The Cutest French Café Wedding Ever

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Dom and Amanda first met at a restaurant, so celebrating their wedding at Colette Grand Café felt like coming full circle. They wanted an intimate affair with only their closet friends and family, and the pros behind Lexington and Co. Events helped them achieve exactly that. Amanda stunned in an ethereal Carol Hannah skirt, which was graciously gifted by a fellow bride she met online! Read the full story below and don’t miss a single image from the incredible ARTIESE Studios.

From the bride, Amanda… Dom and I met in the summer of 2014, shortly after he moved to Toronto, at a busy downtown restaurant. Being the cheeky flirt that I am, I took off his baseball hat and put it on my head. He later told me that he fell in love in that moment. One drink turned into dinner, which turned into a second dinner at another restaurant down the street, and so began our shared love of good food, good wine, laughter, and being together. We have been inseparable ever since.

We wanted to create a special, intimate celebration with just close family and friends. As soon as we walked into Colette Grand Café, we fell in love with the space and booked it right away. The décor is classic French style: warm and elegant. The ceremony took place in the sunny white latticework pavilion outside, framed with hanging ivy pots and a floral backdrop.

We have such a talented group of artists in our family and circle of friends, and they added so much sparkle to the day. Family and friends played acoustic Edith Piaf and Beatles songs during the ceremony and classic love songs by Dean Martin during the cocktail reception. My mom read a beautiful indigenous poem that left not a dry eye in the room. My aunts did makeup and dress alterations, and my cousin made our vintage-inspired, delicious wedding cake. Exquisite details by my sister-in-law, who runs a DIY blog, tied everything together with a bow.

I would be remiss not to mention a very special person I met throughout this process. When we started planning the wedding, I came across the dress online. It was a skirt, actually. An ethereal, blush pink linen skirt worn by a beautiful bride named Katie who lives in Pennsylvania. I called a store in Toronto that carries the designer, Carol Hannah, told them I wanted to buy the skirt, and made a fitting appointment. My mom and I showed up on appointment day to take measurements, and when we got there, the owner of the shop told me that there had been a mixup, and that my dress wouldn’t arrive in time for the wedding. I was heartbroken. I called seamstresses to see if it could be recreated. It couldn’t. I called other boutiques across North America that sold the skirt. No one would sell me a sample. As a last resort, I emailed the photographer, who photographed Katie’s wedding, and explained the situation. The photographer promised me he would contact her. That night, I got an email from Katie. She said she wanted me to have the dress, and that she would put it in the mail the next day. Her only request was that I send her a picture of me in the dress, so that she could put it next to hers. I will never tire of telling this story. It’s an uplifting reminder of the good in people, and the kind of person I want to be.

Special thanks to our wedding planner Lexi for bringing our vision to life, and photographer Therese for capturing the most memorable day of our lives with such grace and professionalism. We ate dinner by candlelight, we laughed, and we cried. Just me, my best friend, and the people we love. It was the perfect way to start our life together.

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Photography: ARTIESE Studios | Wedding Planning: Lexington And Co Events | Floral Design: Timberlost Designs | Gown: Carol Hannah | Cake: For the Love of Sweets | Reception Venue: Colette Grand Cafe | Makeup: Teresa Bove | Hair: Tony Pham of LAC + CO | DJ: Andrew Kekewich | Favors: Buy Some Love | Groom’s Attire: Neil Barrett | Groomsmen’s Attire: Suitsupply | Officiant: Enduring Promises | Venue: Colette Grand Cafe | Alterations: Lori Barnes | Decor: Fish & Bull | Musicians: Matt Dawson, Arjun Lombardi-Singh, Jacob Gelcer, Jim Gelcer

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4 Ways to Include Every Kind of Mom in Wedding Planning

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“I think you need a grand five tier cake.” I sat staring, open-mouthed, at my usually laid-back mom. This was the same woman who, through the florist and caterer meeting had stayed largely silent, saying “whatever you like!” The baker did the math on a napkin for us – the cake my mother was suggesting was 450 pieces of cake to our 120 guests. Rest assured, we ultimately found a cake compromise. I was surprised, but maybe I should have seen this coming – my mom is French and I know how that country feels about desserts.

Having any loving relative involved in this special time is a huge blessing. The fond memories you’ll make by having these women at your side while you embark on this new adventure will be treasured – but there are bound to be times when you all differ in opinion. So, to help you navigate the mama-minefield, we’re outlining four different mom styles, and how to involve them in your planning process while staying sane.

The Traditionalist

Some women are bound to care more about adhering to tradition, whatever that may be for their family. It gets even harder when families bring different sets of traditions to the table. If these wishes don’t necessarily fit with your modern vision for the day, the best advice is to find a way to honor each family member, without sacrificing your own vision. Find out what your mother cares about and pick something you’re comfortable incorporating that will make her happy. It might be a short reading during the ceremony, photos of loved ones on the cake table, or a bouquet toss. Involve them in the parts of planning that will feel familiar – like setting up your registry, or shopping for stationary.

The Specialist

If you are lucky enough to have a mom with a particular area of expertise – you can expect a lot of opinions. This is my mom, who is a professional photographer. While all the extra input might be overwhelming, think of this as an advantage, and accept some extra help. Let your mom take one thing off your plate, but don’t forget to voice your opinion. I put my mom in charge of booking a photographer for our big day, but before she got to work, we looked at portfolios together online so she could get a sense of the styles my fiancé and I liked. With her input we found an incredible professional at a fair price that we all loved!

The Cool Companion

Maybe she eloped for her own wedding, generally shies away from voicing her opinion, or for whatever reason doesn’t have many strong feelings about weddings. It’s great to have a laid-back confidant throughout wedding planning, but don’t let her lack of firm opinions prevent you from making memories together. Involve your mom in something activity based, where her company is more important than her input. A menu tasting, china pattern shopping, or site walk-through are all great examples. If you know you’ll be faced with some tough decisions across the day, you can also include a friend who is sure to tell it like it is. No matter what you’ll be glad you had your mother by your side for a few key events.

The Party Animal

On the other hand, there are certainly those moms who have been waiting for this moment their whole lives and intend to make it the party of the century. This is great if you also want a huge bash, but the party she has in mind may end up larger than you hoped. If you envisioned a smaller, more intimate affair, or disagree on how to spend wedding funds, the best course of action is an honest conversation. If your parents are footing some or all of the wedding bill, you may need to make some compromises, for example, on extending invitations to their friends. If you and your fiancé are covering the cost yourself, you need to stick to what you are comfortable spending. Regardless, the key is to clearly communicate what is important to you, as well as where you are, and are not, willing to compromise. Then,involve your mom in all the celebration decisions that will be right up her alley – favors, or dance playlists, for example.

Style Me Pretty Contributor – Chloe O’Sullivan is a freelance writer and sales director based in Washington DC (soon relocating to Northern New Hampshire).  When she isn’t writing, she can be found trying new restaurants, planning her next trip, or hiking with her soon to be husband.  

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Cold Feet or Something More? How to Tell the Difference.

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A case of the pre-wedding jitters is normal. It’s a big day with a whole lot of pressure, so it’s only natural to experience a healthy dose of nerves leading up. But when those jitters turn to something deeper is when leading psychotherapist, Dr. Deborah Sandella says you need to stop and reconsider.

“Many couples I counseled who ended up deciding to cooperatively divorce after many years of marriage said they knew in hearts on their wedding day that the marriage wasn’t right,” Dr. Sandella said. “But they were getting old or it seemed like the right thing to do, or they had gotten into it too deeply to change their minds amongst other feelings.”

Trust Your Feelings

If you feel like fleeing rather than a little nervous pay attention. In the end, it takes courage, to be honest about these things. If you aren’t honest with yourself and communicate your feelings to your fiancé, you will default into a life rather than choosing.

This is a Lifestyle Choice

Consider what it will be like to live together every day. Practice working out conflicts and different preferences before deciding to marry, so you either realize s/he’s not the one or he is. In the end, the happiest couples learn to compassionately work through differences into greater intimacy.

The Litmus Test

Every couple will have differences and conflicts to work through. It’s human nature. How and if you are able to do this is the litmus test. Having at least one person in the couple with high emotional intelligence significantly improves the chances of a successful marriage. You and your partner can take the Emotional Operating System (EOS) Quiz and discover your scores. If both of you score low, I suggest you do some couples workshops, classes and/or counseling before marrying.

Dr. Deborah Sandella PhD, RN is a leading psychotherapist and international best-selling author of Goodbye Hurt & Pain, 7 Simple Steps to Health, Love and Success.

Marriage Advice From Couples Who’ve Been Together Forever!

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Why I’m Doing Two Makeup Trials Before My Wedding

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This might sound trivial but one of my biggest concerns about our wedding day is having to wear a face full of makeup that makes me feel like a totally different person. I think a lot of women have had terrible experiences having their makeup done! Maybe you have too? Today, I’ll be chatting about why I’m doing two trials and some tips I’ve learned along the way with Blushington! xo, Mackenzie of Design Darling

So, back to those terrible experiences… I remember having my makeup done before my high school prom and immediately running to the bathroom to scrub off layers of orange-y foundation before anyone could see me. Even as an adult I’ve had makeup artists tell me to trust them that purple eyeshadow will look great on me because it will complement my red hair (again only for me to scrub it off in the bathroom!).

So while I’m planning to do a proper hair and makeup trial at the salon on Nantucket the day of our wedding, I also wanted to do a more casual makeup trial locally so I could get more comfortable with the whole concept. A friend recommended Blushington, a makeup lounge with locations in California, New York, and Texas. They actually do on-location makeup services if you’re getting married in one of those states!

It might not be a traditional part of the planning process but I’m so glad I took a morning to do an additional makeup trial and address this little fear of mine. I followed advice from several Style Me Pretty posts to bring in pictures of makeup looks I like, which was definitely my biggest takeaway from the day. It was also so helpful to have Mason, my lovely makeup artist for the day, share the words she’d use to describe them — fresh-faced, natural, classic, understated — so I can repeat them to the makeup artist who will actually do my makeup the day of our wedding when I do my real trial on Nantucket this summer.

Another tip from Mason that resonated with me is that it’s easy to start light (whether with foundation, eye shadow, bronzer, you name it) and add another layer if you feel like it hasn’t covered every blemish or you don’t think you’re wearing enough to show up on camera. So I’ll definitely be asking my wedding salon to go easy on the first application and go from there if we agree it’s not quite enough.

My final tip is to have pictures taken after your makeup trial. I might not schedule your engagement photos immediately afterward because it might be too much pressure, but something a little more formal than an iPhone selfie is great because it will show you how your makeup will read on camera for your big day. Even if you can’t meet up with your wedding photographer like I did (thanks Cameron Kelly Studio!), asking a friend who has a nice camera is an easy and worthwhile alternative!

All in all, I’m happy with the choice to do two makeup trials, especially since Blushington offers full face makeup starting at $55. Now in addition to bringing inspiration photos from Pinterest and other bloggers to my real makeup trial, I can bring in a couple photos of myself wearing makeup I actually like! Anything else I should know before my hair and makeup trial this summer? I’m all ears!

P.S. See Mackenzie’s Coastal Engagement Session Here!

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Photography: Cameron & Kelly Studio | Makeup: Blushington

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The 9 Step Workout to a Hot Bridal Bod

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Not only is Michelle Elaine one of New York’s most sought-after wedding planners, but she’s an avid marathoner and certified personal trainer. She loves helping brides whip into shape before the Big Day, and Michelle is sharing some of her favorite slim down moves you can do just about anywhere. Pair this nine-step circuit with a clean eating plan and you’ll see big results in no time.

Lie on your right side keeping a steady form with your shoulders, chest, hips and legs in line with one another (*If you find yourself leaning forward or backward, and/or having difficulty keeping your balance just lean down on your elbow instead of fully extending your right arm.) You’re going to hold this position for 30-60 seconds, then switch to your left side and hold for another 30-60 seconds.

Get into a full plank position, as if you are about to start a push-up. From here, bring down your right arm and then your left so you get yourself into a plank position, and then lift your arms back up, leading with your right arm into that full plank position. You will keep bringing your arms down and up for 30-60 seconds, then switch to start with your left arm & perform for another 30-60 seconds.

Similar to the Tree Plank except this time both legs are fully extended and you will now dip your side down to just touch the ground and then bring back up. Perform these dips for 30-60 seconds and then switch to your opposite side for another 30-60 seconds.

Get into a full plank position and just place your left arm behind your back. Hold your body steady, don’t dip your hips down or push your butt up. Hold this position for 30-60 secondsand then switch arms.

This one is a little tough! Get into full plank position and then raise your right arm and left leg, hold for 30-60 seconds and then switch for left arm and right leg. (*This may be difficult to keep balance, if you need to, just kneel on the balancing leg.)

Get down on all fours and just lift your right foot to a 90-degree angle/hip height so that your foot is flat to the ceiling. Press up for a few inches as you bring that foot up and then lower back down and repeat for 30-60 seconds. Switch to your left foot & repeat for another 30-60 seconds.

Balance yourself into a full plank position with either a yoga ball or medicine ball and then lift your left leg and hold for 30-60 seconds while keeping balance. Then switch to your right leg & hold for another 30-60 seconds. (*The yoga ball, and/or a medicine ball will add difficulty so you can certainly opt for just having hands flat on the ground instead.)

Exactly what you’re thinking, just a basic push-up! But push-ups can transform your upper body & muscle tone! Start in a full plank position and then bring your body down & push-up. (*If you feel your hips sinking or your butt pushing up, place both knees down for assistance & keep the body steady.) Perform 10-15 push-ups.

Stand straight, head, shoulders, hips and feet aligned. Cross left arm over right & hold at a 90-degree angle, then lunge forward with your left leg. Continue to lunge forward alternating legs for 30-60 seconds. Then hold the lunge for 30-60 seconds and switch, this time starting with the right leg.

Pair this Workout With Clean Eating for Max Results!

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Photography: Laura Barisonzi | Make Up : Zann Parker | Hair: Styles On B | Sky Gallery: Sky Gallery | Trainer: Michelle Elaine Weddings

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Five Ways To Avoid Having A Major Wedding Planning Meltdown

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Congrats on your engagement! This is an incredible time and you should be enjoying ever second of it! With wedding planning comes some stress, it’s seriously inevitable. Trust me when I say, these five tips are a must to avoid getting way too overwhelmed with the planning process — you will thank yourself later! Enjoy the wedding planning process, loves!

First, Map It All Out

Before you dive in head first, take a step back and map out everything that needs to get done. I found using a check-list binder was super helpful to keep me organized and remind me of all the things I needed to consider. Here is an awesome one by Kate Spade I would recommend! Next, whip out a calendar and start mapping out what decisions need to be made by what date. This will help you spread out your deadlines and make sure you don’t have to rush anything! A calendar will be your new bestie for the next year!

Delegate When You Can…

If you’re anything like me, it’s really difficult to hand things off because we’re control freaks! I felt like I needed to be involved in executing on every little detail of the wedding, but I quickly learned that’s pretty unrealistic and incredibly stressful. If you have the budget, hire a wedding coordinator that you feel comfortable with and hand some stuff off – completely! Also, let your maid of honor or bridesmaids help with things. They will be more than happy to help you and on the big day you will excited to see some little surprises that you didn’t call the shots on.

Plan A Weekend Trip!

About three months out from your wedding, you will be feeling the pressure. Most of your weekends will be consumed with wedding planning and if you are an over-achiever and have everything already in place, your thoughts will still be consumed with the wedding. It’s extremely important to take some time off! Plan a weekend getaway with your future hubby. I suggest a staycation — don’t go far, but rather stay local and go relax away from home. Make a deal to not discuss the wedding and instead enjoy the moment!

Get In A Workout Routine Stat!

You know what they say, fitness kicks stress in the butt. It’s true. One of the biggest favors you can do yourself while planning your wedding is to get in a workout routine. You will not only have a time every week to release and fight stress, but you will be toning it up to look amazing on your big day. Yoga is always an awesome workout and stress reducer but feel free to try something new and exciting like a barre or circuit training class!

Remember, a good glass of wine and a romantic comedy can fix anything!

Lastly, have fun with the process. It’s very easy to get caught up in obsessing about details and driving yourself crazy. I will fully admit I have been on the verge of tears a few times during the process because I’ve felt overwhelmed! It’s 100% fine to spend Saturday nights in, sipping a glass of wine, browsing Pinterest, with a romantic comedy on the television — here are our suggestions!

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A Pro Surfer’s Tips For Staying Healthy While Wedding Planning

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Carissa Moore is a professional surfer with some impressive titles under her belt, but she’s also a bride-to-be gearing up for her biggest day yet. She’s marrying her love, Luke next December and the while the wedding planning journey comes with its share of stress, she’s sharing insider tips to keep your mind, body, and soul in total check.

How to Stay Healthy While Wedding Planning

Eat Well

I start my day off with something light and then have an energy drink before my workout! Life gets hectic and an extra kick of energy can save any day if I need a pick-me-up! I also make sure to eat lots of veggies and protein.

Breathe

Enjoy the moment. Make sure that when things get stressful or overwhelming you remind yourself why you are doing all of this. LOVE.

Stay Active

Find time for yourself. Staying active keeps my body and mind happy. When I’m not surfing I love to mix in some yoga and boxing.

Connect With Your Partner

Keep the connection with your partner strong. When I’m happy and in love, I feel better about myself and more motivated to stay on track.

Bonus! 7 Ways to Never Miss a Workout Again

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