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Image: Phoebe Powell Photography

This week on Behind the Door, I’m visiting a catering and events business located at a super unique venue, The Farm Cafe at The Collingwood Children’s Farm.

Image: Elsa Campbell Photography

The Farm Cafe events team are located in a stunning old Victorian style farmhouse within the grounds of The Collingwood Children’s Farm in inner city Melbourne. That’s right, a farm right in the middle of Melbourne! I meet sales manager, Lauren, at the front gate and am immediately transported into the Australian countryside. There’s green paddocks, rustic buildings, gum trees and even farm animals as far as the eye can see.

Images: Elsa Campbell Photography

“When people from out of town arrive here, they cannot believe that they are just four kilometres away from Melbourne CBD,” says Lauren. “It’s got all of the beautiful rustic country charm with the added convenience of being so close to the city.” The Farm Cafe team own and operate the onsite cafe and are the exclusive caterers and event managers of all the weddings at The Collingwood Children’s Farm.

Image: Elsa Campbell Photography

It’s an incredibly diverse venue with ceremony options including a grand oak tree overlooking the Yarra River, an enormous paddock surrounded by lush bush, and something more sheltered under the wooden beams of the stables. For receptions, there is the light filled cafe, rustic barn or a marquee or tipi under the stars.

Image: Elsa Campbell Photography

The team includes creative chefs, front of house, bar tenders, kitchen staff and expert level event planners that are so important when dealing with such a unique venue. There’s a fantastic relationship with many local wedding vendors including The Farm Cafe’s favourite florist Little Lady Blooms , who can often be found creating amazing floral installations in the barn. “We love the quirky nature of a real working farm,” says Lauren, “But you need to elevate each space and plan carefully to create a beautiful and stress free wedding”. Apparently it’s not unusual for couples to get photos with the peacocks, and guests to be greeted by a farmer at the gate, something not many venues in inner city Melbourne can offer!

Image: Sister Scout Studio

Lauren tells me that one of the things The Farm Cafe is most known for is its food. “We are absolutely obsessed with great food and firmly believe this starts with amazing seasonal produce,” says Lauren. “Our philosophy lies in serving up food that is designed to be shared, bringing people together with the time-honoured custom of sharing a meal”.

All the menus are abundant, diverse, and lavish spreads that guests can return to for seconds and thirds. There’s also a focus on vegetarian and vegan menus that are just as hearty and delicious, as well as options for gluten free, low FODMAP and other dietaries.

“We want people to feel nourished and excited by an incredible feast that leaves them feeling well fed and that is served with a sense of genuine hospitality,” says Lauren.

Images: Elsa Campbell Photography

Besides weddings at The Collingwood Children’s Farm, the team have become popular caterers at a number of unique venues around Melbourne, with specially designed packages for spaces like Glasshaus Inside, Newport Substation and Noisy Ritual Urban Winery. Lauren tells me that she’s often creating custom quotes for couples that are passionate about local, seasonal food and want to bring a little bit of the relaxed style of The Farm Cafe to their special day. What a fantastic team to have on board for your wedding!

Images: Elsa Campbell Photography

Ms Floral Says: Love that there’s a bit of country charm right in the heart of Melbourne! What a gem of a wedding venue.

About Amelia Waddell of Moonstruck Bride: I’m a proud bridal store owner with a love of exploring creative spaces. Whether it’s an office, event space, workshop or retail store I love seeing how other wedding businesses create their own special magic. When I’m not fitting brides I love immersing myself in everything wedding, in the name of “research” of course.

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Image: She Takes Pictures He Makes Films

It’s not at all uncommon for couples to have children before marriage. Having your own children at your wedding and them being present to witness their parents get married can be very special. However, if you would rather have a wedding with just the two of you, and leave the children at home, this is also fine! There is no right or wrong. This is the day where you as a couple make your promises to one another, to be together forever through better or worse. The day can be whatever the two of you want it to be.

If you do have children attend though, having a nanny who is dedicated to providing care for them can positively impact your wedding. Your children will be safe, happy and fed. You will feel more relaxed and your family can also be present for the day.

What a nanny can do for you…

  • A nanny can assist you while you are getting ready. Often brides and grooms don’t feel this is necessary but it is one of the only regrets I hear afterwards – “I wish we booked you earlier in the day to help!”. The hours before the wedding go so fast. You and your bridal party need to have your hair and make up done, sometimes there are last minute phone calls from vendors and family, and little last minute emergencies that you need to attend to. Your children may need to nap, and will need to be fed and entertained. Juggling all of this can be stressful, and you want some magical photos without children climbing all over you with their food-covered hands! Having a nanny means this is one less thing you need to worry about.

Image: She Takes Pictures He Makes Films

  • A nanny can provide transport. Often your group are getting ready off-site. If the adults would like to have a few drinks, who is going to drive the children? A nanny can transport them in their car or yours. They can also drive them to multiple locations or back home/to accommodation and put them to bed when their part of the day is over or when they are tired.
  • A nanny will keep the children occupied during the ceremony. Even a short ceremony is a long time for a child to sit still. Little children can see their parents and want a cuddle. A nanny can bring some quiet activities to keep them busy or go for a walk nearby so that the ceremony is about the bride and groom. No children stealing the limelight.

Images: That’s The Shot Photography & Amanda Kilbourn

  • A nanny can help you get some beautiful family photos. They can follow you around to get those perfect family shots, as an experienced nanny knows all the tricks to get children to cooperate.
  • The most important thing – a nanny will keep your children safe. They will provide constant supervision. A lot of venues are on large properties, some have bodies of water. They are the children’s dedicated carer and will know where they are at all times.
  • Your child’s needs will be met, and your child will be able to sleep if needed. A nanny can do all the nappy changes, feed them snacks, and keep them clean. They will also provide some fun and entertainment.

Images: Sigrid Petersen Photography

As a parent and a fellow mummy bride, I know that having a nanny on your wedding day will be your best investment. Nannies costs less than a photobooth hire, bonbonniere, and other add-on services. Include one in your budget. You won’t regret it!

Ms Floral Says: This is such a handy service to know about and one all couples should consider if their children (or other people’s!) are attending their wedding.

About Melissa Dowden: Melissa is a mummy to two boys and a career nanny. Four years ago, after the birth of her first child, she saw the lack of childcare options for people attending weddings and events. She is now the owner of Event Nannies. Event Nannies offers a range of childcare options including wedding nannies, activity zones and babysitting.

Here are three tips on how to create classic and elegant vibes in your wedding stationery.

Tip 1: Avoid incorporating too many elements
This applies to colour, textures and imagery. The key to a serene and elegant effect is a less-is-more approach, which can be achieved through a pairing back of elements. By carefully selecting the combinations you use, you can create an overall effect that is elegant without being plain.

For example, use the letterpress texture to full effect with a blind (no ink) printed floral. This is the perfect way to add texture to your design without overpowering text and keeping the overall look of your stationery minimal.

Add white-on-white texture to your suite with a translucent paper, used as a wrap to keep all of your invitation items together.

Incorporate elegant patterns that can be echoed in other stationery. We use striped or patterned envelope liners to add design interest while keeping the design suite one colour.

Tip 2: Choose a neutral and add accents
Often black is the go-to colour for an elegant, classic ink shade that ties in with everything. It can be the perfect ‘safe’ choice if you are unsure about the colours that will be used throughout the rest of your styling. Used thoughtfully and minimally it can be a beautiful colour for an elegant and serene wedding vibe. Pair black with a bright white paper and small accents of green or blue for full effect.

I also recommend choosing a mid shade as the primary colour used throughout your suite. Mid greys leaning towards warm or cool can tone down your stationery design and evoke a serene effect. Mid colours are less sharp, easier on the eyes and instantly create a softer look.

Once you’ve selected a mid-grey, add accents to give your palette depth. You can, for example, incorporate lighter neutrals (nude, blush or pale greys) or touches of green.

Tip 3: Go for quality
Selecting quality materials is really the easiest way to elegance without effort. There is nothing more luxurious for wedding stationery than beautiful 100% cotton paper and envelopes. Letterpress printing adds texture to these materials in the most subtle way. With these elements in place, even the most minimal design styles will have an extra special feel when received by your guests. The texture of letterpress printing allows you to keep the design simple, while still feeling luxurious.

Ms Floral Says: Such stunning and timeless designs that would work well for so many styles of weddings, but particularly classic and city!

About Deciduous Press: We are a small print studio specialising in letterpress printing. We have been creating beautiful wedding stationery for couples around Australia for almost 10 years. Our aesthetic is elegant, classic and romantic – full of hand-drawn illustrations, refined typography and thoughtful details. We offer a collection of designs with a wide range of customisation and love exploring new combinations with clients. 

Polka Dot Dream Team...

The below wedding vendors made this magic happen and are an approved part of the Polka Dot Directory. Visit their portfolios to learn more and enquire about their services!