How to: Buy a Wedding Dress

I’ve finally done it. I’ve embraced my bride-ness and bought a wedding dress. Well I say wedding dress, I really mean a dress for the wedding- it’s not bridal by any stretch of the imagination. And by wedding I mean the Sydney one, because my only foray into bridezilla town is the fact that I will be wearing a different dress to the English wedding, but am yet to buy that one.

So how does one buy a wedding dress when you hate wedding dresses?*

Like this:

Step 1: Spend eighteen months scouring magazines, blog posts, Facebook stalk other people’s wedding photos, get RSI in your fingers from looking through countless Pinterest boards and still not really get a whiff of anything you like.

Step 2: Change your mind oh, 1,000 times.

When I first got engaged, this is the sort of dress I liked:

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Prior to my actual purchase, I quite liked this:

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Or this:

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But what I will be wearing looks ABSOLUTELY nothing like this, but just a million, trillion times better!

So, how did I decide?

Step 3: Precisely, it was 8.30am on a Sunday morning, I was half asleep flicking through an Australian designer’s latest collection, when I saw it. I had seen it in a magazine and at the time thought it only came in a short version – however, upon full release of their latest collection I saw that it came in a full length version! One swift transaction later and I bagged myself a beauty and a half.

Dress done.

This is a close resemblance to it:

bo-and-hope

I jest, I jest!

The only detail I’ll give away is that at the Sydney wedding, this lady ain’t wearing white.

* I love other people in wedding dresses, but cannot really get into it for myself.

Vendor Interview: Joe & Ed from The Travelling Gin Co.

GIN!

A well known fact about me is that I love gin. I really, truly love the stuff. But, admittedly, I wasn’t always so smitten. My first experience was when I was around 18, in a dive bar… it resembled a cleaning fluid, and I immediately did an about turn outta gin town and never returned for many years.

During that time, it seems that either, I’ve matured or the gin industry has – either way gin is amazing, diverse and more delicious than ever – so when it came to our wedding day, how could it not play a role in proceedings?

Cue The Travelling Gin Co. and a spoiler alert for our UK wedding guests.

For the uninitiated, The Travelling Gin Co.  (TGC) is a portable pop-up bicyle bar that serves, you guessed it delicious G&Ts and gin-based cocktails to you and your guests – perfect for summer garden weddings such as ours. As soon as we heard about these guys we knew we had to have them.

-3Image via The Travelling Gin Co.

We are SO excited that they’re going to be at our wedding.

Thanks Joe & Ed!

Tell me a little bit about yourselves, your backgrounds and how The Travelling Gin Co. started.
We met whilst working in the music industry at a recording studio. We made good friends through our similar interests, cycling and gin! We always discussed starting our own project and from doing a couple of trial run pop-ups through friends it got spotted and we got booked in for further events and its grown from there.
When did you first discover gin? 
With real interest and beyond the supermarkets’ three choices, properly around 5-6 years ago. Though having said that, some of the supermarkets have a wealth of choice these days for spirits. There are new distilleries, micro or industrial starting up it seems every week. London is buzzing at the moment, as is the world. Master Of Malt is a great site for online research and purchases. Though our best finds often come from serving up in different areas of the UK and finding out about local producers. Internationally too. Spain has some great choice and one of our favourites, the Bavarian Monkey ’47,  we discovered whilst at one of our earlier pop-ups in Germany in 2012.
What is your favourite cocktail?
This year we’re really enjoying the challenge of making bespoke cocktails for functions with really unique combinations. The experimentation has been really fun and our knowledge of ingredients and techniques is forever advancing. Classics wise, the Negroni is a favourite. If that’s too strong a Tom Collins is the perfect refreshment, particularly in the summertime.
What’s your favourite thing about weddings?
Meeting couples with their friends and family on such a celebratory day. The mood is always wonderful and it’s great to be a part (of it) with our bicycle bars .
*Ed got married in April which surely included a cocktail bike or two  – Congratulations Ed!
What’s something you’ve seen at a wedding that’s really impressed you?
We’ve served at a range now and seem some great ideas. Indoor, outdoor, converted barns, tents, town halls, manor houses and London pubs- each with a unique stamp. (We) really liked a wedding in East Sussex last year which had a break-out marquee with a vinyl library, a record player, comfy sofas and chairs and we provided a few cocktails as a side offering to the main party tent. Thought it was excellent to let guests choose what suited them best for the night, while most enjoyed jumping between the two spaces.
What do you love most about your job?
The socialising – from previously being pretty stuck behind a desk, it’s nice.
What do you get up to in your spare time?
We’re both still keen on film photography. We also often like throwing drinks parties for our friends – often to test new menu ideas and seek some feedback. It tends to go down quite well with our buddies!
If there would be one song that best describes you what would it be? 
Would be too tricky to pick just the one song! Both our music tastes vary somewhat, but we have a few favourite albums whilst on the road… ‘Pet Sounds’ by the Beach Boys, ‘Graceland’ by Paul Simon, ‘Transformer’ by Lou Reed, Velvet Underground albums etc.
If you’re in the UK and are getting married or know someone who is we totally recommend you seek out TGC!

Vendor Interview: Anthony from The Grounds of Alexandria

To say we’re excited to be getting married at The Grounds of Alexandria would be a MAJOR understatement. Pity it’s still 11 months away. What’s so great about getting married at such an accessible venue, particularly one that’s not a traditional wedding venue, is that we can return to it and reminisce as often as we like.

Guests, be prepared to dine on the BEST (WEDDING) FOOD EVER!

In this installment of vendor interviews, I chatted to Anthony, our excellent event coordinator. Anthony has been nothing but lovely, accommodating and helpful and we’re really looking forward to working with him over the next year. We also feel nice and calm that the day will run perfectly smoothly under his guidance.

Cheers Anthony!

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Image courtesy of Anthony Orange

Tell me a bit more about yourself. How did you come to be an event coordinator?

Some say that events and logistics run in our family.  Both my mother and aunt are event coordinators and my brother works in operations.  To be honest, it’s something I tried to steer away from when I was younger, however it pulled me back me in when I moved overseas in 2007.
How long have you worked at The Grounds?
It will be my 2 year anniversary this upcoming July.
What sort of events have you coordinated previously?
Ummmm I have done quite a varied mixture of events.  Here at The Grounds I have organised anything from weddings to corporate dinners and christmas parties to kids bar mitzvahs.  Prior to the Grounds I have helped coordinate a mixture of music festivals in England, Scotland, New Zealand and America.

 

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Image courtesy of Anthony Orange

How many weddings are held at The Grounds every year? 

Annually anywhere between 80 – 100 weddings are held at The Grounds each year.
What do you love most about weddings? 
Just as the ceremony starts, it’s great to see the brides start their walk down the aisle and helping reassure them and calm those few nerves.
What have you seen at weddings you’ve been to and/or coordinated that’s impressed you? 
I am always a sucker for big floral installations and transforming a space.
(Check out the pictures of previous installations that Anthony has worked on with The Grounds’ in house florist, Silva.)
_MG_9318Image courtesy of Anthony Orange
 Any wedding faux-pas you want to warn me of? 
When enquiring at a venue, always ask about the additional costs.  A lot of venues will not talk about what their overall costs are until you become their client. Ask questions like;
  • Do you charge for staffing?
  • What existing furniture comes with the space?
  • Do you have a preferred supplier list?
What song best describes you? 
I don’t really know which song would describe me best.  I can tell you what I’m current listening to though;
  • KT Tunstall’s new album; “Invisible Empire/Crescent Moon”
  • Fitz and the Tantrums new album; “More Than Just a Dream”
  • Alex Clare; “The Lateness of the Hour”

 

Do It Yourself: Wool Pom Pom

Why yes, it’s time for some more DIY.

This particular tutorial is brought to you by me, but housed on another wonderful bridal blog, the vastly more content-filled Polka Dot Bride. I’ve been very fortunate to secure some freelance contributing work with them and as part of the ‘made’ section of their site, I provided them with a tutorial on how to make wool pom poms.

Now, as you realise, the wool pom pom is not a particularly popular wedding craft – why I don’t know. Who doesn’t love huge quantities of wool at a wedding? We’re in the process of making 500 pom poms and frankly I cannot wait to finish making them so I can move on to something else.

‘Now, why would I require your tutelage over something so simple?’ You may be asking. The truth is pom poms are very easy to make – but why not just take a look anyway??? I think once I get over the ordeal of making what I now regard as an obscene amount of pom poms, I think they’ll always have a special place in my heart – I’ve become really fond of using them to decorate gifts.

So without further ado, please go forth and read my tutorial here.

 

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Vendor Interview: Les and Kath from Dorothea Mitchell Hall

Planning a wedding, as we’re quickly learning, cannot be done without the help of many, many, many people (amirite?) Along with getting plenty of help from friends and family, it’s crucial to team up with some fantastic vendors, who are passionate about what they do and are focused on giving you the best (and seamless) day possible. Make sure you work with like-minded people (not just ‘the best’ or ‘the cheapest’ as I fear some couples just do). Spend time getting to know vendors so everyone has the same vision in mind.

So I thought, why not give some love back to those people helping us create our weddings as the lovely days I know they will be? Kicking things off is Les and Kath of the Dorothea Mitchell Hall, where we’ll be having our English wedding. We’re so glad that they’re helping us with our wedding, especially since we’re planning it from the other side of the planet! They’ve been nothing but warm, friendly, enthusiastic and totally accomodating.

Thank you Les and Kath!

 

DM Hall

Tell me a little bit about yourselves and how you both came to look after the DM Hall?

We moved to the village in 1988 and found out that the village hall had been closed for some time and quite a few villagers thought it should be demolished. It was built in 1912 and donated to the village by the late Dorothea Mitchell and we thought it would be better to get the hall renovated. So we helped to raise funds to get it reopened in the early 90’s. Kath took over caretaking duties (with help from Les) when the previous caretakers emigrated to New Zealand in 2012. (They’ve now settled in Australia with their daughter’s family.)

Do you only coordinate the bookings?

We do everything to promote the use of the hall including: designing and producing marketing literature/floorplans/website/adverts/hirer forms/terms, answering the telephone, web and email enquiries, showing people the hall and facilities, explaining options, overseeing charges and payments, arranging for fuel deliveries, cleaning, checking before and after events and liaising with the DM Hall Management committee on maintenance and refurbishment needs/projects.

What’s your favourite thing about Claverdon?

Claverdon is a lovely Warwickshire village with beautiful walking routes but our favourite thing since coming here is getting involved in village activities and events. As mentioned, we’ve supported the DM Hall for 25 years but Kath also used to be on Claverdon’s Parish Council and Les played for the football team. Now Kath is president of the local Womens Institute and Les is Chairman of the Neighbourhood Watch Beat and Vice Chairman of the Gardening Group.

What’s your favourite thing about weddings?

It’s wonderful seeing the hall transformed for a couple’s most important occasion and great to get their feedback that all went well.

What’s something you’ve seen at a wedding that’s really impressed you?

We’ve heard great music and seen high tech projectors, lighting and props but simpler more economical things can be just as impressive such as an old fashioned pick and mix sweet trolley, a tree stencil that guests dab with their thumb prints to look like leaves and empty photo frames to surround faces of guest photographs.

What do you like most about DM Hall?

Its lovely beams above the main hall and memories of great events.

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

Kath enjoys gardening while Les prefers to listen to music, especially jazz, folk and rock.

If there would be one song that best describes you what would it be?

Les is I’m Alive because, after a lifetime of near misses, I’m just happy to still be here, Kath is Wild Thing because she’s always busy and makes everything groovy!

 

Do It Yourself: Save The Dates

Save the dates. Good idea or a waste of time?

Is it really necessary to send a notification of your impending marriage months and months before the wedding and then you send an invite anyway! What is the point??????

I’m not sure there is a point. So why did we send some TWO YEARS prior to our wedding? Namely, because we came across what you’re about to see and couldn’t resist. Also, it was kind of fun to spread the wedding fever about a bit. Are we going to send some for the Sydney wedding? Probably not. This is because we’re pretty much up to our eye balls in wedding preparations and are not prepared to take on more tasks!

But yes, here is a rather self-explanatory tutorial on how to make our save the dates. It’s a really nice idea and the stamp turns into a bit of a momento.

You’ll need:

1

Method:

  • Protect surfaces with newspaper
  • Using black ink (or another dark colour) stamp the big stamp on your chosen card
  • Let it dry
  • Using red ink (or pink perhaps) stamp the little stamp over your wedding day
  • Let it dry
  • Put your save the date in an envelope and send to whomever you please

Too easy!

3

5

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Pick a Venue. Any Venue.

Let it be known choosing a wedding venue, let alone two of them, can be tough work. Like really tough work. Not only does it have to house all your guests, allow you to fulfil all the ‘dreams’ you had in terms of theme or decorations, feel ‘right’ and be within budget. Is it possible?

It is.

How is it possible?

Controversially, in our experience being quite relaxed (maybe a little lazy) about the procedure, not expecting much from the venue and having an excellent imagination. There’s a lot of advice out there about how to choose a venue – and it’s pretty valid. Like what’s the catering situation, what sort of chairs are there, lighting, PAs and sound systems, can we throw confetti, and it’s all very valid stuff to ask, but sometimes creating extensive spreadsheets and measuring a venue against all these factors, can really over-complicate matters. SO DON’T WORRY! It will all work out on the day, right?

So, where are we getting married.

Well, I’ll tell you.

Our first wedding will be held at The Grounds of Alexandria in, uh, Alexandria in inner Sydney. It’s so beautiful! It’s an inner city sanctuary / cafe set in an early 1900s pie factory. It has seasonal and sustainable food practices and in terms of a wedding venue – a total breath of fresh air. We’re very excited to get married there. We’ll be getting married in “The Atrium”. It’s beautiful structure, like a conservatory or green house, with hanging baskets, floral installations and perfectly fits our idea for the look and feel of the day.

 

The Grounds of Alexandria

 

The Grounds of Alexandria

Our second wedding is going to be a perfect English summer wedding held in a perfect English village hall, specifically the Dorothea Mitchell hall in gorgeous Claverdon. It’s got a big green at the back where we’ll get married. It’s a big hall with wooden beams and lots of natural light and somewhere we can really go to town and make it our own. We’ve got 100s of ideas and this venue has really inspired a lot of creativity within us.

Dorothea Mitchell Hall

Dorothea Mitchell Hall

As you can see, there’s not so many pictures of the hall circulating. But yes, this is where we’ll be getting married.

I’d love to know where some other people are getting married?