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  Originally posted on Polka Dot Bride on November 28, 2008

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Today’s expert is the very talented James Day of James Day Photography. Based in Armidale, New South Wales, James has traveled all over the world taking gorgeous photographs including the engagement shoot of Miss Sea Breeze over on Wedding Bee. (See her posts here and here and see James’ shoot with them here). I’m quite excited to have James join Polka Dot Bride today and learn more about him!

Where and how did you learn your craft?

I was given my first camera as a young kid, and my father who was a very keen amateur taught me how to use it. He owned a professional camera, so when he passed away when I was 14, I inherited that camera and I taught myself how to shoot like a pro at a very young age. I learned photography at school, and topped the class, and my teacher started getting me work when I was 16. From there, I just learned as much as I could from trial and error and from other photographers. When I finished school I worked for a studio and the local newspaper as a photographer.

What is your mission statement for James Day Photography?

To create powerful images with meaning; at the highest level.

What inspires you about Australian brides? Is there a special ‘Australian’ quality about brides from this country?

Totally! Brides here are so relaxed and just let me do my thing. It’s awesome to work for people like that!

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What should brides look for in a photographer?

Definitely ask your friends for referrals. Also, check out photographers blogs and see if you like their style, their services and them as a person.

Do you take traditional photographs of brides or do you strive to be different? What sets you apart from others?

I take a mix. I love to create a simple, perfect portrait or get in there and explore new territory.
Where do you find inspiration to keep your photography cutting edge and your interest in it fresh?
I get a lot of inspiration from Hollywood and the high budget movies that they produce, from other photographers, and from fashion magazines.

How do you keep on learning?

I photograph for myself a lot. I get out there and just play and take photos that make me happy. It’s the best way to keep learning. I also am a part of a few professional organizations that constantly provide support, inspiration and information on workshops that are coming up.

What is your number one tip for brides when being photographed?

Have fun and be yourself.

What do you love about the industry?

Photographers in general are great networkers. That means we get to hang out lots and share ideas.

What are your favourite wedding ideas?

I love it when people personalize their wedding to the max. Looking back through the family history and incorporating old family traditions are probably my number 1 favourite thing to see.

What are the biggest mistakes you see brides making?

I don’t see my brides making too many mistakes, but when the occasional client decides to book another photographer due to budget constrictions alone, I know they’re going to majorly regret not spending the money on the photographer they really wanted all along. You get what you pay for in this industry and it’s definitely the service that you will remember the most out of everyone you hire, so choose wisely!

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If money was no object, where and how would you photograph a wedding?

I would hire a Hollywood lighting crew and photograph a wedding in Italy and go into it with an attitude of making a film style look through photographs.

What is your dream for James Day Photography?

I’d love to photograph a few more overseas weddings and get to see incredible locations all around the world. I’d also love to do more photography consulting to other photographers looking to take their business and photography further. I go into every wedding with the attitude that this will be the best wedding I’ve ever shot, so things are always exciting here at James Day Photography!

Thank you James for joining Polka Dot Bride today! Be sure to check out James’ website James Day Photography and his blog to see more of his work!

Photo of James Day by Jessica Claire Read the rest of this article »

 Originally posted on Polka Dot Bride on November 19, 2008

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Today’s What Would They Know interview is with the lovely Catherine De Groot. Catherine, along with her sister Sarah (pictured above) founded New Zealand natural skincare company Trilogy in 2002. Trilogy produces gorgeous skincare that actually works and it’s homegrown!

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How did you start out? What inspired you to create the products?

Trilogy was founded my sister, Sarah Gibbs, and I in 2002 to combine our commitment to natural skincare with our passion for the environment. Our aim in founding Trilogy was to create exquisite natural skincare products with maximum effect on your skin and minimum effect on our environment.

While the business is fundamentally based on the performance of its products, Trilogy has a sustainable ethical business philosophy and we are committed to triple-bottom-line business practices. We are one of only two Carbon Neutral skincare brands in Australasia, we are committed to sourcing fair trade ingredients where possible and we produce recyclable packaging from sustainable resources.

We had followed quite different career paths before coming together to establish Trilogy. We both grew up in Australia and New Zealand but Sarah had worked in corporate finance in Hong Kong, South Africa and London before returning to New Zealand to run her own manufacturing company. Prior to setting up Trilogy I was working as a food, beauty and interiors journalist and the owner of two successful retail ventures in New Zealand.


How did you decide on your ingredients?

Trilogy’s philosophy for healthy skin is designed around the triad of simplicity, purity and vitality. Each Trilogy product contains a simple blend of 100% pure botanical extracts, in unique formulations, which restore the natural vitality and radiance of your skin and hair by working in perfect harmony with them.

Rosehip Oil inspired us to create our first range of naturally active products. Sarah had fallen in love with this remarkable ingredient when she was processing it in her factory. Knowing Rosehip Oil had many proven skin benefits, Sarah gave me a bottle in the hope it would ease my eczema. The oil worked beautifully and we began to see the potential for including Rosehip Oil and other natural actives in a line of modern, fuss-free and highly efficacious skin care.

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Trilogy’s Rosehip Oil is certified organic, clinically proven, fully sustainable and remains a key ingredient across our expanded product range today.

Last year we conducted clinical trials on our Certified Organic Rosehip Oil and further confirmed the effectiveness of this remarkable oil, which is now proven to improve skin moisture content and decrease the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

Our products contain:
Pure essential oils and plant extracts in place of artificial colours and fragrances.
Natural plant oils in place of non-sustainable, petro chemically derived bases and fillers such as mineral oils, petrolatum and petroleum.

Our products are free from: Parabens, mineral oils, SLS and harsh surfactants, artificial colours and fragrances, synthetic fillers and animal derived ingredients (except honey and beeswax).

How did you market your product?

Trilogy is an Australasian brand and was developed from the outset with international markets in mind.
Our aim was to create a natural skincare brand that was contemporary, chic and inclusive. This is reflected in our packaging and our marketing. Trilogy is about attitude not age or culture. We are an inclusive brand and our broad demographic is testament to Trilogy’s emotional connection to what people want.

In the six years Trilogy has been established, we have built the company from boutique local operation to a recognised and admired international brand. Trilogy is sold in over 2,000 stores throughout Australasia and through retail channels in Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, the United Kingdom, the USA and Canada.

How did you decide on your packaging?

We decided to create packaging that reflected our brand and which differentiated Trilogy from the majority of natural skincare ranges that were available at the time of our launch. Our packaging is contemporary, chic, beautiful and has attitude.

What are the steps in creating the product?

The process for each Trilogy product differs based on the ingredients and formulation.
For a product like the Certified Organic Rosehip Oil the entire process is certified organic by Bio Gro New Zealand; from the rosehips themselves to the production and bottling processes we use.
The Rosehips are sun dried and the red flesh is separated from the seed (most of the flesh is sold for rosehip tea). Seed and some flesh is then processed to remove oil using solvent free extraction processes with the end result 100% pure organic rosehip oil.

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The Marula oil found in Everything Balm is also certified organic and sourced from a fair trade community where the Marula Kernels are picked, sun-dried, de-husked and then cold pressed. The product is then sent for technical analysis before the oil is extracted. Again the entire process is certified organic from harvest through to extraction.


What is the favourite product amongst your customers?

Certified Organic Rosehip Oil is not only Trilogy’s hero ingredient, but the #1 bestseller in the range, closely followed by our face and body care products.

What sets you apart?

• Trilogy is natural skincare with sophistication – our fragrances are beautifully delicate and our packaging is chic and contemporary.

• Trilogy is committed to a journey towards sustainability – maximum effect on your skin, minimum effect on our environment.

• Trilogy Certified Organic Rosehip Oil, which is clinically proven, is a key ingredient across the product range and is the cornerstone of our brand.

• Trilogy is about attitude not age or culture. We are an inclusive brand and our broad demographic is testament to Trilogy’s emotional connection to what people want.

• Trilogy is about simplicity in an over scheduled world. Making life more beautiful, not more complicated.


What do you love about the industry?

I love that fact that many in the industry are working towards making more ethical and environmentally responsible products. It’s a remarkable shift from where we were even 10 years ago. It feels great to be growing a meaningful business.

What do you love about Australian/New Zealand weddings?

That we seem to have developed the confidence and freedom to create our own special day. Most of the weddings I have attended recently have been remarkably different and unique. Weddings that are a true expression of a couple’s individuality are wonderful.


What are your five tips for brides?

I just have one. Smile, smile and smile some more. Firstly it makes you feel great when you smile and secondly, it sets the tone for the whole wedding. If the bride and groom are smiling, everyone will relax and enjoy themselves.

How can a bride be eco friendly with her beauty preparations?

I believe you must be calm for your wedding or you won’t enjoy the occasion or remember much of it!

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Aromatherapy is a great way to de-stress before your day. Most natural beauty products shun synthetic fragrances in favour of essential oils that can help you address the needs of both your skin and your well being. Invest in aroma therapeutic massages and DYI home facials and be careful to choose products that will address your beauty requirements in a holistic manner. I recommend Trilogy’s Purifying Masque with detoxifying witch hazel and calming rose geranium oil and Trilogy Aromatic Body Oil with de-stressing essential oil.

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Tell me about your wedding/dream wedding?

I married my husband at a beautiful remote lodge beside the sea in New Zealand. We decided on a very small guest list of only 23 and we were blessed with a beautiful sunny day. We married mid-morning and the ceremony was followed by a long hilarious lunch. My sister was the Master of Ceremonies and had everyone in stitches with her fantastic sense of humour. It was perfect.

What are your tips for an eco friendly wedding?

Pare everything down. Perhaps all you need is a smile, a gorgeous bunch of flowers, a ring, marriage certificate and the person you love?

How do you keep on learning?

Ask a question and then ask another one. Always be humble and never stop being curious.

Thank you Catherine for joining Polka Dot Bride today! Trilogy products are available at good health food stores and some Myer outlets- they’re also available internationally! Check out their stockists page for more information!

Originally posted on Polka Dot Bride November 7, 2008 

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Today’s expert interview is with the lovely Suzi! Suzi heads up Alannah Rose Stationery which produces many gorgeous designs every year. Polka Dot Bride readers known I’m a fan of Alannah Rose and I’m so excited Suzi took the time to have a chat!

Tell me about yourself?

An art director with a million ideas! I’ve got so many designs in my head, it’s hard to find the time to put them all to fruition! On a personal level, a mum to two gorgeous girls who inspire me every day.

What inspires you?

Pretty things, blogs, interior design, gardens, my children. I’m renovating at the moment so home magazines are my bible – amazingly they are a great source for ideas. A lot of what works for the home can work for a wedding.

What is your number one tip for brides?

Make a list, set a budget and stick to it.

Look for the best quality suppliers you can find to fit within your budget.

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Image from Alannah Rose Blog

We had a modern orchid theme. The bridesmaids carried burgundy cymbidium orchids mixed with hydrangeas. My bouquet was cream with the same flowers. The colours were carried across all stationery from invitations, RSVP cards, place cards, table numbers, cake bags, service books and seating plan. The tables had orchid centre pieces and each guest received a silk orchid pin hole flower. They all wore them on the night so the guests fitted with theme!

My dress was by Luci di Bella who is just amazing.

If I did it all again today, I’d go with a black and white theme. Timeless and elegant. Fluffy white flowers, black trimmings and still a Luci di Bella gown.

What do you love about Australian Brides?

Their ability to carry through a theme.

I’m finding my brides are wanting not just the invitation but the entire stationery suite. They want the idea to carry through to the entire day, so the availability of matching menu’s, place cards, table allocation boards and bon bon tags is a must.

What should brides start with when they’re planning their stationery?

Numbers. The first thing you should do is make a list of all possible guests so you have and idea of how many invitations you’ll need. From here you can set your budget, and theme. You can then start searching for stationery that will fit both of these requirements.

What was your most memorable wedding moment?

Probably my own wedding day – our first dance. We did a slow jive to ‘Ain’t that a kick in the head’ to much accolade and cheering.

What are the biggest mistakes you see brides making?

Not saying thank you.

There’s nothing better than good old fashioned manners. Your guests have helped you celebrate, and given you a gorgeous gift – it doesn’t take long to hand write a special note to let them know you appreciated them being there.

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Alannah Rose Chantilly Chandelier

5 things a bride must get right?

1. Invitations! These are the first glimpse your guests will see of the wedding. The style, colour and tone of the invitation will give them a hint of the stylish occasion that is to unfold.

2. Dress. This is the hero of the day. Everyone wants to know what the bride will be wearing, and will remember how she looked on that day. Make sure it’s timeless, you feel comfortable and in it, and think that in 10 years time would you look back and wear the same thing again. If the answer is yes – it’s the dress for you.

3. Hair and Makeup – You don’t want to fuss all day, make sure you have a style that will go the distance.

4. Music. There’s nothing worse than a wedding with bad music. Make the event enjoyable for all guests and choose something that will appeal to all ages.

5. Shoes. No bride wants blisters. Make sure they are comfortable as well as glamorous and make sure your survival kit includes Bandaids just in case!

What do you love about the industry?

The beauty, opulence and love that makes a wedding celebration so special.

I love being a part of so many couples special days.

I also love the feedback from clients that I’ve helped contribute to making their day a memorable one.

How do you keep your product fresh and different?

I do two collections a year and revise the current range annually.

Thank you Suzi for joining Polka Dot Bride today! Check out more of Suzi’s work at Alannah Rose Stationery