From shoulder jewellery to elopement packages, unique touches make for wedded bliss

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      Swarovski Shoulders
      For custom bling to wear on the big day, local brides have been going to Elsa Corsi Couture Jewellery for nearly a decade. The local designer creates one-of-a-kind pieces using vintage techniques and takes her inspiration from Old Hollywood glamour. While her chandelier earrings, ornate cuff bracelets, and layered pearl necklaces have been popular choices for brides, Corsi has added a new stunner to her bridal collection: shoulder jewellery, an ideal—and an unexpected—choice for women donning strapless dresses. The Swarovski-crystal-adorned piece is worn in a similar way to a necklace, hanging gracefully on both the front and back. Delicate crystal epaulettes drape over both shoulders. (Available at Jeweliette Jewellery [1090 Hornby Street] for $1,800, and customizable.)

      Loden Hotel’s low-key, high-end settings.

      Secret Ceremony
      Hotel weddings often conjure an image of over-the-top banquets with hundreds of guests, but a Vancouver boutique hotel is presenting couples with a different experience. The Loden Hotel (1177 Melville Street) offers elopement and intimate nuptial packages for brides and grooms seeking a more low-key—albeit high-end and glamorous—experience. Small wedding ceremonies can be performed on the hotel’s Halo Penthouse Rooftop Terrace, where a marriage commissioner, witnesses, mood lighting, and a rose-petal aisle are all provided. Afterward, newlyweds—with or without guests—can enjoy celebratory drinks and cake in the adjoining Halo Penthouse Suite. Elopement packages can accommodate up to eight guests. A slightly larger wedding can be planned for 40 people and includes canapés from Tableau Bar Bistro, drinks, a cake, and flowers. After the festivities, the newlyweds can retire for the night in the Loden’s Something Blue honeymoon suite. Visit the Loden Hotel website for more details.

      Blue Brocade hair flowers.

      Brides in Blooms
      The trend of brides eschewing traditional veils in favour of floral crowns is still going strong. Rather than spending money on fresh flowers and watching them wilt after the “I dos”, many are turning to faux—but realistic-looking—floral hair pieces for the big day. Vancouver’s Jessa Alston-O’Connor has been creating handmade hair accessories for brides under the name Blue Brocade since 2012. Her designs can be found at Brick and Mortar Living (50 and 52 Sixth Street, New Westminster) as well as online. It’s a purple-and-blush floral crown that has us smitten. The dramatic piece ($79.81) features two large blooms—one a muted purple, the other a soft pink—hand-cut from silk taffeta and silk satin.

      Designer Dresses
      Vancouver’s Blush Bridal and Special Occasions (1189 Hamilton Street) is hosting two trunk shows that will give local brides a taste of this year’s top trends by sought-after international designers. From January 30 to February 1, brides can try on dresses from Rosa Clará’s 2015 collection and receive 10 percent off purchases. The Spanish wedding-dress designer launched her first collection 20 years ago in Barcelona. The Soft by Rosa Clará collection, featured at Blush, includes classic ivory gowns replete with lace and beaded details. Low backs and dropped waistlines give these traditional dresses a modern twist. From February 20 to 22, brides have the opportunity to preview Vera Wang’s fall 2015 collection. Gowns by the New York designer are all about high drama—voluminous tulle skirts, dizzying floral appliqués, and silver-beaded maxi dresses. Both trunk shows are by appointment only.

      A bouquet pendant by Whisper Jewels.

      Meaningful Bouquets
      Brides can honour someone special on their walk down the aisle with a bouquet pendant or brooch from Whisper Jewels. The Vancouver-based company was launched when owner and designer Rubina Mangat merged her talents as a photographer and her passion for wearable art. Each piece tells a story, and clients can submit their own photos for use in custom jewellery as well. Mangat’s bouquet pendants and brooches are particularly popular among local brides. Taking inspiration from the Victorian era, pendants—typically containing black-and-white portraits—are affixed to bridal bouquets using lace or velvet ribbon. Brooches holding photos are pinned to a bouquet’s silk-wrapped stem. Pieces start at $100 and can be ordered online.

      Show and Tell
      There’s no better way to kick-start planning for the big day than heading to a wedding show. A traditional one takes place at the Pan Pacific Hotel Vancouver on February 22, with the fourth annual Dare to Dream corralling some of the city’s top wedding vendors. Tickets are $25 via the Something Borrowed website in advance. For brides who enjoy the hunt, the Original Bridal Swap hits the Croatian Cultural Centre on April 12. This flea-market-type event enables future brides to purchase secondhand dresses and wedding items. Tickets are $14 at the Original Bridal Swap website.

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      Don't Do It!

      Jan 22, 2015 at 2:44pm

      That blonde woman does NOT look pleased about getting married.