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Originally posted on Polka Dot Bride on January 16, 2009  

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Today Polka Dot Bride is joined by a dynamic, successful wedding industry pro- Leigh Taylor, who with her husband Bradley Patrick owns Sydney photography studio SugarLove Weddings and Sydney videography studio White Designs.

What was the catalyst for starting SugarLove Weddings and White Designs?

SugarLove Pictures started in early 2000 and was initially just one photographer & one agent/photo producer coming together for their work within the Arts & Entertainment industry. My husband & I worked between the USA & Australia regularly & things grew to incorporate Advertising, Editorial, Fashion and Film clients. Our wedding division started indirectly at the request of some well known celebrity clients to cover their day. The rest they say is history – SugarLove Weddings was officially formed in 2004.

White Designs was started in a similar fashion…. one bride trying to find a videographer that could produce documentary style footage with a high level of elegance & style decided to start her own business. Her desire to cater to the same level of discerning clients who appreciate the differences that professional commercially trained crew can bring to their wedding documentaries was the sole decision behind building White. We purchased White from the original owner in 2007 and merged the business with SugarLove Weddings

What is your business philosophy?

Our philosophy is based on integrity, passionate client management & an appreciation of being invited to share one of the most important days of your life with our clients. An all encompassing love for the art of making beautiful images “both still & moving” drives the SugarLove & White team.

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Anna and Nathan on their wedding day as captured by SugarLove Weddings

How would you describe SugarLove’s photography style?

Timeless, emotional & spontaneous moments captured in a relaxed unobtrusive style is often the way our work is described by SugarLove clients. Our personal business approach combined with a high level of ongoing support and “love” that starts from the very first meeting to the final collection of albums is widely regarded as one of the added joys of working with SugarLove.

What do you love about Australian brides?

Most have a great sense of humour and a fresh & candid approach to their day

What do you look to for inspiration? Do you have a ‘feeling’ about each bride you photograph and then plan the photo shoot accordingly?

No photo shoot at SugarLove is planned in the old fashioned sense. Pre planning meetings take place one month prior to the wedding day to discuss the shot list and desired locations, however if something is working better on the day between the couple & our photographer this spontaneity is paramount. The most memorable shots are those taken when in the “moment”.

Our creative inspiration comes from things outside weddings such as travel, film, food, art and music.

What sets you apart from others?

We don’t feel couples should have to purchase an album to be able to book the very best photographers in the business. For the majority of clients, our packages with albums are fully inclusive so there are no hidden extras after the honeymoon.

We keep the business & creative sides of wedding photography separate for clients at SugarLove. Each couple are working one on one with their own account manager to ensure no detail is missed prior to the day, the photographer can then concentrate on what he does best (capturing the amazing images we are hired for) and clients are overjoyed to receive their images anywhere from 7-30 days after the event instead of 3-6months.

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Lea captured on her wedding day to Matt by Sugarlove Weddings

How do you keep your product fresh and different?

Embracing new technology has always been high on the list of priorities. Listening to what clients feel is missing within their expectations of photography & video services helps open up new ideas for the future. Combining experience from our body of work in other industries ensures our work looks unlike anything else in the wedding industry

What are your number one tips for brides?

Always discuss your expectations of how you dream your wedding day photography & video to be before the big day. Be yourself in front of the camera and your natural beauty will shine through. No posing, no fake smiles, take a deep breath & enjoy every minute of the day, it goes far too quickly. Chose a studio with integrity and ensure you understand fully what is included in your package prior to booking. Read previous clients testimonials & ask to view published work which is the signature of any top studio. Lastly, an experienced photographer or camera operator with well rounded experience in other forms of photography outside of weddings will bring a fresh approach to your images.

What should a bride know about wedding videos?

We have three packages available for clients but designing something custom made for couples is quite common so brides should know this is always an option. When choosing a company to work with always follow your heart. Consider your budget but book with the studio who has the footage & images you love the most. First impressions count. Pay attention to a company who is well organised from your first phone call, first email or first meeting. They will ensure the wedding videography goes smoothly & they will be a delight to deal with long after the last shot is taken.

What are your favourite wedding ideas?

Anything with sentiment and individual style.

You film a lot of celebrity weddings-have you ever been star struck?

It is nice to meet someone you admire creatively – an actor, singer or artist but no I cannot say I have been star struck as yet.

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Most memorable wedding – and for what reason?  

Definitely my own day on November 10th 2001 in the Blue Mountains, NSW.Leigh Taylor Wedding

We chose a weekend getaway, a gorgeous intimate location, a small guest number, and made choices about styling, menu and music all based around our 1920’s theme. Heartfelt vows, vintage prints, a moonlit cake cutting and the crisp scent of spring in the air are just some of the memories that make those moments feel like yesterday.

Leigh Taylor Wedding Photo

What lifestyle habits do you suggest for brides in the run-up to their weddings?

De-stress, De-stress, De-stress… it will pay off in the photos & video, we promise!!

Thank you for joining Polka Dot Bride today Leigh! Check out SugarLove Weddings and White Designs for more delicious work!

Originally posted on Polka Dot Bride on January 6, 2009

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Bringing in the new year is a lady who I’ve been lucky enough to come to know over the past few years. Kathryn Porritt! Kathryn has not only been an event planner in Canberra, but she now runs one of Australia’s most gorgeous online wedding stores Pink Frosting and writes the delightfully gorgeous blog Australia Entertains. Kathryn is taking the Australian wedding industry by storm with her great ideas and amazing array of products!

Tell me about yourself, your background?

I am the owner of Australia’s favourite online wedding and celebration store, Pink Frosting and the blog, Australia Entertains, and have spent almost 15 years as an event manager in Australia. I’ve been lucky enough to work with some amazing people including Harry Connick Jr and Alicia Silverstone (yes, I am name dropping!).

How did you get into the wedding industry?

I’d spent years organising big events for the corporate and entertainment world, but I honestly enjoyed working on smaller celebrations more. They were more challenging and fun. I opened Pink Frosting in Canberra as a wedding planning company so I could focus on my first love. We’ve recently closed the event management arm of Pink Frosting because our online store has become so popular. This was a bittersweet moment for me – I miss wedding planning but I am so delighted that we’re bringing exclusive, gorgeous wedding decorations and accessories to Australian brides through our store.

What do you love about this industry?

That every couple has a unique vision and a unique story. No wedding need is ever the same. I love creating and finding decorations and accessories to match their vision. Every day brings something new.

I also love buying. I am really enjoying traveling around the world to find new and unique wedding and celebration ideas to bring to Australia. Every time I travel, I come home with brilliant ideas and inspiration. It’s a matter of containing them all!

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You have a website that is detailed and intriguing. What is your aim with the website?

Pink Frosting’s website is about providing inspiration, ideas and beautiful accessories for Australian brides and anyone interested in entertaining. We aim to bring the best wedding ideas from around the world to Australia because we know how frustrating it can be to find beautiful things overseas and not be able to get them shipped to Australia.

What inspires you?

Beauty. I just love that everything I do, everyday, has a beautiful aesthetic. I never tire of beautiful things. I am also inspired by beautiful art, photography and design. I suppose anything with a beautiful aesthetic makes me happy. I am in the right business!

What sets you apart from others?

I have an innate entrepreneurial spirit, so I’m not scared of asking the big questions. When a company that makes a beautiful centerpiece that I think Australian brides would die for but can’t be shipped to Australia, I just have to make it happen!

Do you see a particular incoming trend in weddings for the next 12 months?

Definitely. Green weddings are big (and so they should be!). I’m finding that many couples also want to use their weddings to “give back” to their favourite charity. So, we’re organizing lots of “pink ribbon” or local charity –themed weddings. I really think this says a lot about the Australian spirit.

Other trends include more intimate weddings where the couple has less guests but treat their guests to a really luxurious day (or week as the case may be). Budget weddings are also a big trend and necessity as the economy slows. We’re seeing some really lovely personal, DIY weddings where the family pitches in with cakes, stationery, bombonniere and decorations.

How do you keep your website and products fresh and different?

I travel and read as much as possible about events, fashion, design and art. I find if I have my finger on the pulse of anything to do with fashion and design, I can generally keep ahead of celebration and wedding trends. This is important for bringing unique ideas to Australia through the Pink Frosting website.

Where do you see Pink Frosting in 5 years time?

I see Pink Frosting as the one-stop celebration shop for anyone interested in entertaining and weddings in Australia. I see the website as the ultimate space for beautiful ideas, galleries and planning tools for Australian brides and hostesses (and hosts of course!), with the store still bringing the very best in decorating and accessories to Australia from around the world.

What is your number one tip for brides?

Be the very best version of yourself on your wedding day. Oh and please indulge me with a second tip: don’t get so caught up in the planning and details that you forget what the day is all about. Ok, and thirdly: hire a wedding planner. It will mean you can relax and enjoy the day rather than worrying about whether the caterers have turned up on time.

Tell me about your wedding or your dream wedding?

My wedding was in Byron Bay (close to home for me) in May 2007. Most of my family and my husband’s family didn’t need to travel, but for those who did, Byron is a beautiful location for a holiday.

We hired a huge home in the Byron hinterland which overlooked the ocean and the rolling hills. Our bridal party and immediate family stayed with us over a few days, so it meant our families really got to know one another well before the big event. I would highly recommend this to anyone!

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We were married with the beautiful Byron view in the background by an incredible celebrant who really understood our vision. We then had a cocktail reception for our 80 guests in the tropical gardens of the home we hired.

The most important parts of the day for us were the location, the food (I wish we’d actually got to eat some! It looks amazing) and the photography. We felt that if we splurged in these areas, we could scrimp a little in the others to create the feel we wanted.

The details that I loved were that my girls wore black tuxedo pants (they looked so chic and perfect for the location), my Dad’s incredible speech and his love for my Mum, and the big, fat white lilies everywhere.

We used a local wedding planner, Claire from Divinity Byron Bay, which was the absolute best money we spent. She WAS divine!

What are your favourite wedding ideas?

• Use a wedding planner – a good one will save you their fee in one negotiation with a vendor and they will make your day stress-free;
• Start with an inspiration board and keep it with you everywhere you go so you never lose sight of your vision. The process is fun to go through and will mean you can tie all of the elements together;
• Spring Bulbs as bombonniere – what a beautiful, living, inexpensive favour;
• Parasols and hand fans – I love, love, love parasols for weddings. They look amazing in photos and the couture ones available through Pink Frosting are worth every penny. Oh, so divine.
• Monograms as motifs. Fantastic! You can personalize your day with “graffiti” motifs on your cars, your toasting flutes, your dance floor and church entrance way with your monogram, as well as stamping the more traditional route with stationery, place cards and napkins.

What do you love about Australian brides?

Their fun-loving attitude, their creativity and charitable spirit. I am really delighted to meet our customers and hear their wonderful stories. I think Australian brides are used to being more creative because they haven’t had a lot of the more directional accessories available to them. The concepts they create inspire me!

What should brides start with when they’re planning their weddings and receptions?

An inspiration board, a budget and a wedding planner! Always start with an agreed budget and stick with it. If you can afford it, hire a wedding planner to help you create an inspiration board and bring it to life and stick to your budget. If you can’t afford a wedding planner, then you can certainly do it yourself. I would recommend buying every wedding magazine you can get your hands on, read some great wedding blogs and gather pictures of everything you love. Agree on a theme and a budget and you can go from there.

What are the biggest mistakes you see brides making?

Not sticking to their budget and losing sight of what the day is about.

I see some brides getting over-zealous about the details and coming to blows with their family about little details. I have often had to sit down with a bride and remind them that the day is about them celebrating their marriage to their lifetime love – it isn’t about the shade of pink their mum wants on the napkins. These elements are really important, but in order to have a truly wonderful day, there are just some things you need to let go of!

Particularly with the economy slowing down, setting a strict budget is also really important. I recommend you think about the things that are most important to you and be prepared to scrimp on some other areas so you get the most “bang for your buck.” Don’t overspend – your wedding day is really important, but don’t get yourself into debt for it. You don’t want to be paying off your wedding 10 years down the track.

What are 5 clever ideas to create a stylish wedding?

1. Hire the best vendors you can afford. I would start with a great wedding planner, a photographer (after all, this is your reminder of the day forevermore), a good caterer, a florist who shares your vision and a celebrant who you connect with. Obviously your other vendors are important, but this is your “essential” team.
2. Shop online and browse the globe. Online stores will bring you inspiration and ideas you may never have thought of. Incidentally, online stores can usually afford to sell their products at a better price because the cost of running an online business isn’t as high as a “bricks and mortar” store. My favourite online wedding shops are www.pinkfrosting.com.au (of course), www.etsy.com, www.bridalsurvival.com.au, and www.annawhitford.com.
3. Personalise your day. Use a monogram as a motif. I really adore this new trend and hope it stays around for a long time yet. You can “graffiti” your cars, your toasting flutes, your dance floor and church entrance way with your monogram, as well as stamping the more traditional route with stationery, place cards and napkins.
4. Parasols. You may not swan around with a parasol on a normal day, but a parasol for you and your bridesmaids (and guests if you can afford it) makes a beautiful decorative element for your day and looks amazing in photographs. They are also very sensible for Australian weddings, whether outdoors on the beach or simply for your photographs. You don’t want to get a sunburn before your reception!
5. Make your day about you. I really think the most stylish and enjoyable weddings are when the couple celebrates their own unique style. It’s important for brides and grooms to be the best version of themselves on their big day, not an imitation of someone else.

Thank you for joining Polka Dot Bride today Kathryn! Be sure to visit Kathryn at her online store Pink Frosting and her blog Australia Entertains

Originally posted on Polka Dot Bride on December 11, 2008

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Today’s expert is Manuela Strano- one of the gorgeous creators of Australian home wares brand Dandi. This isn’t Manuela’s first time on Polka Dot Bride, Manuela was also the creator of the origami lotus flower napkins I featured in July.

Tell me about yourselves?

We are 4 trained Industrial Designers who share a passion for beautiful and functional objects for the home. We love colour, prints and patterns!

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How did you come up with the idea of starting a homewares business?

There was nothing available in bold prints so we thought we would start designing our own! We all love designing and making things for our homes so it only seemed natural to take this path. The business grew from there and we now have over 100 products in our range.

What is the ‘mission statement’ for your business?

To make the world a fine and dandi place!

What inspires you?

There are so many things that inspire us! We love to travel and see new places. We love looking though blogs everyday (including this one!) to see what others are doing. We are amazed and inspired daily by the creativity of others! We also love books and magazines as a constant source of inspiration. Nature is also a huge inspiration to us.

How would you describe your ‘style’?

Simple, feminine, bold and whimsical.

How do you keep your ideas fresh and different?

We are constantly thinking about new designs and patterns and take inspiration from everything. This allows us to constantly have ideas which are innovative and fresh.

Are you working on new products to add to your business? How do you decide on the colours and designs for your products?

Yes, we are currently working on two new patterns to be launched early next year across a few products. This will be our biggest range of products launched at the one time so we are very excited! All our designs are a collaborative team effort so we all have a say in final pattern and colour selection. We use a co-coordinating colour palette so that all our products can be mixed and matched!

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What sets you apart from others?

Dandi produces great quality products with gorgeous packaging that make our homewares great for gifts. We keep up to date with current trends and really think about what the consumer wants. This makes our products not only beautiful but functional as well. We also have a typically Australian theme that runs though our product range and sets us apart from overseas brands.

Since the introduction of our sustainable bamboo range we are trying to take the business into a more environmentally friendly direction.

Design is not just a job for us. We live and breathe it and are constantly coming up with crafty ideas and making things in our spare time. You can see what we get up to on our blog: www.fineanddandi.blogspot.com

What do you see for your business in 3 years time?

At the moment most of our stockists are in Australia and NZ so we would like to be shipping more product overseas. We hope to have a larger product range including many new patterns and products. We would also love a flagship store in Sydney by then!

Can brides set up ‘wedding wish list’ with you?

Yes, our products can be found at ‘The wedding list company’ and ‘wedding gifts direct’.

What sort of linen/homewares should brides buy when setting up their first home together?

Firstly it is important to have a style that runs throughout your home. Place mats and napkins are great for everyday but a beautiful set of table linen is a must for entertaining!

Are you able to ship your products overseas?

Yes we can ship our products overseas.

What are your favourite wedding ideas?

We love anything handmade and original to give a wedding a personal touch. Being designers of homewares and napery we also love a beautiful table setting!

What are the biggest mistakes you see brides making?

Not personalizing their wedding. It is important that the day is a reflection of the couples style and personality. This can be done easily with a colour theme or a recurring motif from invitations, to table settings, cakes, flowers, bonbonnier and more!

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Cleverest ideas you’ve seen?

Recently I made over 100 origami lotus flowers out of Dandi napkins that were placed on each table setting with a chocolate inside. They were an absolute hit! They are a fabulous idea as they look great yet are not expensive. (You can see Manuela’s flowers here)

5 things a bride should consider?

– To decide on a theme/style/colour that reflects your personality and is constant throughout all the elements of the wedding.
– Beautiful invitations, – we love gorgeous and original invitation that bring out the personality and style of the couple.
– A photographer who’s work reflects your style. Photos are memories you can keep forever and a good photographer will capture the energy, beauty and personality of the day.
– A gorgeous table setting – It will make your guests feel very special to be celebrating your day with them.
– To always remember that as special as a wedding day is, it is important to not lose sight of the bigger picture and to have fun with the preparations!

Thank you Manuela for joining Polka Dot Bride today! Be sure to check out Dandi– perfect for Christmas presents or to put on your registry!