It’s one of the most anticipated moments of the event, where all eyes will be set on you both; just not to watch you at the alter. This time, everyone will be watching you perform one of the most awkward moments with your partner that you will ever encounter – the first dance.
Some take it very seriously and heavily invest in a magnitude of expensive classes. They choose to enjoy the journey with their partner, picking up a hobby that they both enjoy together. They experiment with the salsa, rumba and the traditional waltz – pulling out all the stops to show their guests just how hard they’ve been working. However, if you’re the type of couple who can’t contain yourselves when asked to hold hands with a dance instructor, prefer to spend your Saturday nights watching re-runs of Breaking Bad or will always choose the outdoor cinema over the indoor alternative (rain, hail or shine) – it might be time to reconsider tradition.
A few years back, couples began incorporating an upbeat second half to their routines that would usually result in a few giggles but was still traditional to an extent. We’re talking about a nice and relaxed Waltz, followed by a bubbly change of pace and some pretty memorable dance moves. Since then however, these types of routines have almost become the norm, which begs the question of ‘What does a couple have to do to stand out from the crowd?’
As an engaged woman in my mid-twenties, I wanted to let you in on a little secret of mine. You see, my partner and I are not what you would refer to as a ‘cool couple’. We’re offbeat, but not in a hipster or indie way. When we’re forced to take something seriously, it all falls apart & we can’t even take ourselves seriously. It’s like this – Imagine how awesome you were at 15. Do you have that image in your head? Well that’s us. Awkward and weird, pimples and all. So we thought, if our guests know that we’re not that traditional, co-ordinated type of couple – why we would try to mould ourselves to fit the bill? Our guests are going to have a good laugh at us regardless, so we may as well give them reason to.
So our plan is this. Picture Biggie Small’s “Hypnotize” (you know the one – ‘Biggie oh biggie oh can’t you see? Sometimes your words just hypnotize me’), gold chains, red caps and hi-tops – does this give me an excuse to purchase Isabelle Marants? Belly hi-fives, some ‘get lows’ and a lot of twerking. It would be the whole deal. We would choreograph the entire dance ourselves, with two goals in mind: To make our guests laugh and to have a blast and a good laugh at ourselves while doing so. It is a party after all!
I guess what I’m trying to get at is the day is going to be a representation of you both as a couple and there is no point in doing something that makes you both look and feel uncomfortable. Just like any other aspect of the day, even if it’s happened at every single wedding you’ve been to, it doesn’t mean that you have to conform to it. Not everyone is going to enjoy dancing the waltz or gazing into their lover’s eyes to a James Blunt lullaby. Some of us lovebirds just want to get down and dirty with Biggie on the d-floor and celebrate the big day.
Today is a special day of sorts, that most men etch into their memory to make sure they never forget and most women look forward to so they can eat to their hearts content. We’re talking about the anniversary and not just any old anniversary. Today marks 5 years since my fiancé and I officially became ‘official’ shall we say. It also marks close to a year since his proposal on the Melbourne Star.
On this special day however, I’ve somehow managed to single-handedly attract each and every human being from the corner of the globe wanting to know not only when our engagement will be, but also whether our wedding will actually happen. It seems that the longer you hold off on such a milestone, the more concerned those around you become. As unfortunate as it is, it seems that the delay in our enthusiasm to begin planning our engagement has caused suspicion among friends and family who now suspect that we’re either pregnant and delaying the engagement due to a new addition to the family or that we’re secretly separated and waiting until the spotlight is focused elsewhere in order to part ways quietly. The worst part is, that when we explain that we would like to save a little more money to make sure that the event is even more special – we’re met with suggestions of just having a small party at our own house (which has two tiny bedrooms) or opting out of an engagement and just saving for the wedding instead.
This is right about where my patience runs dry and I begin to wonder why on earth we are waiting if it’s inevitable anyway? Shouldn’t we just get to it and start our lives together? We don’t need anything fancy; it’s just a waste of money – right?
There is no correct answer, because it all comes down to the individual choices of both the bride & groom and what they want. Some couples save for years to be able to enjoy an incredible evening with no expense spared, whereas some couples prefer a low-key event with only close family and a casual atmosphere that is evidently extremely cost effective. In all honesty, I’ve heard of weddings that range from Cinderella-like fairy-tales all the way through to horror-themed occasions complete with Halloween styled accents. The point I’m trying to make is that regardless of when or what you chose to do on your day, it’s exactly that – your day. There’s a fine line between polite conversation with a bride-to-be and enforcing your opinion on someone, whether it be related to timing or cost. Advice is welcomed but criticism is not.
I’m still infatuated with telling people ‘I’m engaged’ because ‘I’m married’ just doesn’t seem to have the same effect for me yet. If I want to feel like Emily Blunt in the five-year-engagement, that’s not a crime and it most certainly is not up for deliberation. If I don’t want to rush things, why would I feel pressured to do so? Although it’s a cliché, it pays to stop and smell the roses every once in a while and that’s the mentality I’m taking on board at this stage of my life. So whether I end up marrying this man of my dreams in a year, 5 years or 20 years – none of it matters to anyone else except us.
Just like some couples can’t wait to be husband & wife, I’m happy over here with my one ring and hubby-to-be – unofficially official and everything in-between.
Too many couples are often scared away by the mention of Portsea & Sorrento for a wedding venue, not because of the incredible views or the serene nature surrounding the two hotspots but rather because the two little beachside getaways are known for their incredible mansions, exquisite views and a perceived expensive price tag. It’s not a known fact, but rather an assumption based on the already superb choice of venues and restaurants that have been very well received and accordingly rewarded throughout the food & wedding industries.
But what couples fail to do is research the options available, excluding these incredible areas from their venue-scouting list. I’ve had my eye on this secluded beachside café for sometime, and was blessed to have the opportunity of viewing a wedding in action yesterday that truly reflected the beauty of Sorrento.
With 180-degree views of the ocean, All Smiles Café is a bespoke cocktail venue that sits on the peak of Ocean View Beach at the tip of Sorrento. As a venue that moves away from the traditional seated concept, All Smiles manages to create an intimate and engaging atmosphere where each and every guest feels just as important as any other attendee. The large floor plan includes lounge suites and bar tables sporadically placed around a large central fireplace, which extends to an incredible alfresco and what must be named as one of the best views of Ocean Beach or dare I say it, Sorrento itself. The alfresco area provides a refreshing contrast to the warmth inside the venue, allowing guests to experience the sea breeze throughout the evening. The location is truly untouched by any other commercial influences, so enjoying a glass of champagne overlooking the ocean was definitely a highlight to remember.
An incredible positive to such a beautiful location is the ability for the couple to venture out onto the beach for traditional wedding photographs while guests were able to relax inside with canapés and refreshments rather than the usual three-hour wait while the bridal party are accompanied by a photographer to different locations. With the afternoon reaching 29 degrees, guests were presented with Midori cocktails on arrival followed by cheese and fresh fruit platters along with cold canapés. What followed was one of the best cocktail menus I have ever experienced, featuring vegetarian rice paper rolls, sushi rolls, oysters, gourmet beef burgundy pies, gourmet pizza, noodle boxes filled with fish & chips, peri peri chicken pancakes and so many more that we almost didn’t venture near the candy buffet at the end of the evening! The traditional throwing of the bouquet and garter were a highlight towards the end of the night, and the farewells came all to quickly as the couple departed for their honeymoon to Thailand. We, on the other hand were left on an incredible high celebrating the union of a beautiful couple and the start of a very long weekend thanks to the mid-week date.
For those of you based in Melbourne who are interested in exploring the venue more, visit http://morningtonweddingvenue.com.au/ to make an enquiry.
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.
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?
I promised and here it is, an alternative to Minted.com and some further insight into the world that is online (bridal) shopping. Zazzle (www.zazzle.com.au) 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.
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 (www.minted.com), 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.
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!
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!
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…