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Stay True To Yourself & Make Your Wedding Special

by | Wedding Planning Wisdom, Wisdom


Megan of Megan Aldridge Photography

Paul Simone03pp w501 h334 Stay True To Yourself & Make Your Wedding Special

“Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken.” Oscar Wilde

One thing I’ve noticed about a lot of recent weddings, is couples using their wedding day to share more of themselves with friends and family. No, I don’t mean sharing ‘The Blok” style video diaries about wedding preparations and what organic eggs you like for breakfast. Your style, philosophy, values and sense of humour are all different factors that tell your guests a lot about you and add to their wedding experience. It’s time to break the traditional wedding rules and do things your way!

1.What’s your style?

“Fashion is about dressing according to what’s fashionable. Style is more about being yourself.”  Oscar de la Renta
Forget about trends and fashions, find your own wedding style instead. Style is timeless. You don’t have to be super creative, just start a Pinterest board with colours and ideas you like, soon a look will emerge that’s all your own. Warning: Pinterest is addictive and in no way represents real life, situations or  normal people :D. Just don’t expect your photographer to be able to reproduce everything on that Pinterest board, it’s their job to come up with unique and beautiful images just for you!

2. Doing it your way.

Get inspired, but don’t follow trends if you think you may regret it later. ‘Vintage’ photos are still ‘in’, but will go out of style soon, just like other photography fads in the past (photo montage, anyone?). (NB: Anything with a moustache on it is not going to be cool in 5 years time, unless its on your husband to be!).

3. Getting organised

Planning a wedding is an overwhelming  task,  and with the huge multi-million dollar wedding industry and websites such as Pinterest and wedding blogs bursting with impossibly creative ideas and wonderful ways to spend lots of your money, how do you  begin? Melina, from Weddings by Maximy (Melbourne wedding organiser) has some great tips:

” A good idea is to have a check list to keep you on top of your planning.  The wedding planning process can be very stressful and it is easy to forget the smaller details. Ideally you need at least a year to plan your wedding; wedding related things tend to get booked a long time in advance! Remember it’s a celebration. It is important to remain calm, relax and enjoy the process. If you keep that state of mind even when things go wrong (which will definitely happen!) you won’t panic.  You will always surprise yourself with great alternatives!”

4. Bridal Party On!!

Uneven numbers in the bridal party – it’s ok, they don’t have to be in pairs or match. We had once had a bridal party with 5 really big guys and one tiny bridesmaid, and it looked great! There is no ideal number for the bridal party, big or small, we love them all! When it comes to choosing a dress for your girls, not every one of your bridesmaids will agree. It’s easier to find a good parking spot at Chadstone than a dress that suits everybody! Here are some ways to break the rules and keep everyone happy.

  • Bridesmaids can wear black, it’s elegant and white flowers with black dresses look amazing.
  • Bridesmaids can wear white, all white weddings look stunning.
  • If you are having a less formal wedding with only one bridesmaid, it’s a nice idea to let them choose their own dress.
  • Bridesmaids dresses don’t have to match exactly. Different dresses in a similar colour pallete or even contrasting colours can tie them together.

Black Bridesmaids Dresses Stay True To Yourself & Make Your Wedding Special

5. Choosing a location for photographs.

You don’t  have to go to the gardens or the beach for great photos. Think about your fave spot to hang out, a coffee shop, bar, fave city lane way, the fountain where he proposed, favourite style of architecture or old movie theatre.

If going to a different location doesn’t fit into your timeline, don’t worry about it. A good photographer can make anywhere look great. Great images are all about the light and the people, not the Hawaiian beach sunset backdrop, though that helps.

6. When Traditions May Not Suit Your Style

Ask yourself what’s important to you about your wedding. If it’s sharing your day with family and friends, then maybe disappearing for a few hours for photos isn’t going to be your cup of tea.

You don’t have to have a bridal party, a lot of couples are choosing to make their weddings about friends and family. This can leave more time to mingle with everyone and is a sure way to make your wedding special to you.

You can see each other before the wedding –  it’s called a ‘first look’. Some like to get the formals done before the ceremony so that they don’t have to leave their guests hanging around whole they run off for hours to take photos.

Melbourne Marriage Celebrants is a wonderful group of Ladies who have great advice about any wedding questions you might have. I asked them about their favourite ways to include friends and family in your wedding:

“Include as many people as possible. Have the celebrant acknowledge the important people in the couple’s life – parents, grandparents, siblings, children, matchmakers, mentors. Take it a step further and have them actively participate via spoken word or ritual. Outside of the ceremony itself, why not invite family and friends to a rehearsal and/or a rehearsal dinner, so they feel further included. Where guests travel significant distances and require accommodation, arrange a lunch or dinner on the wedding eve so they can get to know as many people as possible and perhaps spend a little more time with the bride and groom to be.Have a chat to your celebrant about your wishes and collaboratively you should be able to come up with special ceremony family and friend inclusions that accurately reflect you as the Bride and Groom”. Finally, recovery breakfasts/lunches are also a great way to ‘finish off’ the celebrations and allow everyone a chance to debrief and say goodbye to their new friends/family members post wedding.

7. Ceremony – Better Together

Are your kids in the wedding? Fantastic! Some of the most touching and emotional wedding ceremonies I’ve seen involved the couples’ gorgeous kids in the ceremony.

“Include family and friends by way of having them witness the signing of the certificate, holding and warming the rings, conducting a reading or prayer or some other family tradition – or perhaps even a ‘group vow’ to get everyone involved”Melbourne Marriage Celebrants

Above all, I hope you have fun with your wedding planning, enjoy it and share it. Accept help when someone offers, don’t try and do everything yourself. And remember that when it’s over, this is only the beginning, not the end!

Images by Megan Aldridge Photography

Swirl divider Stay True To Yourself & Make Your Wedding Special

Ms Gingham says: Excellent tips and advice!

Master Photographer, Megan Aldridge is a highly awarded Melbourne wedding photographer based in a boutique studio in Ferntree Gully, Outer Eastern Melbourne. She photographs weddings for lovely clients from all over Melbourne, Yarra Valley and Dandenongs, Australia and … The World.

Your Wedding Reception Music – How It Can Make Or Break Your Celebration

by | Entertainment Wisdom, Wisdom


Lisa of Tentrix Wedding Music
Find me on Ms Polka Dot's Directory

bells killcare wedding36 Your Wedding Reception Music How It Can Make Or Break Your Celebration

Images via Angie & Joel’s Wedding At Bells Killcare

Hair and makeup, the dress, the flowers and of course the food and drinks – all of these elements of a wedding reception are considered essential topics when it comes to wedding planning, but it’s interesting how far down the list people often put wedding reception music. It’s particularly interesting when you learn that various studies have shown that the two things that influence the overall success of a wedding reception most are the quality of the food and the music.

The food part is obvious, but take a moment to think about the influence of music too.  Imagine, you’ve gotten everything else just right. The ceremony went off without a hitch, you’re looking gorgeous and the guests are filing into the reception venue, ready to celebrate with you. But the band is so loud no-one can hear each other talk. Or they’ve started playing the chicken dance during the entree. Or the mood really requires some light jazz, but the DJ is only into trance music. Or the i-pod the best man brought along with all the bride and groom’s favourite tunes is not working. These are just a sample of some of the things that could go wrong – and worryingly, they are actually true stories!

The issue is, the wrong music (or lack thereof) has the potential to destroy the ambiance you’ve tried so hard to build with all your careful planning.

Ideally, whether you choose a DJ, Duo, Trio or larger band, it pays to enlist the services of professionals when it comes to sound. Why would you entrust one of the most important elements of your wedding reception – the music - to someone who’s not experienced in it?

It’s worth taking the time to find the right act for your wedding, taking into account your musical tastes, budget and the venue layout. It’s why we prefer to meet our brides and grooms in person before confirming the booking, just to make sure we’re on the same page. Talk to a few different people – you’ll soon know if you feel comfortable with the way they operate. It’s well worth the effort.

Swirl divider2 Your Wedding Reception Music How It Can Make Or Break Your Celebration

Ms Gingham says: No matter your style of music I think it’s so important to nail this one. Do no try to do it yourself.

About Tentrix: Tentrix is a Sydney based band dedicated exclusively to playing weddings across NSW. Why? Because we love weddings. And when you stick to what you love, you end up getting very good at it.

What Would They Know? Pascale Helyar-Moray of StyleRocks

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


Polka Dot Bride

StyleRocks What Would They Know? Pascale Helyar Moray of StyleRocksHow much fun it would be to design your own piece of jewellery, to look just the way you want it to, and have it arrive in a lovely parcel in the post! Well, you can do just this at StyleRocks, where you can choose anything from the style, to the gems, to the type of gold you want to use. Customising your own jewellery – be it for the men in your life, or for yourself, will ensure a piece that is unique to you, and with most pieces priced between $100 – $500 StyleRocks delivers not only on quality but on price as well.

What was the catalyst for starting StyleRocks?

My husband & I were living in London at the time and I was 8 months pregnant with twins. My husband, knowing my love of jewellery, offered to buy me a ‘push present’ for the babies arrival. However, due to my size at the time, I was simply unable to get to the shops. So I went online – and I searched for a week, looking for something that I would love. Nothing was right – I found myself wanting to customise everything I found. I don’t wear rose gold, I wear yellow gold; I don’t wear onyx, I wear blue topaz. It seemed fundamentally wrong to me that when jewellery is such a personal expression of your style, that you should have to settle for something that isn’t right, is expensive and that you’re going to spend the next few decades wishing you could change!

So we left it, completely frustrated. The twins were born and as you can imagine, their birth, in addition to a relocation to Australia shortly after, meant there was no time to look for jewellery. Looking for a return to work coincided with discovering another website where you could customise your own fashion item – and for the first time I realised this ‘DIY’ technology existed. Creating a website where you could customise your quality jewellery online seemed a great way to harness my passion for jewellery – and StyleRocks was born.

emerald cut emerald earrings stylerocks What Would They Know? Pascale Helyar Moray of StyleRocks

Emerald cut emerald earrings 

What do you love particularly about jewellery,  gems and the creativity they offer for design?

I love so many different aspects of jewellery. I love the way it can make you feel: expensive or cool, depending on your mood. I love that how what you can put on, finishes your outfit in a way like nothing else can. I also love how jewellery is a great conversation piece; I’ve had complete strangers start chatting to me in cafes or shops about the jewellery I’m wearing!

I’m definitely a gemstone girl and am fascinated by colour. Which colour works for me but which won’t work for a friend. How this gemstone looks a bit average when set in silver but really pops when in rose gold. I love unexpected colour combinations – all these things really are a form of creative expression.

What are the benefits of buying from StyleRocks over walking into a physical store and buying jewellery?

If you were to walk into a typical retail jeweler and find a ring that you liked, it would only be available in perhaps two different gemstones and/or two different metal colours. If none of those suited you, you would either then walk away or ask the jeweller if you could have that stone in (for example) amethyst and in a rose gold setting. If the jeweller was able to, then what follows is an expensive process where s/he has to source the materials, talk to suppliers, etc. This incurs time, which is then passed on to the customer, making the traditional jewellery customization process expensive – not to mention time-consuming.

StyleRocks, thanks to its partnership direct with manufacturer as well as ground-breaking technology, is able to remove the middleman – the jeweller. Essentially, StyleRocks allows you to customize your fine jewellery online – at a fraction of the retail jeweller cost.

What categories of jewellery do you offer?

StyleRocks offers women’s and men’s rings – including wedding rings – earrings, necklaces, bracelets and cufflinks.

Which metals and gemstones do you offer? 

The metals are all those used in fine jewellery: sterling silver, platinum and of course gold (9 or 18 carat) in any colour: white, yellow or rose.

For gemstones, we offer precious stones – diamonds, pink / blue / yellow sapphires, emeralds and rubies. These precious stones are all quite small in size, rather than the bigger engagement ring size gems. However we do provide valuation certificates on higher-priced items, typically for $1000 or more.

For the bigger cocktail rings, the gemstones we use are semi-precious: blue topaz, citrine, onyx, amethyst and so on.

Interestingly, customer demand has also shaped what we offer. We found that there were requests for beautiful pink, green and darker blue gemstones; the natural versions of these stones (of pink sapphires, emeralds and sapphires) would be incredibly expensive! The reason for this is that these gemstones are rarely found in this size naturally and to afford the ‘real’ deal, you would have to be incredibly rich to afford them. So we sourced hydrothermal versions of these gemstones – hydrothermal means made through a process of heat and water – and they’ve been incredibly popular. We’re very careful to label the gemstones as hydrothermal where relevant – we don’t want people to get confused.

silver key heart pendant stylerocks What Would They Know? Pascale Helyar Moray of StyleRocks

Silver key heart pendant

How do I go about customizing, for example a ring with a precious gem that I’d like to wear all the time?

It’s really easy and can be designed in less than 5 minutes:

1. Choose the style of ring you would like from the 30 design options available

2. Choose your metal: silver or gold or platinum. If gold, don’t forget to select the colour!

3. Choose your gemstone from the 16 gemstones available.

4. If you’d like engraving, add that in. We have a range of messages available, in a variety of languages and a choice of fonts.

5. Don’t forget your ring size: if you don’t know it, we have a print out ring sizer on the site. Alternatively, you can email us at info[at]stylerocks[dot]com and we’ll pop one in the post to you – free of charge.

6. Check out and wait for your beautiful customized jewellery to arrive – between 2 to 3 weeks later.

Can you offer suggestions, when the client is designing the item, as to whether the gem and the metal they have chosen are suitable for the purpose? 

We have taken a production eye with the combinations that we offer on the site – we won’t offer a combination if we don’t think it will work in practice. For example, with the higher-end sapphire and diamond rings, we don’t offer them in silver. Silver is the softest of all metals, and we don’t want to run the risk of a stone coming loose through repeated wear and tear. So for that reason, we only offer the high-end pieces in the strongest of metals i.e. 18 carat gold and platinum.

We have an extensive education page too, which gives customers a lot of information on the metals and gemstones, as well as general jewellery principles and care.

Every StyleRocker also receives a jewellery care book with purchase on how to look after their jewellery pieces.

And finally, we’re always available at info[at]stylerocks[dot]com for any questions you may have!

Can you give us examples of some favourite gems and designs you have seen lately?

Absolutely! I’m a jewellery maven so always on the lookout for beautiful baubles.

I blog regularly about celebrity jewellery (search ‘Blog StyleRocks’) – and with all the awards recently, such as the Golden Globes, the BAFTAs and the Oscars, there’s been an incredible amount of jewellery on display!

The most ‘wow’ jewellery I’ve spotted is from Angelina Jolie at the Oscars, wearing Robert Procop Exceptional Jewels. These 18carat yellow gold drop earrings contain a whopping 42 carats in their bezel setting. In this case, bigger is better!

Helen Mirren wore some incredible Asprey earrings from the Storm Collection at the BAFTAs; the workmanship and architecture behind these is nothing short of amazing.

Then, for some of the most unusual jewellery I’ve seen recently, it would have to be at the Grammys: Skylar Grey wore these L’Dezen Fierce earrings; sliced diamonds set in rose gold. Really interesting, I haven’t seen anything like this before.

RSLdezen fierce earrings skylar gray grammys 2014 What Would They Know? Pascale Helyar Moray of StyleRocksL’Dezen Fierce Earrings via StyleRocks

From StyleRocks however, my favourite new piece of jewellery is our amethyst & halo diamond ring set in 18ct white gold. We produced this in partnership with Lollypotz, the chocolate bouquet provider, for a special Valentine’s Day promotion – it was won by one VERY EXCITED lady! While the promotion was for amethyst – being the February birthstone – we offer the ring in a range of other gemstone colours that you just don’t find elsewhere. Want it in blue? How about blue topaz. Red? Try Rose Malaya garnet. What about pale pink? The morganite gemstone in rose gold setting is just unbelievably beautiful.

RS StyleRocks amethyst halo diamond ring 28 Jan 2014 top What Would They Know? Pascale Helyar Moray of StyleRocksAmethyst & halo diamond ring in 18ct white gold

And finally my favourite ‘older’ piece of StyleRocks jewellery is actually this cushion checkerboard ring; blue topaz in sterling silver. I have one of these and every time I wear it, women grab my hand and say ‘WHERE did you get this?!’. It looks incredibly expensive and worth far more than its $565 price tag.

RScushion checkerboard blue topaz silver ring top down treated What Would They Know? Pascale Helyar Moray of StyleRocksCushion checkerboard blue Topaz sterling silver ring

Are all your gemstones ‘real’? 

Yes they are, with the exception (as mentioned above) of the really big pink sapphire, emerald and sapphire rings – where to have the ‘real’ or ‘natural’ stones would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, owing to scarce supply. We’re explicit about stating where a gemstone is hydrothermal.

When it comes to the true precious stones (eg diamonds) and to allay any concerns, we provide valuation certificates for all purchases.

Do you see a trend in metals used, or designs, or stones in engagement rings?

We’re definitely seeing more of a trend towards using coloured stones in engagement rings. Diamonds will always have their place but increasingly more people are opting for something a bit different: if I think of my immediate friends, I can think of three women with tanzanite engagement rings and two with emeralds. The other thing to remember of course is that large coloured gemstones are much more affordable than large diamonds!

emerald cut pink sapphire cocktail ring stylerocks What Would They Know? Pascale Helyar Moray of StyleRocks

Emerald cut pink sapphire ring

Does it look stylish to wear multiple bracelets – and if so, should they be all in the same metal e.g. silver, or does it look better to mix it up with gold and silver?

I’m a fan of wearing multiple bracelets, particularly in yellow gold – Elle MacPherson does this look very well. In terms of mixing it up with your metals, I do like this look; there aren’t any rules  – just so long as it looks good with your outfit!

Birthstones – are these a popular concept for jewellery?

Birthstones never go out of fashion. We love it when customers customize something at StyleRocks with birthstones. For example, when this silver heart pendant is customized with an aquamarine (March’s birthstone), it takes on an extra dimension, and a new level of personalization.

What StyleRocks jewellery are you wearing this summer?

What am I NOT wearing! My weekend wardrobe tends to be very bright, so I wear our favourite cocktail ring in pink sapphire to tone in. I’ll also wear the cushion checkerboard blue topaz ring I mentioned earlier; I wear a lot of red, and this tends to offset that perfectly. I’m also wearing this key heart pendant as it’s a great accessory for a maxi dress. And for earrings, I’m keeping it simple – these gorgeous pink pearl drop earrings are great, taking me from day to night.

pink pearl shepherd hook earrings stylerocks What Would They Know? Pascale Helyar Moray of StyleRocks

Pink pearl earrings

Favourite activity for the weekend?

Weekends are usually pretty busy: I take the children to the beach or a party and spend some time with them. When not with the family, I try to grab some me-time – either by exercising or getting a massage or just chilling out with some fashion magazines.

Thank you Pascale for sharing your thoughts today. To find out more about StyleRocks visit the website.

Images courtesy of StyleRocks.

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