Create one-of-a-kind engagement photos, learn how to coordinate colours for the prettiest shower ever, plan properly for your destination wedding + more



engagement_1Hennygraphyengagement2HennygraphyHow do you create truly original engagement photos? Ignore the trends and do some inner exploration instead, says Henny Hwang, photographer and owner of Hennygraphy. When planning the theme or location of a shoot she asks nearly-weds to list five things they like to do as couple, as a way to seize on something that’s meaningful to them. Hwang says her West Coast clientele tend to be outdoorsy, so her portfolio shows many couples frolicking in nature, whether standing waist deep in water, strolling a sandy shore or nestled together in a thicket of tall grass. And skip the stuffy poses. “Let the photographer capture the moment and emotion,” says Hwang. “Everything you think, do and feel will show up on the photo.”


showersAinsley Rose Photography

Elegant and timeless neutral tones are a big trend right now in bridal shower décor, says Erin Sousa, founder and creative director of Sparkle Media. Subdued colour palettes give photos staying power, too. When styling your bridal shower, ask guests to dress in a particular colour or tone, like pastels, so the bride will stand out from the crowd. And consider giving her something special to wear, like a flower crown, suggests Sousa. Couples are increasingly sharing the shower spotlight, so make the groom feel part of the celebration. “I’m a big fan of creating a special cocktail for the event and naming it something playful to signify something special in the couple’s relationship!”



A traditional plated dinner can help keep wedding menus simple. But with guests’ ages and palates running the gamut, wine pairings need to be approachable, says Heather Courtney, hospitality manager at CedarCreek Estate Winery. “One white and one red is ample,” she says. Courtney’s go-to white is Pinot Gris, which has “a little sweetness and floral notes, but with great structure,” and works well with food such as chicken, pork and seafood. For red wine, she says to avoid big reds like Malbec or Cabernet Sauvignon and go for the lighter Pinot Noir varietal. If your wedding is more intimate, you can offer two reds and two whites, “especially if the establishment knows the wines,” says Courtney. Ultimately, “it’s the bride and groom’s choice.”



Destination weddings can be dreamy, but escaping to Vancouver Island or the Gulf Islands involves some extra planning, especially during busy months. That means making ferry or seaplane bookings and accommodation reservations well in advance, says Barb Walker, head planner at Victoria-based French Kiss Events. And whether you fly or ferry, “always keep your rings, other jewellery pieces, wedding attire, vows and any other top priority wedding pieces with you at all times,” says Walker. “If flying, carry these items on, as you won’t want to worry about the stress of lost luggage just before your wedding,” she adds. Another pro trip: call your hotel ahead of time to ensure they have a steamer for your dress.