Jul 29, 2020
Tess and Sam had their Kangaroo Valley wedding in the beautiful rolling hills of the Southern Highlands, New South Wales. While the wedding venues Kangaroo Valley holds are plentiful, that this was held on Tess’s parents homestead made for a private setting and beautifully intimate and personal backdrop, with all hands on deck from their community putting their day together.
The most special moments in this gig are often less about the kiss/dance/standard stuff, and more about doing justice to the little bits of quirk on the day… family quirk, friend quirk, subtle things that mean a lot.
I bought along a 1980s 3d camera for the ride. See why I shoot film.
Tess’s close friend was assumed as not being able to make it to their wedding from overseas, so naturally, given that he was in fact making it there, he hid himself in a tractor trailer underneath a tarp, and then sprung out in front of Tess in a gloriously divine moment of reveal.
Enjoy their little story below.
Visit New South Wales: https://www.visitnsw.com/destinations/south-coast/jervis-bay-and-shoalhaven/kangaroo-valley
Jul 27, 2020
Putting “Covid wedding Melbourne” at the front of Adriana and Calebs wedding title seems to relegate the marriage part (the bit we’re actually all here for) to the back seat. Sooooo, let’s reword that: Adriana and Calebs awesome little elopement (which happened to occur in the middle of the Covid pandemic that they thumbed their noses at and got it done beautifully anyway while staying well within all of the rules and regulations currently in place including the wearing of masks, social distancing, and limitations on who can be present).
Adriana and Caleb had their first date at this park in Coburg, in Melbournes northern suburbs. So that was where they decided to say their vows, and lock it down, with the inimitable Melbourne wedding celebrant Zena Lythgow doing the honours via I Do Drive Thru. I joined up to photograph it and play one of the witnesses.
Since their dogs can’t hold a pen.
I Do Drive Thru is a brilliant, agile initiative out of Melbourne that has enabled couples wanting to get married to get it done in the middle of this coronavirus pandemic, while playing to all the necessary current restrictions around social distancing and the wearing of a mask.
These two marvels got the important bit done – the marriage thing – with themselves and Adrianas mother, and then enjoyed the rest of the day together. Beautiful.
It’s been especially interesting in Melbourne, as our state has been… not playing ball with the restrictions, which has meant the pandemic has had several new clusters of outbreaks, further locking things down.
So the fact that initiatives like I Do Drive Thru and other small wedding venues such as The Altar Electric exist, has been such a brilliant thing for couples putting love and marriage first, and opting to save the party for later.
If you’re looking at getting it done in the middle of the Covid pandemic in Melbourne, head over here for more information on Melbourne City Elopements.
The Altar Electric have been the other frontrunners in this Covid pandemic craziness, and their brilliantly unique wedding venue warehouse space in Collingwood has seen all sorts of celebration playing exactly to all of the rules and requirements in place in the middle of this pandemic.
Head over and read more here: Melbourne city elopements.
Jul 22, 2020
Will and Jac are the agile Melbourne wedding planner duo made up of Catherine and Clare, who as well as being event planners of all sizes and styles, are portable transportation units for infectious smiles. We’ve worked together with brilliant couples in venues from historic Melbourne stables over to bluestone homesteads in northern Victoria.
Clients approach us at all stages of their planning journey – some 2 years out, others with only a month or weeks to go (when things might have turned a little more ‘tense’ – we are counselors too!).
Typically with private property Weddings, couples and their families realise from the outset that it’s a bigger ball game and that professionals are needed to ensure the process is well executed – not only on the day, but in the days leading up when suppliers commencing setting up, as well as when the celebrations are over and you need to return the space as it was originally.
With venues it can be early or late in the piece, with some locations offering more hands-on planning via their onsite coordinators, while others leave it completely to the client to make the space and Day exactly as they wish.
Life has curveballs and with this, there are numerous scenarios when people realise they need help – perhaps work hours have increased, the couple don’t know where to start (this is absolutely normal), the client want to start enjoying the days prior to the Wedding and move from “planner” to “getting married” and like all of us, sometimes there’s just not enough hours in the day!
Absolutely! And we prefer to approach the planning with our couples by having them make and decide who they wish to engage – we do all the leg work to provide them with options and our industry experience, but at the end of the day it’s their celebration, we just make it all reality.
We believe that generally people still foresee Wedding Planners as those referenced in movies like The Wedding Planner and Father of the Bride – but this couldn’t be further from the truth.
We get our hands dirty and have completed all manner of duties to get our Weddings in tip-top condition – our role includes horticulturist duties (repotting plants for styling), seamstresses (being underneath a Brides dress and re-hemming gowns on the day), Sous Chefs (plating up in the kitchen when extra hands are needed), Accountants (budget management) and everything in-between.
We are also both meticulously painful in terms of attention to detail, and will create multiple scenarios for our Weddings so that no stone is left unturned that we can’t then manage on the day.
We are Chief Fire Fighters too and on the day we effectively ensure we have a calm and positive disposition and manage numerous underlying curveballs that pop up – such is life! – while ensuring no-one (except us) are any the wiser.
We can’t go past Private Property Weddings – they are all unique and we love the experience of a blank space going from ‘nothing’ to ‘something’.
These occasions are a logistical beast, the time that we spend curating a working event order and communicating between all parties can’t be imagined, but at the end of the day when we see magic form in-front of our eyes, it’s worth every minute.
Venue wise yes, Melbourne has unlimited options for every celebration, but a few we love are Polperro Estate in Red Hill, The Royal Mail Hotel in Dunkeld, Tanglewood Estate and Alfred Place by Rockpool Events.
We’ve received many a phone call from concerned parents who have noticed that the somewhat ‘simple Wedding’ picture that their child had wished for has been hijacked by concerns, so they call us to find out how we could elevate these doubts, and then we meet directly with the couple to showcase our services and story.
We generally then join their planning and they are able to start re-enjoying their engagement journey. We’ve been brought on-board to manage family dynamics and play the role of mediator. It’s one scenario where we are “good cop” and “bad cop” (guess who is who?!) and take any unwanted strain off the couple.
But mostly couples realise after the fact what our services are worth.
It’s the ‘big picture’ stuff that we specialise in – we are all about making the day not only seamless for the couple and their guests, but also for their contracted suppliers, as together, the day is all the more memorable!
We can do as little or as much to assist with a Wedding Day. But to be honest we’re both control freaks, so Full Planning is our preferred option.
Personalised service is paramount. We are all about ensuring their peace of mind, bringing their story to the Day, and exceeding expectations at every turn.
These were also concepts that we had as individual planners therefore when brought together as Will&Jac, this has doubled and is exactly why we do what we do!
1. Ensure your quotes are reflective of your needs
2. Utilise what’s at your location as much as possible – repurpose furniture, ensure event conclusion times/noise limits are in line with your wishes
3. Planning a Wedding is a full time job, so allow a professional to manage your process and keep your ticking towards your date in the right manner. A ‘relaxed’ Wedding Day comes from months and months of planning, it doesn’t just happen!
1. Consider public holidays/special events (surcharges etc)
2. Always have a Plan B for your Ceremony and Reception – you just never know!
3. Ensure you ‘click’ with your supplier tribe. You need lots of positivity and stressless spirits with you towards and
Will and Jac website: http://willandjac.com/
Jul 20, 2020
At Sam and Pauls Thornbury wedding (featuring the iconic Kenny Lover), I linked up with their DJ’s One More Song Entertainment, who carried a ripping vibe across the day and into the evening. You know you’re on a good thing when the crew carrying your tunes are having the time of their life themselves. The duo are Eddy and Aleks, and they filled me in on what makes for cracking music at your wedding and how to plan your wedding music.
These legends are also featured on my list of the 5 best wedding bands in Melbourne.
65 floors! I feel sorry for them. I could talk about what I do all day. In a nutshell though (and as this is a blog!), I’m a business co-owner (with my partner DJ Eddy Mac) and wedding DJ. Eddy and I run One More Song. We’re not a “booking agency” – we’re a wedding DJ business. Weddings are front and centre for us. We just love them!
As well as DJs, we have awesome musicians like saxophonists who play with us. Both Eddy and I run all aspects of the business and work with clients in the lead up to their big day. If one of us isn’t personally DJing at your wedding, we’ll pick one of our rockstar DJs.
I say we’re not an agency because we only work with a small – but AWESOME – group of entertainers (all experienced in playing at weddings) and we’re both so hands-on with the business. There are no desk-based entertainment managers at One More Song – you’re always dealing with someone who lives and breathes weddings!
Is there a better party than a wedding? You have an excuse to get super dressed up, you get fed, watered and spend all night dancing with your favourite people. There is a special energy at weddings that you just don’t get anywhere else. And you definitely feel that behind the decks!
I love DJing at weddings because you get to play epic tunes from all eras and genres. I love so many different types of music – disco, funk, old school RnB, classic house, 90s dance, Motown, 80s synth, hip hop – the list goes on! Getting a pumping dance floor at a wedding involves really mixing it up to get old and young dancing. I truly love seeing people from all walks of life coming together to dance and for those few hours, forget about the mundanities of everyday life.
The one thing that constantly surprises me (but probably shouldn’t) is how much people of all ages love older music. There are just so many artists that have truly stood the test of time (think Queen, Prince, Bee Gees, Marvin Gaye) and always get the party going.
We’re always super upfront with our clients about the process so we can set their expectations. We always tell them that there’s only so much we can prepare – 80 per cent of the work is done on the night. Apart from the key moment songs (first dance, etc) and some “must-play” song requests from the couple, we just need an idea of what our clients DON’T want to hear and some genres/artists they love. Also importantly, we ask them what their friends and family will be into as well.
Then it’s up to us on the night! We use our experience to read the room and build the energy at the right level. You can’t go hard with bangers at dinner and then play ambient jazz during the dance floor. You also can’t play one genre all night or guests will fatigue. It’s a fine balancing act!
We’re blessed as our vibe attracts clients who get all of this and are more than happy to leave most of the work to us. Building that trust with them is essential to us doing the best job possible on the day. We have heard of DJs who are provided with a list of 300 songs to play. That just doesn’t get the best results, so we let our brides and grooms know how we operate nice and early!
Our gigs are not fixed at all! All of our DJs live mix. Yes, we’re organised – we have thousands of tunes catalogued in every which way (folders for different parts of the evening, different decades, genres, sub-genres, etc), but we’re totally flexible and play to the crowd. Sometimes I’ll cue up a song to play and then 20 seconds before I’m about to mix out, I’ll change my mind – it definitely keeps it interesting!
I’m happy to take requests and happy to play Horses (no Nutbush, Macarena or Chicken Dance though… the line has to be drawn somewhere). BUT the caveat is that the request needs to be a song that the newly married couple will be happy with, and it needs to be played at the right time. If someone drunkenly requests Horses and guests are just finishing their mains, well, it ain’t happening!
The flashing knobs and buttons are designed to make us look very skilled, important and intimidate all who try to talk to us. 🙂 No, but really, technology has come such a long way and really helps when it comes to DJing at weddings. For example, we can cue up tracks at different points for key moments like wedding party entrances and use different effects and functions to help smoothly transition between genres – a very important part of being a wedding DJ.
As for the robot with good taste in music, its name is Spotify. The clients I’ve spoken to who had a Spotify play list for their engagement parties have always regretted it. I’ll only be threatened if the robot develops so much that it can read the tiny flicker of excitement in a guest’s eyes when you play a tune they love while they’re still having their entree, or be able to deal with an inebriated uncle who wants you to play The Angels all night. Then MAYBE I’ll be out of a job.
When a couple enquires with us, they receive our shiny “party pack” – an easy-to-digest information pack that has more about how we work, our sample mixes, videos, etc. Then, some couples will either lock us in or book in a phone or video call (or in-person meeting, depending on what lockdown stage we’re in). During this chat, we talk about everything wedding-related and ask the couple about their wedding timeline, music likes/dislikes, their guest demographic, the vibe they’re after, etc! And of course, we go into more detail about how we work and offer some suggestions. After that, it’s a 50 per cent part payment to lock us in!
A packed dance floor is obviously the ultimate goal, but people do need breaks – they might grab a drink, powder their nose, chat to a friend they haven’t seen in a while – it’s all part of it. And you need to provide something for everyone. Generally we’ll make sure the oldies can enjoy the dance floor earlier on in the night and leave the late night sing-alongs for those who are really letting their hair down. As a wedding DJ, you need to respond to what’s happening in front of you. If you’re about to play the bride’s all-time fave song but see she’s heading off to the bathroom, you better find a different track pronto!
This does happen quite a bit (which is why we came up with the name!). It’s hard to pick one track as it really depends on the couple and the vibe, but normally it’s got to be something that has broad appeal, known and loved by both the couple and guests. An upbeat remix of a classic seems to work well – maybe an edit of a disco track. At one wedding last year I played Don’t Leave Me This Way by The Communards and it went off!
One More Song Entertainment website: https://onemoresong.com.au/
Bigger picture stuff? Check out these Melbourne wedding planners.
Jul 18, 2020
Jaime Lee Major is one of Australia’s brightest design stars. Her bridal collection has grown over the last 10 years making her one of the most sought after dressmakers to come out of Australia. Jaime Lee Major wedding gowns are meticulously crafted pieces of art.
A while back I photographed the Perth wedding of Sarah and Dave, which started in a majestic ceremony and ended in an actual rave. Throughout all that this wild Jaime Lee Major creation weathered all the wild glory.
I wanted to do a piece on her because I am inspired by her wild design talent and outer-space way of approaching bridal gowns for folks wanting something a little more on the edge. Her designs are for the fashion-forward bride (the exact words that came out of David’s lips all day at their wedding).
Born and raised in Fremantle (Perth), Jamie Lee Major rose to fame after she designed a gown for Kimbra at the Grammys in 2013. Her blue tulle and Swarovski encrusted dress was seen by 40 million people and she gained a mighty whack of international fame, and said in an interview for VOGUE that she hadn’t really thought about bridal couture but had so many enquiries that it ‘just sort of happened’.
She’s won WA Designer of the year, been featured in VOGUE, dressed Katy Perry, Lady Gaga and Rita Ora (to name a few). Major has since left the red carpet behind her now to focus her creative genius on wedding dress designs.
Jaime Lee Major wedding gowns are priced from $5000 to $24,000, but worth every cent. They are pieces of art that she carefully wraps around a human body, and have endless hours of labour put into every last little detail. There are hundreds of thousands of beads, crystals, pearls and stitches in her creations.
The bridal collection features a lot of tulle and exposed flesh, lavishly covered with luxurious embellishments. They’re a Pinterest board dream. You can forget the classic silhouette or cathedral length train.
Jaime Lee is talking frills, cuffs, ruffles, sparkles and bespoke demi-couture tailoring. The materials tend to stray away from classic whites and ivories and delve into lux golds and silvers. Something I’m excited to see more of in contemporary weddings.
If you’re a bride who wants to do things differently then Jaime Lee Major’s collection is awe-inspiring. See-through trouser suits and everything covered in Swarovski will certainly turn some heads and take your Grandmothers idea of the traditional wedding dress for a glorious golden ride. The way the light catches the sparkles and the overstated glamour is perfect for any bridal shoot.
There is no end to this gifted woman’s creativity. She is such an exciting element in Australian wedding scene. One of her recent catwalk gowns used the most insane floristry to bring her ideas to life.
I love capturing everything that makes the day special, the bride’s dress is at the top of my list. Be over indulgent, be bountiful, be sumptuous. It’s a wedding, nothing can be too amplified! Your dress should make you feel like you’ve never felt before and there is no way in hell you can’t feel $1million dollars in a Jaime Lee Major wedding gown.
Jaime Lee Major on instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jaimeleemajor
Jul 15, 2020
Bangin Hangins are a category unto themselves – who knew that somewhere between “wedding photographer” and “wedding stylist” there was a standalone category entitled “awesome majestic aerial shit from another dimension that hangs from the ceiling before eventually being whisked away and leaving you wondering how you’ll ever deal with the room being it’s regular dull self”. Etc.
Bangin Hangins make installations that are installed in (/on, with, either-or-and-the-other) the ceiling. Installed TO the ceiling. Take your pick. Whatever the correct terminology is, it results into your ceiling being morphed into some impossible colourful, textural playground.
I’ve been fortunate to see the handiwork of this maestro at three weddings now: an incredible at-home wedding with Sam and Paul (ft. One More Song Entertainment – see their piece here on how to plan your wedding music), Pepe and Sam at The Line in Footscray, and at a Tanglewood Estate elopement were we installed our futuristic neon arbours.
Enjoy this brief little peer into their founder Sarahs fireworks brain.
With Covid forcing us all indoors and all manner of brilliant doorstep portrait projects happening, I wanted to kickstart some convos with my local community and find out how the time and strange space is being used, as it’s never been more important to stay connected and sharing.
I am Sarah. AKA Queen of the Bangers. I’m an events based installation artist. My mates generally get the concept, although a few call it Hangin Bangin instead of Bangin Hangins. Which has the potential to be completely misinterpreted.
I like to think the kind of couple we attract are our kind of people. Its nice to work with like minded people who like something a bit left of centre.
My take on colour / form / placement and proportion. All important when putting together a Bangin aerial installation.
We’ve been working on shoots and ideas for future pop ups once its safe. Once these shoots are released, couples might draw some inspo from these.
For the very near future, boutique. So forget inviting that second cousin and cling (at distance) to your favs and let loose. This is my kind of party covid or no covid. Much more fun. I hope we can help make it a Bangin memorable party.
I reckon Bangin Hangins would look bloody ripper draped all around The Deck at Circa.
Jul 14, 2020
I spent 5 minutes with the brainchild behind Australia’s most awarded and highly reviewed wedding videographers – C2 Films – who also doubles as the facial recipient of the best moustache in the southern hemisphere – Marcus Theodor.
By “spend 5 minutes with”, I mean I sent him an email saying “Mate – fill these questions out (if you can see past the ‘stache down to your keyboard)”, but, same-same.
C2 Films have been around a long time. If C2 were not a group of videographers but instead a human at conception, they’d now be a rowdy teenager telling you why your taste in music sucks.
In videography-terms, that’s about three triple-sentences worth (it’s a challenging, high-turnover field). Somehow Marcus hasn’t aged, I suspect it has something to do with being a backyard Wim Hof practitioner.
So it’s safe to say they know their stuff, instead of telling you your music sucks they put it with love into your video, and because of all this are some of the busiest videographers going with a wild diversity of styles they execute on.
Couples love my dedication, they love that I’m all in, all the time. Approachable and make them feel at ease almost immediately.
I live by the motto that the ‘sun rises and sets with the couple’ and if anyone tries to fuck with that, I’ll burn them.
That I was handsome, strong, dark and moody… creative genius battling inner demons.
That I can’t sit still, that I cannot change or affect my world from my keyboard at home.
I need to move, thus taking up a tradie job (renovation) to throw shit around… and discovering that the boys onsite do it hard for very little, and that I’m fucking blessed to get paid for what I do in the wedding game.
Samsara (daughter) would be my go-to movie, for I’m not at the beginning or and the end, I’m just here…
Jul 13, 2020
Here’s a rundown of some of my favourite Melbourne wedding photo locations, organised by the mood they give, to show you what brilliant variety we have in our own inner city for weddings: from gritty industrial, all the way over to the most incredible nature within a stones throw of the Melbourne CBD. Included in all locations are Google Maps pins.
These are my top 15 Melbourne wedding photo locations (I have plenty more hidden gems, but you’ll just have to head out on foot and go exploring yourself to find them).
Be sure to tune in for the very last one – some of my favourite little slices of Melbourne alleys. If you’re getting hitched in the city or inner city or eloping in Melbourne, I know these like the back of my hand as well as a whole bunch of wonderful other little known spots.
These are somewhat more popular locations, but when looking at where to take photos in Melbourne i’ve found they’re ripe for putting a unique spin on each and every time, especially if you’re planning a Melbourne elopement.
The Melbourne Treasury building is the go-to spot for registry weddings in Melbourne. With its incredible historic design and layout, it’s one of the best places to take photos in Melbourne. What people often miss though, is that the immediate surrounds of the building have the most brilliant portrait locations, perfect for rain-shielded photo sessions, sunset sessions, all of it. If you look closely, you can see some of these at this Fortyfive Downstairs wedding.
I take so many couples around here, and it can’t be overstated how beautifully soft and moody the light is around the structures themselves. Head down Treasury place and explore, it’s all an easy and quick whip around, especially if you’re then heading south to somewhere like The Deck at Circa.
Just west of the Melbourne Treasury building, is the Treasury gardens. While the gardens themselves are beautiful and lush, what I personally prefer is to use them as context against the treasury buildings behind it.
Walk about halfway up Treasury Place, head down the paths inserting themselves into the gardens, turn around, and you’ve got beautiful lush greenery depending on the time of year, with the incredible heritage buildings right behind you as the backdrop.
The Collingwood and Fitzroy back streets contain some of our earliest historic houses, since they were the first suburbs inhabited when Melbourne did, well, what we did back then, clear everything and everyone in sight and build lots of stuff.
As a result some of the architecture in the surrounding streets is particularly cute and interesting in equal measure, and make for some of the best Melbourne wedding photo locations. As a general area, this is a personal favourite and one of the best places to take photos in Melbourne and a go-to for all the best wedding photographers doing their thing.
Something more of a sleeper location (ie: more classic, and not immediately striking), Carlton has some understated alleys that are beautiful soft backdrops without fighting the rest of the frame.
Enormous stonework, subtle signage and fittings, the laneways here are worth exploring and just a small dash out of the Melbourne CBD.
One of my favourite little lanes. Find it on Google Maps here.
One of my favourite general areas in Melbourne. Further north we hit Thornbury, which has an endless amount of textures, historic structures, and all sorts of weird and wonderful signage and exteriors – oh, and Kenny Lover.
30 minutes here will be spent pretty quickly heading up, down and around High St, with art-deco design left right and centre.
See more of Sam and Pauls wedding on Instagram.
Northcote Town Hall is a must visit for simple Melbourne heritage vibes, beautiful columns and light. If Fitzroy Town Hall isn’t accessible, then this isn’t a compromise, and it provides the same kind of feel, shelter from rain, and beautiful soft light, with no chance of being disturbed, and super close proximity to bars, cafes, and all of the standard Northcote glory.
There’s also plenty of beautiful textures and walls to find on Eastment st and Westbourne Grove, down the side of the town hall.
This one gets a header all of it’s own. The incredible artwork on the side of the Fonda building is a joy to walk past and pop off some frames in front of. Punchy, colourful, geometrically satisfying, this is located just off Smith st, with spades of bars and other historic streets right near it.
A great little stopover if you’re getting hitched at Panama Dining Room or Rupert on Rupert.
I’ve had so many couples stay at the QT Hotel on Russel St, and turning just around to the right of it’s entrance, down Portland Lane, is a no-brainer for some quick portraits when exiting the building to head to the ceremony.
The wall of the Portland Hotel is painted a rich black, and feeds down into deep bluestones below, creating something of an impossible infinity-wall, where it feels like the bluestone is a shelf at the edge of the universe.
And we’re about to lean into the ether, into Gandalf’s embrace, etc.
Until fairly recently, sweeping sections of South Melbourne have somehow managed to mostly avoid being exploited by our general lack of regulation around architectural design for a suburb so close to the city, and so unlike other heritage suburbs, still has plenty of great things to explore without yet looking like a second-year students first foray into geometric design elements.
As a result, as well as easily feeling like it’s a jaunt into the old world, the entire area around the Town Hall, Clarendon St, and industrial back areas have plenty of textures to explore.
Abbotsford may just be our closest answer to anything resembling the back streets of New York or Brooklyn (see these Melbourne wedding venues). Abbotsford has it all: incredibly close proximity to Yarra Bend Park (which doesn’t seem like it should or could sit so close to the city), old heritage streets, imposing industrial buildings, and everything in between.
A 30 minute session in Abbotsford can get chewed up very quickly, and that’s without stopping off at any of the beautiful little cafes littered around the place. One of the best places to take photos in Melbourne, at just a short jump outside of the Melbourne CBD itself.
Looking at the map, Fitzroy Gardens almost sounds ripped out of a Tolkien book. The Faeries tree, Tudor Village, Temple of the Winds. These are all great, but the best parts of these gardens aren’t etched on the map.
Enter from the midwestern paths along Lansdowne St, and some of the more incredible tree-tunnels are visible, then head further in to a couple of “secret” little jungle areas with tight greenery, stone stairs and more.
Carlton Gardens join the Royal Exhibition building. Carlton Gardens are more known for the aisle of trees leading up to said building (and a water foutain) but the best parts of these gardens are actually around the northwestern edge of the exhibition building.
Architecturally there’s a bunch of textural options around there, but what I like most is the setting sun against some of the smaller characterful pieces of garden around there.
Prahran isn’t necessarily the first place you’d think of when looking for the best Melbourne wedding photo locations, but when I lived there, I made a point of taking any couples eloping here from overseas there, for two reasons.
Firstly there’s more than it’s fair share of architecturally stunning historical charm, and secondly, while there’s the allure of taking portraits in the CBD, in my opinion Prahran punches above it’s weight, and saves all of the regular hassles associated with parking in the city itself, while allowing folks spending a little bit of time here to explore a neighbourhood they might have otherwise missed.
First stop from the Melbourne CBD as we head west, Footscray is a gritty gem, and enormously misunderstood suburb (especially from our dear friends of the east).
Footscray has buckets of charm in it’s back streets, and as you head over to Seddon (i’d never heard of it either until I moved there), you’re hit with some of the most incredible cottage-style residences you’ll see in Melbourne.
The pièce de résistance. Melbourne has bucketloads of beautiful alleys, and the main choices become things like how much heritage do you want, vs graffiti, vs tourists, vs calm.
All of the major alleys have their own character, and at any quarter of the CBD there’s a good handful within walking distance, and are usually crowned as the best Melbourne wedding photo locations.
These aren’t necessarily the “main events” here (sorry), i’m instead sharing some of my favourite Melbourne wedding photo locations containing simple light, and simple texture. For more of my secret ones, keep an eye on my melbourne wedding photography workshops.
Jul 11, 2020
The Fyansford Paper Mill (otherwise known as Site 3a by Truffleduck) hosts weddings and events just outside of Geelong in the historic corner of Fyansford at Provenance Wines, in what is an absolute little treasure of the area, just minutes from the Geelong city centre. Take a look at this Fyansford Paper Mill Wedding Pre-enactment with the inimitable Georgie Boy.
I spent half a day in it’s incredible stone walls with Melbourne florist Gina (Georgie Boy), making use of the space and each of us following our noses in our respective crafts, with no end-goal in mind but to make something together in the 3 hours spent there. More from this shoot and a little short-film we created at the papermill to be released soon.
Scroll to the bottom for information on hiring for a Fyansford Paper Mill Wedding (or epic battle, midnight ritual, the world’s your oyster).
Fyansford Paper Mill is something of an internet enigma, and has less of a presence than you might expect for a venue that resembles an impossibly beautiful run-down italian castle, just sitting at the edge of Geelong.
Dating back to the precincts industrial era, the Fyansford Paper Mills look like something more likely to have been plucked from the minds of Peter Jacksons set-design team than a venue just outside of Melbourne that you can actually hire for your wedding: enormous wooden beams, an impossibly high entrance divider between the two main stone rooms and a unique blank canvas unlike anywhere else.
Anyhow, you don’t need me frothing over it’s incredible blue-stone walls and regurgitating information you can find readily available on the Truffleduck website, but I will say that outside of an old palace on the side of an Italian cliff, there aren’t any venues i’ve been to that feel anything quite like this.
Lower Section – 200 guests
Upper Section – 160 guests
Cocktail Style – 380 guests
For venues like the Paper Mill outside of Geelong, see Alternative Wedding Venues in Melbourne.
Jul 10, 2020
Jul 9, 2020
Charis white is a Melbourne wedding celebrant with an enormous amount of experience in weddings large and small all over greater Melbourne and Victoria, for every type of couple you can imagine. With all her experience in running brilliant ceremonies, Charis shares her thoughts on how to write a wedding ceremony, how to write your vows, and how to ensure that it’s a smooth experience – especially for the shy and introverted.
Getting to know the couple well means they will have a great ceremony. At a wedding I did recently, a guest asked if I was a friend of the couples. This is the best compliment ever as it shows I really know them and reflected their story in an awesome way.
I ask them if they have an idea about what they want to talk about. If not, then I give them some vow inspiration to look over and guide them along. I also read over the vows and offer advice and guidance.
I tell them to face each other, that way they are only seeing the face of their bestie. If you are nervous, a reassured look can calm you down. I am also up there with them to reassure them and guide them through the process.
When I meet my couples, we have a chat about their day, their expectations and the overall vibe they want their ceremony to take. Once we have chatted through their story, I send them a questionnaire with more comprehensive questions. I also give my clients the draft to look over, it reassures them.
In terms of their vows (see Jake writing his wedding vows), I cast my eyes over them to make sure they are both semi aligned. EG, if one vow is very funny, then I will go to the other person and tell them to weave in a little humour.
That way they are both balanced.
I talk about family and friends in the ceremony. I also love engaging with people prior to the ceremony, especially the oldies and kids.
If there is a way to weave a few friends into the ceremony story, I love to do this and love the relatability of it.
Laura and Walker looking super cinematic. See why I shoot film.
My advice is totally against this. Actually, I bully them into giving them to me prior. JK. If the couple wants me to have their vows, so they do not need to carry anything on the day of their wedding. I ask for the vows prior to the ceremony. I then populate them into the final draft.
My timeline on this is at least two weeks prior to the ceremony. Sometimes I get them the morning of.
However, most couples are pretty good with getting them to me on time. I also look over their vows prior to the ceremony.
Long story short – don’t leave your vows until the last minute!
Follow your gut, trust the process and believe in your team.
See here for how to plan wedding music.
Jul 8, 2020
I Do Drive Thru is a worldwide wedding startup, helping couples get hitched in the middle of Covid19 while adhering to the restrictions and saving the partying for later. Since launching in Melbourne, it’s spread nationally, and has since popped up all over the USA. Melbourne wedding celebrant Mel (who also moonlights as The Ceremony Store) runs us through why it started and how it’s helped couples all over the world.
I’ve been a Marriage and Funeral Celebrant for 15 years and own the companies, The Ceremony Store, The I Do Drive Thru and The Last Time. I am also a Celebrant Trainer with Australian Celebrations Training, Furniture Maker, Writer, Mother and Wife but I have always wanted to be an Electrician.
I am obsessed with learning as much as I can in this lifetime, I am perpetually curious. I try one new task every year until I get good at it, then I move on: I have learnt lock-picking, languages, carpentry, metal-detecting, and written a book.
When COVID 19 became a part of our world I was given medical advice to isolate which meant I could no longer do weddings. The next day I gave away/rescheduled 17 weddings and it was, to say the least; devastating, not just for me, but for my couples. Not only that, I felt horribly guilty giving my weddings to other Celebrants who could possibly get COVID.
That night I lay awake thinking about how I could keep those Celebrants safe and keep working from home during COVID.
To digress, I have always been a bit obsessed with Vegas style weddings and in my early Celebrancy career, I used to ride my red postie motorbike to weddings dressed as Elvis. It just seemed pretty natural that Vegas-vibed drive thru weddings and getting couples to stay in their cars while getting married and keeping the Celebrant distanced was the answer to all of my problems.
The next morning I texted 3 of the most awesome Celes I know, said let’s start this business, and all of them said yes without hesitation and 8 days later, we had a business name, logo, website and a press release. On our launch day we had over 32 calls from the press, 10 enquiries and booked our very first wedding.
Just by chance, my co-founders Kate, Zena and Klara were the perfect combo to get everything going, and the main driver between all of us was the passion to continue working while this crisis was going on around us.
We all love what we do and while we all kind of felt like sitting around grieving for what we had lost, we forced ourselves to build something new to fit with the changed times. Our catch cry became ‘we will work that out later’ as the business moved so incredibly quickly.
I honestly believe that anyone can do anything they set their mind to, impossible isn’t in my vocabulary. Any skill can be learned, any work can be completed no matter what limits there are, so we worked 19-20 hours days for that first week and we pulled it off.
The most rewarding thing about starting the business was the instant gratification we got with the media interest, we knew that our idea was good and the public interest confirmed that.
My gorgeous co-founders put so much trust in me right from the get go. We organised everything via phone, zoom and email, we have only sat in the same space once since we started the business, which is pretty incredible.
On launch day, seeing Klara on the 6pm news launching our business was such an achievement and then to replicate that model in each state over and over and then in the US has been amazing!
We now have 21 Celebrants working Aus wide with us and 2 in the US.
Celebrants weren’t the only people affected by COVID, it’s also the photographers, venue owners, car hire companies, florists, everyone has been affected in our industry. We worked hard to create a model that could encompass as many of these suppliers in local communities as possible, so they could be involved too.
A huge benefit to our business has been that we managed to snag some of the best photographers in Australia to work with us and these artists have provided some of the most epic photos of ceremonies.
Having these professional images to share with potential couples so they can see that tiny weddings can be so intimate and beautiful and moving has been incredible, a professional picture really is worth a thousand words.
Bringing work to all types of wedding industry professionals, while they were feeling pretty down about losing their own work, has given us all the warm fuzzies.
Our couples really range in age, we have had couple in their 20’s to couple’s in their 80’s. The similarity between them is that they really want to get married, but feel like they don’t fit into the white wedding dress/getting given away by Dad/first dance scenario. We have had couples that have stayed in their car for the ceremony, gotten out and married under trees, created convoys so family and friends can come and watch and couples have arrived via cars, helicopters, motorbikes and bicycles.
My fave couple so far is a couple where the Bride recently became paraplegic and she is still getting used to navigating new places and feels a little self-conscious.
Her Fiancé just wanted to marry her, because in his words, ‘she is the most amazing woman in the world’. When they heard about the Drive Thru and she saw that she didn’t have to get out of the car and worry about wheelchair logistics, she cried, because this was the only way she felt comfortable getting married.
COVID is going to be here for a while. It’s not going to magically disappear, and I honestly think this will impact the wedding industry for years.
In the short term we have the uncertainty of not knowing when we can go back to booking big celebrations and it makes planning pretty impossible.
Then when restrictions are lifted then yes, technically, we can go back to bigger celebrations, but is it a celebration if you can’t hug your Nan when you walk back down the aisle? Is it a celebration if you can’t share a shot glass or eat bread out of the same breadbasket?
The effects of social distancing will continue to live on, especially when it comes to celebrating that way that we are used to.
A surprising side-effect to this whole COVID scenario, is that suddenly eloping isn’t taboo, eloping makes you responsible, kinda like a hero, you are protecting your community by having a small wedding and that shift in thinking has been kinda rad.
People have been eloping because there isn’t the stigma attached to it anymore, heck the government practically endorsed eloping when you were only allowed to have the marrying couple and two witnesses present.
My advice to couples during COVID has been to follow your heart and remember that there is a huge difference between a marriage and a wedding. (Check out Will and Jac for Melbourne wedding planning).
If you wanna get married, get married, do it, commit to your lover, that’s so important, don’t let COVID stop you. There is literally no better time to love and be loved than right now, having companionship during a crisis is what will get you through it.
When people ask what you did during COVID how totally romantic is it to say that you married your honey and then shacked up in iso together? (Side note – like this Blue Mountains Elopement).
If your heart is set on a wedding that encompasses family and friends, then wait, but wait until COVID is dead and gone and we can hug again. Have a huge wedding down the track, when you can handshake and dance, but you will have to be patient.
And for those that want both, do it! Have the most romantic, sweet tiny ceremony now and make it all about each other, then have a huge wedding party later on-best of both worlds.
Running a business during a pandemic is tough. Terms and conditions/your contract/Statement of Fees documents are everything. Mine was pretty broad but certainly never covered a killer virus!
I always say to other Celebrants be tough on paper, but soft in reality. You have to have your rules in place, but be flexible, don’t forget everyone is going through something and creating relationships, and word of mouth recommendations in this business is what it is all about.
I always rule with my heart and not my head, so I certainly don’t set the best example for other business owners, but I find if you treat people with kindness then that’s what you will get back.
I have always gotten more out of what I do for others, than what I do for myself, so to create a business that has helped so people feel good and have a bit of purpose during COVID has probably been one of the most rewarding things I have done for a long time.
To have your small Melbourne City elopement filmed by the best wedding videographers in town, check out Bottlebrush Films as they’re doing filming for overseas guests and relatives who can’t make it.
Jul 7, 2020
I had a chat with alleged government agent/assassin Carlo, otherwise known as the the genius artistic brain behind Lunar Red Films. We’ve been lucky to work together on the wedding of Pepe and Sam, featured on (… info on that one soon), with none less than Nat Sproal, Torte by Mirjana, Killer Queen Creative, and Good Day Club.
With Covid forcing us all indoors and all manner of brilliant doorstep portrait projects happening, I wanted to kickstart some convos with my local community and find out how the time and strange space is being used, as it’s never been more important to stay connected and sharing.
My name is Carlo. My friends think I’m a government assassin (can confirm this is a generally held opinion – BA). Me mum thinks I’m handsome, but really I’m just your friendly, neighbourhood wedding cinematographer.
Melbourne is just chock a block full of wonderful, loved up weirdos, who are willing to break convention and tradition and just do their own thing. It means that each couple has brought a sense of heart and soul into their weddings, and have given it a stamp that is all on their own. I don’t know any other city where that happens.
Some people use the term “minimalism” (cue the air wank motion) – I prefer to say “steak and veg”. That’s how I like to shoot – as simple and as free of gimmicks and other fanciful shit as humanly possible. What that leaves me with is me, the camera, and the moment happening directly in front of me. I’m not here trying to manufacture someone else’s feelings, I’m not attempting to set up a moment that isn’t real. Everything I point my camera at is genuine and, hopefully, the couple remembers the feelings they have for each other in the moment as opposed to me yelling at them to behave a certain way.
I like to cap my weddings per season at a certain number. It means that I’m able to give each wedding my creative focus without being snowed under by work and burn out. When covid hit, I only had a handful of weddings left to shoot down the line, so it gave me a little extra time to edit the weddings I had already shot to perfection.
I feel like weddings and celebrations will continue to get more and more. unconventional the more couples and future clients realise that they don’t have to do what’s come before to have a good time or to profess their love out to the world. More colour, more rule breaking, more heart. Basically just more of the good stuff.
Jul 6, 2020
Brooke Tyson Ritual – some of the most incredible bridal designs on the planet, with delicate contours and flowing textures, and what a treat it was to photograph them in a (real) blizzard, atop a volcano in New Zealand, draped over our incredible model, Fran, for the Story and Light photography workshop hosted by the genius wizardchildren over at Bayly and Moore.
Featured here is the Brooke Tyson Ritual Luna gown, as well as their Flora gown.
Story and Light was sponsored by the brilliant Australian film-lab Atkins, who kindly developed and scanned all of these images, shot entirely on Kodak Film. More on analogue wedding photography.
Removing herself from the perilously wild volcanic blizzard (despite the hardy protection of the Luna gown), here, we see Fran emerging from a more friendly forest, in the Brooke Tyson Flora gown.
Above and below is the Flora gown. Anyone that has ever met a New Zealander knows that the Ritual collection benefits from the classic kiwi ingenuity, developed in and around curious brain-zaps that test the edges of what bridal gowns should look like.
Celebrating free-spirits and with inspiration taken from cinema and folklore, the Brooke Tyson Luna gown was pretty much made to be draped across Franc and then whisked by a blizzard in on top of a volcano.
Brooke Tyson are also featured here on my top 5 best modern wedding dresses.
For more wedding dress designs from another planet, check out Jaime Lee Major.
Jul 5, 2020
Melbourne wedding celebrant: finding a great one is challenging, and it’s hard to get an idea of whether their vibe is gonna fit your tribe ahead of time. The Celebrant A List is an initiative put together to help solve that, and their Celebrant A-List Ball which I joined majestic celebrant-ey forces with last year, brought together a whole swag of the industries best under one roof in Melbourne.
Since we had so many luminaries of the industry packed into one of Melbournes best bars, it would’ve been rude not to set up a Vanity Fair style photo-corner.
I’ve been super lucky to work with many of these maestros, so read on and enjoy these community marvels and a little insight into the Celebrant A List, and then hire one for your Melbourne elopement.
Lord of the dark-funk, Jac the Hitcher lives here.
Grandmaster suave, Matt Finch lives here.
If you want to skip the gab (not recommended, but hey, it’s your life), here’s a run-sheet of some of the best Melbourne wedding celebrants that are featured here (in no order):
Lord of all things neon and dark in the wedding celebrant world, find Annie here.
As well as being found under an excellent hat, you can find Sean here.
On paper it’s a directory with some hand picked celebrants. Maybe it’s also an antidote to the ‘come one come all’ sites that I find just end up causing us much confusion and anxiety for couples who are by and large going through this process for the first time.
BUT what it actually is a chance to be a little different in the market. All of the directory members are people from my own and some other close confidant’s personal networks.
These were people we already were swapping leads with. So whilst it’s not the definitive and finite list of who’s a quality melbourne wedding celebrant, I can definitely say that all members are quality people and celebrants.
As well as being found wrapped in curtains, Megan can be found here.
Megan is pointing over there, and to find her we’re pointing here.
So the Celebrant A List is also a little community group. We all know which other members are better suited for which kind of couple just based on the initial enquiry.
So my advice would be to get on the directory, to find the kind of wedding celebrant you think fits the bill and send them an enquiry.
If they’re not available, we work as a group to find you someone that is not only free but will also fit what you are looking for.
This legendary Tasmanian wedding celebrant can be found here.
This totally debonair devil can be found here.
Is Brian Jones or David Koresh a funny or poor tasting joke?! Nah but in all honesty, the crew on the Wedding Celebrant A List is from the network of wedding celebrants who were already naturally jelling together.
Everyone on the list is vouched for – we avoid cult like activities, thinking and environments, we feel the market for that is already catered for!
Not just a good looking rack for short-shorts, find him here.
Haha, what a question! If I was to say what was the mission of the Wedding Celebrant A List, it would be to address exactly this challenge.
We have moved from a world where once upon a time we had to wait until every Thursday night at 7:30PM before our favourite show would be on…now I can binge watch whatever I want, whenever I want.
This is how society works now, so the Wedding Celebrant A List is the kind of place where people can come and not only can we help them feel less overwhelmed we also support each other’s businesses.
With her name an homage to Fleetwood Mac, find Erin here.
It’s for this reason alone why we don’t have hundreds and hundreds of members as we genuinely feel like in the end that helps no one – the couples or the celebrants.
As I already mentioned, just by enquiring with one us, we’re kind of all there to help you find not only the right celebrant but also many other vendors.
We all buy based on people giving us recommendations, it’s kind of the same approach over at the Wedding Celebrant A List.
Well before good ol’ Rona hit the plan was to try and host an event in each major city where we have representation. But now we’re focussed on our big event next year, Hitchmas.
We plan on making this the best business workshop/networking/party kind of event ever hosted in the wedding world.
This cartwheeling legend can be found here
Finding a Melbourne wedding celebrant can be a bit of a massive task – fortunately, the Wedding Celebrant A List has been assembled to take some of the legwork out of it. Verified legends, take a look and find your Melbourne wedding celebrant below, and then get them down for your Melbourne city elopement.
Link one of these legends up with a brilliant Melbourne wedding planner.
Jul 4, 2020
I’m super pleased to be releasing my own Pic Time Art Galleries as an online print shop, through a new platform recently released by the brilliant mob over at Pic Time.
I’ve wanted to have a place to share and sell prints for going on 8 years, but the task always seemed to arduous and riddled with pain-in-the-ass complexities that stopped me from leaning right in.
Selling prints is a great way to give your bodies of work the respect they deserve! I guess a secondary stream of revenue doesn’t also hurt, but what I think is most important is that this is a way to let someone else create future-nostalgia out of something else you have made.
Additionally, selling your prints makes you lean into your own work more, and think more critically about who you want to be from an artistic point of view. There’s nothing quite as challenging or humbling as trying to reduce tens of thousands of your images into a concentrated body of work that might just contain ten.
For the last few months, Pic Time invited me to be a tester of their new gallery functionality.
This functionality is a part of their existing platform – so if you’re already using Pic Time as proofing software for your clients (as I am), this simply bolts on top via a separate subscription fee, and from there you can enjoy all of the additional functionality that an art gallery requires.
David Foster Wallace #1 will be available on my print store.
Find out more about Pic Time art galleries here
Find out more about my print lab here.
Jul 1, 2020
Occasionally the wedding industry has someone move in from another branch of the broader arts and design sphere, and the spin they have on things is always a little different to what else is currently around. Enter Nathan Kaso weddings, mastercraftsman of moving image, sometime viral-video maker, and now your friendly local wedding videographer.
With Covid forcing us all indoors and all manner of brilliant doorstep portrait projects happening, I wanted to kickstart some convos with my local community and find out how the time and strange space is being used, as it’s never been more important to stay connected and sharing.
Generally my couple’s say they forgot that I was even around, which I take as the ultimate compliment. A very wise man (a certain Oli S, no wait that’s too obvious, O. Sansom) once taught me that when shooting weddings, having a small-footprint is the way to go. So I’ve stuck with that and do my best to stay out of the way and capture all the natural feels. It must be working because most couples aren’t sure if I’ve even turned up.
I put a fair amount of effort into my hair (head and facial)*, not going to lie. By the midway point of the ceremony it’s generally turned into a sweaty mess, but I’m hoping people take note at the start of the day and tell their friends
It takes a lot of effort to look like you’ve made no effort.
I actually quite enjoyed ISO. Once I got past my business crumbling to pieces, I really enjoyed spending time with my kids. But it wasn’t just the usual routine, we got right back to basics (as it seems a lot of folks did) and went bike riding, kite flying, walked along the river, simple things that we normally don’t seem to find the time for. Honestly it was bliss, and the break that I didn’t know I needed.
When the apocalypse hits, I’ll go Superman style with a fortress of solitude in the snow.
Provided my kids are old enough for M15+, I’ll be bringing with me the 1996 classic Fargo, because the Cohen Brothers and Roger Deakins and Steve Buscemi in a woodchipper will never get old.
Jun 30, 2020
In the middle of classic Australian expanse, about 2 hours west of Brisbane as the crow flies, sits Australia’s second largest inland city, and recipient of “most vowels in a city name” award. Welcome, to the gloriously rural region of Toowoomba, Queensland. Known for it’s Carnival of Flowers held annually in September, and having recently installed it’s own airport more and more people are getting to know this hidden gem of a town. Today though, we’re here to focus specifically on the BEST Toowoomba wedding venue, Gabbinbar Homestead.
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The majestic diversity speaks for itself. It’s the perfect middle ground between country wedding and city wedding. While Toowoomba isn’t a bustling hub of activity like Brisbane, Sydney or Melbourne, it has the most endearing rustic charm that you can’t quite find in those larger cities. This rustic charm honestly makes for the most heartwarming, down-to-Earth wedding ceremonies.
Shooting at rural wedding venues like this just make you feel like you’re part of something special: and part of that here owes to the almost total seclusion from the outside world of it’s private garden edges.
I’ve shot at countless wedding venues and no place quite makes you feel at home like the gorgeous Gabbinbar Homestead. There are so many hidden gems scattered throughout the venue, and the mystique of it all is something you have to feel to believe. You find yourself weaving in and out of the trees, snapping pictures of family and friends of the bride and groom in such a relaxed, magical atmosphere. Rural wedding venues just seem to bring out the best in people.
Gabbinbar’s all-inclusive wedding package, aptly titled ‘The Gabbinbar Experience’ is just that. It’s basically everything you need to experience the exact wedding day you want to bring to life. Specifically:
Plus all of those often overlooked, finer details that go into executing a flawless wedding that come with the territory of having everything in the one place.
Outside of this theres 3000+ rooms a stone’s throw away for guests and family.
So, if you’re thinking of escaping to the country for your wedding, short of the rural expanses of the moon there’s no better place than Gabbinbar Homestead.
From a Toowoomba wedding venue abundant in charm and heart to a completely unique shotgun-style Melbourne wedding venue, visit this post featuring The Alter Electric.
Jun 29, 2020
I don’t know much about cakes, but I do know that beyond being face-plantingly delicious, there’s a bunch of love that has to be artfully weaved into the process, lest it ends up just resembling an attractive piece of cardboard, and Torte by Mirjana is the local bees-knees of the taste game.
Apart from Mirjana being an absolute magnet personality and culinary wizard, the thing that stood out to me most is that everyone who talks about her work, talks about the taste. That might seem like the most ludicrously obvious talking point, but it never occurred to me that in a space where so much of the work looks good, what really matters it the drooling gob that it’s ending up in, and what that gob then says about the experience #goblife.
We had a little mid-iso chat, so if you haven’t been introduced to her work stick around and hit up her links at the bottom to check out her majestic work online.
I’m Melbourne’s Punky Brewster version of a cake lady
I get to make a whole bunch of mess in the kitchen, and then somehow miraculously end up bringing an edible art piece into existence.
I think my ability to make a personal connection with my clients and establish a relationship during the cake designing process its that or the msg version of sweet sugary love I put into each cake.
Torte took a little break during covid and I grew a new title which was homeschool teacher… didn’t really like that, so I started making mini heart cakes that were inspired by my love of Wes Anderson and all things vintage, and they were a real hit with lovers who were in lockdown – so I’m hoping to see some baby shower cake orders soon!
Nostalgia you can taste!
Jun 27, 2020
How to spray a champagne bottle at your wedding: everyone’s seen it, everyone’s had a crack at it, and everyones experience ends with one of “nailed it”, “nearly took my head off”, or “fizzled out to a flaccid wisp like Creeds record contract” (I bought a few of their albums back in the day so this is all fair game, and I guess that makes me fair game).
Also file this under – things you can practice at home in a pandemic. Great for your serotonin levels, not so great for your lounge room walls, so maybe one to take to the streets.
How to do a champagne spray (condensed version):
There’s a gentle art to the champagne spray, and it’s both easier than you might think in the moment, while at the same time requiring of a bit of careful strategy and forward-thinking so that the proceeds don’t resemble the unfortunate scene of a garden hose with no pressure at a kids water-fight birthday-party in the middle of summer.
Because if we’re gonna have a day of beautiful debauchery and anarchy, contributing to the carbon(ated beverage) atmospheric trust-fund – and surrounding garments – is one of the cheaper thrills we can have on the day, with a mighty power-to-weight ratio as far as thrills gained, and dollars spent on cheap wine.
Fun for everyone – even me as my gear gets gloriously soaked in the stuff (tips for photographers: if you want to get the best champagne shots, sorry – but you need to be right in front of it – and if you don’t come out needing a dry-clean, you haven’t shot it right).
In order to get a wild spray going that lasts as long as the winners ones do on an F1 podium, we need to consult our dusty “armchair teenage physicist” manual, and brush up on the “why” before we get to the “how”.
This means we need to press our thumb against the hole, as soon as the cork is removed. This in turn keeps extra pressure inside the bottle, which means it’s going to try and force it’s way through the available gap. If the champagne has pressure that is mostly kept in by your thumb, that means that in order to release that pressure, it’s going to have to push it’s way through that gap – and fast.
And when you maintain that while continuing to shake it – that’s where it all starts going bananas.
Luckily for us, we have everyones favourite rainbow anarchist (well, the other favourite to this wonderful mob) Dee Brinsmead, wedding celebrant and co-owner of The Altar Electric, to help run us through how it’s done.
Bring yourself into a state of maniacal glee. This should be fun, you should have your crew around you (if they’re part of it), and you should be prepared to make a mess, take an eye out, blow a hole in the photographers expensive lens, all the good stuff.
Here, a friendly neighbourhood cat takes part.
Acquire champagne, twist and remove the wire cap, so just the cork remains.
With your thumb over the cork, pre-shake it enthusiastically.
Begin to undo the cork until it’s nearly off. Brace your thumb against the base of the cork, and flick it into the heavens above, or at your photographers head.
Tip: if the cork is tough to remove, grip it with #intention very tightly, and carefully rotate it and “unscrew it” out with your hand.
At this point, you should immediately cover the hole with your thumb: in fact, trying to completely block it – and shake the bottle like a maniac. I promise you the champagne will begin to escape, no matter how robust you think your thumb-bottle sealant game is. This is where a champagne-spray often fails, and this is the step to nail correctly.
Every second of champagne-exit where the hole isn’t blocked, is precious pressure lost.
From here, just gently remove pressure very slightly, in the direction you want to spray, being conscious of where it’s coming out as you pivot your thumb. Continue to shake with maniacal glee.
Tip: As the contents and pressure in the bottle deplete, you can squeeze as much out if it as possible by increasing the pressure you’re creating, and pressing your thumb against it more firmly and closing the gap. The little pressure that’s left in the bottle will be amplified by having the gap made even tighter.
Voila! You’ve successfully emptied the contents of a bottle in the manner in
which was truly intended by the manufacturer, but can’t be claimed as such on fancy champagne labels.
Just know that you’re doing your winemaker countrymen proud.
Jun 26, 2020
Good Day Club are your friendly neighbourhood Rainbow Anarchists. Good Day design the most wild, colourful, bombastic, insert-synonym-here wedding celebrations in all the lands of/including/but not limited to, Melbourne and it’s surrounds.
Since one hand is loaded up with shiraz these days, we figured we’d load up the other with a keyboard and have a bit of a chinwag about all things celebration.
I’ve been lucky to share a couple of shoots with these maestros, from Tanglewood Estate all the way over to The Altar Electric where their stylish hands mark is laid permanently, onto it’s peach-pastel walls of eternity. Etc.
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I’m Kate Forsyth, creative director and co-founder of Good Day Club. I steer the ship and set it’s creative direction, but I also do pretty much any and all things from changing lightbulbs and fixing broken chairs to buying milk and cleaning the toilet.
I’d say my friends think I am constantly doing lots of glamorous and creative stuff and swanning around at parties and weddings, whereas the majority of the time, ship steering is where it’s at. If I do get to attend a party or wedding, I guarantee you if I do get to go to a party or wedding, I shall end up crawling on the floor sorting out bung neon sign plug or rectifying one thing or another.
The creative part of my job is pretty ace though – from working with ace clients to create their dream event, to making + building, meeting fellow vintage lovers and passionate people and collaborating in heaps of way.
They’re unique and people feel empowered to do whatever the heck has meaning for them. Melbourne weddings are less about what’s trending and more about what floats the boat of the couple.
Personalisation, colour, fun, personality, boldness and the unexpected.
My high levels of weirdness. The fact that I have like 30 tonnes of furniture and props at my fingertips. The number of Potato Gems I consume.
For want of a better term, we’re a one-stop shop because we can design your wedding, furnish and light it, create your graphic design, set it up, style it and take it all away.
And we’ve leaned very hard into our niche of a wild mix of old and new. People tell us our work is immediately recognisable and that makes me feel so happy, that I eat some more Potato Gems.
We were already looking at efficiency this year, so it’s been a supercharged version of that. Efficiency with our costs but also with our processes – making everything work better and easier for our customers (and staff). We’ve also looked at doing less things better, cutting out a few services and we’ve added our first digital product (video call backgrounds).
We’ve always prided ourselves on our rad designs but what we talk about less is that we are a smooth AF operation as well.
And we just got smoother.
Our clients are always telling us that they loved how easy we make things and that is our mission!
Look, who bloody knows. Honestly, while we’ve been busy improving our offering and efficiency, I’ve been interspersing that with having semi-regular existential crises/breakdowns about what is going to happen to celebrations.
If I leave the ‘why are we here’s?’ and ‘what is the purpose of all this?’ at the door, I’d say that celebrations will continue to be more and more unique and personalised, and a reflection of the couple and what’s important to them.
Couples have had a LOT of time to think about what’s important and so while wedding size is currently mandated by the government (srsly, how weird is that sentence?!?) I think smaller celebrations with more of what the couple want will continue to be all the rage, even once bigger weddings are allowed again.
I mean, do you really want to spend $150 to feed and water your cousin’s boyfriend or your work friend’s partner you’ve never met?
Cutting that guest list gives you heaps more freedom to go all out on the things you love.
The mark I want to leave is a big, bold and cray colourful one where I’ve contributed to a movement of couple’s feeling super empowered to do whatever the fuck they want for their wedding, dumping traditions that mean nothing and other people’s expectations.
Jun 24, 2020
Anthony Cribbes – recipient of the most debonair hair-sweep, occasional farmer (only, or mostly during pandemics), wedding celebrant, founder of The Celebrant A List, and one part of the trio behind the iconic Collingwood Wedding chapel The Altar Electric.
Read on for all this and all the other things he does that didn’t fit in this sentence.
Man what a time ISO LYF has been! I live in the country but for the last 5 years it feels like the road is more my home. Being able to stay closer to home has made me realised that I will be putting a priority on focussing my business in a more local sense.
It’s almost like I guess you could say that I am becoming a business cliched bourgeoisie and opting for a ’tree-change’ or ‘downsizing’… only I promise I am doing it in a non-pretentious way, not so I can start a new Insta account of: ‘My journey from big city life to self discovery’ kind of crap.
Before ISO I was passionate about community and quality over quantity. I see weddings now moving from a ‘bigger and better’ world to one where people are placing a premium on the connection.
This means I can see a lot more smaller weddings happening. We actually made a change to the Altar Electric around 6 months ago for this very reason, we didn’t just want to be offering registry style weddings, we wanted people to be able to have a small wedding celebration.
One that was about creating great moments but didn’t bring with it the anxiety inducing costs.
Haha…I’ll leave the Wizardry stuff to my mates out at Hogwarts. Altar Electric is actually Dee and Sarah’s (my amazing business partners) original concept, I just helped give it the nudge.
Initially we were thinking it would be about Registry Weddings…but in the end we realised what we were actually tapping into was a whole new vein of thinking from pockets in the community. We didn’t realise just how under served the small wedding market was.
From our understanding that wasn’t due to a lack of desire but more a lack of supply from an industry that was focussed on large groups only essentially.-
Oh so many! I think the biggest thing anything Celebrant can do is to not get carried away with their own ego, I see it all over the place and could also be accused of being guilty of it myself.
I think once you start telling yourself you’ve made ‘it’, things will turn, because it’s at this stage when people stop evolving, adapting, learning and improving.
I am definitely a way different Celebrant in terms of my style now then I was 5 years ago when I first started. How I win my work is also drastically different.
We can always learn from anyone… right now the people I am learning the most from are the Celebrants who are only 1-2 years into the business but are completely slaying it…also avoid having a gimmick, it will run dry very quickly, just be genuine.
There’s 9,500 of us in Australia, so just know that there’s the right kind of Celebrant out there for you.
I always think it works best as a Celebrant when I work with couples who I can genuinely go and have a beer with down at the pub and talk about other things than weddings.
That’s the kind of fit you are hoping for, so make sure you try and find that kind of person for you.
A feature on Melbourne wedding celebrants is also here.
Jun 22, 2020
Danee of Killer Queen Creative is a feel-good merchant, personal branding genius, and resident rockstar of the Melbourne hair and makeup scene. We took over The Line for the wedding of Pepi and Sam, and now she’s taking over my internet space (and so too should she take over your makeup and hair for your Melbourne elopement).
I’m Danee, founder of Killer Queen Beauty. My friends think I play with pretty things and put on eyeliner all day and swan around at weddings.
In reality, like all small biz owners, my craft is only a very small part of what I do- the rest is all about running the show and keeping the wheels turning.
I’m a one woman creative show, offering makeup, hair, and education. I help rad rebel brides to have the non-traditional day of their dreams by giving them advice, support and expertise for wedding day beauty that is non-boring, non-conventional and as unique as they are.
I like to think of my brand as the punk maverick of the beauty world. I do things differently, I love to smash beauty stereotypes, and I despise conformity!
I LOVE being part of the wedding industry in Melbourne and feel like I’ve really met my people- weddings in Melbourne have such much scope for creativity and there are so many amazing venues that are all about being flexible to couples’ wildest desires. And there is so much ridiculous talent in this city.
I’m stoked to be part of the more alternative side of weddings because that’s where I feel all the creativity and the envelope pushing happens.
To me, a wedding is a really big opportunity to express who you are and create some amazing art, experiences and memories.
I think it’s heart and magic. I put everything into my weddings- they’re not just jobs for me but magical celebrations and connections.
I like to bring a creative approach and lots of feelgood vibes to someone’s special day; being part of the planning process and connecting with the bride on the morning before all the mayhem starts is petty spesh. Weddings are a bloody big deal and your wedding day is one of the best days of your life- why not spend it with rad people who get a buzz off creating the best day possible for you?
I spent the time in lockdown helping couples reschedule their weddings and navigate a nutso time!
I also opened up a lot of digital offerings, and took the opportunity to have a good shake up of all my systems and processes; as a result of that I ended up overhauling a lot of my systems including my website, so it’s all much more kickass and easy to find what you want.
Through the whole time, I’ve learned that I’m heaps more resilient that I thought- and I also learned to surrender control over things that were bigger than me, to ride the wave a bit better. As a result I think I became more adaptable and more chilled about chaos.
I think those qualities make me pretty well placed to deal with any wedding fiascos, and help you through any hiccups.
I might drink all the wine but I’m a good companion to have if the seas get rough.
People want to create celebrations that are unique as they are. It’s not about cookie cutter anymore; people are really putting their stamp on their big day and making it all about an expression of them and their love story. I love that couples aren’t as concerned about tradition, but more about celebrating their love.
I want to be part of as many out-there and wild weddings and make people feel larger than life on their day. I’m all for encouraging radical self expression and defying convention so I’m more than happy to be an enabler of that.
I want couples to look back on their day and ecstatically and fondly remember everyone that was part of it and how magic it all was. Like, when they’re in their 80s they can look back at their wedding photos and say they threw one hell of a memorable party.
Also! I want Melbourne to be a standout destination for out of this world nuptials!
I want to be part of a wedding revolution going forward, pushing for diversity and change in the industry. Helping and mentoring younger vendors in the industry to develop their brand to find their niche and their people. Being part of a wider network of mavericks turning tradition on its head, and bringing innovation into the wedding space.
If you’re having a Melbourne city elopement, get this girl on your team.
Jun 21, 2020
From small, intimate duos, to full, scaleable big-bands. Here is a roundup of 5 of the best wedding bands, DJ’s and musician duos you can possibly get your ears around in Melbourne.
Booking a wedding band or musician has a little more gravitas on it than you might imagine. Far more than being just background music – it’s the difference between your guests having a ripping time or not, and in no small way, they are often the glue between all of the other elements you’ve booked.
If you’re going to book an artist, they might as well be top of the tree and genuine lovers of what they do: music!
Here’s 5 Melbourne wedding bands that fit that bill – read on for a little more detail:
5 of the best wedding bands in Melbourne (not in order):
Like This band leverage something entirely unique that can’t be bought or imitated: they’re all real-life friends, and have played together as a unit since forever.
What this means for you, is this: no awkward referring to sheet-music or scenarios with band members not being in sync with each other, which is far more common than you might imagine, and affects how authentic and on-point the music comes across to your guests. And this translates to them partying hard.
Like This Band are a well-oiled machine, and having seen them perform at several weddings, it’s something special to see.
Expect an immersive experience, where the members are joining guests in the middle of the dance-floor for sax-solos, sing-alongs, and the most incredible musicianship available in Melbourne. Scaleable from large to small, they can take a post at any point of your wedding.
Their lead vocalist and pillar of charisma, Cadeyrn, can literally morph his vocals to sing, anything. From Sinatra, to Nick Cave, to John Mayer, over to every classic imaginable, you will absolutely be doing a double-take and wondering if the real deal is in the room. If you haven’t yet heard Like This, this can’t be overstated enough: Like This don’t cover other artists, they BECOME them.
Make an enquiry with Like This
Renee and Jamie with have you swooning over their ethereal soundscapes, filling the air with what should be impossible with just two people. Because of this, these two are commissioned all over the world to cast their craft as the backdrop to wedding ceremonies and canapés.
Expect an experience where your guests are doing double takes at how Renee and Jamie are interpreting every type of song under the sun, and making it their (and your) own.
Renee has a voice that softly cuts through a gathering and just has to be heard to be believed, and the way Jamie and herself weave songs into something far beyond what you know them as, is just out of this world.
Apart from that, if their instagram is anything to go by they’re well documented as going to extra lengths to make sure their wizardry waved over your day is not only music but a fully personalised experience that will leave a memorable mark on you and your guests.
Make an enquiry with Tobi Tobi
Led by Luke O’Connor, Lark Music are at the pinnacle of the modular band experience. Within Lark Music, you can pick your flavour: from DJ, to duo, to ten-part band and beyond. Lark offer a fully customised experience entertaining small intimate weddings, to large wedding armageddons.
Expect a slick and professional experience that can only come from a seasoned machine that has absolutely seen it all.
With their incredible extended network of musician friends and enormous tight core, if you can forgive me sounding like i’m marketing an I.T firm for a hot minute, they are the epitome of a “scaleable soultion”. Soulution was a typo but i’m damn well leaving it there because it fits.
Make an enquiry with Lark Music
The head-honcho of Just Me Plus One, Vanessa, is a seasoned songstress with over 1000 (!) gigs under her belt. An incredible body of work like that translates to a wild level of experience and empathy that has her locking in with crowds like, I guess, some kind of well-churned item of dairy produce onto lightly caramelised bread.
When you book Just Me Plus One, you get a seasoned performer who will not only cast a cracking spell on your guests on the day, but before all that, walk you through the process of either creating a bespoke package for you, or work together with your own recommendations.
Expect the warm, room-controlling presence of someone who can simultaneously walk the professional tightrope of having an impossible number of wildly varied gigs under her belt, while at the same time being a calm, friend next door presence to all in the room.
Make an enquiry with Just Me Plus One
When “No More Nutbush” are the first words that hit you on their website, you get a small taste of what you’re in for. Aleks and Eddy are a partner-duo (in case you haven’t picked up the theme of this post – all of the artists here are either friends or partners!), and i’ve had the wild pleasure of watching Aleks keep a room of the most discerning partyers going late into the evening.
Expect the best DJ’s in town turning up to turn up. If you want to get a good feel for how their sets weave, they’ve brilliantly included a variety of mixes over on their website linked below.
Expert crowd-readers, One More Song somehow split their attention between manning the decks and empathetically reading the crowd from top to tail. See their post here on how to plan your wedding music.
Make an enquiry with One More Song Entertainment
And there we go. Hopefully this post was a delightfully useful little morsel of an insight into the wedding band options available in Melbourne.
5 of the best wedding bands in Melbourne (not in order):
Jun 19, 2020
Not just a recent TIkTok phenomenon, Bottlebrush Films are what happens when Marty McFly and Quentin Tarantino are placed in a sandwich press and then thrown into the Matrix (and then gloriously re-assembled and tasked with creating a wedding film, etc).
Bottlebrush Films are Grace and Andrew, maniac creatives, internationally award-winning wedding videographers, and founders of the Lonely Hearts Film Camp – An “American summer camp… but in Australia”.
Here’s a few snippets from a socially-distanced chinwag we shared (with our keyboard fingers, and socially distanced by about 27 kilometres).
That we’re incredibly good looking and humble. No but really, we’re lucky to get lots of love from our couples, the mains ones being ‘holy shitballs how do you create such unique films?’, ‘you guys are hilarious we can’t wait to party with you at our wedding’, ‘fuck, film our day already’.
Nothing but good vibes from everyone we work with so we certainly don’t take all the kind words for granted.
‘They look like the kind of people who’d do a perfect straight arm-y and not spill a drop’.
And that we’re incredibly good looking and humble.
We’re very chill in a crisis, we’re great at being hermits & even better at making noooice pizza dough. (Can confirm this is true – in fact you can usually watch it on their insta-stories).
My favourite discovery though – we don’t need much to be happy (…just toilet paper apparently)
Casablanca, it’s timeless & has it all – love, war, friendship, betrayal, a witty script & a bangin’ cast. Most importantly it doesn’t show any lushy food – I can not be stuck in a bunker watching someone stuff their face with aioli & chippies if I haven’t got access to any.
Thanks Grandew. It’s been real.
Jun 18, 2020
With over half a decade of photographing weddings all over the planet and in my hometown of Melbourne, i’ve been lucky to square-off with the best melbourne wedding videographers in the business: listed on this page, are what I believe to be Melbournes most unique wedding videographers.
Melbournes best wedding videographers (not in order):
Needless to say – picking your Melbourne wedding videographer carefully and thoughtfully will be one of the best decisions you make for your day.
If you don’t believe me – just check out every “I wish I…” post where folks look back at their wedding day. In #1 spot each and every time – is those that didn’t hire a great videographer, wishing they had.
Photographs are all well and good, but when push comes to shove, there’s nothing like having your loved ones preserved in movement and sound by the absolute genius artisans on this page.
First and foremost – they’ve gotta be a good egg! You’re going to be spending an entire day together, so at a minimum, you want to like each other. There’s a fine line between affable, and downright intrusive, and as through all of life, you never really know what someone is like until you’ve had to either spend a morning at the supermarket together, or spend the day in front of their lens. So as a public service gesture, all of the videographers on this page are so perfectly tuned in, aware, and certified as utterly brilliant company.
Secondly, and this goes without saying, they have to be a master of their craft. Anyone can wave a camcorder around, and just as your uncle Bobs footage will be so marvellously perfect in it’s own right, over the fence is what these maestros create: art.
So, here we go – what I believe to be Melbournes most unique and creative wedding videographers and cinematographers.
These two characters wouldn’t look out of place on the character-rack of Tarantinos writing-room. But luckily for us (you), we instead get them all to ourselves. Master crafts-folk and hilarious to boot, Bottlebrush Films are the power couple to end all power couples. Or if not end them – ride with them on a unicorn into an alternate galaxy. Etc. Whatever. Just go follow these two on Tik Tok. Now.
The most debonair, dashing craftsmen in the game. Jared, Jacob, and their impossibly perfect haircuts swoon around weddings carefully out of the way, with a look of curiosity on their face that you later realise has translated into the most impossibly unique way of seeing what’s in front of them. Small wonder they are quite literally flown around the entire planet filming love across all cultures, because no-one else beats to their drum.
Nathan Kaso is a brilliant dark-horse. An expat of the creative advertising world at the highest level, this maestro has a bag of tricks that might make you wonder where he’s tucked the other ten of himself. Subtle, watchful, careful, and known to deploy an excellent dress sense to rival a tropical James Bond, Mr Kaso is the pick of the most discerning creative couples.
C2 Films have been on the block for a while. You don’t just get to rock a moustache like their dear leader Marcus does without having done a few laps of the park. C2 have become synonymous with class and elegance, and a dreamy approach to cinematography that wouldn’t be out of place in a Peter Jackson film (if he, say, directed a romantic flick).
I’m slightly biased here – as Supergreat Films is the cinematography arm of Briars Atlas. Supergreat Films shoot wedding videos just like the old days: on beautiful Super-8 film straight out of the 1970’s, with some classic 90’s VHS to boot. Supergreat Films is about capturing the feel, not the story: no sound is recorded, no speeches, and the guarantee isn’t a chronological order of what went down, but a wild, anarchic representation of what went down using some of the most beautiful ways of recording moving image that us clever little humans ever developed. With all that said, it’s recommended to hire a proper end-to-end videographer, and hire SuperGreat as an addition.
Supergreat films website:
I’ve been super fortunate to work with all of the highly sought after and creative Melbourne wedding videographers on this page, and if you’re after something out of the ordinary, you can’t go past any of these, and they come at my highest recommendation.
If you’ve already booked one of these legends and want me to come along for the ride on stills, you can make an enquiry here.
Jun 16, 2020
No-one runs a wedding ceremony quite like Nat Sproal Celebrant, and you kinda get a taste of what you’re in for with her catch-cry, “non-crap weddings for legends”.
Nat is on a fast moving carriage headed into “do it your way”s-ville, and that’s Nat’s wheelhouse. Nat controls a room, sometimes controlling said room into uncontrollable fits of laughter, and generally is a master at breaking the ice, and stopping her couples from breaking a sweat with hear down to earth way of running a ceremony.
Here’s some outtakes with 5 minutes spent with her.
Just a mad dog who marries peeps for a living and surfs the adrenaline wave.
My friends think I run the big show and then swan around drinking champagne – which is pretty spot on.
But there’s also some planning and writing in there too.
The fact that there is a culture.
A culture of doing things a little differently.
Well, particularly north of the river anyway.
A great Melbourne wedding celebrant is a great people person, a talented writer and a charismatic presenter. If you have all three things locked (rare in this gig, despite it being saturated with purveyors), you’re dangerous.
I’m working my way to being a total weapon.
But mainly I think I just keep it real. You won’t find fluffy text, a watercolour logo or a proclamation that I love love in my bio. Ever.
I’ve communicated with my clients from the start. I was in touch with all couples with weddings until the end of 2020 before the lockdown even started- and I kept talking to them.
My priorities were supporting them to have a ripping wedding at a later date- but also protecting my business. I’ve updated my site, resources, set up a CRM and written ceremonies up till the end of Nov. I’m ready to roll baby.
I reckon we’ll see further steps away from original plans and more diversity. Lots of downsizing, weekday weddings and fresh ideas. Lots of people’s priorities and financial capacities have changed.
I’ve got a couple who were having a massive wedding at a big venue who have quartered their guest list and changed to beer and pizza at a local craft beer house with live tunes. They’re so much happier and it suits them to a tee. There’s a lot of this going on which has me pumped.
I have a sick project in the works which will cater to these types of couples who are switching things up- and new couples wanting to leave the bullshit behind and focus on what counts.
Watch this space!
Jun 15, 2020
For those with “can’t-let-go-of-the-past” syndrome, or beautiful pieces of engineering cut short before their prime? This is a little how and why I drag around gear that passed it’s use-by date half a century ago and why I consider myself a film wedding photographer.
For a brief moment there in the late 00’s, opportunistic young-things were meeting the cries of the old-guard lamenting “film is dead!” with “yes, i’ll take all that dead processing gear off your hands for free, thankyou very much”. All of the beautiful analogue film processing gear that had seen so much love, had been decommissioned and retired, before being snapped up by enthusiasts for a song.
As a result, more film-labs began to open than they did close, and now there has never been a better time to shoot analog at weddings.
Film has been a key part of my look and approach since I became a melbourne wedding photographer, and an ongoing reason why creative folks and even other wedding photographers book me – even if in some cases I just channel the look of film photos in my digital images.
In 2019, I was awarded the analogue international wedding photographer of the year award, and in this post I want to discuss why I shoot film, what it’s benefits are, and why you might consider the use of analogue film as part of your wedding coverage.
It slows you down, and costs you money. In a generation of excess, our freewheeling brains need to be reined in. Historical patterns show that the more Tik-Toks and short-form content (ie – catering to short attention spans) there is entering the arena, the more room is then created for long-form content, and things warranting pause and stillness, as we collectively look for a space to make us feel something again.
When something forces you to respond slowly and consider the cost, the by-product of that is that you give yourself to the medium more. Where there’s tonnes of advantages in firing off thousands of frames on digital, there’s just as many advantages to having the costly walls of constraint around us (constraint being the only true useful tool in creativity that continues to stand the test of time).
People throw the whole timeless thing around in association with analogue film, but I think that only really holds true for black and white (Tri-X) film.
Most colour stocks actually have their own distinct look and feel that, when processed by a modern lab, aren’t what I’d necessarily call timeless. I don’t say that in a bad way – but the timeless colour we’re perhaps used to, is more the Kodachrome, stuff from the 60’s-80’s that our eyes more closely align with timelessness.
The rich, punchy colours of beautifully over-exposed Portra film aren’t any more timeless than digital, and are actually very distinct in their own right.
The sheer variety of looks in analog film stocks, lenses, and camera bodies is staggering, and each link in the chain imparts it’s own little flavour on the end look of the image.
So for me, shooting analog film is less about timelessness, and more about variety.
In my own tests, shooting analogue film is an objectively better experience for the person in front of the camera – if for nothing else, because we’re slipping into a loss of generational memory of those old cameras: and so these crazy old things bring on a strange sense of removed nostalgia and wonder, simply because it’s assumed that they’re just mantlepiece decorations, rather than fully capable image-making machines.
Having someone use an archaic piece of engineering with all the romance of a past-craft makes them feel valued in a totally different way. Even if the whole shoot isn’t being done on film, having some gear in the bag to switch things up can completely change the tone of the shoot.
David Rees is a good point of reference for the question “can the intrinsic value of a thing be increased or amplified by wrapping some old-world artisan air of craftsmanship around it”.
Typically, there are two main approaches that a photographer will take when choosing to use film as well as digital during a shoot, and they are either hybrid shooting, or separatist shooting (I made that second label up, but I can’t think of another way to title it).
Hybrid film photography is when the photographer shoots analog film, but aims to have the feel and tonality of the images completely in tune with the digital coverage. Often the aim of the preset applied to the digital images is to have them look as close as possible to the film ones. In this way, hybrid shooting is a process-based approach to film photography, rather than an output based approach: which is to say that it’s used mainly to provide variety to the photographer, rather than to the couple. This is not how I shoot film.
Separatist shooting is when the differences in the two mediums are celebrated, and no effort is made to create consistency between the digital images and the analogue images, meaning that the photographer gets to enjoy the process of shooting with different cameras, as well as providing something unique to the couple, and extra variety in the images they receive. This is how I choose to shoot film.
Separatist shooting is my preferred approach, and this is why: over the last 100 years, we’ve had hundreds of beautiful, differing formats used to create images. Different analogue film-stocks, and different lenses that all interpret light and render a scene, differently. I think those differences should be celebrated. It also keeps me more entertained pushing to find the deeper uniqueness of a particular format, rather than agonising over getting a perfect match between analog and digital, which for me, defeats the purpose of enjoying analog film as a medium.
Mixing things up is probably the number one reason why I shoot analogue film at weddings.
I don’t necessarily think consistency is overrated, but I do think surprise and intrigue is underrated. And as a film wedding photographer, there’s no greater joy than delivering a set of images where couples get the chance to swoon over that sprinkle of images that seem to just have something… else, to them.
Sure, I could go into the all the impractical bits of it, but for me, they’re joys. The only prolonged implications of shooting this stuff, is that it costs. It’s easy enough to throw in a roll here and there, but with analogue film and developing costs, we’re looking at about $70 for a couple of rolls – or about $3 per shot.
That’s fine when it’s a small part of the shoot, but a full-day analog wedding shooting only film can run past $1500 in film and developing costs alone very quickly, and that’s where it has to be considered as an add-on, rather than something that can be thrown in.
If you’re considering having your wedding photographed on analog film, I can recommend a bunch of ways in which it can be approached: whether having your entire wedding photographed on film such as Lil and Jake here, or doing what I do much of the time, when I detect that the idea sparks joy: bringing along some weird, wonderful gadgets, and making some images on them over the course of the day.
If you like, you can see some of what’s in my camera bag over at Shotkit, although it’s in need of an update (i’m pretty sure all the kit there hasn’t survived my anarchist hands for half a decade).
The poor-mans Rolleiflex, this little beauty is quiet, a marvel of engineering, dream to look at, and a pleasure to carry around.
This is my “good afternoon, i’m making some serious work” camera. A little heavier, a lot louder, but due to having an enormous mirror inside it, what you see through the ground-glass is what you get: whereas with a Twin Lens Reflex (TLR) camera, there might be a very slight difference in what you end up with.
The grand-daddy of common press-cameras in the 1950’s. Extremely portable, lightweight, invites curiosity, and the looks of it alone are good enough reason to be a film wedding photographer.
If I had to take one to a desert island, it would be the Yashica. If I got to take a tripod too, it would be the Hasselblad. My favourite film stocks are Kodak Portra 400 and Kodak Tri-X, although these days i’m taking a leaning towards the rich colours of Ektar.
If you’d like me to shoot some analogue film at your wedding, you can connect with me here or on instagram, and maybe for a doubke-whammy of awesome, let’s get our analogue on at one of the best alternative wedding venues in Melbourne.
For more of my film-only work, you can follow my personal account here.
If you like this, check out more black and white wedding photos.
Jun 14, 2020
Until early 2020, thanks to Covid19, weddings are going to be happening on a smaller scale (or, straight up elopements). With that said, if there’s one thing i’ve noticed in photographing celebrations of all shapes and sizes, there’s always a certain brilliance in intimate gatherings that just doesn’t exist in larger ones, and having a small wedding in the short term still means you can have a larger celebration down the line, with less planning infrastructure. So while we have to wait a little while to have big parties and weddings again, here are some of my favourite small wedding venues in Melbourne.
Ahead of the curve in the small-wedding game, The Altar Electric has been championing the power of intimate weddings for years, and is the brainchild of The Wedding Anarchist, Sarah Dobson, and Anthony Cribbes.
One of the more characterful small wedding venues in Melbourne and nestled in the industrial back streets of Collingwood, The Altar Electric warehouse wedding venue can cater for weddings up to about 30 people, and right down to a cracking shotgun-wedding with just the two of you and your witnesses.
To top it all off, they just upgraded their space, thanks to the incredible styling handiwork of local design and party heroes, Good Day Club.
So whether you’ve got 5 guests, 20 guests, or 30 guests, this brilliant peach palace is a great place to get a fab ceremony done.
When Covid19 hit full-steam and we were locked down to having weddings with a maximum of 5 people in total, local genius Mel of The Ceremony Store came up with a hit concept that quickly spread throughout Australia, and right over into the USA: I Do Drive Thru.
I Do Drive Thru gets you married in a whirlwind ceremony from the safe confines of your car, or anywhere in a public space: just you two, and the very closest of your crew. Get it said, get it done, and get away to celebrate what matters: just the two of you.
Don’t be mistaken by the name: while I Do Drive Thru might sound like, it’s a drive-thru thing, that’s only one side of what it can be. I Do Drive Thru is a small wedding ceremony, done anywhere you like, in exactly any style of intimate celebration that you can imagine. From loud, to quiet, to classy to crazy, and everything in between.
Read more about I Do Drive Thru here, and reach out to them to see if they’re the right fit.
Tess and Sam, married on their family property in Australia’s Kangaroo Valley.
If larger wedding venues aren’t a part of the plan, sometimes it’s best to look inwards to what’s closest: our own family property. With some thoughtful catering and preparation, having a wedding at your home makes for an intimate experience, and something potentially more meaningful when you look back at your photos.
The only concern usually had around having a wedding on family property, is that of cleanup! But keep your crew small, keep the food simple, and it’s a great way to have a meaningful celebration where the only timeline you’re working to is your own.
An Air-Bnb has all the intimacy and timeline benefits of hosting it on your own family property, with the added bonus of being able to get married at any spectacular geographic location of your own choosing. Select a location with adventure nearby and a good kitchen within.
Here, Sarah and Simon had a beautiful small ceremony at an Air-Bnb in a spectacular piece of nature, before enjoying a beautiful afternoon with 4 of their closest friends, and an evening of home cooked meals and games.
Sarah and Simons Australian wedding was featured on the wedding blog Rock n Roll Bride, so head over there for more of their story.
While we’re dealing with only having small gatherings, many of Melbournes most incredible venues are able to scale themselves down to accommodate a more intimate wedding.
To discover a whole lot of other options, here’s a list of incredible alternative wedding venues in Melbourne.
Looking for a large venue? Check out their Indian wedding reception.
Jun 13, 2020
Looking for an alternative to the traditional registry wedding? Unfurrow your brow and cast your eyes over to Melbourne’s answer to the Vegas wedding chapel – The Altar Electric.
The gloves are off, and The Altar Electric, has overhauled their entire space in Collingwood.
Previously a rich blue and in a slightly smaller room, The Altar Electric has a new lease of life in incredible pastel peach colours, with explosions of floral colour courtesy of the inimitable Melbourne florist Bloom Boy, styling features from The Arbourists, and an entire vision executed by the wizard-folk at Good Day Club.
The Altar Electric have been leaders in getting couples hitched while we’ve all been sailing the perilous waters of Covid-19, providing shotgun-style weddings and a colourful alternative to traditional registry weddings.
Now, as isolation restrictions lift, the venue is opening up and moving towards it’s full capacity of 40.
The venue has the most incredible light draping through its industrial style windows at any hour of day.
BYO cardboard Elvis – but you can order the real deal via their in-house Elvis impressionist.
The space is littered with the hallmarks of Good Day Clubs’ intricate styling – a roof filled with disco balls and chains, and decadent knick-knacks from wall to wall.
No bridal snog is complete without the floral explosions of Bloom Boy behind it.
Schoolhouse Studios, 81 Rupert St, Collingwood VIC
Jun 12, 2020
I’ve been lucky to photograph love and ceremony on all continents, which means seeing so much of the worlds most incredible bridal design on brilliant lovers in all kids of places: these are 5 of the best modern wedding dresses i’ve had the pleasure of working with.
When you look at how Australian and New Zealand designers have to fight for a place at the table with smaller markets and at a geographical disadvantage to the rest of the world, it’s no surprise then that some of the most brilliant and forward-thinking designs have actually come from this corner of the globe as they place tradition a gentle second, and innovation first, pushing the craft of design past the edges.
And so, incidentally, these designers are all from Australia and New Zealand.
As an art-lover, a beautiful and thoughtfully designed gown is captivating to look at and brilliant to photograph (as a kid who grew up on death-metal and martial-arts, this isn’t exactly a sentence I ever thought i’d say).
This is a run-down of 5 of the most beautiful gowns i’ve had the pleasure of photographing.
Brooke Tyson Ritual is what happens when you have a curious kiwi, captivated by the world of cinema and nostalgia and with a childhood spent playing dressups, cast her hand to the fine art of bridal couture.
Suzanne Harward is a designer i’ve had the good fortune of working with several times, and you can see a feature on 3 of the best Suzanne Harward wedding dresses here too.
Suzanne Harward is an icon of the Australian bridal design scene, with a rich long history while always staying two steps ahead of the trends. Check out the impossibly brilliant songbird gown.
Suzanne Harward songbird gown.
Alex Perry isn’t necessarily a name synonymous with bridal design – and this isn’t even a piece from his bridal collection – but that didn’t stop the forward-thinking Liv from adapting one of his other pieces for her wedding to Adam.
These two marvels are featured on Together Journal, where you can see even more glorious images of their day and her incredible sense of style.
Founded by Kyha Simpson after tying the knot and wanting to bring something new to the industry, One Day Bridal. Designed and handmade in Melbourne, One Day Bridal are one of the early frontrunners of doing things differently, and as a result have inspired an industry-wide shift in risk-taking designs.
I hope i’m not the only one who, based on the brand name, initially thought Paolo Sebastian was some kind of lavish octogenarian European designer with over half a century of brilliant work under their belt.
Nope – it’s the work from the genius mind of an impossibly young designer, Paul Vasileff, straight out of Adelaide, Australia.
Paolo Sebastian gowns blend a nod to tradition offset with something resembling the top end of the disney playground of fantasy designs.
Jaime Lee Majors designs are from another planet. The Fremantle / Perth designer made a name for herself cutting cloth for every celebrity under the sun, beginning initially with an epic gown for Kimbra right around the time of her career take-off.
Since then, Jaime Lee Major has used her progressive, artistic inspired approach to design gowns that push bridal to the very edge. Check out this incredible piece from the Fremantle wedding of Sarah and Dave.
Jaime Lee Major on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jaimeleemajor
Jun 10, 2020
Melbourne is known for its eccentric and eclectic foodie scene. Of all the Aussie states, its probably the most innovative and experimental when it comes to its hospitality industry. Bacon gelato? Yup. Lamington Jafles. Um, hells yeah. You name it, Melbourne is comfortable going gourmet, or going gonzo. In the spirit of amazing, innovative wedding catering, I’ve created a rundown of the best wedding caterers Melbourne has to offer. Grab a knife and fork and settle in. Let’s do this.
Much like an actual firecracker, the spreads created by this awesome team absolutely GO OFF! Firecracker Event are pretty much a turnkey operator for all your event needs. They combine styling, service and, of course, food to turn your event into a guaranteed winner.
“Firecracker is built on the concept of Enlightened Hospitality—a term coined by New York restaurateur Danny Meyer. It means that every person you engage feels safe, welcome and at home with you. It’s about going the extra mile and prioritizing relationships over transactions.“– Firecracker Event
Firecracker Event can cover everything from platters to full service dining. Some of the glorious foods included in their packages are:
Does that not sound entirely, mouthwateringly delicious to you? It’s a big fat ooft here from me.
Firecracker Event website: https://www.firecrackerevent.com/
The bloody wonderful ladies at Fat and Skinny catering are a team of hardworking, hospitality driven human beings who love a good laugh. They’re all for a song and a dance and they can always be counted on to match (if not exceed) the excitement you have about your event, and are some of the best caterers Melbourne has at hand.
They’re fun, they’re friendly and they’re focused on giving you the best food they can possibly muster. I’ve personally seen their head honcho, Naomi, go to excruciatingly loving means to make a surprise dish for a bride that used a unique ingredient that her late father used to produce. Absolutely magic stuff to see.
“Come for the love. Stay for the party.”– Fat and Skinny Catering
The sheer range of foods available at Fat and Skinny Catering make them one of the best wedding caterers Melbourne has to offer. It’s just a bonus that every single dish they serve up is *chef’s kiss* noice.
Their wedding catering range includes, but is certainly not limited to:
Lordy! I simply cannot.
Fat and Skinny Catering website: https://www.fatandskinny.com.au/
If you want the best wedding cake Melbourne has to offer, this taste-queen is coming at you with some of the best wedding cakes this side of the northernmost tip of the north pole. The finesse and artistry that goes into each and every cake Mirjana creates is out of this world. It seems obvious that wedding cakes should taste great, but Mirjana is time and again the benchmark for giving the same amount of love to their interior as their exterior.
With a Croatian and Serbian heritage, she grew up watching her Baka (grandmother) work as cake decorator and the apple does not fall far from the generational tree.
She’s also a designer by trade which really shows in her delectable dessert creations.
Check out the cake design gallery on her website and you’ll see why she has sealed her place as one of Melbourne’s best wedding cake makers.
To find out a little more about the maestro herself, check out the feature on Torte by Mirjana.