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How to Style A Rustic and Relaxed Wedding

by | Styling Wisdom, Wisdom


The Farm Cafe


Image by Kitty Wursthorn

We love rustic styling because it provides endless opportunity to really focus on the things that are meaningful and beautiful, not just the things that are fashionable or trendy. Weddings are an incredibly emotional, personal time, and the styling creates the feel and atmosphere for how it is celebrated.

For decades the traditional ‘white wedding’ was the only option, complete with satin bows on the chairs, crystal chandeliers and every kind of ribbon and frill imaginable – not because that was the best thing to do, but because it was the only way a wedding was done!

Thankfully weddings have loosened up a lot and now more often than not we’ll hear from a couple “we just want it to be relaxed and fun” or “we want to have a big party with our friends and family where we happen to get married”. Opting to go for a ‘rustic’ style wedding is a great way to make this happen. A rustic look is a great to reflect the quirky things you love about each other and a couple of simple DIY projects are a lovely way to get excited about the coming day and connect with friends and family.

Here’s some tips for how to create a beautiful, relaxed rustic style for your wedding.
1) Pick a colour scheme. Once you’ve written the rules, you can break them! An overall colour palette will create a sense of cohesion, and then if you choose to include a splash of different colour here or there it looks intentional and adds vibrancy. Too many competing colours or tones can easily look messy. If you have a bright, bold palette of reds, oranges, blues and yellows, pastels will look out of place.


Image by Kitty Wursthorn

2) Opt for homestyle, simple food. Weddings are often a long day, so they are not the time for tiny plates of tiny food! Hearty, abundant fare that people can shares instantly creates a relaxed, family celebration feel. Nothing brings people together like love and a good meal.


Image by The White Tree

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Image by Kitty Wursthorn

3) Save bottles and jars for flower arrangements. Try to choose mostly plain ones, as they will create a mismatched look, but also look for a variation of heights too! Little clusters of flower arrangements are incredibly effective as too are single flowers in little bottles; coupled with a few fuller arrangements, they look soft romantic and natural.

melbourne flowers wedding

Image by Kitty Wursthorn

4) Include lots of flowers!  On window ledges, to the side of doorways, on guest tables, in the bathrooms and everywhere in between!  Flowers make the plainest of spaces look beautiful (and if you have plenty of small vessels this will be a lot easier).

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Images by Kitty Wursthorn

5) Consider the lighting. Soft, warm lighting is the key to a romantic and inviting atmosphere. Candles are incredibly romantic of course, whether in little groups of tea lights or pillar candles down a long table. Festoon lights have a festive feel while being a little more rustic and industrial in style than fairy lights. Lamps can be used to great effect, and firelight, if an open fire is possible, creates a cost warm glow.


Image by Kitty Wursthorn

6) Go natural: raw cotton linens, natural wood, simple native foliage, stripped back metals and distressed surfaces. When paired with a few more luxurious details (full blown summer roses, crystal glassware, letterpress printed menus, French champagne – use your imagination!) it creates a contrast that is both relaxed and special.

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melbourne wedding caterer rustic (1)

Images by Kitty Wursthorn

7) Don’t be afraid to express your personality. The whole reason we have found a range of venues around Melbourne that suit rustic styling is that we genuinely believe it’s one of the best ways to be able to let the couple’s individuality shine, and that’s what a good wedding is all about. If you share a sweet tooth, why not have a whole selection of cakes for dessert? Or if you fell in love listening to an Abba cover band in a bar, having one play at your wedding  and watching your guests on the dancefloor getting their groove on to ‘Dancing Queen’ will be a great moment.


Image by Timothy Marriage

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Ms Chinoiserie Says: Fabulous tips on creating a relaxed rustic style; better start saving those empty jars!

About The Farm Cafe: We’re passionate about creating warm, welcoming and relaxed weddings in Melbourne; we love abundant feasts and gorgeous styling! We believe that sharing a meal is at the centre of every awesome celebration. Our menus are hearty, plentiful and simple, like a home-cooked family feast! We lay out a gorgeous graze table – and all you need to do is enjoy!

Behind The Door With….Bridesmaids Only

by | Behind The Door With ..., Wisdom


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


Finding bridesmaids’ dresses can be so tricky and today I’m visiting the answer to all your shopping prayers, Bridesmaids Only. I love that the concept was dreamed up by a mother and daughter, Talia Sasson and Bella Kaye, who struggled to find bridesmaids’ dresses for Talia’s own wedding. “I had five very different shaped bridesmaids” says Talia “and we just couldn’t find anything that suited all of them in the colours that I wanted.”

Bridesmaids Only have a fantastic online store but if you want to visit in person the showroom is located in glamorous Double Bay, Sydney. The beautiful space has four custom designed bridal suites, and is open by appointment only so each bridal party has their own allocated stylist and suite.


“Our first space was smaller, only 60 square metres” says Talia. “Three years ago we moved to our current space and had a big blank canvas to play with; it was exciting but proved a much bigger challenge to create the dream store I had in my head”. I love the soft grey walls, light wood floors and light fittings covered in flowers, it certainly is no blank canvas now!


As I walk into the main space I’m greeted by glittering gowns in the most beautiful soft fabrics. In colours ranging from deep plum to softest pink and in all different styles. Talia tells me they wanted to design the store so that bridesmaids could have the same special experience that the bride might have shopping. There’s even sparkly jewellery and accessories to try on which I imagine would be perfect for the bride too!


Talia and Bella travel the world in search of new dresses and designs particularly to the United States where dresses are often designed to be worn all different ways, depending on the bridesmaid’s shape. I love this about the dresses at Bridesmaids Only; they are so versatile they can even be worn by maids that are expecting. When Talia and Bella aren’t overseas you can find them in the office at the Bridesmaids Only store. Talia tells me they love having the office onsite so they can still pop in on appointments and be there to offer extra advice.


The space can be transformed for special events like VIP styling nights and special sales. Talia tells me they are excitedly planning a new collaboration night with Shoes of Prey where a stylist will help match shoes and dresses to create the perfect wedding look. Such a fun way to make shopping less stressful and really enjoy the day with your bridesmaids!


Images by Nadine Saacks Photography via Bridesmaids Only

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Ms Chinoiserie Says: Such a beautiful boutique; it really is bridesmaid heaven!

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? Pavel Veselov of Captured by Pavel

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


Polka Dot Bride

Captured by Pavel

To look at images and feel captured by the moment is the essence for me, of seeing into the lives of the people in the image for one moment in time. Captured by Pavel photographs images with a clarity of style that allows us to peer into the image and feel the emotion of the looks exchanged, of the feeling the wedding dress gave the bride, and the smell of the salty air.  To have a photographer who understands this, is a gift you give yourself – because all those precious memories will stay alive through the images for the rest of your lives.

How long have you been in business and where are you based?

I have been a full-time professional photographer for nearly 12 years now… wow, time really does fly! We are based in Sydney, however tend to travel throughout NSW, interstate and overseas for our lovely clients.

How would you describe your photography style?

Natural, genuine, emotive and elegant story-telling. I really aim to create an intimate, captivating and timeless documentary of every wedding, which reflects the unique atmosphere of their special day, as well as how they are as a couple.

I personally shoot every wedding myself and oversee all stages of the workflow, so that there is 100% consistency throughout.

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What to you, is the quintessential ‘Captured by Pavel’ shot?

Just like photography style, it is quite tricky to assign a description to it and perhaps much more informative just to see it! J What I do look for though is capturing authentic emotions and moments to tell a personal story. I also try to avoid doing any ‘typical’ shots or replicating any previous work, as I feel that it takes the ‘soul’ out of it, so even photographing repeatedly in the same locations, I always search for new ways to utilise the surroundings to create imagery unique to each couple.

How do you aim to be unique and different? 

Photography is extremely subjective, so even placed in the same circumstances with the same subjects and conditions we would all see and hence portray slightly different things, so we always encourage our clients to come in and see as much of our work as possible to ensure that it matches their vision.

We are a father and daughter team (which is quite unusual, I know) and this business is our absolute passion, so the way we look after our clients really is quite unique! We actually assist throughout all stages of the wedding process to ensure the day runs smoothly and the couple can just relax and enjoy spending time with their loved ones, trusting that they’ve hired the right professionals to do their jobs. By the time we hand over the photos we’ve become friends and we often get to continue being a part of their journey with beautiful babies to follow, friends’ weddings, etc.

And of course – experience, as they say, there’s no substitute for it! Having photographed hundreds of weddings, from private island elopements to 700 people 3-day extravaganzas, means that we can really tackle any conditions thrown at us (lighting or otherwise) to ensure every moment is captured beautifully.

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Your images seem to have a ‘sense of place’. How important are landscape details to your photography? How does this add to the ‘story’ you are telling of the couple’s day?

This probably comes from the love of photography and story-telling in general, as well as having been lucky to shoot in some beautiful places around the world, such as Spain, Russia, Turkey and Fiji. I am always looking for inspiration and ways to incorporate the surroundings to create a multi-dimensional story and a visually interesting image.

Do you pre-plan your shots, tailoring them to each couple, or do you aim to keep your photography spontaneous?

There is a lot of planning involved for the actual day to ensure we are very familiar with each of the locations/venues and timings and can prepare the right equipment and approach accordingly. We also discuss each couples preferences and must-haves in detail. On the actual day though we like to interfere as little as possible, observing, anticipating and capturing the beautifully spontaneous moments, as they unfold.

How important is it for you to get to know your clients before hand? What steps do you take from the first contact with the bridal couple?

As I mentioned, this is the most important thing for us, so that we can really understand a couple’s vision and how they interact with each other! We provide as much input as desired (sometimes planning their entire wedding!) to ensure the day is as relaxed and happy as it should be.

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How do you help brides and grooms relax with you from the beginning of the day, so that you get the shots you want?

Getting to know our couples definitely goes a long way, so when we start the day it’s always with lots of smiles and laughter already! People look their best when they are comfortable and relaxed, so we never ask them to do anything that doesn’t come naturally, we just utilise the best lighting and surroundings and leave them to enjoy the moment!

Do you have any tips for brides and grooms to help them relax in front of the camera?

Of course everyone always says ‘Pretend we’re not here’, but it’s easier said than done, right?!! We always explain that there is no expectation to act/stand/etc. a certain way and there is nothing that you can do wrong. The whole point is not for the photographer to create a particular shot, but for the couple to have a really good time, which is then our job to capture skillfully and beautifully. So if you make having an amazing time your goal and imagine what you’d like the finished product to look like – the unique magic and energy of you as a couple, then the photographer being there just becomes inconsequential! J

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How much direction do you give to the bridal couples and bridal party?

We stay unnoticed for most of the day, so that the couple can forget that they are being photographed and provide gentle guidance (and lots of reassurance) throughout the location shoots in order to make the most of the natural light and locations, but let couples and their bridal party relax and have fun!

What is your mission/aim with each wedding you photograph?

Creating that intimate and emotional documentary and capturing all those authentic moments along with every little detail is our sole purpose!

What are couples wanting/expecting in their wedding photographs now? 

Luckily, the days of extensive posing are over and couples are looking for candid and genuine images that reflect their story, which is exactly what will stand the test of time and be just as relevant and emotionally powerful for years to come!

What is it about photographing weddings that you love and that challenges you?

It is absolutely all the wonderful people we get to meet and the privilege of being a part of their life’s journey! I mean, what can be better than capturing the smiles, the laughter, the tears and the sheer happiness that comes with two people declaring their love in front of all their nearest and dearest?!!

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Photographing weddings is a labour intensive business! How do you ensure you have a work/life balance?

That is a tricky question, as I’m not quite sure that we have that balance!.. (we haven’t had our Christmas break yet) However, I think I’ve learnt to just take the small opportunities to relax and unwind whenever possible, as opposed to waiting for one big holiday.

What do you like to do in your free time?

Sport has always been a huge part of my life, so being active is essential to keeping me sane! If I’m not shooting or editing I can be found running, swimming and rollerblading (yes, people still do that!), oh and my new road bike is my latest obsession. Otherwise, nothing beats a chilled day at the beach with my beautiful family! J

Thank you Pavel for sharing your story. Gorgeous images that convey the emotion of the moment! To find our more about Captured by Pavel visit the website.

All images are by Captured by Pavel.

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