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One of the best bits about spring weddings is peony season and this week on Behind the Door, I’m visiting a very special space, famous for their peonies, Spring Hill Peony Farm.

Husband and wife team Nicky and Mac created Spring Hill Peony Farm in 2001. “We bought the farm in 2000 and it was previously used for cattle grazing” says Nicky, “from 2001 to 2003 we planted (by hand) over 10,000 peony plants.” The plants reached maturity from around 2007 – 2009 and then Nicky and Mac started supplying the commercial cut flower market with beautiful fresh blooms.

Spring Hill Peony Farm is located in Victoria’s Macedon Ranges and is 680m above sea level. “We usually receive a sprinkling of snow each year and have lots of frost, which is the secret to growing great peonies” says Nicky. “They must be in soil that is below zero for more than 4 months of the year.”

One of the first things visitors are excited to see is of course the peony paddock. During peony season (mid November to mid December), the paddock is a mass of giant pink and white blooms which guests can pick themselves as well as enjoy food, drinks and a coffee cart. I love the idea of a romantic date at the peony farm and I have heard it’s also a popular destination for marriage proposals! Nicky tells me couples should keep an eye on their Instagram and Facebook pages for when peony season tickets go on sale.

For weddings, Spring Hill Peony Farm has several spaces that can be utilised for different sized events. A charming timber building, weathered by over one hundred years, steeped in history; the traditional church is the perfect place for a ceremony. The beautifully designed pavilion is tucked among ancient gum trees on the private two acre property and can seat 35 for dinner or up to 80 guests for cocktail weddings. There is also the possibility of a marquee on the grounds for larger seated events.

I love that Spring Hill Peony Farm is also an eco venue. Nicky and Mac have used as many sustainable practices as possible in the renovation and the every day use of the site. “The property has full stand alone solar power production, rainwater harvesting, waste water treatment on site, recycled waste, compost and a herb garden” says Nicky, “The Pavilion is architecturally designed with passive solar energy gain, full insulation and cross ventilated cooling for summer.”

Whether it’s a spring wedding full of peonies or simply enjoying the gardens during the other months of the year, Spring Hill Peony Farm is certainly one of the most romantic wedding destinations in Australia!

Ms Zebra Says: Ahhh the peony! My favourite! What a beautiful place, thanks for sharing!

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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There’s just something about a well tailored suit. Oscar Hunt Tailors deliver on this, but there’s more to their business than that. Offering welcoming and inspiring showrooms where grooms and groomsmen can come together to design their own suits, Oscar Hunt pride themselves on celebrating their clients’ personalities through their style choices. We’re giving them a huge high five for creating such a comfortable, professional and fun experience for grooms, who can sometimes be a little left behind in all the excitement of the bride’s wedding attire choices. Today we’re chatting to Chris Edwards, director of Oscar Hunt, about how he and his team are so passionate about what they do and why grooms should choose Oscar Hunt to craft them their ideal look for their wedding day.

Tell us about Oscar Hunt…
Oscar Hunt is a made-to-measure tailoring business that exists to help men express their character through the clothes that they wear. Our team works side-by-side with our clients to craft the perfect suit that they love to wear. We do this by really listening and forming a relationship with everyone who walks through the door. Our experienced team of fitters and tailors live and breathe tailoring and this passion is weaved into each garment that we create for our clients. This is all done in the comfort of our inspiring yet warm and comfortable showrooms.

Where are your showrooms?
We have showrooms in Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide.

How have you set up the showrooms to appeal to the fashion forward man?
We have many examples of garments in different fabrics and styles to really showcase what we can do. That way we can physically show something that might be considered more traditional and compare it with some more fashion forward ideas.

Image: Thomas Stewart

What’s the in-store experience like for your customers?
Comfortable, welcoming and enjoyable are the words that I would use to describe our in-store experience. It is our view that if you’re not comfortable in an environment then it takes away from the whole experience. Our showrooms also make the product the hero. We celebrate our craft in our showrooms because we are very proud of what we are able to craft for our clients. Therefore you can really feel this passion when you are in one of our showrooms.

All Oscar Hunt suits are made to measure. How do your tailors guide grooms and groomsmen through this process?
Our fitters are extremely experienced when it comes to assisting grooms to craft their ideal wedding look. It all starts with a conversation. We listen and we learn exactly what the groom (and the bride) is after for their day. From there we begin to recommend fabrics, styles and cuts in order to craft the best possible suits. The key to this is the fitter. At Oscar Hunt we believe that our team is second to none, and therefore able to guide the grooms and groomsmen through the process in order to make the client the perfect suit whilst also having a really good time!

How many fabric choices do you have on offer?
Currently I think we have around 2,500 fabrics to choose from. Different colours, patterns, textures and weights in wool, wool/silk, cotton, linen, cashmere, mohair and many more.

Images: Courtesy of Oscar Hunt

Are you able to advise what fabrics might be best, depending on the timing and style of the wedding
Absolutely. That is all part of the benefit of seeing a tailor and our process of getting to know the client. Once we are able to establish the needs of our clients (and therefore what job the suit needs to perform) we are able to advise on the most appropriate fabric. This is a key advantage of made-to-measure when compared to off-the-rack. We are able to create a suit in a mohair, or light wool, or even a cotton or linen for a summer wedding and then a heavier wool for the winter months. If you are buying off-the-rack you are limited to what is in store, which is often very limited when it comes to fabric options as they are more concerned with fashion trends.

What are some colours of suits that work all year round?
Navy and dark greys tend to work all year round, as they can be dressed up or down where required. However we are now seeing a lot more imagination and comfort coming from our clients to play around with more colours and textures (and even fabric choices) all year round.

What kind of suits are on trend at the moment?
We do a large number of business suits and we are seeing a movement away from really traditional navy suits to suits in similar colours but with a slight texture or pattern. I think guys are becoming more unique in the way they dress without necessarily wanting to completely stand out.

Images: Courtesy of Oscar Hunt

And what’s your all-time favourite style of suit?
It changes too much to name a favourite! However I have a very strong preference towards double-breasted jackets and flannels (particularly in pins).

How can the groom stand out from the groomsmen?
I think the best way to stand out as a groom is to do it in a subtle way. For example, the groomsmen might be in navy suits and the groom in a slightly more vibrant blue. Or you could have the groom in a formal suit and the groomsmen in a slightly less formal finish. We don’t recommend things like outlandish coloured accessories – it’s all about complementary colours.

Do you advise the groom and groomsmen about the perfect accessories?
Yes we do. We work with the groom and groomsmen to put together the overall look.

Images: Georgia Verrells

What solutions are you able to offer in the way of alterations or remakes?
We have in-house tailors that are always available to offer alterations for our clients. With regards to remakes we will always remake a garment (in the very rare case) where the fit is unsatisfactory. This cost is completely covered by OH.

In what time frame should we expect a garment to be delivered?
We take 6 weeks to construct our suits however we like to leave 8 weeks for a wedding suit so that the groom is not picking up the suit the morning of the wedding!

What’s a typical day at Oscar Hunt look like for you?
There’s probably no such thing! At the moment I am working closely with our marketing team as we are doing some pretty exciting things in that space. I am also working with our Adelaide showroom manager closely as we have just recently launched our Adelaide business.

Images: Amy Wilde

What do you love most about your job?
Working with our team. They are an amazing group of people. I also love the client interactions we have. I don’t get to meet our clients as much as I used to but the client relationship is what I’m most passionate about (and is essentially what this business is based on) so I love hearing our client stories and the positive feedback.

Why should a groom choose Oscar Hunt for his wedding suit?
I think a groom should choose Oscar Hunt because you will be in the safest of hands to craft the ideal look and you will have a really good time throughout the fitting process leading up to the big day. Creating suits for occasions like this is our specialty and we take it incredibly seriously.

Images: Lovers Narrative

Thank you Chris for chatting with us about what makes Oscar Hunt a truly special place for grooms and groomsmen to source their wedding suits. And thank you for providing this superb level of service for them! Find out more about Oscar Hunt and their suit making process over on their website or via the Polka Dot Directory.

Headshot courtesy of Oscar Hunt

Image by Kit Haselden Photography

Spring has sprung! Finally the weather is changing – the sunshine has appeared, the winter chill has eased and everyone is looking and feeling a little brighter. It’s the perfect time to host a cocktail event. A wedding, an engagement party, hen’s day – whatever it is, we all love a good celebration. Spring literally puts a spring in people’s step and has everyone wanting to get together and mingle with great food, great drinks and great company. As caterers, we are party experts!

So we decided to give you our top 5 catering tips for throwing a successful cocktail event this Spring season.

1. Celebrate The Produce

Image by The Wild Social

Design a canapé menu with your caterer that reflects you and the season. Being Spring, you want to choose items that provide a lighter and fresher feel.
Some of the best ‘in season’ produce that “springs to mind” are citrus fruits – grapefruit, oranges, lemons, limes, mandarin & cumquats are all gorgeous at this time of year. Berries of all kinds – strawberries, blueberries, raspberries & blackberries are all in season during Spring. Then there are vegetables such as asparagus, broad beans, parsnips, beetroots, silver beet, rhubarb and leeks. There is plenty to play with in Spring time.

Images by Eugene Hyland

If you’re managing the canapés yourself, choose items that are simple and can be made ahead of time, such as our Asian pork belly with caramel sauce & fresh herbs or our pan-fried prawns on betel leaf with ginger & peanuts. Find those mouth-watering recipes here!

Image by Eugene Hyland 

2. Embrace The Change

If weather permits, entertain outdoors! Everyone loves a garden party or the chance to step outside after being cooped inside for the whole of winter. There’s no hotter ticket in town, then that first spring party.

3. Choose Wisely 

If budget is a factor, chat to your caterer and see if you can come to a compromise on what you can provide yourself. Perhaps the caterer is responsible for all canapés, but might allow you to provide your own produce for a grazing table that they can assemble so you don’t have to worry.

And when it comes to grazing tables, there are too many that are covered from one end to the other in cheap and undesirable ingredients – not to mention the waste! Be smart and choose items that guests ACTUALLY want to eat. Ham, roast beef, mini artisan rolls & triple crème brie = crowd pleasers. On the other hand; blueberries, pretzels, dips and a table where you don’t know where it starts and where it ends – a trend that will fade very soon!

Images by Eugene Hyland

4. Offer A Little Something Extra


If you want to include some zing – a fresh & easy cocktail to offer your guests upon arrival works really well – it adds an element of excitement and immediately lifts the mood. Your guests will all  feel really special. It can also help bring together the season, style, food and the overall vibe of the party if matched appropriately. Here’s one on us!

Image by The Wild Social

Spring Paloma Cocktail
Ingredients:
• 45mL tequila
• 15mL lime juice
• Sparkling pink grapefruit, to top
• Grapefruit slice, to garnish
• Coarse salt, for the rim
• Lime juice, for the rim
• Ice
Method:
Run the lime on the rim of the glass then dip it in the salt.
Fill the glass with ice, and add tequila and lime juice.
Top with grapefruit juice.
Garnish with grapefruit.

5. Be Smart and Enjoy

Use professional staff if possible. One of the biggest issues we have, is that clients try to save cost on using less or no staff at all. This can mean that you spend the whole event in the kitchen! IMAGINE, the bride in the kitchen putting out fires! As host, you need to be present for your guests to help spark the energy! It’s obviously a special occasion, you’re already spending quite a bit of money to throw the event, spend that little bit extra on staff so that you can fully enjoy your event and your guests enjoy stellar service.

Lastly, we are the experts, we know what works and what doesn’t. So let us take care of all the planning and stressful elements so that you can actually sit back, relax and enjoy your special celebration. That’s what life is about – celebrating the milestones & successes!

Image by Kit Haselden Photography

Two Pounds love catering for all types of events – private & corporate, big & small. What started in a tiny kitchen in a Prahran apartment has now evolved and seen us take on our second space in Armadale. Every event we take on, especially weddings, are really important to us and we feel extremely lucky to be taken on the journey with our clients. Food, hospitality staff, beverages, hire items and event planning/management are the areas we can look after for our clients to ensure we make the process as stress free as possible for them.