Bridal Bliss or Nightmare?

Hindsight is 20/20. Now that I have lived through the planning my own wedding and have been a part of subsequent friend’s and family members’ weddings, I have learnt a lot over the last year and a half. Seeing how other people behave, prepare, and execute wedding duties has taught me a lot about weddings, especially my own. I can now reflect back upon my own wedding day and share some insight into what I would have done differently. This is not to say that I didn’t enjoy every second of mine and Michael’s (or Mike Jr. as you may know him as) special day but there are always lessons learnt in everything and I want to share those with all of you.

Growing up I was never the girl dreaming about her future wedding day. I knew I wanted to get married but the logistics of the wedding itself was something that I didn’t get invested in. I had heard horror stories from other people over the years about how the bride turns into a hot mess (“bridezilla”), or family members fight, friendships becoming ruined, etc… and it really stressed me out. This fear of the “crazy” that weddings can evoke in people had a profound impact on me and made me terrified for my own wedding day as I didn’t want to become the next bridal disaster story. Often times, this one day gets built up so much that, in my personal opinion, people end up placing too much pressure and expectation on it which only leaves room for disappointment.
Leading up to, and including the wedding day, I tried my best to keep it as simple as possible. I wanted to be as cool as a cucumber - but, to be perfectly honest, in doing so I think I slightly minimized myself and the occasion and over-compensated in the opposite direction. By being so acutely aware of everyone else’s needs, I found myself dismissing my own.

As much as I still believe in my original philosophy of making every day as important as a wedding day, I think I could have basked in the bridal bliss role a little more fully and guilt free.

If you are someone like me who is unsure of how to find a healthy balance between bridal bliss and bridal nightmare, here are my biggest tips to future brides and grooms:

1- Live it up - Don’t be afraid to go into full on bride and groom role, or groom and groom, or bride and bride. If you let other people’s judgements hold you back from diving into your dream wedding day, you will quickly realize that you cannot make everyone happy and the only thing that matters on your wedding day is you and your partner - the rest becomes fluff. I discovered that if someone is offended or criticizes you for asking for something simple, then they aren’t really celebrating you after all and they are not deserving to be there. However, please keep in mind that there is a fine balance between dismissing your own needs and becoming self-centred and overly demanding (cough *bridezilla* cough). Essentially, don’t let the culture of weddings change you. Follow your heart and do what serves you and your partner above all else.


2- Veils - Based off of point number 1 - If I could go back in time, I would have worn a veil. In an effort to play the bride card down, I didn’t wear a veil. At the time I didn’t quite understand the concept and symbolism of a veil however, after seeing a few of my friends get married wearing them it really grew up me quickly. I now appreciate the value of a veil from a bridal fashion statement perspective and I think that it adds a nice delicate touch. And seriously, when will you ever again get the chance to wear a veil again in this lifetime!? Don’t be afraid!

3- Vows - Michael and I read beautiful vows that were full of truth, love, and words that resonated with us. However, they were not our own. If I could go back in time I would have written my own vows and asked Michael to do the same. We didn’t do that mostly because we didn’t know how. We found it difficult to put into words the love we feel for each other, and not having an older sister or someone to guide the way for me left many questions unanswered. We made the best choices we could in the moment; however, after experiencing the effects of personalized vows at subsequent weddings, Michael and I both said we wished that we had of written our own. Luckily for me, on our 1 year anniversary, Michael gifted me vows that he wrote by hand, so I ended up getting them after all :)


4 - Hire a professional wedding planner for the day of the wedding - After Michael proposed to me my mom quickly volunteered herself to be our wedding planner. This was gratefully accepted as it saved us a lot of money by not having to hire an official wedding planner. Click here to read my other 5 tips on how we saved money! However, come the actual wedding day, my mom was in a frenzy. She was super stressed out about the execution of everything, set up, tables, etc… and wasn’t able to enjoy the day of the wedding with me, the bride! She also didn’t have as much time on the day to dedicate to herself for hair, makeup, etc… Poor thing. My mom had the best of intentions but for everyone’s sake, hiring a professional wedding planner at least for the day of, would have been great for everyone’s sanity. Therefore, as much as I encourage you to save money by being smart (here are my top 5 tips to save big money) I highly recommend hiring a professional wedding planner just for the day of the wedding so that those tiny details such as design, chair set up, etc… can be delegated.

5- Pre-made photographer shot list - This is probably one of my biggest and most important tips. Again, without someone giving me advice on how to organize the photographers, (I naively assumed that they would know what to do and guide us effectively on the day of), I didn’t end up getting as many varied group shots with friends and family as I would have liked. Had I given a shot list to my photographers outlining every photo, I would now have a lot more precious moments captured with different group from mine and Michael’s lives.

These are examples of 5 lessons that Michael and I learnt leading up to and including our wedding day. I hope that these insights help shine light on a few things to consider when you or a loved one is planning a wedding and may have feelings of bashfulness like I did.

xoxo Sending Love and Light
Lisa Marie Holmes

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Holmes Is Where The Heart Is - Hello! Canada Magazine's 10 Page Exclusive Story Of Our Wedding Day

Source:  Hello! Canada Magazine  Photo Taken By:  Jordan Presseault

Holmes is where the heart is - I am officially a HOLMES! :) YAY! Not only was mine and Michael's wedding day the most amazing celebration of love EVER, our special day was issued in an exclusive 10 page spread with Hello!Canada Magazine making us feel like true Canadian Royalty - especially sharing the front cover with Kate Middleton (ah!)!!! Having our most precious and intimate moments shared and celebrated with our country could not make us any more proud to be Canadian! It was an honour to be interviewed by Erica Cupido at Hello! Canada and I feel as though her writing encapsulated the very essence of our enchanted outdoor wedding.  The issue is on stands NOW so be sure to pick up your physical copy to get more of the inside scoop on our love and all things wedding!!! (mine will be framed and hung LOL - best wedding souvenir ever!!!)

Source:  Hello! Canada Magazine  Photo Taken By:  Jordan Presseault

After a year and a half of planning, one sweet, beautiful, and incredibly memorable day, has all come to an end. I have to be honest and admit that I did not enjoy every minute of the planning that lead up to our wedding (which also took place during my final year of medical school... can you say overwhelmed much??); however, all the time, energy, and effort that was put into the big day was worth it in the end. Michael and I shared the most magical day surrounded by everyone we hold near and dear to our hearts.  We also had a candle lighting ceremony for those who could not be with us in person, knowing they were there with us in spirit.

Source:  Hello! Canada Magazine  Photo Taken By:  Jordan Presseault  and Jon Gunmundsson

Source: Hello! Canada Magazine Photo Taken By: Jordan Presseault and Jon Gunmundsson

I don't consider myself to be a "typical" traditional bride and I believe that can be seen in the style of wedding that Michael and I had. I had always dreamt of having a very simple, natural, elegant, and relaxed wedding as my personality tends to lean more towards the easy going side. Michael was an amazing ally to have throughout the entire planning process as he is also very laid back and accommodating. His only big desire was to look like James Bond on the wedding day... and he pulled that one off effortlessly thanks to Hugo Boss and being really, really, ridiculously good looking ;)  As a result, deciding on a theme, location, and wedding vibe came easily enough for Michael and I. 

 Our top 5 priorities were: 1- be outdoors, 2- good food, 3- good bevies, 4- good music, and 5- be surrounded by the most important people in our lives... MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!

Source:  Hello! Canada Magazine  Photo Taken By:  Jordan Presseault

The theme of our wedding was "secret garden." Michael and I decided that we wanted to get married outdoors, have a tent wedding, and be immersed in a natural landscape.  Ask and you shall receive right? Well we asked and in return the universe provided us with the most spectacular venue that reflected our vision of the perfect garden wedding located in the Blue Mountain region. Our good friend Arlene Dickinson was kind enough to share her beautiful property in the Georgian Bay area with us and it could not have been more perfect!!  Surrounded by forests, meadows, a river, and all things of natural beauty, decorating for our wedding was unnecessary as the wilderness spoke volumes for itself.  We did however, add our own little flair and special touches including a big white tent, a photo area with hanging white frames, a light up LOVE sign, and the artistic food stations hosted by Bruce's Wine Bar which included cooking stump stoves of risotto and so much more... heaven!! 

Source:  Hello! Canada Magazine  Photo Taken By:  Jordan Presseault
Dress Rehearsal Night - The Dress Survived The Rain!!  Dress:  For Love & Lemons   Photo By:  Lauren Thomson

Dress Rehearsal Night - The Dress Survived The Rain!!

Dress: For Love & Lemons

Photo By: Lauren Thomson

We were so fortunate that the weather held out for us.  It had rained (and I am talking major thunder storms) during the entire dress rehearsal the evening before the wedding day.  We were all prepared to get a little wet on the big day but as my limousine pulled up to Arlene's house around 5:30, the clouds cleared, the sun came out, and we were touched by the rays of sun shining down on us throughout the entire ceremony!  

The day went by so fast and if I could change anything I would have loved to slow down time. I only wish I could have danced longer, eaten more ratatouille, and taken more selfies with friends - as a result of not having my phone on me and being so wrapped up in the moment I missed those personal fun shots. However, thankfully we had the most incredible photographer and videographer, Jordan Presseault and Paul W. Los working with us to capture our special moments.

I have to say a special thank you to everyone who helped make mine and Michael's dream of the most beautiful and enchanted wedding day come true. Starting with our wedding party - we would not be here if it wasn't for your support, acceptance, energy, time, laughter, and love. You light us up and make life more fun!

Source:  Hello! Canada Magazine  Photo Taken By:  Jordan Presseault

Thank you to Hello!Canada Magazine for interviewing us and writing a 10 page exclusive issue of mine and Michael's love and wedding day.  Your magazine will forever be remembered as our favourite wedding souvenir.  We loved being interviewed by you, both before and after our wedding day - it was one of the highlights for us as it gave us the opportunity to reflect on our precious moments, laugh at ourselves and each other, and vent if nothing else!

Thank you to Hugo Boss for dressing Michael and making his dream of being James Bond for a day come true. 

Thank you to HGTV Canada and ET Canada for celebrating our love, interviewing both of us, and sharing our photos, love story, and wedding footage with the world!  We are beyond grateful for your support and thoroughly enjoyed every moment we got to spend with you!

Thank you to another Canadian beauty, Arlene Dickinson, for sharing your spectacular Canadian garden oasis with us.  As a strong, compassionate, kind, open hearted, inclusive, and beautiful woman, you truly embody what it means to be Canadian.  Your property exudes pure Canadian natural bliss and it was a privilege to get married barefoot with the earth between my toes, the river rushing directly behind us, and the wind whistling through the trees. 

Source:  Hello! Canada Magazine  Photo Taken By:  Jordan Presseault

Thank you to the Holmes Group who has stood by our side since the very beginning of our relationship and supported us along our journey every step of the way. You had a major role in shaping this wedding to be the majestic event it became and we are forever grateful for the effort, energy, and contributions you have dedicated to us to make our lives, relationship, and wedding so full of happiness and fun.  We are family... come on everybody and see! ;) 

Thank you to the girls at TakesTwo2Pin for making my hair look dreamy and mystical; and to 6DegreesStudio for making my eyelashes POP - thank goodness for you because I cried so much as I walked down the aisle but I didn't have a single battle with running mascara.

Thank you my good friend and master makeup artist, Jacqui Wilkins, for doing my makeup flawlessly, making me feel so naturally beautiful. 

Thank you to Bruce's Wine Bar for catering the most fabulous gluten free wedding food I have ever had!

Last but not least, thank you to both mine and Michael's families for celebrating our love and sharing our special day with us.  Each one of you touched our hearts in your own unique way and our wedding will forever be remember as two families joining as one.

Source:  Hello! Canada Magazine  Photo Taken By:  Jordan Presseault

Instagram: @lisey.marie

Facebook: @ Lisa Marie Holmes

Twitter: @grant_lisamarie - going to have to change that name soon! 

When You Know, You Know... You Know?

The year, 2017 has been marked by several life changing and massive events for me! I graduated from Naturopathic Medical School, I entered the last year of my 20s, Michael and I welcomed our first fur baby into our family and… the biggest one of all - I GOT MARRIED!!! - to the most darling man ever to walk this earth. 

Describing the relationship I have with Michael is hard for me to put into words. The emotions I feel are like none I have ever experienced before - Michael is a very unique man.  We are first and foremost best friends who respect one another immensely but its even more than that -  there really isn't a word (at least in the english dictionary) that articulates how well Michael and I jive together. We are partners, lovers, challengers, supporters, cheerleaders, secret keepers, and each others sound boards.

Photo by:  Jón Gudmundsson   Shirt:  @hugoboss

Photo by: Jón Gudmundsson

Shirt: @hugoboss

I have lived a very colourful life, I have loved hard, and lost harder, but every decision I ever made has led me to this man who I am incredibly grateful to now call my husband. Michael is one of those people that once you meet, you fall in love with instantly. He is a heart warmer, heart melter, and a heart throb by his own right. He makes everyone around him laugh and lifts everyone’s spirits. He is an empath, he is caring, kind, compassionate, gentle, generous, charming, smooth, sweet, intelligent, goofy, and respectful while at the SAME TIME he is sexy, manly, strong, rough, bold, muscular, courageous, and adventurous. The man has me completely wrapped around his finger - it is a thrill living my life with him as my partner by my side all of the time. 

To say that our life together is always rainbows and butterflies would be a grave exaggeration. We, like all couples in long term relationships, have our difficult and challenging times.  We can both be stubborn, headstrong, blunt, and practice poor communication. However, that being said, our greatest redemption is that we, no matter what, always choose love. We truly live for each other and no matter how frustrated we may get with one another, my feet always find his under the bed sheets at night, he always reaches for my hands and kisses my forehead, and, most importantly, we can always openly share our feelings and emotions with one another. Relationships take work but for me, choosing Michael as my husband, is a labour of love. 

In regards to finding the love of your life - the soul’s equal counterpart - the expression “when you know, you know” must be one of the most vague and open to misinterpretation expressions I have ever heard, YET it is the truest. I thought that I had loved before, but honestly, until you feel the sensation that I now experience loving Michael, you really don't know until you know. I think the best way for me to put into words how it feels when you finally find the man you are supposed to marry and spend the rest of your life with is this: you love the version of the woman you are when you are with that man (this also can be said for any type of loving relationship regardless of sexual identification). If you can measure up to the person you think you deserve to be, than you are ready to be with the right person for you. Does this make sense? I am trying my best here! hehe 

I have been many different versions of myself and worn many different hats throughout my life. I will continue to develop and grow as an individual but for the first time I am with the man that allows me to be every spirited version of myself and he appreciates me for all of my vibrant colours. That, I guess, is when you know… you know? ;) 

- Sending love & light xxx

Instagram: @lisey.marie

Facebook: @ Lisa Marie Holmes

Twitter: @grant_lisamarie - going to have to change that name soon! 

Morning family cuddles is the best way to start the day.

Morning family cuddles is the best way to start the day.