This week on Behind the Door I’m visiting somewhere both yummy and fun, Burnt Butter Cakes. Burnt Butter is a bright and festive party shop in Melbourne’s inner city suburb of Richmond which is big on parties! Specialising in custom cakes and all things sweet it’s a one stop wedding shop with everything you need to style a hens day, engagement party, kitchen tea or the big day itself.
Owners Lisa and her mum Glenda have lots of experience from running a cafe, catering and cake business, but had to move location when they decided to sell the cafe. In 2015 they were working out of a bakery in Richmond when they saw the perfect little shop up for lease. “It was a tiny shop” says Lisa “but it was such an amazing location we couldn’t say no”. They set up shop in 2016 and earlier this year decided to takeover the space next door as well, which means the shop is no longer little!
As well as being the perfect space to create cakes Lisa and Glenda decided to indulge their passion for stylish party ware and open a modern style party shop. The shelves are heaving with
colourful, stylish party goodies from invitations, to cake toppers, confetti, party plates, cups and serviettes and much more. ” We even have confetti balloons and a helium tank or two to inflate on site!” says Lisa.
The cakes are all decorated in the original shop space and Lisa says brides love visiting the new shop when they come for an appointment or to pick up their goodies. The shop is open Tuesday to Saturday and cake consultations are by appointment only so brides get Lisa’s full attention. Burnt Butter can make you a beautiful wedding cake but also cookies, macarons, dessert tables and all the sweets you can imagine.
One of Lisa’s favourite things about the shop is coming up with new displays or window instillations. “I love coming in in the mornings and seeing little hand prints on the windows” says Lisa, “it means people couldn’t resist a peep inside after we are closed”. There’s also always something new going on and Lisa tells me they recently hosted a “cheese wheel tasting night” for brides and grooms to taste cheeses for cheese cake towers at their weddings, with another one planned soon. What a fun and yummy place to work!
Ms Zigzag says: Cakes, macarons, fairy floss, doughnuts – this really is the one-stop shop for all things sweet and pretty for your wedding.
About the author Amelia Waddell of Make Your Day Wedding Styling: I’m a wedding stylist and proud store owner who loves to chat weddings with everyone and anyone! I love to talk shop with other business owners (particularly over some chocolate cake!) and am the first to try and have a sticky beak behind the scenes of any event. My free time is spent ‘investigating’ new cafes, stores and events.
Here at Polka Dot Bride, we are so inspired by and have the utmost respect for the chicks who are kicking goals in the wedding industry and think they should be celebrated! They’re hard working, creative souls who are often working weekends, travelling long distances, managing family but all the while living their dream. Let’s get to know them one blog post at a time through our brand new ‘Women in Weddings’ column…
Predominately inner city Melbourne, Yarra Valley and Mornington Peninsula.
Can you describe what you do in a couple of sentences?
I guide engaged couples through the maze of wedding ceremony options and ideas and the legal requirements. The process is entirely collaborative and hopefully it’s also fun and comfortable.
I’d also like to think I give couples a voice on their wedding day by delivering a ceremony that reflects their style and is a celebration of their relationship to the people who know and love them better than anyone. If you’re dress and suit fit you like a glove, why shouldn’t your celebrant?
How many weddings have you officiated?
30 down with another 30 booked for 2018.
“Hoped it wold be more but hey, two babies!” Lara jokes.
What did you do before you were a celebrant?
I’ve worked in sales, customer service and as a casting director for TV, Film and Deal or No Deal. I love getting to know people and learning about what makes them tick.
What was the lightbulb moment in your head that made you think, “That’s it, I’m going to be a celebrant!”
I was a guest at a wedding watching a celebrant who was cheesier than a margarita pizza and calling bridesmaids by the wrong names. Other guests began to laugh and cringe and I thought to myself what a sad shame it was that the couple’s special moment is being overshadowed by the celebrant who is also completely misrepresenting their style. I decided then and there to sign myself up!
What training and courses did you have to do to get your celebrant licence? How long did it take to complete?
I completed the Certificate IV in Celebrancy with The Celebrants Training College, (now Lifeskills Training) followed by an online exam issued by the Attorney General’s Office. The entire process took a year.
Can you describe the first wedding that you officiated? Were you nervous as hell or cool as a cucumber?
My first wedding was for some very close friends of mine and I knew the majority of the guests. I tried to look cool, calm and collected but the pressure was certainly on. I also conducted the entire wedding with a go-pro camera strapped to my head to capture the action from another intimate angle. At the couple’s request, of course! The go-pro proceeded to slip down my face, covering one eye like a pirate. However, I soldiered on and it all added to the fun. It was a very special day.
What do you think the celebrant world is/was lacking and how are you filling that gap?
I feel I am actually a part of a wonderful movement happening in the celebrant world right now. The wave of celebrant coming through are a little younger, a little savvier, and we are bringing to the table a fresh and modern perspective on what marriage and love means to this current generation of lovers taking the nuptial plunge. In short, we’re listening! And the results are these fun, stylish but romantic personalised ceremonies happening everywhere that set the tone for the rest of the celebrations.
Please describe one stand out moment that made you think “I’m so glad I chose to become a celebrant!”
December 9th, 2017 when I was one of the first people in Australia to say “According to law in Australia, Marriage is between two people.” It was an exciting and proud moment and I felt like I was a part of history in the making.
Spending a lot of the weekend away from my husband and boys. Not being able to stay on at all these amazing wedding for cocktails and canapés. Saying goodbye to the amazing couples I grow close to over the journey.
What do you know now about the gig that you didn’t know when you first started out?
I don’t think I realised how many hours of work and energy would go into creating that perfect half an hour ceremony. But I wouldn’t have it any other way. I also didn’t know there was such a fantastic, clever and kind community of fabulous celebrants in this city that support and encourage each other with advice and recommendations. They are good eggs and I feel lucky to be in their company.
How does being a celebrant that works strange hours and weekends work with your lifestyle and with being a mum to two kiddos?
On one hand, it is fantastic. I can choose how much I take on, manage my own diary and work from home. There are not many jobs that allow mothers this level of flexibility. On the other hand, it’s challenging to fit it all in and give 100% of your attention to your kids or your work at any given time. Structure is key!
What do you do as soon as you get in your car after completing a ceremony?
Kick my shoes off. Literally. I am getting too old for high heels.
What’s your celebrant fashion style?
Keep it simple. Black or Navy are my go to’s with the occasion pop of colour if it complements the overall vibe/scheme. And I always check what the bridesmaids are wearing just in case!
What can couples do to get the best out of their ceremony with you?
I believe the magic really happens with couples who are able to relax and open up about their relationship and their love. I think this really comes down to the celebrant building a rapport with them, establishing trust and then it hopefully feels more like chatting to a friend than an interrogation.
When looking at a photographer’s images, they can touch something deep with you. Through the lens you not only see the personalities of the couples photographed – there’s always a little bit of the photographer imprinted on every image too. When looking at Alan Hughes Photography’s images you see not only the love between the people, but you see a love of the landscape, the Australian light, dust motes, shadows and reflections – all of which create images that give a sense of time and place. His love of fun too, shines through the images and his ability to relax his subjects make for natural un-posed moments. All telling the story of your day. I think we’ve gained ‘a beaut bloke’ when Alan decided to make Australia his home! Here’s his story.
What does photography and being a photographer, mean to you?
Wow how do you answer this without cliches! Well here goes – I guess first and foremost I am lucky enough to make a good living out of it, that my images are sought after and are good enough for people to pay me a decent amount. Secondly I think photography has become such a ‘taken for granted’ thing with phones, social media etc that I’m stoked that my bride and grooms take their time to choose someone who tries not to take the standard shots. I consciously try at every wedding to take something different, even if I’ve photographed at the venue a thousand times, as I know if it floats my boat, my clients will love it too!
What was the catalyst for you becoming a photographer? It was a change of career and lifestyle – I moved to Australia 8 years ago from the UK where I ran an electrical business alongside my photography studio. When I moved here it was my intention to just go for it full time, I was really excited – especially with the climate and breathtaking scenery on the Sunshine Coast.
Where are you based? My studio is in Peregian Springs and the majority of the weddings I shoot are on the Sunshine Coast.
How would you describe your photography style? I match my photography style with the laid back coastal vibe we have here. Most of my bride and grooms are either locals so are pretty relaxed or from interstate and are having their weddings here because they want a more informal approach with a holiday feel. I photograph things as they happen and work with the bride and groom as much before the big day so that they know I have everything covered.
You also do portrait and commercial photography. Do these bring a different perspective to your wedding photography? Actually it’s the other way around! My natural relaxed approach to wedding photography means I can have fun on any shoot which makes either the family or the corporate clients more relaxed and therefore easier to capture.
What do you love about the countryside surrounding the Sunshine Coast as far as photographs are concerned? Wow – it’s just stunning, I count my lucky stars every time I take the coast road to Noosa and gaze to my right at the ocean or drive up to the hinterland and breathe in the beauty of the area. I used to do a lot of work in London and the surrounding counties, so this is quite the difference.
What part does the surrounding landscape play in your photography style? Well there are two types of landscape and weddings here – the beach or the hinterland, I love putting my bride and grooms as part of the scenery in some shots. Especially if they aren’t from the area – they chose the locations for a reason so I know they would want the wide angle shots too.
Do you like playing with the light in your shots to produce ethereal and magical images? Everyone loves a bit of sun flair on some images don’t they? It adds to the romantic nature of the couples’ images. Evening light can be magical and a lot of the times the light in the images straight out of the camera just blows me away so much that I have to do very little to them when I see them on the computer.
Are there differences in the way couples approach the photography for their wedding now? What do couples expect? Yes definitely – couples are more aware of different styles, so generally know what they want. My couples want more natural ‘in the moment’ shots and less (if any) of the stylised set-up shots, but they also want some ‘wow’ shots along the way too. So I try to combine the two.
What do you look for when setting up a shot? Hmm…sometimes it’s the light….and sometimes it’s the expression, whichever comes first. I direct my couples towards the nicest light, but sometimes there’s a moment that happens along the way so I just keep snapping.
Some of us don’t like being photographed. Do you have any tips you can give to bridal couples? Yes, book me! Then we can have some fun too haha!! Being photographed shouldn’t be an awkward painful thing to experience, things should flow naturally. You should at the very least be comfortable with your photographer so that you can relax and let go – that way you get the best images that show your personality.
What preparations do you make to photograph a wedding? Do you do a lot of pre-planning? Yes – all these natural, candid shots don’t just happen by accident! I get together with my couples as much as I can, if they are from overseas or interstate then we chat by Skype and then definitely meet up before the wedding day. The more we chat the more naturally the wedding day can flow because the couples can just relax knowing everything they want covered is being captured as well as all the bits they don’t see, too. I don’t leave much to chance I always have a plan as to where I’ll be taking the couple and bridal party.
In terms of gear and what I pack for the day, I’m particular about my car being full of bits and pieces to cover most eventualities ie. umbrellas, rain covers, ground sheet, sun cream, mosquito repellant (usually for the bridesmaids!), Nurofen (again often for a bridesmaid!), spare camera bodies, spare lenses, a spare shirt!
On the wedding day, how do you remain unobtrusive, so that you are able to take the most natural shots of the couple and their guests?
I would say it’s down to just being professional and amenable on the day and after a while you kind of blend in and people get used to you being there.
Have you ever done something unusual/funny to take the perfect shot? I have done all sorts to get shots – climb trees, stand on fence posts, hang out of windows for a better angle (and I’m afraid of heights), being drenched by an incoming wave because I ventured onto that ‘next’ rock for a better shot.
Do you make time for other interests – how do they balance your professional life? If i have any spare time it’s with my family – they are my number one reason for being. Other things I do like are going for beach runs during the week to stay fit for my job – yes weddings need a certain level of fitness 🙂 I love movies and music, I couldn’t do any editing without music on the go.
Any favourite spots on the Sunshine Coast we should visit? I just adore the beaches here, so anywhere between Maroochydore and Sunshine Beach, then there’s Lake Currimundi, oh and Noosa National Park and Mt Tinbeerwah…then there’s Gardeners Falls and Buderim Forest Park….then there’s………..fades out…… Just get here, chill, call me up and we’ll grab a coffee and I’ll photograph you somewhere cool on your visit 🙂
Thank you Alan for sharing your story. A variety of fun shots, emotional shots and artistically beautiful shots making up the story of your day – because that’s how it really was! To find out more about Alan Hughes Photography visit the website.