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Five Tips To Get You Through Your Dress Appointment

by | Fashion Wisdom, Wisdom


Simply Brides


At Simply Brides, we’re all about fulfilling every girl’s dream. Our mission is to provide each of our brides a wedding gown that is of the highest quality – that not only looks beautiful but feels utterly comfortable on their special day. Sometimes our brides mention to us that attending the appointments at bridal boutiques (anywhere from three to ten!) can be a little overwhelming, so we’ve put together our top five tips on how to make it through dress appointments – and to have a wonderful fun time along the way!

1. Do your research on styles or silhouettes that you like before your dress appointment.  Don’t know where to start? Try to keep your venue and theme in mind. Will the dress style go with the theme or venue of my wedding reception? For example, a simple a-line dress may be a better fit for a garden wedding compared to a more extravagant, ball gown dress.

2. Try dresses in three different styles to figure out what you like and don’t like. For example, A-line, ball gown or mermaid. You’ll be surprised that most dresses need to be tried on and can look quite different to being on the rack.


3. Go to an appointment with a budget in mind. Have a chat with your partner before you attend a dress fitting. Keep a realistic expectation of your budget on what you like and how much it would cost to achieve it.

4. Decide what you love for yourself. Often we see the bride’s mother, sister or best friend trying to make the decision for them. You may regret this decision later. Listen to your heart, choose the gown that speaks to you.

5. Choosing your gown should be a fun and pleasurable experience. Take it in your stride, do some research in advance and try on the styles that will suit your budget, theme and venue.

Images by We Are Origami

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Ms Chinoiserie Says: Great advice about trying on more than one design; a style that you thought might not suit you may just end up being “the one”.

About Simply Brides: Our gowns offer a classic, timeless look with a modern twist and are crafted from the highest quality imported fabrics, luxury lace and beading from all around the world. Making an appointment allows us to give you the best possible service with uninterrupted private time and our dedicated consultants will give you the best professional advice to help find the perfect gown to suit your style and body shape.

Behind The Door With….Love Carli

by | Behind The Door With ..., Wisdom


Amelia Waddell Of Make Your Day Wedding Styling
Find me on Ms Polka Dot's Directory


This week on “Behind the Door With”, I’m in sunny Mt Martha on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula meeting Carli Alexander, the creative genius behind Love Carli paperie and design studio. Carli has owned the business for three and a half years and creates beautiful greeting cards, custom event stationery and pretty paper goods for all of life’s special occasions.


I love how weddings are a great excuse for beautiful stationery and Carli’s range has you covered at every step, from customized illustrations to beautiful favour tags. Carli has a stunning range of ready to go invitations, ‘The Love Carli Collection’, to pick from as well as specializing in custom designs.



Carli is also a huge fan of all the little details at weddings and can help couples personalise everything including custom welcome chalkboards, order of service paddle fans and even tiny wooden log holders for placecards! I love that all the stationery is illustrated by Carli herself, so you know your stationery is extra special.



Love Carli started off as a home-based business that Carli ran part time, but has quickly grown to a full time career. Carli recently moved to Mt Martha and now works out of The Nook Gallery and Studios where she rents a desk in a cool converted warehouse space with other creatives. “I really wanted to get my business out there” says Carli “and when I moved to Mt Martha it seemed like a perfect fit”.


The studio is next to Mornington’s famous Commonfolk Coffee which Carli tells me is both a blessing and a curse for a coffee lover like herself. There’s also a brewery down the road which is great for after work drinks. Carli is looking forward to summer when Nook Studios host markets and open studio days for some of the local creatives to showcase their skills.


Carli tells me that working in a creative space has been perfect for her as she can come and go when she pleases and clients can pick up invites from her directly. “It’s also been great for work/life balance” says Carli “to have somewhere to keep all my work tools and then have time to go home and leave work at work.”



I love how lots of business owners are designing their work lives around what works for them and how many options there are now!

Images by Love Carli

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Ms Chinoiserie Says: Such pretty things – just swooning over the beautiful designs and the colours! 

About Amelia Waddell of Make Your Day Wedding Styling: I’m a wedding stylist and proud store owner who loves to chat weddings with everyone and anyone! I love to talk shop with other business owners (particularly over some chocolate cake!) and am the first to try and have a sticky beak behind the scenes of any event. My free time is spent ‘investigating’ new cafes, stores and events.

What Would They Know? Cam Grove of Cam Grove Photography

by | Photography Wisdom, What Would They Know?, Wisdom


Polka Dot Bride


Cam of Cam Grove Photography takes pictures that you feel you can jump right into and be in the moment.  They have a sense of the place and the time, and also of mystery – what are they thinking during that quiet couple moment, whose hand are they reaching out for, what are they talking about? No complicated poses, no manufactured emotion. Just clear, seemingly simple images of couples living the moment of the most significant day of their lives. As Cam says, “I love what I do. I provide my clients with memories that they didn’t even know they had. It’s gold.”

What was the catalyst for you becoming a photographer?

I guess in a sense I’ve always thought of things “photographically” however I didn’t really begin to actually photograph the world around me until I inherited my father’s old Nikon FM2 upon his death. The first photograph I ever took was of a tin of pencils that had been left on his desk. I remember getting that first roll of film developed and finding that print and being struck by it on an emotional level that I hadn’t expected. Photography, and the printed image (as opposed to the digital image) especially, is such a powerful force. I still have that print today.


How have you learned your photography skills? How do keep learning?

I completed a Bachelor of Fine Art at the Victorian College of the Arts in 2004. I learnt quite a lot about critical, artistic thinking and very little about photography. So I’m largely self taught from a technical sense. I keep learning by being constantly blown away by film makers and photographers. And having two young, artistically minded daughters helps me appreciate the less obvious aspects in any scene; children see things where adults no longer can.

You say you are “photographer of weddings without being a ‘wedding photographer’.” What does this statement mean to you?

Well I think I probably wrote that when documentary style wedding photography was in its infancy. It’s become so popular now. I’m happy to tell people that I’m a wedding photographer now without the fear of them imagining bridezillas, smoke machines and 1000 white doves being released to the sky!


I read your stories in your Journal and feel your sense of honour to be photographing each occasion. This, I feel is reflected in the images you take. As a photographer, do you feel you can’t help but imprint a little of your soul into each image?

Anaïs Nin once wrote – “we see things not as they are, but as we are”. I use this quote throughout my marketing and pricelists. I’m not sure if soul is the word I’d use necessarily, but my work is obviously a record of how I see the events of the day – sometimes I find meaning in less obvious things.

What does photographing weddings mean to you – artistically, professionally, personally?

I don’t differentiate between the three. Being chosen by a couple to document their wedding is an honour; their choice is a validation of my work, both from an aesthetic, artistic point of view, and from a professional point of view. To feel this validation and belief each time I begin a wedding makes for a happy workplace!

What are the things that catch your eye when photographing a wedding?

I like silence and gesture, faces turned away from camera, how hands hold each other, the way a groom will look across a room and watch his bride while she’s oblivious to his gaze, the way children stare at the spectacle in amazement, the history in a grandparent’s smile as they think “without me none of this exists” – weddings are hours of these beautiful moments all heading into the ether. The trick is to catch these bubbles before they pop!

Your images are seemingly simple but tell a story within each image. Is this a signature of your photographic style?

Perhaps it is – it would be nice to say that it’s intentional but I’d be lying! Sometimes a single image just makes up part of the continuing dialogue as a whole, but there’s certainly times when you take one frame and you’ve captured a world within a world.


There are very few ‘posed’ shots in your weddings. Do you believe that the best shots are of people being themselves?

Always. There are few posed shots, but that’s by choice. I’d rather aim for a few really strong posed shots than 30 different ordinary ones! If a couple is comfortable in front of the camera we can push things a little further, but basically I just want them to concentrate on each other. I rarely ask people to look at the camera, I just want to observe.

Do you always have a plan when photographing a wedding?

Yes, absolutely, we always begin with a plan and then see how quickly it ceases to exist! Weddings are perfectly imperfect; the smallest thing can quickly send things off schedule. You just have to role with it, think on your feet and use your experience and people skills to make sure everyone remains calm; stress and panic are contagious.

Do you scout the area to find the best place for photographs, before the wedding day? How do you choose the locations?

I choose the locations in consultation with the couple. The first question I ask is whether there are any locations which have significance in their lives. I’ll choose a location with significance over a prettier, insignificant location every time. If it’s a location I’m unfamiliar with I’ll scout it in the days leading up at the same time as I imagine I’ll be shooting there on the wedding day. Working out the direction and quality of light is key.

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To maintain creative and job satisfaction is it important to you to photograph only a certain number of weddings in a year?

Definitely. The wedding day itself is probably only 1/4 of the total time spent on delivering the final images. I’m not sure people realise that… I’d love to shoot 2 weddings every weekend of the year, but the editing and album design time associated with those weddings would burn anyone out!

How do you balance the long hours involved in photographing weddings, and weekend work with maintaining a normal life?

What’s a normal life these days! Wedding photography actually allows me to lead an incredibly fulfilling life. I get to be at home during the week with my two beautiful daughters. I do the school drop off and pick ups, watch them learn to swim, dance and grow into incredible little individuals. Few fathers get the opportunity that I have to be such a constant and active part of their children’s formative years.

Do you travel to photograph weddings?

Absolutely; one of the best aspects of what we do as photographers is that “the office” is constantly changing.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

Probably to be true to yourself. I think this holds true both professionally and personally.


What is your favourite place to visit in Australia?

Port Douglas is always nice in Winter, although it seems to be full of wedding photographers on holidays! I also like getting down to Tasmania when I can, it’s so incredibly beautiful, I really believe it’s one of the most underrated places on Earth.

Favourite way to spend a Sunday?

At the beach with my family – isn’t that the great Australian dream 🙂

Thank you Cam for sharing your story. For moments in time to treasure always. For more information about Cam Grove Photography visit the website.

All images by Cam Grove Photography. Headshot courtesy of Cam Grove Photography.

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