Put a Ring On It – But Keep Your Mouth Shut About Other People’s Rings


Even though I’m already married and the ‘ring search’ is far behind me, I still love looking at engagement rings and seeing what is new and exciting in that world. On a blog I was reading recently a woman posted the following:

“I see so many posts about moissanite and never realized it’s as popular as it is. I was under the impression it was a relatively new creation. I have had several people ask me if my diamond ring is “real” and I have to admit that it bothers me. Also, how do you even respond to that? Anyway, I am looking forward to reading other points of view.”

My thoughts:

I think my perspective is definitely shaped by the fact that I do not care about other people’s opinions about my ring and I also don’t have friends who would ever judge my relationship (or my financial status) based on the ring I’m wearing. When planning our wedding with my spouse we decided, deliberately, that we did not want expensive or ostentatious rings. What we did want were one of a kind, unconventional and unique rings that suited our style and our lifestyle. I work with my hands and would be nervous to wear something too precious. Not that I didn’t try on a variety of rings… but every time I tried a stunner with a gem that was raised too far from my finger, I felt like I’d get it caught on things, destroy it and every surface in my house, but mostly …like it was totally impractical.

In the end, my ring was made by a friend who is a jeweller; it’s unconventional and we used rough diamonds, so no sparkle really. No one has ever asked if they are ‘real’. However, many people have asked about the ring, the design and where they can contact the creator (Breanne Morrow at White Feather Designs).

View More: http://sweetheartempire.pass.us/alison-allia-engagement

Photo by Sweetheart Empire. Rings by White Feather Designs

View More: http://sweetheartempire.pass.us/alison-allia-engagement

Engagement photos by Kate O’Connor of Sweetheart Empire

I think what bothers me about the idea of people asking the original poster these questions is this: why are they asking? Is there some further question they need to have answered? Why do they care?

Maybe they are a gemologist? Maybe they are looking for an engagement ring. But if it’s because they want to know how costly the ring is… why? It’s none of their business and it’s super tacky that they are asking.

Perhaps they want to know because they are considering their options, or maybe see the value in a ring that doesn’t support an industry that has some problems (conflict diamonds, environmental impact), but you can probably already tell that this is their view based on the way they ask.

At the end of the day, I don’t know why it’s anyone’s business what you choose for something as personal as your wedding/engagement rings.


A Sitdown with Wedding Photographer, Kate O’Connor of Sweetheart Empire

Love, style, Wedding

Just a week after my own article, about how wonderful it was to work with Kate O’Connor, a fabulous photographer, for our wedding images, the venue where we were married (Berkeley Church) contacted Kate to interview her; they also asked to feature our photos on their own blog.


They asked:

When approaching this lovely Berkeley Church wedding what were your considerations and aspirations?

I have three goals for every wedding:

  1. To see my subjects for who they truly are – loving, amazing humans taking a leap of faith;
  2. To make sure they feel comfortable, so that they can be themselves and enjoy themselves;
  3. To capture the wedding day FEELS with love and realness – both how people are feeling (emotionally), and the atmosphere of the day overall.

I wanted the brides and their folks to look back at the images and remember how it felt that day – the anticipation, the emotions, and of course the immense loving energy that happens when you are in a room surrounded by your loved ones.berkeley-church-toronto-wedding-ceremoney-weddin-alter.jpgberkeley-church-toronto-wedding-wedding-pritraits.jpgtoronto-weding-berkeley-church-toronto-venue.jpg

For the whole article, follow the link here.

A thousand words. Photography to capture the magic of a wedding day. 


All photos (above) by Kate O’Connor of Sweetheart Empire.

Choosing our photographer was one of the things we were most picky about for our wedding plans. If everything goes smoothly on the day of, great! But having lasting memories for ourselves and for our future family is a detail we didn’t want to overlook.

We started our hunt by asking for recommendations from people we knew. We then checked out the portfolios of those photographers and met with our top three. We had such an instant connection with Kate (Sweetheart Empire). We felt like we wanted to be friends with her, and now we are. Knowing that someone is going to be standing in at all of those intimate, special moments of nerves, tears (of joy) and excitement, I wanted to feel 100% confident that she would be a seamless, positive part of the day. We couldn’t have been more right about her. Kate O’Connor’s demeanor and utter professionalism was incredible. She listened. She was sweet and thoughtful, open to all my creative (read: strange) suggestions and she got us to feel in the moment, during all the chaos of the day. She was part life coach, keeping us focused on each other, and part magician. She captured the day, and us, the way I remember it all feeling. IMG_3708

When I said, ‘like a Vanity Fair cover’ or ‘the Netflix ads for The Vampire Diaries,’ she knew exactly what I meant.

Like a soft “American Gothic”. Check. This is our trademark shot. We get one like this, together, each year. It’s going to be like a yearbook for us as we grow together.

I trusted her completely to get us right. And she absolutely did. These are just a few of my favourite moments from our day, followed by a selection of inspiration images (all pinned to my Pinterest page) of the kind of images that we were drawn to. Knowing what we wanted really helped us to know what direction to take, and how to help Kate understand what we were looking for. She captured our day so beautifully that our wedding was chosen by Pikto Gallery as one of their sample books.

Before choosing a photographer, I wanted a good sense of what kind of images we would want to create with our photographer. Below are some of the photos that caught my eye. For the links to the following images, check out my Wedding Photography Pinterest Board. Though none are an exact replica (like any great art), the feeling of these photos definitely comes through in our final product. They were visual references so we could be on the same page.




I knew I wanted to feel like this in my photos. Smokey and soft, romantic and a little undone. Very sweet, but still grown up.



And catching those natural expressions and intimacy was important to us, too.

The drama of a great backdrop and having us be part of a great landscape was also an inspiration.


How did you choose your photographer? Would you do anything differently? What kind of images do you want from that moment in time?


Stepping Out – Bridal Shoes for the Romantic Bride


Photo (above) by Sweetheart Empire. For more work by Kate O’Connor, check out her website here.

One of the most crucial parts of your wedding day is allowing yourself to enjoy it. This isn’t one of those ‘suck it up’ and suffer-the-heels days. Shoes are one of the most important, practical decisions you’ll have to make. You want to look and feel amazing. Yes, you will be photographed more in one day than ever before in your life, but you should be able to last, comfortably, on this (of all days) through the prep, the walk down the aisle, the photos and the dance party. That was key for me; will I be able to dance… all night long? Yes. So, while some folks opt for two dresses, for me it was the shoes. And I have to mention, that while I took lots of inspiration from the expensive items I sourced online and in boutiques, my TWO pairs of shoes cost me less than $100 … together. For the aisle and ceremony, I wore rose-gold t-strap heels (at a conservative 2.5 inches), and for the party, I put on some delicate rose-gold ballerina flats. I made sure that my dress was fitted to skim the floor (which is why a conservative heel was the best choice). At 5’10, I didn’t need to be more statuesque, but feeling comfy (and elegant) was top of the priority list. Here are some of the heels that stole my heart, though not my pay cheque.

Some of my favourite images feature unusual, vintage-inspired picks. Quirky, feminine pairs, with a sturdy heel were good contenders. The top right pair (below) were more of a wear-anywhere shoe, but the other three could easily have been the peep of colour beneath the kick of my hem.

A little something blue? Blue-green, maybe? Liebling makes a wide array of cool, retro shapes.

These beautiful, embellished flats (below) were, by far, one of the best choices I made. They were a hit on the dance floor. I found a pair from Nine West and still wear them today. Pretty-up a pair of simple flats by adding a shoe clip!
The luxe factor really came into play once I started perusing the feed (and website) of Anthropologie’s BHLDN wedding collection. These shoes are drool-inducing. See for yourself. What shoes helped you put your best foot forward on your wedding day? Or, what pair(s) are you still dreaming of?  


Step up and tell me what shoes you’d rock down the aisle in. 🙂