Image by Kyra Boyer via Loran & Simon’s Botanical Inspired City Wedding at Glasshaus Inside

It’s been a horror summer of bushfires for many towns across Australia, and it’s normal to feel helpless and perhaps even guilty if you’re busy planning your wedding day in the midst of such devastation. But the good news is there’s a way to give back – to any cause that’s close to your heart – and make it part of your celebrations. Asking for charity donations instead of gifts or giving to a charity in lieu of wedding favours is a really positive and meaningful way of making a difference on your special day.

Here’s how to go about giving back on your wedding day:

Step One: Choose a charity you’re both passionate about and proud to support. It may relate to health and finding a cure for illness, the environment, education, or social justice. Your choice of charity may be a very obvious decision or it may require discussion – whatever you choose, be true to yourselves and your shared values.

Step Two: Decide how you’d like to incorporate charity fundraising into your wedding day – would you like to encourage donations instead of gifts, or would you prefer to contribute to a charity in lieu of wedding favours. Either way, they are very thoughtful and generous gestures and your guests will likely see it that way too.

Charity donations in lieu of gifts

The best way to ask for a donation rather than a gift is by including this on your wedding invitations and your wedding website (if you have one). Keep the wording simple, for example: “Instead of gifts, we ask for your help in giving back on our wedding day. We would greatly appreciate a donation to our favourite charity…”. Make sure you note whether your chosen charity is tax deductible. You may decide to also include a more traditional gift registry option too, so that you’re giving your guests a choice.

Charity donations in lieu of wedding favours

This is becoming increasingly popular at weddings (and even engagement parties). Instead of giving out wedding favours or bonbonnieres, you’ll make a small donation per guest, and in return you’ll receive a card for each guest from your chosen charity, informing them you’ve made a donation in their honour.

Need inspiration?
Here are some of our great charities making a difference:

The Starlight Children’s Foundation, dedicated to helping sick kids, will supply you with a card and special pin, when you make a donation per guest, in lieu of wedding favours:

Starlight Wedding Favour

At The Australian Cancer Research Foundation, you’ll also receive a card to form part of your place settings, letting each guest know their wedding favour is a donation in their honour:

It’s a similar set up at Dementia Australia and anti-domestic violence organisation, White Ribbon Australia

The RSPCA has two options for fundraising on your wedding day. You may opt for wedding favours or alternatively, you can direct your guests to your own fundraising page.

If you register your wedding with Breast Cancer Network Australia, they will send you envelopes (to be sent to your guests as part of your invitations), asking them to make their own donation:

The Royal Flying Doctor Service allows you to build your own personal fundraising page, making it easy for your guests to donate:

There are also websites that will host your fundraising page, so all you have to do is choose a charity then provide your guests with a link to your page:

Finally, congratulations on your upcoming wedding and for considering celebrating your love by giving back!

Ms Zebra Says: We recently did this at our engagement party and LOVED it! It felt so nice to give back to those going through tough times, rather than piling up the gifts at home that let’s face it, we don’t really need!

About Melissa Polimeni Marriage Celebrant: As a celebrant, my job is getting to know couples and crafting memorable and engaging marriage ceremonies. I will treat your wedding day as I would my own special occasion – with joy, excitement, care and consideration, careful attention to detail and constant support.

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When it comes to styling your wedding, lovers of colour often find themselves playing it relatively safe. But here’s the hot tip – colour can and should be everywhere! It is a wonderful way of expressing your personal style and some extra fun into your wedding theme. Oh what joy colour can bring!
When approached with consideration and respect, colour can be both beautifully whimsical and completely sophisticated. Contrary to popular belief, colours do not need to match or be subtle or tonal, you can go wild. And giving the green light to colour doesn’t need to stop your florist, there are plenty of exciting ways to inject the rainbow into your big day.

Here are 5 unexpected opportunities to go wild with vivid and brilliant colour!

1. Creative Arbours
Gone are the traditional 2 post arbours. Now it is all about unique shapes including hexagons, other geometric shapes or copper pipes. Create a base to go wild with adding fun additions like novelty balloon features, streamers, tinsel or clusters of pom-poms. Texture is key!

2. Rugs and textiles
When working with colour, we love to layer a range of bold rug colours to create interest and pops of colour and whimsy into the wedding. Using textiles like rugs or throws in bold block colours like orange, reds, yellows in similar shades and hues and overlapping can look epic.

3. Smoke Bombs (and other similar things)
Smoke bombs are…the bomb! They look amazing during the couple or bridal party photoshoot and can add a colourful haze to your wedding shots. We love to work with greens, pinks, oranges and reds to pop slightly out of the frame and add a cool colourful vibe.

4. Rainbow Cakes
Colourful cakes are totally not just for kids parties anymore! Go full rainbow on the inside and outside of your cake or even just hide the rainbow layers inside for a unique surprise for your guests as they cut into the cake. Or maybe a more subtle approach by a rainbow or colourful cake topper or choosing a few key colours to incorporate into a swirly icing on the outside of your cake.

5. Tableware
There are so many hire options out there now when it comes to tableware styling. You can work with a simple white or grey base, some gold or silver cutlery and then add pops of colour via the place card, a sprig of colourful floral at each setting, a bright bold colour as the napkin that incorporates your theme tying in the colours. Make sure the florals/napkin/place card all match with 2-3 colour choices, too many colours together can be too much!

Ms Zebra Says: What’s not to love about injecting colour to your happiest day?! These are great tips and advice in not fearing colour and instead embracing ways to use it to decorate and style your special day.

About The Wedding & Event Creators: Our team is able to offer a comprehensive approach to your wedding by having everything in-house! We can cover all your styling, hiring, planning, coordination, set up and floral needs. We can assist from the beginning with styling concept and design through to set up, hire goodies, florals and then execution on the wedding day.

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Ohhh, can’t you just smell the gorgeous florals in today’s Expert Interview? It’s always a pleasure to chat to and see the incredible work of creative and talented vendors, such as Adrienne Burford-Orr of Gertrude Jekyll Flower Studio. This flower studio prides themselves on providing bridal couples with unique wedding florals. They bring passion and a wealth of knowledge to each of their projects, big or small, so you’re definitely in safe hands no matter the size or scale of your wedding! We chat to Adrienne about how her style has evolved during her time as a florist, what her favourite flowers are to work with, where she gets her inspiration and her top picks for summer and winter bouquets.

How long have you been a florist?
Eight years.

When did you start your own business?
I started my own business in 2015, I opened a small florist in Footscray – Botanicals on Barkly. I closed the doors in 2018 and began working under Gertrude Jekyll from a private studio.

Where are you based?
In Melbourne’s western suburbs, but I service the whole of Melbourne.

Images: Giulia Morlando

Can you tell us about all the services you offer?
I offer wedding floral styling. I love to sit down with a couple and design every element of their wedding flowers together.

How has your style evolved since the early days?
I definitely take more risks with colour and texture now than in the early days. I feel like there is more confidence in my work.

What do you love most about creating wedding florals?
Hands down the best thing is seeing a couples reaction to the flowers that you have created for them on their wedding day. I love being able to create something so special for them.

Image: ATEIA Photography

What are you favourite flowers to work with?
My favourite flower changes weekly some times daily! Every flower has its place!

Tell us about some of the best bouquets you’ve put together in the past year…
I loved creating the bouquets for Amy and Steve [below]. I liked playing with the textured and tones Amy had selected for her bouquet.

Another fave was the hanging instillation that I created for Kerry and Michael at Terrindah Estate last summer. I have a tropical wedding coming up in the next couple of weeks which I am excited to work on as it is a medium that I don’t often get to work with.

Images: Tess Follett

Is making buttonholes really tricky? They look simple but I’m sure there is a lot of work involved that people aren’t aware of!
Oh my yes! The wiring and ribboning that goes into the unassuming buttonhole can be quite time consuming, they are deceptive little guys.

What are your bridal clients like? Do they bring ideas to you or do they allow you free reign?
No two brides are the same. Some will come to me wanting guidance and we can design the colour palette and styling from scratch. Others will come to me styling boards and designs already prepared.

Where do you find inspiration?
I find inspiration from work created by the many talented florists (there are MANY!) who’s work I admire from Instagram, but I also draw inspiration from nature, seasons, fashion and art.

Image: Abigail Varney

Where do you source your flowers?
From the Melbourne Flower Market as well as a number of wonderful wholesalers across Melbourne.

What trends are you noticing in wedding florals right now?
The ultra lux flexed rose is definitely having a moment.  I love that it turns the humble rose into this over the top burst of luscious colour. I am also loving that bridal bouquets have taken on a more natural shape.

What are your top flower picks for summer bouquets?
Roses. Although they’re a bit old-school, they’re a staple and will always be one of my faves. Phalaenopsis Orchids are also amazing for a summer bouquet as they will stand up to the heat. Dried and bleached foliage adds amazing texture to arrangements and won’t wilt.

Images: Ryan Wheatley Photography

How about winter?
Nothing beats a moody deep plum hellebore in the depths of winter. Daphne is another winter fave, the fragrance is absolutely intoxicating and a couple of florets added to a bouquet will add an amazing scent.

What would you say is your signature?
I would say that my signature is the natural flow that my bouquets have. I try to work with and enhance the beauty that already exists within the blooms to create my designs.

Images: Immerse Photography

Thank you Adrienne for allowing us to stop and smell the roses with you today! Your arrangements are breathtaking and it’s clear that you’re extremely passionate about what you do and in helping brides and grooms achieve their perfect wedding florals. Find out more about Gertrude Jekyll Flower Studio on their website, on check them out on the Polka Dot Directory.

Headshot courtesy of Gertrude Jekyll Flower Studio