For Canberra locals it’s often hard to find information about upcoming events, a good place to eat and anything that really connects them to the city. That was until HerCanberra quickly became the ‘go to’ website for everything and anything you’ve ever wanted to know about the Nation’s capital. The brain behind the success of HerCanberra is Amanda Whitley, who we sat down with for a glass of bubbles and reminisced about her wedding in Canberra.
Tell us about you and your business/blog?
HerCanberra started out as a website for Canberra women just on five years ago. It’s since grown into a quarterly magazine (entitled Magazine), a new podcast, videos and a whole heap of events. Everything we do has one simple aim – to connect local women to their city and each other.
Tell us about your wedding?
Our wedding was held in Canberra on 3 October 2004, so a while ago now! We hosted our ceremony in the Sculpture Garden of the National Gallery of Australia, next to Clement Meadmore’s ‘Virginia’ sculpture, commonly known as ‘The Knot’. We loved the idea of ‘tying the knot’ next to ‘The Knot’ and took this image through our invitation, place cards, etc. which were designed by a friend.
My dress was a deep-backed gown of Chantilly lace, made by Petal Couture in Paddington (Sydney) and necklace and earrings from Kai.Monte (both have since closed). My shoes were from Midas and a friend did my make up, which was super minimal.
It was an intimate event, with just 50 guests, as we wanted the emphasis to be on sharing quality time with close family and friends on our special day. A local string quartet entertained guests while they waited for the bridal party and then accompanied the procession up the ‘aisle’. My Mum did the honours, as my Dad has MS and was unable to make the four-hour trip from his home in the Riverina to attend.
It was important to us that guests didn’t have to kill a few hours between the ceremony and the reception, so they went straight to Waters Edge Restaurant – a couple of hundred metres away from the ceremony to start on the canapés and champagne. We instructed our photographer that we wanted to be done in 45 minutes so that we could join in too! The result is some lovely candid shots which really capture the day.
We LOVE food, so our reception was a six-course degustation with matching wines. At the time, Waters Edge was one of Canberra’s top restaurants and had never hosted a wedding before…they had always said no to closing on Saturday nights to accommodate functions, so we scheduled our wedding for the Sunday of the October long weekend especially. It has one of the best views in town, overlooking the lake, and was perfect for a reception.
We worked closely with Michael Gray, who was then the Manager and is now the CEO of Vue de Monde in Melbourne, to create a menu that we absolutely loved—people still rave about it! Our dear friend, Clare, made the flourless chocolate cake topped with raspberries and 50 mini cakes as favours (and she’s allergic to chocolate so couldn’t even taste them!)
There was no dancing or bouquet throwing – just a fantastic night of food, wine and funny, emotional speeches from our nearest and dearest. Afterwards, those who were keen to party on, joined us at a nearby bar for post-celebration drinks. It was fabulous!
What was your most memorable moment (or moments!)?
It’s really hard to pinpoint one specific moment (especially since it was 11 years ago!) I just have an overwhelming feeling of happiness whenever I look at our wedding photos – it was such an amazing afternoon and evening spent with the people we loved. It’s made all the more sweet knowing how our marriage has gone from strength to strength over the past decade and brought two beautiful little girls into the world.
If you could change one thing, what would it be?
The weather! Although the clouds and the sky were amazing for photos after a morning of storms, IT WAS FREEZING! I couldn’t wait to get inside for the reception…
Who are your favourite vendors?
Canberra’s wedding scene has changed A LOT since 2004. It used to be nigh on impossible to source everything locally, but we now have some amazing vendors. If I was doing it all over again, I’d give these guys a serious look.
DESIGNERS – Rockstars and Royalty and Chachino are local couturiers and their gowns are to die for. There are a number of bridal boutiques around town, but for modern, ready-to-wear styles, head to Momento Dezigns – this Manuka boutique stocks Rachel Gilbert, Alex Perry and Eileen Kirby, among others. A couple of shops away is Carla Zampatti which has some sophisticated options.
CAKES – Sweet Bones Bakery’s creations are absolutely delicious (and vegan!) They’re extremely cost-effective, too…
STATIONERY – Artforme does the most exquisite letterpress. Just beautiful.
STYLING – We’re lucky now to have quite a few styling companies popping up. Show Pony Events is probably the most well known, and for good reason; Wren and Rabbit are a gorgeous little boutique company with really interesting ideas!
CELEBRANTS – We used Roger Thomson and he’s still very popular in Canberra…a sweet man. I also love Amanda Corbett – she has such a nice, down-to-earth style and really works with couples to ensure they have a day that’s all about them.
CATERERS/VENUES – The National Gallery of Australia, National Museum of Australia and Poachers Pantry are all amazing. For brides looking for something a little different, we love Mr Papa’s Peruvian Street Food – the food is delicious and they put so much love and care into the presentation.
HAIR – Love all these hair stylists, who we work with regularly on Magazine: Emma Luscombe from Antique Hair, Renee Pound from MEKI Hair , Peter and Carolina from Pony & Pins and Adam and Lexi from AXIS Hair .
Who was your photographer?
What advice do you have for others planning their wedding?
It might sound clichéd, but just relax and enjoy the day – don’t stress if it doesn’t go 100% to the run sheet (chances are you’re the only one who’ll notice little deviations anyway!) And plan a wedding that makes you and your partner happy…don’t feel pressured into doing things a certain way just because it’s expected.. it’s your day, it should be whatever you want it to be.
Ms Chinoiserie Says: What a beautiful celebration full of food, wine and fun; for a focus on positive stories highlighting women and what’s going on in Canberra, pop by and visit HerCanberra; it’s a fabulous online sisterhood!