Posted on 26 Mar, 2015

Next week, I’m attending a beautiful wedding on the Mornington Peninsula, where two of our good friends are tying the knot. My fiance and the groom have been best friends since they were young boys, so the sentiment is certainly there and I wouldn’t be surprised if tears were shed on behalf of my future hubby.

As my fiance is in the bridal party as a groomsman, he will be travelling to the venue with the bridal party. I, on the other hand will be going solo and driving myself. Just so that we’re clear, this does not bother me one bit and it is actually quite relaxing knowing that I won’t be pushed out the door with half-done make-up and hair. When contemplating the logistics of how I am travelling to the location, where and what I’m doing in the interim between the ceremony and the reception – I started to ponder the realities of actually attending events ‘Han Solo’. It’s been a long time since I’ve attended anything by myself and it had me thinking about guests who are unable to bring their partners to a wedding as they hadn’t received a ‘plus one’.

So why wouldn’t a couple invite a guests significant other to their wedding? At first, I can completely understand that you might be a little nervous or even scared of attending an event alone, but the trick here is to remove yourself from the situation at hand and think logically about the reasons why a couple have not included a plus one on an invitation. Do they want a small and intimate wedding with only very close friends and family? Are they budgeting and can’t afford the additional cost of several plus ones? These reasons can come into play and none of them should be taken personally. Remember that a couples wedding is about the celebration of their love and commitment to each other rather than the names on their guest list. There are already such significant sacrifices that need to be made to make family members happy, that when it comes to friends’ partners – budgets have already been exceeded and there simply is no room to move numbers. It’s easy to forget that weddings in peak season can often put you back for as much as $250 per head and once you have committed to a budget, it’s hard to justify why one guests partner should be able to attend and not the other.

What should be celebrated however is the fact that the couple want to enjoy their day with you and would be honoured with your presence – after all, they are your friends and you should want to celebrate the occasion with them, in company and without. The likelihood is that you will know someone else in attendance, so why not get in touch prior to the wedding and arrange to go together?

Aren’t we all growing tired of the disagreements we hear purely based on table numbers, family members proximity to the main table, seating arrangements and guests lists? I think it’s time we remembered the real reason we all come together for such a celebration – and no, it’s not for the free food.



Posted on 19 Mar, 2015

Recently I had the pleasure of being asked to be a bridesmaid for my beautiful cousin Steph’s wedding. Luckily, Steph is as stylish as ever – so you can imagine the relief I felt knowing my first experience as a bridesmaid would be a good one. Steph selected beautiful custom made-to-measure elegant and sophisticated black, floor length gowns (future brides – this is the epitome of perfect and you should most certainly take a leaf out of Steph’s book).

For all that know me, if I could live in black for the rest of my life I would die a happy woman. The best part about Steph’s decision to choose this exact design and colour, is the fact that it genuinely looks beautiful, suits all body shapes and will satisfy even the pickiest woman you could find. Unfortunately though, this story isn’t as common as one would hope – with quite a lot of brides selecting bridesmaid dresses that they themselves would prefer not to wear.

I have heard of stories where remarks have been made that bridesmaids dresses should be unflattering in order for the bride to stand-out from her bridesmaids (because, let’s face it – the bride blends in when she is usually the only one wearing white *cough*). That aside, I believe the undertones of these types of conversations are around the mentality that women need to be in constant competition with each other to be the most attractive woman in the room (presuming that your bridesmaids are wanting to steal the spotlight from you).

Now, I want you to answer a question without thinking too much about it. Presuming you’re the bride with your friends as bridesmaids, would you want them to look just as beautiful on your wedding day?

Half of you answered ‘Of course!’ and you can go ahead and pat yourself on the back. The other half of you scrunched up your face and cringed – I know the feeling. It’s your wedding, so why wouldn’t you want to be the most beautiful woman in the room? Surely that can’t be a crime? And no, it most certainly isn’t. However, forcing your best friends into dresses that are completely unflattering is just cruel.

For the life of me, I will never understand why some brides insist on their bridesmaids wearing a ridiculous style and colour of dress that cannot possibly suit any form or figure. ‘I Am Woman!’ and we love our bodies, but sometimes something too short (for all of the legs 11 out there) and something too busty (for all of the women who have had the pleasure of wearing a minimiser) – is simply not comfortable to wear and quite frankly, it makes us feel awful. And hey, as women we’re pretty humble (*cough*) so we don’t want to spoil your day by whining and complaining about the dresses you chose, but spare a little thought for us prior to scheming with your devious persona about fluoro-green floor length gowns with shoulder pads (just don’t do it).

Research the different types of dresses available and see what type of shapes you yourself would want to wear. Spare a thought for legs 11 before deciding on a mini dress, and you might love a plunging neckline but I can assure you that it is humanly impossible for anyone over a DD to feel like they are wearing clothes. Think of my beautiful cousin Steph, who chose something elegant, classic and timeless (crisis avoided).

So, as a future bride myself – how do we feel about orange my beloved soon-to-be bridesmaids?


Posted on 12 Mar, 2015

I promised and here it is, an alternative to and some further insight into the world that is online (bridal) shopping. Zazzle ( is a modern and boutique alternative to the invitation services you would expect to receive through a freelance designer or a paper and design business that people you know may have already utilised. Judging from the name you can already tell that Zazzle is a pretty modern and progressive online invitation provider, and for this reason I wanted to explain how these online ‘shops’ work.

Zazzle admits that its team are ‘united by a passion to re-define commerce’ and are from all different walks of life. Similar to the set-up of Minted and other similar stores, Zazzle has a designer program whereby freelance designers can upload their work/designs for free and earn a royalty from the designs they created. This is the leading factor as to why I have always been drawn to websites similar to this, as I am a big fan on supporting independent designers and freelancers, especially in an industry that is overrun with lots of big players. It’s also a great opportunity to see work that you wouldn’t normally have the opportunity to select from – all the while standing out from the crowd and remaining unique in an industry that consists of mainly traditional ideas, products and themes.

The added benefit of working with Zazzle, is that you can essentially build and customise your own design, which definitely helps if you aren’t able to locate what you are looking for. This can also come in handy if you have completed artwork that you commissioned from an artist or a friend.

There is no denying it – the designs on Zazzle are beautiful. You have the option of faux gold foil and an array of designs including watercolour, nautical, rustic, art deco, geometric, calligraphy, chalkboard and boho! The search functions are quite easy to navigate and you can search designs via a specific designer, colour, theme or even season. Generally Zazzle invitations will set you back between $2.65 and $5, with the most common pricing for a great design at just under roughly $4.
One of the other benefits in using a website like Zazzle, is that you’re able to create additional ‘pieces’ to go with your order, which is where some of my current ideas come into play. I had always wanted to completely customise whatever space we chose to hold our engagement in by adding boutique, personalised decorations that really stood out and added the finishing touches to the event. I also wanted to make sure that whatever I did end up selecting would be able to be kept for some of our family and close friends as mementos of the evening. My idea was to either create themed cushions to be used for the event on whatever lounging there is available or alternatively if we do end up going with a rustic/outdoor theme, personalising several throws with our own custom design or photographs on.

Ultimately I’m very fond of Zazzle & websites of a similar offering. They allow you to become creative without having to sacrifice too much of your own precious time. Every bride wants to feel involved in the style and general feel of her engagement or wedding, but sometimes there just aren’t enough hours in the day. Thanks to websites like Minted and Zazzle, our creative spark ignites and we have the opportunity to get our hands dirty and start to enjoy the planning process.


Posted on 05 Mar, 2015

I have something to confess. It’s not really a confession as such, but I’ve felt guilty about it all the same. You see, before I’ve even chosen to finalise the details of our engagement party – the location, the theme or any of the necessary requirements a normal bride would think of, I’ve been researching invitations. Indeed, I’ve been gawking at different stock, letterpress, unique textures and dreaming of rose gold foil. I’m researching possibly the most mundane and expensive aspect of planning an event, not to mention the fact that it’s our engagement party. I’m beginning to think that if I’m this indecisive about an engagement that perhaps I shouldn’t be getting married in the first place.

Regardless of the guilt, the curiosity had eaten its way through to my fingers and I couldn’t help but type away on that beautiful thing we refer to as the World Wide Web. In case you hadn’t already noticed, I’m not exactly rich in the time department; so visiting a workshop to stare at paper and be even more indecisive was not on the cards for me. So the intensive research had begun, with two Internet standouts that I was fairly impressed with.

First we’ll look at Minted (, a stationery/graphic design/print hub where brides-to-be land in paper heaven. Minted is significantly large in America and has grown even more popular with the latest addition to their range – gold foil pressed invitations.

The first thing that I noticed about Minted was the value that they deliver upfront. Minted offers first time users with a wedding invitation sample pack, featuring 5 designs and paper swatches for you to really see the quality of the products. If that’s not good marketing, I don’t know what is. You see, once the quality of the invitations is confirmed, you really are looking at a large variance in price between online mass-market suppliers and smaller boutiques. There are obviously major differences to the services on offer and the added anxiety of ordering something over the Internet, but it is worth the comparison if keeping costs down on your invitations is important to you.

To give you an idea of the affordability, a creation by an indie designer on signature paper with real gold foil highlights will set you back around $2.60 per invite. Although it does add up once you crunch the numbers, I’ve heard many a story of brides paying upwards of $10 per invitation after not realising other options were available.

I have previously seen certain specials or sales offering discounts, however I’m not sure exactly of their frequency or discount amount. They do however offer free recipient addressing when wedding invitations and envelopes are purchased.

The great thing about Minted is that you can also completely customise designs. Do you already know a graphic designer? Great! You can submit your design and style it to your liking. Want something completely out of the box and a little quirky? You’ll most likely find it here, as there are plenty of independent designers who are thinking outside of the box.

I’ve honestly spent hours on Minted, daydreaming of pastels, rose gold foil and beautiful textured stock with gold edging. This may be the most indecisive decision of them all; but alas, there are more to come! Join me next week as I look at another diamond in the rough.


Posted on 26 Feb, 2015

As soon as you’re engaged, the rush of excitement hits you and you soon realise that you can now browse through wedding magazines without feeling ashamed. The engagement, the dress, the venue, the guests – even the napkins start to excite you at the beginning. What nobody bothers to mention though, is the excruciating task of hours and hours of research, with no answer to any of your questions and no decisions being made.

What becomes a major part of the planning process is the effect that your location, time, food and theme of the engagement will have on your guests. A unique dress code implies that guests should purchase an outfit to go along with your chosen theme, you might be a vegetarian couple and want no meat served at the event or you might choose to have your engagement on a Friday, a Sunday or even on an evening in the middle of the week due to the incredible discount in price that venues offer. Unfortunately, it is these factors that need to be given significant thought with your family prior to the event. Although it truly is exciting, it can also be incredibly stressful and time consuming – not to mention expensive.

With this thought, my fiancé and I decided that we would investigate the benefits of hosting an engagement party at one of our parent’s properties on the Mornington Peninsula. What struck us first was the convenience and accessibility that we could offer our guests, but also the ability to cut down on costs and save more for the big day.

Although the property is large, we would only look at hosting the event outside for obvious reasons. As there is a front entry into the backyard, it was perfect as we could easily avoid any traffic through the house itself. As someone who likes to consider herself creative, we would need a blank canvas to be able to ensure the décor was 100% our own and exactly what we were looking for. Everything would be exactly as we had envisioned, we just had to organise it ourselves. There was a tennis court that would be the perfect location to weigh down a structured marquee. All we would have to do then, would be to hire furniture pieces from an events hire company and purchase bits and pieces from Etsy to put our own twist on the event.

With marquees costing anywhere from $800 for a smaller sized canopy, through to thousands for the size that we required, we quickly realised that having our engagement party at home would still be a pricey affair. Although we would save money on food and beverage packages, we would have to take into account the effort and time that some of our relatives would need to sacrifice in order to help the engagement run smoothly. We estimated that the total cost of an engagement at a private estate would cost between $5,000-$8,000. This was based on the number of guests we had decided upon (nearly 200) and the furnishings, entertainment, food and beverages. In addition to this, we also realised that the cost of hosting the engagement would mean that certain family members were required to perform additional duties to help us set-up and pack-up the location, which we didn’t want to ask our family for. Lucky for us, they volunteered and were more than happy to help us in the process. After receiving approval, this definitely looks like a creative and fun project and is currently sitting at number 1 on our list!

We’ve been officially engaged for just over 8 months. I’m beginning to think that movie ‘The five-year engagement’ wasn’t that unrealistic after all. Will I find something else? Will we finally have an engagement in 2015? Time can only tell. Join me next week!



Posted on 19 Feb, 2015

Mon Bijou first caught my eye a few years back. The mirrored bar, the abstract roof, the furniture, the giant windows looking out over Melbourne and the general finesse of what can only be known as the most exclusive and elegant penthouse suite. Of course there was the additional benefit of the Adelphi Hotel located directly beneath, which deserved a mention all by itself with beautifully decked out interiors, bespoke décor and a personality of its own (but a complimentary one at that). The hotel boasts five different room types and the ability to accommodate guests with different budgets, which is perfect for those who don’t wish to wave down cabs on a busy Saturday evening.

Mon Bijou is very typical of French glamour and reminds me of a scene you would conjure up whilst reading The Great Gatsby. The décor and feel of the venue means that little to no effort is required, which would suit couples who don’t wish to hire a stylist for their wedding or who are looking for a very impressionable engagement. From my perspective, the only thing I would add to the already beautiful décor would be fresh peonies and possibly a flower wall for effect. For an engagement, this is definitely the perfect venue. It’s zoned with different areas, has seating for older guests and has all the amenities that you could hope for in a venue. There is however, one catch if you were looking at this venue for a large sit-down wedding. Mon Bijou is only really equipped for cocktail weddings as the space (which covers two floors) can only cater to 150-200 people. For quite a lot of couples, especially those with large families – this may automatically rule the venue out. But for couples that have numbers for an average size event – the space is perfect.

The benefits of a cocktail wedding as opposed to their traditional counterparts are far from few. For one, there are no seating plans to cause stress and no family members to upset. Secondly, the option of a cocktail wedding often presents couples with a more affordable alternative to a seated 3-course meal.

Mon Bijou’s prices are above average for what would be expected at an engagement, but significantly more affordable for a wedding in comparison to other venues of the same calibre. Mon Bijou’s food packages start at $45 per person and increase based on the type and amount of food that you require. Beverage packages start at $40 per person and increase based on the beverages you require and the duration of time that you would like the beverages to be available to your guests. The backdrop also provides the perfect stage for your photographer to capture the intimate and romantic nature of the evening.

This one is definitely on the cards, with our guest numbers predicted to fall around the 150 mark for our wedding. For our engagement though, we want a rather large gathering of guests which means that the list will most likely exceed 200 and therefore rule out Mon Bijou for our engagement. But this one remains on the wedding venue list as it is truly unique and boutique in a city where it seems there are no more surprises left!

Join me next time for a venue that no one has ever had a function at before!



Posted on 12 Feb, 2015

Brett Ginsberg is excited to announce the launch of a new series of posts that will be featured via our Creatography blog. In partnering with Tara Dunham, Brett encourages his followers to join Tara on a quest to navigate the world of weddings as she shares stories, encounters and ideas by chucking out the rulebooks, disrupting the norm and inspiring you to make your own traditions. Enjoy the journey of ‘The Awkward Bride’, where you can experience the bridal whirlwind firsthand, read reviews and even ask your own questions ….


Before the proposal comes the encounter and let me be clear that this is in fact a very boring and slightly awkward explanation of how we both met. Thankfully, I’ve heard worse.

It had been a long and uneventful evening, out on a girls night with friends. A few days prior, I’d returned from 2 months backpacking, trekking and volunteering overseas in India, Nepal, Thailand and Cambodia. To say I was exhausted and still smelt like an Indian summer and a minor bout of gastro would be an understatement. All the while, I was trying to enjoy myself with what little energy I had left.

It didn’t take long before my future fiancé had encouraged a friend of a friend to approach me, as he was a little too shy to do it himself. I allowed him to purchase me a cold glass of ice water (yep, that’s how fun I was feeling), but it all became a little too much when the conversation went nowhere and visions of 90210 reruns in bed with a block of Kit Kat & a cup of tea began to appear in thought bubbles above my head. I excused myself and expected that to be the end of our brief, fleeting but oh so eventful romance.

The next morning, I awoke to a friend request on Facebook. I’d just like to point out that we had previously met prior to the invitation to connect on Facebook, so in actual fact we definitely did not ‘meet’ on Facebook. It was then that I realised I had my very own stalker, but I had to give it to the guy – he was a handsome stalker at that. My logic was telling me that it was a little weird that this guy had managed to find out my first and last name, and locate my profile based on his recollection of the evening, but my heart couldn’t help itself.

Well, 4 years later and we were standing on the top of the Melbourne Star in Docklands when my handsome stalker dropped to one knee and asked me to be his wife. Of course I said yes! That was nearly a year ago now and we think it’s finally time to begin planning our engagement party and obviously, our wedding.

We’re in no particular rush to walk down the aisle as we want to enjoy the lead up to the big day by having a fabulous engagement party to kick-start the excitement. We’ve gone from restaurants and venues, to beach shacks and to houses and still come up empty-handed. I was on the lookout for something unique and different, something visually incredible – but just hadn’t found ‘the one’ that stood out from the rest and that would be perfect for our engagement celebrations. Let the research begin! Our first stop? Mon Bijou in Melbourne’s CBD; a boutique and unique penthouse that emulates sophistication and elegance.

Tune in for Part 3 next week where I can tell you all about it…

Melbourne Wedding Photography

Posted on 05 Feb, 2015

Brett Ginsberg is excited to announce the launch of a new series of posts that will be featured via our Creatography blog. In partnering with Tara Dunham, Brett encourages his followers to join Tara on a quest to navigate the world of weddings as she shares stories, encounters and ideas by chucking out the rulebooks, disrupting the norm and inspiring you to make your own traditions. Enjoy the journey of ‘The Awkward Bride’, where you can experience the bridal whirlwind firsthand, read reviews and even ask your own questions ….


When someone asks you that underlying question of, ‘How did you both meet?’ you know that the answer is going to be either romantic or awkward. Don’t even think about mentioning the fact that your mother set you up with her hairdresser’s son after being told by her cousin that you’re ‘running out of time’ or that you met on Even worse, that your now-fiancé asked you on a date because you kept running into each other, when really you just facebook-ed his whereabouts every Friday & Saturday night and told him you thought The Strokes were “completely underrated” since four months prior he’d written this in a comment underneath his ‘Listening To: Vision Of Division’ status update. I may indulge in a little Facebook stalking session here and there, but that isn’t the cute kind of creepy – it’s full-blown Radiohead’s ‘Creep’ kind of creepy. And believe me, I know.

That leads me to explain ‘The Awkward Bride’ and its purpose. Embarking on the journey of being engaged is a story to tell in itself and often doesn’t quite get the wrap that it deserves. It’s literally like Bridesmaids 2.0, without the whole Mexican cuisine (right before trying on expensive white dresses) episode. If I have to explain that scene any further, you need to hire Bridesmaids right now. The word ‘Awkward’ was not chosen at random, it is a huge factor in every twenty/thirty-something woman’s life. We already know that Cinderella got her glass slipper and that Belle broke the curse – but what about the everyday women who feel as though their lives resemble episodes of Sex & The City? Sometimes, we feel like we should have our very own TV show, featuring the high’s and low’s of our quest for romance. So why can’t we tell the story of what happens after we land the guy of our dreams, but before we get to the honeymoon and married-life? Not just tell it, really explain it – warts and all. I’m talking tantrums, arguments, tears and weight-gain. Budget’s, frizzy hair, pimples, sleep deprivation and real-life episodes of Bridezilla. So, did we lose the plot? Even just a little bit? Doesn’t that story deserve to be told in real-time, as it happens? We’re not talking ‘Man of Honour’ or ‘The Wedding Planner’, we’re simply wanting to write about an ordinarily, awkward kind-of-girl who just so happens to be getting married. And that just so happens to be me.

Tune in next Thursday to hear all about the first (awkward) time Tara met her now fiance, that Facebook incident and of course, the proposal. After all, no story would be worth telling if it didn’t have a beginning, right?

Melbourne Wedding Photography

Posted on 23 Dec, 2014

We’ve all been there. Trying to convince our hubbies to adhere to whatever dress code or colour scheme we’ve spent hours working on. The napkins and the placemats, the details in your jewellery all the way through to the colour of your shoes. The likelihood is that you’ve spent a significant amount of time researching, planning and envisioning your wedding, but is it really an issue if your groom wants to wear something a little left of centre on your special day?

Well ladies, although he may not have shown much interest in the decision making process for the location, venue, photographer, videographer, colour scheme, decorations etc. he does need to have one decision that should always remain his own – his attire on the day. Not only that, but also the attire of his groomsmen. So yes, if he wants to wear something bright, funny or even a little bit silly – we’ve got to just let him do it! Have faith that whatever he chooses will represent his personality and the way in which he wants to remember the day.

A wedding day is about much more than a bride, but rather about a couple and two families coming together to create a new family of their own. It’s important to take a step back and remember that even though he may not show it in the same way that you choose to, he cares about this day just as much as you.

I once read that the two most important factors to an everlasting marriage were sacrifice and tolerance. Not particularly romantic, but relevant all the same. You’re about to marry the man of your dreams, and it shouldn’t matter if he’s in black, white, blue or even if he’s butt-naked (although I’m not too sure your father will still be so keen on him).

Men are just wired differently. They don’t stress about the little things, they see the bigger picture and they know exactly why they are standing there at the end of the aisle for you. Regardless of whatever silly outfit they’ve chosen.

So, that whole ‘everlasting marriage’ theory? I’m positive that they forgot one key factor after all – laughter.

Groom and the boys preparations on wedding day in  Melbourne

Posted on 18 Dec, 2014

Yes, you heard correctly. I said hairspray. Don’t get me wrong, make-up is a super important factor of your wedding day preparations, but hair can make or break it. Are you after curls? Straight? Wavy? Seems like a pretty simple decision to make… or is it?

Your hair will completely frame every photograph of your day (and will also be shown to every single human being that enters your parents home). So, do you want to prepare for the worst so that no matter what you look a-mazing? Or are you going to be that bride who pulls out her wedding album only to have her children remark that your hairstyle is ‘The Rachel’ of their generation?

Do you want to be the bride that forgot the hairspray? Didn’t think so.

Curly or straight? Fringe or no fringe? Frizz is universal so there is no point denying that that will become a problem, but how do you manage it?

How you decide to wear your hair on your wedding day will most likely depend on the time of year that you choose to have your wedding. This will be a major factor in your decision as it greatly determines the enemies you will meet throughout the day. Summer is going to be humid, Winter most likely raining and windy, Spring and Autumn could really go anywhere and if you live in Melbourne you will be fully aware that trying to predict the weather on any chosen day is an extremely pointless activity. If you’ve both decided on a wedding abroad, remember that Bali, Thailand and Fiji are all amazing locations. But, they are also very hot and humid and although girls love the curls, they do not like humidity people. A friend of mine who tied-the-knot in Bali had her hair in a beautiful up-do, simply because she knew that her long curled hair would drop as she was walking down the aisle. It’s for this exact reason that a majority of the hairstyles you will see for weddings abroad will be in a traditional up-do.

Not tying the knot in a foreign country? Well, the odds are in your favour. Below is a snapshot of just what you need to remember for your ideal style.

Straight: Bring the GHD. I know that they tell you it’s a silly idea and no one will need it, but wait until you’ve been standing in the wind or heat for a few hours. No one wants to look like they’ve had a helium balloon attached to their head for the better part of the day. On a serious note: Straightening serum. God’s gift to unruly hair.

Curly: Hairspray. I don’t really need to write anything else for you, because all you need to know is hairspray. Not the kind that freezes your hair stiff – the kind that leaves your hair bouncy and light. Hairspray. Go on, write it down.

Boho/Beach Chic: It goes without saying that if you don’t really use any of these words to describe your current mane, it’s probably not worth a try. We should really just reserve this style for down-to-earth supermodels that could attend their wedding after a 5-hour gym workout and still look amazing. Or mermaids, we can reserve it for mermaids too.

Up-Style: Traditional, elegant and low-maintenance. Well, unless you’ve got the frizz. In which case, hairspray. And no, gel is not an adequate substitute.

Now that we’ve covered that, just a few last unspoken rules for you to remember. No attending a hairdresser for a new ‘do’ a week before the wedding. As refreshing and exciting as it sounds, that story never ends well. No highlights, no low-lights and especially no drunken hens nights where coloured hair chalk is involved no matter how pretty it looks. Period.

Oh and hairspray. Don’t forget the hairspray.

Bride and groom wedding day in Melbourne