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May 24, 2016
Posted by WeddingGirl

love in the vineyard| Niagara wine country tour

{ Birthday Bubbles + Wine Country }

It’s no secret that wine and vineyards continue to top the charts when it comes to the most romantic spots for proposals, engagements, and Happily Ever Afters! How lucky are we in the Toronto area that in only a short hour drive we’re nestled in the heart of some of the most incredible wineries that the North American continent has to offer?!

Mary Bratko WeddingGirl goes to Wine Country Niagara

It was my birthday this past weekend and I got the best. surprise. EVER – an afternoon of birthday bubbles in my favourite wine region!

Tips for touring Wine Country? Don’t drive yourself! You can book an amazing limousine wine tour through local transportation companies like Gem Limousine. Dapper drivers like Jim will show up at your door and chauffeur you around to wineries of your choice. You can create your own itinerary or they can make one for you!

Mary Bratko WeddingGirl gem limo Jordan Wine Tour

Having your own driver means that you can spend more time doing other things in the car like…. detangling a necklace, tweeting about going on a wine tour, and posting a selfie…

Niagara Wine Tour Gem Limo

Angel’s Gate Winery was my first stop of choice – they have some of the best Chardonnay I’ve ever tasted out of southern Ontario (and I’m totally a chard snob).

Angels Gate Winery Beamsville

This spot might top the list for most romantic winery to get down on one knee than with a glass of rosé bubbles and this storybook view:

Angels Gate Winery Sparkling Rose

Mary Bratko Angels Gate Winery Tour

With the Chardy Party well underway, Tawse was the next stop to taste some bold Niagara red wines.

Driving up to Tawse is pretty impressive even if you don’t know that the wines there are really delicious. And Snapseed makes Tawse look like it’s stepped out of a futuristic sci-fi.

Gem Limo Niagara Wine Tour

Tawse Winery Jordan Beamsville Niagara

When a Toronto wedding photographer goes on wine tours, he ends up taking really amazing shots like this:

Tawse Winery Niagara Sparkling Wine

While the wedding blogger gets to dance on picnic tables in the vineyard and sip sparkling…

Niagara Wine Tour WeddingGirl.ca

ONWARD!

To Megalomaniac… where the chandeliers are the size of my car, the Homegrown Red is fantastic, and you get to sport a bowler while you taste. Sadly you’re not allowed to enjoy a glass of wine on the patio (a super-awesome way to enjoy your time at most other wineries in this area) – but maybe it’s coming soon? Amazing staff totally made up for it, though.

Megalomaniac BubbleHead Sparkling Niagara

WeddingGirl at Megalomaniac Winery

Next stop: Featherstone… where there’s the most gorgeous little vintage verandah overlooking the vineyards… and when you’re not busy working on alliterations you get to design your own Niagara meat and cheese boards to sample with your sparkling…

Featherstone Winery Jordan Niagara Wine Country

Alsooo, the teeniest taste of pure JOY – 2012 Premium Cuvée in this crazy-elegant feather-etched stemware that I totally wanted to snag but sadly they didn’t sell. Oh, sad day.

Featherstone JOY 2012 Premium Cuvee

BUT – on a positive note! When you learn about the fact that Featherstone gets their amazing Avonlea Cheddar from the nearby cheese boutique at Stoney Ridge Winery, you just get back in your limo and head there next!

And THIS…. my friends… is where it’s ALL at…. 2010 Stoney Ridge Estate Chardonnay… worth every premium penny spent – oaky, chewy, with these brilliant hints of buttery-vanilla-magic. It’s the bottle of wine you’ll use to toast every special occasion from here on, ever. (or, wait.. maybe that’s me?)

WeddingGirl Wine Tour Stoney Ridge

… also…. CHEEEEESE! We left with a Bleu D’Elizabeth, horseradish cheddar, and more of the Avonlea cheddar than I’ll ever know what to do with. Entirely not sorry.

Stoney Ridge Cheese Boutique Jordan

Last stop on the wine tour? One of the most boldly-marketed and near-and-dear-to-my-heart, off-the-beaten-path approaches to making and sharing wine… Flat Rock Cellars. I worked here while I was in university and learned the intimate in’s and out’s of what it means to buy, build, grow, and excel at everything-wine.

Flat Rock Cellars Wine Tour Niagara

Gravity-Fed.

State-of-the-Art.

All etched into a completely stunning property boasting a striking view of the Toronto skyline on clear, sunny days.

Each vineyard has a story.

Each bottle label shares a piece of heart.

It’s a winery experience unlike any other…. actually.

WeddingGirl Wine Tour Niagara

WeddingGirl Wine Tour Flat Rock Cellars

Soooo, with Angel’s Gate, Tawse, Megalomaniac, Featherstone, Stoney Ridge and Flat Rock Cellars behind me, not only was it actually the best day in Niagara ever, it’s serious inspiration for lovebirds wanting to stay-cate, celebrate, or just get out of the city any unwind!

Happy Wine-Touring, Lovers!

(and thanks again for the spectacular day, Gem Limo!)

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May 22, 2016
Posted by WeddingGirl

Fore the love of golf | Bradlee Ryall Golf Academy

{ I Do’s + Golf Lessons }

Farmington Country Club Golf Wedding

Golf and nuptials go back about as far as peanut butter and jam on toast… seriously, more than half of the weddings we see involve golf to some extent: Groomsmens’ day out, morning-of driving range, saying “I Do” with rolling greens in the background. With golf courses becoming increasingly popular to host your wedding day celebrations, why aren’t more of us grabbing our clubs and hitting the greens leading up to (and after!) the Big Day as well?!

Last week I had a chance to meet golf pro Bradlee Ryall and take golf lessons at Bradlee Ryall Golf Academy in Mississauga. 

One thing I figured out pretty quick? These guys know golf (and have a mad passion for sharing the love!)

Bradlee Ryall Golf Academy Lessons Kaneff

I’ll be honest… I’ve never been much of a golfer. You know how the story goes: I was the girl who bought clubs because I was dating a boy who loved golf and I wanted to be cool like he was. I’m certain there are FAR better ways to get into the sport! Maybe it was the investment I made in pink clubs and pink-laced golf shoes that tagged my interest? I didn’t wear (or bring) them to meet Bradlee – I didn’t want to mislead the pro into thinking I had any idea what I was doing. I wore a polka-dotted coral number instead, and got to use these brand-spanking-new gorgeous blue Nike clubs – definitely for the win! (Thanks, Lion Head!)

Bradlee Ryall Kaneff Golf Academy

Nike Blue Golf Clubs Lion Head Kaneff

Now, I wish that I could say gorgeous new clubs and a wicked pro-golfer instructor makes for a good play… but to be honest, I barely hit the ball. I blame a torn rotator cuff in my shoulder – though I don’t think my lack of natural talent was remotely related.

Bradlee, on the other hand, is a golf-master Jedi. With a BA from Western, a post-grad in golf management, and experience working and playing around the world, if anyone’s going to make you a pro (or at least LOVE the game) – it’s this guy.

Bradlee Ryall Golf Mississauga

“Do it like this! Not like this!” – and as I learned about tension-free swinging (applying pressure but not a strong grip, etc) – I couldn’t help but consider what a super awesome gift this would be around wedding planning time… SO many possibilities!

Bradlee Ryall Kaneff Academy Golf Lessons

You can literally gift golf lessons for EVERYTHING wedding-related!

Newly engaged? Golf lessons as a way to bond and distract yourself from stressful planning weekend after weekend.

Planning a wedding? Gift golf to the Groomsmen as a thank-you experience (nobody needs another engraved flask).

Golf Lessons for the Fathers as a Thank-You for everything they’ve done to help with the wedding plans.

Gift the Newlyweds a membership + golf clinic to de-stress and have some fun on the greens together after they tie the knot!

Seriously… golf-everything…. it’s sunshine, exercise, bonding, a little competitive spirit, and golf carts. Who doesn’t create memories in a golf cart?

And if you happen to end up lucky enough to be golfing at a club as gorgeous as Lion Head, the food’s pretty awesome as well. I speak from experience…

WeddingGirl Kaneff Golf Academy

Kaneff Golf Academy WeddingGirl Raymi Toronto

Goooo golf!

And here’s a photo my friend Rob took of me figuring out Golf In a Box….  my wicked instructor Bradlee created this DIY order-taking iPad software to make my golf-lesson-buying entirely wedding-planner proof and easy-peasy. I basically have no excuse not to learn. Challenge Accepted.

——

Kaneff Golf Academy Bradlee Ryall

( blog love | photog credit :: @AnnaAndSpencerPhotography }

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love in the vineyard| Niagara wine country tour
Posted 24 May, 2016


Fore the love of golf | Bradlee Ryall Golf Academy
Posted 22 May, 2016


Toronto’s Original Bridal Swap | a huge success!
Posted 02 May, 2016

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