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 Lythgo 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 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 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 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 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.
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.
Read this post if:
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.
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’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 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 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 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
While you’re here, take a peep at these incredible modern wedding jumpsuits.
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.
Torte by Mirjana website: https://www.tortebymirjana.com/
Another crafty wedding cake maker, Miss Ladybird Cakes is here to kick ass and bake cakes, and she’s all out of asses to kick. Gina makes the best wedding cakes in Melbourne.
Having been in the business for 12+ years Gina, Miss Ladybird herself, is the creative mind behind this amazing cake baking venture, and it’s no small feat being around for that amount of time – which translates to a hell of a lot of happy faces catered for at weddings. She’s always been super creative and is actually a qualified chef.
Miss Ladybird has brought two of her greatest passions together, food and design, to build a beaut business and we get to reap the benefits.
“Our main aim is not to be the best, but to make a product we are proud of, and one which interprets the love we have for an industry we have spent our lives immersed in.”– Miss Ladybird Cakes
Miss Ladybird Cakes website: http://www.missladybirdcakes.com/
Now, last but 1000% not least, we’ve got Fourside Events who fully customise the menus for every single event they cater. Like, who has the time or the energy to do that? These guys are insane.
Their food is sourced from local suppliers and they incorporate only the best seasonal produce into their bespoke menus.
“Collaborating with some of Melbourne’s most influential event experts, producers and suppliers, we cater different. We do it awesome, and we love it.”– Fourside Events
You can see the kind of menus they’ve created for wedding parties up in lights on their website. They feature foods and beverages like:
Fourside Events website: https://www.foursideevents.com.au/
Also for some incredible catering outside of Melbourne, check out the wood fired wedding pizzas at the Cosmo Hotel near Castlemaine.
Jun 9, 2020
If you’re getting married in Melbourne (or anywhere for that matter), it’s hard to go past our own hometown maestros, Suzanne Harward bridal gowns, for world-leading bridal design. In this post, we’ll look at a few of the best Suzanne Harward bridal gowns i’ve seen.
Based in Collingwood, the Suzanne Harward team are responsible for some of the most forward-thinking, design-minded pieces that are not only a joy to photograph (I might have a personal bias), but incredibly decadent pieces for brides.
Most importantly, each and every time I chat with a bride about their choice of gown, they end up falling over backwards in adoration for the team, and it’s pretty easy to see why.
I’ve been fortunate enough to photograph several fashion-forward brides over the years and got to photograph the best modern wedding dresses around – which much of the time happens to be a Suzanne Harward.
Here, i’ve picked three of them, that offer a quick look at what the Suzanne Harward team can do a across the whole spectrum: from elegantly classic, to something from another planet.
All photographs below captured by and remain copyright of Briars Atlas.
Laura’s Suzanne Harward gown knocked my socks off as soon as I walked into their Daylesford bridal prep house. Hanging from a rustic door, it was adorned with the most incredibly bright florals etched into it, with gorgeous soft peach/pink tulle layers.
Laura and Walker were married at the Daylesford convent, a beautiful historic location that made for a perfect contrast to Lauras gown.
I’ve just gotta step in here: how incredible is that speckled light above? You can find that yourself by heading to the Daylesford Convent Gallery.
Treats. Always. Win. Laura and Walker invited their beautiful little scallywag Bonnie along, and she stayed for the entire day and partied well into the evening at the Daylesford Convent.
Want to see more of Laura and Walker? They are featured in print, having been published inside issue #19 of Together Journal. Already got your Suzanne Harward gown and want me to photograph it? You can enquire to hire me here.
Iro’s stunningly detailed dress is a masterclass in modern classic design. I like to think that I have this gown to thank for this image landing me as a category finalist for International Wedding Photographer of the Year 2018 – a beautiful moment in bridal prep accomodation in rural Victoria, before her wedding to Alex at Newstead Butterland (also featured here on this post about Castlemaine wedding venues).
What they won’t necessarily tell you on the Suzanne Harward website, is that no matter how gloriously decadent their gowns are, they are able to withstand a champagne spray from even the most enthusiastic friend.
Just when you think that you can’t be beautifully surprised by a new take on subtle classicism, Suzanne Harward come out with this sleek, elegant gem. Natasha and Jacob were married at the Melbourne registry office, and we spent a little time traipsing around some of my most favourite, secret spots in the city, with gorgeous soft light that played off against the simple shapes of the gown.
These brilliant humans are featured on my website here.
Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed this roundup of the best Suzanne Harward wedding dresses (in my humble opinion – don’t let that stop you poring over their incredible range on their website below).
All images taken by Briars Atlas. If you’d like to make an enquiry for me to photograph your wedding, head here.
Mar 16, 2020
What do less stress, more money left in the account, and rampant good times have in common? They’re just three of the (many) glorious benefits to either having an elopement or small wedding. At Briars Atlas Elopement Photography Melbourne Services Pty Ltd (let’s run with that name for now) i’ve photographed so many beautiful small weddings and elopements in Melbourne and in greater Victoria including the Mornington Peninsula and Yarra Valley.
I’m a Melbourne elopement and small weddings photographer, and one of the great joys of this job is working with smaller intimate weddings, with just you two, and maybe a tiny crew. It’s a chance to enjoy the meaningful part of the whole wedding thing (the marriage bit) with so much more calm and clarity.
The other great thing about a small wedding or elopement in Melbourne or greater Victoria is that there is usually more flexibility to have it all happen any day of the week. Generally though, they happen on a Wednesday through Saturday, but it can of course be any day you like.
Pair one of our brilliant locations with one of Melbournes best wedding celebrants, and you’re off to a flying start. In my experience, elopements can be anywhere between 1 and 10 hours long, however the average length of elopement photography is probably somewhere around the 2-4 hour mark: enough to capture your beautiful ceremony, and then some portraits and gentle anarchy afterwards.
Take a look at the beautiful couples below, and if you feel like the way I see things could be the right fit for your small wedding or elopement, i’d love to have a chinwag (/shiraz, etc).
I’ve photographed nearly 200 beautiful weddings of all sizes across Melbourne, the Yarra Valley, Geelong, greater country Victoria, and beyond. I’ve got plenty of advice i’m happy to share.
If you’d like to make an enquiry to me, you can reach me here:
Mar 1, 2020
Hunting for a Melbourne wedding florist? There are so many incredible florists in our home state, but these maestros really stand out from the crowd. It can be difficult, and sometimes stressful, finding someone that speaks your language when it comes to your wedding decor.
So I thought I’d compile a list of 10 of the most unique florists in Melbourne: scientists, wizards, aliens of the floral game, making things you’d never expect to see at weddings.
Get around these floral masterminds, whether you’re planning a Melbourne City Elopement during Covid 19 or something bigger down the line.
Flowers are such a big part of the style and feel of a wedding and in how they shape a space. The bouquets complete the outfits. The table settings set the tone. The incredible photo and ceremony backdrops will be the talk of the town for years to come. If you’re going to spend cash you need to spend it with the right people. The florist you want on your team isn’t just one who can take and enhance your ideas, but throw their own in the ring. With a wealth of experience under their belt, they’ve seen everything under the sun, and if you can lean into fully trusting who you hire, you’ll be left with the brilliance that can only come from a professional taking a little insight into your venue and who you are as a couple, and then running with it.
For me as a photographer, it’s bloody great when you get a top-notch florist. It can make the photos really come alive and gives me something to play around with. A stunning venue all dressed up with flowers creates such a vibe. The bridal party’s pinholes and the bride’s bouquet transform photos. Adding that floral dash of coordinating colour helps tie it all together, creating that one shot that you can’t stop looking at after the big day.
I want to let you into Victoria’s exceptionally exciting floristry scene. We seriously have some of the world’s best floral designers right on our doorstep. These scallywags are the most forward thinking and talented group of florists I’ve found. This lot are pushing the boundaries of what’s possible with flowers, mostly using locally sourced and native species, and operating on the edge of the movement towards maximum sustainability..
Here’s a rundown. Make sure you take a look at each and every one, especially the last guy, I’ve never seen anything quite like him.
Vivien and her team are just the most amazing, colourful, bombastic geniuses. They are always looking for ways to be more eco friendly and work sustainably. Each of them brings something unique to the table. Their relationship with their flowers is built on fun and creativity. I’ve always been really inspired by them. Her gallery is full of life and colour. I can just see the smiles they bring to people from the pictures. If you are dreaming of fun, stylish and vibrant creations give Viviene a call.
Working out of their studio in Melbourne with her husband running around doing deliveries, Viviene runs a truly personal experience.
See also: my interview with Babiana Botanic.
I haven’t included this just because the name is fun to say. Anna is a fantastic new kid on the block and one of Melbournes most incredibly unique wedding florists.
You can tell from her incredible pieces that she has a fine art background. Each meticulously designed arrangement is its own piece of art. You and your guests are going to be ogling at them and talking about them way after the party is over.
Anna likes working with colour and really pushing the boundaries of what the flowers can actually do. She has purple palm fans, yellow flower garlands and lush green ferns in her armoury ready to wow anyone that lays eyes on them.
I first worked with Amy and her Raven and the Rose team at Castle Montsalvat, and she blew me away (or at least into the next stone-walled room).
She creates these beautiful, majestic dark moody pieces of art that are on trend, on season and eco friendly. If dark and moody isn’t your thing, she will create your perfect scene out of seasonal flowers whatever the colour scheme.
She loves catching up with her clients over a cuppa to get a feel for the day and the person, rather than just giving a generic quote.
Meg and her team are pushing the boundaries of floral artistry. There’s no ‘floral fluff’ to be seen here, just free flowing, seemingly impossible, pure natural yet futuristic creations. And every single petal is sourced locally from Melbourne flower market.
I personally think she is the Elon Musk of floristry (minus offering flamethrowers for sale on the side… yet). She gets to know you, your themes and colour ideas and she’s curious about every detail, and how that might then fit into some impossibly devised creation.
Good Grace and Humour are located in a warehouse in the inner west of the city (sharing space with the inimitable Good Day Club) but they go out foraging for their special twists on the genre all the time. There’s always a little accent you wouldn’t have thought of that just lifts the whole visual dynamic and transcends everything you thought you knew about floral design.
Based well north of Melbourne in Newsteead, Katie has her floristry studio and runs ‘Butterland’ venue with her husband Greg.
The venue runs floristry workshops and hosts gorgeous events. She is the queen of foraging and keen to teach you all her tricks. She has an enormously earthy and natural feel to her displays. Katie focuses on native species using interesting pieces her friends at the flower market secretly save for her.
Katie’s passion for au naturale drives her unique designs. If you’re after a homegrown Australian dream wedding, then take a look at Katie’s work.
A mother and daughter team working hard to stay sustainable and have minimal waste. They love beautiful things and “extra AF” parties! They are incomprehensibly talented, whilst remaining flexible. They use flowers to set the mood. If you want romance, you can have the whole room oozing with love. If you want colour, Caroline will make the room explode with excitement. Taking her creative flare from her mother, the two make the perfect team. She has been known to slip a tiny pineapple or disco ball into a bouquet, so watch out!
Previously working in fashion in London, Ross is now a Melbourne-based flower god, and he creates flower arrangements that don’t even look like floristry. He’s got chains, ribbons, spray paint, disco balls and naked men covered in flowers all over the shop. It’s intergalactic. His team are putting flowers where I didn’t know flowers needed to be or could even go! If you want something with a bit of spice and flare he’s your man. If you had a ‘silly’ idea of hanging flowers across the ceiling, Ross will create the craziest, lushest, most fashion conscious installation you could have dreamed of and that ‘silly’ idea might just be the best one you had.
Like all the pieces of the wedding and events puzzle, it’s a dance between executing your vision, and letting experienced professionals do their thing. Reach out to the florists up there with your ideas, and be sure to take a look at these brilliant alternative Melbourne wedding celebrants, as well as the most unique wedding venues in Melbourne.
May 5, 2019
In 2018, I teamed up with one of the grooms I’d photographed (who is extraordinarily handy at building things without getting himself electrocuted – you can see his wedding to Kate here on Nouba), and together we came up with a proposition: “so, how about we make wedding arbours, that light-up” – and so came our spin on modern wedding arbours for wedding ceremonies.
We sensed the whole neon trend beginning to reach peak, and yet there was nothing really in the way of ceremony wedding arbours available that were progressive and modern.
Since beginning The Arbourists, not only have we been fortunate to be the backdrop behind so many couples beautiful wedding days and crazy parties, but we’ve been featured in New York Times award winning author Chris Guillebeau’s podcast, Side Hustle School, we were featured as part of a Xero PR campaign, and we somehow found our silly heads on the very front of the careers section of Australia’s largest newspaper.
But this is all fluff, as the most important thing is that some of the most forward-thinking couples have entrusted us to be involved in their big day, and our Arbours have inspired a shift in design thinking that we’ve seen across the entire wedding styling industry.
See them in the hard sun of day at this beautiful Geelong wedding.
Over the years we’ve seen the most incredibly beautiful arbour installations, painstakingly setup and adorned with florals, only to be taken down not an hour later.
We figured: why aren’t the being used at the reception afterwards? While this is less about materials waste (although the beautiful florals themselves often get discarded immediately), this was more about the labour around it only serving the setup for such a short period of time.
Further, we realised there just weren’t any options out there available for evening ceremonies, as far as an arbour or centrepiece to the ceremony.
We created geometric modern wedding arbours and chuppahs (and more), that are extraordinarily strong to withstand being fitted with florals, and are able to be portably powered.
Because of this, for any small weddings or elopements, our arbours are able to be set-up, installed, and used absolutely anywhere.
These are the worlds first portable-powered, neon, modern wedding arbours, and we’re super proud to have brought something just a little different to an industry with strong roots in tradition.
We also have our reversible crucifixes permanently installed at the incredible Altar Electric in Collingwood, and couples all over Victoria have LOVED using them for their wedding portraits both during the day, and into the evening when the smoke machines and neon is turned on.
Our modern geometric arbours are available as a set of triangles, and come in matte-black, gold, or white. Our chuppah is available in gold, and crosses in multiple colours.
All arbours are able to support dense floral installations, and we’ve been thrilled to have some of our favourite florists, such as Flos Botanical and Babiana Botanic, load them up with their incredible work.
Hire The Arbourists modern wedding arbour for your wedding or elopement by making an enquiry here, and if you want someone to photograph you in front of them we might know a Melbourne wedding photographer who’s done a little bit of that.
Apr 10, 2019
Depending on who you ask and what their personal experience has been, raising the question of kids at weddings might be akin to asking “should we invite the early-onset of armageddon or the vertically-challenged apocalypse to our wedding with open arms?”.
It’s a bit of a contentious and polarising one, and a conversation that’s well-documented already out there in internet-land as far as the pros, cons, and how to manage the decision either way: everyone’s had their own experiences, and everyones personal situation is wildly different.
With all that said, having seen my fair share of weddings with the glorious little scallywags where nobody ended up dying, i’m just going to step into the ring as a raving advocate of our dear little humans being present at your wedding, from a different point of view.
Let me explain my heavy bias, over a few key points.
Straight up – in front of a capable photographer, the magical theatre of vertically challenged humans is a sight to behold, and one of the greatest gifts you can get back in image-form when all is said and done.
Excuse my French, but kids, again, bless them – just don’t give a fuck (or they did, but then came across a certain bright book at the airport bestseller stand when their parents weren’t looking).
This wonderful quality that we systematically try to rid ourselves of as we enter adulthood is responsible for them colluding, doing their thing, and in turn, giving you the photographic gift of this wonderful little human theatre that you were too busy to notice happening.
That’s worth celebrating, and the irony here is that due to the Theory of Small-Human Close-Proximity Exponential-Collusion Effect (sorry, I made this up – if you google it you’ll find nothing – yet), the more kids there are present, the more they’ll be too busy being wrapped up in their own awesome world to cause any trouble.
Stake your otherwise rapidly-diminishing claim as household power-holder before your spawn exercise their terrifying muscle of independant-thought by making sure that any moments of cacophony are properly captured and stored.
In this way, if there’s any delusions of grandeur in those teenage years, you’ve always got record of some of some of their not-so-fine moments, should those be displayed at your wedding, or in front of their friends at their 13th birthday party.
This is also a tool you can really apply to any areas of your wedding.
Worried about getting drenched in the rain? Flip it. Celebrate it. Make sure you have a spare outfit, head out with your photographer, get drenched, and enjoy the awesome images that come from it.
Worried about kids being underfoot? Celebrate it (and keep sharp objects away from the edges of tables).
Worried about them bellowing over the vows? Celebrate the quirk and discord that brings, and know that the little scallywag can almost always be gently taken away and cared for out of earshot.
And before that happens, you’ll have some wonderful images of the glorious little deathspawn in full-flight.
Ultimately, it’s your day: whether kids have a place or not is entirely your decision, and if you do invite them, simply go all the way and make sure there’s enough logistical things that let them fall into their own world. But consider this: where there’s a positive for every negative, there’s also another perspective: looking at that negative, and instead asking – is the day about being perfect, or being memorable in it’s imperfect glory?
For a peek into the level of “baller” that can only come from a 5 year old while delivering the rings, check out this Fortyfive Downstairs wedding.
Apr 5, 2019
Not just recipients of gold medals in general charm and debonair, Jared and Jacob are Humdrum Films, Melbourne filmmakers with an incomprehensibly detailed eye and progressive style that’s hunted down by the most discerning couples worldwide.
Humdrum Films don’t make wedding films that just show you the play-by-play – their films make you feel, and their films cast an artistic eye over your day that you won’t find anywhere else – one of the perks of them having long-established careers in other arms of arts filmmaking.
Humdrum let their curiosity wander, and turn your already beautiful setting and story into something you probably didn’t quite imagine it could be, in the best possible way.
There’s a good reason that Humdrum Films are in my Melbourne wedding planning guide, as well as nestled atop the 5 best wedding videographers in Melbourne over here, so take a gander at a wedding we worked on together: the wedding of Hannah and Ben, held at the Royal Mail Hotel Dunkeld, in the Grampians.
I picked their brain on how they’re doing during Covid, what they’re changing, and how their talents are being put to use in this wild time.
Hannah and Ben ducking out for the last wisp of sunlight at the Royal Mail Hotel.
You can view Hannah and Bens full day, supported by the incredible planning of Will and Jac, published over on Farewell Fiancee.
Couples always remark how easy we make the whole process, and what a fun day it was. I mean yes you have to know your craft, but technology has really levelled the playing field in terms of technical quality and whats on offer – what we do is almost intangible – so much of what we do is about how we make people feel.
We make people feel at ease and so they relax, they enjoy themselves and they enjoy hanging out with us. That means we’re able to get closer to them and their real story. Its how we ensure our films are authentic and not a remix of the same shit everyone else is doing.
If we do our jobs right, they’ll mean that hug at the end of the night. We may meet us strangers, but we’ll leave as friends.
That and ‘Please leave some canapés for the guests’
The venue said they’ll feed you straight after the bridal table and treat you like actual human beings.
That the fall from my second story balcony probably wouldn’t be enough to kill me.
I’ve learnt it turns out doing jump squats in your apartment in a vain attempt to stay fit during lockdown really pisses off the neighbours and results in a passive aggressive note being left at your door.
That and the value of human connection – we’re pretty bloody lucky to do what we do and get to hang out with people on arguably one of the best days of their lives, its a real treat. Makes us miss weddings for sure.
Blatant ignorance. Pretend its not a thing. Carry on as normal etc. Virus? What Virus?
Jacob’s taking Happy Gilmore: ‘the greatest film of all time’
I’d be taking Mission Impossible (the first one) – vintage Tom Cruise suspended upside down unnecessarily from the ceiling? Yes please.
Also, this film by Humdrum has to be seen to be believed – prepare to have any idea of what you think a “wedding film” looks like, gloriously squashed.
A short list of other vendors that took part in Hannah and Bens wedding, featured on this page working alongside these two maestros:
Photography: Briars Atlas
Venue: The Royal Mail Hotel, Dunkeld
Wedding Planner: will&jac
Celebrant: Megan Thompson
Music: Rutherford Entertainment
Bridal gown: Paolo Sebastian
Makeup: Tess Holmes
Suit: P Johnson
Stationary: Mickey Loves Jacqui
Sperry Tent: UnderSky
Furniture: Place Settings
Whiskey Cart: Good Day Rentals
Apr 4, 2019
It’s such a thrill to work with the most discerning couples week in week out, and it brings me enormous pleasure to offer a style of work and personal investment that isn’t available anywhere else, and so on this page are some of my melbourne wedding photographer reviews.
WOW Oli we just watched the clip. And again. And another time, ha! Absolutely floored by them all. We bow down to the master! So incredible.
Thank you so much.
Also, I absolutely love how much these photos show how much fun we were having that day. It seems like a dream, did it really happen? Can’t wait to see the entire set, absolutely no stress or rush on any of it.
So thankful to have received what you’ve pulled together for us so far. We’re absolutely blown away with them all.
Like seriously, absolutely overwhelmed with how amazing they all are. Thank you so so so much from the bottom of our hearts!
Where can we start? Sarah and I have just sat down to revisit your marvellous work and we’re stoked that you were there on the day capturing the magic of the land, the people and the joyous moments that flowed.
Thank you so much for giving yourself and your creativity to our party on the hill. It kinda feels like a world ago now, these very photos taken moments before a pandemic was ever on our minds. So many humans in close proximity(!). So thank you, really dig it man.
I’m going to pass it over to Sarah and she is going to share a few words 😉
Oli it was such a pleasure to hangout with you on the first of March 2020!! Thanks for being so down for the barefoot walks and the early morning in Sth Gippsland. Sooo appreciate your Very Generous extra time on the day, too. Adore your work and CAN’T WAIT to get some things printed!!
Bless you and bless your life-giving skillz x x x
You Sir are a genius!!! Our world’s aligned for a reason.
You have us two captivated, as you captured every emotion and moment – obviously we’re blubbering messes at the moment! What a marvellous showcase.
The preview was exciting and the main event has blown us away.
You captured us and each and every moment of our Wedding day spectacularly. You are quite the story teller!
Oli, we are crying. I think I’ve already ‘previewed’ it 5 times this morning. Thank you for helping us relive it.
We really can’t thank you enough.
We are over the bloody moon mate. So many incredible memories and they all came flooding back. Both very emotional. Has absolutely made both of our days.
You did such and amazing job capturing our friends, the architecture, the property and nature, the moments and the feeling. Seriously mate. Cannot wait to see anything else you have.
We particularly love our posed shots. The moody black and whites are amazing. Your colour grading is so beautiful. The way you frame. Just all of it mate!
It was one hell of a day for you starting at 6am till about midnight. I can’t thank you enough for everything you did for us.
You blew all of our expectations and still are. You have given us another shot of wedding love and vibe. Let’s see how long we can stay on this high!
Oli… wow… I knew you were incredible, but that blew me/us away.
Many many tears.
They’re beyond beautiful and we couldn’t have pictured them anymore perfectly. THANK YOU SO MUCH, you fucking maestro. And those film ones, I’m drooling.
These capture everything I love about photos, moments being encapsulated in time and feeling like you’re right there. They’re all beautiful.
And I’m so glad you took film for us because there truly ain’t anything like it!
(I do love shooting film at weddings – read this post to see why)
For more Melbourne wedding photographer reviews, head to my Google reviews.
Feb 2, 2018
There’s nothing better than a rustic wedding. Surrounded by amazing antiques, homely vibes, and gorgeous Victorian era structures, you can’t help but allow yourself to be entirely engulfed by the country atmosphere. A well-done country-style nuptial celebration can have you feeling like you’ve been dropped right into your own Aussie fairytale. And let me tell you, the photo ops are to die for. Sprawling fields, old wooden sheds and stables, gorgeous native flowers from on-site gardens, delicious local menus – it all comes together to create a truly magical experience. So, without further ado, let’s check out the top 3 best rustic wedding venues Melbourne has to offer!
I’ve thrown in a few sneaky pics too so you can truly appreciate the warm, inviting atmosphere of each of these venues.
The Cosmo Hotel is one of those classic Aussie pubs that looks and feels like your grandfather might have had his first beer at, back in the day.
It is a highly convenient venue for Melbourne-ites to travel to because it’s situated only about an hour out of the CBD. It’s classy yet relaxed and it has a plethora of exciting bits and pieces that are honestly a wedding photographer’s dream.
In 2005, the Cosmopolitan was ravaged by a fire that destroyed a huge portion of the venue. Unperturbed, the owners rebuilt the hotel, restoring it to its former glory, with the addition of a few modern features. Although it has been done up in recent years, this historic pub still holds an air of friendly, rustic sophistication. This charm truly lends itself to the bright-eyed, love-filled couples who exchange nuptials here.
The primary locations for a Cosmopolitan wedding are the Stables and the Gardens. These two locations simply have the most peaceful atmosphere.
The Gardens are impeccably kept and host a wide range of native Australian flora. Due to this, they are the perfect location to exchange vows and capture memorable photos. You may also be lucky enough to find your reception hall at the Stables decked out in some of the native flowers that the gardens have on show.
The Stables are truly breathtaking with their dim lighting, beautiful flowers and rustic decorations. The olden-day style wooden shed works together with these features harmoniously. This creates a mystically rustic setup for both the reception and dinner.
This delightfully quaint barn surprisingly seats up to 125 guests, perfect for a medium sized wedding. Inviting a few extra guests along is easy enough because the space can accommodate more for a cocktail style function.
The Cosmopolitan Hotel wedding packages are all encompassing due to their awesome inclusions like a wedding planner, local food and drink options, access to the entire grounds of the venue and more!
The Cosmo exudes such an air of homeliness and warmth that you can’t help but smile no matter where you are on the property. It’s definitely one to consider if you’re looking to venture to truly rustic wedding venues Melbourne adjacent.
Cosmopolitan Hotel Trentham website: https://www.thecosmopolitanhotel.com.au/
Also check out this Cosmopolitan Hotel Wedding.
About 3 hours north east of Melbourne CBD sits Victoria’s wine country. This region hosts many historic wineries and vineyards just waiting for travelers and tourists to visit. For many reasons, one that stands out as a truly remarkable wedding venue is the picturesque Brown Brothers Milawa Winery.
Since its inception in 1889 Brown Brothers has held its title as one of Australia’s leading family-owned wine companies.
Brown Brothers won the award for ‘Most Loved Brand’ at the 2015 and 2017 Australian Drinks Awards. They received this due to their mix of traditional wine making methods, plus an added innovative flair that supports experimentation. Their mix of old-school and modern techniques spills over into the physical attributes of their winery with expertly designed features. Whilst it is a rustic setting, sparks of contemporary design are scattered throughout.
This unique venue in the heart of the King Valley boasts sprawling green grounds with gorgeous gardens full of natives. Cottages and heritage sites make themselves known, standing tall on the lawns. Mountains surround the valley and can be seen for miles from anywhere on the Brown Brothers Milawa site.
A nearby forest of tall native gums makes for an epic photo shoot location due to an air of intrigue and mysterious adventure. Check out these bad boys…
Even after years of photography experience, my mind is still blown by how finding the perfect angle can eloquently capture such magnificent moments in time.
The luscious on-site gardens make for a truly heartwarming ceremony with gorgeous native trees and shrubs lending their old-school Australian charm. Large oak trees surround the gardens in order to provide shelter from the elements.
A beautifully restored historic barn is the perfect setting for post-ceremony festivities and a seriously delicious dinner. Decorated to the nines, this venue is the perfect balance of modern sophistication and rustic charm.
Stained wooden features and an old-timey cellar provide a visual contrast from the light and bright wedding decorations and attire. I honestly couldn’t have asked for a better venue when it came to capturing phenomenal wedding photos for this couple.
Choose from a range of packages and options including The Bridal Cottage, Prosecco Hour, a custom made wedding cake and a professional wedding planner in order to construct the perfect wedding.
Any couple would be #blessed to secure a wedding at this contemporary yet rustic venue. A wide range of wedding package inclusions, stunning grounds and photo locations that are out of this world make Brown Brothers, Milawa one of the best rustic wedding venues Melbourne has to offer.
Brown Brothers Winery website: https://www.brownbrothers.com.au/
This one-of-a-kind venue is located just under 2 hours out of Melbourne CBD allowing it to be an ideal destination for couples from all across Victoria and beyond. As you may have guessed from the name, Butterland is an old butter factory that has been masterfully refurbished as a rustic event venue.
Butterland was constructed in 1904 to accommodate an influx of settlers that came to Newstead as a direct result of the Gold Rush. It has been transformed from a dairy to a candle factory and now stands as a unique, multi-purpose venue for country-style weddings and other quirky events.
The red brick exterior, the chimney stack of the original dairy and the front signage have all been restored to their former glory in the recent restoration. Internal features have also been magnificently brought to life to accentuate the historic charm of a structure that has managed to survive throughout the ages.
The grounds of this stunning old building are nothing short of breathtaking due to the well-manicured lawns, stone walls, wooden structures and charming atmosphere.
A gorgeous garden and several homely veggie patches can be seen on the acre of land this venue calls home. Not only that, there’s a concrete pool hosted by an old sump tank and a disused railway line. These seemingly small features provide a spectacular opportunity to capture both the fun and sincerity of wedding celebrations.
The internal aspects of this repurposed butter factory are just as stunning as the external.
Because the venue is owned by a florist, you can look forward to indoor plants and flowers galore. A wedding with a botanically-forward theme would be perfectly at home here.
Exposed wooden beams and a mish-mash of chairs made from steel, wood and other materials add to the relaxed aura. Long wooden tables extend through the main hall to provide ample seating for guests.
The owners of this homely venue will work with you to ensure every detail of your wedding is truly yours.
Butterland isn’t just any wedding venue. It’s a wedding venue with history, personality and a suave charm that’s very difficult to resist. Quirky couples with a country-style wedding in mind will go nuts over this place. Honestly, it’s too much fun for its own good.
Butterland Newstead website: https://www.butterland.com.au/
Of the weddings I’ve been privileged enough to photograph, I often find myself looking back at rustic wedding venues with such fondness.
The simple, country vibe never fails to remind us of the importance of family, friends and home. It’s not just the amazing photo ops that draw me to these weddings. It’s the people, the history and the ability to connect so personally with a venue.
What are your favourite rustic Melbourne based wedding venues? Shout out in the comments!
For beautiful rustic venues specific to the Castlemaine region, check out these Castlemaine wedding venues.
Aug 8, 2015
I recently photographed the incredible retro themed wedding of Ryan and Alan in Lake Placid, Update New York. Enthusiast campers and artists, it was always going to be something of a Wes Anderson Wedding vibe, in one majestic lodge. They DIY’ed much of their wedding, and what stood out to me was their beautiful retro wedding stationary, and retro wedding favours.
They produced a wedding field guide for all of their guests with beautiful retro styling, including a bunch of games, edibles, and more. Check out the images below.
While you’re here, if you enjoyed this incredible lodge, check out a list of the most unique wedding venues in Melbourne.