com.

AVOID CURRENCY SURCHARGES: The Canadian dollar is continually fluctuating, so check whether your tour operator imposes currency surcharges. With operators such as Insight Vacations, once you’ve paid your deposit in full, your land price is guaranteed and any land cost increases are their responsibility.

GUIDEBOOKS: The era of the great guidebook is not over. The glossy new Eyewitness Travel Guide for Italy is a valuable resource that’s compact enough to fit in your purse or daypack, yet offers in-depth information with street-by-street descriptions, floor plans of major sites, maps, transit schedules and beautiful illustrations. Other countries are also available. Check out

VAT TAX REFUNDS: North Americans can claim refunds of European Union Value-Added Tax (IVA in Italy) on merchandise purchases (eligible dollar amounts vary by country). So, if you’re planning to invest in crystal, jewellery or other major goods, it may be worth claiming a VAT refund. The process can be lengthy, but many top retailers offer instant tax refunds, so check store windows for a “Euro Free Sign” when shopping.

Lisa and Mark


Grand Moments Filled with Romance

by Iris Winston
photos by Gerry McGrath Photography

A military wedding is a dramatic, formal affair, enhanced by longstanding traditions. The wedding of Commodore Mark Watson and Dr. Lisa Chillingworth on June 27, 2015 incorporated many eye- catching rituals. While the day exceeded expectations, the bridal couple faced a little unwelcome drama along the way.

The plan was for the ceremony to take place in Currie Hall at the Royal Military College (RMC) in Kingston.

“We had chosen the location because we really wanted to show off the beauty of the RMC, which was Mark’s alma mater,” says Lisa.

But less than three weeks before the wedding, they discovered that because the building was undergoing renovations, it was surrounded by scaffolding, and would definitely not look its best.

“Nobody had thought to tell us about the construction,” says Lisa. “Then, at the last minute, a young clerk mentioned that, although everything was fine inside, the outside didn’t look good. Mark asked for photos, and as soon as we saw them, we knew we needed to move the ceremony.

“That was pretty tricky, given all the logistics and planning and the directions to the guests — all from out of town,” adds Lisa, who is the managing director of a national company specializing in project management.

Nevertheless, mission change was accomplished in a few days. With the help of the wedding officiant, the Chaplain General of the Canadian Armed Forces, Brigadier General the Venerable John Fletcher, the bride and groom arranged for the wedding ceremony to take place at St. George’s Cathedral in Kingston, an Anglican church that had a long association with the RMC.

“Amazingly, this beautiful church was available on the day,” says Lisa, pointing out that the new venue was “a pretty spectacular plan B.”

All seemed to be on track until the bride and groom found out that Fort Frontenac, the venue they had selected for their rehearsal dinner and reception, was also listed for construction and unsightly scaffolding. “At this point, we had less than two weeks to go,” says Lisa.

Once more, serendipity came into play. Despite the short notice, an alternate venue was available on the night before the wedding and the pre-wedding event was relocated to the Vimy Officers’ Mess at the Canadian Forces Base.

Wedding salutes military traditions

On the day itself, there was little evidence of the dramatic lead-up to the wedding. Christened the “Royal Canadian Military Wedding” by their friends, the ceremony proceeded smoothly.

Lisa, in a custom white and gold gown by David McCaffrey (fortunately acquired just before his company was forced to close), was walked down the aisle on the arms of her two sons, Gabriel and Alexander Sanchez, who then became groomsmen for Mark, along with his friend, Ottawa police officer, Peter Jeon. Mark’s son, Connor, was the best man, while his daughter, Keira, was one of Lisa’s four bridesmaids, along with her niece, Alana Chillingworth, and two friends, Samantha Kaine Gruen and Marie Baynton, who was the maid of honour.

As Lisa stood by her groom’s side, Mark reached for her hand and asked, “Would you care to join me for the rest of your life?”

“That was a very special moment for me,” says Lisa.

There were many other spectacular moments on the day. As the newly married couple walked out of the church and through the arch of swords, in accordance with military tradition, bells rung and bagpipes played.

“We included the tradition in which the swords are lowered and we were not allowed to pass until I had kissed the bride,” says Mark, who wore dress uniform for the occasion. “We included military traditions and naval themes as much as possible. There were all sorts of military aspects throughout. We were married by the Chaplain General. We had the arch party. The cake had my rank emblazoned on it and we cut it with a sword. We also had a naval toast and were all piped in to the head table by one of my friends.”

As a special surprise for Lisa, Mark, now Director General for the Canadian Forces Morale and Welfare Services, but once a bagpiper and drum major in military bands, also commissioned a pipe tune — the romantic LAC Waltz — in her name.

Mark had also demonstrated his flair for a dramatic demonstration of his love when he proposed. At that point, the couple was on a yacht in the Galapagos Islands.

“On the last day, I woke Lisa early and asked her to come up on deck to get a picture of the sunrise,” he says.

“That was at 6:30 a.m. before I had had my coffee,” laughs Lisa. “But I did notice that he was dressed up.”

She complied with his request and after he had taken a photo or two, Mark dropped to one knee, produced the ring — a solitaire surrounded by 132 diamonds — and proposed. When the two went in for breakfast, they were greeted with congratulations and champagne toasts — as previously arranged by Mark.

He also organized one more surprise for his bride immediately after their honeymoon in St. Lucia – a visit to Paris, “to celebrate their union in the most romantic city in the world.” W

Wedding Details

Date: June 27, 2015

Ceremony: St. George’s Cathedral, Kingston

Reception: Royal Military College of Canada, Kingston

Transportation: Kingston Trolley and McCoy Limousine

Florist: Pam’s Flowers

Photography: Gerry McGrath Photography

Cake: Dolci Fiori

Dress: McCaffrey Haute Couture

Catering: RMC Senior Officers’ Mess

Music: The Limestone Trio, Ambush, Ryan Lewis

Get the Look

Swooning over Lisa and Mark’s wedding style? We’ve featured five of this couple’s wedding “wows” just for you. These newlyweds chose several custom elements to make their day extra special. Read on to find out how you too can make your wedding day truly one-of-a-kind.

Custom creation

Israeli bridal couture was the inspiration behind Lisa’s stunning wedding gown. The custom- made McCaffrey Haute Couture charmeuse silk dress featured Parisian gold lace to match the groom’s rank adorning his mess dress. The simple silhouette of the gown was heightened with sheer sides and two front slits — allowing movement when the bride took to the floor to perform a Brazilian tango with her groom. For your own custom design, check out Janine Adamyk Bridal Couture at


Every girl remembers the moment they first lay their eyes on a sparkling bauble – perhaps even more memorable than the actual words of the proposal. When this groom met with jewellery designer, Bellecour, in Montreal, he had one important request: a “five table ring.” Wanting everyone to know the love of his life was taken, Mark chose a sparkler that “other men could see from at least five tables away.” To achieve this, Bellecour designed a stunning solitaire setting surrounded by more than 100 small diamonds. For a ring as unique as you, look no further than Ottawa’s Howard Fine Jewellers and Custom Designers. Visit

Centre of attention

The couple chose a colour combo of gold and white for their special day. Kingston’s Q Design transformed the Senior Officers’ Mess into a luxurious venue using crisp white linens and rich gold accents. Each table was anchored with floral arrangements atop tall glass centrepieces. Created by Kingston-based Pam’s Flowers, the inside of the vase was left empty, “permitting both viewing and conversation between guests across the table.” Check out Trillium Floral Designs at for your local wedding floral needs.

Sweet satisfaction

The cake was a nod to the groom’s navy background. The three-tiered delicacy created by Italian cake shop, Dolci Fiori, (Sweet Flowers) featured a naval-themed exterior and bore the groom’s rank. The interior featured delectable white and chocolate layers and oh-so-yummy raspberry and buttercream ganache. To cut the cake? A sword of course! This beauty received the full traditional military treatment. To satisfy your sweet tooth, visit Kate Green Cakes at

Read all about it

Lisa and Mark wanted to make sure their guests were kept in the loop throughout the wedding day. The couple, with the help of their children, prepared each program by hand. “Preparation of the programs was a fun family affair – and an economical alternative.” The task consisted
of printing, arranging, folding, assembling, and tying in the wedding hues with a gold ribbon accent. For all things wedding stationery, check out the PaperStudio at

Compiled by Lindsay Ruck.

Celebrate Love with the #WineoftheWeek



Each Friday, sommelier and Wine Travel Specialist Monique Sosa introduces us to a new wine worth savouring and sharing. We call it the Wine of the Week: #wineoftheweek and #wotw

by Monique Sosa
Photo Credit: 13th Street Wine Corp.

It’s finally here, our first long weekend to kick off the summer season! Let’s offer our regal salute to this Victoria Day weekend the best way we know how, with a bevy in hand!

Here are five reasons why 13th Street NV Cuvee is our #wineoftheweek

LCBO Vintages #147504 | $24.95

1 – It’s brilliant, it’s pink, it sort of tastes pink too …. but most importantly, it’s delicious! Dominant notes are tart cherry, strawberry, pink grapefruit and rhubarb. It’s light, mouthwatering, dry, and one sip just begs for another.

2 – It’s Canadian and it’s great! Fireworks are not the only thing we may hear popping this weekend. Popping this bubbly is a fine way to showcase our national pride over such an iconic Canadian weekend.

3 – It’s traditional method sparkling wine, made in the similar style to Champagne, but at a fraction of the cost. The value for quality is unbeatable!

4 – It’s classically refreshing making it a perfect patio wine. What is it about sunshine that craves refreshing summer sippers? They naturally fit, and this one definitely fits the bill.

5 – It’s a versatile wine that pairs well with light dishes including: leafy green salads, smoked salmon, light cheeses, charcuterie and antipasti platters.





Melissa and Robbie


Soak in the Happiness

May 23, 2015

compiled by Nicolina Leone
photos by Troy St. Louis Photography

When Robbie took Melissa’s hand for the first time, she felt butterflies. She knew she had met the one. Fast-forward to the morning of May 23, 2015 – the day Melissa and Robbie exchanged vows and began a brand new life together.

“After talking to so many brides, I woke up that morning to breathe in the day, to soak in everything, and I tried not to get caught up in all the rushing around.”

Melissa and her bridesmaids planned to do everything themselves, utilizing Melissa’s kitchen island to create a beauty station.

Melissa’s dress came from White Satin in Ottawa’s west end. “In my mind, I wanted a lace dress for a romantic, rustic look.” After trying on gowns that fit this description, the bride-to-be decided to go a different way. She eventually grabbed a gown she wouldn’t have normally chosen, and it ended up being the one.

Melissa’s friend made her veil and hairpiece using pieces of her mother’s veil. “We really wanted to include our family as much as we could in the whole process.”

When she arrived at the Britannia Yacht Club that afternoon, she took a moment to look around the room and take in her surroundings, enjoying the décor in its untouched splendour.

Melissa’s brothers, members of the band Noisy Locomotive, played for the bride’s walk down the aisle (as well as the first dance).

Helium-filled gold-foil “XO” balloons floated behind the head table – a personal touch inspired by Melissa’s “XO” necklace (a gift from her groom), and an “XO” notepad the pair uses to exchange notes. Fittingly, the bridesmaids entered to Beyoncé’s hit single, XO. As soon as Melissa heard the song, she envisioned her girls walking down the aisle. “It all tied in together.”

Dinner was catered by the Britannia Yacht Club and guests enjoyed a beautiful non-traditional carrot cake (the couple’s favourite) created by Robbie’s cousin.

A midnight buffet included delivery from 1 for 1 Pizza, white chocolate Lindt truffles, fudge and chips. “Pizza is just great. Everyone wants pizza at the end of a night.”

Melissa’s dance with her dad was a showstopper. “At first I was not really into the father-daughter dance. I was worried about forcing something that doesn’t naturally happen. My dad and I don’t dance together. But I knew Robbie’s mom would really want to do a mother-son dance, so I wanted to do it on my own terms. Back in the day when I was four or five, my dad had a home gym in the basement and I’d go down with him every Sunday. He would play Italian and Portuguese music and I’d just sit down there and chill with him. I knew it needed to be something that would remind me of that.”

She chose Marina by the Gypsy Kings and, as a surprise to almost everyone (including her father), Melissa and her dad took a more fast-paced tread on the dance floor. “My dad was so shocked. He didn’t even think we were going to do a dance.”

It wasn’t long before everyone else was on their feet. “I spent the entire night dancing. It was so nice to see my family, friends and everyone having a good time.” W

Great Gal Getaways


Search out the best place to spend some time away with your favourite friends

by Patricia den Boer

Whether it’s a bachelorette party or quality downtime with your leading ladies, a few days away at the spa will have you relaxed and ready for anything life throws your way. But we’re not just talking about any run of the mill spa. From healing retreats to shopaholic getaways, here are the top choices for girl time.

Zen friends
Ste. Anne’s Spa Grafton, Ontario

Life can seem hectic at the best of times, but especially when leading up to the big day. Often there isn’t enough time to connect with those closest to you. If pre-wedding plans or work has got you frazzled, then a wellness retreat might be just what you need. Situated in the Northumberland Hills, Ste. Anne’s (all- inclusive) Spa offers every indulgence needed to help women get in touch with their emotions and each other.


Conceived as a “beautiful garden where many will be healed,” Ste. Anne’s rests on 227 hectares (570 acres) among the hills of Northumberland County, overlooking Lake Ontario. This is a spa village in the making, with a variety of fitness and nutrition programs at its core. A unique focus on human interaction is reflected in Ste. Anne’s carefully developed massages, facials and reflexology.

“We are intent on the fact that all of our treatments are human-touch based,” Ste. Anne’s owner, Jim Corcoran says. “The therapist is always in the room with you participating in the treatment. The effectiveness is in the energy of one human being flowing into another, and that can’t be replicated with the intervention of machinery.”

If you’re looking for an all-around balance, book the Ste. Anne’s Signature Facial – a combination of beautifying treatments using the spa’s signature line of skincare products. The treatment also includes a wonderful foot soak and shoulder massage. If you’re looking for something a bit more therapeutic, the deep tissue massage is a must. Feel the stress relief, decreased muscular tension and increased energy.

Whether you desire one of the 16 rooms in the main inn, or a private spa cottage all to yourself, you will find Ste. Anne’s exclusive in every way, and yet extremely welcoming and warm – just like coming home.

The spa is complete with Frette Italian linens and towels, sandals and plush robes. The large, airy, and exquisitely decorated rooms recall English stone cottages and schoolhouses, and offer special touches such as fireplaces and whirlpools. Onsite, you will find a luxury spa, which offers over 35 rejuvenating treatments specifically designed to refresh and de-stress your outer and inner self. A fieldstone grotto, plunge pool and lap pool, and eucalyptus steam room only add to your soothing experience.

A variety of wellness classes help keep you active throughout your stay. The 45-minute meditation class is mind-calming serenity, which will prepare you for one of the best night’s sleep in beautifully appointed rooms and comfortable surroundings.

A visit to St. Anne’s includes a full breakfast, perfectly-portioned lunch, afternoon tea, and savoury dinners, which typically features three entrees. The afternoon tea is an indulgence of its own, and a unique ritual of Ste. Anne’s. After a relaxing treatment, cozy up in the dining room for a beautifully steeped, very civilized cup of tea of your choice, and get caught up with friends. Ste. Anne’s signature teas include scents of all kind. (Our favourite was Velvet Earl Grey with a scent of vanilla.)

At dinner, linger over a meal of healthy, delicious fare prepared by skilled chefs who sometimes make an appearance. (Bring your own wine as the spa is licence-free). Enjoy a group of four savoury dips or unforgettable dishes, such as perfectly pan-seared cod. These delectable dishes in a relaxed and tranquil ambience makes discussion over good food the lasting language of friendship once again. W

What does all-inclusive mean?

Your reservation includes taxes and service, with no up-charge for steam rooms, hot tubs or any fitness facilities. Guests have complete use of the facilities during the stay and it includes beverages, meals, wellness classes and the treatments of your choice up to $120 per day. The resort is not licensed, so remember to bring your own wine, which the dining staff can open, but cannot pour for you.
Details: Ste. Anne’s Spa (; 888 346-6772)


Other Spa Experiences

Grail Springs Wellness Retreat, Bancroft

If you’re all about wellness, then start your journey here. For over 20 years Grail Springs has been dedicated to the well-being of people, animals and planet. Programs are designed to cleanse the body, mind and spirit, and bring healing and balance to those who seek health and longevity. The centre is located on 100 acres of forest and trails, an intimate sanctuary that invokes peace and inspiration. Additionally, try a juice cleanse to boost detox or weight loss goals. End your perfect day sharing new ideas delivered by guest presenters. All this and more is waiting for you on a picturesque spring-fed lake (; 877 553-5772).

Merrill Inn, Picton

Celebrate your rite of passage from singlehood with an indulgent culinary getaway. Fusing old world charm with a picturesque setting in Prince Edward County, Ontario’s newest foodie destination, the 13-room Merrill Inn, is an ideal base for an epicurean bash (; 866 567-5969).

Rosemount Inn, Kingston

Begin with some gallery hopping of leading artworks at Sandra Whitton Gallery or Modern Fuel, an artist-run centre. Then, hit the theatre scene. Since opening its doors in 1879, the recently-restored Grand Theatre has been one of Canada’s leading venues, showcasing emerging artists as well as icons such as Betty Grable and Sarah Bernhardt (; 888 871-8844).

Fairmont Le Château Montebello, Quebec

Explore with a horseback ride along nature trails meandering past the blue waters of the Ottawa River, the stately buildings of Manoir Papineau (a National Historic Site of Canada), and towering 300-year-old oak trees. Other inspiring outdoor options include golfing, fishing, tennis or learning to master off-road driving at the Land Rover Driving School Experience — the choice is limited only by your stamina. At day’s end, the dose of fresh air and exercise will guarantee a good night’s sleep in your historic accommodation. (; 800 441-1414).

Compiled by Michele Peterson.

Latest in Fashion Forward Wedding Gowns

DAlexandra in dove grey by Truvelle. Credit: Blush Photography.


Colour Me Fabulous
Creative Couture Marries Hues du Jour

by Lindsay Ruck

In a world where couples say “I do” on the daily, it can be hard for a bride to feel her look has any originality. For those daring dames who want a little less cookie cutter while still feeling bridal, we’ve found some amazing designs just for you. What makes these gowns even more special? The beautiful colours!

“We definitely love to see a little colour on a wedding dress and this trend has been getting bigger over the last few years,” says Meaghan Brunetti, owner of Ottawa bridal boutique The Handmade Bride. “Champagne and blush have been huge, and have been accepted as a norm in bridal style. This season we are starting to see silver and blue tones as a bolder choice for some of our clients. The new sample dresses have these cooler colours in mind. Truvelle, one of our talented Canadian designers, has introduced beautiful smoke chiffon and silver brocade skirts with gorgeous hand-beaded bodices.”


Eden in rose by Truvelle. Credit: Blush Photography


Eden in rose by Truvelle. Credit: Blush Photography

For the spring-summer 2016 season, designers have married classic styles with untraditional touches and shades. We’re not saying classic is boring. Far from it! We’re just taking a peek at a few of the other fashion- forward designs that may have you second- guessing the all-white strapless ball gown with the tulle underlay. Don’t knock it ‘til you try it, ladies!

3-D floral appliques

Floral designs are not new to the bridal scene. But this once soft and delicate look has evolved, and many designs this season put petals at centre stage. This mod look of 3-D appliques is like an added layer to the gown. And a sheer underlay in a separate shade, such as silver or champagne, really makes the flowers pop.

Noteworthy designs of the season include Mira Zwillinger’s “Beatrice Silver” light silver flower gown with layers of silk organza, and Jim Hjelm’s blush tulle A-line dress with a sweetheart neckline and floral embellishments.

This trend is often paired with another popular design style – the illusion bodice. Sexy sheer tops and sleeves are peppered with strategically-placed floral appliques. Drifting away from white and ivory, we’re seeing layers of nude and blush lining. Both Hayley Paige and Reem Acra have paired the two designs in their spring 2016 lines.


This design takes us back to the 1920s and the days of the high-fashion flappers. Before you start imagining what a feathered gown may entail, think a little less Big Bird and a lot more couture. From a feather embellishment here and there to full feathered skirts, when done right, this look is absolutely stunning.

The muted colours are what really take this style to another level. Jenny Packham sent a nude, off-the-shoulder A-line wedding dress down the runway of Bridal Fashion Week that included a scattering of feathers at the waistline.


Overskirts are all about creating an extra layer to the gown and providing added movement. The skirt can be a sheer layer of tulle or a thicker cut satin. Contrasting colours are what really makes this look shine.


Not everyone thinks pants when they think bridal, but several anti-dress brides-to-be are raising their glasses to uber-sexy, ultra-classy separates. There seems to be two dominant styles for this look. The first is a tailored, fitted, ultra-mod pant suit. A stark white or ivory are the most striking hues for this style. Carolina Herrera sent a gorgeous ivory, ankle-length pant with fitted blazer and ivory tank down the runway this season. The other side of this spectrum, where designers are a little more playful with colour, is a nod to the bohemian bride. Flowing pants and a loose top are staples of this look. Colours vary from cream and nude to grey and blush.


Plunging neckline

Plunging V-necks are one of the sexiest styles this season, and they are peppered throughout bridal fashion. While a plunging V is not new to the scene, some of the softer shades are.

“One of our most coveted dresses is the rose gold sequin top gown by Truvelle,” says Meaghan. “It has a plunging neckline and a low back and is very flattering on many different body types. It combines a few trends: the plunging neckline, low back, off colours, sequins, and flowy skirts!”

Naeem Khan features a beautiful “Positano” sleeveless French blue tulle A-line wedding dress with a plunging V-neck in his collection. Monique Lhuillier showcases many plunging Vs in her bridal line, including “Veronique” – a plunging sheer V-neck ball gown with embroidered tulle and nude bodice.

Tiered skirts

This fun and flirty style offers tons of movement and adds layers of texture to a gown. Designer Rita Vinieris of Rivini created several pieces this season that focus on layers and dimensions. Inspired by rays of natural light and landscape painter J.M.W. Turner, Rivini’s designs layer different colours and textures to add depth to the gowns. Organza tiered skirts with detailed bodices capture the designer’s vision beautifully. The most breathtaking of designs from Rivini came in the form of a dawn-coloured (almost gold) hand-embroidered ball gown with circular sweeping layers of scalloped organza.

Blush and light blue are two shades that complement this style beautifully. The fun and flirty skirt paired with soft blush has a youthful look that certainly stands out amongst the simpler white ball gowns.

Mini dress

Whether for the entire day or a wardrobe change for the reception, this is another fun style that continues to gain popularity. What’s fresh about this season’s shorter dress is just how high those hemlines are hiked. Sexier mini styles appeared in the form of shift dresses doused in beading, while more delicate looks featured mid-thigh to knee-length and high-low hemlines with voluminous skirts.

This already fun style is amped up with colours of blush, silver and nude, and floral and two-tone designs.

“Our generation of brides feel that their wedding is the ultimate expression of their personalities and their love story,” says Meaghan. “They want personal touches throughout their ceremony and décor; they love to be inspired and go outside the box when making choices about their weddings. This goes for the dress as well.”

It’s an exciting time in bridal fashion, and we’re loving that designers are offering gowns as unique as the bride herself.

“I believe every woman wants to choose a dress that feels like her, that suits her body and her personality. Some women love a soft vintage look with delicate lace, some prefer a more urban look, and others die over more traditional ball gowns. But I have never met a bride that did not want her personality and style to shine through in the choice of her gown. I think that as we get more creative in our choices for our wedding, things that once seemed taboo are now ordinary and we continue to push the envelope in wedding trends. I love that brides are getting creative and allowing themselves to be who they are on their wedding day!” W