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The Brides Guide To Jewellery

by | Jewellery Wisdom, Wisdom



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The Brides Guide To Wedding Jewellery

The attention that you give to your appearance and that of the wedding party shows, especially when it comes to jewellery. The type of jewellery chosen for a wedding has the potential to elevate your appearance or detract from it. Read on for suggestions in selecting the appropriate gems.

Jewellery and Wedding Location/Theme

When deciding upon jewellery, you should first take into consideration the type of wedding you are having. Different ceremonies call for different codes of dress. For example, a resort wedding will likely mean that the atmosphere is casual. An elaborate tiara would look out of place here, while a delicate locket may better suit the occasion.

The same holds true for themed weddings. If the bridal party is dressed as lords and ladies for a medieval wedding, their jewellery should look as though it could have been worn during that historical period. Western and Gothic-themed weddings call for casual and edgier gems, respectively. A little research beforehand will ensure that your choices coincide with the ceremony’s atmosphere.

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Jewellery and Bridal Gown

It’s important for your jewellery selection to complement your wedding dress. Necklaces and strands of pearls can flatter a strapless gown, but the same pieces worn with halter-neck styles will compete for attention at the neckline. For those styles, focus on placing jewellery on areas such as the wrists or ears. Steer clear of additional rings on fingers, though. Not only do they have the potential to confound a nervous groom when he goes to place the bride’s wedding band, but they can draw attention away from a beautiful engagement ring.

You need to consider the ornateness of your wedding dress, as well. Beaded necklines, crystal-studded bodices or workings of elaborate lace in the sleeves and train have enough embellishment of their own without additional jewellery. In these cases, you may want to choose smaller accessories such as pearl studs, a teardrop pendant or a diamond tennis bracelet.

While tradition calls for wedding gems to be diamonds, pearls, or “something blue”, it’s quite acceptable to wear jewellery of a different gemstone if it poses significant meaning to you. For example, a grandmother’s emerald brooch may make a fetching hairpiece, or a ruby heart necklace gifted to you from a loved one can flatter an ensemble. If you are going for a modern or more casual wedding, there is nothing wrong with selecting gems that add a pop of fresh colour to your dress.

Jewellery For The Bridal Party

As the bridesmaids’ dresses are not to compete with that of the bride, nor should any gems they wear. You have the choice of supplying your bridesmaids with matching jewellery or allowing them to pick from an assortment of complimentary pieces. As for younger members of the bridal party, such as flower girls, jewellery should be smaller and age-appropriate.

Jewellery For The Reception

One of the things brides tend to overlook when it comes to selecting wedding jewellery is how it will coincide with their reception wardrobe. If you choose to change out of your gown into a shorter, festive dress, then your gems need to be able to make the transition, too. If that isn’t possible, no need to worry. A reception is the perfect opportunity for you to display the more colourful, unique jewellery designs that you could not or would not otherwise wear during the actual ceremony.

Choosing wedding jewellery can be an enjoyable experience. With a little bit of forethought, you can be sure that your accessories are unique and flattering.

Images from Hotsy Totsy

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Ms Gingham says: Great ideas and advice. I love the idea of changing your jewellery at your reception for a more fun look!

About Francesca: My name is Francesca, I work for a startup jewellery retailer called Hotsy Totsy, I’m massively into anything fashion, jewellery, design or wedding related – just don’t tell my boyfriend about that last bit!

Brunch with the Experts – Weddings Unveiled

by | Event Reviews, Wedding Planning Wisdom, Wisdom


Ms Floral

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A champagne brunch and lots of wedding talk on a Sunday morning? Truly a beautiful idea. Recently I got to head along to Weddings Unveiled with Mr Floral (who, like most guys, is always reluctant to get involved in wedding things!). But I’m pleased to say we BOTH had a fabulous time, nibbling on canapés from ARIA Catering and checking out Decorative Events + Exhibitions gorgeous showroom – they had everything from coordinating chair ribbons and table cloths, to glass jars and blackboards, as well as little areas styled for weddings in all different themes. Absolutely gorgeous.

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The biggest highlight was the massive amount of information that the four speakers on the day gave to brides and grooms-to-be. They were so generous with their time and you could tell that each of them was very passionate about their individual crafts – something you definitely want and should expect from your chosen suppliers.

Lucky for you (if you weren’t there), I scribbled down their top tips.

First we heard from Rebecca at ARIA Catering. She really hit the nail on the head when she said that brides and grooms MUST keep the guest experience in mind. Food and beverage can really encourage people to have a good time, and it will be something they remember from your event. She also suggest considering different types of catering:

* Big impact – food stations (dessert, cheese, risotto etc).

* Roving food (works for canapés on arrival, dessert).

* Sharing menu – platters of food in the middle of the table.

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Next up was Graham Monro from GM Photographics. These points are the ones that really stood out for me when thinking about wedding photography:

* You need to get the best out of your wedding photographer – look at their work and their volume of work. Depth, quality and consistency is king.

*A good hair and makeup artist is essential and should work with your photographer on timings on the day.

* Have a Plan B for weather and stay positive if it rains. Graham’s team have beautiful white umbrellas that make for great photos, for example.

* Learn how to walk, pose and move in your wedding dress.

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Then Linley from Decorative Events + Exhibitions shared some key styling tips for weddings that I find help simplify the (overwhelming!) process and assist when thinking, researching and buying decorations for the big day.

* Commit to a certain style. Go with it and build upon your design.

* Styling should be a reflection of you. What do you as a couple like? Also you can add personal touches that could also be take home gifts.

* Make sure your styling compliments your venue. Take inspiration from your surroundings. You don’t want your styling to look out of place.

* Think about different times of day – how will your reception space look in the day and at night?

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Kathy from Nightingales finished off by singing the praises of a wedding planner. This opened my eyes to what they can do besides just bringing your stress levels down! Wedding planners can be fantastic because they know how to pull everything together, who to work with and can save you time and money by making the right choices. Some other interesting things to note that Kathy said are:

* Wedding planners strive to give you everything on your wish list in your budget. Let them know everything you want.

* They are also good at guiding suppliers, especially if they are inexperienced. This gives you time to focus on getting MARRIED.

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I came away from the brunch feeling very inspired AND excited, plus a little wiser, hearing the inner workings of four important aspects of a wedding. Hope this helps with your planning! What tip do you find most useful?

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Photos by GM Photographics

What Would They Know? Lise Rodgers of Lise Rodgers Celebrant

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


Polka Dot Bride

Lise Rodgers What Would They Know? Lise Rodgers of Lise Rodgers Celebrant

Where would a wedding be without the marriage celebrant to formalise proceeedings? Lise Rodgers is a Marriage Celebrant based in Melbourne, Victoria. For those couples who don’t want to get married in a church, Lise offers a fuss free alternative with personalised wedding vows,  in a beautiful location of your choice around Melbourne and Victoria. With gorgeous images by Fi Mims Photography Lise shares with us her thoughts about her profession.

What was your profession in a former life and why did you decide to change it to become a celebrant?

I’ve been a professional performer most of my life, so in becoming a registered Marriage Celebrant in 2008, it was more a question of “adding another string to my bow” rather than retiring from one career and taking on another. Celebrancy seemed a natural fit, allowing me to use all the skills and experience I’d acquired over the years as an actress – how to listen, how to write, how to choreograph, how to create a mood, how to speak well and engage an audience. Not to mention a sharp eye for detail and paperwork. All qualities I’ve found invaluable in establishing a successful celebrant practice.

Briefly, what do the legal requirements involve and how long does the process take?

The legal requirements are relatively few, but of great importance because at it’s most unromantic, Marriage is a legal contract that changes your status under law. The Marriage Act of Australia 1961, requires a couple to give one month’s notice of their intention to marry by lodging a Notice of Intended Marriage with their celebrant. They must provide evidence of who they are and how old they are – date and place of birth and photo ID. They must declare their current marital status and if married before, provide evidence of how and when that marriage ended. Depending on a couple’s circumstances, the paperwork can usually be handled in one or two meetings. The act also specifies certain procedures be included in the ceremony. The couple must have a witness each, over the age of 18. These witnesses must hear both celebrant and couple, say specific words and then co-sign the couple’s Marriage certificate accordingly. Whilst these requirements take up only a few minutes of ceremony time, without them, the marriage wouldn’t be legally valid.

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How do couples choose a celebrant that is right for them?

Different people have different priorities when planning their wedding and of course for most couples they’ve never done this before and are learning as they go. They know they’re required to have a ceremony and that they need a celebrant to conduct it. They’ve probably been to a few weddings and seen some in action – but not much more about what’s involved. Understandably, they start out allocating a budget – venue, reception, dress, photographer, flowers, cars, cake, celebrant……and go shopping accordingly. But that’s where it gets hard. There are so many celebrants! Why do they charge such different prices when basically they’re all doing the same thing? And really that’s the crux of the problem, because apart from the legals that we’ve talked about, there is no stock standard ceremony, there is no right or wrong – so it’s very hard to quantify what a celebrant does and most couples don’t realize how much time a good celebrant spends “behind the scenes”, nor what a difference a well crafted, well presented ceremony makes to their wedding day and how much choice they have in creating it.

For some, price is everything and their focus is on getting the lowest quote they can find. The ceremony is the least important part of their day, it’s merely a process they’re obliged to go through by law and they just want someone qualified to say the minimum words, sign the certificates and get it over with, so that they can move on to the things that are more important to them. They don’t care who does it, as long as they’re cheap.

For others, it’s about knowing that they want something different. Not wanting it to be a “process”, but something truly relevant to their lives. Their ceremony is very important to them, they want it to say something about them as a couple and have given a great deal of thought to what they would like to achieve. They’re looking for inspiration, a celebrant who understands and encourages them, who’s open to suggestion, willing to spend the time and energy required to create something totally unique.

But I find that the majority of couples aren’t really sure what they want. They’d like their wedding to be special, but assume that all celebrants provide much the same service. They’ll say, “we just want something simple” which more often than not, is followed by what they don’t want – nothing too long, no bad jokes, no boring readings, nothing too formal  – their  “no” list saying a great deal about the ceremonies they’ve seen. They’re nervous, knowing they have to have a ceremony but concerned about being part of something that “isn’t them”, that will cause them to feel awkward and embarrassed whilst being the centre of attention. Their expectation is that they’ll be shown a couple of sample ceremonies to choose from and are hoping that they won’t find them too uncomfortable. It’s only after we spend some time together talking through their plans, that they realize it doesn’t have to be that way. That not all celebrants are the same and they don’t have to have a ceremony that doesn’t suit them, like those they’ve seen before. That if a ceremony is specifically written to celebrate who they are, in a style and language they can relate to, that celebrates their love story; there’s nothing to feel awkward about because it’s a perfect fit. That just as the decisions they’ve made about their reception, their music, their colour theme, their cars, say something about them as a couple; so too should their ceremony. That it’s possible to have a ceremony that everyone – family, friends and especially bride and groom, can relax and enjoy; with a celebrant willing to take care of all the details to make sure that everything runs smoothly. Making the ceremony, if not the highlight, then certainly a wonderful beginning to their special day.

So my advice would always be, choose someone who makes you feel comfortable and confident, who can answer all your questions and offer guidance. Yes, cost is a consideration, but just as there is no standard ceremony there is no standard fee, so making a decision on price alone can be misleading. Remember, a professional celebrant’s fee will always reflect the experience, expertise, time and skill they intend to invest in your ceremony. Find someone you can both talk to easily and who’s a good listener, someone who’s interested in YOUR wedding and able to help you to visualize and achieve YOUR perfect day.

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You create each ceremony on an individual basis. You must have a natural talent for writing straight from the heart…..

Well that’s my aim. I like to spend time gathering information about each couple – getting a feel for their lives and personalities. I’m interested in any detail that will colour my image – turn of phrase, character, hopes and dreams; likes, dislikes, good times and bad; jokes and quirks, the milestone moments and the everyday – so that when I sit down to write, it’s as though they’re with me and I can see and hear them as I work. Maybe it’s the actress in me but I’m always looking for what makes them tick so to speak and I like to think that’s why each ceremony I write sounds so natural and genuine – as though I’m writing about friends.

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Should couples approach you with ideas, or is deciding on the format of the ceremony a process that evolves over your meetings together?

Definitely it’s a process that evolves over time, a collaboration, and often it starts with ideas that a couple bring to our first meeting. Some people know very definitely what they want and can see the whole scenario, others know what they would like to achieve but aren’t sure how to do it, but many couples have no idea initially and are looking for guidance. I see my role as both a sounding board and a source of inspiration. Sewing seeds of possibility that blossom into ideas during the planning phase of the ceremony. Often I won’t start writing until a month or two before the day, allowing plenty of time to research and think about the ceremony first. In fact I think there’s something to be said for not having it locked in to soon and usually aim to have a first draft ready a few weeks before the day. Then there’s an immediacy and freshness which is good, all the other wedding decisions are well and truly taken care of and the couple can focus on the draft – fine tuning it as they wish and adding in their personal vows.

What do you love about hearing the couples’ stories?

The similarities and the differences that go to make each one unique and special. Everyone has a story to tell – no matter how “shy”, how “ordinary”, how “boring” they think they might be and it’s always a privilege and a pleasure to listen.

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Are traditional rituals or symbolism used very often today, in ceremonies?

Certainly – a wedding ceremony itself is a traditional ritual and the act of exchanging rings or saying the words “I do” are recognizable as symbols of marriage even though neither is a legal requirement. Rituals and symbols express something beyond words and for many couples, have great cultural and personal significance, so to include them or pay tribute to them in their ceremony is yet another way of telling their story and can be a perfect opportunity to bring people together in a ceremony. But if they are used out of context or poorly executed, when they don’t ring true or don’t say anything about the couple – then my advice would always be, to leave well enough alone.

What is the most inspirational/heartfelt/joyous wedding you have created?

Now that’s a hard one – they all have their special moments. But recently I had the pleasure of marrying a couple whose story was unlike anything that I had worked on before. They were African and had first met eight years ago in a refugee camp as displaced persons following a civil war. He had managed to gain entry to Australia some three years ago, but she had to remain behind. When I met first met him, it was to begin the process of arranging for his fiancé to come here too. As we sat together and he told me something of his life – the unimaginable hardships and loss – whenever he mentioned her name, his face just lit up and his smile stretched from ear to ear. He’d made the most of his time in Melbourne, working two jobs and studying; doing everything he could to prepare for the day when his fiancé could join him, and every time he said her name – there would be that wonderful expression. I couldn’t have been more pleased for them when almost eighteen months later, her visa was finally granted and we could set a date. They were married in my garden, with just a witness each, in the very simplest of ceremonies. Despite some language difficulties, they had both wanted to say something special to each other on the day and with a little help from me, managed to say the beautiful, personal vows we had worked on. Knowing how long they’d waited, never losing hope despite their years of separation; to see them looking deep into each others’ eyes and feel the honest emotion as they said those words of love…….. A moment I will never forget.

Indoors or outside – do you have a venue that you particularly like performing marriage ceremonies at?

One of the great things about the work I do is the range of venues that I get to visit and how much thought couples put in to finding a location that suits their style. Melbourne is known for its beautiful gardens and heritage architecture, not to mention some spectacular beaches and hilltop views. However it’s equally known for its unpredictable weather! So my preference is always for a venue that can accommodate a sudden downpour or a gusty north wind on a 40 degree day. The Dome at 333 Collins St. Melbourne, or the chapel at Stones of the Yarra Valley are two favourite indoor venues. The Botanic gardens of course – particularly the Tecoma Pavilion and Gardens House, where it’s possible to get the best of both worlds. The grand Portico Balcony at the Melbourne Town Hall, The Sandbar at Middle Park – where you’re literally one step from the sand and five steps from the water. I particularly like The Melbourne Museum with its amazing contemporary spaces, the forest gallery and Bunjilaka centre, all set among the heritage Carlton gardens. Recently I had the pleasure of conducting a fantastic ceremony there in the Kalaya performance space – a truly individual ceremony location.

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Who most inspires you?

An odd mix –

Jane Austen –  for her lively wit and ability to catch the essence of a moment and convey it simply and honestly in beautifully chosen language.

Queen Elizabeth II – for her total dedication, enthusiasm for life and seemingly endless energy.

Strangers whose random acts of kindness and courtesy make me smile everyday.

Where can we find you having coffee on a Saturday morning?

At home in my garden – weather permitting – preparing for a busy day, recharging my batteries with a long black and the smell of lavender rubbed between my fingers.

What a lovely story about the couple who were married in your garden Lise. It just goes to show that true love can transcend time and distance! To find out more about Lise’ celebrant services visit her website.

You can also find Lise in Ms Polka Dot’s Directory.

Headshot by Helen Madden Photography and Graphics (phone (03) 9571 9752 ).


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