Kat Stanley Photography

Casa La Vina: Hunter Valley Escape

There have been some gorgeous new venues and hotels popping up around the Hunter Valley recently. It’s given the Hunter a bit of a new lease of life.

One of the newest luxury accommodation venues is Casa La Vina. Loosely translated in English as Home in the Vineyards, stepping into one of their three exclusive villas is like stepping into Mexico.

Needing a weekend away (and finally having one off together), Ben and I were fortunate enough to stay at Casa La Vina recently and I would have to describe it as my new favourite place to stay in the Hunter valley. There are no kids, or pets allowed, so it is perfect for a pre-wedding getaway or as a place to stay on the wedding night itself. You could think even further ahead, and book it as a surprise weekend away as an anniversary celebration or even a baby-moon (babies in your tummy are allowed).

The villas are decked out in Southwestern style décor. Don’t know what that is? Don’t worry, we didn’t either. Think about South West USA – states and cities like Santa Fe, Alburqueque, New Mexico and Arizona.

Southwestern décor is known for textures and earthy tones. The Casa La Vina villas are beautifully styled with wood, rendered walls, soft blankets and wall hangings. It’s a little piece of paradise, especially on a hot day. And for the couple’s out there, this is the perfect ‘proposal’ popping destination. All you need to do is call and speak with the owners and they will help you organise everything.

The location is also great. It’s not far from Grapemobile bicycle hire. This is such a fun (and environmentally friendly) way to get around the wineries. You can hire a bike and ride off into the sunset yourself or you can join in with a special packaged tour and let the Grapemobile guys do all the navigating.

It’s also pretty close to three of the biggest wineries in the Hunter – Bimbadgen Estate, Hope Estate and Tempus Two. These wineries quite often host the big fabulous outdoor concerts and of course, the Tempus Two complex is home to some of the tastiest restaurants in the Hunter. Oishii Japanese Restaurant and Goldfish Cocktail Lounge are a bit special. Try the pork belly and the pear cider at Goldfish!

The owners Tracey & Frank are lovely too. I guess when you’re running a smaller venue with three villas it allows you to spend some quality time with your guests and make sure every requirement is catered for. We certainly felt that way. They bent over backwards for us.

So we’d thoroughly recommend Casa La Vina. It’s so unique and a welcome addition to the luxury accommodation landscape of the Hunter Valley.

I know we will definitely be returning there again soon!

Engagement Gift Ideas

There was a time when newly engaged couples had probably never lived together before they were to be married. The bride-to-be would have no idea about her fiance’s ‘floordrobe’ habits, and the groom-to-be would be a little surprised at the extent of his betrothed’s shoe ‘collection’. Surprise!

So engagement gift ideas were a lot easier back then to buy. You just had purchase something off the bridal registry. Practical items for the home were popular – think kettles, toasters, tea cups. Boring but practical. And after all it was what the couple requested.

These days, nearly 80% of couples live together before they are married, so finding the right gift gets a little tougher. Especially if you want it to stand out from the many envelopes of cash.

Here are some fun and quirky ideas to get your engagement gift giving juices flowing.

 

1. His & Hers Bed Linen

You can never have too many clean sheet days (how good are clean sheet days?) – and you can never have too much bed linen. The His and Hers range from Cafe Press is a gift that is fun, but also practical. Your engaged friends can have a giggle at the His and Hers quilt then simply flip the doona over to get a plain white cover that matches the décor in the bedroom.

 

2. Bus Scroll 

Are your newly engaged friends crazy for travel with passports bursting at the seams? Create a bus scroll for them made up of their favourite holiday destinations.

I’ve always loved the look of these vintage style bus, tram or train scrolls. Now instead of sticking to a specific bus route or train line, they can be custom designed with destinations of your choice. Imagine if they met in one country, got engaged in another, live locally, are thinking of a destination wedding, and then a honeymoon – you have a lineup of memorable places already. Of course, this could also be a great idea as a voucher, so that they can arrange it once the destinations are locked in.

And you don’t have to stick to destinations. Maybe it could be the names of a close group of friends, or their immediate family? Another idea is incorporating something the love – like cooking (or more importantly food!). You could arrange the creation of afoodie scroll with fancy pants food words like julienne and soufflé… Mmmm.

My favourite for great local designs is Burbia. They offer Australia wide location tea towels, canvas prints, posters and more and they are located in Sydney. Red Dog Designs is also located in inner Sydney and Melbourne and offer vintage train scroll style blocks, canvases, prints and coasters. For your more traditional canvas scrolls try  Bus Scrolls Online who are based in Queensland and very affordable.

 

3. Detox or Juice Cleanse 

We all want to look our best for our wedding day, and making sure the couple to be wed are healthy on the inside is always a great way to be photo ready. A voucher for a juice cleanse is something that your friends can use in the lead-up to the big day to ensure they have perfect skin and the right amount of healthy energy.

Detox Delivered has a range of detox juice cleanse options available. You can even add a colonic package from Exhale Wellness to the detox program to ensure their eyes are sparkling, their skin is glowing, and the program even allows them to shed a few excess kilos of waste in the process.

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4. Beauty & Pamper Package

Planning a wedding can be stressful, so why not treat your engaged friends to a pamper package to help reduce any  pre-nuptial anxiety. Beauty & Balance offers a range of amazing skin care packages, massage, facial treatments and can help you plan your treatment sessions pre wedding.

This is something that all brides-to-be would love, but rarely make the time to book. And with a little bit of man-scaping, their partners will look fresh and ready for their big day as well.

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5. Kat Stanley Photography Gift Voucher

The whirlwind of an engagement and wedding for a couple is so important. It’s a time of fun, love, togetherness and celebration. Capturing this happy time is something that as a photographer, I just love doing.

A Kat Stanley Photography gift voucher could be used towards an Engagement Shoot, the Engagement Party, Hens Day Photography, the Kitchen Tea, for use on their Wedding Stationery, or even as part of their Wedding Day Photography Package.

Vouchers can be gifted for any amount you see suitable, and is great as a group gift.

Call Kat today on 0434 129 427 or email info@katstanleyphotography.com to find out how we can help you give your friends a memorable engagement gift.

Feature Wedding – Linda & Dean

Sydney Harbour Wedding Photographer

The gorgeous city of Sydney was the backdrop for Linda and Dean’s wedding, fitting considering it was a night out in the city where they first met and the sparks flew.

Meeting through mutual friends, it wasn’t long before Linda and Dean were dating, culminating in a romantic marriage proposal at a picnic in the gorgeous grounds of Sydney’s Royal Botanic Gardens.

The city theme followed them right through to their honeymoon with a memorable holiday in two of the most famous cities in the world, Las Vegas and New York, before some quiet, relaxing time on the beaches of Hawaii.

The couple didn’t live together before they got married, so Linda and Dean are discovering the joys of coming home to each other at the end of the day.

 

“Living together is so much fun but the best part is calling him my husband,”

– Linda

 

Interview with the bride – Linda

 

1. What’s one piece of advice you would give other brides?

Enjoy every minute! It goes soooo quickly and it is such a wonderful day.

 

2. What was the most memorable part of the day?

Walking down the aisle and seeing my husband standing there. I was so overcome with emotion it was so beautiful.

 

3. What would you do differently?

I would talk to people more. I didn’t get a chance to speak to everyone for long. Too much dancing and not enough talking!

 

4. What don’t the wedding blogs and bridal magazines tell you?

Before you start planning your dream day make sure you have enough money. Don’t be scared to talk to your parents or get your groom to talk to his parents (if they are contributing) and be honest and upfront from the start.

 

5. What kind of health & fitness regime did you undertake prior to the wedding?

I just made sure I kept up the exercise really. Nothing else changed.

 

Favourite photo from the day

That is really hard to say. Probably the ones of Dean and I near the church just looking at each other and smiling. It really sums up the day for me.

Hens Day Ideas

Hens Day Ideas Sydney Photographer

Every bride is so different. Her culture, her background, her personality, her friends, her job. And that’s why every hen’s party is different. The hen’s party has truly become a celebration of sisterhood and female friendship and a lot of the time, the girls just want to hang out together.

Stuck on ideas for your hens? Well, we asked some of our past brides how they celebrated and their experiences with some time out and good old fashioned, girlie fun.

1. The Intimate Lunch

A wedding can be super overwhelming to organise and things can get a little crazy with hundreds of guests being invited. Sometimes the best thing for a bride to do in the lead-up is simply to hang out with her gorgeous posse and have a more intimate lunch for 30 or less girlfriends and family. That’s what Jess had for her hen’s celebration before she married her beau Brad. Her hen’s party involved her nearest and dearest at a low-key lunch at the Duck Republic in Cronulla.

Why not check out these other gorgeous venues around Sydney that would suit an intimate girls lunch – The Deckhouse in Woolwich;  Centennial Parklands Dining;  Barrenjoey House at Palm Beach;  The Hydro Majestic Hotel at Medlow Bath in the Blue Mountains;  Café del mar at Cockle Bay or The Gazebo in Potts Point.

 

2. The Weekend Away

It’s not unusual for a hen’s day to now be hen’s ‘days’. Yep! Plural. The girls’ weekend away is a fun way to really get your party on with your friends, sisters and mums. It’s also a great way to have some quiet, relaxation and chatting time too.

Some favourite hen’s weekend getaway destinations are Byron Bay, the Southern Highlands, Blue Mountains and the Hunter Valley.

Though don’t forget to check out Terrara House Estate in Nowra. Known as a wedding venue, if you book early enough and out of peak season, you could book it for your very own hen’s weekend. Want to know more about Terrara House Estate then take a read of my past blog. To say it’s beautiful is an understatement.

 

3. Glamourpuss Night In or Out

The city is full of private glamorous event spaces, hotels and apartments, where you and your girlfriends can have your own butler, and a gorgeous meal in between topping up with Cosmopolitans and Caprioskas all surrounded by stunning decor. Some amazing spaces to think of include the optimum opulence at The Ivy Penthouse; foodie heaven at Blue Hotel, Woolloomooloo; stunning views from Quay West Suites at the Rocks; The Girls Only Night at The Establishment; and not forgetting the creative crispness of QT Hotel right in the CBD.

 


4. Flash Mob!

What? A flash mob for a hen’s party? Well, why not?

Brooke, one of my fabulous brides I had the pleasure of photographing on her wedding day, had two hen’s parties. One in Sydney, and one in Hong Kong. It was in Hong Kong where Brooke and her friends ended up in a random flash mob with a bus of mainland Chinese dancing to Gangnam Style.

 

5. Book a class for a bit of bonding

Sharing a true experience to remember is a way to connect with your girlfriends and female family members, with memories that last forever. Check out these true experiences we found via the My Ultimate Hens website –

Cocktail Making Class

Burlesque Class (for hyperlink http://www.myultimatehens.com.au/details.php?package=776 )

Divine High Tea (for hyperlink  )

Life Drawing Workshop (for hyperlink  )

Master Girly Chef Ultimate Challenge (for hyperlink  )

These ‘experience’ style hen’s parties work well for the more mature members of the group. They get to be involved and have fun but can shoot off after the workshop or class while the bride and her friends party on. Although, Mum or Grandma might stay around after the Life Drawing!!

Don’t forget, here at Kat Stanley Photography, we have Hen’s Day Photography Packages available as it is such a great way to capture candid, or posed images, or a mix of both instead of leaving it up to your friends to take the photos. Things may get blurry after all those Cosmopolitans!

To find out more, drop us a line on info@katstanleyphotography.com or call Kat on 0434 129 427.

 

 

Wedding Cake Ideas

Are you stuck on an idea for what to have as your wedding cake? Trying to find some inspiration but not sure which way to go? I have seen some of the most spectacular wedding cake ideas over the  years and thought what better way to show them off then to create a wedding cake portfolio for you to browse through.

Vintage Wedding Cake

Simple and easy to create, and able to capture the hearts of your guests. If you are going with a vintage or rustic theme, not only can you follow this theme throughout the reception with your decorations, you can also incorporate this into your wedding cake. Ben & Jules managed to create and match this amazing whimsical theme from Jules flower head piece to the flower detail on the top of their cake. And by the way the cake was made as a gift from one of her bridesmaids. How sweet.

 

Traditional Wedding Cake

Think traditional is out? Well you would be mistaken. There is nothing like a gorgeous and elegant cake (with the slightest hint of sparkle) to make all your guest oooh and aaah over your wedding cake. Linda & Dean had the most amazing and breathtaking wedding cake that was so perfectly displayed, no one wanted to cut into it for the fear of ruining such a beautiful piece of art.

 

Whereas Jo & Jarrod still had a gorgeous white cake, but with a twist – of white chocolate that is!

Themed Wedding Cake

Why not give your wedding cake a piece of your personality and have a theme. Shelley & Dave celebrated their wedding in Ireland. Though now living in Sydney they brought that memory to their wedding with a Sydney Harbour Bridge wedding cake. Not to mention the bride and groom cake toppers. They were a scene stealer!

No Wedding Cake

Cheese Wheel cakes are the talk of the town lately. If you are after something out of the box, why not indulge and have a wedding cake made up of delicious local cheeses. Turn it into a cheese platter for dessert for your guests, and the top ‘tier’ can be taken home by the bride and groom and kept (or eaten) for days to follow.

Deconstructed Wedding Cake Table

Though if you are having trouble deciding, why not have it all! A deconstructed wedding cake dessert table is a way to house a little bit of everything for you and your guests. Throw in a top tier wedding cake for the bride and groom to cut, a cheese wheel for the savoury fans, and mini wedding cakes for those with a sweet tooth and everyone is happy.

The golden hour for wedding photography

The golden hour for photography

Are you planning your wedding in Sydney over the coming months? You are! Perfect. Have you given thought to your post ceremony photography session? Did you know, if you time it right, you could have the most magical images in your wedding album?

The golden hour for wedding photography

The golden hour for wedding photography

As a wedding photographer, it is my job to know when this ‘magic hour’ will occur, to enable me to provide you with the most amazing images to keep for the rest of your life. The Golden Hour (also known as the magic hour) is the time shortly before sunset during which the light from the sun is redder and softer compared to when the sun is higher in the sky. Shadows are lighter, and highlights are less likely to be overexposed.

With that said, planning for the golden hour does not take much work. When deciding on the run sheet for the big day, check what time the sunset is due to occur, and pencil in that time for photos. You may even find that you already have.

The golden hour for wedding photography

The golden hour for wedding photography

As summer comes closer, the sun will set later. Though this does not mean you need to completely change the schedule of your ceremony and reception to suit. Should your reception be in full swing at the time that sunset is due to occur, simply taking a few moments with your partner, or even as a whole with your guests, you can still capture this amazing time of day.

To help you plan we have included a link to help you plan for this time of the day – Sunset Calendar

 

The golden hour for wedding photography

The golden hour for wedding photography

How to propose and capture those memories for a lifetime

The proposal - capture her reaction

So it is time – you are ready to propose to your soulmate. You have the ring, you have the perfect idea on how the proposal is going to play out, you have all the little details planned for, and she doesn’t suspect a thing.

But have you given thought to capturing this moment on camera?

Booking a photographer for this special event will only add to the wonderful, memorable instant that your partner says Yes!
Then you will be able to relive those amazing memories with family and friends for years to come.

If you plan ahead, these images could even be used as part of the stationery for your engagement party invitations. Making the invites personal and wonderfully romantic.

At Kat Stanley Photography we can cater for any wedding proposal idea that you have. We are able to blend in with the background, so that you don’t even need to worry about us being there. Our mission would be to hide ourselves, so that your loved one was not even aware we were there.

The best plan would be to prearrange our location with you so that you know where we are, and so that we can capture some before shots from a distance. We would then keep shooting to catch the reaction once you do ask for her hand in marriage.

Then imagine your beaming smiles as you celebrate, and it is all captured for a lifetime. Your bride-to-be will be amazed at your attention to detail! Once we have the shots, we will hand over your bottle of champagne to celebrate, and then disappear so that you can enjoy the after glow.

Of course, if you need help in the planning of your proposal, we would be happy to help, or offer suggestions to make it a moment to remember.

Feel free to send us your details so that we can help you prepare for that moment when time stands still.

 

Branding Your Business With Corporate Portraits

First impressions count, and when it comes to your business profile & image you don’t want to risk being misinterpreted.

At Kat Stanley Photography we know that time is money. So, we make it easy for you. We will arrange a time that is suitable for your business, so as not to interrupt your busiest trading hours. There is no need to worry about leaving the office, we bring the studio to you. This includes a pop up backdrop and studio lighting to ensure a flawless, high quality outcome.

What we need to know: 

Who are you? What do you want to say with your branding photos? Who are your clients? What is the end purpose?

Will you be using these photos for a campaign, on your website, on social media profiles or for LinkedIn?

Do you want to look ‘relaxed and casual’ or ‘strong and professional’?

Once we understand what you need, we can develop the right style of image and advise you on what to wear, how to present yourself, how to do your hair and makeup, and what kind of jewellery will work. Even better speak to the style expert Donna Pace at My Personal Brand.

Then on the day of your shoot we will guide you on how to pose and hold your posture to ensure we get the most accurate look and best representation of you. Remember, we are there to help you present your best corporate image, so that you can build your branding with ease.

What we deliver:

We allow each staff member to choose their favourite photos on the day and nominate any retouching they would like. You will receive the files within 48 hours in HIGH & LOW resolution.

“The more the merrier”. Check out how to save by getting all of your staff members shot on the same day – click here.

Why not drop us an email with your enquiry, and we can put together a quote for you.

 

 

Dream Wedding Venues

Having recently decided on our wedding venue, and how hard I found the task to find that perfect spot for us, I thought I would pull together a list of my top wedding destinations from around Australia, and the globe. I am a lover of the country or vintage inspired weddings and there are so many amazing locations that would provide the perfect backdrop that I just had to share them with you.

I have a feeling there will be more posts like this in the future, as it was tough to narrow down. I am yet to photograph a wedding at these venues too. So fingers crossed I get to visit them all someday.

New Zealand

As we have family in New Zealand I am always finding any excuse to get over to this amazing country. Full of rolling landscapes and farm houses, it is the perfect location for a country themed wedding. The South Island of New Zealand is renown for the vast wineries and Mount Soho is a gorgeous location where you don’t need to worry about a thing. Matakauri Lodge is located directly on the lake in Queenstown for a wedding day to remember as your guests will be speechless for the breathtaking view.

Stoneridge Estate, New Zealand

At the top of my list for our wedding in January is Stoneridge Estate, New Zealand. Set amongst 500 rose bushes, a winery estate and sprawling gardens, Stoneridge offers breathtaking views of Lake Hayes and the mountains beyond. With a chapel and accommodation onsite, this location ticks all the boxes for my dream country wedding.

Byron Bay

This wedding venue was very high on my list as well. Stepping away from the beaches in Byron Bay and its surrounds, you will be welcomed into many guesthouses and estates in the farming areas inland from the water. Deux Belettes is just that. A rustic 16th century style French Chateau, with all the elegance and charm of country life.

The Whitsundays, North Queensland

Whitsunday weddings are rapidly becoming the first choice for brides wanting a destination or beach wedding ceremony and reception and Villa Botanica is now not only the jewel in the crown of Whitsunday wedding venues, it is also regarded as the most beautiful and intimate wedding venue in Australia. Perched on the edge of the Coral Sea, Villa Botanica with its superb gardens and architecture, is a destination wedding venue simply unmatched anywhere in Australia. Even more extraordinary is that on your wedding day, this grand 5 acre estate is exclusively yours to explore and enjoy.

Hamilton Island

I was fortunate enough to live on this wonderful island in the Whitsundays for three years during my travels. With million dollar views and a little chapel high up on a hill, you just can not go past Hamilton Island for one of the most romantic destination wedding locations within Australia. Speak to Rohan Gull at Hamilton Island weddings and he will look after you.

Wolgan Valley

The Blue Mountains is untouched, beautiful and as nature intended. And the Emirates Wolgan Valley Resort and Spa offers the perfect Australian Country backdrop for your big day.

Uluru, Northern Territory

Perfect for the adventurous couple, the thought of a red dirt wedding just makes me so excited. Uluru would be a magical wedding spot if you were looking for that wow factor. And the photos would be a colour wonderland with all the hues of the dirt, open sky and natural surrounds.

Southern Highlands, New South Wales

Absolutely anywhere in this part of the country is just beautiful. There are so many places to choose from, each with their own astounding wonder. If I had to narrow my search down I would classify these as my top four choices (which in itself was difficult to do!) – Montrose Berry FarmBen Dooley Estate, Belgenny Farm and Milton Park, Bowral.

Shoal Haven, New South Wales

Driftwood Shed is situated on 5 rural acres on the banks of the beautiful Shoalhaven River. The property comprises a self-contained cabin and a rustic 80 year old shed filled with old wares. With mountain views, parklike gardens and country charm, it is perfect if you’re looking for a relaxed, layed back venue for that special occasion. There is also a private jetty and boat ramp with 200m of river frontage.

Mollymook weddings

Are you thinking of a south coast wedding? Speak to our friends at Mollymook weddings. They are the only locally owned & operated event hire company, that specialises in wedding planning & wedding co-ordination on the South Coast of New South Wales.

Mollymook & her surrounds are as beautiful in real life & as they appear on their site, your spoilt for amazing wedding venues when you choose the South Coast, we have a lot of special wedding venues on offer that you just can’t find anywhere else. At some of the amazing venues you will be the first to be married there.

They desire to create real weddings for real people with all budgets in mind, sourced from local service providers, assuring peace of mind knowing that service providers are ‘local’ taking away the hassle of transportation or misadventure. They have a huge range of decorations & equipment that would normally take you an eternity to organise & compare quotes from other providers, so we’ve taken the time to research & co-locate everything you will need on one convenient site.

Speak to Dean, and I’m sure you will be looked after info@mollymookweddings.com.au

Sydney City, New South Wales

We have some gorgeous old buildings that give that rustic country feel from the look of the old brick walls, to the garden features throughout, right in the heart of our gorgeous city. Think outside the norm, and you will be amazed at how many venues can cater for weddings.

I recently visited The Grounds at Alexandria and was swept away with how the revamp of the premises had not taken away from the rustic and industrial heritage. Here is the description from the about us page – 

‘Black and steel frames, bespoke wooden cabinetry and polished white and green subway tiles are contrasted against vintage wooden tables and refitted shipping containers’ 

Sunstudios Sydney is a busy creative hub for professional photography, television and video production image makers, in a beautiful renovated 1930’s woolshed in Alexandria. They have studios to cater for all sizes of events.

The Museum of Contemporary Art Foundation Hall takes the Art Deco look and blends it with a refurbished contemporary edge. The look of marble, timber, stone and fabric create texture and style for that modern finish.

Fairground Follies is a truly unique function space and is one of Sydney’s best kept venue secrets. Located within a “night fairground” themed factory conveniently situated in St Peters/Alexandria midway between the Central Business District and Sydney Airport, Fairground Follies offers all the fun of the fair for your next event. The venue’s main area with its canopy of over 1000 fairy lights adds to the fantasy of your event. Although the 2200 sqm venue lends itself to an historic Fairground theme complete with mechanical music, the venue can be themed or sized according to your imagination or requirement. The venue is adaptable for 12 to 400 guests.

Italian Village, located in The Rocks, has just the right mix of old world brick feature walls, iron accents, sandstone features, and natural garden surrounds to give you that country wedding in the city.

Moby Dicks with its understated oceanic setting, Moby Dicks on Sydney’s Northern Beaches offers a bright and open space, the perfect setting for any traditional or relaxed event. We can cater for any style Wedding, Corporate Event, Party or Celebratory Occasion. Whether it be a lunch or dinner event, Moby Dicks will help create the perfect Cocktail party or Sit Down function.

The Boat House Palm Beach is uniquely located on the Peninsula of Pittwater, The Boathouse Palm Beach offers spectacular water views and is perfect in delivering a private and memorable setting for your event or wedding. With its understated oceanic and rustic setting, The Boathouse offers a bright and open space, the perfect setting for a traditional or relaxed event. Also the same owners as The Boat House Balmoral Beach.

Hunter Valley Region

Known for its wineries, the Hunter Valley is full of vintage charm and endless possibilities for wedding venues. Although I can not go past the Peppers Creek Barrel Room which I shot at some years ago. It was just breathtaking at the time and forever etched into my mind because of the beautiful surrounds.

Mexico / Bali

And I couldn’t decide whether I wanted to go to Mexico or Bali more, so I thought I would choose them both. Shooting a wedding at either of these two locations would be an absolute dream come true.

Come to think of it, I still need to decide on a honeymoon destination…

Wedding Dress Shopping in Sydney

Wedding Dress Shopping, isn’t it the one thing all brides dream about? We all want to feel like a goddess on our wedding day, and the most fun part of this is getting to try on as many dresses as you can.

So far, in my own personal journey, this has been the most exciting part of organising the wedding. With time ticking away and a wedding in less that six months for me, my wedding dress is a major milestone I hope to soon tick off the list.

With that I thought I would share some of my tips surrounding buying your perfect wedding dress and I will even divulge my favourite shops to visit so far.

Kat Stanley Photography

1. Budget

It is a must to have a budget in mind, especially one that you and your partner have both agreed on. And whilst this is true for me, I believe when it comes to your wedding dress, every girl wonders whether they should just splurge and completely blow that budget when the right dress comes along.

Of course, if this is the case for you, just make sure you aren’t spending your entire wedding budget on the dress. What fun would it be to have an expensive dress, but no where to wear it?

2. Fees

Be aware that some high end bridal boutiques will charge you to make an appointment. This was something I was surprised by when phoning some retail shops. Though it does make sense. There are so many people out there that shop for a dress, only to buy a copy online. So in defence of these shops, at least with letting potential customers know that there is a fee they are discouraging the ‘window shoppers’.

3. Fun

Bring along your mum, mother-in-law to be, step mum, aunty, grandmother or sister. Make a day of it. Celebrate the fun by including a nice lunch and coffee stops along the way. After all, you are going to need expert opinions to ohhh and ahhh over you as you parade in those gorgeous gowns.

My favourite Wedding Dress shops so far

Ivory & Lace – Austinmer NSW

Jenny the owner is fabulous and very helpful. I loved that she was barefoot and relaxed with no strict ‘trying on dress rules or fees’. She has a great range of designers and you’ll pay less for the same dresses stocked in Paddington. Approx $800-4k.

The Barefaced Bride – Kurnell NSW
Melanie has a small studio out the back of her home in Kurnell. She has a great range of designers and styles, and also a selection of gorgeous vintage garments. Approx $1,000 – $7,000.

Suzanne Harwood – Melbourne & regular trunk shows around Australia.
This was one of the best experiences I have had. We were met with champagne in a penthouse apartment on the harbour in Sydney. Great views and beautiful helpful caring girls who made my mum and I feel very special. Great dresses too, ranging from size 6-14 and costing 7k+.

Marry Me Bridal – Mosman NSW
They have a huge range and pretty much a sure thing for anyone wanting a ’traditional’ dress. Well priced too with many designers and last years stock on sale. $650-5k.

Lover – The Strand Arcade Sydney NSW
They have just introduced an all white collection which aren’t your traditional bridal offering. Only a small range but some great simple lace designs. $800-4k.

Helen Rodrigues – Neutral Bay NSW

If I had a bigger budget this shop would have been great for me. As it turned out, I wasn’t even tempted to try anything on as I was so scared of falling in love with it! Some of the top designers in Sydney are stocked here. 7k+.

Brides by Francesca – Rockdale NSW

My favourite designs here were the Berta Bridal range, and of course it was in the higher end for prices. To try on the Berta range you will need to pay a fee – these dresses were in great condition due to this.

Forever Vintage specialises in only original vintage from the 30’s, 40’s, 50’s, 60’s and 80’s with each and every peice lovingly hand picked and imported from Europe and America.  Forever Vintage is bound to have something you’ll simply fall in love with in a range of sizes from an Australian 4 to a 22.

I also stubbled upon this blog on Mr & Mrs with The Top 15 Wedding Dress Boutiques in Sydney

Even though I am getting very close to finding ‘the dress’ I am still looking for any tips or suggestions for great bridal boutiques in and around Sydney. I’m also looking for a great I would love to hear your thoughts so please send me your recommendations!

Wedding dress shopping sydney