best Melbourne wedding caterers

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.

Melbournes top wedding caterers 2020

  1. Firecracker Event
  2. Fat and Skinny Catering
  3. Torte by Mirjana
  4. Miss Ladybird Cakes
  5. Food and Desire

1. Melbourne Wedding Caterer: Firecracker Event

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. Be sure to check out this feature on Firecracker Event where they chat all things grazing tables)

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
Here’s a little clip of Danny Meyer explaining the foundation behind the Enlightened Hospitality principal.

Firecracker Event can cover everything from platters to full service dining. Some of the glorious foods included in their packages are:

  • Porcini & Truffle Arancini (GF. V)
  • Lemon Curd Tarts With Fresh Raspberries
  • Heidi Farm Gruyere
  • Organic Dried Fruit & Nuts
  • Vegan Gnocchi With Green Pesto & Seasonal Greens
  • Slow Cooked Pork Belly With Chargrilled Orange & Fennel

Does that not sound entirely, mouthwateringly delicious to you? It’s a big fat ooft here from me.

Find Firecracker Event online

Firecracker Event website: https://www.firecrackerevent.com/

2. Melbourne Wedding Caterer: Fat and Skinny Catering

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:

  • Chicken Char Siu Dumplings with Black Vinegar & Caramel Dipping Sauce
  • Buttermilk Popcorn Chicken, Creamy Mash and Roast Chicken Gravy (vo, gf
  • Oregano, Feta & Lamb Burger with Greek Salad and Minty Tzatziki
  • Beef Brisket Slow Cooked for 10 hours with Roasted Parmesan Crumble
  • Roasted Beetroot, Rocket & Dukkah Crusted Labne (v,gf)
  • Nutella and Hazelnut Crunch Cheesecake

Lordy! I simply cannot.

Find Fat and Skinny Catering online

Fat and Skinny Catering website: https://www.fatandskinny.com.au/

3. Melbourne Wedding Cake Maker: Torte by Mirjana

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.

Find Torte by Mirjana online

Torte by Mirjana website: https://www.tortebymirjana.com/

4. Melbourne Wedding Cake Maker: Miss Ladybird Cakes

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

Check out her online gallery here.

Find Miss Ladybird Cakes online

Miss Ladybird Cakes website: http://www.missladybirdcakes.com/

5. Melbourne Wedding Caterer: Food And Desire

Now, last but 1000% not least, we’ve got Food And Desire who fully customise the menus for every single event they cater. Like, who has the time or the energy to do that? These maestros 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.”

You can see the kind of menus they’ve created for wedding parties up in lights on their website. Food and desire also helm the inimitable Melbourne Warehouse Wedding venue Half Acre, featured in image below.

Find Food And Desire online

Fourside Events website: http://www.foodanddesire.com.au/

Check out my top 15 Melbourne wedding photo locations for some nuptialistic (is that a word?) inspo.

Nab one of the incredible caterers up above (unless you’re at Zonzo Estate and enjoying their wizard pizza makers onsite), and link them up with this incredible Melbourne wedding planner.

Also for some incredible catering outside of Melbourne, check out the wood fired wedding pizzas at the Cosmo Hotel near Castlemaine.

Elopement Photographer Melbourne

Mar 16, 2020

Melbourne Elopement Photography: 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.

Elopement photographer Victoria

If you’re considering a small wedding or eloping in Melbourne, you can see a list of my favourite wedding photo locations in Melbourne that i’ve put together, all with examples of couples i’ve worked with at each of them.

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).

Elopement photographer melbourne
Elopement photography melbourne
Elopement photography melbourne
Elopement photography melbourne
Elopement photographer melbourne
Elopement photographer melbourne
Elopement photographer melbourne
Elopement photographer melbourne
Elopement photographer Victoria
Elopement photographer Victoria
Elopement photographer Victoria
Elopement photographer Victoria
Elopement photographer Victoria
Elopement photographer Victoria
Elopement photographer Victoria
View Maria and Ingos gorgeous Pumphouse Point tasmanian Elopement.
Elopement photographer Victoria
Wedding photographer
Elopement photographer Victoria
Elopement photographer Victoria
Melbourne Elopement photography
See Kate and Toms incredible Palm Springs Elopement.
Melbourne Elopement photography
Melbourne Elopement photography
Melbourne Elopement photography
Melbourne Elopement photography
Small wedding photographer melbourne
Small wedding photographer melbourne
Small wedding photographer melbourne
Small wedding photographer melbourne
Small wedding photographer melbourne
Hello mate. Love you too.
Small wedding photographer melbourne
Melbourne Elopement photography
Melbourne Elopement photography
I shot this image on beautiful old film with a half century old camera. See why i’m a film wedding photographer.

Looking for small wedding and elopement photography in Melbourne?

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:

https://briarsatlas.com/enquire

Destination wedding photographer

Jul 10, 2019

Wedding portaits: you’re getting married, you’re organising your vendors, and you’re at the point where you’re facing the classic conundrum that is working out whether you do or don’t want your day turned into a Hollywood film-set, and whether you are or aren’t going to be dragged away from your guests for 3 hours for a portrait session.

Originally published on Polka Dot Bride

There’s no right or wrong way of going about your wedding portraits: the main thing is to look at a lot of images from a variety of photographers, and build up a vocabulary of photos that you connect with (Pinterest being one of the great ways of storing that vocabulary), and understand how and when the portrait session (or sessions) fit into your wedding day.

Here’s a few helpful little home truths and things to keep in mind about your wedding portraits that I’ve found useful in navigating all this:

Melbourne wedding photography portrait at desk wes anderson

1: Ask yourself how important portraits are to you

First up, someones gotta say it: while being totally necessary, your wedding portraits are still, simply not the most important part of your day. Not by a long, long stretch! I say this as a photographer who adores that part of the day (this post here has plenty of wedding portrait examples) and invests a hell of a lot of personal energy into them, both on the day and at 1am in my editing cave in the weeks after. Your photographer should be able to advise on the ideal amount of time for them to get images up to the standard that you’ve fallen in love with on their website.

At the same time, they should be able to confidently make you great images, in a small window of available time. I’ve been in situations where 45 minutes have been allocated, and then rain has erupted, and that reduced to just 5 minutes because they wanted to get into the warmth of their packed barn and on to the beers.

I think that’s fair enough.

And a photographer should be able to confidently deliver you some glorious wondrous images, in that 5 minutes. While I personally recommend 30-50 minutes total to my couples, split across two parts of the day, I was able to work out what was important to do in that 5 minutes, work like a crazy-person and get them a beautiful set in just 5 minutes.

So, step back and ask your wedding photographer how long they recommend for the wedding portraits. Work out how long you’re prepared to spend and have a mutual understanding that on one hand its a beautiful window of calm where you get to be with just each other and on the other hand, it’s also precious time away from your guests.

2. From the USA, with love: the first look, and what it means

The first-look is still a little bit of an unknown out here in Australia. It doesn’t help that it’s name has this kind of scary grandeur attached to it. Let’s dispel a few myths, and look at a few of the positives.

The first look is, simply, a moment where you get to meet each other before the ceremony, and inhale a little bit of calm together. It doesn’t take off the magic of seeing each other in the aisle (if anything, it amplifies it).

Melbourne dark and moody wedding portrait on film
Funny melbourne wedding portrait

It does give you the chance to make some portraits immediately after and reduce how much time is spent away from guests later on. Most folks often miss out on the canapés hour, of course there’s no right or wrong approach here, but personally, I’d want to be hanging around my crew for canapés! Remember you can still head out at sunset together, and get the best of all worlds.

3: Whatever the weather: wedding portraits and rain/apocalypse

This is about having an all-in attitude. This is the test. How far are you willing to go for your portraits, in the moment? This is worth thinking about briefly ahead of time, as it can help you slip into the right state of mind on the day if the weather goes south.

There’s no right or wrong answer: but from a photographic point of view, the more risks you’re prepared to take (within reason), the more wild the photographs you’ll receive will be, and fitting to that particular moment.

Rainbow sun shower wedding portrait
Rainbow sun shower wedding portrait

Maria and Ingo leapt out into rain and rainbows for their wedding in Tuscany, and I think it was worth every second of that 1-2 minute sprint. Us photographers are a weird bunch, and you can probably always consider us up for running out in a hail storm to get the best shot, so this is really just for yourselves to consider.

The worst thing that can often happen is a bit of dirt on your dress and water in your hair. So get out into the rain, make some wild photos, then load up on some whiskey. That’ll get you warm again.

4: How to see and use available light

It’s taking every ounce of strength for me to say this, but, when it comes down to it, there’s no such thing as bad light, only bad photography. Us photographers – we might moan and groan about overhead sunlight (I certainly do!), or about harsh green fluorescent light, and there’s some truth in there being something extra special about sunset, twilight, and all that jazz.

Dark and moody melbourne wedding portrait

But, this is really important: your photographer should be, first and foremost, a problem solver.

There’s no such thing as bad light – only light that might make them uncomfortable. And if they’re good at their job, they’ll be able to work through that discomfort, solve the challenge of whatever the lighting situation is, and still be able to deliver you magnificent images, and be comfortable in solving problems caused by un-ideal lighting.

Melbourne arts centre wedding portrait
The photo of Anna above, is against a harsh fluorescent LED light in the venue entry-way. After the sunset shoot, this ended up being the perfect light!

A lot of what makes this image work was about carefully bringing it to life in post-production, but a photographer should be able to see great opportunity and know what to do with it. Mix up the indoors, with the outdoors.

Melbourne black and white wedding portrait
This photo of Ryan & Alan above, was shot in the middle of the day in the harshest light. By finding a nearby canopy, we bounced beautiful full light from a lake in front of them, onto them.

Mt Sturgeon royal mail hotel melbourne wedding portrait
Hannah & Ben, captured at the majestic Mt Sturgeon Homestead, in a similiar setting to Ryan & Alan.

With all of that said, I’m still a big believer in crafting the optimum scenario where possible: your photographer will be able to work with you on your timeline and styling to offer any advice to make things that little bit more magic for both your guests and your images.

I’m no stranger to being asked about festoon arrangements, or timings for portraits. Put your faith in your photographer and ask if they have any suggestions. Chances are, we’ve got a brain full of ideas that we’re willing to share, all in the name of getting you the best wedding photography.

Try and prioritise at least some of your portrait shoot later in the day, around sunset and into twilight. This is when the dance of light does some especially magic things.

Sydney sunset wedding portrait
Sunset in Sydney with Jane & Michael.

Moody blue mountains wedding portrait
Twilight in the Blue Mountains with Sarah & Simon.

5: Do the planning and hard work on the back-end, not on the front end.

Like every area of your wedding, you want to do the hard work on the back end, not the front end. What this means is connecting with caterers, stylists, and photographers you feel you can trust, so that on the day you’re not having to intervene. This is especially important with photography and specifically, wedding portraits. A shot list can hinder your photographer, and take them away from doing what we do best: which is being responsive to unfolding moments.

Don’t meet a million vendors for each category, meet a few and spend time with them. Make sure you get those little bells of trust ringing that tell you they’re the one. And then let them do what they do.

Because the best wedding portraits – the ones you’ll print and find yourself sending to everyone – fundamentally come out of ignoring nearly everything I’ve written above, and enjoying a couple of carefree windows with a photographer you feel entirely comfortable with, wherever they end up being taken.

One Day Bridal wedding portrait Chosen by One Day
Laugh wedding portrait

These are a fun couple of portraits to close this article up – because this should all be, well, fun!

Kids at weddings

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.

Kids at Whiteface Lodge Wedding New York

1. Theory of Small-Human Close-Proximity Exponential-Collusion Effect

Due to the scientifically well-documented “Theory of Small-Human Close-Proximity Exponential-Collusion Effect”, If these small humans have access to other small humans within a close range, they simply won’t give a flying focaccia about you or your wedding: they’ll be too busy being dragons or worms.

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.

Kids in theatre
Kids at weddings
Kids at weddings
Kids at weddings
Kids at weddings

2. Blackmail and leverage

Your wedding is an excellent place to generate prime blackmail-leverage for the duration of their teenage years, as well as embarrassing content for their 18th or 21st birthdays.

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.

Kids at weddings
Kids at weddings
Kids at weddings
Kids at weddings

3. Look inwards, dear padowan

This one is a little bit of a polarising one: look inwards, put a magnifying glass over what the main negatives seem to be, and ask yourself if you can instead flip it – and celebrate those negatives.

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.

Kids at weddings
Kids at weddings
Kids at weddings

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.

This might be,
the start of,
something