Julie and Steven ~a gold and peach delight~

Photos: GM Photographics

Venue: Park Hyatt Sydney

Arch and hire decor : Elegant Tea Time

Florals : Lovely Bridal Blooms  

Autumn, the weather is cool but the days are sunny. Such a perfect time for a wedding. Julie and Steven were such a lovely easygoing couple. Choosing gorgeous shades of ivory, pinks and peach for their flowers really complimented the gold accents throughout the wedding day 

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Julie's bouquet featured plump ivory and pink roses, and a last minute change brought into the wedding some absolutely amazing peachy pink frilly tulips, finished with babies breath and green foliage.  

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The beautiful tulips featured in Stevens buttonhole and the parents flowers. A perfect dainty pop of colour. 

An early start was required to setup the combined ceremony and reception space at the Park Hyatt. The round arch behind the sweetheart bridal table was so gorgeous.  

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The rain clouds were threatening the planned outdoor ceremony and at the last moment the rain stayed away  

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Display arrangements and petite bouquets in jars on the chairs were a lovely splash of colour in the ceremony space

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Our George package featured on the guest tables. The frilly peach tulips were complimented with stocks, alstroemerias, roses, sims and babies breath. A super sweet matching cake topper was the perfect finishing touch

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Julie was so kind as to send this lovely email the next day after the wedding

"Hi Jessie,
I just wanted to send you a quick note before we fly off on our honeymoon this afternoon to say thank you so much for our gorgeous flowers at our wedding yesterday!

They were absolutely perfect and better than what Steve and I could have imagined. The fringed tulips were the highlight of all the arrangements and I am so happy we left everything in your capable hands."

 

How to choose your suppliers...

That beautiful ring is on your finger and now it's time to get organising. Very soon you start to realize that there are so many suppliers for your wedding, but how to choose, how can you work out the legitimate vendors to the dodgy brothers.. 

 

I feel the toupee would be a good dodgy indicator

I feel the toupee would be a good dodgy indicator

Google wedding photography or wedding flowers and your results come back in the 100's. How can you find a quality vendor that will provide you with top service. Hopefully the below tips will help you on the right track to happy wedding planning.  

1. They provide a professional online presence. It's 2017, every wedding vendor has a website. Is your potential vendors website a good showcase of their business? Can you easily see the service they provide. Extra points to vendors who provide price guides for you 👍🏻

2. Can you easily access pictures of their work? Whether on their website or social media. Being able to look at multiple images you can see their work and consistency.  

3. Word of mouth reference. Did a friend, family member or work colleague use them?  What was their honest review of their service. What did they like/dislike about them?  

4. Online reviews. And I dont just mean the anonymous 5 star reviews (some new businesses will get friends to review them,  dodgy but true) but consistent high reviews with comments left by real brides on different platforms  such as Facebook, google, etc.

5. Talk to them. Give them a call, ask them some researched questions. Can they give you confident answers? Do they know what they are talking about, and can give you good solid advise? 

6. Good vendors say NO. That's right if it can't be done, or won't come out at all like you think, a good vendor will tell you it can't be done. Beware of vendors that promise you the world when others say no. 9/10 times they are saying it just to get your business and last minute will say no sorry can't do it we will do this instead. 

Good vendors have usually had many years of industry experience, they have a good depth of knowledge in their area of expertise. While a cheap new startup business might be appealing $$ wise, knowledge and talent only comes with experience.   

Good luck lovelies xx

I'm Engaged! Now what??

Congratulations you said yes! You're dreaming of your big perfect day and you're happy ever after.   But where do you start? What do you do?

Yeah congratulations  

Yeah congratulations  

Below I have listed a few first steps to get you on the way to happy wedding planning. I'm not going to lie, it's going to be tough, it's going to be expensive and you probably will at one point eat a whole packet of Pringles crying in your pyjamas.....  

Yup gonna happen 

Yup gonna happen 

1. If you are going to use a planner now is the time before you book or plan anything go out and research and hire an amazing planner. They will help you every step of he way. But if you don't have the budget for that... 

2. Venue venue venue. Dont set a date until you have chosen your venue. I kid you not some fab Sydney venues book out 2 years in advance! So start researching the venues you like and pop into their open days. check their availability and choose your dates from there      

Nice! Madison function center Dural

Nice! Madison function center Dural

3. Approx guest numbers. Make a rough list of how many guests you want.  This will help with your venue selections. Some venues cater for less than 100 guests while many others will have minimum numbers of 150. Knowing a rough number will help with making a venue short list.  

Nice view!  

Nice view!  

4. Knowing your rough guest numbers will help when researching venues as you can start to work out the dreaded budget. The reception is your biggest cost so looking at cost per head will help you get an idea about what you need to budget.  

5. Great, venue and date are booked! This is a good time to sit and work out a realistic budget. What it realistically is going to cost not what you want to spend. See our earlier blog post "budget baby budget" for more help on budgets.  

Aw a rainbow, can't plan for that! 

Aw a rainbow, can't plan for that! 

6. Photographer/ hair makeup/ Florist. These suppliers are next as you can't book them until your date is set. As with venues popular vendors book out years in advance so pounce quick and book your preferred suppliers.

7. Ok now to the fun stuff time to pick gowns, theme colours, other decorations, invitations.

Good luck my lovelies you can do it and do your best to avoid becoming a....

 

Don't be a bridezillia! 

Don't be a bridezillia! 

Where to blow your dough!

Money money money... As soon as you start wedding planning, its like you need an endless supply. But honestly who has that? 

OK these guys probably didn't worry too much about budgets....

OK these guys probably didn't worry too much about budgets....

You need to spend your money in the right places. Where is that? you might say.. Well I have been in the industry for many years now, and I have worked out the 4 places you should definitely not scrimp on the cash.

1. Photos. I have seen many hundreds of photos brides have sent me over the years, and I swear, a good photographer is worth very dollar. Some photos have been breath taking, and some have been so bad I haven't been able to display them on my website. I don't mean you should go and hire the most expensive photographer in the city. Do your research and find the best photographer you can afford. You will be looking and sharing these photos for a very long time.

One of our brides from a few years ago Emily, Gemma Clarke photography took this great picture with shows off our flowers (yeah) but captures the personalities of the bride and groom.

One of our brides from a few years ago Emily, Gemma Clarke photography took this great picture with shows off our flowers (yeah) but captures the personalities of the bride and groom.

2 & 3. Hair and Makeup.  Do you know what is going to be in almost every picture, yup you! Now your friends aunt might like to do makeup, and you found a real cheap hairdresser on Gumtree, I am going to strongly suggest you re think. You want to look your very best, but you still want to look like you! These professionals know what will work and what wont. They will make you look like you, just like a 110% version of you. You might think that its a lot of money to"play with hair/makeup" but their many years of experience is worth it.

Not the best of looks.....

Not the best of looks.....

4. Your dream item. OK this one is a bit harder to explain. What is it you always wanted?? Was it the dream venue on the water? was it a pair of Jimmy Choo heels? most brides have one thing they really want, if you can, go for it, splurge on this one item. It will make you happy, and when the throes of wedding planning get you down you can think/plan about the one aspect you are really wanting (you know apart from marrying the love of your life).

So you have your 4 things, as I mentioned at the top of the article you don't have a Scrooge McDuck money vault... so what to do.

this would be handy...

this would be handy...

Sit down and look at where you can reduce costs in other less important areas. Here are some places in your budget to review

  • Table Centerpieces; Guess what! you don't have to spend $500 on a floral extravaganza for you and your guests to have a great time. Hiring a simple candelabra, ordering a small simple arrangement of flowers, or using the venues standard centerpiece can save you big $$. And I tell you no wedding guest has ever said the reception is ruined because the bride and groom didn't have elaborate decorations.
  • Bridesmaids Dresses, you know what?  most guests probably can't tell the difference between a $300 dress and a $3000 dress, if you spend the time getting the colour you want and the fit is good, don't go nuts on designer labels, your budget will thank you for it.
  • Bomboniere; Hey do you know how many guests just leave these on the tables (lots and lots!) make them cheap and sweet (i.e you can eat them)
  • Invitations, Thank you, menus etc.. Bespoke custom stationary is gorgeous, and if your budget allows for it, fantastic. But $10 an invitation can really add up if you have a 100 guests, and don't forget the rsvp cards, wishing well cards, maps, thank you cards, menus, before you know it you can have spend $20-$30 per guest just to invite them. If you need to make some cuts in your budget there are many less expensive alternatives on offer. While you can just Vistaprint it if you are really want to, there are also also many designers who offer templates you can purchase and download that you print off yourself.
  • Getting too decoration obsessed. Oh wow, you want a flower wall, and a hanging instillation above the dance floor, oh and a welcome sign decorated with flowers, don't forget the gorgeous crystal tealight holders you found, the sequin table runners etc.. I could go on and on and on. Do you really need it? Will your reception be lackluster without a $10,000 hanging floral arrangement? must you stretch the budget for the most expensive linens that will be covered with crockery and cutlery? Scale back, if its not a decorating essential and your budget wont allow for it.

Good luck my lovelies, with some level headed planning you can have an amazing day without the burden of crazy stupid debt.

 

To Flower girl or not to Flower girl.......

You can picture it now, some gorgeous smiling perfect little angels walking down the aisle. The perfect addition to your bridal party. 

Kinda like these cuties !  

Kinda like these cuties !  

But reality check... 

Yup.... 

Yup.... 

Now this post is more for brides to be that don't have kids or are close to young kids. 

Kids are great! So much fun and bring so much joy.  Are you the kind of bride that can go with the flow? Would you chuckle rather than cry if your flower girl ran down the aisle and throw petals at the groom?  

If you are a bride that wants everything to be perfect, then think hard about adding kids to your bridal party.

Kids are unpredictable, strong willed and usually sticky...   and no matter how many times you practice there is a good chance things won't go to plan. 

So what to do??  

1. Really think about if you can cope with kids in your bridal party.  

2. Choose comfortable outfits, you dont want them pulling at their clothes (or just taking them off!) 

3. Pick bouquets/halos that are age appropriate. Bouquets are best for girls over 4 yrs while fairy wands are perfect for little tots. 

4. Keep hair and makeup quick and easy. Most 3 year olds can't sit still for 2 mins let alone 20 mins

5. Go with the flow. If you do choose to have children in your bridal party, realise and understand that kids will be kids and everything may not go to plan.  

Be Prepared

Something awful happened this past weekend. A Lovely Bridal Blooms team member was dispatched to a Sydney Chapel to setup decorations for one of our gorgeous Brides. we arrived at our designated time of 2.30pm for a 3.30 start, not much time, but we can make it work.  2.30pm, chapel is locked... Mother of the Bride and Groom arrive..still locked... Frantic calls are made.... still locked. 3.30 rolls around the ceremony should be starting, and here we are, the Celebrant, Photographer, Videographer, Groom. Groomsmen, mums, and all the guests are standing outside while no one comes to open the Chapel. Finally at 3.45pm, 15 minutes after the ceremony was meant to start, someone arrives to open the Chapel. Craziness ensues to setup and prep the Chapel, while I'm sure the Bride has been doing laps in the car for the past 30 mins..

Bride rage! fully understandable in this case..

Bride rage! fully understandable in this case..

WOW

Now I'm sure that the Bride would have had a contact number for the Chapel, but what happens if they don't answer?? How can you my lovely reader avoid this mess??

1. Spend the time to talk to each of your vendors to find out the specifics of their service for the day. Who is delivering/setting up? When will they arrive? Their contact number, and the contact details of the person in charge of that business in case of difficulties. For example, we send an email the week of the wedding with all these details so you have all the specifics.

2. Make a table up with all your vendors, contact names, phone numbers and details and print a few copies, give one to the MOH, groom, and the mums so if there is any problem, the numbers are close at hand for follow up.

3. Trust your gut. I cant stress this enough.. Have you had a bit of trouble with this vendor in the lead up? Having trouble getting hold of them or pinning down details? Please don't assume it will all be OK on the day. A great vendor will provide you with top service from the start to the end not just the day of your wedding.  Unfortunately there are bad apples in this industry, be pro active and if your gut is screaming at you, take proactive action!

So pop your boy scout cap on and Be Prepared!

 

The Pinterest Curse

Now please don't get me wrong I frikken love Pinterest, I have boards full of recipes I'll never bake, clothes I would never fit into and a million Supernatural and Walking Dead memes but anyway...

Go home Pinterest you're drunk.. 

Go home Pinterest you're drunk.. 

There is no doubt Pinterest is an amazing tool to use for your wedding planning, a fantastic way to inspire you, help you decide on colours/ themes and to find new and interesting decoration ideas. 

But here lies the problem, it's too good! You are probably pinning away all these amazing ideas and decorations and then trying to fit them all into your wedding.

A few years ago we set up reception tables with a vase of flowers, 3 decorated birdcages, 4 bird statues, a love sign, and heaps of candles , on each table.  In fact there was no room for the wine glasses. ALARM BELLS we all know wine is more important than bird statues!! This is a classic case trying to fit all these good ideas into one wedding and falling victim to the Pinterest curse.

Remember the golden rule with wedding planning .. Simple and elegant will never go out of style!

The other major pitfall with the the Pinterest Curse is falling for amazing floral designs or decoration/styling pictures when your budget isnt in sync with the look you have fallen in love with. See this picture below

Stunning yes, but sooo pricey  

Stunning yes, but sooo pricey  

gorgeous yes!! I would estimate this would be about $1000 for each tall vase without delivery/instillation costs. I have had this picture emailed to me so many times with brides wanting these but having a budget of less than $100 a table. Then I always get the next question of .. Can you make it look like that but in my budget .. The short answer is no, we can create something amazing for your budget but we can't make a $100 arrangement look like a $1000 arrangements, the Pinterest curse strikes again!

So my top tips for Pinterest are

  1. let it inspire you and guide you with themes colours and decorations   
  2. Don't try and include every good Pinterest idea into your wedding  
  3. Use it to show your vendors what you want, but realise that some pictures may not be able to be replicated exactly.
  4. Dont set your heart on images of OTT decorations if your budget doesn't allow it. 

Budget Baby Budget

There is one sentence that can make me eye-roll like no other in this industry.. Are you guilty of saying it??

"Hi I have (enter here a large number) of bridesmaids and I am on a really tight budget."

Whenever I hear this, I want to shake (gently) the caller/emailer and ask why do you have so many Bridesmaids if you have such a tight budget?

OK before I go all ranting, lets get back to the issue, Wedding Budgets. I'm sure many vendors will ask you what your budget is straight away, and I'm sure you are thinking well what are your prices so I can work out a budget! It is a crazy circle of confusion, and hopefully I can shed some light on it for you.

4 Bridesmaids, not 10, that's a smart Bride!!

4 Bridesmaids, not 10, that's a smart Bride!!

SET YOUR BUDGET Sit down with your fiance and work out how much you are going to spend on your big day. Write a list of all the items and services you want and need. At this point you are better to have an overall cost in mind, than try to allocate for each item.

BE REALISTIC Don't have champagne taste on a beer budget! if you are on a tight budget, be realistic, don't be tempted into additional items, services you cant afford. Some of the biggest costs in the wedding are having a large guest list and a large bridal party. If you budget is small, keep these small as well, paying for 6 sets of Bridesmaid and groomsman outfits, flowers, makeup, hair, shoes, gifts, transport etc... can add up to so much more than you planned for. Additional guests might mean the smaller venues are off limits to you, all things to keep in mind.

RESEARCH Don't be afraid to shop around, prices can vary a lot, but its super important to remember that with some goods and services you get what you pay for , cheap isn't always better. This is where reading peer reviews are worth your time, and referrals of vendors/items from friends and family.

PRIORITIZE If you have a fixed budget, and lets face it unless you are Kym and Kayne we all do, Prioritize what is most important to you both. Is it the beautiful waterside venue, is it the amazing gown/suit? Pick the items that you want to focus on, with the understanding that other items may have to take a back seat. (I will talk more about items I think are hero prioritize in an upcoming post) 

BE FLEXIBLE If money is an issue, it is imperative that you are flexible. Are you willing to have your wedding on a cheaper day of the week? Or perhaps in the cooler months when many vendors offer discounts? are their special offers you can take advantage of?

LISTEN TO THE EXPERTS Most vendors will be happy to work with any realistic budget. Don't be afraid to let them know, they can help guide you to get the best from your money, but if you are too unrealistic with your expectations, you will only piss off your vendors, or you will fall for a vendor that promises you the world and doesn't deliver. 

More about areas I think you should prioritize in the next post.....