Merry Christmas from Real Weddings!

Merry Christmas from the Real Weddings team! We hope your break is filled with laughter, delicious summer fruits and most importantly, love.
The Real Weddings team are taking a break from the 18th of December to the 5th of January to re-energise and allow the creative ideas to start flowing for 2015. Keep your submissions coming in and we can’t wait to hear about your new engagements and gorgeous summer weddings! Xx



Photography by Maree Homer Photography

A Stylish Affair

Our friends at The Design Depot styled this elegant celebration set against the backdrop of the rolling hills of Mt Macedon. A marquee was erected in the long grass beside the home residence. Like an extension of the house, the marquee sat beneath the shade of the trees.

Guests were treated to a delicious luncheon. The staff were dressed in vibrant colours and gumboots as it had rained heavily the night before!

Eclectic furniture pieces, flowers, books and lamps helped evoke a romantic setting and suited the rural surrounds. The blooms were full pink peonies and fragrant garden roses that were placed en masse on the dining tables. Coloured glassware and mismatched floral napkins over natural linen completed the elegant look.

Visit The Design Depot

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Photography by  David Paul Grant Photography

Capsule Collection

The iconic couture label, Suzanne Harward has been lovingly hand making bridal gowns in Melbourne for 40 years. To mark the anniversary, the label released their Capsule Collection at the opening of their new showroom space, Studio 73.

The new space is located in the heart of Melbourne’s garment district in Collingwood. Creative Director Brooke Harward explained, “We have long had a vision of inviting our clients to share this space with us and live their haute couture experience in the same building where the gowns are designed and created. Sydney Trunk Shows will continue for our interstate clients while Melbourne brides will get to experience the fun and relaxed atmosphere of Studio 73.”

The new collection offers a refreshing and a much-needed injection of fun and whimsical romance into the world of Australian bridal fashion featuring a range of gowns with a chic modern edge or effortless bohemian style. Lacey, long-sleeved gowns, 2 piece dresses and jumpsuits are some of the styles showcased.
The Capsule Collection campaign features Australian model Brooke Hogan and oozes urban cool with gold leaf makeup accents and gorgeous jewels by Melbourne-based Misuzi.


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Photography by Lilli Waters


Real Wedding – Melbourne Glamour

Sally and Jolen celebrated their marriage at Luminare in South Melbourne, a venue with incredible views of Melbourne’s city skyline. Sally looked radiant in her blush wedding dress and the couple danced the evening away surrounded by friends and family including their adorable 3 children.

Why did you decide to hold your wedding at Luminare?
As we had a large number of guests travelling from Ireland, America and from around Australia, we wanted to hold our wedding at a venue that was located close to Melbourne’s CBD. The city views from Luminare are breathtaking and it is a very private and exclusive venue. The style and décor suited the type of ceremony and party we wanted to host.

Describe the styling and theme of your wedding.
Luminare has a very dramatic colour scheme and interior design. I love anything art deco, so hints of glint were showcased on our stationery and my dress but we did not have a specific themed event.

Once I found my blush coloured wedding dress with its jewel design, I was able to choose an appropriate colour palette for the bridal bouquets. Kate Hill Flowers created gorgeous bouquets and table arrangements with feminine pinks that popped against grey table linen. The team at Luminare helped set everything up just as we’d envisaged.

What was your vision for the floral arrangements?
The flowers were always to be the main focus of the wedding. Kate Hill used bright colours to surprise guests from the moment they stepped out of the elevator. A large ceiling installation of dogwood blooms hung above the central table interspersed with glass baubles and candles.

How did you decide on your gown?
I wanted something glamorous and unique. After trying on numerous styles from various designers I found the ‘Serenity’ Rachel Gilbert gown. My bridesmaids wore a similar dusty pink colour and I made my daughter Maeve’s tulle and lace dress.

What kind of wedding cake did you have?
Our 2-tier wedding cake was a lemon butter cake that was finished with fresh blooms by Kate Hill Flowers. My sister’s dear friend, a pastry chef by trade, made our cake.

What were the highlights of the day?
To have all the members of our families make such an effort to travel across the globe for the wedding was very special.

We felt strongly about making a donation to the Cancer Council instead of distributing wedding favours. We provided each of our guests with a silver daffodil pin as an acknowledgement of the donation. Our guests wore their pins in memory of those family members who could not be with us.

To see Sally’s Style Guide, be sure to visit

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Photography by Milk Photography


Real Wedding – Love and Lace

Lively colours and a confident mix of vintage and contemporary styling resulted in a harmonious blend of old meets new at Rochelle Taylor and Christopher McGarry’s wedding in Geelong’s historic wine region.

Rochelle and Christopher’s wedding boasted an enviable collection of gorgeous handmade decorations. “I adore all things craft,” Rochelle said. A creative and thrifty bride, she lovingly thought through every detail of the wedding from the miniature bottles with ‘drink me’ straw flags to the cones filled with petals for guests to throw after the ceremony.

The natural element of wood played a significant role in this wedding. Timber signs decorated the venue and kiln-dried hardwood chopping boards formed the couple’s wedding favours. They were stamped with a branding iron and read ‘Mr + Mrs McGarry 15-02-2014’. Even the invitations were printed on timber veneer, a new, stylish stationery trend. These harder components of the styling were offset by the pale shades of the flowers and fine lace embellishments. Peach and pink arrangements in wooden boxes featured David Austin roses, succulents, gum leaves and hydrangeas.

“The wedding revolved around my love of lace,” Rochelle said. This is evident in her gown, the bridesmaids’ dresses and the bunting that was hung from the reception roof.

Rochelle looked gorgeous in her ivory, full lace gown with high neckline and low back. She gushed about her shoes, “They had gorgeous crocheted flowers on them and the perfect sized heel so I could easily walk through the grass in the paddock.”

Rochelle and Christopher ‘thought outside the square’ by using quilt patches in place of a guest book. Guests wrote messages on the patterned fabric and since the wedding they have been combined to create a throw rug. Other innovative style ideas included paper fortune tellers at the reception filled with fun facts about the couple and, at the ceremony, Rochelle’s vintage bike was set up next to a stack of timber crates displaying programs, petal cones and fans. The bike basket was filled with dusty miller, white hydrangeas, 
open apricot roses and white star jasmine matching the flowers that decorated the ceremony chairs.

It was a gorgeous day filled with sunshine, love and all things lace.

To see Rochelle’s Style Guide, be sure to visit

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Photography by Kim Cartmell

Real Wedding – Garden Delight

Melanie and Jesse had an intimate wedding that truly reflected them as a couple. Meaningful music and bubble machines made their ceremony beneath the shade of a Moreton Bay fig tree a spirited and personal affair.

“We had already built a wonderful life together when Jesse proposed,” Melanie said. Melanie came home to find a walkway of candles, her favourite song playing and Post-it notes directing her to the backyard where Jesse was down on one knee. “I immediately said, ‘Yes!’”

Melanie and Jesse had a 2-year engagement. “We weren’t in any rush to get married and chose to really enjoy the engagement period. It allowed us plenty of time to find the right location and plan for the wedding,” Melanie said. “Planning a wedding is no mean feat but I loved every minute of it because I found myself reflecting on our relationship throughout the process and remembering all our special moments.”

“My advice for brides-to-be is to take notice of local suppliers’ work that inspires you and make a list of priorities for your wedding. For me these were our photographer, venue, florist and my gown.”

“One of the highlights from the day was when Jesse sent me white roses. I had told him when we first started dating that white roses are a promise for forever.”

“Style and location were very important to us when we were choosing our ceremony and reception venues.” The couple’s ceremony took place beneath the shade of a Moreton Bay fig tree in St Kilda Botanical Gardens. “The large branches of the tree protected us from the elements and created a natural arch for the ‘aisle’. Fig leaves lay on the ground which added a natural and romantic feel.” The couple’s reception was held at The Terrace. “The dance floor was incredibly spacious and opened out to a large patio where our guests could enjoy the sunset. The Terrace’s impressive centre column covered in faux wooden twigs, fairy lights and flowers created a nice tie between our ceremony and reception spaces.”

Melanie and Jesse organised a pre-reception party on the banks of the lake. “We wanted our guests to relax while we had our photographs taken so we had drinks, snacks, games and punt boat rides available.”

A pastel colour scheme with pops of silver suited the summer wedding. “The baby blues, pinks and peaches we used were fresh and delicate,” Melanie said. White carnations were hung on fishing wire from the branches of the Moreton Bay fig tree as were glass baubles filled with flowers giving the illusion of floating blooms. White rose petals were loosely scattered down the aisle and San Pellegrino bottles were filled with pink and white flowers and hung from the aisle chairs.

Melanie wore a Silvano Tedesco couture gown in silver and ivory lace with fitted bodice and tulle skirt. The bodice was finished with buttons and a large tulle bow at the waist. She carried a bouquet of white freesias and buds, silver suede, hyacinths and roses and her bridesmaids carried bouquets of roses, silver suede, dahlias, lisianthuses and berries.

“Our 3-tier cake was a frilly beauty! It had large, decorative pink flowers and was a combination of white chocolate mud cake and chocolate and caramel mud cake.”

“We chose letterpress for our wedding invitations,” Melanie said. She drew inspiration from Pinterest and chose thick, white cards with a soft pink letterpress for a minimalistic and crisp look.

To see Melanie’s Style Guide, be sure to visit

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Photography by Milk Photography

The Latest from Dockside Group

Dockside Group are thrilled to bring to you the latest trends and tips to get you ready for the summer months. Enjoy hot balmy nights, long beach days, sun kissed skin, salty hair and sandy kisses. We love summer and it’s finally here! Turn the feel good tunes up and let your hair down. Check our Dockside Group Weddings Blog for all the tips you need to stay on trend during the summer months.
Learn about summer fashions, colours, textures, transport, cocktail and cake options for your perfect summer wedding!



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Real Wedding – Capture the Dream

Meticulous attention to detail and the desire to create ‘a home outside’ resulted in an elaborately styled ceremony with awe-inspiring scenery and a reception beneath the stars for Meagan’s fairytale wedding to Rhys. Meagan recounts the extraordinary preparations necessary to create their magical day here on the Real Weddings blog.

I had just been given the role of editor for two magazines when I met Rhys the company’s new designer. I followed my boss down to the ‘dungeon’ where they kept all the designers and there he was, 6’4” and 105 kilos. I thought he was quite cute but then he opened his mouth. He hasn’t shut it since. One day at work we were discussing relationships and he asked me who my best friend was. I had an epiphany. It was Rhys. We have been inseparable ever since.

Our relationship grew around our love of food. When it came to designing our wedding menu we knew we wanted to take our guests on a culinary journey. We chose dishes from our first date and from all our favourite ‘foodie moments’ since. We also came up with a way to incorporate a food element into our invitations by using beautifully wrapped chocolate bars from Bahen & Co., a boutique company based in Margaret River making stone ground chocolate. We had personalised labels created and chose dark chocolate with roasted almonds and sea salt. I had horrible nightmares of the bars turning to liquid in letterboxes so I hand delivered as many as possible just in case!

The lead up to the wedding was chaotic and a rollercoaster of emotion. For the majority of our engagement, I had no idea what I wanted our wedding to be like. Turning my dream of a fairytale wedding into reality was hard because I didn’t know what my fairytale wedding looked like.
However, when two of my bridesmaids completed a lampshade-making course I had a ‘light bulb’ moment. Rhys and I have always loved entertaining and sharing our home so we thought, ‘Why not take our home outside?’ We decided to have an open-air wedding with a warm, welcoming and homely feel. My bridesmaids, my mother and I spent weeks sourcing the materials to make 36 lampshades that would hang over the reception tables. My father then created a lighting system to hide all the wires. My family spent the morning of the wedding on stepladders rigging up the system.


Scouting Gumtree became a daily obsession as I attempted to source vintage lounge suites, wheelbarrows and ladders. We had a bar set up on an old timber desk with drink dispensers filled with various concoctions for the children. A peeling, claw-foot bath was also filled with cold drinks for the adults. We hired floor lamps and marble coffee tables to place at the ‘games stations’ where we had giant chess, croquet and boules.



The pièce de résistance of our wedding however was the oversized picture frame that captured Mt Warning. It was a giant 5 metre by 2.5 metre custom-made photo frame. The idea behind it was to create living, family portraits.

Unfortunately the sheer size and scale of the frame meant that delivering and erecting it was a complicated process. The frame was supposed to be in place by 9am but didn’t arrive until 1.30pm and the truck that transported it wouldn’t fit up the hill to the ceremony site. Thankfully my bridesmaid’s husband and the lead singer of our wedding band threw the frame into the back of a ute and hauled it up the hill just as our guests were arriving!


Due to the frame fiasco the ceremony started an hour late. I’m hoping it was fashionably late! Luckily, once we’d calmed down from the stress of the morning, the ceremony, situated on a secluded grassy ridge, was as relaxed as we’d hoped. Even though the celebrant had known us for years he kept calling Rhys ‘rice’ and there was also the surprise unveiling of my ‘brother’, a life-size cardboard cut out (that ended up crowd surfing on the dance floor at the end of the night). My real brother works at sea and couldn’t be there in person. We discussed flying him in by helicopter but it was my son Dominic who came up with the more realistic and humorous alternative.

The venue fit perfectly with our idea of a relaxing night, entertaining our family and friends ‘at home’. Special permission had been granted to Mavis’s Kitchen because the ceremony site was on sacred Indigenous land. It had such a calm and serene feel to it. When you look out over the mountains you feel as though you’re floating above the treetops. The property, owned by Peter and Charlie, is named in honour of Charlie’s mother Mavis, whose cooking skills are legendary. There was a homely, unpretentious feel to the menu and most of the produce was organic and homegrown. Our wedding favours were little jars of preserves made by Charlie. The lids were covered with brown paper that had our names and wedding date printed on them. There was paw paw, pineapple and ginger jam for the ladies, green tomato and apple chutney for the men and fresh strawberry jelly for the children.


We had cascarones made especially for the children. Cascarones are festive, hollowed out eggs that, in our case, were filled with dried delphinium petals. They were hidden around the property for the children to find and crack over each other’s heads to shower them with good luck. We hid 5 dollar notes in some of the eggs as a special surprise. In Italy the tradition was part of a courting ritual where men would fill the eggs with perfume and throw them at women they found attractive. One of my bridesmaids spent months making 100 cascarón and I can’t thank her enough. Needless to say she ate a lot of omelettes!

Our wedding had a dream-like quality. We wanted it to look like the scene had been plucked from an old photo album. The colours were gentle with dusty pinks, washed out burgundy, faded gold, and milky creams. The reception tables were covered in soft chiffon that spilled onto the lawn. I made 140 place settings using dried roses tied with twine. I had this idea less than a week before the wedding and I had no idea if it was possible to dry 140 roses in that time but I was beyond sensible by that stage! I diligently strung each rose to our clotheshorse and each morning I would carry the roses into the sun. I think it was all worth it!


The lampshades gave the most beautiful, warm glow and the festoon lights sparkled like stars above the long tables and dance floor. The children were playing croquet and boules and the adults were laughing in the lounge area, lining up for the photo booth or dancing on the grass. It was a magical evening and all the stress of the lead up melted away.

To see Meagan’s Style Guide, be sure to visit

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Photography by Jimmy Malecki Photography, ASV Photographics, and Sugar & Spice Events

Real Wedding – Tropical Crush

Linh Ho and Simon Do chose Uluwatu, Bali for their intimate destination wedding. On a private estate overlooking the Indian Ocean, the pair celebrated their marriage with a modern styled wedding with an effortless, resort-style aesthetic.

Linh and Simon were happy to tie the knot anywhere that was hot and sunny. “Our wedding provided an opportunity to embark on a holiday with our closest family and friends,” Linh said. “Bali isn’t so far from Melbourne that it was going to be expensive for guests to travel. A marriage in Bali is also legally recognised in Australia.”

Linh and Simon travelled to Bali a year before their wedding to scout potential venues and meet with wedding planners and suppliers. “We loved the modern feel of Khayangan Estate with its Balinese architecture and teak wood furnishings.” Coming from the word meaning ‘7th heaven’, Khayangan Estate appealed to Linh and Simon because of its panoramic ocean views and the contemporary interior design of the villas. The cliff side resort on the southern tip of Uluwatu made for a magical wedding setting.

“We aimed for a fusion of a rustic chic and garden themed wedding. An abundance of fairy lights, hanging glass globes and crystal garlands decorated the outdoor area and created an almost ethereal atmosphere.”

Beneath a canopy of frangipani and palm trees, guests dined on long tables covered with white tablecloths and burlap table runners with a delicate ivory lace edging. “Decorating the tables were personalised menus and place cards printed on brown recycled card, clusters of flowers in mix-matched vases and candles in jars for a warm, inviting glow.” The floral arrangements at the reception mimicked those on the ceremony chairs; cream, pink and coral roses were teamed with bright blue hydrangeas and dusty miller.

The ceremony aisle was scattered with white rose petals and led to a bamboo pergola decorated with draped ivory sheets. Linh wore Vera Wang’s ‘Gemma’ dress for the ceremony. It was strapless and form fitting with a soft mermaid finish. Bands of ivory organza and French tulle wrapped around the bodice and the skirt had blizzard ivory beading. Her dress inspired the design of the 3-tiered wedding cake. Layered bands of fondant decorated the red velvet cake and fresh flowers completed the look.

“My reception dress was Carla Zampatti’s ivory ‘Forget Me Knot’ dress with a low back and Grecian draped styling.” Linh carried a bouquet of cream and baby pink roses, white carnations, dusty miller and silver brunei. The stems were tied with hessian and lace.

“It was a day filled with happiness and love,” Linh said.

To see Linh’s Style Guide, be sure to visit

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Photography by Maxtu Photography

Wedding Tips – 9 Essential Questions to ask your Photographer Part 1

LOOK BEFORE YOU LEAP: A guide to Hire your Wedding Photographer

Your wedding day may be among the most wonderful and daunting days of your life. Its unique events can never be recreated – a thought which strikes terror into the hearts of many couples intent on capturing their marriage in pictures.

In Part 1 of our study, we ask two of Melbourne’s top wedding photographers what they would ask prospective companies if planning their own event. And this is what they said:

Q1: Do you have the Training and Experience necessary to produce the full package?

Dana, owner of Dana Tsokas Photographer, points to membership of a recognised and accredited group of photographers, such as the A.I.P.P. (Australian Institute of Professional Photographers).

Don’t be afraid to ask“, she says. “Too often in my industry I have seen photographers come and go. Some people have a semi-decent digital camera and no qualifications, yet they call themselves ‘professional’. With more than 20 years as a professional wedding photographer and a BA in photography, I can’t stress enough that a wedding cannot be repeated, nor the images recreated if you make the wrong choice. Training and experience are ESSENTIAL!


Q2: Do you have the Personality, Interests and Manner to make us a good fit on a personal level?

Karen Woo, from Finessence Photography, emphasises the importance of “hitting it off with your chosen photographer.

Ask about their interests or hobbies outside of their trade“, she says. “The photographer will be spending the entire wedding day with you, your guests, family and vendors on the day. It is essential that you connect at the first meeting with your photographer, and have an engagement session where you can get to know him or her and smile naturally in front of the camera.


Ask about their interests or hobbies outside of their trade“, she says. “The photographer will be spending the entire wedding day with you, your guests, family and vendors on the day. It is essential that you connect at the first meeting with your photographer, and have an engagement session where you can get to know him or her and smile naturally in front of the camera.

Q3: Do you back up your photos in camera and off site?

Karen insists on meticulous back-up procedures to avoid the grief of losing everything, including carrying at least one back-up camera in case of malfunction.

Time and time again we hear and read stories on online photographer forums where the photographers have lost a whole memory card of images because they didn’t back up. We have a stringent process of backing up our RAW files on Blu-ray and sending them off-site and uploading the files onto iCloud. We have a daily process run of backing all our files on our NAS server, to avoid any disasters.

Q4: Can you show me an entire coverage of a recent wedding?

Dana Tsokas reminds couples to take a complete look at a photographer’s work rather than being dazzled by individual images.

Ask to see more than just ‘their best images’ as anyone can put together a group of ‘wow’ images and say they shoot weddings!” she says.


You need to be confident that your photographer will tell your whole story, from capturing images at both homes in the morning, through to your ceremony, locations and some part of your reception, as requested (most will stay at least to cover the entrance and a mock cutting of the cake). By seeing a finished album from one particular wedding, you’ll be able to judge the consistency, or lack of it in some cases.

Q5: What is your turnaround time?

Karen Woo has heard of clients waiting many months to see their wedding photos.

There is nothing worse“, she says. “Make sure you hire a photographer that will turn around your images promptly, and give you your photos before the start of the wedding album design process.

Our standard turnaround time is about 4-6 weeks or sometimes earlier for digital files, and our album design process is around 2-3 months. We have a follow-up process where we ensure our clients can review and approve their album design before we send the album off to production.

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Stay Tuned for Part 2 of our Feature Piece, where we will tell you the other 4 questions you should ask before choosing your Wedding Photographer. Otherwise checkout our excellent wedding photographers on our Real Weddings Showcase today to find your dream photographer.