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What Would They Know? Ed Thomson of Ed Dixon Food Design

by | Food & Catering Wisdom, What Would They Know?, Wisdom


Polka Dot Bride

Ed Thomson of Ed Dixon Food Design

“We live and love food.”

Melbourne’s renowned catering company, Ed Dixon Food Design is more than a culinary experience. With a team of passionate, personable and fun event enthusiasts, each event is elevated to be a creative and vibrant experience for their clients. Their commitment is to the design of all event elements; including venue sourcing, furniture, floral and decor styling as well as using locally grown, seasonal and ethically sourced produce to create delectable menus.

Ed Dixon Food Design is proudly supported by many of Melbourne, and Victoria’s top restaurant and event venues. Their business is built on strong relationships, working with great people, energetic staff, committed suppliers and giving their clients an event experience unlike any other. The team at Ed Dixon Food Design are passionate, energetic professionals who work closely with clients to create memorable events, big and small.

With fourteen years’ experience Ed Dixon Food Design caters daily for weddings, as well as corporate events and gala dinners. In every way Ed Dixon Food Design encourages food as a celebration. Their passion for food is celebrated with use of the best, ethically sourced ingredients, seasonal menus and a simple fresh food philosophy.

Ed Dixon Food Design 1

Image by Tess Follett Photography

How long has Ed Dixon Food Design been in existence?

Ed Dixon Food Design was founded by Ed Thomson in 2001.

Did Ed Dixon Food Design start as a catering business to which you added styling and event management, or have you always offered the ‘whole package’?

Event management is integral to the successful running of any event & has always been on offer by the team at Ed Dixon Food Design.

Ed was previously an Interior Designer, when the business was founded; so design and styling were paramount to the package. A strong design concept is paramount through all event aspects: styling, menu design, furniture hire, floral, beverage selection, cocktail design, AV & lighting.

How many venues are you the preferred caterer for?

EDFD has a portfolio of approximately 40 venues that they work with, along with clients approaching them with their own homes and spaces. The EDFD venue portfolio is constantly evolving as new spaces come available. A perfect example of this is Lauren’s Hall in North Melbourne. This venue was discovered by a friend of Ed’s when looking for a table. Ed loved it and convinced the furniture makers to allow weddings and events to take place in their amazing space. Now it is a full time venue available for hire…..

Please describe some of the diverse venues you are linked to?

The range of their venues reflects the diversity of their clients.  EDFD offers the complete package for weddings yet they are not a reception centre. Every wedding is unique and brides come to them for this reason. Their venues range from country properties, city art galleries, theatre spaces to photography studios. (Editor’s note: check out the Inner Melbourne venues here, Melbourne CBD venues here and regional Victoria venues here)

Ed Dixon Food Design 3

Image by Ben Christensen Photography

Often couples choose the venue before the food aspect of the wedding. However, if choosing your services first, are you then able to guide couples to venues that most suit their style?

Most brides do select the venue first, yet for many brides food is the integral component of the wedding.  Many clients approach EDFD first and have a lengthy discussion about menu concept and timing.  They will then ask for this menu to be quoted in three venues so they can make a decision.

Please detail the other services you offer to the bridal couple? Are you able to organize the whole wedding for a couple?

EDFD can offer a complete service for all brides, this can include:

·       venue sourcing

·       wedding concept & design

·       marquee hire

·       furniture hire

·       Audio visual & lighting

·       floral

·       styling & decor

·       entertainment

·       photography, celebrants,

·       and of course: specialty food & beverage supply & service.

After nearly 15 years in the business, EDFD have many trusted suppliers. Brides have the choice for EDFD to offer full event management or we are happy to let brides co-ordinate some aspects themselves.

Ed Dixon Food Design 7

Image by Raspberry Robot Wedding Photography

Do you feel you are known for a floral and decor ‘style’ when styling the event? How would you describe your style and what elements do you use to achieve this?

EDFD are known for beautiful decor and floral at their events.  This is due to their incredible suppliers who assist them to ensure their client’s vision is realised. The aim of each wedding concept is to have a design which is reflective of the personality of the bride and groom. The style of each wedding is unique due to this factor.

Pinterest is a fantastic tool for brides and grooms. The team at EDFD encourage their clients to build a wedding page with images that they love.

Are you able to advise on marquee hire?

EDFD have worked with many country, peninsula and city marquee hire companies.  They are able to arrange the best pricing and know all the essentials that are also required.  This can include specialty lighting, flooring, kitchen marquee as well as cool room and generator hire.

Do you offer couples new concepts and ideas on what suits their chosen venue, or are there no ‘rules’?

The design team at EDFD are always on the hunt for new concepts and food service trends.  They are mainly influenced through their own travels, social media and eating out every opportunity they can.  They are always enthusiastic to replicate these experiences into events.

One of the company policies with weddings is that there are no ‘rules’. These days speeches do not need to be in a particular order, bridal dances can be at the beginning of the reception, cakes can be cut on arrival and most of all the venue selection and menu can be anything the bride and groom desire.  It is the job of the EDFD event managers to turn a vision to reality.  They endeavour to make the wedding ceremony and reception an amazing experience.  If this means lugging tubs if champagne to an isolated beach or setting up tipis in the bush, the team are up for the challenge.

Ed Dixon Food Design 2

Image by Sarah Wood Photography

What are some great (food and styling) ideas you’ve implemented over the years?

Over the years some of our favourite food and styling ideas are:

  • The theatre space, fortyfivedownstairs launched the concept of ‘hanging’ floral.  Most of the weddings at this venue incorporate a hanging floral which is so very dramatic.
  • Many weddings have a relaxed theme which is suited to their ‘rotisserie menu’ a whole roasted lamb or pork adds a sense of occasion and fun. The meat is incredibly delicious slowed roasted over hot coals and served with beautiful salads, crispy lemon & garlic smashed potatoes and delicious dressings.
  • Cocktail style weddings should not mean going to ‘that place’ for a burger on the way home.  For every cocktail wedding EDFD is known for their grazing tables. The concept is that guests can help themselves to food at any time during the event as well as being served a variety of canapés and little bowls and mini dishes.  A well fed guest is the goal here!  The table is set up in either a rustic or modern style and is available from the minute guests arrive at a reception. Their signature food for grazing tables are whole sticky glazed hams with mustards, relishes, artisan breads along with gooey 3 kilo French bries, amazing blue cheeses drizzled with honey, grilled seasonal vegies, shucked oysters, prawns loads of lemon wedges…the list is endless.
  • With many modern restaurants offering a shared table experience this translates in events into the shared menu.  Brides & Grooms love to see all their families and friends passing platters, sharing and enjoying lots of delicious treats.
  • The hiring companies have really lifted their game and there are now incredible options of furniture to hire.  Brides and grooms style up their wedding to echo their home decor or dream home!
  • We love natural timbers and the whole ‘Scandi Chic’ trend.  The use of timber works so well with many of our venues due to the brick or warehouse interiors. Neutral fabrics such as natural linens and a more subtle palette ensure that the floral has a massive impact.

What sorts of menus do you offer?

There are many menus which are appropriate for weddings.

  • Chef’s menu: A chance to show off!  This menu offers a delicious and creative dining experience with an emphasis on style, flavour (of course) and a nod to current food trends.  The chef’s menu will bring a sophisticated edge to your event.
  • Bistro menu:  For more relaxed occasions, where the emphasis is on good wine and conversation as much as good food, the bistro menu provides simple and delicious menu options. Presentation and flavour are still paramount!
  • Shared table: An informal, relaxed & interactive way to eat – this menu consists of beautifully presented platters of food designed specifically for guests to share.
  • Cocktail style menu: a range of canapés, grazing table, mini dishes, supper bowls as well as little dessert canapés.

Ed Dixon Food Design 5

Image by Ben Christensen Photography

Do you have philosophies about the food you serve?

In every way the EDFD team encourages food as a celebration. Their passion for food is celebrated with use of the best, ethically sourced ingredients, seasonal menus and a simple fresh food philosophy.

What are some great food discoveries you’ve made in the last 12 months?

EDFD embraces new food and styles of service, yet the classic always stays stylish and chic.

  • Classic barbecued prawns served with a classic tartare sauce and lemon cheeks as well as vitello tonnato.
  • Korean ingredients add incredible flavour, the chefs are serving sliders with a kimchi slaw, a Korean version of southern fried chicken translates into: ‘crispy rice cracker chicken with siracha mayo’.
  • Ancient grains are a plenty with delicious salads, Ottolenghi inspired.
  • Tofu has become a star ingredient on the EDFD menus of late, not just a vegetarian option: Peanut tofu momofuku bun, coconut sambal & cucumber salad.
  • Charcoal is an ingredient they could have never had imagined being on trend: confit heirloom tomato, smoked goat’s cheese, black olive salt & charcoal wafer.

What is the best piece of advice you can offer to brides and grooms?

  • Don’t sweat the small stuff, a great venue, awesome food, cold bubbles, great music, what else do you need?
  • Long dress by day, party dress by night!
  • Trust the professionals; they are there to help and guide.
  • Get seating plans, table layouts, speeches etc written and confirmed a few weeks prior. You don’t need to be doing these stressful things the day before your big day.
  • The week prior to a wedding is for relaxing and celebrating.

Ed Dixon Food Design 4

Image by Ben Christensen Photography

How do you and the team celebrate milestones?

The EDFD team celebrate milestones doing what they love best! Eating, drinking and dancing. They celebrate their staff Christmas party every January in their down time.  The team are always on the hunt for Melbourne’s hottest new culinary experiences and venue spaces, opting for after work get togethers regularly!

Thank you Ed for sharing your culinary and styling thoughts with us. What gorgeous ideas and venues to consider! To find out more about Ed Dixon Food Design please visit the website.

Headshot by Sarah Wood Photography.

The Bridal Bazaar Couture Show

by | Event Reviews, Fashion Wisdom, Wisdom


Ms Filigree

WeddedWonderland_1.10.15-93Hayley Paige          

The night of nights. The couture show at the Bridal Bazaar was a magical night for lovers of couture, beauty and femininity. Upon the announcement that couturiers such as Paolo Sebastian, George Elsissa and Pallas Couture would be showcasing their collections, guests were waiting with bated breath for the night to start.

WeddedWonderland_1.10.15-135George Elsissa

As the crowd gathered around the runway that was exquisitely decorated by Diane Khoury Weddings with crystal chandeliers and vibrant blooms in gemstone shades of amethyst, emerald and topaz, excitement was building as we waited for the show to start. Taking our seats alongside industry and social influencers including Lynette Bolton, Nicholas Huxley, Pheobe Garland, Heather Mailman and Jacinda Golomino, the lighting dimmed and the show commenced.

WeddedWonderland_1.10.15-109Pallas Couture

WeddedWonderland_1.10.15-86Judy Copley Couture

Opening with a stellar performance by Prinnie Stevens in a flawless black jumpsuit, the models emerged draped in couture gowns that wowed the audience one after the other. With the procession of gorgeous bridal gowns, there was a beautiful trend emerging of embellished gowns with sheer detailing.

WeddedWonderland_1.10.15-126Alin Le’ Kal

WeddedWonderland_1.10.15-61Lillian Khallouf

WeddedWonderland_1.10.15-83Judy Copley Couture

WeddedWonderland_1.10.15-78Sant Elia

Layering sheer lace and beading detail over subtle netting and tulle accentuated the female form in a ‘classic meets contemporary’ look for the Spring Summer bride! Whether it was a body skimming look like the flawless styles from Steven Khalil or a princess ball gown from George Elsissa, these exquisitely embellished gowns were all works of art!

WeddedWonderland_1.10.15-145George Elsissa

WeddedWonderland_1.10.15-121Paolo Sebastian

WeddedWonderland_1.10.15-62Lillian Khallouf

Accompanying the stunning bridal gowns were the charming  flower girls that twirled their way down the runway. In beautiful creations by Stellina Cute Couture, these girls stole the show with their cuteness!

WeddedWonderland_1.10.15-73Stellina Cute Couture

WeddedWonderland_1.10.15-140George Elsissa

As the runway came to a close, guests, while enjoying the delicious dessert treats,  proceeded to explore the gorgeous stalls throughout the bazaar which included couture designers, photographers and hair and makeup artists!

WeddedWonderland_1.10.15-114MXM Couture

Images via The Bridal Bazaar | Wedded Wonderland


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Ms Chinoiserie Says: Stunning gowns for the upcoming season – what a beautiful night!

Beautiful Gowns For Real, Curvy Brides

by | Fashion Wisdom, Wisdom


Find me on Ms Polka Dot's Directory

Yolanda close up plus size Gwendolynne wedding dress copy

Recently, I’ve wanted to create awareness for women of all sizes, in particular the curvy woman, that they can wear a couture gown. Upon researching beautiful imagery for this genre, I couldn’t find many images that I believe reflected a beautiful curvy woman in a couture gown. This spurred me on to create this “Renaissance Curves” shoot to help get an important message out… curvy women can be sensually stylish and subtly elegant in a beautifully crafted gown.

“The curves of a woman really compliment the form of a dress despite a world of fashion that doesn’t always cut or design a gown to suit a woman’s shape.”

As a designer with almost 30 years in the industry, I have created gowns for so many different shapes, sizes and personalities ranging from Size 3 to 25. Our gowns at Gwendolynne are all made to measure, so that each one of our clients ends up with a gown that is perfectly fitted for them. It is so fulfilling to see how happy a client is with a gown that fits her well and is flattering, particularly for women with fuller proportioned busts and those who normally struggle to find a garment.

We welcome everyone and make every effort to make the experience comfortable and enjoyable for our clients. It is disturbing when we hear women walk into our shop who have been told elsewhere that they have nothing for her because of her size. I have personally ranged from a Size 8 to Size 16 with a D bust and a tendency to constantly fluctuate, so I have a good understanding of the frustration that can be associated with finding garments that fit me properly.

Gwendolynne - Nouveau Curvy Bride

It’s all about what is most flattering for you and finding someone who can direct you with their expertise and experience. Our Made to Measure gowns evolve over a six-month period with an initial measure, three fittings, a fit check and then a final pick up where any issues can be resolved before the dress leaves the salon. Everyone works differently but expect a few visits for made to measure and leave plenty of time!

Hopefully this post helps you with how to approach buying a gown and why Made to Measure is such a great option for clients. ‘Plus-Size Bride’ is not a term I like to use and I have noticed that many social media platforms are getting on board with this debate with the hashtag #notplussize. We’d love to hear from readers what resonates with them the most when seeking a gown for the not so ‘standard’ body shape.

Gwendolynne - Polly Curvy Bride
So to help I’ve created some tips and advice when searching for your perfect gown:


I have MANY clients insist on not wearing a bra but we show them how a bra makes the bust line look flattering and narrows the waist thus refining the silhouette. Undergarments play an enormous part in creating a flattering effect. If you find things difficult to visualize, make sure you wear shapewear and a nude bra when viewing collections –  it really will make the process so much easier and pleasurable for you.

Call or E-Mail Ahead

Ring ahead and have a chat about what you are looking for and perhaps ask if there are styles that could be recommended for you. We often do this for clients and then list the styles we think best relate to the client’s needs so they can decide if is their taste and also budget.

Ask What The Sample Size Is Prior To Your Appointment

Unfortunately due to economics a unique and independent bridal store often can only budget to carry so many sample gowns and to have every size in stock would be impossible. Remember if the label is made to measure they can do any size but you may have to use your imagination when trying on samples. Be prepared that most shops only carry samples in a Size 12/14. Some will do larger samples but they are very limited in style. Although the dress may not fit exactly, this is better than trying to imagine from a sketch or a photo of it on someone else.

Look For Experience

What you’re looking for is someone who’s informed with experience. It takes a lifetime to master pattern cutting and fitting gowns.

Things Can Be Changed So Use Your Imagination

You can alter a dress to have sleeves, to be shortened or for support to be added. Don’t be afraid to ask if changes can be made, and don’t be afraid to ask how much it will cost. Having a dress custom-made doesn’t mean breaking the bank, it just means doing some research and utilizing the experience around you.

Marissa Gwendolynne Wedding Dress PLus size shoot close up

Remember There Are Limitations and Trust In Experience

Unfortunately some things are not possible but if you work with someone experienced they will be able to guide you to a happy medium point.

Sales Staff vs. Fitters

Unfortunately it is impossible for designers or/and fitters to see every client that comes through the shop door. So remember sales consultants aren’t necessarily the ones making your dress, however they are your resource. When you go into a store, part of what you’re paying for is your salesperson’s expertise. Find someone who’s excited to work with you and put them to work. Ask questions, ask for recommendations, and ask for opinions. You know your body and personality; they know the collection and dresses they offer. Put that together to find something great. It’s YOUR dress so it is about working together!

Have Fun – It Is Part Of The Journey

Our intention is for you to have fun…we want to create a dress that you love and look and feel amazing in!

Gwendolynne - Marissa Curvy Bride

Images via Gwendolynne

Be Your Confident Self 

No body shaming allowed! We’ve all heard horror stories of sales people, who say they have nothing for you and ask you if you’re going to lose weight for your wedding. My goal is to make a beautiful gown that is flattering for you.

If You Are A Little Shy

No matter how self conscious you are, please tell sales staff that you’d prefer to dress alone or be away from other appointments. Sometimes it is better to organize an appointment over a less busy time such as a weekday as weekends tend to be very busy…therefore it is more of a private experience.

Too Many Opinions

Start shopping for your dress alone and then bring your friends or family in once you have narrowed down the styles you like. Too many opinions can be confusing!

And Remember Your Fiance Asked You To Marry Them The Way You Are!

The goal is to make a beautiful gown that is flattering for you; your dress is out there waiting for you and the one you love.

Gwendolynne xx

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Ms Chinoiserie Says: Thank you Gwendolynne for your sincere and honest advice; every bride should feel beautiful in her gown regardless of her shape and size.

About Gwendolynne: Gwendolynne Burkin has established herself as one of Australia’s fashion purists; she works with intuition, avoids fashion trends, and remains true to her own sense of style and obsession with creating beautiful unique, vintage style designs!

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