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celebrating canada’s lgbt LIFESTYLE | march 2015

The Wedding Issue Our album of newlyweds


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MAGAZINE PUBLISHER Patricia Salib EDITOR Jim Brosseau Art director Nicolรกs Tallarico FASHION DIRECTOR Adam Webster ASSOCIATE EDITOR David Wright CONTRIBUTORs Adrienne Jordan, Al Ramsay, Adam Segal, Riley Stewart, Mary Anne Terry ON the cover Photography by Adam Webster; styled by Kenisha Paranso and Nagham Cararah; assistant stylists, Karen Burgher and Morgan Pettit; grooming by Carley and Cheri for Toronto Bridal Style. Model: Mark Lutley (Sutherland Models). Shot on location at the Four Seasons Hotel, Toronto Senior Account Director Woodrow Monteiro Marketing/sponsorship co-ordinator Patrick Forestell DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS Reggie Lanuza Controller Miki Ogiri OUR MISSION Inspire gay men and lesbians to live life to the fullest. Expand the gay and lesbian community by valuing diversity and individual choice. Celebrate Canada. Provide readers with compelling news, information and entertainment. ADVERTISING & OTHER INQUIRIES 416-800-4449, ext. 100 EDITORIAL INQUIRIES 416-800-4449, ext. 201 PRODUCTION TALK BACK Feel free to share your comments on IN or articles in the magazine by emailing us at IN Magazine is published 12 times per year by The Mint Media Group. All rights reserved. 182 Davenport Rd., Suite 300, Toronto, ON, M5R 1J2

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issue 58 march 2015


06 | FITNESS PROFILE A young woman of substance 08 | ON RELATIONSHIPS Giving meaning to your vows 09 | MONEY$TYLE Getting your wedding house in order


10 | THE WEDDING ALBUM Same-sex couples share the joys of their big day 22 | SCENTS AND SENSIBILITY Measuring your ceremony’s success one bloom at a time 30 | WHAT A MORNING AFTER! The best for your guests at the post-wedding brunch 33 | A PLANNER’S CHECKLIST When the proposal is just the beginning


24 | THE WEDDING DRESSER Stylish looks for a day to remember


19 | HONEYMOON SWEET Destinations with something for every newlywed’s taste

Adam Webster

34 | FLASHBACK The U.K. says “I do” to same-sex marriage

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INfront collective wisdom for living well

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Fitness Profile

Christine Hsu PROFESSION Personal trainer and health-and-fitness educator. ROLE MODELS My dad taught me to face everything with an open mind. My mom has shown incredible determination, strength and courage, having to restart a life after we immigrated to Canada. They’ve both taught me never to give up. HOW SEXUALITY AFFECTED SPORTS ACTIVITIES GROWING UP Sports helped me cope with and overcome the struggles that came with having internalized homophobia and depression and coming to terms with my sexuality. I realized I could use sports as a vehicle for social change, particularly to challenge homophobia. So it has continuously shaped decisions about the things I pursue as a leader in the LGBTQ sports community. WAYS YOU OVERCAME ANY ANTI-GAY PREJUDICES By knowing that any prejudices people have are simply a result of what they have been taught. I stand up for myself and others when it’s appropriate. I take the initiative to educate people to be more open minded. Forgiveness and compassion are also essential in overcoming any adversity that I’ve faced. You cannot win by fighting fire with fire. ADVICE TO YOUNG PEOPLE ON OVERCOMING BIASES IN SPORTS Be at the top of your class and your game. Understand that what people say or do says more about their character than anything else. Lead by example and stay focused on achieving your goals—in sport and in life—by rechannelling negative energy into motivation for you to improve. PERSONAL FITNESS GOALS Striving for better self-care, physically and mentally. I do this by challenging myself. My latest goal is to complete the Nike Women’s 15K in June with good time. Distance running has never been something I took an interest in, but I would like to test my body’s limits while maintaining my muscle mass. YOUR FITNESS STRATEGY I play sports to stay active and social, while my workouts help me achieve my fitness goals—along with eating well and regularly. My workouts consist of full-body circuits that are a mix of strength training with free weights, as well as functional training, with the emphasis on calisthenics. And no workout is complete without some meditative practices. HOBBIES I love to dance, draw, read and write. Playing and listening to music is therapeutic for me—I’ve recently started learning to play the guitar. I also enjoy volunteering and giving back to the community, especially to promote a more active, healthy lifestyle. INSPIRATION SOURCE People and their stories along with my own passion for sports and health are my inspiration sources. Volunteering for multiple organizations, including being the chair of the Women’s Division of Toronto Gay Football League and working at the Distress Centre, allows me to regularly connect with people. It’s humbling to have people share their lived experiences and struggles with me, particularly around barriers in sports and physical activity. BEST LIFE LESSON SO FAR People may not remember who you are or what you did, but they will remember how you made them feel.

Photography: Riley Stewart - make-up artist: Stacey Laureyssens

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O n Re l at i o n s h i ps

AND SO TO WED? → Keys to getting your marriage off to a good start By Adam Segal


577 Yonge Street, Toronto, Ontario M4Y 1Z2 T 416-966-6969 | shop online

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LIVE AND SILENT AUCTI ON GALA Thursday, March 26, 2015 Bram & Bluma Appel Salon at the Toronto Reference Library 789 Yonge Street PUBLIC PREVIEW March 20 to 22, 2015 Arta Gallery Distillery District PRESENTED BY

t has been nearly 10 years since gay marriage became legal across Canada. That’s almost a decade of gays and lesbians having access to what many consider the most meaningful event and journey of their lives. This momentous legal victory has also paved the way for countless gay couples to endure the stress of wedding planning and some questionable trappings of marriage that our straight comrades have had to contend with for countless ages. For those gay couples who long to walk down the aisle toward forever with that special person, here are some essential do’s and don’ts. Don’t get married to save an ailing relationship. Just like other potential “game changers” (threesomes, having kids…), getting married is one of the worst things you can do to solidify a relationship that is already struggling. Plunging into an emotionally and financially demanding event meant to celebrate your bond will only add extra pressure to strained couples. A telltale predictor of disaster is when a couple is willing to put way more time and energy into a wedding than into the actual relationship. If you’re hoping to build a stronger relationship, you might want to put off the wedding and instead consider allocating that part of your budget toward some good old-fashioned couples therapy. Do cultivate emotional honesty. Sometimes I get asked what makes strong relationships. One element that seems to be a factor in relationships that stand the test of time is a willingness for both people to be vulnerable. Being able to express fears and insecurities about marriage, and just about everything else after that big day, makes it more

likely that your bond will not only survive waves of difficulties but continue to thrive eons beyond the honeymoon glow. If planning your wedding becomes a deeply arduous and tension-filled experience, you are doing something wrong and need to approach the whole affair differently. Don’t get married because it is legal, your gay friends are doing it or because your family is pressuring you to tie the knot. Just because marriage is now a possibility doesn’t mean it is right for every couple or at any time. It is vital that you and your partner can communicate with each other about why marriage is important to you and what it truly signifies. How does marriage differ from a committed live-in relationship? Is the level of commitment or expectation changing? What do you hope marriage will offer you as a couple? You and your lovebug will need to be on the same page more often than not with your answers before donning your wedding drag. Do let go enough so that you actually enjoy your big day. The wedding is meant to be a time of celebration and connection with your partner. It can be easy to get all Type A and try to control every aspect of the whole shebang—as though achieving such perfection will guarantee a blissful future together. Think less of your wedding as a singular life-changing event and more as an experience for which you want to be present. That will mean surrendering to any imperfections and enjoying the big day, which, after all, can tend to pass by in a flash.

Adam Segal, writer and therapist, works in private practice in downtown Toronto. Ask him your relationship or mentalhealth question at

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Planning a Wedding Is No Piece of Cake → Five important financial considerations for the big day and beyond By Al Ramsay


hen it comes to planning a wedding, make no mistake, there are many societal and cultural expectations that the couple has to handle. There is a tendency to deploy lots of time, energy, planning and, yes, money for that special day. Here are some things to consider long before the big day arrives.

1 Have the money talk. 2 Create a budget toward the

wedding and other future shared goals.

3 Discuss your five-year plans. 4 Speak to a financial advisor for a second opinion and/or new ideas. 5 Repeat the steps above on an

ongoing basis in light of changes in your life (except the wedding, of course, which will, hopefully, only happen once!). THE MONEY TALK This talk will be different depending on your current living arrangements— you are already living together or living apart but plan to move in together for the first time. Each party needs to be open about your expenses and income and how you will manage them as a couple. Do you want to have a joint account to deposit both incomes and cover the expenses? Maybe you prefer to maintain your individual accounts but open a joint account for common household expenses. Or you may assign the responsibility of certain expenses—you handle the car expenses, for example, and I

will pay for groceries. Discuss the options, see if they work or if they need tweaking. Talking about money isn’t always easy, but not talking about it can lead to bigger issues later on. So getting it out of the way early often works well. BUDGET Create a budget for the wedding, but not in isolation of other future shared goals. The wedding is a big day, but what about the day after? Will you be moving to a larger rented space or a new home? If you purchase land, that will influence how much you should be spending on the wedding. There is a difference between what you can spend and what you should spend on the big day. THE FIVE-YEAR PLAN This is an extension of budgeting for future shared goals. Is there a plan to have children, which may impact where you choose to live now or in the future? How about going

back to school full-time or parttime for one of you? If so, when and how much will this cost? How about relocating for work or just a different life experience— the way they do on House Hunters International? It helps to know these things before writing a cheque for your wedding hall. SPEAK TO A FINANCIAL ADVISOR It helps to get an objective professional opinion on your ideas and the plans you have made to achieve them. Your advisor will either confirm what you’ve already figured out or bring new considerations to the table. And this experienced pro also can provide guidance in the implementation of your plans. It’s always good to have a fresh pair of eyes look at those plans as they may spot things you have missed. REVIEW Our lives, priorities, circumstances and ideals change


over time, so your financial plan should be flexible enough to adapt to these changes. If you review your plan annually, then you should be able to compare the previous year’s budget plans with the actual expenditures, to guide future budgets. Above all, when your big day comes, take time to simply enjoy it. Don’t sweat the “small things” that didn’t go exactly according to plan. Remember the most important thing that day is celebrating the love for you and your partner…in front or your family and friends. It should be a once-in-a-lifetime experience and, trust me, the day will fly by. So enjoy the moment and have some fun!

Al Ramsay is TD Bank Group’s regional manager, LGBTA Business Development. in m a g a z in e . c a

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The Wedding Album Sharing a timeless celebration of love before friends and family

Al Ramsay & Michael Daniels Toronto, September 28, 2013 Photography by Visions by David

HOW THEY MET Through friends THE PROPOSAL On vacation in Mexico, Michael asked Al while on the beach in Old Town, Puerto Vallarta, their second home THE PLACE At a close friend’s private terrace in downtown Toronto THE PLANNING With the help of a friend who owns an entertainment company, Michael did most of the planning himself. “Luckily, we have very similar taste,” says Al, “so it was easy for me to say yes to everything.” TOUCHING WORDS The newlyweds’ best friends read two beautiful poems that had everyone in tears. MUSIC The reception moved with the music of “all our favourite gay divas,” says Al, “and lots of really great house music.” POWERFUL MOMENTS ”We had Rev. Brent Hawkes, Order of Canada, officiate,” notes Al. “What was most powerful is that he gave a brief history of same-sex marriage in Canada. Given my background as Jamaican (homosexuality is illegal in Jamaica), it was very, very important for me to address to my family and friends…to say how fortunate we were…especially me to move to Canada.“ ADVICE TO OTHER COUPLES If you love someone and want to spend the rest of your life together, then marriage is a beautiful way to declare your love to each other in front of family and friends.

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Justin & Jason Hurley Braswell Christ Church Cathedral, Victoria, B.C., December 12, 2014 Photography by Wally Schmidt

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HOW THEY MET JASON: Justin and I met briefly at a [business] mixer. Several weeks later, I called him and after talking for a few minutes, I asked if he wanted to meet for breakfast. It turned into a lunch, dinner and a movie. On the way back to my car, I asked if I had just made a new friend or did I get another date. Who knew I would get both? THE PROPOSAL JUSTIN: It was Nov. 8, 2013. I had not intended to ask on the 8th. I was flying in late and thinking of the right thing to say and wanted the moment to be special. When I got home around 11:30 p.m., Jason wanted to go through my briefcase—he had borrowed it before I left and thought he left a thumb drive in it. I had the ring in the briefcase. I tried to get him to “look tomorrow,” but he was not going for it. So I asked him to sit down because I had something important to say. He was confused at first. As I opened the case and pulled out the blue Tiffany box, he didn’t even let me finish asking and blurted out “yes!” PLANNING JUSTIN: We broke up some of the planning responsibilities. The wedding licensing, photographer, transportation and lodging were my responsibilities. The reception (which has so many details) and most of the other details like the registry, selecting the announcements (I had no idea would be so complicated), were Jason’s. JASON: Prior to our getting married, we made an exploratory trip to Victoria, as the scenery is unreal. We stayed at the Fairmont Empress Hotel. I called ahead to plan a tasting, just in case. The banquet manager was unavoidably delayed working with another potential wedding couple. We were delightfully surprised with another catering manager. She was great; we asked if she would continue to work with us. She did, and our stay at the Empress was amazing. BIGGEST SURPRISE JASON: Saying yes was the easiest decision that I have ever made. ADVICE TO COUPLES ON THE FENCE JASON: Don’t get married out of any sense of obligation to your community, your friends or even your partner. Get married because in your heart you feel it is right. Don’t get your feelings hurt if you don’t get the support you want from family or friends. They may not love the idea of a same-sex wedding, but they still love you. BEST ADVICE YOU RECEIVED JUSTIN: That it would change things. I never really understood what people meant by that, but it does change things. I thought we were happy before, but now I know we were not at our full potential of happiness. I look at him differently now, across a room, and have an overwhelming sense of pride that he is my husband and I am his.

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Amanda Savory Westwood & Rachel Westwood Two Jack Lake, Banff, Alberta, July 22, 2010 Photography by Richard Brown

HOW THEY MET In a nightclub through a mutual friend in 2000. THE PROPOSAL The Arc de Triomphe, Paris, 2008. Amanda asked Rachel, although Rachel had guessed what was coming. PLANNING Amanda googled “gay weddings” and chose Banff Gay Weddings ( because of the stunning scenery. We had no idea where we wanted to go before that. We chose everything, and it was all arranged for us. (The couple jokes that Amanda did the planning, since Rachel used to be a wedding planner at a hotel.) THE VOWS The service said it all as it happened, and we wouldn’t have been able to speak anyway. THE MUSIC A violin duet played classical music by the lake. We particularly love the “Flower Duet” by Delibes. BIGGEST SURPRISE We weren’t expecting to become so overcome with emotion at the service. ADVICE TO COUPLES ON THE FENCE “I never wanted to get married…[but] I was with the right person, very happy and it felt right,” says Amanda. “Afterward, it was the best feeling ever and still is. I would say if your relationship is tried and tested and there are no doubts, then do it, but do it for both of you, not for family or friends.” BEST ADVICE YOU RECEIVED We didn’t get any, as I suppose nobody ever thought it would happen!

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Honeymoon Sweet Three destinations with lots of room for newlywed adventures By Adrienne Jordan

Switzerland The world, it seems, brims with holiday possibilities for LGBT newlyweds. Honeymoons in North America, Africa and Europe can be tailored to fit the diverse personalities of gay couples.


s cenic rail tour through the small country of Switzerland makes for a romantic spring or fall honeymoon. You and your new spouse can admire majestic mountains, dairy farms and quaint villages as you pass from one town to the next on high-speed

trains. The first stop could be to the French-speaking Montreaux. There are more than 200 wineries in the region and many offer tastings. At Les Tournelles, the 850-year-old chateau is decorated with chests from the Middle Ages, armour and other relics. From Montreaux, head to the capital city of Bern for a night or two. Bern’s medieval city centre, the picturesque Old Town, dates back to 1191. Stroll the streets to admire the historic Rathaus, painted fountains and 18th-century guildhalls. Next on your list would be Zurich, the larg-

est city in Switzerland with a population of 400,000. Some of its more exciting attractions include the Beyer Clock and Watch Museum, the Stadhlhuferplat (a quiet square for relaxing and taking in views of Lake Zurich) and the Burkiplatz (which hosts a flower and produce market on Tuesday and Friday mornings). Party at The Barfusser, which opened in 1956 and is believed to be one of the oldest gay bars in Europe. For something more modern, try the new Heaven nightclub next door.

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Cape Town


outh Africa’s Cape Town is known as Pink City or the gay capital of Africa. It has diverse activities for every type of traveller, from sunbathing on the Sandy Bay nude beach to learning about South Africa’s animals at the Iziko South African Museum. History buffs won’t want to miss a visit to Nelson Mandela’s infamous prison on Robben Island. On the romantic front, there’s little to top the nearby Cape Winelands. Hundreds of estates offer wine-tasting sessions (about $10 for seven wines). Many pair these tastings with such outdoor activities as claypigeon shooting, hiking, horseback riding or mountain biking. At night in Cape Town, well, there’s never a dull moment. Green Point is the LGBT hot spot, offering many gay bars to choose from. Take Crew Bar and Beefcakes, which draw a mixed LGBT clientele, and Beaulah Bar, the only all-lesbian bar in Cape Town. The IGLTA-approved Table Bay Hotel is situated across the harbor with an incredible view of the iconic Table Mountain. The British-themed property has balconies on the second floor that give you the opportunity to catch a couple of seals kissing on the docks of the V&A Waterfront. A weekend trip to the Kwandwe Game Reserve in Eastern Cape affords an exhilarating time of coexistence with Africa’s Big Five (lion, rhino, leopard, elephant and buffalo). Couples can book daily game drives and— from the safety of a vehicle—revel in the unpredictability of such wild animals as cheetahs stalking a herd of impalas, a mother and baby rhino resting at a waterhole or perhaps lion cubs wrestling with one another.

Puerto Rico


or a romantic Caribbean isle filled with Spanish colonial culture and its own Boystown, look no farther than Puerto Rico. Couples can explore Old San Juan, the historic part of the island sprinkled with pastel-coloured colonial buildings from the 16th and 17th centuries. To get outside, hike the pristine El Yunque jungle, saltwater fish on the coastal mangroves or windsurf Punta Las Marias Beach. Another undertaking for those inclined would be to zip-line or kayak in the Carraizo Lake with Paddle Paradise, located in the peaceful town of Gurabo. Then there’s nothing like dancing the night away caressed by a gentle Caribbean breeze. The Condado neighborhood— known to some as Boystown—sizzles with a variety of nightlife options for LGBTs. Try Circo Bar, the largest gay dance club in San Juan, or visit the Red Coral Lounge for live salsa bands on the weekends. Newlyweds might consider booking the Mini Moon package at the San Juan Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino, which includes junior suite accommodations, airport transfers, breakfasts dinner for two and, to top it off, champagne and strawberries. Arrange for private salsa lessons or kayak on the Marriott’s beach to capture footage with its complimentary GoPros.

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Scents &Sensibility Celebrating the vital role flowers play in your big day

he important role that flowers play in your wedding festivities can sometimes be overlooked. For a better understanding of that role, IN Magazine turned to an expert, floral designer Paul Girling. IN MAGAZINE: What’s the first thing couples should think about regarding their wedding flowers? PAUL GIRLING: The budget, the theme and colour scheme, favourite flowers—and those you hate—as well as the availability of the flowers for the date of your wedding. IN: What about budget? PG: It all comes down to expectations. If your budget has no flexibility in it, let us know right from the start, so we can work with you to get the look you want. I have had so many couples come in with a list of their requirements (bridal bouquet, 30 massive centrepieces, 16 pew arrangements and so on) and arrive with a limited budget of $2,000. Let’s be honest, we can’t even do your centrepieces for that amount. IN: If you have a modest budget, will it show? PG: It doesn’t have to, but again, it depends on your expectations. Do you need the aisle runners and the little arrangements that hang on the back of the chairs? Or, since those are used only for a short time—the ceremony— can you forgo them and instead put that money into centrepieces that will be seen for the entire night?

Remember, time is money. If you were planning on having [elaborate] centrepieces, that also requires our staff to set them up at the venue. IN: What seasonal issues need to be considered? PG: Thankfully, we live today in a world where we have access to pretty much all flowers at all times of the year. The real issue with out-of-season flowers is whether you can afford them. I always suggest doing your best to keep to flowers that are in season. IN: With two-men or two-women weddings, is the tradition of carrying a bouquet down the aisle changing? PG: Yes and no. We do find that the bouquet is often an essential part of the big day. We have done matching bouquets and totally different bouquets. For men, it gets a bit more complicated. I find they still do want to incorporate flowers but that they do not, obviously, want the traditional bouquets. They want the flowers to be masculine—and not just your standard boutonniere. IN: What are some common mistakes couples make? PG: Do not plan your wedding based on Internet or other photos. Most people budget up to a few hundred per centrepiece, but celebrity weddings are usually in the thousands. Another big mistake is to fight with the décor of the venue: black, white and silver contemporary clean-lined arrangements are beautiful, but do they work in a farmhouse or a barn?

IN: Is there a secret to “stretching” a budget? PG: A few small bud vases on a large round table seem to get lost, but with long family-style seating, a few bud vases with blooms and candles laid along the tables give you a very simple look but still has a great visual interest. Do you need a pew arrangement for every pew? How about every other one? IN: With same-sex couples, do both parties tend to participate in flower selection more than with heterosexual couples? PG: The simple answer is, in this instance, same-sex couples are very much like heterosexual couples. The only place I see a difference is with gay men, who typically seem to take more joy out of helping to plan than with the straight groom. I find that samesex couples are generally more open to suggestions and want to have fun at their own weddings. Don’t get me wrong, there are still gay bridezillas, and yes, even a groomzilla. IN: If a couple wants something you think is over the top, do you try to steer them away from that? PG: I usually ask the couple to put things into perspective. Are you saving for a deposit on your new home, for instance? Then you probably don’t need to spend $10,000 on an entranceway of cascading orchid sprays. IN: Are there times when less is more? PG: Absolutely! If you’re hav-

ing a small ceremony, do you need the 20 massive aisle arrangements that are just too big for the venue? Often two ceremony arrangements on either side of the couple would be better suited. Are you getting married outside in front of a massive weeping willow tree? Then let that tree be the background. No matter how much money you spend on flowers to put around or behind the couple, the tree will always be the focal point. Don’t fight it.

Expert Profile A former event planner known for his creative floral work, Paul Girling attended the Canadian Institute of Floral Design and was hired as a designer by Bloom the Flower Company on his last day of classes. After several years, Girling purchased the Toronto company and, as he puts it, has had “my dream job ever since.” For more information, visit

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THE WEDDING DRESSER Stylish looks for a day to remember

PHOTOGRAPHY: adam webster Styled by: Kenisha Paranso and Nagham Cararah Assistant Stylists: Karen Burgher and Morgan Pettit Grooming: Carley and Cheri for Toronto Bridal Style Models: Mark Lutley and Justin VandenEnde (Sutherland Models)

Shot on location at the Four Seasons Hotel, Toronto


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Suit: Tiger of Sweden Shirt/Tie: DKNY (available at Holt Renfrew stores across Canada) Shoes: Aldo

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sweater: holt renfrew

20/02/2015 2:26:39 PM

Justin Suit: Prada Shirt & Bow-Tie: Hugo Boss (available at Holt Renfrew stores across Canada) Mark Suit: Tiger of Sweden Shirt/Tie: DKNY. (available at Holt Renfrew stores across Canada)

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18/02/2015 9:58:44 AM

Shirt: Hugo BosS (available at Holt Renfrew stores across Canada) Pants: HD Homme Bow-Tie: Zara Shoes: Aldo

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sweater: gap jeans: zara shoes: respect

18/02/2015 9:59:13 AM

Justin Jacket: Hugo Boss (available at Holt Renfrew stores across Canada) Pants: HD Homme Shirt: Zara Mark Suit: HD Homme Shirt: Hugo Boss

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18/02/2015 11:54:06 AM

Jacket & Pants: HD Homme Shirt: Paul Smith Bow-Tie: sweater: porterDKNY & ash (shirt and bow-tie available at Holt Renfrew stores across Canada) sunglasses: H&M

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18/02/2015 10:00:14 AM

What a Morning After!

An expert’s tips on keeping the celebration going with an elegant brunch By Mary Anne Terry


efore your friends and family drift away, there is one more opportunity to ensure they’ll remember your wedding—for all the right reasons: the morning-after brunch. “It’s a wonderful way to say thank you and spend quality time with your wedding party, outof-towners and close-knit family,” explains Natalie Ho, entertaining expert and Oliver & Bonacini events and catering manager. “It’s a time to reminisce about the wedding and to continue the celebration.” The best morning-after brunches may seem magical, but they don’t come together by magic alone. MORNING-AFTER ETIQUETTE Just as you do in your wedding planning, consider your guests when working out the nitty-gritty of your brunch. Let’s start at the bottom (line): unless it’s a very casual affair, it is customary for you to foot the bill. But, as Ho suggests, “If you have many loved ones looking to support your special day, as is often the case in these modern-family times, this can be another opportunity for contribution!” LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION As a hospitality guru, Ho promotes convenience: “Secure either a cool restaurant or a funky event space that is close to the hotel that your guests are staying in.” She cautions against the ambitious endeavour of hosting at your home, but if you must, rely on a relative or caterer to handle the food, drink and other details. You deserve to relax with good company. Remember, people need rest to recover from a good party, so don’t schedule your event too early. “Do have a set start time, but ensure your guests can sleep in,” advises Ho. “Give their heads a shake and caffeinate before brunch.” THE MENU At a traditional morning-after brunch, focus on comfort over health. This continues the celebratory decadence for all, and especially pleases those guests who enjoyed the bar a bit too much the night prior. From Ho’s experience at O&B Events and Catering, popular menu choices include such classic breakfast items as eggs Benedict and huevos rancheros, as well as lunch items, like mac and cheese, turkey burgers and gourmet pizzas.

“At our recent WedLuxe wedding show, our chefs featured two savoury waffles, one with chicken liver parfait and strawberry catsup and one with Granny Smith apple and aged cheddar,” says Ho, who, noting the savoury-food craze, adds, “Both were huge hits.” Other emerging brunch trends include youthful menus featuring such fun elements as an old-school cereal bar and Vegas-style seafood bars (think: crab legs, lobster tails and other luxury items). “When it comes to beverages, serve fresh twists on the classics,” advises Ho, who recommends mimosas with unique juice flavours and well-spiced Caesars topped with seafood or spiced veggies. “And don’t neglect those who don’t care for alcoholic beverages. Have ample options of fresh juice, coffee and tea. “Loose-leaf flavoured teas can add extra colour and flavour to your event,” she says. “If your brunch is in the summer, try an iced tea.” IT’S THE LITTLE THINGS Ho’s number-one tip for the post-wedding brunch: use as much décor as possible from your wedding. This is not only beneficial to your wallet but it also adds a beautiful tie-in from the day or night. Beyond décor, there are other ways to add personal touches to your event, regardless of where it’s hosted. For the ultimate in thoughtfulness, Ho suggests writing your VIP guests personal notes before their arrival, tying in moments from the night before and thanking them for their contributions. If possible, have your photographer overnight you edits of the wedding for a matinee preview. To further engage your guests and to get the full wedding scoop, Ho proposes preparing them to share their stories by giving them a questionnaire with their invitation. It might ask for the biggest laugh of the night, the most tear-invoking moment, the bestdressed and any other juicy details you may want to gather. “A small gift serves as a charming brunch finale,” says Ho. “You can get creative with this, but chocolate-covered espresso beans are always a fun option—they keep your guests going and end the celebration on a sweet note.” Indeed, the brunch is likely to be the last experience of your wedding most of your guests will have. “Your wedding is an epic life event, and so much of it can seem surreal in the moment,” says Ho. “Savour it!”

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Expert Profile Natalie Ho, event sales manager for Oliver & Bonacini Events and Catering, began in O&B’s restaurants 10 years ago and moved to the events arm in 2010. There, she worked as an event specialist, managing 100plus events per year. In her current post, Ho guides a team of specialists in planning a wide range of events. (For more information, contact O&B Events and Catering: 416-3641211; | → PLACES, EVERYONE An elegant table (clockwise from above) set for brunch; drinks for the occasion; classic eggs Benedict.

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17/02/2015 3:47:49 PM

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19/02/2015 9:21:11 AM

A Planner’s Checklist What you need to know long before that walk down the aisle


A design vision. Work with a designer (or do it yourself) to create a vision board that will guide your design choices throughout the planning process. Include pantones of your favourite hues, blooms that are in seasons and all the details that will help you achieve the look and feel you want.


A budget range. In wedding world, there are endless combinations of decisions, additions and options that you can put together. So it’s important to have a rough budget to help you look for possibilities in the price range with which you are comfortable. If you’re working with a planner, he or she should be able to take your inspiration images and give you rough costing to help you decide if your vision is feasible or if you need to make some adjustments.


A guest list! You cannot pick a venue without a guest list. You can’t order chairs without knowing how many people will be attending. You cannot determine the size of your cake if you haven’t confirmed the number

of servings you will need. In other words, lock in your guest list.


Consider a wedding planner. Whether your schedule is overly demanding and you simply don’t have time to plan a wedding, or if you prefer to leave the logistics and design to a seasoned professional, take a moment to meet with wedding planners and designers in your region and decide if this is something you’d like to incorporate into your planning process. It will change the experience dramatically and ensure that everything runs smoothly on the big day.


Hire service-based vendors. Service-based vendors such as photographers, musicians and wedding celebrants are important to check off your list early in the planning process, since they can only be in one place at a time. While a florist or cake designer may be able to take on more than one wedding in a day, your band can likely only perform at your wedding. So if you have your heart set on a specific photographer, make sure you’ve hired that person with enough lead time.

Expert Profile Advice on launching your wedding game plan comes from Melissa Andre, creative director and founder of Melissa Andre Events Inc. in Toronto. With nearly a decade of experience, Andre has earned an industry-wide reputation for creating and managing a wide range of events of varying sizes. For more information, visit

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17/02/2015 3:48:52 PM


I DO, U.K.


ecause civil unions had existed in the United Kingdom for about a decade—and the world knew that Elton John and David Furnish had long since formalized their partnership—many thought same-sex marriages were already the law in England. But one year ago this month, at the stroke of midnight on March 28, British gays and lesbians began saying their “I do’s” in a U.K. where marriage had become their legal right, too. (Postscript: The country’s earliest gay newlyweds were joined by John and Furnish in December.)

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17/02/2015 3:49:19 PM

. e v o L e u r T . a k o k s u M y l u Tr

Photo: Ever Photography


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Traditional lakeside Inn on Lake Joseph.

All-suite property located on the beautiful shores of Lake Joseph.

Open year-round, 49-room/cottage resort. Exclusive use of resort (be our only guests). On-site dedicated wedding planner. Cascading cedar staircase as your aisle. Cuisine your guests will rave about. Abundant on-site activities. On-site health and beauty spa. SISALES@CLUBLINK.CA 1-800-461-4233 SHERWOODINN.CA

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Open early-May through mid-Oct. Say “I do” dockside. Charming one- and two-bedroom units to dual-level loft suites. On-site health spa, outdoor pool and hot tub. Muskoka fine dining and casual restaurant options. RCSALES@CLUBLINK.CA 1-866-323-3305 ROCKYCREST.CA

Book your wedding with us before May 31, 2015 and RECEIVE TWO AUTHENTIC MUSKOKA CHAIRS as our gift to you. Some restrictions apply.

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2015-02-02 3:09 PM 17/02/2015 3:50:21 PM

Profile for IN Magazine

IN Magazine: March 2015  

IN Magazine: March 2015 ISSUE: 58 IN Magazine's March 2015 issue, featuring stories on gay and lesbian living.

IN Magazine: March 2015  

IN Magazine: March 2015 ISSUE: 58 IN Magazine's March 2015 issue, featuring stories on gay and lesbian living.