wedding upmarket may 2014

So, peak wedding season is finally drawing to an end.  You can just hear all those hardworking wedding industry people sighing with relief!  But of course it’s never as much of a break as you imagine it’s going to be…  Because the off-season is peak season for things such as wedding exhibitions, styled shoot collaborations, updating websites, and of course also trying to prepare for all those weddings that are coming up later in the year.  We certainly have lots on our plate to keep us busy over the “quiet” months!

The first wedding exhibition we are involved in this year is Wedding Upmarket which will be on at the University of Western Australia on Saturday 3rd of May.  This will be the first time we have exhibited at Wedding Upmarket and we are really looking forward to it.  We are working with a wonderful group of local vendors to bring you something a bit different which will showcase each of our skills and products.  Whether you are planning a wedding or other event, or just like to look at pretty things and be inspired, we are sure you will love Wedding Upmarket.  We would love to chat to you on the day and show you what we do, so please come along and say hello!


wedding styling vs wedding planning

I have been asked a lot lately about the difference between wedding styling/design and wedding planning/coordination.  We are primarily stylists but there are some services that you would expect to be performed by a planner that we actually provide as well and this is where you may be a bit confused!

WEB-3Wedding planners/coordinators are concerned with the logistics of your wedding.  It’s their job (depending on how comprehensive a package you choose) to ensure that everything is organised, budgets are managed, vendors are booked, logistics are taken care of, and everything runs smoothly on the day of the wedding.  These are the people portrayed in movies like The Wedding Planner and Father of the Bride – although the wedding planners I know definitely won’t fall in love with your fiancé, don’t wear headsets, and aren’t quite as dramatic as the movies would have you believe!  But they are all over the details of your day, there to assist you in any way you need them to, to answer any questions you may have and be involved in every aspect of your wedding in order to make the whole process absolutely stress-free for you.

WEB-55Wedding stylists/designers (which is what we are) are primarily concerned with the aesthetics of the wedding – how it looks and the overall “feel” of the event.  We can help you find the perfect venue for the type of wedding you are imagining.  We can work with you to design a general theme for your wedding which will include putting together a comprehensive styling brief and inspiration board which is what will guide us and your other vendors to ensure a common understanding of what we are aiming to achieve.  We can recommend vendors (including furniture and decor hire businesses, photographers, stationery designers, caterers, celebrants, musicians, transportation providers, dress designers and DJs) whose style will be in tune with yours and can work with these vendors to ensure consistency and uniqueness in your styling.  We can help you with selecting your outfit and accessories, as well as those of your bridal party.    We can plan and either make or source all the little details like props, signage, stationery, favours, lolly/cake bags and so on.  We can design and set up your lolly buffet, dessert buffet, drink station, gift table and photo table.  On the day of the wedding we will be there to ensure everything looks perfect and we can also be there at the end of the reception or the following day to help pack everything away and ensure that all hired items are returned to their owners (something a lot of people don’t think about and not necessarily something your venue will be willing to do).  Of course, as part of the process of designing and styling your wedding we will get to know you as a couple so that we can add those personal touches that are going to make your day special and unique, and we will get to know your style so that as well as being cohesive your wedding styling is a true reflection of you as a couple.

WEB-13As you can see, our role overlaps with the role of a wedding planner in some areas.  However, on the day of the wedding the role we play is quite different to the role of a wedding planner.  We will be concerned with the logistics of set up (meeting vendors, directing them in setting up anything they are required to, taking care of the set up of all the details and ensuring everything is set up on time) but we won’t be providing overall management of the event which is what your wedding planner and/or venue coordinator will be doing.  Styling a wedding is a labour intensive job which normally takes a lot longer than you would think, particularly when there are lots of details.  In addition some venues only allow a restricted timeframe for set up which makes our job even more intense.  Therefore it isn’t feasible for us to perform this role as well as generally overseeing the running of the event.  We normally leave once set up is complete and we don’t stay and manage the running of your reception – that is left to your planner, on the day coordinator or venue coordinator.  And, trust me, after a day of running around setting up we do end up quite sweaty and you probably don’t want us anywhere near your guests!

So, in summary, if you want someone to:

  • help plan every detail of your day;
  • manage your budget;
  • manage your guest list;
  • provide recommendations for vendors;
  • liaise with all your vendors and manage bookings and payments and assist with contracts;
  • provide advice on timelines and etiquette;
  • plan the timeline/schedule for your wedding day and ensure all vendors are aware of it;
  • attend and direct your ceremony rehearsal; and
  • be there on the day of your wedding from start to finish to manage all of your vendors,

then you are after a wedding planner/coordinator.

But if you want someone to:

  • ensure your wedding has that “wow” factor;
  • help narrow down all your ideas to one cohesive theme;
  • help with selection of colours, outfits, furniture and decor;
  • recommend vendors whose styles are in tune with your own and work with them to ensure consistency and cohesiveness in your styling;
  • help pull all your DIY and ideas together and/or see them come to life on the day of the wedding;
  • plan and source or make the little details such as decorations, signage, stationery and favours;
  • be there on the day of the wedding to ensure set up runs smoothly and everything looks perfect; and
  • be there to ensure everything is packed up at the end of the night and all hired items are returned to their owners,

then you are after a wedding stylist/designer and should contact us!

It is also possible you may be after both a planner and a stylist and we are more than happy to collaborate with your planner to bring your dream wedding to life and ensure that we are not doubling up on any work.  Although some planners do provide styling services, many people suggest that these services should be contracted separately in order to obtain the best results (for example, see this article from Utah Bride Blog) and I would tend to agree with that approach, given the workload of each role.  What many brides do is hire a stylist and then just have an on the day coordinator who will take care of the management of the wedding day itself.

If you are still confused about the roles played by stylists and planners, here are some more great articles on the topic:

All images used in this post by Nectarine Photography.

featured wedding: veronica & russell

Veronica and Russell were so much fun to work with.  When I first met them what made an impression on me was Veronica’s stunning looks and infectious energy and Russell’s extremely laid back and easy-going nature.  Instead of the cup of coffee I normally share with clients Veronica ordered a cocktail and I somehow knew it was going to be the beginning of something beautiful!

The venue for the wedding was just stunning.  Faversham House is situated in York, a little town about an hour and half from Perth.  The grand old house provided accommodation for the couple’s closest friends and family members for the weekend and a place to gather for meals, including a relaxed barbeque the evening before the wedding and a hearty breakfast the morning of the wedding.  The quaint little church across the road was the perfect place for their heartfelt nuptials and I could not imagine a better setting than the front lawns of the house for a relaxed country style reception.

Veronica comes from a fairly large Papua New Guinean family, and I could tell from speaking with her and seeing her with her sisters and nieces throughout the planning process that family was very important to her.  She and Russell paid special attention to involving the children of Veronica’s sisters in the day and we also set up a children’s area complete with a teepee, lawn games, piles of comfy blankets and cushions and colouring books.  Veronica and Russell really wanted their wedding day to be one big, fun, relaxed party with all the people they love most, and I think this was achieved.

The clouds on the morning of the wedding looked ominous and it drizzled on and off throughout the day, but just as the ceremony started the skies cleared, allowing Veronica, Russell and their guests to party underneath the stars well into the night.

There were lots of very talented vendors involved in this day including Pretty Willow who provided all the amazing furniture, Micktric Events who did an outstanding job with the lighting design and installation, Regal Mist who created the lovely floral arrangements, La Paleta who supplied the guests with yummy icy poles, and Petite and Oh So Sweet who made the most stunning wedding cake.  And let’s not forget the most beautiful wedding dress by Elvi Design!  These gorgeous images were captured by the super talented Jimmy Teo of iZO Photography.

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Images by iZO Photography

valentine’s day

It’s 10 days to Valentine’s Day!  As a hopeless romantic I can’t deny that I love Valentine’s Day.  I try so much to hate it but I just can’t.  I know a lot of people see it as a purely commercial thing, propelled by card companies, florists and chocolatiers.  But what’s wrong with celebrating love???  You don’t have to buy expensive gifts or make grand gestures, but it’s nice to have a day that prompts you to take some time out of the busy and sometimes mundane daily routine to celebrate your relationship.  My husband and I don’t buy each other gifts but we do exchange cards and make a point of going out for dinner together, whether that’s a picnic, trying out a new restaurant we’ve heard about, or going back to an old favourite.

For those of you who do celebrate by buying a gift for your loved one, here are a few of my top picks – items that are sweet, thoughtful and affordable.

Valentine's Day

Left to Right: “Big Heart” mug from Kikki K; “Caravan” frame from Country Road; “Anouk” oil burner blend from Aesop; “Divided Triangle” pendant from Pigeonhole; “Hexagon Gem” ring from Mr Sparrow Shop; “Magnus” men’s watch from Pigeonhole; Bonnie and Neil Flower Mat from Remedy; Monocle Speaker from Native Union via Hard to Find; “Arco” candles from Country Road; “Paris” men’s trunk by Stonemen via Hard to Find; “Serene” wrist bracelet from Mimco; Wooden iPhone clock from Remedy.

featured wedding: carly & sam

Carly and Sam were married at the semi-rural property of some family friends.  It was the most beautiful place to be married.

Carly and Sam wanted their reception to be more like a party than a wedding – a special party with lots of little details and decor that would blend in with the gorgeous surroundings.

We kept the styling rustic but elegant, using pieces from Pretty Willow and our own collection.  With beautiful soft florals by Zinnia Floral Design and an amazing lighting set up by Micktric Events, the large lawn area was transformed into an intimate space for guests to mingle and enjoy the fabulous food by Panorama Catering and drinks provided by Bar Up.  The simple wedding cake was created by Just Cakes.

Congratulations Carly and Sam, and thank you for allowing me to share your special day!

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Images by Nectarine Photography

featured wedding: sophie & scott

I helped to plan and style Sophie’s cousin’s wedding in 2012, so I was delighted when Sophie and Scott approached me to lend a hand with their wedding.

Sophie and Scott knew that they wanted to have a destination wedding, but weren’t entirely sure where.  Scott lived in Paris for some time so this was one possibility for them, but they also liked the idea of a more relaxed, tropical setting.  What they really wanted was to be able to celebrate over several days and for their guests to feel they were having a getaway as well as attending the wedding.

So, armed with this information I started to look into potential locations from Paris to Asia.  When I came across the YL Residence in Koh Samui, Thailand, I felt secretly excited.  The residence only had a small number of villas and Sophie, Scott and their guests would have the whole place to themselves, including a dining room where they could order whatever they felt like whenever they felt like it, a bar which would stay open for as long as they wanted to drink, and staff who would organise any activities that took their fancy.  It would certainly be my perfect wedding, but I didn’t want to get over-excited until I got their feedback.

As it turned out, they thought the YL Residence was perfect too, and so we began.  It wasn’t easy finding vendors for this wedding – first of all, not many vendors are actually based on Koh Samui, so travel fees from the mainland are common and sometimes quite expensive.  Secondly, we didn’t want what seemed to be a typical Thai destination wedding with a tropical flower arch, frangipanis in the bride’s hair, chair covers with sashes and a red carpet.  Sussing out vendors from afar was also tricky, as there is nothing like a face to face meeting to get a real feel for a person.  In the end however we managed to find an amazing florist who completely understood our vision, a wonderful hair and makeup artist, and a great photographer to capture the day.

In terms of the styling we kept things very simple – we didn’t want too many props to have to be taken over to Thailand, and we knew that the beauty of the surroundings would mean that styling could be kept to a minimum.

This was the result.


All images by Gina Smith Photography

Hair and makeup by Lisa Allen; Florals by Mora Flower; Catering by YL Residence No 17

at work

In November we travelled to York to style a gorgeous rustic country wedding for the most lovely couple.  Faversham House was such a great venue to work at.  We will be sharing more from this wedding soon but in the meantime here is a snap of me and my husband (AKA my underpaid and over-worked assistant) setting up, captured by the incredibly talented Jimmy Teo of iZO Photography.  We spend so much time these days doing this sort of thing together that it’s nice to have a record of it!


Image by iZO Photography