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Real Weddings: Tiffanie & Dennis

Tiffanie and Dennis’ romance started out in an unlikely place, at a Muay Thai class. Noticing the new instructor who was tall, handsome, and had a charming voice, Tiffanie went up to him and introduced herself. Dennis later admits that he was intrigued by her smile, “It was like a little sun. She brightened up any room.” A couple days later, both Dennis and Tiffanie injured themselves that same day in class. At the post-fight celebrations with the gym crew, since they were unable to dance with their injuries, they spent the entire night chatting, “And the rest is history!” says Tiffanie.

One Saturday afternoon, Dennis told Tiffanie that he had a surprise for her and arranged to meet at a downtown hotel. When she arrived there, she received a text telling her to go to the concierge to get her first clue for a scavenger hunt. Tiffanie followed the clues which brought her on a journey through the many memorable places where their romance had flourished. Finally, as she arrived at Toronto Island and found her way to a clearing where they once had a picnic, “I found Dennis waiting there on one knee.”

Surrounded by Love

On a balmy October afternoon, Tiffanie and Dennis were joined by 25 of their closest friends and family for a tropical union at the Royalton Riviera Cancun Resort and Spa. Wearing a beaded, ivory chiffon Amanda-Lina gown, Tiffanie walked down the aisle at the resort’s chapel where the rolling waves of the Caribbean Sea provided the perfect soundtrack. While Tiffanie confesses she can’t name just one favourite detail from her big day, she recalls saying “I do” and the first kiss as husband and wife as her most memorable moments.

For Dennis, seeing his bride walk down the aisle towards him was his fondest memory of the day. “When I saw her, I was overcome by so many emotions,” he recalls, “I didn’t expect almost not being able to recite my vows.”

As Tiffanie thinks about that special day, she recalls the sense of calm that enveloped over her, “I just felt so Zen-like about the wedding… my bridesmaids were shocked!”

The celebrations continued with a reception at Royalton Riviera Cancun’s OPA! Restaurant where Tiffanie and Dennis danced their first dance to Israel “IZ” Kamakawiwo’ole’s tropical rendition of Somewhere Over the Rainbow. The rest of the evening was devoted to a delicious menu of Mediterranean cuisine, wedding mojitos, and soulful jazz music.

The couple extended their Mexican retreat with a honeymoon in Cancun’s Isla Mujeres.

Get their look

Tiffanie’s gown: Tiffanie was on Say Yes to the Dress Canada, and she said “yes!” to an ivory chiffon beaded Amanda-Lina dress.

Tiffanie’s shoes: Classic Nine West heeled sandals.

Dennis’ outfit: Custom tailored suit from Empire Customs.

Bridesmaids dresses: They wore their own light pink dresses.

Groomsmen attire: They wore their own dark blue suits.

Jewellery: Stella & Dot.

Wedding planner: Stephanie’s Spirale

Photographer: Marvin Lam from PPB Studio, Toronto

Old | New | Borrowed | Blue

Old: The bride’s veil.

New: The bride’s shoes.

Borrowed: Stella & Dot jewellery.

Blue: A blue purse.

Tips for brides and grooms
  • Enjoy EVERY second because it flies by too quickly, just relax and go with the flow.
  • Share some tasks with you friends; don’t feel you have to do everything yourself.

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Seventh Heaven with Jessica Mulroney

Set on the 7th floor of Toronto’s flagship Hudson’s Bay store, Kleinfeld Hudson’s Bay is a glittering oasis dedicated to wedding couture. We met our contributing editor, Jessica Mulroney, of Kleinfeld Hudson’s Bay at their elegant Toronto store to learn more about the latest trends in destination wedding bridal fashion.
It’s approaching Christmas when we visit it, the store gleaming with icy white dresses, glistening with intricate beading, silky applique detailing and mother of pearl embellishments. The stuff of every little girl’s daydreams, it is a true wedding wonderland. A sentiment echoed by Jessica, when we sit down and chat.
Surprisingly (or perhaps unsurprisingly depending on which way you view it), one of Canada’s leading stylists – Jessica is currently helping Sophie Trudeau with her wardrobe – took little time selecting her own wedding dress.
“It was actually the first dress I tried on,” she tells us adding, “in reality I was a pretty laid back bride. My mother and mother-in-law were heavily involved and it was actually my husband Ben (Jessica is married to etalk host, Ben Mulroney) who was the groomzilla. I didn’t really want a traditional looking wedding dress. I had an idea in mind and when I saw my dress I knew it was the one.”
Jessica confesses however that had Kleinfeld Hudson’s Bay been an option when she and Ben tied the knot eight years ago her shopping trip might have lasted a little longer. “Bridal fashion has evolved dramatically over the past five years. When I got married there simply wasn’t the choice.”

So what are her top picks for destination wedding trends?

In picking her wedding dress, although she may not have opted for a traditional gown, she did make the purchase at a bridal salon, adding, “It was mainly to make my mother happy. We went to a salon in Montréal. When I saw her face as I tried it on, it was worth it, and that moment became significant for us, as it marked the start of my marriage to Ben.”
This emotional connection is one of the things that Jessica most enjoys about her role at Kleinfeld Hudson’s Bay. “The picking of the dress, whether it’s together with your mother, sister, auntie, best friend or grandmother, is very much a part of any bride’s journey. It’s lovely when I get to be part of that process and get to know the couple and their family.”
When asked how a bride should plan her outfit for her wedding day, Jessica suggests that this should be one of the first things she thinks of after the ceremony and venue itself. “Once you’ve decided where and how you want to get married, it’s time to pick the dress. For most gowns you’ll need to make an order between nine and 12 months ahead of the ceremony to ensure that there’s time to schedule all the necessary fittings. While the destination you get married in shouldn’t dictate the style you choose, it’s certainly going to affect it, so it’s important that you have a clear vision of your wedding day before you choose your gown.”
So what are the wedding dress rules if you have your heart set on tropical setting? Refreshingly, according to Jessica, there aren’t any.
“Destination is a factor, but you certainly don’t have to dress down simply because you’ve opted for a beach wedding. Not all ceremonies by the beach actually have to take place on the beach. Many resorts have so many different venues that allow you to wear those Manolo Blahniks without worrying. Like the resort we just visited (Jessica recently visited Royalton Riviera Cancun Resort and Spa for our magazine cover shoot) there are restaurants, sky terraces, air conditioned venues – there are options.”

Classic Curves

Dress: David Feldon, style no. 8532 Headpiece: Maria Elena Camilla Pucholt Photography

Classic Curves
If you’ve got your heart set on that traditional wedding dress shape, then this gown by David Fielden is a great option. There are several tulle layers but these are extremely light. The bodice shaping is without excess boning so you won’t feel constricted or overly warm.
Perfect Contrast

Dress: Mark Zunino, style no. 127 Headpiece: Maria Elena Camilla Pucholt Photography

Perfect Contrast
Make a statement walking down the aisle in this striking Mark Zunino gown, the bodice has a flesh coloured translucent back – perfect for showing off that tropical suntan! From the front this look is equally stunning with applique leaves that seem to cascade from the waistline onto the floor-length hemline.
Bare Essentials

Dress: Pnina Tornai, style no. 4348

Bare Essentials
This figure-hugging, strapless, lacy sheath with a sweetheart neckline by Pnina Tornai lets you keep cool and look glamourous at the same time. For extra drama, team it with a lacy batwing shrug that will give a flowing silhouette for your wedding photos.
Sparkling Sensations

Dress: Reem Acra, Im a sensation Shrug: Frascara Bracelet: M Crystal Rhodium Camilla Pucholt Photography

Sparkling Sensations
Sequins aren’t just about holiday party dresses. Why not opt for a lighter fabric embellished with a metallic, sequinned finish like this one by Reem Acra? Each ray of sunshine on the dress will catch the light beautifully, providing a breathtaking centre piece for your wedding photos.
Retro Chic

Dress: Greta Constantine, style Znon Veil: David Dunkl

Retro Chic
Keep it simple, yet stylish with this 60s inspired knee length gown by Canadian designer, Greta Constantine. Made from silk, it has a sleek clean-line look and its soft ivory shade would complement the décor of any destination wedding. Keep it subtle and pair with tonal accessories, or make a statement as our model has done here by adding a splash of colour with these elegant shoes.
Feather Light

Dress: Rosa Clara Bracelet: Corocraft Camilla Pucholt Photography

Feather Light
This elegant, halter neck gown is all about delicate fluidity. Embroidered with intricate beading on the shoulder straps and subtle filigree embroidery on the bodice that gives way to a feathered floor-length train, the design creates eye-catching movement when you walk. Pair it with an understated head piece and a single piece of jewellery – such as this chunky bracelet to complete the look.
Grecian Goddess

Dress: Lanvin Flip flops: Sergio Rossi

Grecian Goddess
The simple folds on this elegant, flowing floor length gown will lend an ethereal feel to your look on the Big Day. Perfect when teamed with jewelled flip flops, you’ll feel cool and confident for your beachfront ceremony.

 

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The best beaches in Puerto Plata

Situated on the north coast of the island facing the swirling seas of the Atlantic Ocean, Puerto Plata is the perfect playground for water sport enthusiasts. With great undulating waves, a perfect climate, and pleasant trade winds, there’s a host of activities to please every kind of water baby – from adrenaline-seekers who surf and kitesurf, to underwater explorers with excellent snorkelling. In addition to some wicked waves, this slice of the Dominican Republic is known for its exquisite beaches, which make for a great spot to while away the day working on your tan or an idyllic backdrop of your picture-perfect wedding ceremony. Say, “I do” with the warm ocean breeze blowing and the sun shining down upon you.

The best beaches in Puerto Plata cater to travellers of all styles and interests. Here is a selection of beaches to dip your toes in, snorkel your way through or just simply while away the hours on some pristine oceanfront stretches of sand.

Playa Grande

Mark this beach as a “Must Visit” when you find yourself in Puerto Plata. Arguably one of the most beautiful beaches in the Dominican Republic, Playa Grande offers sun-worshipping vacationers stunning azure waters on one side, milky-beige sands on the other and backed by a dense fringe of palm trees. Striking cliffs plunging into the ocean depths below, visible in the distance, add to the enchantment of this fairy-tale beach setting. Lovers will delight at this tropical locale which offers picture-perfect backdrops for post-wedding photos thanks to its lush foliage, clean sands and naturally-splendid landscape.

El Breton Beach

A short drive east of Puerto Plata nestled within Cabo Frances Viejo National Park, El Breton Beach, a gorgeous cove, hides away behind swaths of lush verdant forest. For those looking for a beach off the beaten path, this one is the winning ticket. Work up a sweat with a rigorous hike through the park then cool off with a refreshing dip in the ocean. Divers and snorkellers will marvel at a magnificent Spanish galleon shipwreck, which sank almost 400 years ago and displaced so much of the living coral that it gave the new formation the moniker, “Silver Shoals.”

Punta Rucia Beach

West of Puerto Plata, Punta Rucia boasts white sand beaches and gorgeous mountain views. This beach on the north coast a small point that separates the two beaches (Ensenada) is bordered by a large thriving coral reef, which provides great snorkelling to discover a multi-coloured world of marine flora and fauna and is a popular spot for snorkellers. Small eateries line the beach and are convenient addition to while away the day without having to leave. A peaceful lagoon nearby provides the perfect setting for bird-watching.

Cayo Arena

One cannot help but conjure up dream-like images of paradise islands and mirages when they come upon Cayo Arena. A tiny islet surrounded by emerald and sapphire-coloured waters and a short boat ride from the north shore, Cayo Arena brings to mind the paradisiacal landscapes of an oasis island in the middle of the sea. This tiny paradise is famous for its sea bed that is home to a spectacular aquatic world with beautiful coral reef formations and vibrant marine life making it a list-topper for snorkellers.

Cabarete

Surfers, windsurfers and kiteboarders find their true calling at Cabarete, where the perfect mix of constant winds and waves provide the ultimate playground for these aquatic athletes.  Just 20 minutes from Puerto Plata, this small, laid-back spot is also home to the world’s largest kiteboarding competition each year. You won’t want to forget your camera as witnessing these water gliders and their colourful sails in the sky provide great subjects to photograph. Bring along your own equipment for a small fee to catch some of your own waves, or simply admire these daredevils from the shore.

It’s evident that the beaches in Puerto Plata serve up a harmonious mix of silky sands, beautiful deep blue waters, and laid-back vibes. So, no matter what kind of vacationer you are, grab the sun block, your flip flops and your shade, and hit the beach!

 

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Real Weddings: Caralin & Chris

The early morning commute into downtown Toronto was always Chris’ favourite time of day. Bleary-eyed with an extra large coffee in hand, he would wait in anticipation for the girl with the gorgeous smile. Meanwhile, Caralin couldn’t help but notice the handsome fellow on her daily train ride whose mesmerizing eyes she couldn’t forget throughout the work day.  The story of Chris and Caralin may have started in the most unlikely of places – on board a commuter train – but this rush-hour romance turned into a relationship that went beyond the 9-to-5 daily grind.

Frequent travellers to the balmy Caribbean, it only made sense to Chris that that was where he would ask the love of his life to marry him. The twosome found their way to Puerto Plata, along the northern coast of the Dominican Republic. Venturing off to a secluded beach with a priceless vista of the water, Chris knew that this was the moment of truth.

“I told her how I felt and that life apart would be no life at all. I proposed and she accepted. There [were] more mushy details in between but being there together, where we love to be, made the engagement that [much] more amazing,” he remembers.

Dominican dreams

The sounds of the ocean and the breathtaking view provided the perfect setting for this love-struck pair to say, “I do” in front of 70 of their closest friends and family. Continuing their Dominican theme, the pair held their wedding, accented in a cheery palette of turquoise, pink, purple and green, at the regal Majestic Colonial Punta Cana.

“The location of the ceremony was perfect,” Chris enthuses, “[Blue ocean], the white sand and the gazebo were all great.” Undoubtedly, Caralin’s most memorable moment was, “Saying ‘I do’ to the man I could not live without, surrounded by my most favourite people, palm trees and the sand between my toes.”

After the ceremony, the elated group made their way to the Parrots Bar to continue their celebrations into the night. As a surprise to Caralin, her bridesmaids and friends decorated the reception
gazebo with lanterns, lights and signs, adding to the magic of their tropical nuptials. Never one to miss out on surprising his new wife, Chris had something else planned up his sleeve. After their first dance to Train’s Marry Me and with the help of a few vodka and waters – their signature wedding drink – Chris and his groomsmen enacted a steamy striptease dance for the new bride that, as Caralin recounts, “would be unforgettable…not only for me!”

Paying homage to her Chinese roots, guests took home red sedan chair boxes (which Chinese brides get carried in to meet their groom) filled with lucky candy as favours.

The newlywed lovebirds made their way over to Jamaica where they enjoyed a quiet honeymoon.

Get their look

Caralin’s gown: White tulle, Mori Lee.

Caralin’s shoes: Barefoot.

Chris’ outfit:  A mix and match of various brands.

Bridesmaids dresses: Coral knee-length dresses, Aritzia.

Groomsmen attire:  A mix and match of various brands.

Photographer: Vaughn Barry Photography.

Hair: Majestic Spa and Esthetics.

Old | New | Borrowed | Blue

Old: Pearl and diamond ring (an anniversary gift from her father to her mother).

New: Earrings from Chris.

Borrowed: Veil from Caralin’s sister.

Blue: Underwear.

Tips for brides and grooms
  • It’s so simple to plan a wedding abroad – everything seemed to be taken care of by the wedding planner. 

To see your wedding photos splashed on WeddingVacations.com and for a chance to win a romantic vacation for two, stay tuned to our Facebook page! You could also be featured in an upcoming issue of Wedding Vacations magazine

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The 10 reasons why you need help with wedding planning

By Joe Tuck

Articles about destination wedding tips and trends can give you ideas and inspiration but consulting with an actual wedding expert will be the best decision you can make. While friends and family are great at offering their love and support, a consultant can be of the practical assistance, which will lead to savings in the long run. Here are 10 ways your consultant can help.

  1. Your consultant has an established relationship with the at-destination resort and understands what the in-house wedding planners can provide on the ground. This goes a long way toward managing expectations and seeing that every detail is twice confirmed. Dealing with a resort directly might mean you won’t hear back straightaway. The consultant is a reliable partner who speaks the resort staff’s language, professionally and likely, linguistically.
  1. You’ve chosen the best spot on the beach for your destination wedding but what will you and your guests do before and after the ceremony? Every location has its signature hot spots and activities, and your consultant can hook you up with the best tours, whether it’s an adventure for the whole group or an intimate excursion for two. These safe and reliable tour recommendations can bring peace of mind when it’s most needed. Surprise your bridal party with surfing lessons, or, your spouse-to-be with a jeep tour to swim under a waterfall
  1. It’s the M.O. of a wedding expert to cater to large groups. Taking your wedding abroad means coordinating flights, resorts, and tours for all of your closest family and friends. You might have folks coming along who’ve never been issued a passport stamp and an expert is a great resource to have in your back pocket. Putting travel coordination in the hands of a consultant who can offer a bespoke service lets you focus on the romance and fun parts of a wedding, like choosing the dress and playlist songs for the reception.
  1. You won’t see the fruits of your labour until you arrive; as a result, this once-in-a-lifetime event comes with many questions. What do I have to pay for? What will the flowers look like? Does the beach really have white sand? Is the food any good there? For your consultant these questions are common and they can advise you so that what you want is what you can expect upon arrival.
  1. Plan B. What if there is bad weather, last minute guest additions or someone needs to cancel? Up and to the moment the vows are spoken anything can happen and your consultant can advise you on all the second best options to carry under your cap when the unexpected occurs or things fall sideways.
  1. What to bring/What not to bring. Packing is never an easy task, never mind having to include a wedding dress and tuxedo shoes as carry-ons. You’ll be surprised by what can be provided for at the destination, on or off the resort, so cross-reference your checklist with the wedding consultant and perhaps you can leave the hair blower and curling iron at home.
  1. A destination wedding offers up the chance to party in paradise and it will likely connect you with a different culture. Many couples choose to incorporate elements of the local milieu into their wedding day. While your consultant is connected in your destination, they’ll also be able to give you local referrals in your home town – i.e. a Salsa Dance Instructor or a Spanish language tutor.
  1. Travel brochures are as thick as telephone books and you can go cross-eyed wading through all the choices. Do you want to stay in ocean-side villas or under a jungle canopy; a city-sized resort and casino with all the amenities or a boutique style hotel; island or mainland? Sitting down with a consultant will allow you to talk through what is most important to you for a wedding destination and your consultant will be able to present the best resort options available.
  1. Next to having a baby, planning a wedding always brings with it, loads of advice and suggestions from friends and family. While these words of wisdom are imparted with the best of intentions, having a consultant in your corner is firstly, a reliable filter to run all the information through, and second, they are a third party confidant that can handle your venting about family frustrations without making judgements.
  1. We couldn’t avoid it. The BUDGET. Given the investment of time and money this feast of occasion commands it makes sense that hiring a consultant will lead to long-term savings. The expert can keep your budget in check, help you set realistic goals, let you know about money saving ideas and over expenditures, and present you with options that will save you headaches on what will be a day of no regrets.

 

 

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Top 8 “something blue” ideas for your destination wedding

By Natasha Jervis

A destination wedding is one of the most unique wedding celebration styles that a couple can have, but what happens when your special day in the tropics is just around the corner and you haven’t found something blue yet? I know how I was when I was frantically searching for something blue  and unique before getting married on the beach in Mexico last May, and believe me, it wasn’t pretty.

There are loads of ideas that you can use as your something blue, from blue flowers and blue toenail polish to blue hair accessories and earrings. How about mixing things up and breaking free from the same old, same old? Check out these eight unique something blue ideas for your tropical destination wedding.

Anklet or charm bracelet

Many brides decide on earrings with little blue jewels in them. An anklet or bracelet with little blue charms is a bit more untraditional when it comes to wearing something blue on your wedding day. Bear in mind that your gown will probably hide an anklet like mine did, whereas a sparkling blue charm bracelet will be seen by everyone.

Bow tie?

For your man that is. A unique idea is to have your man bring the blue to your wedding day. There are loads of tasteful bow ties out in stores, so you won’t have any problem finding one. The hardest part will be getting your husband-to-be to wear it.

Hair accessories

A popular choice among brides is to add a blue clip or ribbon in their hair. Get creative and be a wild child by placing blue orchids (fake or real) in your hair. Orchids are unique and stunning on their own, so imagine how beautiful you’ll look with one of the most exotic flowers in your hair. For example, for my destination beach wedding, I placed white orchids in my hair and my man loved the exotic style. Be more daring than me and make them your something blue!

Brooch

We aren’t talking about your dear old great grandmothers 1930s vintage brooch here. If you want to spruce up your wedding dress, you can attach a silver brooch with little blue crystals or if you are part of the more affluent crowd, sapphires.

Shawl

Your something blue can be something you put on and take off, as long as you wear it at some point in the official ceremony. While you may not want to wear a shawl over your wedding dress in the blazing hot sun, you may be thankful for it afterwards when the temperatures drop and the breeze comes in. You can wear a light blue shawl as you walk down the aisle and pass it to a family member to hold.

Ribbon

This was another one of my simple solutions for something unique and blue at my tropical destination wedding. I attached a piece of blue ribbon around my bouquet of flowers. It was a simple and easy idea, and when my anklet wasn’t showing during the ceremony, my ribbon was.

Clutch

A blue clutch purse is a unique way to add some blue elegance to your wedding outfit. It is also a smart bride move, as you can keep your “refresher” makeup with you during the ceremony and festivities that follow after.

Wedding dress

Step out of your comfort zone and be extraordinary. Get married in blue! This is a fantastic way to solve two wedding day dilemmas at one time. There are so many blues out there to choose from and in these modern times, women can wed in whatever they like. Your something blue can be you!

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#EPIC wedding entrance songs

By J. Tuck

The destination’s resort DJ can set the playlist for your reception but your choice of entrance song sets the tone for the celebration. Whether it’s a choreographed ensemble presentation featuring the entire wedding party or a subtle, intimate introduction – depending on the locale of your post-nuptial festivity – you can tailor the tune to suit the seaside scenery. Here is a set list-worth of songs to consider for your introduction as newlyweds and the first track to an evening spent dancing in the sand.

LAIDBACK CLASSICS

♥ La Isla Bonita (Madonna) – Essential lyrics: Beautiful faces, no cares in this world, Where a girl loves a boy, and a boy loves a girl.

♥ Walking on Sunshine (Katrina and the Waves) – Essential lyrics: I feel alive, I feel the love, I feel the love that’s really real / I feel alive, I feel the love, I feel the love that’s really real.

♥ Lovely Day (Bill Withers)- Essential lyrics: Then I look at you, And the world’s alright with me / Just one look at you / And I know it’s gonna be / A lovely day.

♥ Beautiful Day (U2) – Essential lyrics: It’s a beautiful day / Don’t let it get away.

♥ Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I’m Yours (Stevie Wonder) – Essential lyrics: Ooh baby, here I am / Signed, sealed delivered, I’m yours.

♥ The Way You Make Me Feel (Michael Jackson) – Essential lyrics: I never felt so in love before / Promise baby, you’ll love me / Forevermore.

♥ You’re My Best Friend (Queen) – Essential lyrics: I’ve been with you such a long time / You’re my sunshine.

FAN FAVES

♥ Shut Up and Dance (Walk the Moon) – Essential lyrics: Oh, we were bound to get together / Bound to get together.

♥ Happy (Pharrel Williams) – Essential lyrics: Sunshine she’s here, you can take a break.

♥ Cheerleader (OMI) – Essential lyrics: She gives me love and affection / Baby did I mention / You’re the only girl for me / No I don’t need no next one.

♥ It Takes Two (Rob Base & DJ EZ Rock) – Essential lyrics: It takes two to make a thing go right / It takes two to make it outta sight.

♥ Uptown Funk (Bruno Mars) – Essential lyrics: Don’t believe me just watch.

♥ Crazy in Love (Beyoncé, Jay-Z) – Essential lyrics: ‘Cuz I know I don’t understand, Just how your love can do what no one else can.

♥ Forever (Chris Brown) – Essential lyrics: Feels like we’re on another level / Feels like our loves intertwined.

EDITOR’S PICKS

♥ Say Hey (I Love You) (Michael Franti & Spearhead) – Essential lyrics: But I know one thing / That I love you.

♥ Praise You (Fatboy Slim) – Essential lyrics: I have to celebrate you baby / I have to praise you like I should.

♥ I Gotta Feelin’ (Black Eyed Peas) – Essential lyrics: Tonight’s the night / Let’s live it up.

♥ Without You (ft. Usher) (David Guetta) – Essential lyrics: All I need is you and I.

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