Keeping your wedding cool

belvedere008With the full-on summer weather at the moment, it’s not just the final details of your wedding planning that might be getting you a little hot under the collar.

For anyone tying the knot under these blazing summer skies we’ve got some tips to help alleviate the heat and let you, and your guests, enjoy the bluest skies the season can offer…

Water, water and more water

Make sure that you, and your bridal party have plenty of water on hand throughout the preparation and the photo session. Dehydration is your worst enemy and will rob you of your energy at precisely the time you want to be enjoying things the most.

Provide water and fruit juice stations for your guests, especially if you are having an outdoor ceremony. Having water available will also reduce alcohol consumption and keep things more even-tempered, especially if it is a sticky humid evening.

Don’t forget your furbabies. Make sure that your pets, whether involved in the ceremony or not, are well cared for. It will be one less thing for you to stress about on the day if you are confident that they are being spoilt and totally looked after.

It might help to calm or nerves, or you might think it will help you sleep, but drinking the night before your wedding is not advisable. The thing that makes the heat even more unbearable is a hangover, so make sure you, and your groom, moderate the partying the night before the big day. You’ll enjoy the big day so much more and will have the stamina get to the real party.

Don’t be late

brookfield-shoot_333At any other time of the year it’s always acceptable for the bride to be fashionably late (10 minutes or so), but at the height of summer, with your groom and guests waiting under a blazing sun or inside without aircon, you won’t win friends by keeping people waiting. If you are planning on an outside ceremony perhaps provide sunscreen for your guests  – you can wear foundation and moisturiser with sunscreen but it’s a great idea to make sure your groom takes precautions too – you don’t want a sunburnt partner in your photos, or on the honeymoon.

Having an order of service that doubles as a fan is an ingenious solution that looks great and helps everyone keep their cool.

Keep it shady

kimryanwedding-235The more shade you provide for guests the more they will love you, but the same goes for your bridal party too – they have to be outside for the photo session too. Think about parasols, umbrellas or fans – they make great props as well providing some much-needed protection from the sun.

If you follow these simple rules you’ll be able to make the most of this wonderful summer weather while it lasts, enjoy your day in the sun and have a wedding that everyone remembers for the right reasons.

Photo Credits: Masterpieces Photography + Video

BFF comes to the party

leanne_jess_005-2What do you do when you win a competition and suddenly can’t take the prize? You grab your bestie and head down to New Farm Park for some photos – that’s what you do!

Leanne won our Perfect Proposal competition last year but sadly was unable to take the full prize as her fiancé had urgent family commitments overseas. With Leanne about to jet off to join fiancé Justin in a new life in Cincinnati, we decided to do a going-away photoshoot with her bestie, Jess, at New Farm Park and the Brisbane Powerhouse.

Justin and Leanne met and fell in love at a concert in Brisbane a couple of years ago. Since then things have moved at a frenetic pace with Leanne busy planning her huge move overseas, and a wedding at the same time – so just a bit of pressure! To make things a little easier, though, Leanne & Justin have decided to elope to Las Vegas and have planned the full-on Vegas experience – with the obligatory Elvis impersonator at the little wedding chapel – all being streamed live on Skype so both sets of family and friends can be see the ceremony.

We wish Leanne and Justin every happiness in their future together and are glad we could give Leanne a happy send-off with Jess. Dave Wall from Masterpieces Photography + Video had a great time capturing these old friends as you will see…

Groom’s jacket wins us

We love Bryce Harper’s jacket!

This baseball player played lined his tuxedo with photos of the couple’s engagement.

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The first things to do in your journey to ‘I Do’

If your new years was a little more spectacular than most and 2017 has started out with the excitement of a wedding proposal, then it’s time to start the planning process.

So, what comes first? The date or location? Actually, neither! Your budget is a great place to start so you can ensure you have everything you want on your special day.

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1.Set your budget

Agreeing on an achievable budget gives you the parameters to plan within – after all, there’s no point looking at venues with a $30k minimum spend if your total budget is $20k.

2. Set your ideal date

Once you set your ball-park budget then one of the very first questions is whether you intend to have a long engagement or race to the altar sooner. It’s a good idea to have a few options for dates rather than getting your heart set on one particular day on the calendar. Think about the dates you’d like to avoid (check with the important people in your life too), and the season you want to celebrate your nuptials in. The most important factor with your planning is to get your first choice with every element, which can mean staying flexible with dates, especially with some popular venues booking out up to 3 years in advance. That might be fine if you need time to save but if you want to head down the aisle within a year or 18 months then you may have to be a little bit more flexible.

3. Find your dream location

If you have some idea of your preferred locations then it will pay to check with the venue coordinators to suss out availability and whether they have any blockouts that might affect your planning.

View our preferred wedding venues.

4. Other essential vendors

Setting a date allows you to start locking in the other vendors who will be essential to creating the perfect day. Popular celebrants and photographers often book out up to 18 months in advance and again, to make sure you get your first choice of suppliers, make sure you book your preferred choices as soon as you possibly can.

5. Reflect your style

Once you have settled on the date at your dream venue then the next decision is what style of wedding you want. Do you want boho, or vintage, or glamour or casual? With so many decorating options available today it is easy to have Hollywood glamour in the most rustic of locations, or enjoy a Boho themed celebration in a central city hotel.

6. Gowns, glorious gowns

Your choice of dress is intrinsically linked to the style of the day, so you may hold off on setting a theme for the day until you have found the perfect gown, or vice versa.

Whilst you may have a style of dress in mind be open to change and check the different styles that are available and try on a wide range of gowns at several different salons. Let the consultant help you, but make sure you have your besties there to keep everyone on track and make sure you tell them to give you honest feedback.

View our favourite gown suppliers.

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7. Professional help required

If you’re starting to get a bit of a brain spin by now it might be worth considering hiring a professional wedding coordinator to help out with your planning. Whilst it might seem a luxury expense, experienced and well-connected planners can actually save you money as they will have negotiated discounts with other suppliers that you can take advantage of. They will also have more contacts within the industry, allowing them to source the unique extras that will make your wedding stand out.

8. Who to invite?

Who makes the cut, and how do you explain to Great Aunt Petunia that there simply isn’t space at the relatives table for her? Obviously, your budget will have defined your venue which will, in turn, have defined the numbers you can accommodate. If your budget allows for 200 attendees then you probably won’t have to be too quick to cull, however, if you’re planning a small intimate ceremony then this may be a tougher decision. If you are paying for the day then the decision should be yours and yours alone, however, if you’re lucky enough to be getting help from family then there will have to be some tricky negotiations. The most important factor is going to be who do you want to spend the biggest day of your life with? Would you rather spend the day with distance relatives or close friends?

Of course there’s also the little detail of who gets to be in your bridal party, but maybe that should be a post for a little later so you can enjoy some quality time with your new fiancé and not freak out.

Christmas wishes

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It’s hard to believe 2016 is almost over and the new year is just around the corner.
It’s been a full-on year for the team here at The Wedding Alley and we’re looking forward to an even bigger and better 2017.

In 2016 we welcomed a great selection of wonderful new vendors to The Wedding Alley tribe, launched our new Intimate Ceremonies & Elopements service for busy brides, organised styled shoots at some of Brisbane’s very best venues and attended some fabulous functions and events around Brisbane and further afield. After a short break to recharge our batteries we’ve got lots planned for the new year and we’re looking forward to sharing our plans with you.

How to know when you’re hiring an amateur photographer

When budget restraints start to bite for your wedding, hiring an “emerging” or student photographer seem very appealing. However, when you add up the costs of everything that you’re spending money on your wedding day, it mightn’t be the best option to hire an amateur, especially when you consider that the one thing that truly lasts from your special day is the photography.
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With lots of amateur and hobbyist photographers now having websites and Facebook pages for their work it’s getting increasing hard to know if you are hiring a pro or someone who just does a few weddings on the weekend.
  1. No ABN – without an ABN, you really shouldn’t be doing business and if they don’t hold an ABN then it’s likely your photographer won’t hold the requisite liability insurance either. Make sure your contract, which any professional photographer will insist you sign, includes the ABN and company/partnership/sole trader details.
  2. Certified Professional Photographer status – Both PPAQ (Professional Photographer’s Association of Queensland) and AIPP (Australian Institute of Professional Photography) recognise the elite of the profession with the Certified Professional Photographer status. Both associations also have amateur categories too, so just make sure you ask to see your chosen photographer’s certificate and make sure they aren’t misrepresenting their true status.
  3. Hard to contact during work hours – anyone in business should be available during reasonable business hours and should respond to enquiries within a legitimate, business-like timeframe. Anyone who takes 3 days to respond to an email or phone call is likely a weekend-warrior who works another job during the week. So that means they can’t earn enough from photography and can’t necessarily devote all their time to the craft. Is that really the person you want shooting your wedding? And what happens after the day if they get busy at their other job – will your images be delivered on time?
  4. Limited samples – if your photographer can’t show you examples from at least 20-30 weddings then you should really consider if they have the requisite experience. And make sure that the samples are REAL weddings, not styled shoots! Shooting models in controlled environments is very different to shooting a live, real-time wedding!
  5. Novelty images, heavy use of filters and having just one “style” of photography – You will want a huge range of imagery from your day – some delightful candids, some pieces of art, some natural, some posed and lots of fun and creativity. Be very careful of the photographer who tells you what style of photography they shoot. A properly trained photographer can, and will, shoot whatever style his client wants, whereas an amateur will tell the client what style he, or she, can shoot! Your day will be fluid – it will evolve, ebb and flow and you need a professional who can adapt to every changing circumstance. Lots of “fauxtographers” talk about “natural light photography”, but only because most don’t know how to use flash and fixed lighting to generate their own lighting conditions. Likewise the over use of filters or novelty shots can indicate lack of skill or possibly generic processing by an overseas photoshop factory – do you want your precious memories on an Indian condom package? And one shot with motion blur is artistic, but lots of images with blur just means the person with the camera really doesn’t know what they are doing!

 

Photo credit: Masterpieces Photography + Video

Emotional Stages of Planning a Wedding

Stage 1: Total Elation!
Finally! The ring! Champagne! Congratulations!

Perfect to me

Stage 2: Befuddled frustration!
When? Where? How much? So much, or so little, time, but so many choices!
Stage 3: Locked on target!
The big tickets are ticked, the countdown has begun…
Stage 4. Second Guess City

Is this really THE dress? Is the venue too far out of town? 

Stage 5: The Budget Backlash
Can it really be costing that much? Why does everyone question our choices? Should we elope?

Stage 6: Micromanagement
Which three entrées? First dance song? Airbrush or traditional? Surely someone can make a decision

Stage 7. Panic Stations
A week to go! OMG!!! Where are all the RSVPs? Why haven’t I heard from the caterer? What is the weather doing?

Stage 8. Acceptance
The day is here! It’s too late to change anything! RELAX! Enjoy!

Stage 9. Unbridled relief
It’s over! It all worked out! And no one but me noticed what went wrong anyway!

Stage 10. Smug Satisfaction
The photos ARE perfect! The dress looked AMAZING! Everyone looks like they had the BEST time!

Masterpieces Photography + Video at Jimbour House

 

Brisbane Pop Up Wedding: 2017 Dates Announced

Want to make 2017 your year to get married?

Are you sick of saving but never saving the date?
Or does the thought of wedding planning bring on hives?

twatoowong076-1We have the perfect solution for couples who want to tie-the-knot without all the stress, and expense, that normally come with weddings planning. Our designer ceremonies tick all the boxes, with a sophisticated and elegant atmosphere that the local registry office doesn’t provide.

Our pop up wedding dates for 2017 have been announced.

2017 DATES AVAILABLE:

17 February 2017 – 11:00am, 2:00pm and 5:00pm
3 March 2017 – 11:00am, 2:00pm and 5:00pm
28 April 2017 – 11:00am, 2:00pm and 5:00pm

Our Intimate Ceremonies and Elopement packages offer stress-free wedding celebrations in spectacular locations. New dates for 2017 have just been released with the opportunity for a stunning garden ceremony package beside the Brisbane River in St Lucia starting as low as $1995. With every essential included – venue, celebrant and photography – this is the perfect way to get together with up to 30 of your nearest and dearest and celebrate your love.

twatoowong333-1We take care of all the planning and all you need to do is rock up looking dazzling, say “I do” at all the right times and then kick back and bask in matrimonial bliss.

With dates available throughout the year, and a choice of ceremony times to suit your lifestyle, this really is the perfect solution for couples wanting to make that commitment but short on the time or the funds to make it happen.

Find out more.

Get them to the church on time – avoiding the dilemma of no-show guests

Ultimate snub or the reality of modern life – what is it with guests who don’t turn up to your wedding?

We all know that one person who never RSVP’s, always seems to arrive late or cancels at the last minute and invariably forgets to bring dessert to the dinner party, but what happens when it’s not a dinner party but your wedding day?

Perhaps surprisingly, considering how much time, planning and money is invested, not to mention how much notice is normally given, guests not turning up may be more common than you might think and they come in two distinct types – the last minute notifiers and the more insidious no-show(ers)!

It might seem inexcusably rude, not to mention costly, to receive a last minute cancellation but the simple truth is “life happens” and there will always be unavoidable, and understandable, situations that prevent guests getting to your big day. From the prosaic – perhaps sickness or serious injury close to the day – to the extreme – think volcanic ash clouds affecting airlines – there are multitudinous reasons why guests may have to pull out at the last minute. Whilst most people will endeavour top move mountains to be at your nuptial celebration, there are going to be occasions when you get that dreaded call a day out two out that throws your table plan into disarray and leaves you with the dilemma of offering an acquaintance a last minute invitation or seeing good food and money go to waste. The only upside is that those who cancel in this situation are probably as devastated as you and will try and make it up to you for a long time!

But what about “the others” – those who RSVP. the ones who chat excitedly about the big day with you at work in the lead up but mysteriously go missing on the big day, leaving an unexplained absence at a table and a hefty bill without even the courtesy of a phone call, text or email? Of course, it’s not just work colleagues who are guilty of the no-show – more often than not it is family or close friends who unforgivably do a bunk without an apology.

As Kate Moore, Wedding Coordinator at Hamilton Hotel says “It is so disappointing when guests don’t turn up, the couple spends so long planning everything about their special day to a tee and it is devastating when they have to pay for extra meals, furniture & decorations  for people who couldn’t make the effort to let their friends or family know they wouldn’t be attending.”

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So, is there anything you can do to avoid the nightmare scenario of empty seats at your reception? The honest truth is no, not really, but there are a few steps you can take to mitigate the likelihood of no-shows on the day.

1. Consider you guest list

It may sound obvious, but if you know people who are a little unreliable then it might be worth cutting them from the list early on, or perhaps have “ceremony only” invites that allow them to be part of the day but avoid expense in the event that they pull out. Children can be another big factor in last minute withdrawals, especially if you have insisted on a very definite “no-children” policy for your day, so think about how many friends and family have children and what the child-care implications and obligations for them will be. This is especially true for closer family who may have limited affordable options if the majority of the family are intent on attending the big day. The cost of attending can be a big aspect too – yes, you may be paying $250 per head for your guests, but if they have buy new outfits (who doesn’t?), drive for 2 hours to your dream venue, stay overnight at limited accommodation, as well as buy a suitable wedding present, a couple’s expenses could easily  exceed $1000. Whilst close friends and family will spend that the drop of a hat to share your special occasion, there might be some who will baulk at the costs and have doubts the closer the day that leave you with empty seats.

2. Be prepared and monitor RSVPs

The second step you can take to mitigate no-shows is through the invitation and RSVP. The more information your guests have early on, the more chance you have of filling every seat. If choosing a remote location or destination consider including a range of accommodation details and indicative pricing – the more research you do the less your guests will need to and they will be very appreciative! You should also indicate whether you are expecting gifts so be sure to include details of where to see your bridal register or let would-be guests know that there will be a wishing well on the night. You also need to set a realistic and sensible RSVP date and offer multiple ways to actually RSVP – and elderly aunt will appreciate a pre-paid envelope included whereas friends will extent to RSVP via email or possibly text! Your RSVP date should be determined by the cut-off time your venue has indicated for final numbers to be confirmed – making your RSVP date a week earlier than the venue’s should give plenty of time for even the slackest of responders to make a decision and let you know.

3. Friendly reminder

The final step you can take involves a little effort on your behalf, but will be worth it in the long run if you are worried about getting a bill for meals that were never eaten and quite simply is to touch base with everyone in the week before your wedding – a simple email out to the computer savvy with a happy (or quirky) reminder notice, or a quick phone call to the technophobes should allow you to allay any fears about attendance. It’s not rude, it’s not being a bridezilla, it’s just a polite and sensible precaution, especially if you are paying a high price per head for your reception. Contacting guests just before the day also puts the pressure on them to attend – they will feel decidedly more guilty backing out if they have heard from you a couple of days out from the wedding than they would if the last formal contact was the invitation. If anyone is game enough to back out at this point then at least you have a couple of days to find a last minute replacement – no one really wants to be a last-minute invitee, but if you have a list of possibles then someone will accept – just be very wary of inviting them +1.

For the final word we’ll leave it to Leonie Clothier, owner of the prestigious Mirra Private Dining and Events in Brisbane who sums up things perfectly:

As far as I’m concerned, guests who are a ‘no-show’ at wedding receptions really have something to answer for. Unless there is a valid reason, the investment from the bride in groom in terms of both time and money, is disrespected with the guests not turning up. From a venue perspective, there are financial and layout ramifications. Food and beverage orders are placed based on the final numbers provided, with time and expense spent to prep the meals ready for service. The room is then set for a specific guest number so the impact from the missing guests on photography and table seating plan is also felt. If a guest is no longer able to attend the reception, the courteous thing to do is to provide notice to the bride and groom as soon as possible. This gives the couple the opportunity to invite new guests in their place. There are always family & friends who will accept a last minute invitation and only too willing to join the celebrations!”

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Image Credits:
Venue Hamilton Hotel | Photo Masterpieces Photography + Video | Gown When Freddie met Lilly | Hair Whisk Hair Ashgrove | Makeup Blissful Makeup | Sylist Celebrations by Alysia | Model Katz Models
Venue Mirra Private Dining and Events at Style Masters 2015