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 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 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 as a drive through wedding service, 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.
For more info on how to get married during Covid 19 away from a drive thru wedding, check out these small wedding venues in Melbourne, and this information piece on having a Melbourne City elopement during Covid 19.
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.
Mar 27, 2020
So, we’re in a pandemic. Apart from this bizarre scenario gifting us a new vocabulary including such terms as “social distancing”, it’s turned what should be a beautiful process full of joy (and at most, disagreements around what type of paper the invitations will be printed on) into a right old… let’s call it what it is – shitstorm. The beautiful upside is – and stay with me here – it’s opened the doors to many couples enjoying a beautiful Melbourne City elopement – while saving the party with their communities for later.
I’ve been fortunate to photograph a whole lot of weddings during Covid19 (nothing was ever gonna stop the love-train), and the general vibe has been one of optimism, and putting love first.
It’s difficult to say with conviction “currently, we can do…” as the information available and lockdown situation is changing very quickly, with huge implications on the scale of wedding celebration that can be had.
Presently, though – at this very moment in time – Stage 4 lockdowns have put a temporary hold on things, but beyond that, Stage 3 lockdowns mean a smaller wedding – in effect, an elopement! And that’s good news, for a slew of reasons.
From my personal experience, while this might sound like a compromise, it’s one of the most beautiful ways to celebrate your marriage in an intimate way, have a bunch of fun with it, while rescheduling the big community side of it to a later date.
Consider getting the legals down, teaming up with one of our brilliant Melbourne wedding celebrants (who in the case of I Do Drive Thru, can live-stream your little moment of glory to family and friends far and wide), exploring some of my favourite Melbourne Wedding photo locations together, and then… updating that Facebook status.
This is about you two! What a beautiful time to look inward to that, and outward later on at whatever shape the party takes with your community. On that note, getting a head-start on your planning to that end, is time well spent. Do it for your own peace of mind, and don’t listen to anyone telling you to rush (there’s plenty of vendors for everyone).
If you need any assistance planning your Melbourne elopement or small wedding, pop me an email.
I’m a destination wedding photographer, based in Melbourne, and originally from the Yarra Valley. I’m lucky to have the best job in the world: photographing love and community, all over the planet. If you’re having a Melbourne City elopement, i’d love to have the honour of photographing it for you.