Pete Thornton is somewhat of a black sheep.
He calls ‘bullshit’ on much of the outdated etiquette that surrounds couples and their big day and concentrates his energy on the story behind the celebration, the snorts within the laughter and the wink after the smile. The parts of life that make being a great photographer so much more valuable than simply clicking a shutter.
His ‘take no prisoners’ perspective on photography and the wedding industry as a whole is a much needed breath of fresh air.
My curiosity was piqued when Pete and I sat down to have a chat about weddings, what we love and what we struggle with, and one of the top misconceptions: the need for everything to be ‘just so’ - the illusion of perfection.
We like to call his impassioned position ’don’t fluff the dress’, but it’s really a metaphor for the whole wedding process. From your engagement to your honeymoon and in essence, for the rest of your married life.
We can certainly empathise with how, when you are considering ordering rehearsal dinner centrepieces, bouquets, boutonnieres, ceremony aisle decorations, flower petals for the aisle, arrangements for the bathrooms or entrance of the reception, bridal table and guest table decorations and hanging installations, your wedding budget for flowers can take a big hit.
But we've got 3 clever styling tips that will have your bridal blooms doing double duty, which can stretch your budget further, all while making your wedding celebration look and feel more beautiful.
Some brides and grooms shriek with dismay when I let them know that, for their 100 guests to actually hear them, they will need to speak into a mic during their ceremony; "oh, I HATE the sound of my voice!"
Apart from having a mildly sadistic streak (haha!), there are 3 other excellent reasons why making the effort to use a mic will make your ceremony so much more enjoyable for everyone involved.
Researching potential venues, photographers, florists and the like is a critical stage in your wedding planning process. And it's usually when your first understanding of what's available and the associated costs come to light.
Let's face it, you can pin hundreds upon hundreds of images of your perfect wedding, but there are no price tags on Pinterest.
We also understand that many couples are reading up about and contacting their wedding suppliers on their lunch break (because you wouldn't dream of doing it during work hours, right?)
So knowing all of this, why don't all wedding suppliers advertise their prices?
Kiera Blanden is a little obsessed with colour and texture.
"I could quite happily spend an entire day in Bunnings or trawling through Spotlight and (apart from missing my adorable family) walk away feeling completely energised and inspired by a heap of new ideas."
As the founder and team leader of Rapture Events, Kiera has worked on almost 900 beautiful celebrations. Recently rebranded as Kiera Blanden Events + Styling, she has an excellent eye for design and an almost intuitive understanding of which style elements work best together to create an exceptional wedding experience.
One of the growing trends in weddings is for Brides to take on the task of styling their big day themselves - which is why Kiera also offers her couples the option of hiring out her elegant and extensive range of furniture, accessories, linens and games.
Unbridely asked Kiera to give us some insider tips for styling your own wedding. We feel honoured to be given a glimpse 'behind the curtain' and to tap into her 7+ years of experience.
You know you should be looking after your skin, but what exactly does that mean?
What should you be doing in preparation so your complexion is at its absolute best on your wedding day?
Liv Rooney is a professional makeup artist based in Adelaide, South Australia, who believes that "every woman on this planet is beautiful and unique."
We love her work and her attitude too.
Unbridely are happy to have Liv give us some realistic (i.e. no botox involved) advice on how to make the best of what we've got.
Lee Bouras runs her thriving, nearly 10-year-old business, Wyld Orchids, from the flower studio at her home. And although her studio is bigger than most average-sized shops (not counting the shedding for her extensive range of vases and accessories) and she employs a flower courier plus the added help of other florists in peak season, she still prefers to keep her work in house and bespoke.
"I like to do all of Wyld Orchids' creative floristry myself because I am a perfectionist!"
Striving to ensure that her unique creations exceed her client's expectations, Lee believes that the honest relationship she fosters with brides and grooms during the course of their planning makes all the difference to (and in fact, enhances) the final product.
Lee joins the ranks of Bridechilla Club's expert supplier contributors with her first post for budget conscious couples. Here she outlines her 4 key tips to working with your florist in the hope that it will help you gain maximum effect from your gorgeous blooms on your wedding day and be a fun process too.
Sometimes we stumble across some cool finds for weddings (or wedding related celebrations like bridal showers or engagement parties) that we want to share with you. While we don't want to contribute to the 'oooh, I wanna buy that because it's sooo cute' throw-away-culture, we do want to feature fresh, new and unique options for you to check out.
In my job I hear both the glowing and the snide comments whispered by wedding guests. And although you don’t want your wedding day to be an anxious rollercoaster-ride-of-people-pleasing-pain, if you didn’t care about your family and friends, you would have had your ceremony at the registry office, yes?
You know the saying 'happy wife, happy life'? Well, in wedding circles, it can easily be translated to 'happy guests, happy wedding' - although it doesn't sound as great because it doesn't rhyme..
But, if you can plan ahead and follow the 3 golden rules of winery weddings, it is much more likely that your guests will remember your special day for all the right reasons.
Unbridely are proud to have Kate Pardey, a photographer with soul and substance, as one of our growing team of expert contributors. She is an accredited and award winning member of the Australian Institute of Professional Photographers, and also volunteers her time and skills to the amazing organisation, Heartfelt.
We have asked Kate to weigh in on a (sometimes) contentious issue of wedding timelines; to get her take on how to best plan out your day to make the most of natural light and maximise delightful photographic opportunities.
Take it away, Kate!
A chat with Rhiannon from Plan Style Party
So, Plan Style Party started in 2014, but what were you and Skye doing beforehand?
"Skye was working in retail but her passion was making the store look amazing and I worked in Admin but was always planning events and parties for the company and volunteering at large events around Adelaide. The planning and styling was always in us, we just didn’t realise we should combine our strengths to create stylish events and parties! But then one day, after Skye’s daughters 1st birthday party, we decided to go for it and haven’t looked back."
Researching and booking your wedding vendors can seem like a daunting task. Who's good, who can you trust and what are you even looking for anyway? When it comes to your bridal makeup, a service so unique and personal that choosing the right artist can affect your confidence levels on the big day, the search gets even trickier.
Unbridely's beauty contributor, Gemma Vendetta, is a qualified hairdresser & makeup artist (MUA) from Adelaide, South Australia.
Specialising in vintage and bespoke hair and makeup services for weddings, stage, film, and special occasions for near-on 8 years, Gemma is a user-of, and advocate for natural, organic, cruelty-free, Australian made & chemical-free products. So much so that, in January 2016, she released her very own mineral makeup range. You can shop the Gemma Vendetta range here.
Gemma wants to help brides find their perfect bridal MUA and to "take the pretension out of makeup". WE LOVE HER.
Maria Athanasopoulos from Zink: The Element of Hair, Plympton gives Brides the low-down on how to make sure that your hairstyle is one you'll love - not just on your wedding day, but years down the track as well.
The Modern Bride's Manifesto is our core philosophy. Save it, Pin it or print it out to help remind yourself of your 'why'. Happy planning!
Unbridely loves wedding photographers.
We appreciate the depth of their experience and love the raw emotion they capture in their photos; the art and their legacy. So it's made us sad to see quite a few wedding photographer horror stories hitting social media lately.
We feel that they cast a shadow over the amazing service, product and experience that the majority of professional wedding photographers provide to their couples.
But there is no escaping the sense of loss a newlywed couple feels when the wedding professional, they trusted their photographic memories and hard earned money with, fucks it up.
And not just in a 'people make mistakes' way. It's the 'I'm above society's norms/I don't subscribe to basic courtesy/what are you going to do about it anyway' kind of attitude that really gets us fired up.
So what can be done about it and how can you avoid hiring a dodgy photographer?
You want to be the bride that is leading the conga line of guests at 2am, right?
If you are getting married soon, there is a good chance that you are doing the lion share of the planning, organising, supplier meetings, family negotiating and general running around. And even for the healthiest and fittest of us, there is potential for your health to take a backseat.
But to be blunt, here at Unbridely, we think that this is where everything is a little backwards.
Our philosophy is that your wedding planning experience should be more like airplane crash procedure: you need to put on your OWN oxygen mask first before you help anyone else.
We want you to FEEL GOOD EVERYDAY.
It's like Sesame Street song goes; one of these things is not like the other.
See if you can pick it:
a) You're having a birthday and you want to celebrate it; so you throw a party.
b) It's Summer and you want to celebrate it; so you organise a BBQ.
c) You've received a promotion and you want to celebrate it; so you go out to dinner.
d) You've found the love of your life and you want to celebrate it; so you just plan a wedding..?
You're right; the wedding is the odd one out. No one in the history of weddings 'just planned a wedding' and did not experience the pressure of expectation, a little guilt or some kind of stress along the way. It is not a side of weddings that people like to talk about because it's not sexy or fun. "But why can't we just have a simple wedding?" many couples bemoan not long after starting to plan their big day.
Well, let's break it down..
Your parents have stuck by you through all your awkward phases.
Including your desperate pleas for a horse when you were 8 ("of course I will feed it every day, Dad!"),
your emo phase at 14 (black was the new black)
and your unhealthy obsession with a really dodgy local band when you were 21 (don't deny it, you know it's true).
And if your siblings are anything like mine, they would have mocked and teased you mercilessly through the aforementioned phases.
But here you are, planning your wedding and you really want to acknowledge and include them in your big day.
Sure, your dad can walk you down the aisle, but what other ways can you include your family in your wedding?
There are 3 core ways you can include them; practically, in a supportive function or by honouring them and the special relationship you share.
One of the most uplifting, and yet sometimes subconscious, first impressions a guest has of a wedding ceremony is conveyed via the music they're greeted with. The palpable sense of occasion and celebration that a live string quartet (duo/trio) creates can be both emotional and calming.
Enter Amicus Strings; a professional Adelaide-based string quartet founded in 1996 by Carolyn Lam. I've worked with the girls at several wedding ceremonies over the years and have always admired their professionalism and polished performances.
Carolyn and I sat down for a chat and pulled together the top 5 things you need to know before you book a string quartet for your wedding.