Tips for hosting a successful and stress-free bridal shower

Congratulations – you’re a bridesmaid! That means you may be asked to throw a bridal shower, or at least help plan one.

Congratulations - you're a bridesmaid....

Congratulations – you’re a bridesmaid….

It can be exciting to help your friend or family member celebrate her upcoming nuptials. It can also be a daunting task. Here are a few simple tips to help avoid a bridal shower meltdown.

Decide on a budget
Whoever throws the party foots the bill, so make sure everyone involved is on the same page about how much money they are prepared (and able) to spend. If the bridal shower budget grows beyond your means, offer to contribute in other ways – such as by baking cupcakes, decorating the space, sending out invitations, or helping with the clean-up.

Consult the bride
Even though it’s not her party to plan, it’s a good idea to ask for the bride’s input.  While many brides still prefer a traditional get together with friends, food and games, some modern brides are opting for a ‘girls day out’ with trips to the spa, winery, restaurant, or other local attraction.

Some brides prefer to enjoy a girl's day at the spa!

Some brides prefer to enjoy a girl’s day at the spa!

Share the work
Between choosing a venue, sending invitations, organizing food, decorations, games, and party favours, planning a shower can become overwhelming. Don’t try to do it alone. Ask your fellow bridesmaids, the bride’s mother, or future mother-in-law for help.

Coordinate the guest list
Unless the bride is throwing a small wedding or destination wedding, it’s considered bad manners to invite guests who aren’t invited to the wedding. If there will be multiple showers, guests are only expected to bring a gift to the first one they attend.Paper invitations should be sent out four to six weeks before the party.

Have fun!
A bridal shower is a traditional way to celebrate the bride-to-be and prepare her for her wedding day. It’s also a great excuse to get together with friends and family and have some fun. So don’t get hung up on the little things that may not go exactly as planned.  Just relax and enjoy the moment!

We'd be delighted to host your event in one of our private dining rooms.

We’d be delighted to host your event in one of our private dining rooms.

At Elm Hurst Inn & Spa, our dedicated event staff would be delighted to help you arrange all the details.

Makeup tips for summer brides

Summer wedding season is in full swing, but the hot, humid weather in southwestern Ontario can make achieving a flawless face a challenge. We asked Elm Hurst Inn & Spa makeup artist, Vashti, for a few tips on achieving (and maintaining) a picture-perfect face as the temperatures rise.

Look picture-perfect on your big day by following some simple makeup tips!

Look picture-perfect on your big day by following some simple makeup tips!

A makeup trial is a must
Always, always have a makeup trial before your wedding. This is your day, and you don’t want any unexpected surprises!

A makeup trial is a must!

A makeup trial is a must!

Sit down with your makeup artists and discuss how you would like to look. Bring pictures and examples. Have a favourite lip colour? Bring that too!

Bridal skin boot camp
We recommend that you start any facial treatments at least four to five months before your wedding day. Why so far in advance? Your skin takes about two months to adjust to new facial products – this way you will avoid any redness or breakouts on your big day.

Begin with a basic facial, such as our Elemental Nature for Self Renewal Facial. This 90-minute treatment is suitable for all skin types and begins with a consultation with your spa therapist – a great time to discuss any concerns that you have with your skin.

Aveda Facial

At the end of your treatment, your therapist will recommend products for home use. AVEDA carries three-month starter kits – a great buy for brides-to-be!

We recommend having a facial every six to eight weeks prior to your wedding date. The night before the big day, have a relaxing cooling facial to help reduce any redness and relieve stress.

Sparkles. Foundation. Mascara.
Just say ‘no’ to sparkles. They look pretty, but they reflect light in photographs meaning you’ll shine in the wrong way!

Avoid using heavy, caked-on foundations or your face will be melting by mid-day. Stick to something light, especially during the summer months.

Waterproof mascara and eyeliner are a must! You don’t want streaks down your cheeks when you shed a few tears of joy.

2014 summer makeup trends
In the past, we’ve seen lots of natural-looking brides with neutral coloured eye makeup.  This year, brides are going bold!

Smokey eyes are in, especially in neutral shades of brown and grey. If you’re brave, add a pop of colour as well. In contrast, lips are getting softer, with nude lips all the rage for Summer 2014.

This year, Brides are going bold!

This year, Brides are going bold!

Don’t forget to use a primer and fixative spray
Using a primer underneath your makeup is an absolute must. Primers fill in any skin imperfections, such as fine lines and wrinkles, giving your skin a soft, perfectly-smooth look for your makeup application.

As a make-up artist, fixative sprays are an essential step for any bride during any bride during the summer months. Aveda’s Botanical Kinetics Skin Firming / Toning Agent is a great choice, and doubles as a refreshing toner. A light spritz over your makeup application will set it for a longer-lasting look. Then freshen up again between the ceremony and reception.

Our trained spa therapists and estheticians would be delighted to help you put your best face forward on your wedding day. Visit to learn more about our spa services and Bridal Spa Packages.


Wedding bouquets – more than just beautiful blooms

The tradition of carrying wedding flowers dates back to ancient times, when strong fragrances were believed to ward off evil spirits, bad luck, and sickness. During the Victorian era, the bridal bouquet took on added significance, as each flower was associated with a specific meaning.

The tradition of carrying a bridal bouquet dates to ancient times.

The tradition of carrying a bridal bouquet dates to ancient times.

Today, many Brides choose their wedding flowers for purely aesthetic reasons, but if you’d like to infuse your bouquet with added symbolism here is the meaning behind five popular choices.


Roses are the most popular wedding flower.

Roses are the most popular wedding flower.

Roses are the most popular flower for wedding bouquets and also make a great choice for boutonnieres, corsages, and centrepieces.

The rose symbolizes love, joy and beauty, although different colours have slightly different meanings. Red is for love, pink symbolizes happiness, while a white rose is for innocence and purity. Yellow roses symbolize friendship and occasionally jealousy, so may not be the best choice for your bridal bouquet. Including an unopened rosebud in your bouquet is a sign of youth.


Tulips are a colourful choice for spring weddings.

Tulips are a colourful choice for spring weddings.

Tulips are a great seasonal choice for spring weddings, and come in a wide variety of colours. They symbolize love and passion, but are very fragile so should be treated with care.

Calla Lily


The Calla Lilly adds an instant touch of elegance.

The elegant Calla Lily is a fashionable choice for the sophisticated bride. They symbolize magnificent beauty, and can stand on their own as a striking wedding bouquet.


McDowellCowie 7 DAISY

Daisies come in a variety of colours – including traditional white.

Available in almost every colour, daisies are a versatile and relatively inexpensive bloom. They symbolize sharing your feelings, loyalty and innocence.


Vibrant sunflowers add a rustic touch to any celebration.

Vibrant sunflowers add a rustic touch to any celebration.

Sunflowers are a wonderful choice for autumn nuptials or ceremonies with a rustic theme. These colourful and happy flowers symbolize trust and adoration.

Whatever blooms you choose, your bridal bouquet should reflect your personality and style and be something you truly love.

Tips for the mature bride

You’re never too old to find Prince Charming, and every wedding is something to celebrate. Luckily, the days when mature or second-time brides were expected to keep things low-key are over. And while you can have a fairy-tale wedding at any age, here are some tips to keeping the big day age-appropriate.

The Guest List
As an older couple, there’s a good chance that you will be covering most of the costs associated with your wedding. That means you get to invite who you like rather than filling the room with your parents’ friends. Feel free to invite as many people, or as few, as you like and can afford. (But it’s probably wise to exclude any exes, no matter how well you still get along!)

As a mature bride, you get to choose who will be at your wedding!

As a mature bride, you get to choose who will be at your wedding!

The Registry
You’re older and wiser than the average 20-year-old, and you probably own plenty of pots and pans. So should you register for gifts? If you don’t want to leave the gift-giving to chance, the answer is a resounding ‘yes.’

If you don’t need a new toaster-oven, feel free to get creative when it comes to your registry.  Couples with a passion for fine food could register for wine or gourmet ingredients, while those who love to travel might register for their honeymoon trip.

If you’re truly uncomfortable receiving gifts, consider asking your guests to make a donation to your favourite charity.

The Dress
As with any wedding, your dress choice should reflect the tone of your big day. Are you holding an informal day-time celebration, or an elegant evening affair? Perhaps you’ll be barefoot on the beach.  With so many styles of gown available, you’re sure to find something that suits the occasion.

You probably already have a good idea about what style looks best on your body so be open-minded, and choose something that you truly love.

Choose a gown that reflects the formality of your event - and that you love!

Choose a gown that reflects the formality of your event – and that you love!

The Kids
If you have children, including them in your celebration can be a wonderful way to acknowledge your new family unit.  Include them in your bridal party, or ask them to serve as a flower girl or ring bearer. They might also like to say a few words or perform a song during your ceremony.

The Party
You’ve waited patiently for your big day, so make it a celebration to remember. Instead of being bound by tradition, plan an event that truly reflects who you are as a couple.

Put your personal touch on everything from the music to the cupcakes!

Put your personal touch on everything from the music to the cupcakes!

To learn more about becoming an Elm Hurst bride, visit


Tips for the groom

You found the girl of your dreams, bought the ring, popped the question, and she said yes! Now it’s time to plan your wedding…

While many brides have dreamed of their big day for years and are happy to take charge, a smart groom will lend his hand to help ensure the planning process is as fun and stress-free as possible.

Elm Hurst Inn weddings

Working together as a team will help keep your wedding day happy and stress-free.

Lend a hand (and your voice)
Marriage is all about being part of a team, and planning your wedding is a great place to start. So do more than just discuss the budget – tour venues, meet the caterer, taste the menu, help choose the cake.  Your bride will appreciate your input and support.

Be a peace-keeper
There are bound to be stressful moments and times when things don’t go exactly as planned. Bridesmaids may disappoint. Mothers may nag.  And your intended may buckle under the pressure. Your job is to keep the peace. Be a sympathetic ear, but don’t choose sides. If your bride is truly feeling overwhelmed, hire a professional wedding planner to help her get things back on track.

Manage your men
Be the point person for your groomsmen, ushers and the ring bearer. Make sure they know what their role is and that their suits are purchased/rented on time. Help with travel arrangements and accommodations, and make sure rowdy behavior does not get out of control. You don’t want to start married life by embarrassing your new wife and in-laws.

As a groom, it's your job to look after your men! HRM Photography

As a groom, it’s your job to look after your men! HRM Photography

Keep the romance alive
With all the work involved in planning a wedding, it can be easy to forget that the day is all about celebrating your love. Book your finacee a surprise spa day. Send her flowers. Write her a love note. It doesn’t have to be fancy, but it should remind her how much you care.

Look your best
Your bride has probably made a big effort to look her very best on your wedding day and so should you. Book a haircut. Get a professional shave. Consider having a facial and a manicure. If you’re planning a bare-foot beach wedding, have a pedicure too! Show your guests why she’s lucky to have you.

Express yourself
Even though the wedding day is your bride’s day to shine, you don’t have to fade into the background. Express your personality through a colorful tie, fun socks, or a stylish hat. Just make sure your bride approves!

Express your personality with a stylish hat! Painting with Light Photography.

Express your personality with a stylish hat! Painting with Light Photography.

Remember, a relaxed bride will be a happy bride. So get your marriage off on the right foot by being her partner, every step of the way.

To learn more about hosting your wedding at Elm Hurst Inn & Spa, visit 



2014 Bridal Fashions

If you’re getting married in 2014, chances are you have already started your hunt for the perfect wedding dress!

We look forward to celebrating with our 2014 Brides!

We look forward to celebrating with our 2014 Brides!


To help you sort through the tulle, glitter, and lace, we asked our friends at Sew Stylish Wedding Works about what the fashionable bride will be wearing this year:

In bridal fashion we see trends come and go – and then come back again years later, having been re-invented.  The soft and romantic gown trend continues in 2014, with many flowing looks perfect for a vintage inspired wedding. Lace also continues to be popular, but with new innovative versions that certainly are nothing like your mom’s lace gown!

Here are a few of our favourite trends that are now arriving daily at our shop in downtown Ingersoll.

Unique Necklines
Although strapless gowns will never go out of style, there are definitely many options now for the bride who wants a bit of support, or simply likes the look of a gown with straps. Here are our three favourite unique necklines, that provide a bit of coverage while still being soft and beautiful.

There are plenty of options for Brides who don't want to go strapless!

There are plenty of options for Brides who don’t want to go strapless!

Luxurious Lace
We’ve seen lace make a huge comeback over the last few seasons, but every year designers come up with new ways to use it, as well as new innovative versions of the textile.

One of our favourite ways we are seeing lace used is under a soft overlay so that it peeks through, but is not the main fabric. We are also seeing two different laces layered, giving a very textured and rich look.

So whether you are looking for a vintage inspired lace gown that’s simple and understated, or are a bride who wants lace that sparkles and shines, there are many options to choose from in 2014!

Not your grandmother's lace!

Not your grandmother’s lace!

Ball Gowns Fit For a Princess
For many years, we’ve heard brides say “I don’t want anything too poofy”. Well, those days are over, because the big, voluptuous ball gown is back – with a modern twist!

With intricately embroidered bodices, flattering natural waist lines and sometimes even a sparkling layer of tulle hidden in the skirt, any bride will feel like she is living in a fairy tale.

These ball gowns will have you feeling like a princess!

These ball gowns will have you feeling like a princess!

Follow the Sew Stylish Wedding Works blog for more Bridal Tips and Trends!

Happy shopping from the Wedding Team at the Elm Hurst Inn & Spa!

Avoiding the Wedding Day Melt-Down

With all the time, effort, and money many couples put in to planning their wedding, it’s no wonder that when the big day finally arrives many are too stressed out to actually enjoy it.

Make the most of your wedding day by keeping stress at bay.

Make the most of your wedding day by keeping stress at bay.

Whether you are organizing a large extravaganza, or an intimate affair, there are bound to be things that don’t go exactly as planned – and that’s OK. Here are a few tips to help you stay focused on what’s really important (celebrating your love in front of family and friends), instead of succumbing to wedding day stress.

Be organized, start early, and ask for help
There’s nothing worse than trying to get things done at the last minute – and this is especially true when organizing a wedding. Give yourself plenty of time to plan your day, especially if you are detail oriented. Don’t be shy to ask for help from your bridesmaids, or enlist the services of a professional wedding planner and let her sweat the small stuff!

A professional wedding planner can take care of all the little details, so you can relax and enjoy your day!

A professional wedding planner can take care of all the little details, so you can relax and enjoy your day!

Look after yourself
No matter how organized you are, there will undoubtedly be plenty of last-minute running around. But that doesn’t mean you should let yourself get run down.  Get plenty of sleep. Eat healthy. Exercise. Take some quiet time for yourself. Breathe!


Treat yourself to a relaxing day at the Spa!

Embrace the moment
No one but you will notice that the table cloths are not the exact shade you ordered, and everyone understands the weather is beyond your control. If your outdoor ceremony needs to be moved inside, or a favourite aunt gets stuck in traffic on her way to the reception, go with the flow. Focus on the big picture, keep a positive attitude, and remind yourself to savour every moment.

Fall photos - Columbia photos

Don’t forget to embrace the moment! (Photo by Columbia Photos)

How did you deal with Wedding Day stress?

To learn more about celebrating your special day at Elm Hurst Inn & Spa, visit

It’s a nice day for a (wet) wedding

As a Bride, you can plan everything down to the last detail – but the one thing you can’t control on your Wedding Day is the weather!  And as our sunny Ontario summer turns into a cool and often wet fall, it’s time to offer a few tips to make sure that a few rain drops don’t put a damper on your celebration.

Don't let stormy weather create unexpected wedding day drama - unless it's dramatic photos!

Don’t let stormy weather create unexpected wedding day drama – unless it’s dramatic photos!

Always have a Plan B
Whether you’re getting married in June or November, you just never know what Mother Nature will have up her sleeve.  Don’t be shy about asking your venue about a back-up plan, especially if you are hoping to hold your ceremony outdoors.  Does the venue offer suitable inside alternatives? Or should you order a tent with sides, just in case?

WEdding Tent

A tent can be part of your Plan B!

Watch the weather channel
Check the weather forecast about a week before your wedding. While it’s not foolproof, it should eliminate any last minute surprises, and help you decide whether or not to put Plan B into action.

Designate a Point Person
Decide in advance who will make the final decision about any changes brought about by bad weather.  Don’t leave it until the last minute. Venues will do their best to accommodate your request and keep your ceremony running on schedule, but it takes time to move an outdoor ceremony under cover, or to close the sides of an open tent.

Waterproof makeup is a must
You don’t want makeup dripping down your face if you’re caught in a downpour, so make sure your eyeliner and mascara are waterproof.

Embrace the Rain
Many cultures believe that Wedding Day rain brings good luck, so if the skies open try to go with the flow and have some fun. Colourful rain boots can make cute accessories for any outdoor photos and will save your stilettos.   And don’t forget to bring plenty of umbrellas for your bridal party.  Clear umbrellas are always a good choice for photos, but colourful ones can also add a sense of play.

Wedding Photos

Colourful umbrellas can add a sense of play to your wedding photos.

Remember that rainy weather can make for some unforgettable wedding photography, but ask your photographer about alternate indoor locations if you’d rather not brave the elements.

To see what we have to offer, inside and out, visit 

Get the most out of Wedding Show Season

Fall is just around the corner, so Wedding Show Season can’t be far behind.  With so many vendors under one roof, attending a bridal show can be a great place to look for new ideas, scout out the latest trends, and meet local wedding professionals. But it can also be a bit overwhelming.

Attending a Bridal Show can help you plan your wedding.

Attending a Bridal Show can help you plan your wedding.

Here are five tips o help you get the most out of the experience:

Do your homework
How many vendors will be in attendance? Some shows are held in large convention halls with hundreds of booths. Others are more exclusive ‘boutique’ affairs.

Most shows have a website where vendors are listed. Take some time to check it out to get a sense of the size of the event, and to identify vendors – florists, photographers, deejays, venues – that you don’t want to miss.

Many events also allow you to register in advance, offering ticket discounts and other incentives.

Don’t be shy
After you’ve decided which vendors catch your eye, the best way to see if this is someone you’d really like to work with is to strike up a conversation. Bring a list of questions, but don’t be pushed into making an on-the-spot decision. Most vendors will be happy to set up an appointment at a later date to discuss details in a more relaxed atmosphere.

Bring business cards or labels with your contact information, wedding date, phone number and email address to leave behind. Many vendors offer draws for prizes. You may be the lucky one!

Don’t miss the fashion show
Everyone loves the glamour and excitement of a fashion show, and they are a big part of most bridal events. Check the times to make sure you get a front row seat!

Bring a tote bag
Most vendors have brochures or other information to take home with you. Some even offer swag! Come prepared – your arms will thank you.

Bring a friend
Bridal shows are supposed to be fun, so make it a social event and bring a friend, your mom, or even your fiancée. Give yourself plenty of time to visit each vendor, enjoy the free samples, have some refreshments, and socialize. And don’t forget to wear comfortable shoes!

If you’re planning a wedding in southwestern Ontario, come and meet our Wedding Coordinator and her team at the London Fall Bridal Show (London Convention Centre, September 7 & 8) or the London Bridal Expo (Western Fairgrounds, September 28 & 29).

Or visit us online!

Tips for a Green(er) Wedding

Your wedding day will be one of the most important days in your life, but that doesn’t mean it needs to be an ode to mindless consumption. In fact, there are many simple ways to create a memorable celebration without breaking the bank – or leaving a huge environmental footprint.

Here are a few simple tips for a green(er) wedding:

Elm Hurst Inn & Spa

Elm Hurst Inn & Spa is located in the heart of SW Ontario, reducing travel time for out-of-town guests and shrinking your environmental footprint.

Go Local

  • Reduce travel time by choosing a wedding venue close to as many of your guests as possible, and consider hiring a shuttle bus for your family and bridal party.
  • Make a green statement with your own big entrance by arriving in an eco-friendly electric car, on the back of an e-bike, or in an old-fashioned horse and buggy!
  • Ask your chef to create a seasonal meal that is sourced locally, and to stock the bar with locally-produced wine and beer.
  • Instead of traditional centrepieces, try potted plants that guests can take home as a keepsake, or find out what flowers are grown locally and will be in season.
Summer Berry Salad

Ask your chef to create a locally-sourced wedding meal. Pictured above: Elm Hurst’s seasonal Summer Berry Salad.

Go Paperless

  • Paperless e-vites are the greenest option, but if you want something more tangible choose invitations made from recycled paper, and ask guests to RSVP online or by phone.
  • Get creative with your wedding programs and menus. Printed versions can easily be replaced by blackboards or other signage.
This Elm Hurst Bride used creative eco-friendly signage for her rustic-themed wedding.

This Elm Hurst Bride used creative signage for her rustic-themed wedding.

Go Personal

  • Make a personal statement in a vintage gown, or look for a designer who uses sustainable or recycled materials.
  • Choose bridesmaids dresses that your wedding party will wear again and again. Don’t be afraid to buy off-the-rack instead of at the bridal salon!
  • Consider exchanging heirloom rings, or rings made from recycled metals. And don’t forget to ask your jeweller about conflict-free diamonds.
  • If you already own a toaster oven and dishes, ask your guests to make a donation to one of your favourite charitable organizations in lieu of presents.
Remember that an intimate gathering of close family and friends can be just as memorable as a large occasion.

Remember that an intimate gathering of close family and friends can be just as memorable as a large occasion.

Go Small

  • Setting a limit on the number of guests – and sticking to it – is the most important thing you can do to control the cost and environmental impact associated with your wedding day.
  • Although it may be challenging to trim the list, remember that an intimate celebration with family and close friends can be a truly meaningful occasion that will be treasured for years.

Visit to learn why we are a preferred Wedding Venue, and to book your tour!