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!

 

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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!

 

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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 RSVP.com.au. 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.

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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

Posted on 08 Dec, 2014

What’s the very first thing you picture when someone tells you they’re engaged? Go on. Close your eyes, have a good think. Yep, you’ve got it. Right there. The rock, the sparkle, the carats – the diamond. But just how important is the stone that you choose to wear for the rest of your life?

Well, I’ll give you this – it’s certainly an important factor in the relationship but it is not the end-game; and by game I mean a devoted dedicated and loving husband who worships every minute that he spends with you. Now that is worth 10 times more than any diamond on your finger. Today, brides-to-be have several alternatives that you can opt for instead of a diamond that wont break the bank. Moissanites, for example are a natural clear durable stone that is often treated in labs to brighten (whiten) the stone. Next on the list would be white sapphires, a natural gem found in locations around the world, along with the newer and more affordable ‘Asha Diamonds.’ These man-made stimulants are produced in laboratories and are similar to the look of a CZ. However, it is worth noting that an Asha tends to eventually lose its sparkle as they are more of a temporary stone than their alternative counterparts.

If you want to stand out from the crowd, there is always the option of a coloured stone instead. There are so many choices available, especially when considering sapphires. The colours available vary significantly and there’s no shortage of gems to choose from. Better yet, due to the significant price difference, you know that you’ll be able to choose something as big and beautiful as you’ve always dreamed of. A very popular option has recently come to light in the shape of a Morganite. This pairs beautifully with rose gold and has seen quite a surge over the last few years. If that doesn’t impress the anarchist in you, there are always raw, uncut stones and diamonds that you can have placed in a setting of your choice. Not only are many of these options rare and unique, they are almost always ethically sourced and rebel against the industry of ‘blood diamonds.’

So, what I hope you can gather from reading this, is that having a ring and a diamond is a promise – but it shouldn’t matter how big, what colour and whether there are any inclusions within the stone or whether it was even a diamond to begin with. Simply, all that matters is who the gentleman on his knee is and that he’s promising to dedicate the rest of his life to making you happy.

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Posted on 03 Dec, 2014

Caitlin and Chris grew up in the Victorian country town of Wycheproof and so of course knew of each other well, but it was not until year 9 that they really became friends and by year 12 they were stepping out together. But young love is fickle and the couple went their separate ways. It wasn’t until four years later that they reconnected at the Wycheproof races. Caitlin immediately noticed Chris looking pretty spiffy in his suit and strolled over to check him out up close.

They started chatting about old times and continued their conversation with drinks and dinner at the Terminus Hotel. Caitlin was studying at university in Melbourne and Chris had moved to Geelong, but the spark of romance had been reignited…

They spent the next two years travelling between Geelong and later Bendigo for Chris’s work, Melbourne and Wycheproof, wearing out two cars and boosting the profits of their telecommunications company before finally settling together in Ballarat in 2009.

In November 2012, Chris decided the time was right to ask the lovely Caitlin to be his wife. He set about planning the perfect proposal. They had already arranged a holiday to Fiji so Chris decided this would be the ideal location. Caitlin had booked accommodation for five days, but Chris told her that they should stay an extra two days somewhere on the island. Chris had in fact secretly booked accommodation but on the fifth day Caitlin was, by her own admission, getting a little bit anxious about where exactly they were going to stay that night.

Chris told her he had it all in hand and asked her to follow him. They walked out to the golf course and boarded a buggy which to Caitlin’s utter amazement ferried them to a helicopter! Believing that Chris had booked it all last minute, she mused that this was not going to be cheap. The helicopter took them to a beautiful island where they received a warm welcome from the staff and Chris pointed out the magnificent over water huts.

Caitlin ignored him. She was quietly fuming about this extravagance and Chris blowing their holiday budget. But Chris was not to be deterred by the obvious disapproval of his lovely girlfriend and stuck to his original plan.

Arriving at the huts Caitlin begrudgingly admitted that they were amazing and joined him for a glass of champagne. As she began to unwind and relax, Chris produced a ring, got down on bended knee and asked Caitlin to marry him.

A lot of crying followed, before Caitlin finally said yes, of course.

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Caitlin and Chris chose the magnificent Sault as the location to exchange vows and share their wedding day with family and friends.

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Posted on 24 Nov, 2014

Gabi & Ilan first met each other in 2011 and a brief romance shortly followed. However, this part of their love story was over just as quickly as it began, as Gabi says, “Clearly he didn’t know what he was missing out on.”

It was only in October, 2012 that their paths crossed again. Ilan had just returned from an overseas holiday and both Gabi & Ilan had endured numerous suggestions from mutual friends that they should date each other. Gabi was persistent that she wouldn’t meet Ilan again, but decided that she would go on one last date, and as she puts it, “just so I could have the last say this time. That didn’t happen. I’m having lots of last sayings now!” She said.

Well, their love story didn’t end there. In March of 2013, Ilan picked Gabi up early in the morning for a day trip to Williamstown. Their favourite movie to watch together is Madagascar, so Ilan surprised Gabi with a seaplane ride. After they had landed, there was a box wrapped in pink paper and ribbon waiting for Gabi to open. Inside of the box, was a human sized King Julien cut out, with the quote ‘The excitement is giving me the tingles! Marry me?’ on the bottom. Gabi was so overwhelmed with excitement and happiness that she actually forgot to tell Ilan her answer. Even the pilot exclaimed, “So?! What do you say??”

With a Jewish ceremony held at a beautiful private residence and a reception held at the Palladium Ballroom at Crown Casino, the day was sure to be a spectacular one. Guests were treated to an incredible menu featuring Sweet Chilli Chicken, Thyme Chicken and Scotch Fillet for mains. Gabi had selected a Collezione Bridal Couture dress that was custom made to Gabi’s requests from scratch. Gabi had only tried her dress on two weeks prior to the wedding, but thankfully could not have been happier with the end result. To add a special touch to the day, Gabi’s mother made a long mantilla veil especially for her, which made for beautiful photographs. To compliment her exquisite dress, Gabi chose a peach/champagne coloured fabric along with a dress design so that the bridesmaids outfits could be made, she recalls “I knew the dresses would look gorgeous on the wedding day when everything had come together – and they did! Especially for a summer wedding.”

As an orthodox Jewish couple, Gabi and Ilan did not have any contact with each other for a week before the wedding. When the moment to see each other arrived at the bedeken, both the bride and groom were overwhelmed with happiness and certainly agree that this was the highlight of their day.

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Posted on 17 Nov, 2014

Mike was holidaying in Australia several years ago, enjoying a 5-day break from England. It was only on his last day in Melbourne however, that his life would completely change. Three hours before he needed to be at the airport, a mutual friend introduced Mike to Alison. It was this introduction that ignited an 18-month long-distance relationship, until Mike would move to Australia so they could be together.

As unique as they come, Mike proposed to Alison when she travelled to Johannesburg to meet Mike’s family for Rosh Hashanah. He surprised her by taking her to the Pilanesburg region of South Africa and proposed at the top of the Kings Tower at the Palace of the Lost City.

Fast forward to today and Alison & Mike are now reminiscing about their magical Jewish wedding. The couple planned a beautiful Jewish ceremony and reception in the Harbour Room at The Royal Melbourne Yacht Squadron in St Kilda. The bride wore a stunning Raffaele Ciuca dress with a lace bodice, chiffon bottom and Swarovski crystals on the side. Alison chose to let her bridesmaids select their own dresses in various shades of purple & grey.

The couple enjoyed traditional Jewish music for their ceremony and selected Michael Buble’s ‘You’re My Everything’ for their first dance together as husband & wife.

The spectacular menu featured alternating Eye Fillet Steak and Roasted Garfish. As Alison & Mike are both sweet tooths, they selected Chocolate Self-Saucing Puddings for dessert!

When asked of her favourite moment, Alison confessed that the highlight would always be the family and friends that travelled from across the world to share in their special day. If she were to pick a particular moment in time, Alison spoke of remembering the moment that they were declared husband and wife under the Chuppa, “It was a very special moment for both of us.”

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