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December 6, 2014

Wedding Budget Tip: Gutting your Guest List

{ managing your numbers, without hurting feelings }

… because, contrary to popular belief, your Dad’s cousin-twice-removed does not need to watch you say “I do.”

Vintage Rustic Wedding Guestlist Redfield Photography

The ring.

The question.

The tears.

The ring-shot-selfie on Instagram.

And then….

“Who’s coming?”

One of the very first questions (aside from the big one) at the onset of planning your wedding is who to invite. And, surprisingly, it’s usually much harder to answer than you’d think!

Countdownevents.com Wedding Guestlist quiz

These are just a few of the questions you’ll ask yourself, or other people will ask you. And it can be pretty stressful, trying to decipher between who you should or shouldn’t invite, especially when others around you will likely chime in with their own opinions.

It’s important to remember that the bulk of your wedding budget will go toward your reception, so one way to manage your budget is to effectively manage your guest list.

Yup, a daunting task, for sure, but with more and more couples paying for their own wedding, or having both families helping out with the bill, your guest list and size will undoubtedly affect everyone involved.

Did you know that wedding etiquette dictates that if your parents are paying for a certain percentage of the wedding, they’re entitled to curate a certain percentage of the guest list?

Some of the easiest ways to set guest counts? Base it on maximum capacity for your venue (if your reception space only seats 80, you can NOT invite 81 hoping that someone will say no!), or you can base you numbers on budget – a solid place to start.

Robin Hood Wedding Guestlist seating chart


{ follow these steps }

Get started on creating your initial guest list by making four separate lists. They’ll eventually come together to become your overall list – but this approach makes the process far less overwhelming.

1. Must be invited

This list will include immediate family members, friends and close relatives.


2. Want to invite

Here’s where you put your co-workers, childhood friends, etc.


3. Parents’ of the Bride’s list


4. Parents’ of the Groom’s list


- and ask both sets of parents to use the same #1 and #2′s in their own lists – Must’s and Want’s.

If the combined lists garner too many people then begin to trim the parents ‘wants’ (after all it is your wedding, not theirs).

If the number is still too large after that, then you begin to trim your own ‘wants’. Many couples start with casual colleagues, then distant relatives, then your Starbucks barista that you accidentally invited that one night while waiting for your skinny latté.

The bottom line:

There is usually no way to include absolutely everyone on your wedding guestlist unless you increase either your budget or your venue capacity (oftentimes either and/or both are just not realistic). Don’t forget that weddings aren’t an expression of IOU’s. Just because someone, somewhere, invited you to their wedding years ago (and you haven’t spoken since) doesn’t mean you are obligated to invite them to yours (and make sure your parents know this as well).

Don’t be sorry for not wanting to invite someone to your wedding!

This is the single most elaborate party you will likely throw in your lifetime….

You’re allowed to be choosy about who gets to come!


And o you have your final list together, ensure you obtain everyone’s full name, address and phone number (get the list owners to provide this to you in a timely manner). You’ll want this information on hand when it comes time to mail the invitations (usually sent two to three months before your wedding date). Phone numbers will come in extra handy when it’s time to follow-up with those who haven’t responded for the RSVP date (and, we speak from experience when we say that a surprisingly large number of guests won’t RSVP on time!).


Don’t forget…

Getting engaged, while exciting and emotional, also brings with it a substantial amount of unfamiliarity and stress. If you think a buffer might be helpful between you and your parents to keep your guestcount in check, have everyone sit down together with your wedding planner to talk about the Do’s and Don’ts of who gets invited. Oftentimes parents respond well to the reasons we give for why the paperboy’s second aunt probably doesn’t need to attend. Not only that, once your guestlist is in check, we’ll be helping to field questions from family about itinerary, big-day directions for your wedding party, and keeping all of the MC’s joke-etiquette questions from flooding your Inbox.

Remember, it all starts with falling in love…. everything else… well, that’s just knowing who to ask for help!


Lisa Hardie is a Hamilton-based Bridal Lifestyle Blogger and Wedding Planner at WeddingGirl.ca. If you have any questions or are thinking about hiring a Wedding Planner, make sure to email her at lisa@weddinggirl.ca.

You can also be friends with Lisa on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter, and Instagram as well!

Lisa Hardie WeddingGirl.ca Hamilton


{ blog love }

Redfield Photography | Countdown Events | MarthaStewartWeddings.com

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a Wedding Planner Wake-Up Call

{ slips happen. }

by: Mary

Mary Bratko Toronto Wedding Planning Coach

“I can’t make this happen on my own.”

“I’m failing.”

“I’m about to go back to a 9-5 job.”

…. sound familiar?

Hey, aspiring Wedding Planners…. consider this your wake-up call!

It’s not you!

It’s your industry.

Or, well, maybe it is you…. but we’ll figure that out.


“Ignoring your passion is slow suicide.

Never ignore what your heart pumps for.

Mold your career around your lifestyle, not your lifestyle around your career.”


Slips happen.

I’ve been making business mistakes since 2008.

Like most wedding planners, I fell in love with planning my own big day…. but I was never meant to be a wife. A series of very fortunate twists-of-fate later and I’m happy to say that I’m “always a planner” ….

But the truth is, I’m not just a wedding planner at all.

Today, after planning hundreds of weddings, working with thousands of vendors, and learning countless lessons about life, love, and the girl I’ve become, I’m able to proudly label myself as the fierce business mind and driving force behind WeddingGirl.ca – one of Toronto’s highest traffic personal blogs, a globally-recognized wedding planning brand, and a marketing source for a series of vertically-integrated business endeavours which have come together to not only change my life but the lives of aspiring dreamers around me.

I’m not in this industry to plan weddings anymore. I’m in this industry to make a difference.


I began blogging before blogging was cool.

I began planning weddings on a budget before being on a budget was the norm.

I’ve gone against the grain into an industry entirely removed from what I studied in school.

I’m passionate about making things happen… but more importantly, I’m passionate about ‘doing epic shit’. I believe in living a life you love, in leaning into the discomfort, and in changing the threads from which you’re woven to create a better version of yourself every single day.

I believe in being unapologetic.

I believe in doing things that scare me.

…. and I’m pretty sure you should too.


Today, while the wedding industry is taking a beating from all sides, the faces of WG can barely keep up with the excitement swirling around us. We’re watching this brand as it grows at an unprecedented rate while we keep getting emails from aspiring planners looking for a job.

What is so wrong with the wedding industry today that dreamers just want to dream, and everything they’re working so hard to achieve is totally going belly-up?! All around me I’m watching brilliant girls-with-dreams closing up shop on their once-loved ventures…. while here we are, wishing we had more planners on board.

I need everyone to know that it’s not just me.

This success isn’t just WeddingGirl.

This success can undeniably belong to anybody.

Any wedding planner can fly in the face of her changing industry and be wildly successful doing what she loves.

I want to make a difference by showing everyone that they can. 

And, believe me, you can.

Slips happen. Vendors are struggling. Planners aren’t planning. Dreamers are giving up and going back to 9-5 jobs they hate. Something needs to change. And, that ‘something’ is about to change…. right now.

Join me for my Wedding Planner Wake-Up Call :: a Strategy Shake-Up Session

December 17 in Toronto


Tickets are available through EventBrite.

Let’s do this.

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December 5, 2014

#WGxIndieLove :: Indie Xmas-inspired wedding trends

{ Indie Christmas = Love (!!) }

Did you hear about our super-secret wedding giveaway with Indie88??

Well, now that December has started, and in honour of this week’s exciting announcement (which obviously has us all feeling oh-so-Indie around here!) I thought I’d keep with our #WGxIndie88 theme, and showcase some gorgeous love-party ideas.

How can you not love this ballgown-with-cardigan pairing?! Definitely a trend we’re hoping to see more of in the new year. And how about that Groom’s non-white shirt alternative? So stylish!

Red Indie Christmas Wedding Styled Shoot

A good wedding planner knows that ‘themes’ can get out of hand pretty quickly. With the perfect designer touch of a little here and a little there, (and with the guided finesse of an amazing planner) your wedding guests will be happily “Wow’d” and your photos will be nothing short of stunning.

Another trend we see emerging for 2015; Mis-matched designs!

Start to think outside the box for your wedding day attire, be confident about bold patterns seamlessly woven into your big day, and start pairing your Vera Wang with oversized costume jewels.

Indie Red White Wedding Christmas Theme Love

#IndieLove is about doing things differently. I’m hoping to see more of these knee-length stunners next year, accented with a killer heel in a bold hue that sets off the entire look of your day.

And, while we’ve watched headpiece trends go from oversized veils and tiaras to delicate jewels and hats, why not start pulling some of that colour you love into your head art as well?? Be brave, beautiful Indie-Bride!

Indie Red Christmas Wedding Love Design

Don’t forget that your bridal bouquet is the ultimate wedding day accessory. Whether you’re going for opulent and over-the-top, or elegant and understated, the blooms you’ll carry will be the icing on your gorgeous wedding-look-cupcake.

But keep in mind that your ‘blooms’ needn’t be blooms at all! Check out this Indie-Christmas-inspired bouquet alternative: artificial berries, teeny tiny glittered pinecones, and a muslin rose arrangement rivals any pricey florist’s design.

Christina Watkins Photography Winter Christmas Wedding Bridal Bouquet Alternative Fabric Flowers Vintage Bride


Wishing you all lots of love under the mistletoe this holiday season….

- from all of us at WeddingGirl.ca <3

Arina B Photography Indie Wedding Christmas Winter love


{ photog blog love }

Haley Sheffield |  Brittany Dow + Stacey Bishop |  Sara Gray | Christina Watkins | Arina B.



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December 3, 2014

a *super-secret* Indie Wedding Giveaway | Indie88, Toronto

{ #WGxIndie88 }

According to the interwebs, ‘indie’-anything is distinguished as independent, unaffiliated, self-produced.

In terms of music, key definitions seem to point toward artists who create a genre of music outside of mainstream.

Wikipedia puts ‘indie’ on the label of fine arts made by artists independent of commercial fine arts establishments.

wgxindie88 toronto radio wedding contest 2015

indie boho gypsy bride groom wedding wgxindie88 contest toronto

But what about when it comes to life and love?

What does it mean to be indie?

WeddingGirl.ca and Indie88 FM have teamed up to escape ordinary love and are looking for a couple most deserving of an unforgettable Indie wedding.

Cue: our super-secret Indie wedding giveaway!



{ Oh, so Indie … }





Indie lends itself to a love that’s coloured outside the lines, that breaks the rules, and that tells its own story.

An indie-love goes against the grain, is unlike the others, idealized by the masses but experienced by few.

Indie brides, instead of diamonds on their neck, wear flowers in their hair.

Indie brides forego runway-worthy frocks for their grandmother’s lace, instead.

Heck… they aren’t even sure that they want to wear white!

Indie brides escape ordinary love.

Indie, in itself, means to be different…. just like Indie88, and just like all of us at WeddingGirl.ca.


And that, Ladies and Gents, is precisely why we’re giving away a super-secret Indie wedding…  to help one lucky couple celebrate their once-in-a-lifetime love with a once-in-a-lifetime, unforgettable affair.

Boho Indie Gypsy wgxindie88 contest Brittany Dow Photography


{ Oh, so secret … }

So, what’s the catch in all of this Indie-excitement??

It’s an entirely super-secret awesome giveaway.

The folks over at Indie88 have entrusted the WeddingGirl team to design, plan, and coordinate a brag-worthy Indie wedding that’ll undoubtedly go down in the books for years to come.

We’ve pushed our wedding-planning skills to the max and hand-selected a team of Toronto-area vendors who’ll be delivering this unforgettable affair inspired by the look, taste and feel that we’re just dying to see come to life!

Our lucky Indie-Bride doesn’t even know how much work we’ve already put into making her day as unique and beautiful as the love that she’s found. By the time she walks down the aisle, an entire team of designers, planners, stylists, and dreamers will have spent months curating her big day…. but no one can be in on our secrets just yet! Mum’s the word. We can’t share any of the details: not the venue, not the vendors, not even the menu…. but we pinky-swear, it’s going to be absolutely swoon-worthy and totally magical.

Talk about making dreams come true!

Follow #WGxIndie88 for updates!

Boho Indie Gypsy wgxindie88 contest BrianLabradaPhoto.com


In the Toronto area?

Be sure to listen to Indie88 fm for more details

and keep an eye out for giveaway updates on our WG media channels!

Find and friend us: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram



If you’re a vendor in the Toronto area and would like to showcase your product or service in our giveaway, send a note to Jordana@Indie88.com

{ blog love :: photog credits }

Studio 1079 | Sara and Rocky |  Brittany Dow | Brian Labrada 



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December 2, 2014

WGxGentsExpo :: Toronto Gentlemen’s Expo, 2014

{ #WGxGentsExpo }


November is Gentlemen’s month (possibly started by the Movember movement, which we emphatically support), and for the second year now, The Gentlemen’s Expo has spread the good word to eager Torontonians.


Our very own AlphaGroom shared the expo with us, and we’re SO glad he did, because not only did we get to check out this awesome weekend, but now we get to share it with all of you!

This event is a Must-Do for your 2015 calendar. Ladies, we promise, your Men will love it!

Side note: it was definitely not just an expo for men! Us lasses had a pretty fabulous time too.

There were so many things there I wanted to get for my own gentleman, and the WG team was totally excited to check out the huge collection of curated-cool that was #GentsExpo 2014!


Among endless rows of awesome vendors we met and learned about products and services we’d never heard of before, took part in engaging demos and watched some pretty impressive shows. From street magicians famous for their success on America’s Got Talent to the most satirical and entertaining sex therapists – it would take multiple posts to talk about everything we saw.

Here’s a brief highlight reel of some of our favourites:



Did you know the majority of people who purchase men’s underwear are female?

I didn’t, until speaking with Dan at 2Undr.

I had actually recently bought my own Gent some underwear that boasted a system of cloth panels to provide extra comfiness. Then Dan informed me that 2Undr was far better technology (shocking) and was pretty confident my man would find them far superior. He put his brand to the test and sent me home with a pair. They were met with a pretty awesome positive review all-around, and I’m personally highly recommending these bad boys for the gentleman on your Christmas list this year!

Be sure to tell the lads at 2UNDR that the WeddingGirls sent you. They’ll make your experience extra sweet.



Uncle Smoke & Hank Daddy’s BBQ

I love BBQ.

I’m entirely unashamed to admit my fierce love affair with BBQ.

I am deeply in love with smoked meat, tangy, spicy sauces, in overtly large proportions.

I mostly can’t even write these sentences without craving something off the grill right now. It doesn’t matter that it’s morning!

Uncle Smoke offered Expo goers a crazy delicious smoked rib, fried potato bites, and a mini-culinary experience that was flavourful, filling and oh-so-tasty!

Hank Daddy’s BBQ even brought the WeddingGirl LBD Squad up on stage to enjoy some tasty smoked brisket!

I’m definitely already looking forward to chowing down on this Grillmaster’s fare sooner rather than later. Dinner, anyone?




Urban Tactical Indoor Shooting Centre

Can’t you just imagine all the WeddingGirls suited up at the shooting range?! It makes me think of this moment in the Spice Girls movie.. and, let’s face it…. it was pretty great.


Seriously though, Urban Tactical is a pretty fun idea for a wedding party group activity – girls and guys alike! What better way to release all that pre-wedding stress on the targets, just …. with proper safety equipment.


Elite Driver’s Club 

We just had to stop and pose for a pic with the sweet ride they had showcased – I’d love to drive one for the day!



Always Bearded

There’s nothing finer than a well-groomed beard. A man who knows how to take care of his facial hair gets A++’s from Team WG! Check out these guys’ great array of beard care products. They make pretty great Christmas gifts for your gent who’s choosing to keep his ‘Mo or is participating in ‘Decembeard’. Yes, apparently that’s a thing!


Wildcard Entertainment

We see these guys often at industry events and no matter where they are, they’re always creating a stellar time around them! Whether you’re renting blackjack or roulette tables, setting up interactive photobooth displays or bringing promotional models on board to add an extra touch of flair to your party, Wildcard has it on lock.



Tequila Tromba

This beauty helped me fall back in love with tequila. (I can’t be the only one who’s needed to take an extended break from Mr. Tequila) In the past it’s proven to be hazardous to my health… and dance skills, and pride. Mixed or straight, this smooth blend of flavours was seriously top-shelf. I’m definitely hitting up the LCBO for this one!



A truly delicious red wine experience from a wine maker I already enjoy (any other fans of Apothic Red out there?) We found this gem paired with Pingue prosciutto from Niagara Food Specialties and Carnivore Club.



We had a chance to meet some pretty wicked dudes.

For the team who organized the Gentlemen’s Expo 2014  and to all of the dedicated vendors who made it such a great weekend to experience, a HUGE thank-you from Team WeddingGirl for supporting up-and-coming businesses in the GTA…. and making the men we love a better version than their already awesome selves.


See you Gents next year!


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December 1, 2014

Current Project: #WGLookbook

A sneak peek of our latest shoot…

Even though wedding season is “over”, our schedules are filling up faster than ever with exciting projects and planning with our next season of couples. One of the projects our team has been working on is the WGLookBook! We are gathering local vendors and every day women, to pull off some seriously stunning bridal looks.

If you missed out last time, you can check out a behind-the-scenes look from our first photoshoot here.

Our recent shoot took place at the AGH – Design Annex store, and around the city of Hamilton.

Here’s a sneak peek at what we were up to;





hamilton photoshoot weddinggirllookbook


Of course none of this would have been made possible without the incredible vendors who joined us! Thank you from the WeddingGirl team!

{Vendor Love}

Gown & Glory

Revival Bridal Boutique

Solee shoes

Hattitude Jewelry

Fraiche floral studio

Emily Christine Photography

Julia Park Photography

JCompany Designs

Helix Candles

Savvy Sendables

Creation of Beauty

Salon Lily

Our beautiful models, Sarah & Katie

_ _ _

Leah Sandhu is a Fusion Wedding Expert and Bridal Lifestyle Blogger at WeddingGirl.ca.

To have Leah’s creative input and meticulous attention to detail for your celebration, make sure to Get In Touch! Have a question? Email me leah@weddinggirl.ca

Find Leah on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest

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November 30, 2014

Eyebrow Art: 101

 { oh, so Eyebrows … }

By: Mary Smirle, for #VisageYorkville


Classic Beauty Women Faces

The Mona Lisa and Whoopi Goldberg have one very specific beauty feature in common.

What is it that links La Giaconda and Oda Mae Brown?

Their eyebrows.

Or, more specifically, the lack there-of.

And you know, those ladies work it well—it’s rather their signature look!

Those missing brows, however, are crucial to the look of some of our most iconic Hollywood beauties:

Elizabeth Taylor, all violet eyes and diva-arched brows.

Audrey Hepburn’s dark straight set, slightly jarring on her petite pixie face, but still so very right.

And think of earlier trendsetters, like Clara Bow (the original ‘It’ Girl) and Greta Garbo (the ‘Vamp’), both with the darkly penciled, super skinny arches so beloved by early 20th century actresses and late 20th century drag queens!

Heck, one of our most enduring beauty brands found its roots in eyebrows: in 1915, some dude watched his sister carefully fill in her lashes and brows with coal soot mixed with Vaseline. This guy, T.L. Williams, then came to the rescue of with Lash-Brow-Ine (rolls off the tongue, eh?), which was later renamed to give credit where credit was due: Maybelline.

Vintage Maybelline Lash Brow Ine Poster

Either way, then, brows are essential.

They really are art!

And let’s face it (pun intended); there aren’t very many of us who would choose to go without them.

They frame our face, drawing focus to our eyes and making them look bigger, and just generally add a certain polish to our looks.

And perhaps most importantly, they’re one of our most recognizable features. It’s possible your closest friends and family wouldn’t recognize your photo if you removed the brows, according to studies from MIT, CSU-Fullerton, and other universities. Crazy, right??

In other words, eyebrows are a key feature in what makes you look like YOU.

Don’t believe me? Google “celebrities without eyebrows”.

Celebrities without eyebrows collage anne hathaway elizabeth taylor


It’s shocking how disturbing Anne Hathaway looks!

And do you recognize the star on the right? You should…she’s already been mentioned in this post.

Yup. That’s Liz, without the brows. Different woman entirely, no?

So, if brows are SO important, why are so many of us muddling along without paying overmuch attention to them? Especially those of us about to walk down the most important aisle of our lives!

Kate Middleton Eyebrows

Well, we all know about the crazy Kardashian contouring method, but do we realize how much we can change our overall appearance with a simple brow revamp?

Kim Kardashian Wedding Makeup Eyebrow Contouring

Slowly, this idea—that brows are important, and should have equal attention paid to them, is taking hold.

Brow bars are popping up all over, like their spiritual cousins: the nail bar and the blow dry bar.

Even more conveniently, spas and salons, like Kyla Garritano’s at Caryl Baker Visage in Yorkville, are offering quick grooming options for unruly, or just mishandled, brow ridges.

Caryl Baker Visage Yorkville logo

If you’ve never really considered your brows, it might seem a waste to go to a professional, right?

Tweezers, an ice cube, and an eyeliner pencil is all you need, right? Especially with all of those YouTube tutorials out there, right?

Not right.

Ask any eyebrow DIYer who instantly regrets her poor decision.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the sheer volume of advice and rules supplied to braving your brows.

Want sassy brows? Go angular!

Or, I mean…. don’t…  because angular brows actually makes your face wider/longer/angrier.

Think thick brows are sexy?

Me too!

Unless they make your eyes look old/droopy/close-set.

Arched brows are always iconic and always seductive, you say?

That’s until you wind up looking like a Disney villain.

(Aside: Seriously, have you ever looked at how Disney animates their villains? The whole lot of them are tweezer-happy, even the non-humans! Nice shape there, Scar.)

Disney is totally eyebrowist. And they’re giving Bow and Garbo a run for their money in drag queen mentorship.



In the build up to a major event, especially events commemorated with lots (and lots!) of photos, you need to look like the best you.

And you also don’t want a look that will seem dated down the road when you’re showing off the album.

I say this from experience; in my graduation photos I’m in Simples and one of those classic 90s “tattoo” chokers that looks like I was protecting myself from hitting the other wine bottles.

You can practically smell the CK1 coming off the page.

1990's tattoo choker

I mean, who hasn’t had a disastrous bang-trimming episode where you think,

“Oh, I can do this; I’ll just take a few millimeters—oops. OK, it’s still okay; I can fix it if I just bring this side level—oh, dear….”

And it quickly becomes a shame spiral that ends with a desperate trip to either the salon or the drug store to buy a bunch of hair clips and a headband.

And if you wouldn’t mess with your hair before your wedding day, why would you mess with your face?

Closeup of a young beautiful woman.

To be completely heretical…your eyebrows are more important to your look than your hair.

Brows are serious business…. and science proved it (see above re: MIT)!

There are some great products out there designed to keeping your brows looking sweet, but before you dive in, why not have someone who’s been specifically trained to make the most of your facial features show you what to do first?

Seriously, just go chat with a pro.

Price-wise, it’s one of the more affordable indulgences.

Get them to do your brows, and to walk you through the day-to-day upkeep.

Let them suggest the best product for you, and the right colour (did you know that if you’re going for a natural look your brows often shouldn’t match your hair exactly?)

Find a good salon that offers grooming and tinting.

Ideally, they’ll also have the products you might want to use, too, so you can duplicate the look they’ve created.

The super-awesome folk over at #VisageYorkville have a super-sexy suite of brow services: waxing, grooming, tinting (the website is quite proud of their eyebrow options; they’ve waxed over 1,000,000 brows!) —and also a wide variety of products for upkeep, from a tri-tone brow powder compact for a brow style that might need a little extra oomph to make your eyes punch, to a simple brow finishing gel for those lucky devils who really just need a bit of product to keep their arches perfectly neat and tidy (and if you’re one of those people, colour me jealous!).


At the end of the day, it’s all about the style that makes the most of your natural gorgeousness, and makes you feel like You-to-the-Nth-Degree.

And that’s exactly what you’re looking for, right?

That timeless You shining out of your keepsake photos.

Kristen Pete 4

And for day-to-day looks, feel free to play: one of our favourite beauty bloggers, Phyrra over at Phrrya.net, uses all sorts of colours and shades to do her brows; from fuchsia to black to teal, depending on her current eye shadow or hair colour. And on her, it works so well that I didn’t notice the different colours, because as a whole, her face was and is in perfect harmony. That, my friends, is a sign of a pretty awesome eyebrow!

Phyrra.net Phyrra beauty blogger teal eyebrows

So whether it means embracing your inner Cara Delevigne, or going whimsical like Phyrra, or heck, even rocking a full Maleficent, just remember that if your eyes are the windows to your soul, then the eyebrows? They’re the curtains. Even Vogue agrees.

Bridal Makeup Magazine Vogue



{ blog love }

TheHairPin | Biography | whmuk |  SelectiveViewing |  VintageWife.co.uk |  Frenys |  CelebsWithoutEyebrows |  DisneyDreaming |  HyperVocal |  AlwaysQueenBitch | ArabiaWeddings | Ink361 | Vintage Vogue

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November 24, 2014

Wedding Dress Shopping: 101

 10 steps to being a super-awesome

wedding dress shopper


By: Angela Kerry of  Gown And Glory Consignment Bridal Boutique

Gown and Glory Consignment Boutique Logo

It might be your decor, wedding colours, venue, timeline, the influence of others or just the pure joy and love that you experience when you spin around and stare in the mirror; there’s no way to know why, where, or when you will feel compelled to finally choose the gown that you’ll wear down the aisle on your wedding day.

 Wedding Ceremony Dress Bride Groom Minister

For some brides shopping for their wedding gown becomes a favourite part of the planning process, while for others, it’s a daunting task that they either keep putting off or can’t wait to be done with.

So why do some brides hate dress shopping?

Maybe it’s that they aren’t huge fans of shopping all together.

Or maybe they don’t have the kind of passion for fashion they feel is needed to pick out a gown thats flawless and flattering.

Maybe they’re overwhelmed at the selection, the prices, the accessories, the alterations.

Maybe it’s all of the above?

Wedding dress shopping can be stressful even for the most style-savvy bride, and your shopping experience will vary depending on expectations, preparedness and open-mindedness to the process. Here’s a few expert tips to get you started (or keep you going!)


1. Do some research

You don’t need to spend hours pouring over Pinterest or hundreds of dollars on wedding magazines to get a sense of what you like (and don’t like) in Wedding-Gown-Land. A few quick screen grabs of silhouettes and textures can go a long way when consulting with a bridal fashion expert.

Couture Wedding Gown


2. Have a vision

Are you going classic, timeless, Grace Kelly inspired for your big day?

Or do you see yourself as more of an eco-chic, barnyard bride?

When setting out to buy your gown, your wedding plans will set the stage for the type of dress you should be wearing.



3. Set a budget

I know. I know. *groan* – nobody wants to set a budget when it comes to a wedding gown. But please believe me when I say that having a sense of (more or less) how much you want to spend on bridal wear really will help us zero in on the perfect dress for you. Sure, my fashion-forward approach and eye for all-things-flattering can pair you with the dress of your dreams…. but if it breaks the bank you’re going to be really disappointed, and totally disheartened with the process. Just be honest with what you want to spend and I promise I’ll find something that fits (both your body and your budget) perfectly.



4. Be in the mood to shop

It might sound simple, and perhaps even silly… but, trust me, hopping from shop to shop trying on wedding gowns can get incredibly tiring – both emotionally and physically!

Early morning appointment? Nobody wants to roll out of bed, feeling groggy and battling bedhead, then dash off to try on dresses. The same applies if you’ve just come off the worst day at work, unable to shake the negativity from your boss and clients. I assure you, regardless of how sparkly these dresses are, none of them will shine to you if you’re just not that into it.

Book your appointments at a time of day when you feel your best: some brides prefer early weekend mornings while others look forward to shopping for frocks in the evening, after work. (I work around your schedule – so feel free to get particular!)

Toronto Hilton Hotel Wedding Planner


5. Be open-minded

So you’ve done your due diligence.

You’ve scoured the pages of all the bridal magazines and think you know exactly what you’re looking for – amazing! Bring in those magazine pages or Pinterest tabs and we’ll use them as a starting point… but keep in mind that what you love on that Maggie Sottero size-2 may not translate to your body the exact same way.

Wedding dress designers often use teeny-tiny models and the photos they’re in are styled beyond reality.

To find a dress you love, you’re going to have to not only try on your favourite styles, but also a few others as well. I help brides learn what suits their personal proportions, statue, personality, comfort and confidence levels.

If I had a nickel for every time a bride left my boutique with a dress totally different than what she came in imagining…

Jaime + Chris - 12:01:12 - Wedding Day 16


6. Be realistic

Don’t shop for your wedding gown under the assumption that you will lose weight to fit into it.

Most dresses have up to an inch of fabric in their seams to let out, or you can easily take a zipper out of the back of a dress and add a corset to give flexibility in size – but it’s extremely risky to choose a wedding gown based on losing weight.

Even the most regimented diet or exercise routine won’t guarantee weight loss at exactly the spots you need to lose, and circumstances leading up to your wedding can alter your life, stress levels, and eating habits in ways you can’t prepare for.

Instead of worrying about your size, let’s put that time and energy into finding a gown that makes you feel gorgeous the instant you put it on!

Allure Couture Bridal Wedding Gown C189


7. Pick your posse

Decide in advance who you will be bringing with you to your gown appointments. Pick the 1 or 2 people in your life whose opinions you trust most and limit your entourage. All too often, depending on how decisive or strong-minded they are on their own, brides can quickly become overwhelmed and confused by handfuls of differing opinions being tossed at them from the sidelines. Sadly, I’ve seen all too many brides be talked out of the dress they loved most.

Or, why not start out by shopping on your own first? Get an idea of what you like and once you’ve built up your own opinions and style preferences, then introduce your final favourites to your mom, your aunt, your Maid of Honour. Make sure your nearest and dearest understand that you’ve narrowed down the dress selections on your own in advance, but that you want their final vote of approval before making the leap.

Ivory Bridesmaid Dresses


8. Be decisive

I would advise against shopping for a wedding dress unless you’re actively out to make a decision.

Sure, trying on gorgeous gowns is every bride-to-be’s right-of-passage into the world of wedded bliss – and don’t get me wrong, some brides do find their dress when (and where) they least expect it – but don’t deliberately book appointments “just to see what’s out there” if you’re not planning on making a decision in the near future (or better yet, if you’re not even engaged).

Yup. Sometimes you might find yourself out running errands, be drawn into a bridal boutique, follow your intuition, and walk out with the dress… but not every bride can always be so lucky.

Shopping before you’re ready to make a decision ends up being a waste of time for both bride and boutique. Our selection of styles changes frequently – what you may fall madly in love with now likely won’t be around six months down the road. Of course, if there’s a gown you just have to have, and you’re willing to put down a deposit, then shop away! But if you’re ‘just trying on dresses for fun’ or ‘just to get a feel for it’ you’re going to end up overwhelmed and frustrated when you can’t remember, six months down the road, what you tried on what one day.. at that one shop…. where was that, again?

Brenda + Kris - Rick Denham Photography C Hotel Hamilton Carmens WeddingGirl.ca planner Photography 6


9. Don’t rush

Being decisive is different from being hasty when it comes to picking the gown of your dreams.

Every bridal boutique offers a different experience and brides often tell me about the spectrum of quality in customer service they encounter along their dress-shopping-journey.

Be prepared to be pressured.

My biggest piece of advice here – if you’re feeling panicked, leave! Don’t fall for sales tactics that scare you….

“You’re running out of time!”

“This style might not be available in a few months.”

“But we’re only having a taxes-included sale today!”

Buying a gown is overwhelming on a good day. What happens if you love two dresses equally?

And let’s face it, it’s not a cheap decision to make.

For the love of all that is right in the world…. just sleep on it. A day or two won’t make any difference (and don’t be afraid to negotiate the taxes-in sale a day later… the worst they can say is no).

Brent Foster Wedding Photography Toronto


 10. Don’t cheat on the one you love

When you’ve found ‘the one’… stop looking!

Just like men.

There will always be beautiful dresses out there, and the rack your dress came off of will be filled with beautiful new designs from the next season’s styles in just a few short months. Unless you’re absolutely distraught at the choice you made, trust yourself on why you chose the dress you did. So long as you’re wearing that gorgeous gown with confidence, you’ll radiate with unforgettable bridal beauty.

COPYCandlelit Wedding Aisle Decor The Flower Shop @ WG copy


A note from the WG wed-iquette team:

As wedding planners, we’ve helped hundreds of brides choose the dress of their dreams. An important note when shopping for your gown? Don’t forget to respect the boutiques you’ve made appointments with. As with any in-person meeting, make sure to call if you’re running late or cancel your appointment if something else comes up (believe me, we understand that things happen!). Many bridal shops like Gown And Glory operate by-appointment-only to give every bride the one-on-one attention she deserves. And from what we know, none of them bite if you need to cancel.

Happy Dress’ing!


: blog love | photography credits

mINK Creative | Taylor Jackson |  Fresh Canadian Content |  Silverlight Photography | Rick Denham |  Foster Visuals |  Captivate Bridal

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November 17, 2014

#MeetThisGirl :: Caryl Baker Visage, Yorkville

{ this is Kyla }

Authored by: Mary Smirle, one of Kyla’s favourite people.



Let’s be honest.

If you know Toronto—whether you live there or just read about it—you know about Yorkville.



Stores that would turn away Julia Roberts even AFTER the makeover, no matter what a big mistake it might be.  Huge, in fact.

Yup. That’s Yorkville.

And right there, the neighbourhood lynchpin: the gorgeous, tempting money pit that is Holt Renfrew.

Oh, hello there, Holt’s.

What’s that?

Can I buy a nail polish for $35 RIGHT NOW so I look like I belong?

Why yes.

Yes, I can.

Can I do it without the inevitable Renfrew Regret that comes after I leave the luxe glamour of the store?

Well. There’s the rub.

Enter Kyla Garritano.

Kyla Garritano Caryl Baker Visage Yorkville Holt Renfrew Center

Kyla knows her Holt.

She knows her luxury.

She knows quality when she sees it.

She lives by Andy Warhol’s quip, “I’ve never met a person I couldn’t call a beauty.”

And Kyla’s bringing her own fabulous sense of style to a new location inside the Holt Renfrew Centre in lovely Yorkville.

Kyla is now the proud owner of Toronto’s newest Caryl Baker Visage boutique, a brand known as “The Face Experts”.

Caryl Baker Visage Yorkville logo


She’s so incredibly excited to combine her own vision of a beautify boutique spa (known to her friends as the Kylab) with the established expertise of one of Canada’s most well-known, but still affordable industry authorities.

Kyla might not initially seem like a determined, driven businesswoman.

She’s a vivacious blonde who can talk a mile-a-minute when she’s on a role—her enthusiasm and love of her work is positively palpable when she really gets going.

Kyla Garritano Visage Yorkville Holt Renfrew Centre Toronto

But it would be a bad idea to dismiss her because of this exuberance and her youthful appearance; she’s used to being underestimated, and, she admits, revels at times in pulling the drop cloth off the mannequin, revealing the oceans of brains behind her tsunami of words.

Part of the reason she speaks so quickly is simply because she has so much knowledge to share.  With a background in finance and IT, her management success in both the for-profit and the charitable sectors spans 16 years, a remarkable length for a woman of her age.

That, and, well… she’s fabulous.

 Kyla Garritano Visage Yorkville Toronto

Before opening the Kylab, Kyla was the Director of Finance and Administration for an educational non-profit organization that spanned Ontario and had reserves in the seven-digits. When her not-for-profit closed its doors in 2013 after its parent org decided to shift its focus, she decided it was time to pursue one of her two passions: beauty.

(The other is food; if you want to really reach Kyla’s heart, compliment her eyelashes and then ask her where to find the best sashimi. Or salumi. Or cupcakes.)

She’s parlaying this management experience into her new salon:

“Treat someone well,” she notes, “and they’ll treat you better.”

Kyla loves the hands-on role she’s taking, relishing the title of General Manager as much as Owner.

She’s not interested in selling snake oil; for her, it’s about figuring out what works with each client’s natural beauty.  It’s about the ingredients, about what each actually does to help keep the skin healthy and happy, and how to enhance the face.

“After all, if a product doesn’t benefit you, doesn’t suit you, well, there’s no value in selling it to you. You won’t be happy and you won’t want to come back.”

The new spa at #VisageYorkville plans to offer services for bridal parties and other significant life events (I have high hopes she’ll have a special service designed for my most favourite of the Prom Looks, the Sparkle Prom). Kyla hopes, however, to also bring in a clientele interested in making the most of their natural beauty in a way that’s suitable for the corporate world.

War Paint Women Girl Beauty Quote

And that’s what it comes down to, in the end.

She just wants to make people happy.

She wants women to leave her salon after their facials and treatments floating on air, knowing they look great, and maybe more importantly, knowing how to do it themselves in-between times.  For those days when there’s that important meeting or dinner with the potential in-laws.  Those days when you might not be able to justify a professional make-up application—that’s the knowledge, the information Kyla wants to share with her clients.

You know the style she means when you talk to her: that elusive “polished but not overdone, neat but certainly not like I tried TOO hard…” style that we are expected to be able to knock off in less than 10 minutes in the mornings while blow-drying our hair and brushing our teeth, while maybe wrangling a child or small puppy with one foot.

And she thinks a lot of what would make that possible is having that little bit of extra confidence that comes from being just a little pampered and treated well.

Beauty Women Lipstick quotes

After all, to turn back to Andy, “Beauty really has to do with the way a person carries it off.”


As we anxiously await the Grand Opening (slotted for December 12, 2014) follow Kyla and the #VisageYorkville spa on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

And you actually probably should… the giveaways this team has set for their big reveal are pretty exciting!

When you visit, be sure to let all of us know what little touch of glamour the #VisageYorkville team brought into your day for a chance to be featured.

Now, go and get gorgeous!


The WeddingGirl.ca Meet This Girl blogs showcase inspiring and powerful women who change brides’ lives.

Be sure to visit our other #MeetThisGirl features:

Angela Kerry

Tiffany Pratt

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November 15, 2014

The Making of a LookBook

Behind-the-scenes of the 2015 #WGLookBook

If you’ve been following along with our social media, you’ll have noticed some buzz about our upcoming LookBook which we will be launching in March. (So exciting!!!)

We had our first shoot October 26, which wouldn’t have been possible without our amazing vendors!

Gown & Glory

Lush Brush

Country Lane Floral Design

Country Lane Vintage Rentals

Serena Swan Photography

Inviting Elegance Stationery


And our beautiful model Stephanie

Here’s a behind-the-scenes-look at a day on the set of a photoshoot. (You can also check it out on our Facebook page.)











I hope you enjoyed this little sneak peak!

Can’t wait to share the photos from Serena Swan Photography.

- – -

Leah Sandhu is a Fusion Wedding Expert and Bridal Lifestyle Blogger at WeddingGirl.ca.

To have Leah’s creative input and meticulous attention to detail for your celebration, make sure to Get In Touch! Have a question? Email me leah@weddinggirl.ca

Find Leah on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest

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