REALISE YOUR VISION

Photo by Nick Stephens Photography

KEEPING AN EYE ON CURRENT TRENDS WHILE STAYING TRUE TO YOUR ORIGINAL VISION AND TAKING ADVICE FROM THE PROFESSIONALS WILL ENSURE YOUR CELEBRATION SHINES, WRITES STEPHANIE AZZOPARDI
When imagining your big day, your mind drifts to flowers, table settings, food, photo booths and all the other fun and beautiful things that can equal an unforgettable day and night.
Working out your wedding style can be so much fun, you are choosing the look and the elements that will make this special event completely you.
However, selecting and executing your vision can be an overwhelming experience; especially with social media inundating us with all the ideas.
If you want to be ahead of the curve, the woman behind styling business, Weddings of Desire, Laura Harvey, says there are a few trends to keep an eye out for in the coming months.
She explains mixing up traditional styles is going to be a big trend.

Photo by Nick Stephens Photography

“This next season we are finding a mix of round, oval and rectangle tables are popular, mixing up the look and the shapes,” she says.
Laura says the way food is presented is also going to evolve to be a more impressive and interactive experience.
“Food stations are becoming more creative with sashimi bars, oyster bars and pizza bars; clients are after the interaction that these bars can offer,” she says.
“It’s so much more impressive to have someone slicing fresh cold meats at an antipasto station than all the elements just sitting there, it takes service and atmosphere to the next level.”
For those who have a tighter budget but still want to inject some wow factor into their day, Laura says there are some ways to get a big look with little cost.
“Foliage – lots of foliage,” she says.

Photo supplied by Weddings of Desire

“And candles – lots of candles.“If you create both these en masse you can’t go wrong.”
Overwhelmed with what to choose and where to get it from?
Laura says hiring someone to help you make your vision come to life can be a lifesaver.
“Hiring a stylist not only eases stress for your wedding day but helps you eliminate confusion and gives you clear direction on the style and theme you are after,” she says.
“In most cases it saves you money as you don’t rush into buying or booking absolutely everything you see on Instagram or Pinterest to find out later it’s just not going to work with your style.”
In a day and age when the sky is truly the limit to designing your celebrations, it is important to stay true to what you and your partner love.
Make sure you design something you can both look back on with happiness and satisfaction that it was one of the best days of your lives you were able to share with those closest to you.
Laura says to achieve this it is important to never forget your original vision, that look that first grabbed your eye.
“Stick with your first image you fell in love with, you will always go back to that,” she says.

REAL WEDDING

JACQUI + NATHAN

LOVE STORY
Nathan Thomas proposed to his love Jacqui Geary, in a shed on his parent’s property. The pair worked tirelessly to create their dream wedding celebration on the same property, making seating, the bar, decorations, every touch unique to them, making the moment all the more special when they read their handwritten vows to one another. “Whatever we didn’t have, we made,” Jacqui says. “There were personal touches everywhere.” The pair were wed on their six year anniversary. The rain held off for just long enough, with the pair only showered in rose petals, a happy moment. “It was a fun and emotional day that went so fast,” Nathan reflects. “We definitely made memories to last a lifetime.”

For more imagery, including a full list of suppliers, CLICK HERE.

PLATTER PERFECTION

IT BRINGS MAJOR WOW FACTOR TO ANY GATHERING OR CELEBRATION AND, WITH SOME EXPERT HELP FROM PLATTER CO, WE TAKE YOU THROUGH THE STEPS TO CREATING A
SHOW-STOPPING SELECTION OF FRUIT, CHEESE AND SAVOURY DELIGHTS

TOOLS:
Bread board, bread knife, 2 spoons

MATERIALS:
Large cheese board
3 cheese knives
2 dip/pâté knives
1 dip bowl
1 even smaller bowl for quince paste

PLATTER INGREDIENTS:
3 cheeses (hard, soft and blue), prosciutto, 1 x dip, 2 cracker varieties, quince or fig paste, fresh breads (think baguettes, olive bread or even a little fruit bread for my favourite combination), fresh fruits (think grapes, strawberries, figs and blueberries), selection of nuts and dried fruit, fresh sprigs of garden herbs for garnish

PROCEDURE:
1. Place your main items, cheeses, dips and quince paste on the board to start your framework.
2. Now you can start to build around them with your next biggest items. Placing your small bunches of grapes against each cheese, as well as your cracker and bread selections.
3. As you place the prosciutto, twist and pile it up to create another texture within your board.
4. See all the little holes between the bigger items? Start to trickle and fill those holes with cashews, walnuts, dried apricots, dried or fresh figs and maybe a few pretzels.
5. Finally, place a few fresh strawberries around your platter, and garnish with a little homegrown freshness from the garden, such as a few sprigs of rosemary

EXPERT TIPS:
You eat with your eyes, so if it’s looking fresh, colourful and abundant, it’s a guaranteed winner.
Everybody has a buddy. When you’re arranging the board, think about like you’re making a suggestion for what pairs well. Fruit bread next to a soft or blue cheese, olive bread next to the dip, sliced fig or pear with a blue cheese.
I’m also a big believer in balance over symmetry. Keep the colour and ingredients balanced on your board, but it doesn’t need to match.
In warmer weather, lean towards the harder cheeses, and swap out the cured meats for in-season fresh fruits.

CHOOSING YOUR PLATTER INGREDIENTS
Choosing platter ingredients is fun. Head to your local deli and just get curious. Some of my suggestions around Geelong with the best cheese ranges are Harveys of Highton, The Fresh Food Merchant, Geelong Fresh Foods, and East Fruit Market.

CATERING CORRECTLY
If you’re looking to feed a group for a meal with your platter, you should be planning for 500-700g of food per person. But if you’re like me and would prefer for there to be more than enough food, go with 600-800g per person. If it’s just a graze before or after dinner, wind that back to 200-300g per person.

I love wine … I love cheese. A gathering with both, is my favourite.
Here’s a few suggested wine pairings:
Pinot noir and brie
Sauvignon blanc and goat cheese
An aged port and blue cheese
Prosecco and something sharper and bitier like a parmesan

Photography: Hails & Shine

LETTING THEIR HEART LEAD THE WAY

Views of the Amalfi Coast from the water

Are you and your love planning to whisk your whole tribe away for a familymoon? Joel Cooper, of Frank and Dollys, shares his insights and highlights from the family’s glorious global adventure

We missed our bus.
Standing on the wrong side of the narrow road that winds along the wild cliffs leading down to Amalfi, the bus flew right by all five of us. After already waiting for 30 minutes in the Mediterranean sun it was fair to say we were a tad disappointed.
For the kids, they had just missed the bus to the place where we were going to eat gelato all day, lazing on the pebble beach and splashing about in turquoise water.
But for my wife Rachel and I, we had just missed the bus to tapered streets full of hidden treasures, cheese platters and glasses of vino by the sea.
A missed bus may not seem like a big deal, but when travelling around the world as a family everything has to be planned with our toddler son Oak’s day sleep in mind, time slotted aside for running our online clothing business, Frank & Dollys, as well as squeezing in home schooling for our daughter Poppy.
The bus to Amalfi suited our timing perfectly, we were ready to jump on and head to the town which is on everyone’s bucket list and have the dreamiest day in the Italian sunshine.
When we missed it, Rachel and I glanced at each other as the kids gazed back at us with a certain look in their eye; we knew we had to make some magic happen very quickly to turn the day around.
The gorgeous little seaside village we were staying in, Conca Dei Marini, had a hidden little cove beach, full of locals watching the world go by while a handful of tourists caught rays on the stone beach, taking a refreshing dips in the clear water.

Above: Rachel, Poppy and Wren in the cove of Conca Dei Marini. Photography: Joel Cooper

Above: The stone beach at Polignano A Mare.

Above: Joel and Rachel at their Airbnb in Monteleone Sabino.

As we headed down the steep steps to the cove I stopped the first local I saw.
“Do you have a boat?” I asked, talking in slow rounded English.
“Si,” he replied, looking confused.
The next couple of minutes I played charades with him, passionately acting out the five of us, and him, in the boat, going to Amalfi.
“Now?” he replied in a thick Italian accent.
“Si,” I nodded enthusiastically.
He disappeared, and within 10 minutes we were sailing across the crystal clear sea of the Amalfi Coast, our kids literally squealing with joy as salty sea water splashed in their faces.
Rachel and I pinched ourselves at the beauty in front of us, as our new Italian friend at the steering wheel beamed, “Welcome to life in Amalfi.”
So here is my first family travel tip; when you miss the bus, find a boat.
On February 1, my family and I packed up our home in Bellbrae and our retail store in East Geelong and squeezed our life into five suitcases with a one-way ticket around the world.
We often get asked how do we do it with three young children, a busy online business and a daughter in school.
The answer to that can’t be written in an Instagram post or a blog feature, but unravelled, in detail, over time.

Above: Exploring the streets of Xi Zhou Town, in northwestern Yunnan, China and the vibrant Shaxi Ancient Town.

 

So far we have travelled through Indonesia, Singapore, Vietnam, China and are currently in Italy.
The amount of times things don’t go to plan; struggling with a language barrier where no one speaks English; or being the only Westerners in the village; or the GPS not being able to find your Airbnb address; or working out the currency exchange only to realise you paid four times as much as you should have.
It is in these moments that the spontaneity and adventure of travel kicks in.
When you’re in this flow, you quickly realise that nothing is a mistake; that the boat was the far better option; that being without GPS forces you to knock on someone’s door and witness the kindness of strangers and the true meaning of hospitality.

Above: Tegalalang Rice Terraces

And when you are the only Westerner for miles you can sit back and truly be immersed in a culture so far from your own.
Showing our children the excitement that each day can hold, and teaching them about going with the flow, has been an absolute delight. You have to be willing to stay on the positive side and think creatively, as when you’re in a foreign country, it can seem easier to just head back to the hotel when things don’t go to plan.
We have this little saying, which often comes out over breakfast.
“Wherever you go, go with all your heart,” and that is how we enter the day, because we never know what will come our way.
One thing people often said to us before we left was, “have a great holiday”.
For us, this isn’t a holiday, we are living our life very similar to how we lived at home, and that’s the key to making travel work with a family.

Above: Tukad Cepung Waterfall, Bali

TAKING ON TRADITION

There are so many wedding traditions those before us would have adhered to as if it were law.  Weddings have never been more personal. However, some traditions are so lovely we might just  keep them around. Here are a few popular ones – we’ll let you decide which ones to take on

Smitten Wedding Photography

What you wear
Queen Victoria wore white on her wedding day in 1840, sparking the trend in the western world; before then, women just wore their best dress. Engagement and wedding rings are worn on the fourth finger of the left hand because it was once thought that a vein in that finger led directly to the heart. Diamonds only became popular as a choice for an engagement ring after an advertising campaign in the 1900s. So many of the traditions linked to your outfit actually don’t have much meaning at all – so wear something that you love.
Matching bridesmaids’ dresses
In ancient Rome, everyone in the bridal party, bride included, wore matching outfits, to confuse other suitors or evil spirits trying to get to the bride – essentially your bride tribe were your decoys. These days it is not uncommon for bridesmaids to wear alternating, or completely different attire. And when every woman, and man, is a different size and shape, it makes a lot of sense to mix things up.

Darcy Tuppen Photography

The first look
Back when arranged marriages were the norm, the engaged couple wasn’t allowed to see each other before the wedding at all. The event symbolised a business deal between two families, and the father of the bride feared that if the groom met the bride before the wedding and didn’t think she was attractive, he would call off the nuptials. Now it’s more of a superstition, a bad omen. If you’re not one to believe in superstitions or outdated practices, you might want to meet up with your partner before the vows, enjoying the moment in solitude and getting a few happy snaps.
Being given away
Being walked down the aisle and ‘given away’ to your groom by your father is a nod to the days where women were seen as property. Fast forward a few hundred or so years and this tradition is so much looser. Want to be given away by your dad? Great. Want to be given away by your mum? Also fine. Want to be given away by both? Why not! Or maybe it’s your grandparents, your brother, your bestie, or maybe you want to just walk down the aisle by yourself. Make your entrance whatever you want it to be.

Miranda Kremers Photography

Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue
This Victorian rhyme is a tradition supposed to bring the bride good luck. Something old alludes to retaining connection with family once entering married life. Something new represents the new union. Something borrowed is an opportunity for friends or family to lend something special as a token of love. Something blue represents fidelity and constancy. If you are going the extra mile, you can carry a sixpence in your shoe, to bring a life filled with good fortune. And, let’s be honest, who doesn’t want that?
Financials
The tradition of the bride’s family paying for the big day stems back to concept of a dowry – a sum paid to the groom for becoming the provider for the bride. Now that women can provide for themselves, it’s more of a flexible gesture. Spend and accept money only when comfortable.

Elk and Willow Photography

REAL WEDDING

JESSICA + SAMUEL

LOVE STORY
Jessica Smith put her late grandmother’s wedding ring and her late great-grandmother’s wedding ring on her right hand on her wedding day, something special to honour family who could not be there. Samuel Dangerfield waited a top of a hang gliding launch pad at Moggs Creek, when Jess was led down the aisle by her parents to say “I do” with the sweeping views of Aireys Inlet and Lorne on show. “It is somewhere Sam and his family really treasure so it was very special having it up there, even with a bit of wind,” Jess says. “It was amazing to see the guests’ reactions to the ceremony location, it was so special.” The reception, at a Surf Coast venue, was a continuation of a joyous day and night. “For the both of us, watching everyone else have so much fun and being so happy for us was so special – it was such a happy and fun wedding,” Jess says.
For more imagery, including a full list of suppliers, CLICK HERE.

GIFTING BACK

Weddings can be beautiful, grand, and such a special day to celebrate.
Love is all around, and you and your nearest and dearest are eating well, drinking well, and there are plenty of congratulatory hugs and of course, many of your guests will adorn you with a gift or two.
For those looking to spread the love a little further, there are so many ways to give back to those who need it most.
Many not for profit organisations offer ways for people to incorporate a donation into your wedding.

Save the Children,
a worldwide children advocacy organisation, offers a simple way to contribute.
Couples can ask their guests to make a donation to Save the Children Australia instead of, or on top of, buying a gift for you.
A personalised online donation page can include photos and information about your special event. The link can then be easily emailed to your friends and family.
Your loved ones can leave you messages of support and congratulations along with their donation to Save the Children Australia.
Interested brides and grooms can email events@savethechildren.org.au to organise the donation as the amount donated per guest is up to the bride and groom. Save The Children asks for a minimum donation of $3.50 per guest.

There are many other charities that also accept donations in honour of your weddings, so you can most certainly choose to support the cause of your choice.
Bonbonnieres are a cute way to say thank you to each guest for coming to your nuptials. But let’s face it, many get left behind, unused or forgotten about.

The Starlight Children’s Foundation makes Starlight Wedding Favours, a way to thank your guests with a personalised donation to help bring fun and laughter to seriously ill children in hospital.
From just $4 per guest, every Starlight Wedding Favour includes a personalised 90x52mm card with a silver or gold Starlight pin.
They come in a range of designs from classic and sparkly, to elegant and fun.
So much more meaningful than a cookie.
CLICK HERE to find out more.


Dementia Australia,
a supporter of more than 400,000 Australians suffering from the disease, offers a similar service.
The charity has a $5 awareness pin and personalised card, a wonderful way to support those with the disease and honour those no longer with you on your wedding day.
Call 1300 636 679 or email fundraising@dementia.org.au to make an inquiry.

The Asylum Seeker Resource Centre, which provides support services, including food, healthcare and employment, to asylum seekers, offers both a donation page or a wedding favour.
CLICK HERE or email events@asrc.org.au to find out more.

Many more charities offer these kinds of services; so do your research and find one that aligns with what you’re passionate about, making your wedding even more about love.

REAL WEDDING

SALLY + SEAN

LOVE STORY
Sally Mayberry and Sean Wride met while at university and have been inseparable ever since. “I love way she walks, talks and just is,” says Sean. “Sean tells me he loves me and that I am beautiful every day, and I mean every day for the last 11 years – that’s something very special,” Sally adds. Sean proposed on Lake Ashi in Japan, with Mount Fuji as the backdrop. “Sean had planned this moment for the better part of six months to make sure everything was perfect,” Sally says. “It was unbelievable and I hold Japan close to my heart.” The pair opted to take their closest family and friends on a magical trip to lush forest in the Dandenong Ranges for their nuptials. “It felt special to be able to take our guests to somewhere so beautiful and then spend the entire weekend with everyone,” Sally remembers with happiness. “The day was just perfect.”
For more imagery, including a full list of suppliers, CLICK HERE.

SWEET DREAMS

There is nothing better than waking up well rested after a long, peaceful night of sleep.
However, with a wedding to plan added to the daily stresses of work, family and other commitments, sleep can often take a back seat.
Sleep coach Cheryl Fingleson explains prioritising a good night’s rest is extremely important.
“New sleep research shows one in five Australians take three or more sick days a year because of exhaustion,” she says.
“The cost to employers is $3.7 billion a year, according to the 2018 Sealy Sleep Census, and it’s only set to get worse.”
She has developed some methods and techniques to make sure you get ample beauty sleep to make sure you are rested and feeling your best on your big day.

Take a sleep audit

Over the next few days, make a note of when you go to sleep, when you wake up and rate your quality of sleep out of ten. Don’t rely on a phone app, smart watch or fitness tracker to do this job. Keep electronics out of your sleep space and use pen and paper.
Note down when you drink caffeinated drinks; refined carbohydrates or junk food. Record what exercise you do and when, as well as how much time you spend outside in sunlight. In the evening, record how long you spend on a screen and when you turn them off.
Have a look at your wind down routine: do you meditate, shower or read before bed? Then observe your sleep space: is your bedroom very cluttered; do you have light blocking blinds or curtains; is there a lot of noise; is your room or bedding too hot or too cold?
And this is a big one: in the middle of the night, how many times do you reach to check your phone?

Make sleep your number one priority

Obesity, type 2 diabetes and other chronic and often deadly health conditions are linked to inadequate sleep so it’s really important to make it a priority.

Now you know what your bad and good habits are, you can take some proactive first steps, including:
1. No caffeine after midday; follow a healthy, low-refined carbohydrate diet, avoid junk food and sugary foods, especially in the evening.
2. Consider your exercise routine: if you sleep badly after working out in the evening, hit the gym earlier in the day.

3. Get out in natural sunlight once a day for at least twenty minutes to help reset your body clock.
4. Go to bed and wake up at the same time, seven days a week. Studies show a sleep debt from the week can’t be paid off at the weekend.
5. Have an electronic sunset in the evening: dim the lights, lower the noise, no screens at least an hour before bed. Don’t binge watch television shows late into the night.
6. Make your sleep space conducive to rest. Don’t use heavy, hot bed covers; keep the temperature around 18 to 20 degrees; keep out artificial and natural lights.

7. Write a worry list an hour before bed. If you wake up in the night with your mind racing, transferring them onto paper can help remove them from your thoughts.
8. If you struggle to get to sleep, or wake up in the night and can’t get back to sleep, go and do something else away from your bed. Don’t stay there tossing and turning and stressing. Read a book in the lounge. Don’t go on your phone.
9. Keep phones out of the bedroom. I can’t stress this enough. Checking emails, social media or texts in the middle of the night is one of the main culprits for sleep disturbance.
10. Lastly, sleep well – your body and bank balance will thank you.

REAL WEDDING

HARRIET + ANDREW

LOVE STORY
“Easily the first look,” is Harriet Fist’s instant reaction when asked what her favourite memory of her wedding day. She first laid eyes on Andrew Rhodes when assigned a seat next to him in year 8. “A friendship began and a deep connection which has grown and evolved ever since,” she says. “I love Andy’s sense of humour and his patience – never before have I met such a humble and patient soul.” Harriet named her groom’s late sister as her bridesmaid, and honoured her further by releasing a balloon at the end of their ceremony in her memory. “It was a beautiful moment to share and a special way to acknowledge and include our sister in our day,” Harriet says. “The photos from that moment will be cherished forever.”


For more imagery, including a full list of suppliers, CLICK HERE.