Bringing in the new year is a lady who I’ve been lucky enough to come to know over the past few years. Kathryn Porritt! Kathryn has not only been an event planner in Canberra, but she now runs one of Australia’s most gorgeous online wedding stores Pink Frosting and writes the delightfully gorgeous blog Australia Entertains. Kathryn is taking the Australian wedding industry by storm with her great ideas and amazing array of products!
Tell me about yourself, your background?
I am the owner of Australia’s favourite online wedding and celebration store, Pink Frosting and the blog, Australia Entertains, and have spent almost 15 years as an event manager in Australia. I’ve been lucky enough to work with some amazing people including Harry Connick Jr and Alicia Silverstone (yes, I am name dropping!).
How did you get into the wedding industry?
I’d spent years organising big events for the corporate and entertainment world, but I honestly enjoyed working on smaller celebrations more. They were more challenging and fun. I opened Pink Frosting in Canberra as a wedding planning company so I could focus on my first love. We’ve recently closed the event management arm of Pink Frosting because our online store has become so popular. This was a bittersweet moment for me – I miss wedding planning but I am so delighted that we’re bringing exclusive, gorgeous wedding decorations and accessories to Australian brides through our store.
What do you love about this industry?
That every couple has a unique vision and a unique story. No wedding need is ever the same. I love creating and finding decorations and accessories to match their vision. Every day brings something new.
I also love buying. I am really enjoying traveling around the world to find new and unique wedding and celebration ideas to bring to Australia. Every time I travel, I come home with brilliant ideas and inspiration. It’s a matter of containing them all!
You have a website that is detailed and intriguing. What is your aim with the website?
Pink Frosting’s website is about providing inspiration, ideas and beautiful accessories for Australian brides and anyone interested in entertaining. We aim to bring the best wedding ideas from around the world to Australia because we know how frustrating it can be to find beautiful things overseas and not be able to get them shipped to Australia.
What inspires you?
Beauty. I just love that everything I do, everyday, has a beautiful aesthetic. I never tire of beautiful things. I am also inspired by beautiful art, photography and design. I suppose anything with a beautiful aesthetic makes me happy. I am in the right business!
What sets you apart from others?
I have an innate entrepreneurial spirit, so I’m not scared of asking the big questions. When a company that makes a beautiful centerpiece that I think Australian brides would die for but can’t be shipped to Australia, I just have to make it happen!
Do you see a particular incoming trend in weddings for the next 12 months?
Definitely. Green weddings are big (and so they should be!). I’m finding that many couples also want to use their weddings to “give back” to their favourite charity. So, we’re organizing lots of “pink ribbon” or local charity –themed weddings. I really think this says a lot about the Australian spirit.
Other trends include more intimate weddings where the couple has less guests but treat their guests to a really luxurious day (or week as the case may be). Budget weddings are also a big trend and necessity as the economy slows. We’re seeing some really lovely personal, DIY weddings where the family pitches in with cakes, stationery, bombonniere and decorations.
How do you keep your website and products fresh and different?
I travel and read as much as possible about events, fashion, design and art. I find if I have my finger on the pulse of anything to do with fashion and design, I can generally keep ahead of celebration and wedding trends. This is important for bringing unique ideas to Australia through the Pink Frosting website.
Where do you see Pink Frosting in 5 years time?
I see Pink Frosting as the one-stop celebration shop for anyone interested in entertaining and weddings in Australia. I see the website as the ultimate space for beautiful ideas, galleries and planning tools for Australian brides and hostesses (and hosts of course!), with the store still bringing the very best in decorating and accessories to Australia from around the world.
What is your number one tip for brides?
Be the very best version of yourself on your wedding day. Oh and please indulge me with a second tip: don’t get so caught up in the planning and details that you forget what the day is all about. Ok, and thirdly: hire a wedding planner. It will mean you can relax and enjoy the day rather than worrying about whether the caterers have turned up on time.
Tell me about your wedding or your dream wedding?
My wedding was in Byron Bay (close to home for me) in May 2007. Most of my family and my husband’s family didn’t need to travel, but for those who did, Byron is a beautiful location for a holiday.
We hired a huge home in the Byron hinterland which overlooked the ocean and the rolling hills. Our bridal party and immediate family stayed with us over a few days, so it meant our families really got to know one another well before the big event. I would highly recommend this to anyone!
We were married with the beautiful Byron view in the background by an incredible celebrant who really understood our vision. We then had a cocktail reception for our 80 guests in the tropical gardens of the home we hired.
The most important parts of the day for us were the location, the food (I wish we’d actually got to eat some! It looks amazing) and the photography. We felt that if we splurged in these areas, we could scrimp a little in the others to create the feel we wanted.
The details that I loved were that my girls wore black tuxedo pants (they looked so chic and perfect for the location), my Dad’s incredible speech and his love for my Mum, and the big, fat white lilies everywhere.
We used a local wedding planner, Claire from Divinity Byron Bay, which was the absolute best money we spent. She WAS divine!
What are your favourite wedding ideas?
• Use a wedding planner – a good one will save you their fee in one negotiation with a vendor and they will make your day stress-free;
• Start with an inspiration board and keep it with you everywhere you go so you never lose sight of your vision. The process is fun to go through and will mean you can tie all of the elements together;
• Spring Bulbs as bombonniere – what a beautiful, living, inexpensive favour;
• Parasols and hand fans – I love, love, love parasols for weddings. They look amazing in photos and the couture ones available through Pink Frosting are worth every penny. Oh, so divine.
• Monograms as motifs. Fantastic! You can personalize your day with “graffiti” motifs on your cars, your toasting flutes, your dance floor and church entrance way with your monogram, as well as stamping the more traditional route with stationery, place cards and napkins.
What do you love about Australian brides?
Their fun-loving attitude, their creativity and charitable spirit. I am really delighted to meet our customers and hear their wonderful stories. I think Australian brides are used to being more creative because they haven’t had a lot of the more directional accessories available to them. The concepts they create inspire me!
What should brides start with when they’re planning their weddings and receptions?
An inspiration board, a budget and a wedding planner! Always start with an agreed budget and stick with it. If you can afford it, hire a wedding planner to help you create an inspiration board and bring it to life and stick to your budget. If you can’t afford a wedding planner, then you can certainly do it yourself. I would recommend buying every wedding magazine you can get your hands on, read some great wedding blogs and gather pictures of everything you love. Agree on a theme and a budget and you can go from there.
What are the biggest mistakes you see brides making?
Not sticking to their budget and losing sight of what the day is about.
I see some brides getting over-zealous about the details and coming to blows with their family about little details. I have often had to sit down with a bride and remind them that the day is about them celebrating their marriage to their lifetime love – it isn’t about the shade of pink their mum wants on the napkins. These elements are really important, but in order to have a truly wonderful day, there are just some things you need to let go of!
Particularly with the economy slowing down, setting a strict budget is also really important. I recommend you think about the things that are most important to you and be prepared to scrimp on some other areas so you get the most “bang for your buck.” Don’t overspend – your wedding day is really important, but don’t get yourself into debt for it. You don’t want to be paying off your wedding 10 years down the track.
What are 5 clever ideas to create a stylish wedding?
1. Hire the best vendors you can afford. I would start with a great wedding planner, a photographer (after all, this is your reminder of the day forevermore), a good caterer, a florist who shares your vision and a celebrant who you connect with. Obviously your other vendors are important, but this is your “essential” team.
2. Shop online and browse the globe. Online stores will bring you inspiration and ideas you may never have thought of. Incidentally, online stores can usually afford to sell their products at a better price because the cost of running an online business isn’t as high as a “bricks and mortar” store. My favourite online wedding shops are www.pinkfrosting.com.au (of course), www.etsy.com, www.bridalsurvival.com.au, and www.annawhitford.com.
3. Personalise your day. Use a monogram as a motif. I really adore this new trend and hope it stays around for a long time yet. You can “graffiti” your cars, your toasting flutes, your dance floor and church entrance way with your monogram, as well as stamping the more traditional route with stationery, place cards and napkins.
4. Parasols. You may not swan around with a parasol on a normal day, but a parasol for you and your bridesmaids (and guests if you can afford it) makes a beautiful decorative element for your day and looks amazing in photographs. They are also very sensible for Australian weddings, whether outdoors on the beach or simply for your photographs. You don’t want to get a sunburn before your reception!
5. Make your day about you. I really think the most stylish and enjoyable weddings are when the couple celebrates their own unique style. It’s important for brides and grooms to be the best version of themselves on their big day, not an imitation of someone else.