With the year drawing to a close, it’s a perfect opportunity to not only thank the wonderful contributors and experts for sharing all their tried and tested knowledge, but to reflect on the wonderful year that’s been. 2018 has certainly provided many a good word of wisdom, but here’s our top 10 to finish off yet another brilliant year!

What Would They Know? SophieRose Noble of Grand Pacific Group

“In a city famous for its many icons such as the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge, Sydney also hosts some iconic and historic buildings in which there are venues which are hidden gems. From historic The Tea Room QVBGunners’ Barracks and Dunbar House to the more modern, but understated Sergeants’ Mess  and the beachfront The Blue Room Bondi, these venues shine not only for their beautifully designed interiors, their locations and views, but also for the impeccable service, style and food which are so much a key to their popularity as wedding venues.”

Image: Free the Bird Photography / Venue: Gardens House 

Tommy Collins’ Top Black Tie Venues in Melbourne and Surrounding Areas

“Creative Director of Tommy Collins by Atlantic Group, Tommy McIntosh, has put together a list of his top 10 black tie event venues in Melbourne and the surrounding areas today. We figured an industry legend like Tommy is the go-to guy for the best in venues as he is on the frontline with his crew travelling around from one stunning wedding venue to the next serving up delicious food.

Images via Jasmine Fraser

“Couples are now more open to exploring alternative options to a traditional diamond ring or a twist on the classic designs. There are so many amazing precious gemstones so why not choose a colour?”

Image by Tealily Photography 

 How To Plan A Black Tie Wedding

“There’s something that never, ever gets old about a well cut black tuxedo and a well tied black bow tie, punctuated by a brilliantly white shirt with dress buttons and cufflinks. Or a gown which gently grazes floor level as you dance the night away. Add into the mix that the reason for the black-tie celebration is a wedding – your wedding – and the possibilities for a glamourous, elegant (ok, we’ll say it – even slightly over the top) event are almost limitless.”

Image by The Tsudons via Emma & Monty’s Botanical Brisbane Marquee Wedding

The Hidden Costs of Marquee Weddings: Tips from an Event Producer

“There is something wonderful about planning your own wedding and seeing it come to life from a Pinterest board to the big day. However, not surprisingly, there are also a great deal of things to consider: the style and scope of your wedding, the costs – in terms of your time and your bank account; how flexible you are in relation to both of these things; as well as the large tablespoon of stress that is part and parcel of event management.”

Image supplied by The Bell Tower

Unique Wedding Locations In Perth

“You’d be hard-pressed to find a better place in the world to get married than in Perth, Western Australia.

Blessed with an amazing climate, stunning scenery, easy accessibility and a world-class blend of fascinating heritage and modern innovation, Perth offers couples a huge range of exceptional wedding locations.  But some are more distinctive than others, and if you’re after something truly unique for your nuptials, have a look at these locations:”

Image by Studio Sixty Photography

 Brisbane City Celebrants’ Tips for Finding Equality-Friendly Wedding Vendors

“When choosing your wedding vendors, you want to be sure you really ‘connect’ with them and that you’re all on the same page when it comes to the role they will be playing on your big day. This is particularly important for same-sex couples who will likely enjoy a better experience in the lead up to and on the special day, by carefully selecting wedding vendors that are genuinely passionate and supportive of your relationship.”

Photography from Jaimee and Brenden’s New Farm Park wedding by Blank Canvas Photography

The legal requirements to get married in Australia

Brisbane City Celebrants share their knowledge on the minimum legal requirements to get married in Australia, and explain what a ‘legals only’ wedding is.”

Photo by Jonathan Ong via Simone & Christian’s Wedding 

How To Put The ‘Wow’ Factor Into Your Winter Wedding

“With the Winter chill hitting the air, it’s time to consider how to put the ‘wow’ factor into your Winter Wedding.” Follow these wonderful tips from expert wedding planners to ensure a winter wonder wedding!

Image by Beurre

Let’s Talk Wedding Cake Flavours

“Cake Month is well underway and today we speak to the creator of this completely epic Beyonce-Frida cake that I wish I knew about for my sister’s hens day- she may have just fainted at the sight of it. However today, we are diving deeper than the appearance of a cake, instead we cut right into the centre to reveal its contents – the all important flavours and textures. Zahara Valibhoy, founder and head baker at Beurre, writes passionately about the importance of wedding cake flavours.

Harold Lord  via Wanda and Matt’s Fun and Personal Tanglewood Estate Wedding

Our Top Tips for Shopping a Sample Sale

So you recently got engaged and started avidly planning the big day, only to discover that one of the key components – the dress – can creep well into the thousands very quickly.

With the New Year looming, now is the time to get the jump on bridal shopping for your 2019 wedding.

So, how do you find ‘the one’ without breaking the bank? A sample sale is the perfect opportunity to save some serious moolah on your dream dress. Most bridal stores will have at least one a year, where they sell end-of-season store samples, stock gowns and accessories.

Sample sales can be tricky to navigate in the world of bridal, as most people don’t really know what to look for and how to prepare. Here we’ve put together our top tips for finding your wedding dress at a sample sale with minimal tears and maximum results!

1.     Do your research on the brand

Once you’ve honed in on an upcoming bridal sale, start by having a look through their website and social media channels. Does the brand suit your style and your wedding theme?

Trawl through the gowns on their site and save photos of styles you love. You never know what might be included in the sale on the day. Make sure you are familiar with the gowns you particularly have your eye on, so you can make a beeline for them when doors open on the day.

2.     Have a game plan

Take time to do a little bridal shopping prior to sale day, so you know what suits you – your body shape, skin tone and personal style. Often what looks good in a photo or on the hanger will look very different on you, so keep an open mind while doing so.

Once you hit sample sale day, you will already have an idea of what will work and what won’t, based on what you’ve tried before – saving you precious time amongst the frenzy!

Mitchell J Carlin via Taneille & Nick’s Relaxed Sunshine Coast Hinterland Wedding

3.     Wear the right undergarments

Nothing will kill your dream dress vibe faster than black, too-tight underwear. Opt for nude seamless underwear and a strapless bra (however, you may not need a bra at all with most gowns). If you feel like you might need spanx, we suggest bringing them in your bag. Some dresses won’t require shapewear, so it is easiest to add later.

4.     Keep your squad small

Don’t add extra stress to an already hectic situation by bringing five of your closest gal pals. Too many opinions can become overwhelming – especially when you add a wee bit of time pressure to the mix! Try and stick to just one or two guests whose opinions you value most.

On the flipside, if the most important people in your life are unavailable on the day, don’t hesitate to FaceTime them while you’re there for a little extra support.

Georgia Verrells via Nella & Enzo’s Intimate & Glam Urban Wedding

5.     Arrive early

A good sample sale will often bring out some hard-core shoppers. If you know what you want, make sure you show up early to secure a good spot in the line-up. Often there will be only one sample of each, so get in quickly to make sure you don’t miss out.

6.     Know your budget

Bridal sample sales often require full payment in order to secure the dress. Know how much you are willing to spend on the day and how flexible you can be. Also factor in the potential cost of alterations and dry cleaning while you are bargain hunting. Expect to add $250-$750 onto the gown cost for adjustments depending on what you want to alter. Be ready to splash out the cash if you find ‘the one.’

7.     Don’t stress if the fit isn’t quite right

On the topic of alterations – don’t worry too much if the dress is not a perfect fit. A good seamstress will be able to take in, hem, add cups, a bustle or potentially let out a little (depending on the dress) to get that perfect fit. Be sure to ask such questions of the staff if you find a dress you love.

8.     Look for imperfections

Before saying “Yes” to your dress, look over the gown for pulled threads, stains and missing beading or buttons. As ex-samples, these gowns will not be in perfect condition, so it is important to know what needs to be fixed. Often these can be cleaned or mended, however, some things may not be so easily resolved

9.     Don’t hesitate to walk away if it isn’t the one

As one of the most important purchases of your life, it is crucial to make sure you are 100% on your decision – particularly if the store has a no refund/exchange policy. If you are having second thoughts, don’t be afraid to walk away from the dress. If you know you would be devastated if someone else bought your dress, maybe it’s the one?

Ms Zebra Says: Ahh the stress of the dress! Thanks to the lovely ladies at White Lily Couture for sharing their sample sale tips and tricks to take the edge of choosing THE dress of your dreams!

To find out more about White Lily Couture visit their website.

There are so many emotions swirling around on a wedding day sometimes a little sad but mostly joy,  and at what other happy occasion is there so much love in the air? Ane of Ane Hagen Photography brings her warm and caring personality into each and every shot, along with a whimsical and adventurous spirit that will have you smiling at the memories long after the day. Along with the emotions, there is the beautiful light and shadows captured so sensitively and wandering in the wild whether it is in the bush or the urban jungle – well that’s half the fun isn’t it? Let Ane take you on an adventure – your photographs will be a treasure for you to re-feel your day every time you look at them. Here is Ane’s story.

How did you come to be a photographer?

I spent my 20’s traveling and working in travel to be able to afford more traveling. I absolutely loved all my adventures but I knew that the travel industry wasn’t for me. I wanted to do something creative. Photography had been my creative outlet for years already, so it made sense to pursue this path. The year I turned 30 I started a Bachelor of Photography at Griffith University, and the rest is history.

Has photography been a lifelong interest?

My dad was always a keen hobby photographer so I have been around cameras since I was little. I bought my first film SLR in a second hand shop in Sydney in 2000. It was a Minolta and it produced the most amazing crisp images. I miss the excitement of picking up a roll of film to see what magic had worked and what hadn’t.

How does your personal style of treading lightly on the planet, influence your photography?

I try my best to follow these 5 rules in my personal and professional life: REFUSE, REDUCE, RE-USE, REPAIR & RECYCLE.

I work from home to reduce emissions from transport and power usage.

I source sustainable and locally made products and packaging.

I buy quality over quantity and second hand when possible.

My business is virtually paper free, the very little paper I use is of course recycled.

I encourage my couples to choose eco friendly options for their day

And what does growing up in Norway and being a traveler at heart, bring to your photography?

I am very adventurous and always try to coax my couples off the beaten track and into the wild in search of epic light and backdrops. Growing up in Norway and in particular, my family taught me that being polite and smiling will get you far in the world. I treat everyone with the same amount of respect, regardless of what cards they were dealt in life.

Do you feel that making a connection with your couples is essential to delivering your best work?

Yes, I always meet my couples before their day, either for a coffee or a sneaky wine. We often meet even before they book. I find even an hour of getting to know each other before the wedding takes a lot of pressure off on the day. The rapport is built or at least building, and we all feel like we know each other and can have a laugh.

Please describe a typical wedding day for you as the photographer?

I start the day with about half an hour of yoga and meditation to calm my mind and my body. Before I leave home I check my gear for the last time and eat a decent lunch to keep me going for hours until my next meal. I crank Triple J in my car until I arrive at the getting ready location.

There I Introduce myself to friends and family and tell everyone my only rule: no one is ever in my way, so don’t apologise or wait for me to finish my shot, just carry on as if I wasn’t there.

Arriving at the ceremony I have a chat to the celebrant and find out which direction the bride will be arriving from.

After the ceremony and congratulations I like to swiftly do all the family shots. I find a suitable helper to herd family and friends for me, because I don’t know who is who, nor the family politics.

For the newlywed shots I like to get the bridal party shots done first and then send them all off for a good half an hour or more. Bride & groom shots are way more natural and intimate when they don’t have a bunch of mates staring at them! And this time is often the only one on one time (plus lurking photographerJ) the couple has all day. I like to wander from spot to spot with my couples and I shoot in between moments as much as the other moments.

At the reception I try to make sure I have photographed every guest at least once. And of course all the details and decorations and flower arrangements. I almost always cry during speeches – it least I can hide behind the camera while I cry. When the dance floor kicks off I am there bopping up and down while capturing all the fun vibes and singing along to the tunes.

I drive home with Triple J cranked, feeling warm, fuzzy and lucky to have a job where love is my subject.

What are the items you always make sure you have with you on the wedding day?

Besides all my camera gear I also have safety pins, band aids, pain killers, hair pins and a few other emergency bits and bobs.

Do you find yourself being more than a photographer on the day?

Yes, I do a lot of reassuring, nerve calming, dress fluffing, hair fixing, buttonhole attaching, small talking with uncles who are hobby photographers, and I should learn how to tie a Windsor knot because that almost always needs to be googled.

What elements have to align for you to make the most magic and natural of your photographs?

Light, love & connection between the bride & groom.

What lengths do you go to get the perfect shot – any funny stories you can share?

I climb fences and balance on chairs, stand on the road with my back to the traffic, walk through tall grass in snake season, pull faces at children and laugh at drunk jokes.

I accidentally stepped in llama poo once as I was walking a couple into a paddock for a shot. I was so happy it was me and not the bride!

What is the most favourite part of the wedding day – for you?

The hugathon of congratulations after the ceremony.

What are some lovely and unique ideas you’ve seen lately at weddings?

  • Confetti made from gum leaves
  • Plantable invites and menus embedded with seeds of native Australian flowers
  • Brides-men and grooms-maids
  • Redesigned wedding dresses

Could you offer us 5 tips to help the bridal couple get the best shots on the wedding day?

  •  Plan for photos to be taken during golden hour
  • Choose a location that means something to you
  • Wear shoes (or no shoes) that allow us to wander fields, bash through bush, jump fences, scamper rocks, stroll along beaches, climb mountains, or trek the urban jungle.
  • Focus on each other and show me your love
  • Be your quirky selves and make each other laugh.

Would you suggest to bridal couples to have their photos put into an album – and why?

Yes because no one ever sits in front of a computer showing people their wedding photos.

What is next for Ane Hagen Photography?

More weddings, more love, more laughter.

What the next places on your wish list to travel to?

I have clients who are thinking about the possibilities of taking me to Mauritius for part two of their wedding. I am really crossing my fingers for that!!

Over hill and dale, country or city, wherever your wedding is, Ane will be there photographing every important moment ensuring that you don’t miss a thing. What a wonderful keepsake of a day that is only too fleeting and passes so quickly. Thank you Ane for sharing your story. To find out more about Ane Hagen Photography visit her website.