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Guests were treated to a glittering event in the Opera Point Marquee

On September 15 I headed down to the Opera House for The Ultimate Wedding Planning Party. My favourite part of the evening had to be listening to the industry professionals give all their tips and tricks for a successful wedding day. I’ve made a little summary of what they all said so you can all enjoy their words of wisdom too!

Please note that these are their opinions and in no way do you have to agree or live by them. Your wedding should be exactly that… YOUR wedding, so do what’s right for you and your partner.
Sarah Gawthorne – Editor of Bride To Be Magazine

  • From surveying readers, Bride To Be found that 50% of brides can’t wait ‘til the planning of their wedding is over and one in four wish they eloped to avoid the stress of planning a wedding. So worrying about details and planning is very normal!
  • What dress you wear is a personal choice – make it reflect who you are
  • Grooms are styling up more these days with one in five getting skin and hair treatments for the big day
  • Get a good photographer and videographer – your photos and videos are your reminders of the day (and especially handy if you have a bad memory)
  • Smaller weddings are trending right now – couples are still spending the same amount of money they would on a big wedding but are going for more intimate affairs with fewer guests
  • Styling and themes are also becoming more and more popular – use flair and colour to make your wedding suit you as a couple
  • Bridal parties – ask yourself, who do you want with you on the day? Who will make you laugh? Who will help you stay calm? Who will tell you that you look fabulous?
  • Perfect touches – have things that are unique and sentimental. This could be through your bonbonniere, flowers, guest book etc


Anthony Del Col – Wedding Stylist at Staging Connections

  • It’s good to know what you like but also really important to establish what you don’t like, especially if you’re using a stylist. They need to understand you and your style
  • Pick a supplier you’re comfortable with – you should click
  • In terms of styling, a theme should naturally evolve so don’t be afraid if you don’t have one
  • If you’re on a budget, spend money on the things you can see
  • Style your reception like your home, meaning to the best level you can
  • Centrepieces – these need to be above the head or below the chin so people can see each other across the table
  • Work with colours of flowers that are in season if you are on a budget
  • There’s no right or wrong. Make your wedding day what you want it to be
  • Have fun! The bride and groom should let go and stop stressing about the planning. This is what happens at the best weddings

Anthony Del Col & guests, Steven Khalil with his brides


Graham Monro – GM Photographics

  • Do your research and ask lots of questions when finding a photographer. Check to see if your photographer an accredited member of the Australian Institute of Professional Photography. All good ones will be
  • Pre-wedding engagement shoots are becoming popular. This is so you become comfortable with your photographer and they become comfortable with you. Tip: have the shoot in a sentimental place
  • Timing is important on your wedding day. Where is the ceremony, the location where you want your photos taken and the reception? Keep in mind traveling time and your guests. Drive between locations (before the big day) to work out the timing
  • If you’re having an outside ceremony you need to have a Plan B in case of rain. If you’re in Sydney, you go to the Queen Victoria Building to have your photos taken. They charge you $50 for this but donate the money to charity
  • The photographer should arrive where the bride is getting ready about an hour before you have to leave for the ceremony. This is the bride’s time and an opportunity to get some nice ‘getting ready’ shots
  • After the ceremony, don’t rush off straight away. Allow time for hugging and kissing with your guests. These make for great photos
  • For the bride and groom – hold your kisses! This will help the photographer can get the perfect shot
  • Write a list of photos you want and give it to the photographer. This will be helpful especially if you have lots of family you need photos with

Guests enjoyed a fashion parade which included gowns from Steven Khalil, Amsale (for Angela Wilson) , M.J Bale & Peeptoe Shoes

Abraham Joffe – Abraham Joffe Videographers

  • The humble wedding video has had a makeover in the last couple of years. Gone are the days of tacky effects and love heart graphics. Now they have more of a documentary feel and a cinema experience
  • A good videographer will want to get to know the couple so they can tell their story. Have coffee or lunch to get to know each other before the wedding
  • You want to be comfortable with your videographer and it should feel like friends have turned up when they arrive on your wedding day. They should also melt into the background
  • Your videographer should also try to weave significant moments from your lives into the film

Mark Baulderstone – Riedel Glass Australia

  • With bridal registries, think about your guests. You want to make life simple for them. If you have guests coming from all over the country/world, an easy way is to have an online registry. You can do this with Peter’s of Kensington
  • A wedding is a good excuse to update your wine glass collection, so make sure you put some on your bridal registry

Floral arrangements by Mandalay Flowers

Amy Erbacher – Amy Erbacher Beauty

  • Have a skin consultation three to six months before your wedding. This gives you enough time to work out any concerns with your skin
  • Do your research. Shop around for a beauty therapist to see what suits your budget
  • If you want to have a spray tan, get one with a green or purple base. Have a consultation one or two months before and try out different colours
  • Don’t be a bridezilla – a bad attitude will show up in your skin!
  • Eat lots of healthy foods, get lots of sleep, exercise regularly, have massages and see a naturopath. You need to relax
  • Try on your wedding gown before the big day and practice wearing it in front of your mirror

Photos by gm photographics

Styling by Form over Function

I recently spent the day walking around one of the most gorgeous parts of Sydney looking at reception venues for our lovely Polka Dot Bride readers.  On The Trippas White Open Day, I popped into The Mint on Macquarie Street, then I headed down to The Pavilion (which is opposite the Art Gallery of New South Wales) and the Botanic Gardens Restaurant, which is nestled amongst the treetops in the Sydney Royal Botanic Gardens.

If you’re a city person at heart, you might want to consider having your reception at one of these stunning venues. Here’s a little taste of each…

The Mint – 10 Macquarie St, Sydney

You’ll love The Mint if:

  • You like options
  • You’re after loads of character
  • You want something just a little bit different

The best thing about The Mint is that they can accommodate for a large reception (100 sit-down or 250 cocktail) in their glass auditorium that looks out onto a sandstone courtyard. There’s also a raised grass area where you can have your service. A separate bar adjoins the glass auditorium and it can be turned into a dance floor if you wish.

They also accommodates for smaller receptions upstairs in the Mint Café. You have a few options up here. You can dine alfresco on the verandah with up to 60 guests, or hold an intimate dinner in the dining room with up to 30 guests. You can also combine those two options and have a cocktail style affair with up to 100 guests.

Our Tip
For the courtyard and glass auditorium reception – hold it on a Saturday night so everyone can have a boogie on the dance floor and sip wine under the stars.

For the intimate dining experience – a lunch or dinner works here (there are packages for both) and make sure you soak up some sun on the front or back verandah.

The Pavilion – 1 Art Gallery Road, The Domain, Sydney

You’ll love The Pavilion if:

  • You’re a laidback couple
  • You like clean, bright spaces
  • You think simplicity is best

When you walk into the Pavilion, you’re hit with a fresh, light and airy vibe. It’s a circular room with a terrace attached that looks out onto the park. The great thing about this venue is that you can make it as formal or as casual as you want. Its style is modern and neutral, so you can really make the space your own with your wedding’s theme and/or colours.

There are sit-down and cocktail options and either will appeal to everyone’s inner foodie. They haven’t forgotten the kids either and there are some good meal options for them as well. For sit-down you can have up to 160 guests and for cocktail you can have up to 250.

Our Tip
You can have a breakfast reception here – the circular room would look amazing filled with the morning light. Also, if you’re after a relaxed feel, go with the canapés and cocktails because this place is perfect for it.

Botanic Gardens Restaurant – Mrs Macquaries Road, Sydney

You’ll love the Botanic Gardens Restaurant if:

  • You’re after a fantastic view
  • Your style is contemporary
  • You want a private oasis for you and your guests

If you love tree houses, tropical holidays and beautiful gardens, then you must have a look at the Botanic Gardens Restaurant. It overlooks a tranquil pond and you really feel secluded standing up on the balcony amongst trees. Inside, it’s very contemporary and it’s a spectacular place if you want your reception to have that chilled out, city style that Sydney is famous for.

Like The Mint and The Pavilion, there are sit-down and cocktail options. For sit-down you can have up to 145 guests with a dance floor and with cocktail you can have up to 250. They offer some great deals too – there are special winter discounts and they also offer a complimentary lunch for the couple to celebrate their first wedding anniversary.

Our Tip
Embrace the tranquility of the area and hold your wedding on the nearby lawns or in one of the themed gardens. This will also make for a quick trip back to the venue to continue your celebrations.

I absolutely love getting to know industry professionals- I am incredibly blessed to work with such talented people every single day!

This video showed up in my reader today and I wanted to share it with you. Not because of the fantastic singing (though that is a plus on a cold Tuesday!) But because of the fun behind the scenes aspect! A smile and a laugh provides the perfect insight into the personalities of two fun loving photographers.

Video is a pretty powerful tool in blogging, I can’t wait to share more videos with you soon!

Here’s Julian (of Kariz-Matik Photography who we featured on Polka Dot Bride Monday) and Steven of Steven Elmer Photography.

Kariz-Matik & Steven Elmer Photography from Julian Beattie on Vimeo.