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.

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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

WFML Glamorous Collection Launch

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Hollywood-style glamour came to Brisbane last night with the glitzy launch of the When Freddie met Lilly Indianna Collection in the Valley. The night was filled with stunning gowns and equally gorgeous people, many wearing When Freddie met Lilly creations.

A full-on red carpet experience greeted the attendees with paparazzi snaps (by Masterpieces Photography + Video) on the stylish media wall (by Watermelon and Soda Design) outside Mirra Private Dining and Events. Attendees could get a wonderful dose of the ultra-hip vintage vibe at the Gathering Events caravan just outside the front door. Inside live music was being played by Savvy, while canapés and drinks were being served at a number of locations around this most flexible of venues, whilst fashion films projected in the courtyard, and guests could have the evening’s fun remembered at one of the two photo booths.

The standing room only parade commenced with a relaxed introduction by the beautiful and ever-so-accomplished Giaan Rooney, setting the scene for an evening of exquisite and sexy gowns.

As the lights came up the runway show was a veritable feast of sexiness with divine lace, luscious fabrics, sparkling embellishments along with lingering glimpses of décolletage, deep splits and low backs, all complemented by the spectacular headpieces from The Little Pack of Five. The luxurious green backdrop of the catwalk was highlighted by sparkling lights and lusciously draped with fresh native foliage by Kate Dawes Flower Design. The guys weren’t forgotten with suits, accessorized with bowties, and in a variety of seasonal colours. As always the flower girls managed to steal the show in the cuteness of frills, feathers and flower crowns.

Designer Vanessa Hoe should be justifiably proud of this collection, elements of which featured strongly last year in New York and at Sydney Bridal Fashion Week earlier this year. The When Freddie Met Lilly brand is an absolute powerhouse that continues to go from strength to strength and with standing room only this year, it’s exciting to think what next year’s collection launch might bring.

Photo Credit: Masterpieces Photography + Video

View Social photos on Masterpieces Facebook page.

Event Contributors:
When Freddie met Lilly | Mirra Private Dining and Events | Masterpieces Photography + Video | Watermelon and Soda Design | The Little Pack of Five | Kate Dawes Flower Design | Bella Brides Hair and Make up | Beautiful Wedding Australia | Event Letters | Gathering Events | In the Booth | Cakes by Judy C | Summer and East | Sofi Spritz | Enchanted Empire | We are Twine | Slow Motion Photo Booth | Tracey Moyle

 

Style Masters brings Christmas early

StyleMastersCorporate001-1Christmas came early last night at the Mirra Private Events and Dining Corporate Style Masters. Following the success of last year’s Wedding edition, seven of Brisbane’s best event stylists competed in a styling showdown. Each of the stylists had 45 minutes to style and present a table or area showcasing their products and talents. The theme this year was corporate end-of-year parties and Christmas events.

These talented stylists didn’t disappoint, and all the teams produced stunning spaces which showcased some of the hottest styling trends, all wrapped up with a little Christmas edge. The winning design went to Brandition who, along with Mirra’s chef, combined to provide a fresh take on the carvery. It might only be August, but last night’s fabulous event has us looking forward to the party season already!

 

 

Bridal Fashion from NY to Brisbane

WFML_PreLaunch114Coming soon is one of the most eagerly anticipated events of the bridal and formal fashion year, with the Brisbane launch of the new collection from When Freddie Met Lilly (WFML).
This exciting and popular showcase has outgrown the WFML studio and this year to be held at the elegant and sophisticated Mirra Private Events and Dining in the heart of Brisbane’s party district, the Valley.
Head designer, Vanessa Hoe, will be showing a brand new range of gowns from the Indianna Collection, as well as giving Brisbane fashionistas the chance to see the full, Hollywood inspired, Hepburnesque collection that previewed to rave reviews at New York Bridal Fashion Week.
The Wedding Alley was lucky enough to have a sneak peek of some of the gowns at a pre-launch photo shoot last week and as you can see from the photos and video, captured by the talented team at Masterpieces Photography + Video, these are spectacular statement gowns with exquisite detailing.
Tickets available online. Believe me, you don’t want to miss out!

 

Photo Credits:
Gowns: When Freddie met Lilly | Headpieces: A Little Pack of Five | Photography + Video: Masterpieces Photography + Video | Hair and Makeup: Bella Brides | Model: Tayla

Perfectly paired

A wonderfully fresh and natural approach to styling from the exceptionally talented team at Sugared Style incorporates fresh fruit and florals. The luxuriant surrounds of Mirra Private Dining and Events is the perfect backdrop for this fresh approach which utilises real pineapples as vases and pears as unique place card holders. When combined with stunning gowns from Darb Bridal Couture and Elizabeth de Varga Exclusive Fashions the end results are wonderfully modern and vibrant.

Photo Credits:
Backdrop: Sugared Style
Photography: Masterpieces Photography + Video
Gown: Darb Bridal Couture and Elizabeth de Varga Exclusive Fashions
Suit: When Freddie met Lilly
Hair: Whisk Hair
Makeup: Jess Brailak Makeup and Tanning
Venue: Mirra Private Dining and Events
Models: Laura and Billy

 

See more in the latest issue of The Wedding Alley

Issue 7 out now

Style and Grace is the theme of this edition, with styled shoots that showcase the very epitome of elegant, modern Weddings.

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The Gold Edit out now

The latest issue of The Wedding Alley is out now. Get your golden inspiration online, and view for free.

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Gold Fever has hit the Wedding Alley this edition and we’ve been inspired by every shade of this most luminous of precious metals. From super sparkly yellow-gold through to burnished old-gold, there’s a colour, fabric and style to suit any bride-to-be on the coming pages.

Gowns with a view

Stokehouse028TWAThe mention of George Wu gowns should be enough to peak the interest of any bride, but when you add in the opportunity to see some spectacular Monili Jewellery up close at a fantastic location like Stokehouse Brisbane, it really is a chance not to be missed!

We certainly felt that way and popped along last week to this high-quality venue’s second wedding preview evening which incorporated a parade of divine gowns by George Wu, matched with exquisite jewellery from Monili Jewellers.

The mezzanine level at Stokehouse has sublime views of the Brisbane river, bought to sparkling life at night with the reflection of the CBD lights and it is easy to see why the venue is developing a reputation as one of Brisbane’s exclusive wedding reception locations.

As everyone knows, we adore George Wu’s gowns and as always there were some wonderfully creative and unique creations on display. However, it was the presence of a security guard from Monili jewellery that spoke volumes! Their glittering offerings are the real deal, and something that every bride can lust after – it wasn’t quite the $4,000,000 of sparkly lusciousness that was on the catwalk at MBFF, but every piece in their range oozes opulence – just the sort of thing you need to feel even more special on your big day.

Happy {ever after} Hour at Spring

Spring is here, and so on Thursday evening Spring is where we were! Spring Food and Wine that is, in the heart of the Brisbane. We were sharing the experience with an intimate group of couples who had the pleasure of previewing a taste of this stylish venue as we head into wedding season.  Happy {ever after} Hour was the perfect opportunity to experience the venue and to sample some of it’s finest canapes and desserts, all while sipping on a glass or two of bubbles.

The evening’s wedding trivia was educational for a few, and lots of fun. Questions included:  “Do you know the thoughts behind why the ring is finger is the ring finger?” and “Who started the tradition of the bride wearing white?” For those who answered correctly it was a very worthwhile evening, with one lucky couple winning a $1000 voucher from Spring.

This inner city sanctuary in the CBD hosts beautiful weddings with the flair and creativity only a restaurant can provide. Spring’s paddock-to-plate philosophy incorporates a showcase of local Australian produce.  A commitment to sustainability and ethical ingredients is not only commendable but evident in the delicious range each couple had the enjoyment of sampling.

If your wedding planning is at the stage of venue selection I can recommend a visit to Spring. The lovely team are very flexible and happy to cater to the most discerning demands.

Spring Food and Wine
26 Felix Street, Brisbane
Ph: 07 3229 0460