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What Would They Know? Julia Doeven of Julia’s Celebrancy Services

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


Polka Dot Bride

Julias celebrancy services What Would They Know? Julia Doeven of Julias Celebrancy Services

From fun themed weddings to relaxed backyard weddings Julia’s Celebrancy Services celebrates them all with her infectious smile and sense of fun. Being part of this very personal life transition with all the guests dressed in their best, anticipating a wonderful celebration, excitement in the air, must be the best feeling!  Celebrating love  – now that’s the best job! And for brides marrying in 2015 and beyond – keep an eye on Julia’s site for the launch of her new venture – Julia’s Celebrant Agency launching in January 2015.

Why did you become a celebrant?

When I decided to become a Celebrant I was just 20 years old. I was waitressing at a beautiful winery and wedding venue in the Yarra Valley and I LOVED arriving at work early so I could stand and watch the wedding ceremony before my shift started. Regardless of which couple was getting married I remember always being so engaged in the ceremony and just loved how they made me feel. So happy, elated, emotional… and I was always so interested in the Celebrants and thought I could very happily do their job and would love every bit of it! My Mum also thought that a young Celebrant in the market was a brilliant idea so her encouragement definitely motivated me to sit the course and I’m so glad I did!

How are you different from other celebrants?

Where do I start?? Haha. The obvious difference is my age and effervescence. I can’t help but get excited by a wedding! This combined with my ambitious and entrepreneurial personality certainly helps create point of difference between other Celebrants and myself. I genuinely love what I do and this shows through each wedding ceremony and how I conduct my business.

Michael Briggs Photography What Would They Know? Julia Doeven of Julias Celebrancy Services

Image by Michael Briggs Photography

What do you love about a wedding?

There is SO MUCH to love about a wedding! For me it is that heart warming energy in the air. Everyone is excited and looking their best and they have all come together to celebrate! I love the unplanned bursts of emotion. The tears in the parents eyes; the gasps from the crowd when the radiant bride enters the room or …. that look of pure love between the couple at unexpected times. It is the best! Love is the best!

How do you start to write the ceremony vows – what is the starting point?

I encourage all my couples to write their own vows, or if they are terrified of this task, I say just go with something classic and simple! I provide a good spread of simple vows if they want to choose from my collection. I say choose something timeless that wont sound silly if you say them again on your 50th wedding anniversary.

If writing your own vows a good way to start is to think about the word vow… What is a vow? It means a solemn promise. So the idea is not to write a massive love story or get caught up in how it sounds. Get back to the basics and think about what you want to promise to each other. With just that in mind, vows already seem much easier to write and much more heartfelt and meaningful. Oh… and it’s good to mention the word love… at least once! :o)

polka dot 4RS What Would They Know? Julia Doeven of Julias Celebrancy Services

Image courtesy of Julia’s Celebrancy Services

Are you known for having a particular ‘style’?

I sure am! I’m the “short and sweet” Celebrant! My motto at Julia’s Celebrancy Services is “Fun, Sincere and Relaxed” and the best way to achieve this is to not waffle on too much! Everyone is there to celebrate so I try make my ceremonies as engaging as possible by cutting out the boring stuff and stick to engaging stories, meaningful vows and a happy upbeat tone throughout the whole ceremony.

Are there any special words or gestures that you’ve been part of lately that you feel have made that ceremony all the more special?

Lately I’m noticing a big shift in the way that bridal parties are chosen and used throughout the ceremony and it is an awesome change! Couples are either choosing to go completely without a bridal party so they can really use their marriage as the focus of the ceremony, or else they are choosing a bridal party based on how much they love and value that person, regardless of whether of not they are a male or female. To me this just makes sense! It shouldn’t be about trying to colour co-ordinate, or make your photos look symmetric by having an even number of girls on one side versus boys. My favourite gesture most recently seen was when the bride and groom really wanted their grandmothers to be involved in the ceremony and so they gave them the roles of “flower girls”!!! I have never seen two happier grannies!!

Nora PhotographyRS What Would They Know? Julia Doeven of Julias Celebrancy Services

Image by Noraa Photography

Is it important for the couple to organise a rehearsal before the wedding day?

I’m very on the fence with rehearsals! I love a good rehearsal when a lot of time as passed since I’ve seen the couple as then we can reconnect and sort out a lot of last minute issues and unanswered questions. However if a couple feel happy and confident enough to ‘wing it’ on the day I am all for that too! A rehearsal is only important if it will help the couple feel more prepared and relaxed for the day.

Do you travel away from Melbourne/Victoria to conduct wedding ceremonies?

Absolutely! I love a good road trip and it’s always a good excuse to make a day out of it and see more of this beautiful country! Some of the best venues are hidden in the outer regions of Victoria and I am all the more happier to get out there and discover them!

You also have an agency. Would you tell us about it?

Yay I was hoping you’d ask me about my agency! Julia’s Celebrant Agency is the wonderfully exciting new business of mine! It’s stemmed from something that I never quite understood…. Which was… Why isn’t there a platform out there that let’s a Bride and Groom see every Celebrant’s availability straight away?? Similar to a snazzy hotel booking system??! So I’ve put together a team of lovely Celebrants who are all creative, fun and professional and I’ve found two very clever computer programmers to help me create a website whereby Brides and Grooms can search for a Celebrant using a simple enquiry form. What’s awesome is that only the Celebrants who are available on the selected wedding day (and time) will appear. Saving everyone so much time and hassle! Celebrants love it because they are only getting enquiries for days they are available, and couples love it because they save so much time in emailing trying to find out who is available!

Julia’s Celebrant Agency is launching on the 7th of January 2015 so I’m pretty pumped for this new venture of mine!

polka dot 3RS What Would They Know? Julia Doeven of Julias Celebrancy Services

Image courtesy of Julia’s Celebrancy Services

Can you describe a typical wedding day in your life as a celebrant?

Even though most people see my job as just a “Saturday” job, I feel that it is quite the opposite. Mid week is where all my appointments, preparation and rehearsals take place, so on the weekend I’m usually pretty relaxed and have time to enjoy it like everyone else! My day usually starts with a decent sleep in (you can tell that I don’t have kids yet hey!!) and from there I like to have a decent breaky and maybe do some exercise if I’m in the mood. Chances are I’ve already packed my bag with the couples ceremony booklet and marriage certificates the day before, so all I really have to do on the day is make sure my PA system is charged and ready to go! I will use the location of the wedding to determine what my plans are that day… If it’s near my Mum or Dads house, I’ll pay them a visit before or after the wedding, or if I have time, I’ll try organize a breakfast or lunch date with a girlfriend before the wedding. I usually get to the wedding about half an hour before the ceremony starts, catch up with the groom, the people in charge of the music, any readers or musicians and then it’s show time!

Evenings are spent with my partner whether we’re at home or at social event. The life of a Celebrant is pretty fun and it gives me a lot of freedom to enjoy life just the way I like it! :o)

What is your favourite social thing to do when not working?

Eating out at new restaurants or taking a Salsa dance class!

Do you have other hobbies or interests that you pursue?

At the moment my hobbies are quite varied! I’ve been learning the Harp these last 2 years and I just sat my very first level 1 harp exam so that was a challenge! I LOVE the harp and have always wanted one, so I finally bought one a couple years ago and it’s been a slow but rewarding hobby ever since. Aside from this I am always planning the next date night with my partner or enjoying a good book or trying a new recipe. I love to cook! I also want to get really good at Salsa Dancing so I might take up some proper lessons in the near future.

polka dot 1RS What Would They Know? Julia Doeven of Julias Celebrancy Services

Image courtesy of Julia’s Celebrancy Services

I love living in Melbourne because……

Of all the awesome food!!

Thank you Julia for sharing your story. For more information about Julia’s Celebrancy Services visit the website.

Headshot courtesy of Julia’s Celebrancy Services.


The Best Of Polka Dot Wisdom 2014

by | Blog News, Wisdom


Ms Gingham

We love hearing from wedding vendors who are so generous in imparting their knowledge of all things wedding related to us! This year was no exception on the blog where we had a huge number of wedding professionals logging in and writing articles for our benefit. Here are our top posts from 2014.

1.Top Ten Bridal Trends For 2014

Henry Roth gave us the insider’s tips and upcoming trends for the year that was!

henry roth004 The Best Of Polka Dot Wisdom 2014

2.Bridal Fashion Trends 2014

Clearly we love having our finger on the pulse of fashion trends! This post by Fara Couture was our second most popular this year!

img kate middleton wedding dress 075548914142.jpg article gallery slideshow v2 550x336 The Best Of Polka Dot Wisdom 2014

3. The First Dance – What Do Those Lyrics Really Mean?

I loved this post by Andy Zito of TRIO and I’m so happy to see it reach number three on our most popular list. Hopefully couples are paying more attention to the lyrics of the songs they choose to represent their love for one another now!

coral orange wedding053 The Best Of Polka Dot Wisdom 2014

Jenna and James’ Coral Orange Wedding Image by Welsch Photography

4. Lovelocked: A Fresh New Bridal Fair

Brand new bridal fair concept Lovelocked launched to great accolades this year. We loved hearing all about the new fair where a full ceremony is styled and takes place in front of the “guests” who happen to be those attending the fair.

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Image by Nicole Barralet Photography

5. Wedding Albums – Are They Really Necessary?

Jade Norwood Photography joined us with this interesting post on wedding albums. Are they really necessary or can the same be achieved by keeping digital images?

wedding photo album 003 550x418 The Best Of Polka Dot Wisdom 2014

6. The Golden Rules For Being A Bridesmaid

This post written by our own Ms Chevron, who was a bridesmaid at her brother’s wedding this year, is such a beautiful letter to all future bridesmaids out there.

D T Colour 507 550x366 The Best Of Polka Dot Wisdom 2014

Image by Alcorn Images

7. What Would They Know? Jennifer Kennedy of Bells n Whistles Events

Our What Would They Know series is a weekly spot where we discuss all things business and wedding related with one of our vendors. It’s so great to see this post hit number 7 on our most popular list because it shows that we love hearing about these talented people (in this case Jennifer Kennedy from Bells N Whistles Events) and are interested in what they have to say behind the scenes!

Jennifer Kennedy of Bells N Whistles The Best Of Polka Dot Wisdom 2014

8. How To Write Your Wedding Vows

Joshua Withers has become a real regular on Polka Dot Wisdom and we just love having him because his posts are truly informative, entertaining and spot on with the current industry happenings! This one is no different and is a real example of a professional giving great advice to our readers!

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Photo by Just For Love Photography

9. What Is An On The Day Wedding Coordinator

Wedding planner Sharon of Wedding Day PA gave us this post about what makes an on the day wedding coordinator and how this service differs from a full wedding planning service. A great post by a lovely lady who at the time of publication happens to be newly engaged!

wedding day pa wedding planner 550x366 The Best Of Polka Dot Wisdom 2014

Image by Vanessa Norris Photography

10. How To Plan A Winter Wedding the Right Way

Another subject that’s close to our hearts is how to plan a winter wedding. This post by guest contributor Nat Green of Pillingers takes us through the ins and outs of planning a wedding at the cosiest time of year.

Fox Hare Country Weddinng0407 The Best Of Polka Dot Wisdom 2014

Image by Jonas Peterson via Whimsical Lavender And Green Queensland Wedding

What Would they Know? Shannon Harcourt of Little Flamingo

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


Polka Dot Bride

Little Flamingo What Would they Know? Shannon Harcourt of Little Flamingo

I must admit that playing with paper and design would be a dream of mine (oh – along with creating with flowers, being a fantastic cake baker, having the styling gene – the list goes on…), so it was a pleasure to pour over the stationery in Little Flamingo Creative Stationery’s website From soft and pretty to ornate and embellished, or simple elegance, there are so many styles to choose from – and that’s just the range in the online boutique! Throw in beautiful paper and even leather, with a bespoke design and you can let your imagination run wild. Let Shannon guide you to choose the perfect stationery to reflect the dream you have for your wedding day!

When did you start your stationery business?

I officially started Little Flamingo in 2007, which seems a lifetime ago now!

What do you most enjoy about designing stationery?

Playing around with papers, colours and embellishments. Sometimes I feel like a big kid playing with all sorts of pretty things and helping couples find the right stationery for their wedding!

Elegant Pocket Wedding Invitations3 What Would they Know? Shannon Harcourt of Little Flamingo

Elegant Pocket Wedding Invitations

What methods can brides use to order their stationery from you?

We have a range of wedding invitations and wedding day stationery available to order through our online boutique. Couples can select their font styles, colours, wording and design elements to create their own invitation suite. Our range is constantly being updated with the latest looks and our team is always happy to help couples decide on colours, wording, fonts and of course answer any questions!

For couples that have something particular in mind or want an invitation designed just for them we have our bespoke or custom service. Our team works closely with the bride and groom to create an invitation suite based on their ideas and inspirations.

If ordering a bespoke invitation from you, what are the steps/process bridal couples go through?

Some couples come to us and know exactly what they want while others aren’t so sure. We start with any inspiration the couples have collected. Colours, styles, papers, even printing methods. Whatever details the couple has found, loved and would like to incorporate into their wedding invitations. From there we discuss how we can use these inspirations to create a design that will best reflect them as a couple and their wedding style. Our designers work on different concepts for the couple including design, colours and embellishments. When the couple is happy with the overall look we then work with them on the wording for their stationery suite. Once we have the design and the wording we put it all together and email through proofs for approval. Once approved we get to work printing and assembling before delivering the couple’s wedding stationery directly to their door.

Destination World Map Wedding Invitations4 What Would they Know? Shannon Harcourt of Little Flamingo

Destination World Map Wedding Invitation

How much time should bridal couples allow for ordering their stationery?

We always suggest allowing 6 weeks for your stationery, longer if you are looking for a bespoke suite. This allows enough time for proofing, printing and assembly.

Production times do vary throughout the year, as does the complexity of different invitation suites. Sometimes we can turn around a simple design in a week! Mostly though, it takes on average 3-5 weeks to print and assemble our wedding invitations.

How do you decide which paper and ink is the most suitable? Does one sort of paper suit a certain design style more than another?

Selecting the right paper and ink combination is very important. When we letterpress we do so on beautiful cotton papers which give a deep indent when printing. Our handmade seed paper requires a delicate touch and our print style reflects that. We have a lot of designs that feature embossed elements and this looks lovely when teamed up with raised ink. It all depends on the invitation style and what best reflects the look we are trying to achieve with that design.

What are some of the more unusual papers and inks you have to offer? 

My current favourite paper for invitations is our handmade seed paper. This recycled paper not only has a gorgeous handmade feel to it but it is then embedded with a seed variety of the couple’s choice. I love the idea of having dinner with friends and the meal they serve includes the rocket or carrots they grew from your wedding invitation!

We also use faux leather and the super luxurious foil stamped velvet invitations (they look and feel amazing!)

Enchanted Tree Seed Wedding Invitation2 What Would they Know? Shannon Harcourt of Little Flamingo

Enchanted Tree Seed Wedding Invitation

What printing processes do you use for your stationery? 

We use a variety of different printing processes depending on the invitation design and the overall look and feel that invitation needs to give. Our print methods include flat printing, thermography (raised ink through use of heat and resin powder), embossing and foil stamping (pressing images into the card using metal dies).

You are offering a DIY aspect to your stationery business. Do you see this as an increasingly larger part of the market?

DIY is a growing market, although not all couples want to design, print and cut their own wedding invitations.

We currently offer a DIY assembly on our invitations. This allows our couples to be involved in the actual production process of their invitations (and save some money too!) without the worry of designing, printing and cutting their invitations. We print and cut all the paper and card so all our couples need to do is stick the pieces together. Most of our designs also come with glue dots to stick the pieces together. We try to make DIY really easy for our couples.

 What sorts of things do you find effective to cope with stress, when you have stationery jobs piling up and not enough time in the day? 

During the day, a cup of tea and an iced Vovo biscuit (or three!) always helps with the stress levels! Otherwise a margarita does the trick!

Our Love Pocketfold Wedding Invitations1 What Would they Know? Shannon Harcourt of Little Flamingo

Our Love Pocketfold Wedding Invitations

What are your favourite leisure pursuits?

Spending time with my 2 year old daughter playing kitchens! When I am not in the kitchen with her, I love to take time get out on the water and kayak or paddleboard, they really clear your head.

My favourite place for a meal with friends is…….

Hmmm… I have a few places, but my current favourite is Armchair Collective at Mona Vale Beach. I have to have the banana smoothie!

 Thank you Shannon for sharing your story. To find out more about Little Flamingo creative Stationery visit the website.

Images and headshot courtesy of Little Flamingo Creative Stationery

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