In Australia, brides are not as used to using a wedding planner as brides from America and other countries around the world are.  We’re an independent lot –  we feel we can do it all ourselves, as well as work, juggle family wishes and have a life! And we all hope that we can, after all of that, be a serene and happy bride who glides graciously through her wedding day!

So to take the stress out of your planning, consider hiring a wedding planner!   A lot of brides think that it’s a wedding planner’s role to charge you an obscene amount of money for something you could have easily planned yourself…. wrong! We need to change that perception here and now!

It is a wedding planner’s job to assist you with as much or as little as you like when planning your big day. Many girls I have spoken to have said how surprised they have been when receiving quotes from wedding planners as they expected them to be quite expensive. It’s not a well known fact, but the majority of wedding planners can actually not only save you hundreds of hours of your precious time, but can save you a pretty penny too!  Wedding planners are quite often able to receive discounts from wedding suppliers and venues that the general public are not able to obtain as result of good working relationships and the opportunity for repeat business from them.

There is no harm in contacting a wedding planner to discuss a quote – just pop them an email. It will take two seconds but may save you 250 hours of your precious time and then some. You want to be the cool, calm and collected bride swept up in the romance of it all remember, not the bridezilla.

Wouldn’t you love those 250 hours to enjoy your engagement, plan and dream?

Consider this:

– A wedding planner may not cost you as much as you thought

– A wedding planner often receives discounts from wedding suppliers

– A wedding planner will save you hundreds of hours by  doing the running around for you

Wedding Table Setting & Theming

Photo purchased from I Stock

Ms Polka Dot says: Whitney from La Belle Weddings gives us all some timely advice about using a wedding planner. Wouldn’t we all rather be relaxed and enjoy our day and not become a bridezilla? You bet ya!

Whitney says: La Belle Weddings is a Sydney based boutique wedding planning agency. We are are here to assist brides in turning their dream wedding into a reality whilst saving you time and money. When not planning weddings Whitney enjoys a Magic Merlin or Cookies & Cream cocktail!

Wedding MBA by Drew Brashler Photography

From planners to photographers; florists to dressmakers, approximately 1500 wedding professionals turned out for the Wedding MBA last September in world-renown Las Vegas, Nevada. The show kicked off with an impressive array of presenters, including experts from The Knot, and Martha Stewart Weddings. All offered worthwhile information, but the reality is I had to travel a long way to get it. So why would an Australian wedding professional like me globe-trot halfway around the world just to attend a conference?

The question should be, “Why not?”

Wedding MBA by Drew Brashler Photography

The WMBA provides invaluable access to speakers, wedding educators and experts, not to mention like minded peers and wedding professionals, all of which are not typically available in Australia on such a grand scale. I strongly believe continuing education for any professional is the key to success. By staying current in your field you:

A) Always learn something new

B) Reinforce old (yet useful) ideas

C) Stumble upon a “BFO” or two, which are blinding flashes of the obvious. The concept being you don’t know what you don’t know until someone else points it out.

Wedding MBA by Drew Brashler Photography

Carley Roney, The Knot

Wedding MBA by Drew Brashler Photography

Sonny Ganguly, WeddingWire

Wedding MBA by Drew Brashler Photography

Timothy Chi, WeddingWire

Wedding MBA by Drew Brashler Photography

So what was it that I took away from this year’s WMBA? The common thread running through the conference was not only how to reach brides, but also to understand how brides use social media and technology to plan their weddings.

For example, Stacie Francombe of Get Married spoke about the Gotta-have-it-now Bride. Even though she’s a “hunter-gather” who uses multiple mediums to find what she needs, the Gotta-have-it-now Bride relies on the Web for instant gratification when planning her wedding. Because brides use all forms of media, it’s interesting to note Internet ads only marginally outperform print advertising, which many speakers pointed out should not be dismissed as a dead medium.  Believe it or not, print advertising still has a place (and a pass-on factor) that plays a very important role in the planning process.

But even though print is still in the picture, I attended some interesting presentations on social media and the convergence of technology. It’s been a seismic shift from traditional 1990’s publishing in newspapers to today’s social media publishing, which includes blogging, Flicker, Facebook, Twitter, and personal websites. Not only is it about making content available to everyone, you also have to make sure that same content is accessible exactly the way a reader wants to see it.  For example, laptops, mobile phones and iPads are all tools brides use to plan their weddings. Talk about a convergence of technology! This clip presented by WeddingWire (already a year old) left the room speechless:

The message.Move with the times‘.

Wedding MBA by Drew Brashler Photography

Amy Wilkins, Martha Stewart Weddings

Wedding MBA by Drew Brashler Photography

Andy Ebon, The Wedding Marketing Network

Wedding MBA by Drew Brashler Photography

Throughout the seminar I had several of my own blinding flashes of the obvious. Two in particular were the importance of harnessing the power of social media, and getting to know your client or prospect. For example, Andy Ebon spoke about software such as Flowtown, which compiles profiles from people’s email addresses to help you better understand who your customers and prospects are. And Susan Southerland presented an interesting perspective on four bride personality types and how each can be managed in the best way.

All in all it was a whirlwind week that left me tired and slightly overwhelmed. So was it worth it?  Absolutely!  On the way home my mind was spinning with big plans for my own company. The WMBA showed me that now is an exciting time to be in the wedding planning business. I couldn’t wait to get back to Australia to test out some of these innovative ideas and actually witness their success for myself.

Ms Polka Dot says: I’m green with envy! Sarah from Girl Friday Weddings got to live the dream and attend this renowned event for wedding professionals this year. Thank you for writing this for us – it certainly is an eye opener to see 1500 wedding professionals in the one room!

Sarah of Girl Friday Weddings likes to think of herself as your Personal Assistant, ready to take on any job that will assist you, or take on any job that you don’t want to do. With a range of services on offer from your wedding day co-ordinating to personal shopping, she is the go-to girl to save your sanity!

Photographs taken by Drew Brashler Photography


There is no shortage of celebrants, but that can just make it harder to know where to start looking! Everyone loves a personal recommendation, so ask around. Your friends will have been to weddings, or been married themselves. Everyone remembers a really great celebrant. They also remember a really bad one!

Try chat forums. There are many fantastic on-line chat forums to explore. Brides love chatting about their weddings – who they booked – why they like them – and better still, they log back in after the wedding to give post wedding reviews. If the comments are really great, you can trust them – after all, who has time to make up great comments unless they are really, really happy?

If all of that fails you, there are countless wedding directory websites to trawl. BUT don’t stop there. Google the celebrants that appeal to you. Is anyone writing about them? Does their website tell you about who they really are- their approach, their style? Do they have a blog? Do they use twitter or Facebook? You can learn a lot online!

Match your personalities……

All celebrants (should) have the legal knowledge to perform a ceremony according to law and to complete all paperwork accordingly. Almost all own a PA system through which you can play music and be heard clearly throughout the ceremony. What makes a great relationship between a celebrant and Bride and Groom is trust. You want to able to trust that your celebrant will do everything they say they will. That they will help you in every way that they can – and most importantly, that on the day, that they can handle anything!

Make your decision based upon personality, because on the day – it really is everything. A fabulous celebrant should have a fabulous personality. Believe me, you really don’t want a robot. Think of it like this……

Your wedding is a very expensive party if the ceremony isn’t performed well. Your wedding begins with the ceremony. It is the most important part of the day. It is the reason for everything else.



Choose a celebrant that puts you at ease; the one that you feel will engage your guests and keep them entertained. The right celebrant will go to great lengths to do all these things for you.

If you really connect with your celebrant; if you feel like they understand what you want and can guide you through the process, without stress, and keep you calm and relaxed on the day, then that is the one for you!

Happy planning!


Photos courtesy of Emily Sandrussi

Ms Polka Dot says: What wonderful advice from Robyn – Robyn Pattison Civil Marriage Celebrant! And yes, she always seems happy – even her favourite cocktail is a happy colour and bubbly – pink champagne with a dash of guava! Thank you Robyn!

Robyn tells us: I am quite possibly the happiest marriage celebrant in Sydney! Weddings are my thing! Nothing makes me happier than a really happy couple – every time.