Top 4 Wedding Essentials Not to Scrimp on

When it comes to weddings it often seems like there is an infinite number of ways to spend your money, but what are the things you really shouldn’t scrimp on?

The bling that becomes an heirloom

The rings represent your marriage for eternity. The wedding day will pass but your ring will stay on your finger for the rest of your life and pass down as an heirloom to the next generation. 

Bridal prep

Spend that bit more on your hair and make-up and you will look, and feel like a princess for a day.

It’s your day, and thou really do want to look utterly amazing! Having glowing, clear skin and hair that the curls don’t drop out will give you an added confidence on the day that will shine through in your images and video. Even if you’re not into makeup, and decide against false eyelashes, making the most of your features and ensuring you have flawless skin is what a professional hair and make-up artist is expected to do. 

HamiltonHotelRush001

Images to die

This is the one day on your life that you want to capture every moment. It goes by in such a flash, and the looking through the photos and video in the future is the way you will stir those warm memories of the fantasy day you experienced. 

Dancefloor divas 

If you want your wedding to be remembered by your guests for the right reason then don’t skimp on the entertainment! No matter how much care you put into selecting the tracks a Spotify playlist creates precisely zero level ambiance, whilst a band, or experienced DJ will have everyone on the floor dancing. A band or DJ will also have some lighting and possibly special effects like fog machines that create a much better backdrop for your photos and video.

Images by Masterpieces Photography + Video

Advertisements

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

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.
sswedding312
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

 

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.”

wedding_alley_hamo_gowns105

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!”

mirra111

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

The Bridesmaid Dilemma

Friendship vs responsibilities and cost.

The excitement of being chosen as a bridesmaid can quickly become tarnished when they begin to consider the costs and the expectations of involvement in the planning process.

Whilst in the perfect world we’d all have a big squad of our besties to help steer us on the right course on the big day, things don’t always work out like that and it’s important for brides to carefully consider the makeup of their bridal party based on the likely financial outlay required as well as knowing who they can rely on to provide the necessary emotional support, not to mention those who can provide much needed extra manpower for essential planning and styling tasks as the day gets closer.

jswedding101

Look at bridesmaid dress styles early and decide on a sensible budget range. If finances are likely to be a problem or create issues for a potential bridesmaid then at least you can work that budgetary indication into a conversation and see what reaction it garners. If there’s a sharp intake of breath it’s probably time to look elsewhere, or put your hand in your pocket. With the selection narrowed down it is important to define what you expect each bridesmaid will need to contribute. Being up front with what you are thinking will help to avoid any awkward or confusing moments. After all you have chosen your bridal party because you want them to share in the joy of the day, not to created conflicts or concerns.

Here’s are guide to what bridesmaids usually pay for:

  • Bridesmaid gown – Usually the bridesmaids would expect to pay for this, however, if you are choosing a particular style or colour, or are expecting them to be attired in couture designs then it is not unusual for the bride to pay a percentage of the cost.
  • Bridesmaid accessories (shoes, hair pieces, jewellery etc) – Bridesmaids would expect to pay for their own if they can choose within a colour/style range, but if the bride insists on a particular option then she should expect pick up the tab. Coordinated jewellery for bridesmaids can often make the perfect “thank you” favor on the day.
  • Hair and makeup – The bride should negotiate a group rate with a hair and make-up artist that covers the bridal party and MOB (and possibly MOTG), with each individual then paying their own share.
  • Hen’s night – The bridesmaids pay for themselves and treat the bride to her pampering for the evening.

This is just a guideline and where possible you should be considerate and gracious when finances are involved. Being a bridesmaid isn’t all about partying and fun. They play an important role in the wedding planning process as well as on the day, assisting and supporting the bride, and making the experience enjoyable for everyone. Keeping them onside from the get-go and being conscious of others, their feelings and their finances will certainly result in a better day for all.

Image: Masterpieces Photography + Video

 

How to keep your groom engaged in wedding planning

cg-wedding094-3

In most situations, it is the groom who instigates the wedding planning process when he gets down on one knee and utters those long awaited words. But very soon after that initial thrill (and maybe a little terror), of the proposal, the admiring looks of the ring on your finger and the endless retelling of your love story for cooing family and friends, it quickly becomes apparent to most grooms that weddings are all about the bride! Like it was ever going to be any other way! The sad truth is that most blokes simply aren’t that interested in the nitty gritty of centrepieces, coordinated stationery and chair cover colours and for many the wedding planning process quickly loses it’s lustre. If your H2B isn’t in this category then you can rejoice and enjoy the choices you make together in this time. However, if you’re not quite so lucky, we’ve compiled a list of the best ways to keep your groom motivated and invested in your wedding planning.

  1. Book a meaningful venue. Make sure your groom is happy with the ceremony and reception venues. A mutual choice will mean so much more to both of you on the day. The reception usually takes up the largest portion of the budget so being on the same page will definitely start the planning off in the right direction.
  2. Book into food tasting opportunities. Enjoy the fun that comes with planning a wedding together. Book in to taste your wedding cake, and your reception menu and, with most guys loving a feed, they will find the time to fit it into their schedule.
  3. Choose the right wedding events. Attend smaller more intimate wedding open days or expos with your fiancé, and leave the large, full-on, wedding expos to enjoy with your bridesmaids. There are a growing number of events for grooms too. So if he’s into whisky tasting, or learning how to tie the perfect bow tie, this could be the perfect opportunity to introduce a new venue option.
  4. Don’t sweat the little things and compromise. What’s important to your groom should be important to you. So if he prefers a certain wine to be served, or band to play, then make sure you consider his suggestions. The wedding you’ve dreamed of now has the most important element, your perfect partner, so all the other things should be open to compromise. A little latitude with the big ticket items will make it much easier to push through your smaller choices.
  5. Guest list and seating plans. Who gets invited and where they sit is a huge part of enjoying the celebrations. So make your groom’s life easy and consider his family and friends, just as you do yours. Both of you will be much more relaxed if you avoid contentious issues raising their heads at the reception.
  6. Photos! Guys are much less likely to enjoy having their photo taken, so make sure your partner is comfortable with the choice of photographer. Consider booking an engagement or pre-wedding shoot so he has the chance to get to know your photographer and becomes more relaxed with the idea of being in front of the camera for the day.

Most of these points are relevant even if your partner is 100% interested in the planning process. As you join your lives together consider your partner and how you can both enjoy the day with your family and friends.

Image: Masterpieces Photography + Video

What not to say to a bride on her wedding day

M&D Wedding114-2A bride’s wedding day is an emotionally charged marathon. The bride isn’t just marrying the love of their life, they’ve spent many months preparing and planning for their perfect day. This precious day was likely preceded by a restless or possibly sleepless night, started early with a morning appointment with hair and makeup, involves simultaneous nerves, stress and elation, and usually finishes late, probably under the influence of a glass or two of bubbles!

If you’re privileged to be part of the wedding day preparations or to be attending a wedding then think before you speak. Here’s some hints on what NOT to say:

  1. “Don’t worry but …” No explanation need for this one.
  2. “What a pity …” See point one.
  3. “I told you so …” The phrase most likely to result in wedding day bloodshed!
  4. “I’m surprised you invited … or didn’t invite …” We all know family and friends can be a sensitive issue. A wedding day is the time to forget any past issues, and to enjoy the moment for the happy couple.
  5. And finally, any mention of unhappy endings. We all know the statistics on divorce, but this really isn’t the time or place!

If you’re looking for support and lots of inspiration, make sure you join our bridal tribe.

Join our bridal tribe