I often wonder how long brides wait between saying yes to a proposal and saying yes to the dress. It’s one of the first things your girlfriends ask: “what sort of dress do you want and when can we go shopping!?”

Fortunately this week on Behind the Door  I found the perfect place to make your dress dreams come true, Designer Bridal House in Armadale, Melbourne.

At Designer Bridal House you will find wedding gowns that are different. There’s lace, sequins, sparkles and sleeves, something for every bride to love. “Brides want to look unique on their wedding day and that is what we look for too when finding dresses to stock in store” says owner Carol. “You won’t find anything boring about the gowns in our store!”.

Carol started in a small first floor studio in Armadale almost 6 years ago. “It was a very small, private studio with only one change room” says Carol. “However, business grew and we needed a bigger store. We moved to Sydney Rd, Brunswick and once we hit the sixth year mark, we once again needed a bigger store. Now we are back at High St Armadale where it all started!”. A perfect space for a bridal store, High St Armadale is famous for being a bridal mecca, with store after store, dedicated to all things wedding.

The new store is a vintage dream. Straight away I notice the gorgeous bird cage light fitting and luxurious velvet change room curtains. Carol tells me that a lot of the dresses have a vintage touch, so they based the styling of the new store on this. “You will find a lot of vintage mint green and antique gold throughout the store” explains Carol, “It has a general tranquil and calm feel to it, but with a lot of stunning, gorgeous pieces to excite you at the same time!”.

With so many brides coming in for the full experience at Designer Bridal House, I’m excited to hear what is Carol’s favourite part about running such a beautiful store? “The best part about owning a bridal shop is that we get to be involved in such a memorable, wonderful and important chapter of someone’s life,” says Carol. “A wedding is a huge event, but for a bride, one of the most important parts about her wedding would probably be the dress – other than the groom himself, of course! Being part of such a big decision makes us feel very special!”

All Images by Designer Bridal House


Ms Zebra Says: Living close by to High St, Armadale, I’ve always been so intrigued to peak behind the doors of these beautiful stores. What a great job to help women choose a dress that they – and their friends, family and partner will never forget. Thanks Designer Bridal House for letting us peak inside your beautiful store!!

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.


When you live in Melbourne everyone knows about the Collingwood Children’s Farm. It’s the place to go on the weekends to cuddle the animals and enjoy great food and time out in a country atmosphere – and yet it is only 5 kilometres from the CBD. And as time goes on, we’re all starting to find out that not only does this Farm cater to families on a great day out, it also has some beautiful venues tucked away that are perfect for weddings. With a choice on site, of beautiful rustic venues and an open paddock to make your own with styling by a talented wedding team, that befits this space, Catering by The Farm Café also spreads the love all over Melbourne, catering delicious food to suit your venue. Let the magic of The Farm weave its spell and create a magical day that is everything you wanted it to be and more! Lauren takes us for a peek behind the scenes.

How long has Catering at The Farm Café been in business? How did the business start?

The catering arm of the Farm Café started 2014 when the owners decided to have their own wedding here. After a spectacularly beautiful event, their friends decided to also get married here. As the weddings became increasingly stunning, the word spread and more couples began to book our unique and naturally beautiful venue.

Image by Timothy Marriage

Was the Farm Café always intended to cater for weddings and events, or did this evolve over time?

The Farm Café has evolved into the weddings and events space. We are finding that a lot more couples are looking for a unique location to have their special day. We have also seen o lot of growth in the number of couples looking for something more relaxed where guests can be themselves and enjoy the evening. The Farm and its natural surrounds is the perfect place for this.

Images by Bri Hammond

Not only are you a caterer – you also have other services you provide to bridal couples. Would you describe these?

Here at the Farm Café, we offer a full wedding service. All couples that get married with us have their own Event Planner to help them bring their day to life. Our Event Planners assist with all the details including selecting vendors, styling and making sure that nothing is missed. On the day, our staff do everything from set up to service and pack up. Which means that the couple is stress free to enjoy their day.

Are these services provided only at The Farm Café, or also at other venues?

We provide the same level of service at all venues we work with. We understand that most people have never planned a wedding before and that it can be quite overwhelming. Our goal is to ensure that every couple has the wedding they always dreamt of and that the day is as smooth and stress-free as possible.

Image by Timothy Marriage

Your team must be super talented, able to deliver the most beautiful styling, flowers and planning. How do they keep their ideas fresh for each wedding?

We definitely have a superstar team here at the Farm Café. All of our staff are absolutely obsessed with weddings. We are always online researching the latest trends, both Australian trends and international trends. We also attend wedding fairs, expos and any other form of industry trade available to make sure we are always up to date and offering our couples the best information possible.

Which other venues across Melbourne and Victoria are you associated with? Do you provide catering as well as other styling etc at these venues?

We work with any venue in Melbourne and surrounds that allows external catering. Some of our favourites include Noisy Ritual, Mountain Goat Brewery, Glasshaus & Small Talk. But we also love to travel and explore new venues. We offer a full service at all of these venues, which includes an Event Planner, styling, catering and full staff service.

Image by Kristen Wursthorn

Are you able to travel to provide your catering plus styling/planning service to couples who live in the country?

Yes, absolutely! We love to travel and work with new spaces and venues. The countryside is such a magical part of Australia and we encourage couples looking for a countryside wedding to contact us. We would love to be involved with their weddings.

What spaces are there available at ‘The Farm’ for couples to use for their ceremony and reception?

As the Farm is so large, we have a variety of locations onsite which cater to different needs. For ceremonies we have two options:

  • The Oak Tree
  • The Paddock

For receptions we have:

  • The Café
  • The Barn
  • The Paddock (where we would set up a marquee)

Image by Kristen Wursthorn

Would you please describe them:

All locations within the Farm have a beautiful natural feel, full of charisma and rustic charm.

For ceremonies:

  1. The Oak Tree

The Oak Tree is an impressive 160 year old, heritage listed tree located right on the bank of the Yarra River. Naturally beautiful, this space can be left as it is or dressed up with florals, Persian rugs, ice cream cart, live music etc.

Image by Phoebe Powell via Emily & Stephen’s Collingwood Childrens’ Farm Wedding

  1. The Paddock

The Paddock is great for large ceremonies. The large open space is really well suited to hay bale seating, large market umbrellas and vintage games for guests to enjoy.

For receptions:

  1. The Farm Café

The Farm Café is perfect for intimate weddings holding up to 60 guests fully seated or 80 guests cocktail style.

  1. The Barn

The Barn (our most popular location) holds up to 120 guests fully seated or 150 cocktail style. This building is also heritage listed and full of rustic charm. There is an outdoor area next to the Barn that compliments the space perfectly. With so much space to utilise there really is an option for every couple to achieve the look and feel they are going for.

Image by Kristen Wursthorn Image by Bri Hammond

  1. The Paddock

The Paddock is perfect for large weddings. This space can hold up to 400 guests fully seated. There are limitless options here for styling and they all start with selecting the marquee type you would like. Anything from a classic, traditional marquee with clear walls, to the trending tipi’s with a fire pit or a stunning Sperry tent. You can also utilize the unique space by having an open air bar and open-air dance floor.

Image by Jerome Cole Photography from Lydia & James’ Relaxed Farm Wedding

How can a couple make these spaces their own? What décor elements are important right now?

We really encourage each couple to bring their own personality and style to the Farm for their wedding day. Because of this, every wedding we do is different. As part of our fully staffed service, couples are invited to drop off any personal decorations at our warehouse a few days before their wedding day. We will bring them to the Farm during bump in and set them up just like you asked us to. Then at the end we take everything back to our warehouse for you to pick up after you have recovered from your wedding.

If there are particular decorations a couple would like that we don’t have, their Event Planner will source them and arrange all the details for delivery.

Images by Kristen Wursthorn

You also have a hire arm to your business? What sorts of items are available to hire?

We have hand picked our styling items to fit perfectly with the style of the Farm. We offer everything from tables & chairs to hay bales, oak barrels, wishing wells, signage, festoon lighting, place card holders, cake stands and table numbers.

How would you describe the food you serve at weddings?

Amazing! Everything we make here at the Farm Café is made with a whole lot of love! We love to source our meats and produce as locally as possible. We also get as much organic and free-range produce as we can get hands on. To top it all off, we love to feed people! So our serving sizes are abundant to make sure everyone can indulge in our delicious food.

Image by Jerome Cole Photography from Lydia & James’ Relaxed Farm Wedding

Are grazing tables or shared platters a popular option?

Both options are incredibly popular. All our menus are designed to be shared like a big family feast. This allows everyone to interact and enjoy the company as well as the food. The beauty of our menus is that they allow guests to choose the dishes they like rather than being forced to eat the dish placed in front of them. And of course, as we are always abundant in our serving sizes, guests are welcome to come back for seconds or even thirds!

The general trend we see with menu selection is that couples looking for a more laid back and relaxed wedding select the Grazing Menu. While couples looking for something a bit more formal select the Shared Dining.

Image by Kristen Wursthorn

What dishes or style of food, are couples requesting the most?

We get a lot of couples that love the idea of having a huge wedding feast full of abundant dishes on their wedding day. In terms of the food, as we offer so much variety, every wedding really is different. We have done everything from large extravagant weddings with 6 courses full of stunning cheeses and meat platters to 100% vegan weddings. We also offer everything in between including our new Camp Fire style menu aimed at utilizing the Farm space and creating interaction for your guests.

What’s on the menu for a winter wedding?

Winter weddings at the Farm are a lot of fun. We like to keep your guests nice and cosy by serving delicious and hearty foods. Lamb is always a popular dish to keep guests happy. We also like to spice things up a bit by offering an open fireplace with a smores bar for dessert and adding mulled wine to the drinks menu.

Image by Jerome Cole Photography via Lydia & James’ Relaxed Farm Wedding

As the Café is part of the Collingwood Children’s Farm – how can couples ensure exclusivity of the venue?

At the Farm, we only do one event per day regardless of which location is being used. This means that couples get the Farm exclusively for them and their guests to enjoy. We start our weddings in the afternoon, which allows the public to leave the Farm before the wedding starts. It also means that photographs can be taken at prime lighting times and guests are free from the harsh midday sun. From 4:45pm onward the Farm is closed to the public and is exclusively for the wedding couple and their guests.

Image by Phoebe Powell via Emily & Stephen’s Collingwood Childrens’ Farm Wedding

What do you and the team love about weddings – and how do you celebrate the end of a wedding day?
We love absolutely everything about weddings! From meeting the couple for the first time, through to the planning process where we hear the couple’s plans. All the way up to seeing the beautiful couple walk down the aisle and the smiles on their faces when they see each other for the first time. We also love seeing everyone go into party mode after the mains and hit the dance floor.

We love all the rustic spaces The Farm has to offer – and the bonus is that the food that this talented team prepares will have your mouth watering. To find out more about Catering at The Farm Cafe visit their website.

Headshot courtesy of Lauren Davie.

Image by Begitta via Begitta & Robbie’s Engagement Shoot

It happened – you got engaged! And although you’re probably revelling in your new relationship status and swooning over that sparkling ring, you might also be thinking…now what?

There are several fun things you can do right after you get engaged, like get a manicure and post a ring selfie, but there are also some practical and important things you should do after you’ve said “Yes!”

So, get out your pen and paper and jot down these 7 important things to add to your ‘to do’ list now that you’re engaged.

1. Tell Your Nearest and Dearest

Wait! Don’t post that ring selfie to Instagram just yet! After you get engaged it’s time to pick up the phone and call, not text, your relatives and any close friends to tell them the good news before it hits social media.

Unless you’re keeping the news a secret for a later date, you’ll want to let your family and close friends know you’re engaged before the rest of the world does. You wouldn’t want Mum and Dad to find out via Facebook, right? That’s like getting a breakup text, so do your parent’s a favour and get them in the loop first! It may not seem like a big deal, especially in this social media-heavy day and age, but your nearest and dearest will appreciate it.

Image by Nina Claire Photography via Afternoon Engagement Shoot

Image by Fox & Kin via Alex & Chris’ Autumnal Wedding

2. Get Your Ring Sized

If your ring is a perfect fit, great! But if there’s a little wiggle room or not enough, you’ll want to get to a jeweller as soon as possible. If your ring is a bit big, there’s a risk of losing it, as it could fall off and you definitely don’t want hundreds or thousands of dollars falling down the drain – plus handy hint, don’t wear your ring in the shower until it is perfectly fitted.

And if your sparkler is too tight, it will be difficult to take off and uncomfortable to wear. So do yourself a favour and have it resized. It should only take a few hours and the effort will be well worth it.

Image by Sorrento Wedding Photography via Karli & Didier’s Relaxed Wedding At Trofeo Estate

3. Think About a Date

Although most engagements last around a year to a year and a half, it’s important to start thinking about the wedding date early in the planning process. You don’t have to know the exact date, but if you have an idea of when you’d like to walk down the aisle, it’s more likely that you’ll be able to secure your dream venue and vendors (they are usually booked up to a year in advance).

Plus, as soon as people know you’re engaged they’ll start asking when the big day is. Giving them an exact date or a general idea (next autumn, for example) will allow them to make a mental note to keep that calendar date clear of other commitments.

Image by Van Middleton Photography via Jodie & Cameron’s Relaxed Byron Bay Wedding

4. Create a Wedding Website

Not versed in creating websites? No problem! There are countless user-friendly wedding website creators that allow even the most technophobe people to whip up a site full of useful information.

A wedding website can act as a hub for family and friends and can also be a great way for you to document your planning journey. You can write your love story (how you met, the engagement, etc.), post photos, add a guestbook, and post details like venue info, maps, suggested hotels, schedules, transportation, etc. See our recent post on Polka Dot Bride on how to create a wedding website here.

5. Discuss a Budget + Start a Savings Account

It’s not the most fun part of the wedding planning process, but budgeting is necessary. Before you can move forward with the rest of your plans, you’ll need to know the amount of money you’re working with. Creating a budget, whether with your fiance and/or family members, will help you decide on things like the dress, flower arrangements, venue options etc.

It’s also wise to start a wedding savings account after you get engaged. You can open up a basic savings account at any bank, then deposit a percentage from each pay cycle that can go toward anything wedding related.

Image via Our Love Story

6. Get Organised

There are so many big and little ‘to dos’ in wedding planning that it’s easy to get overwhelmed. So after you’ve said yes, phoned both sides of parents – and had a celebratory glass of champagne, it’s time to get organised.

Some things you can do:

  • Dedicate a folder to wedding planning.
  • Download a wedding planning app so you can plan on the go.
  • Create word docs and spreadsheets in Google Drive (you can share these with the wedding party, as well).
  • Pick up a bridal magazine or visit most wedding websites and you’ll find a wedding planning checklist/timeline.

7. Decide on a Location and Research Venues

Where do you want to get married? Whether it’s at a local event venue or somewhere more exotic, you’ll want to start researching where you’ll say ‘I do’. Go online and find venues in your area or destination venues that make your heart sing. Then call to schedule a tour so you can get up close and personal with your possible dream space.

Once you’ve secured a venue, you’ll be able to make other important wedding planning decisions, like your color palette and theme. Knowing where you’ll be getting married will also allow you to look up marriage license requirements, which is an important step if you want the official married status.

Now that you know the engagement MITs (most important tasks), you can relax for a bit and enjoy your engagement, as well as the wedding planning adventure that lies ahead. And don’t forget to post your ring selfie!

Image by Nina Claire Photography via Afternoon Engagement Shoot

Ms Zebra Says: Thanks Kim for such great tips on the immediate to-do’s when you get engaged! It’s such a happy and overwhelming time, it is always helpful to have a list to get you back on track & out of the engagement daze!!

About Kim: Kim is the founder of Tre Bella, an Arizona wedding venue that delivers platinum-style weddings affordably. With a true love for design and a stress-free coordination process, Kim keeps gorgeous urban weddings within reach for busy couples.