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You’ve got to love a hair and makeup artist whose passion is for natural glamour. Vivian Ashworth of Vivian Ashworth Hair and Makeup has over 30 years experience in her industry, so you know when you’re booking her you’ve scored yourself a total pro. Vivian uses bridal trials to get to know her clients so she can best understand their wishes and needs, and ultimately what looks will suit them best for their special day. Below, we chat to Vivian about the styles she loves and is best known for, her top tips for keeping calm on the wedding day, and her most memorable wedding to date.

How long have you been doing wedding hair and makeup?
30 years now. I started out doing fashion and advertising shoots. I started up my bridal business 20 years ago, when my children where young. The wedding industry is more family-friendly, so I could juggle both my career and family.

What do you love about it?
Working with families, it’s one of the happiest days of people’s lives.

Is there a particular style you are known for?
Natural glamour, beautiful and light wearing. Never thick, but good coverage for photography, enhancing the eyes, and using cruelty-free products.

Images: Tess Follett

How has your business changed since you first started?
It’s now accepted that 95% of brides will book a hair and makeup artist. And styles have become more relaxed instead of heavily sprayed hard hairstyles.

When you’re in high demand during wedding season do you have a team to help you out?
Yes I do, but I don’t like to give work to any artist that I haven’t worked with, for over two years, to keep up the standard of hair and makeup. I work on 95% of my bookings with the help of my girls on the day. The other 5% when I am booked I offer to industry friends, if they are available, then it is up to my client if they would like to book one of these artists directly.

Can brides still specifically request you?
Always. I keep my business small so that I can work on 95% of my bookings.

Images: Tess Follett

You’re Melbourne based, but do you travel?
Yes. I travel up to one to two hours for weddings all over Victoria. When I have early starts and long distances to travel, brides will cover an Air BnB or motel for the night.

What’s the process of booking you in?
My brides will email me from my booking page on my website, asking location/date and time/numbers and availability and price. I will email back and follow up with a phone call a few days later; I always try to respond within 24 hours. If the bride is happy we will arrange a trial.

Tell us about your trials…
Usually a bride will organise a trial first then book. But as I book out fast more and more brides are booking up to a year in advance, so will pay the deposit and do their trial closer to the wedding date. Approx. three months before the wedding.

What’s a wedding day like? How early do you start and how long does everything take?
Hair and makeup can take up to two hours per person, so typically a wedding party could have four to seven people. So with two artists (all my girls can do both hair and makeup), it can take four to seven hours, so sometimes we need to start by 5/6am. Depending on the time of the wedding.

Images: Megan Aldridge Photography

What’s harder – working with a bride with very specific ideas or one who leaves everything up to you?
Most of my brides bring suggestions only and are happy for me to work with them to create the best possible look for them, as close to their visual ideas as possible, but knowing that sometimes a look needs altering slightly to suit face shape, skin type and hair length.

What are your top tips for keeping calm pre-ceremony?
Calming music, food for snacks/lunch so no one is edgy. Not too much alcohol.

What trends are you noticing in hair and makeup in 2019?
More hair down or half up half down, with soft waves not curls. Golden tones in makeup shades, soft lipsticks colours.

What’s your favourite bridal hairstyle of all time?
A classic messy bun.

The secret to incredible wedding makeup is…
A soft touch, no harsh lines, nothing heavy, and definition on the eyes.

Image: Kane Jarrod Photography

Most memorable wedding you’ve worked on?
A rustic barn wedding in the country side where the bridal party had helped the bride with some of the decorations and had made a beautiful cake decorated with flowers. Such a loving family and friendship group.

Biggest career highlight?
Every weekend is a new wedding and a new highlight. Weddings are a calling not a job.

On a day off, what’s your personal go-to hair and makeup look?
Tinted sunscreen and red lipstick.

Thank you Vivian for sharing your story with us today. Bridal parties are obviously in great hands when they choose you for their big day. To find out more about Vivian and her services, head to the Vivian Ashworth Hair and Makeup website, or check this brilliant business out on the Polka Dot Directory.

We hope you have worked up a wedding appetite Dotties, because this November we are serving up The Feast Issue on Polka Dot Bride.

Feasting is all about indulgence, abundance and flavour and most importantly, the bringing together of people you love to share and celebrate something special. And what is more special than a wedding?

On the Polka Dot Bride menu this November you will find: Food truck round ups, oyster bars, inspired cake creations, catering tips, delicious recipes and a look at some mouth-watering honeymoon locations.

And for dessert, as always we’re going to dish up some colourful and unique food-focused and simply beautiful weddings to tingle the tastebuds.

So feast your eyes on Polka Dot Bride this November and follow along here.

Image by Kara Rosenlund

This great southern land, Australia, is as famous for its spectacular (and most liveable) cities as it is for the bush, beach and the dusty outback. Each with their own unique charm and beauty. And each Australian couples backgrounds and personal tastes are equally as diverse. What one couple’s dream Aussie wedding looks like is completely different to the next.

So do you get married in style by the Sydney seaside? Or go for a rustic theme with a backdrop of gumtrees and wildlife in country Victoria? Or, do you dance the night away looking over  the cosmopolitan Melbourne city skyline? Bottom line – we are spoilt for choice down under.

We asked three of our favourite and very different Aussie venues to share their thoughts on what makes a wedding uniquely Australian and how they celebrate just that.

Tell us about your venue

Image by Kara Rosenlund

Charlotte Post of Lancemore, Macedon Ranges VIC tell us: 

Following a multi-million-dollar refurbishment, Lancemore, Macedon Ranges is seamlessly designed to complement the 274 acres of idyllic Australian countryside that it surrounds. From the moment you pull into the driveway flanked by gumtrees, you’ll be greeted by curious cows, a flock of sheep, and kangaroos skipping across a landscape that speaks for itself.

Inside features sky high-ceilings with exposed beams, open light-filled spaces and floor-to-ceiling windows with awe-inspiring views across our quintessential Australian bush landscape. Amidst impressive grounds, newlyweds will be spoilt for choice for ceremony locations and photo opportunities – high atop Ned Kelly’s look out against fairy floss skies, overlooking the vineyard or against lush green hedges, there are endless romantic backdrops. Capacity is truly impressive, with the ability to accommodate 180 sit down or 450 cocktail.

Showtime Events Centre, Melbourne – Image by Bek Smith Photography

Max McLennan of Showtime Events Centre, Melbourne tell us:

The venue is centrally located at 61 South Wharf Promenade, South Wharf, Melbourne. The converted warehouse space was originally a shipping shed that has been converted into a dedicated and purpose built event venue. Industrial-chic is the name of the game with wrought iron wall panels, laser cut with LED lights behind, wide plank floorboards, feature chandelier bar and a venue-length riverside marquee. Showtime Events Centre seats 230 guest with a dance floor.

Claudia of Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel, Sydney:

This venue is located in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs, boasting incredible waterfront views of the unmistakable Sydney skyline. A seaside wedding is quintessentially Australian, with celebration spaces available to soak in the sunset, making weddings at Watsons a once in a lifetime memory making experience. With 32 luxury rooms and suites catering for all sizes, stay the night and toast to the next chapter, the Watsons way.

What makes a wedding at your venue Australian? What do you do here that is different?

Charlotte Post of Lancemore, Macedon Ranges VIC: 

Weddings in Australia represent our friendships, loyalty and mateship we have for each other. As a diverse country, Australian weddings bring family and friends closer, to share and celebrate the love of the special couple on their wedding day.

Lancemore, Macedon Ranges prides itself on bringing together family and friends to celebrate this mateship. Our beautiful venue offers the perfect backdrop for an Australian wedding, tall gumtrees with yellow wattle dotted around the gardens, kangaroo’s jumping in the background and kookaburras laughing almost on cue to hand written vows. Complimented by a glass of Australian Sparkling to toast the love for one another.

Image by Justin and Jim Photography

Max McLennan of Showtime Events Centre, Melbourne tells us:

  1. The location on the iconic Yarra River, overlooking the Melbourne city skyline.
  2. The music choice i.e ending the night with Horses by Daryl Braithwaite, or if you’re really going to go there, Khe San!
  3. A good MC (Often a best man) and locally sourced food from one of the many brilliant Australian suppliers.
  4. Wine from the Barossa Valley, craft beers from suburban breweries or artisanal gin from Margaret River.

Image by Gui Jorge Photography

Claudia Rosati of Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel, Sydney tell us: 

An Australian wedding is one that captures the perfect mix of celebrating a special bond and appreciating our stunning surrounds, with equal shares of tears of beauty, love and laughter.  At Watsons Bay, we can offer your wedding a scene that highlights the great beauty our country has to offer, only surpassed by the beauty shared between two people on their special day.

How can your venue style a wedding to give it that uniquely Australian feeling?

Charlotte Post of Lancemore, Macedon Ranges VIC:

Our reception room offers the backdrop of a beautiful Australian landscape of gumtrees, yellow wattle and kangaroos wondering the grounds. Fresh gum leaves draped over candle filled tables, Australian proteas decorate the long reception tables and the Australian sun showcasing our vineyard for a spectacular sunset photo.

Image by Kara Rosenlund

A must have photo opportunity a top our Ned Kelly lookout, offering a 360 degree view of the outstanding Macedon Ranges. If you are fortunate, a kangaroo or two in the back ground always makes for a stunning photo.

Image by Caitlin May Photography

Max McLennan of Showtime Events Centre, Melbourne tell us:

By using eucalyptus in the floral/greenery setup, styled in a rustic way; natural wood chairs, wooden tables, dried leaves/florals, crates/pallets etc. However with the mix of cultures that come together to create our Australia, a combination of these raw elements works great with other styling from traditional wedding dressings to modern floral centrepieces.

Claudia Rosati of Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel, Sydney tell us:
Love is all around at Watsons. And the best of what Australia has to offer in every direction you turn. Draw a heart in the sand; hold hands beneath a stately Moreton Bay fig tree; kiss on a romantic Juliet balcony overlooking iconic Sydney harbour panoramas; toast a glorious sunset that seems made just for you. This beachside haven is all heart, and mother nature does the Aussie styling for you herself.

How can your venue cater the food to give it that uniquely Australian feeling?

Charlotte Post of Lancemore, Macedon Ranges VIC: 

Australians love our food. At Lancemore, Macedon Ranges our food is locally sourced from trusted Australian farmers, whether it be the fresh free range eggs for your recovery brunch, the local cheese on your grazing boards or the handmade sausages included in our Aussie BBQ feast for a laid back rehearsal dinner, we can guarantee you will enjoy and savour every mouthful.

Showtime Events Centre Pandan Leaf Wrapped Barramundi, Image by Andrew Themistokleous 

Max McLennan of Showtime Events Centre, Melbourne tell us:

We aim to source local produce, use Australian wines/beer, feature Australian menu items such as our Pandan Leaf Wrapped Barramundi or our Gippsland Wagyu Beef dishes. There is a consistently evolving Australian market, which means every year new options are available that are both exciting and challenging for our chefs. We have the ability and options to craft international menus that suit those couples and guests looking for a unique flair or cultural aspect to their menus. What is more Australian than a celebration of cultures and food? This might be in the form of our new Asian-style wedding menus or building traditional European menus.

Image by Gui Jorge Photography

Claudia Rosati of Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel, Sydney tell us: 

Inspired by our surrounding ocean, Watsons’ modern Australian cuisine brings fresh, seasonal ingredients and a generous helping of heart and soul to your special day. From communal sit-down feasts to cocktail styled canapés and pop-up food & drink stations, we can adapt the menu to align with what ‘Australia’ means to each diverse couple.

Ms Zebra Says: It’s difficult not to love the diverse array of landscapes, streetscapes and ocean views that Australia has to offer. There is something for every one to make up a true Australian wedding!

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