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Over the past few years in the wedding industry I have seen the popularity of incorporating native flowers rise substantially. As a native flower lover I find this really exciting, and best of all it’s more than just another ‘trend’.

The majority of my clients want to incorporate native florals into their wedding because it is meaningful to them. They may have international guests attending and want to showcase all our stunning Australian blooms and foliages (many international visitors have never seen anything like our native blooms!); they may be conscious of where their flowers have come from and want to support local Australian growers; they may just feel an affinity to our native product and want to incorporate them in some way – I know every time I look at gum nuts I get taken back to my childhood and May Gibb’s Snugglepot and Cuddle Pie!

Past thinking used to be that native flowers don’t mix well with other seasonal product and that you should go with all natives or not at all. But I totally disagree! Mixing in native florals with seasonal blooms produces beautiful textures and interest within the bouquet.

It is one of my favourite styles of bouquets to make and 90% of the weddings I do include a component of native flora. The juxtaposition between soft garden style blooms and hard chunky natives can be really eye catching and set your bouquet apart from the rest. Yes you can have roses and natives in the same bouquet!

The range of native product available to use is extensive, so trust in your florist to choose what will work best for your style and colour palette. Large chunky banksias may not always work, but soft, airy flannel flower may be perfect. Not only are natives beautiful but they hold up out of water really well, so are a great option for our warm summer days.

Like all locally grown flowers, natives are seasonal, and the same product is not available all year round. This is a good thing and means that your flowers will reflect the season of your wedding – every time you see those blooms back in season you will be reminded of your special day.

Interestingly, in the floral world here in Australia, when we refer to ‘natives’ we are often grouping in South African natives in the same category; think gorgeous protea, leucadendron and blushing bride. They are a similar style to Australian natives and grow well here so are often mixed in with Aussie native bunches. Be specific with your florist if you would only like to include only Australian native flowers in your wedding.

Many native flowers will dry out really well and make a beautiful keepsake from your wedding day. Take out a few stems that you want to keep from your bouquet and hang them upside down in a dry shady spot (just ask your florist which stems will dry nicely).

Ms Zebra Says: I personally love Australian native florals – and love that they’re back on trend! 

About Jess of Sweet Pea and Honey Bee: Jess is the owner and head floral designer of Sweet Pea and Honey Bee. Based in Annandale in Sydney’s Inner West, she specialises in wedding and event floral design.  She has a big soft spot for native flowers and the use of colour and texture feature prominently across her work.

Photographer: Rachel Muller Photography / Flowers: Sweet Pea and Honey Bee / Bride's Dress: Gwendolynne / Makeup Artist: Christina Cleary / Hairstylist: Tivello Bridal / Bridesmaid Dresses: The Pretty Dress Company

Image via The Latest

As our friends Jamie and Cara of Brisbane City Celebrants celebrate 10 years as Marriage Celebrants, it’s an opportune time for them to fill us in on how they’ve witnessed weddings evolve over the past decade.

We’ve all seen weddings become less traditional and more fitting to the couple’s personalities and style. Less about following traditions and more about personalising and customising all the details from the ceremony wording and inclusions to thoughtful and surprise little details on the day.

Oh how we’ve loved being a part of this process with our couples, excitedly bouncing around fresh new ideas and suggestions to ensure ceremonies have the right inclusions and the perfect energy to reflect what each individual couple envisages for their ceremony.

What’s changed in the marriage world?

The most significant change over the past decade has been the legalisation of same-sex marriages. Finally becoming a reality in early 2018, it was something that Australia and the wedding industry had waited so long for. Finally enabling Celebrants to be able to say the words ‘Marriage according to the law in Australia is between two people’. We couldn’t be happier!

Image via Studio Sixty

To compare 2007 – 2017 stats from The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), 15% more couples are choosing to wed in civil ceremonies, over church/ religious weddings. Less marriages are taking place, with almost 3,500 less marriages registered in Australia in 2017, than 2007.

Celebrants have got younger – the average age of a Celebrant in 2007 was 67 years old. With a huge increase in the number of Celebrants, this has reduced significantly, although the actual average age hasn’t been reported. In 2007 there were around 6000 Celebrants in Australia, 10 years later, in 2017 there are now around 9,000 a whopping increase of 50%!

What’s changed in the Celebrant world?

Slowly but surely we’ve seen some tweaks that make life a little easier for us Celebrants and our clients, including the following:

  • Sighting of Identification – We were once required to sight original birth certificates, then the Attorney-General revised the ID requirements, adding the alternative option of passports to be an acceptable form of ID, a change which both us and our couples love!
  • The notice period to complete the form called the Notice of Intended Marriage form (commonly known as the NOIM form) reduced from 1 month and 1 day, to a simplified, one calendar month.
  • Technology improved and systems became available so marriage forms no longer need to be manually typed or hand written (which took so much longer). We now have systems that this information can be entered into once, populating all the forms. This also means those big burgundy books that Celebrants use to carry around to ceremonies (the Celebrants marriage register), have become redundant and replaced with much more streamlined and customised presentation folders for document signing at weddings!

Image via Studio Impressions

What’s changed in the rest of the wedding world?

Wedding videography and films became increasingly popular with the growth of social media. With shorter highlight films becoming sought after, then drones happened and revolutionised the wedding video as we knew it. We believe these are both factors that have increased the percentage of couples that opt to have a Videographer capture their special day.

You may chuckle at this one, but gel nail polish deserves a mention. I (Cara) recall many years ago meeting a bride the day before her wedding for a rehearsal and she was so upset, after coming from the nail salon that morning. The nail on her ring finger had already chipped! Well, we can count our blessings now, with various brands of gel nail polish available with guarantees not to chip for 10-14 days, so you are all set for your honeymoon too!

Photographers turnaround times from shooting, to delivery of images has completely transformed. After many years of a standard turnaround time of at least 3 months (while this still varies from different Photographers depending on their editing procedures), we have seen this reduce to typically be around 4-6 weeks. This is wonderful for couples everywhere who can’t wait to re-live their magical day and share it with the world (or maybe just their friends on social media).

We’ve witnessed all aspects of weddings become less traditional and more creative and personalised which we love as much as all the guests attending do! Who knows what the next 10 years will have in store for the wedding industry – whatever direction it goes, we can’t wait to come along for the ride.

Here’s cheers to the next 10 years!

Image: Dreamlife Photography

Ms Zebra Says: I can’t believe (as I’m sure most can’t either) just how fast things are changing! However, most of these ‘changes’ are for the better, making wedding life easier, faster and less nail dramas!!

About the authors Jamie & Cara of Brisbane City Celebrants: Brisbane Wedding Celebrant duo Jamie and Cara specialise in modern, simple and meaningful, seamless happy weddings. With your choice of a female or male Marriage Celebrant, our couples describe us as friendly, calming, passionate and happy.

Image By The White Tree

We all imagine ourselves carrying one down the aisle on the most special day of our lives, but what does it actually take to make a bouquet? How much should you spend? How do you find the florist that’s the peony to your bouquet (i.e your perfect floral match), to help you bring your floral dreams to life?

So glad you asked lovelies, because as your self appointed bouquet advisor, I’d love to give you the lowdown on all things bouquets and bridal party blooms.

Step 1. Consultation

Your wedding bouquet begins here, the first and most crucial stage of all your floral planning. It may happen via email with a few of your favourite images, over the phone, or in person as we scroll through your infinite inspo screen shots. We’ll talk about what you love, what you hate, what your bridesmaids are wearing, what flowers hold a special place in your heart and the overall feeling of your day.

Step 2. Design

I love this stage! Where your bouquet vision starts to come together. I’ll work on a Pinterest board of images that represent the shape, style, colour palette and textures of your bouquet, as well as a handful of flower selections that are in season and available. This is just a starting point, and we’ll keep working together on the board over the coming months until we get it just right.

Image by Oli Sansom

Step 3. Ordering the blooms

Fast forward to a few weeks before your wedding – we’ve nailed the design, everything is coming together and it’s time to get serious! I’ll place an order for all the flowers we’ve chatted about, making sure I’ve got enough spare bunches in case anything goes wrong (like accidentally decapitating rose heads and/or allowing for weather damaged blooms).

Step 4. Collecting the blooms

It’s now just a few days before your big day and it’s time to pick up your gorgeous flowers! I’ll head to the market, where I’ll find your blooms ready and waiting for me. Now that I can see them all together, I’ll also do another sweep of the market to see what other floral treasures might match perfectly with your blooms and make it that extra bit special.

Step 5. Preparing the blooms

Once I bring your blooms home from the market, I’ll prep and condition them so they’re as fresh and wonderful on your big day as the day they were picked. This usually means stripping all the leaves and thorns off the stems, cutting each stem on an angle and placing them in buckets of fresh water to drink, drink, drink. If we’re working with roses, I’ll remove the outer petals and then gently peel them open so they’re nice and lush and full. Any foliage we’re using will also need to be trimmed into bouquet size lengths, with all leaves removed except for up top. We don’t want a bulky bouquet that’s tricky to carry – so all stems need to be nice and straight and neat.

Image by Steph Brown Photography

Step 6. Making your bouquet

Hands down the best bit. All your blooms are prepped and organised by colour/variety into vases on the workbench, so I can easily see where everything is while I’m making. I’ll start with my favourite flower – the feature flower – whatever is going to be the most visually stunning, “wow” bloom in the whole bouquet. Once I’ve got that in position, I’ll then gradually add flower after flower, turning the bouquet as I go to get a lovely balanced shape.

I want the perfect balance of large flowers (that give the bouquet form and shape) and textured flowers/foliage (that give the bouquet depth and visual interest). There’s often lots of fiddling, readjusting, experimenting and sometimes even pulling everything apart to start again.

Image by Oli Sansom

Step 7. Wrapping and delivering your blooms

Your bouquet is complete, yay! Now I can secure it and wrap the stems with ribbon – it might be a neat white satin wrap, trailing hand dyed silk ribbon or perhaps some left over material from your dress. I’ll repeat the process with your bridesmaids bouquets and bundle it all up safely in a beautifully wrapped bridal box. Then it’s into the van (front seat by the air con of course) and on it’s way to you.

So, how much do they cost then?

With this in mind, it’s easy to see how a bridal bouquet is worth more than just the sum of the flowers that go into it. As effortless as your beautiful bunch looks on the day, it’s actually quite a lengthy process and takes extraordinary patience, attention to detail and love for the craft. Not to mention the years of training, practice and experience, all of which your florist deserves to be paid for, don’t ya think?

For this reason, you can expect a good bridal bouquet to range anywhere from $200 to $350, depending on your style and the flowers that go into it of course! And a complimentary bridesmaids bouquet will set you back between $140 and $220.

Bridesmaids bouquets, while typically a touch smaller than the bridal bouquet, generally cost less because of the time spent making them. Once the bridal bouquet is 100% perfect, the bridesmaids bouquets come together much easier because you’ve already figured out the tricky bits. So you can’t quite save on budget by requesting a “bridesmaid size” bouquet, because no matter the size, the first bouquet always takes the longest.

Of course, every florist is different and brings their own unique style and approach to the way they create bouquets. Especially when you’re working with Mother Nature, there can be *so* many variables, some of which can take you completely by surprise!

Image By The White Tree

So how do I get the best bouquet for my budget?

Do your research. Find a florist whose style you love and who you feel aligns with you and your approach to the day. Focus on your colour palette instead of individual flowers, and let your florist guide you as to what’s in season and available at the time of your wedding

Trust your florist. In the event that one of the flowers you discussed isn’t available, I promise you they’ll pick something equally as beautiful to replace it! The less attached you are to individual flowers, the more likely you are to avoid any unnecessary extra costs.

Figure out which floral elements are important to you. Is it the bouquets? Allocate more of your budget to making these perfect. Is it an installation or table flowers? Allow your florist to prioritise the more premium blooms in these areas.

Ms Zebra Says: The bouquets are such an integral part of the bride and bridesmaids outfits, not to mention the tablescapes! Thank you Kate for sharing your infinite wisdom on all things bouquets & bloom selections.

About Kate: Kate is the heart, soul and flower loving hands behind Mary Mary, a boutique Melbourne floral studio specialising in bouquets and bridal party blooms. She’s also the newly appointed bouquet specialist at styling powerhouse Ruby & James, and the Creative Director at Melbourne’s happiest flower delivery, Little Jar of Happiness. She LOVES making bouquets (can you tell?) and is known for her signature style – luxe, textured arrangements that make a statement.