Image by Madeline Druce

It can be hard to know where to start when it comes to a colour scheme for your wedding, but today I’m visiting a business that can help with just that: Simmons Linen Hire. Having beautiful linen on your tables can really transform a room and elevate your whole wedding. This is something that owner Lara knows all too well. “It’s actually one of the most cost effective ways to style your reception space,” says Lara, “it can make a huge impact when guests enter the room and really set the tone for the day.”

Image by Madeline Druce

Image by Madeline Druce

Simmons Linen Hire have been in the Australian event industry for more than 22 years and are very well known and trusted by many wedding venues and stylists across the country. When Lara Simmons took over the family business a few years ago from her mother Di, she set about modernizing the linen business by introducing new ranges and styles that keep up with current trends and really push the boundaries of what beautiful linens can bring to an event.

Image by Dan Brannan

Located in Victoria’s East Malvern, couples can visit the Simmons Linen Hire showroom for an appointment and view their collection to play with different colours and textures. Lara tells me that it’s not unusual for a bride to come in with an idea in mind and end up going with something completely different that she hadn’t even considered! “I love the idea of setting a table and getting an idea of how things might look before committing to other vendors like florists or furniture companies.”

Image by Lost in Love Photography

If your wedding isn’t in Victoria, Simmons Linen Hire are experts at shipping their linen Australia wide and have even done weddings in New Zealand! Lara is also available to discuss table layouts and sizes to ensure you order exactly the right amount of linen for your event. Simmons Linen Hire have also worked at so many wedding venues over the years that Lara knows many of the tables and configurations by heart!

Image by Lost in Love Photography

I asked Lara about the new styles that she is excited about and she tells me her favourite is the new botanical range which comes in three colours and is also reversible! These would be perfect at rustic, country style venues. They would also look great as napkins if you are going for a raw timber table option, but still want the luxurious touch that linen can add. Lara tells me that she is inspired by fashion, nature and anything that involves colour and detail. The team are always keeping an eye on furniture trends and coming up with ideas so that each couple’s wedding can be that bit unique.

Image by Dan Brannan

Image by Dan Brannan


Ms Zebra Says: Who doesn’t love a gorgeous table linen? I’m certainly a fan and I love that there’s so many options, colours and patterns to choose from now. It’s a bold, yet subtle way to make colour and pattern your friend. Thanks Amelia and Lara for the linen inspiration!

About Amelia Waddell of Moonstruck Bride: I’m a proud bridal store owner with a love of exploring creative spaces. Whether it’s an office, event space, workshop or retail store I love seeing how other wedding businesses create their own special magic! When I’m not fitting brides I love immersing myself in everything wedding, in the name of “research” of course.

Having an understanding of a bride’s psyche is just as important as having an understanding of fabrications, body types and styles. Coral of Corston Couture designs for the bride who loves romantic lace and beading with a modern edge, shapes that float and glide and above all, for the woman who loves the comfort of a soft silk lining and a style cut to suit her body. With 2 ready to wear collections a year there is always plenty of variety to choose from and along with a custom design service, Coral’s insistence on personalised service, and quality workmanship on site by her talented team means that each gown is a girl’s dream. And being stocked in both Sydney and Melbourne, means that brides from all over the country have access to her exquisite gowns. Let’s take a peek inside the world of Corston Couture.

How and why did Corston Couture come into being?

I started Corston in 1989, after realizing a degree I was doing at University was not going to produce a job I would have been happy in…and as I had always loved sewing and designing for myself, my family and friends, (and I also had no dependents, to starve if I failed) I applied for a government grant and 6 week business course to start a fashion label.

The rest is a rollercoaster ride of history that has led to this point.


How long have you been designing wedding gowns?

29 years this September!..(I feel like I must sound sooo old saying that….)

 re you known for a certain style or element in your gowns?

I feel like I am always changing the look of the dresses for each collection, but I do think I have a romantic, fashion forward look, often a bit sensual ( or cheeky) too.

How do you strive to be different and design standout gowns?

I love experimenting, which sadly means a number of dresses I start out thinking will be wonderful, really are not, however enough turn out to be stunning, that we still end up with a beautiful new collection every 6 months.

I really like to use new combinations of fabrics, I love sheer layers and the translucency that creates, as well as textures and 3D details.

 Where do you find the stunning lace and silks you use in your designs?

I try to use Australian Importers mostly for the silks and the European Laces, (I would love to say I used Australian made fabrics, but sadly all the Australian factories have been closed.)

We have also, recently, been custom designing beaded and embroidered fabrics overseas directly with a very talented beading and embroidery factory…with fantastic results!

From flower sprinkled tulle to heavy lace, what is the reason you choose the fabrics that you do? Do you have a particular bride in mind when you look for laces?

I try to keep the various body shapes in mind when designing a collection, so that there will be something for everyone…however beyond that I just have fun and be creative.

Most of my clients are confident career women who are looking for something fresh and different to what is largely I figure it is my job to try fresh and creative ideas for these brides.

Your designs feature applique lace with an illusion effect – is this a trend that is here to stay?

I think it is a trend that will be here for awhile at least…not sure about indefinitely,

It certainly helps achieve the “floating lace” and” tattoo lace” look that is so popular currently, but trends are changing faster and faster in the bridal industry now…when I started, a style might last for 5 to even 10 years….now even a stunning design will only last 2 years on average before something newer takes over in popularity.

I’m loving the lace you use that has a 3D effect. What is it that inspires you about this lace and how do you use it in your designs to full effect?

I always have been a bit obsessed with any 3D fabric…or fabrication, so the delicate 3D work that is available now is right up my alley!

I love using it either to float all by itself on the skin, or as a 3D accent for some other flatter fabric or lace…

It is brilliant for making a bust look fuller, hips look smaller, waists look tinier, shoulders wider… just by the positioning and concentration of its placement….it just has endless possibilities!

Is beading a popular option that today’s brides often ask for?

It is becoming so popular, especially the light twinkly beading…however, I might say I have noticed a contrary trend of very plain but dramatically designed dresses (this started just before Meghan Markle wore her stunningly simple dress, but I also do feel she has given fire to the trend).

How many ready to wear collections do you design per year?

We design two Ready to Wear collections per year…one we release in Spring, the other in Autumn.

Do you offer a bespoke couture option for brides wanting a custom designed gown?

Corston Couture was built on Custom designing exclusively…it was only about 3 years ago that we designed our first RTW Collection.

We still offer a bespoke service, we also offer a customizing service of the RTW dresses too (that ends up being more affordable usually, than the entirely bespoke gowns).

When designing gowns, what are the considerations that are forefront in your mind?

To try new ideas out, and attempt to create something that is different and fresh.

What are today’s brides asking for in terms of design?

Comfort is a big concern for our clients, as well as looking for something that is a bit unusual, and certainly something they will feel like a million dollars wearing!

What inspiration do you draw on when designing your gowns and how do you keep your work fresh?

I seem to get ideas from so many places…from Art Exhibitions, Opera or Ballet costumes, nature – flowers and sand and stone…then sometimes just from an exquisite piece of fabric, there certainly is not rhyme or rhythm to my design process!

What do you see in the future for wedding gown design?

I really don’t see much changing in regards to how important this dress is to a bride, I also don’t see weddings ever disappearing, as some would suggest they will at some stage….however, I think dresses already are being inspired more and more by Hollywood and the European catwalks, as opposed to tradition, and I feel this will continue. We may even go back to pre-Victorian times and see brides wearing colour more commonly.

We see the occasional bride wear pops of colour in lace or a gown lining – but the predominant colour is still shades of white. Why do you think that white has remained a timeless colour for the bridal gown?

I think it is a little bit to do with tradition, (no one else will wear white to your wedding unless you ask them to, or they are being rude), but white also reflects light beautifully, that light is reflected up onto the face and adds to the “Glow” a bride always has on her wedding day. It also makes the wearer of a white, especially sparkly white, dress the complete center of attention…very few brides don’t want that!

What sizes do you design your gowns for?

Our sample gowns are mostly size 10, however this next collection we are working on 3 dresses that will be 14 to 16.

If we are talking about our custom and RTW dress sizes…we will make those in any size for clients.

Are you able to advise on styles that are the most flattering for particular body shapes?

Absolutely!!!…after almost 3 decades designing literally thousands of dresses for all body shapes, I can certainly give my 2 cents worth of advice on a shape that would suit even the most difficult body shape to dress.

Are you asked to advise on bridesmaid gown styles, accessories or shoes when a bride chooses one of your gowns?

All the time!…I think the designer of a bride’s gown by default is chosen because the bride feels comfortable giving this person control of making them look their absolute best on the biggest day of her life…so it only follows that if they are unsure about decisions to do with the wedding, the designer will be the person they rely on to help with advice and suggestions.

How do you relax away from the bridal gown and wedding world?

Currently there is not a lot of relaxing (actually, truthfully there never has been I suppose).

However we recently adopted a very energetic gorgeous Dog, and he and I go out for a walk first thing in the morning and last thing at night (and quite often for a short breath of fresh air at lunch time)….I might say this has done wonders for my sanity and stress levels, When I am with him, there is no where else to be, but wandering between parks checking up on what all the other local doggies have been doing!

I also love reading, gardening, cooking, riding horses and playing the piano, when I get the chance.

Thank you Coral for sharing your story. We’re loving the 3D effects in the lace, but then we also love the beading, the flattering tailoring – well, we love it all! To find out more about Corston Couture visit the website.

Headshot courtesy of Corston Couture.

Image by Phoebe Powell via Emily & Stephen’s Collingwood Children’s Farm Wedding

If you are like most couples, I am certain you would like all your guests to dance and have an awesome time at your wedding reception. The smiles, the laughter, the fun…all of it is achievable! All you need is the right wedding DJ/MC, the right plan, the right schedule of events and the right attitude. Unfortunately however, the truth of the matter is that there are many boring wedding receptions which take place each week. You may have even been to one or two (or more) of them – I most certainly have. Often the blame tends to fall on the Bride and Groom or the DJ/MC, or all three. Because couples have never organised a wedding before and most DJ/MC Entertainers don’t have the personality and experience necessary to lead couples in the right direction. Most also don’t know how to give them the right advice or to know what to do when something unexpected happens. Please allow me to explain further and share a few suggestions that may assist in creating that unforgettable wedding reception.

Image by Tess Follett via Nicole & Scott’s Classic Melbourne Wedding With Modern Details

Image By Peggy Saas via Alia & Clint’s Simple Sunken Garden Wedding In Perth

Very simply, your wedding reception is a celebration, a party. Accordingly, the top thing that most guests will remember from a wedding is the fun they had. So for now, take your focus off the decorations, the wedding dress, the fancy chairs, the place card holders, the sashes, the flowers and the venue. Those things won’t help you have a fun wedding reception. Not one bit. While they certainly have their place, it is your guests and the activities during the reception that will connect and engage your guests, and create the joy and excitement that everlasting memories are made of.

People and emotion create memories.

Your guests will have opportunities to express and flaunt those emotions throughout your wedding, but one of the greatest opportunities will be when they join together on the dance floor and create a synergy that can be generated only by those who are your nearest and dearest. The entertainment is the driving force that makes people remember your fun entry, your emotional first dance, the maid of honour kicking off her heels and the groomsmen pulling off their ties.

Image By One White Day via Katie & Ben’s Fuss Free Wedding At Middle Brighton Baths

I have entertained at some of the most exclusive venues and private estates in Sydney and it’s surrounding areas. But I have also entertained at and created a memorable and super fun wedding reception in a humble backyard or family property with views of the rubbish bins, chicken coops, piles of junk and discarded tractor tyres amongst a whole lot of other unsightly views. But none of that mattered. The couple had an incredible time with their family and friends because they made entertainment a priority and they planned everything with the guests in mind.

Image By Alannah Liddell via Chantique & John’s Relaxed Sunday Session Inspired Wedding In Fremantle

Focus on what matters. Focus on the guests. Focus on the entertainment. Focus on the little things in between. That is what guests will remember from your wedding day. That is what will get them pumped up and ready to dance. You want your guests to feel as if you have fully considered what they would like when it comes to music, activities, entertainment and dancing, instead of just thinking about what you would like.

It is also important to stay positive during the wedding planning process. Remember that the main function of a wedding reception is not to try and impress your friends. That is where most people make their first mistake and end up unnecessarily, putting too much pressure on themselves.

Image By Vicki Miller Photography via Hannah & Jake’s Sweet Townsville Country Wedding

In summary, make your wedding about the two of you, but don’t forget to keep the guests in mind. A talented DJ/MC Entertainer can help you create an evening full of fun and personal moments that will result in such fabulous memories. My wish is that you have an absolutely incredible wedding reception, a celebration that you will remember for the rest of your life!

Ms Zebra Says: Fabulous tips about creating the “fun” that’s memorable on your special day! I know I’m always keen for the dance floor – so a great DJ is a must!!!

Thank you Serge for sharing your these fantastic tips and your wealth of knowledge about wedding entertainment! To find out more about DJ:Plus! Entertainment visit the website.