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How To Choose The Perfect Wedding Venue

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How To Choose The Perfect Wedding Venue

With so much choice around these days, where do you even begin in the pursuit of the dream wedding venue? If you’ve recently got engaged or you’re thinking about potential venues, here are some tips to help you select the perfect location.

how to find the perfect venue

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Draw up your guest list

Before you even start thinking about booking viewings, it’s essential to have a rough idea of guest numbers. You don’t need a set figure, but the size of your party may result in some venues being unsuitable. If you have a large party, for example, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to book a boutique hotel.

Do some research

There may be countless wedding venues in your local area, which you’ve never even heard of, so do some research. Search online and have a look at different websites. Read wedding blogs and go to some wedding fayres. Draw up a list of venues, which you like the look of and suit your budget, style and party size.

Before you look at any venues, draw up a list of questions. When you’re marvelling at stunning decor or beautiful views, you may forget to find out all the important details. You may wish to ask about catering options, drinks packages and closing time. Ask about availability and payment options. Most places will take a deposit to secure your booking.

how to find the perfect wedding venue

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Book some viewings

This is the exciting bit! Arrange to have a look around a number of venues. Book a range of different styles. Even if you have a theme or venue in mind, it’s always best to have an open  mind. You may change your mind when you see places and get a feel for the kind of wedding you could enjoy in that specific setting. Once you’ve completed the first round of tours, make a list of the contenders and arrange some second viewings. If you would appreciate the opinion of others, take members of the bridal party or relatives with you.

At your second appointment, make sure you tailor the viewing to your wedding. Ask about prices, room capacity and additional extras, which will make your day memorable and unique. Some venues, such as a banquet hall, will give you more scope to put your stamp on the design and presentation. Others, such as country houses or golf clubs, may be more limited when it comes to individual touches.

Weigh up your options

Think about what each venue offers. Consider the pros and cons and write down a list. Use your head and your heart, but ultimately, trust your instinct. Choose the venue that gets you excited and gives you butterflies. It’s your big day and you’ll only do it once, so don’t make a decision you’ll regret later on. If you’re unsure after two viewings, go back as many times as you want.

Once you’ve made your decision, it’s time to get booking and pay a deposit. With your venue sorted, you can then start planning dresses, catering and rings and the fun really begins.

What You Should Know Before Booking Your Wedding Venue

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What You Should Know Before Booking Your Wedding Venue

what do look for when choosing a wedding venue

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Congratulations on your recent engagement! We know wedding planning can be stressful but it doesn’t have to be. Have you been dreaming of a destination wedding for years? What about some place a little less populated than the Caribbean or Europe, such as Brighton, Victoria, located along six kilometres of coastline, where you could still have a beachfront wedding.

In fact, the Brighton Savoy was recognised by the Australian Bridal Organization as one of the award-winning wedding venues in Melbourne. They offer a variety of reception and ceremony and reception packages, depending on your needs and the number of your guests. This is where asking your questions comes in handy as you’ll see if the venue is a good fit, what kind of package works, and what other perks or amenities are included for you and your guests.

Important Questions to Ask Your Destination Wedding Venue

  • What kind of wedding packages do you offer and what do they include? This is probably the most important question because you’ll need to know if they only have reception facilities or do they have on-site ceremony locations, such as an inside modern one or an outdoor beachfront option. Ask if the site offers a back-up plan in case of increment weather.
  • Do you have an on-site wedding coordinator? A wedding venue that provides this is key because you have enough to worry about and don’t need extra pressure. An on-site wedding coordinator will help things move smoothly during the ceremony and arrange to have the reception facilities set up for appetisers and dinner.
  • Do you use in-house vendors or do you have referrals for nearby ones? This is when having a wedding coordinator will pay off, especially if you are unfamiliar with the area since the hotel will likely provide the catering and have recommendations for a photographer, a florist, and entertainment.
  • Are you flexible about menu customization? Many venues have sample menus that they show you, but if you or other family members have certain dietary restrictions or if you’ve got your heart set on certain dishes, ask if dishes can be adapted.
  • Does the hotel have enough room for my guests on my wedding date? This is a big one since your family and friends are flying thousands of miles for your big day. It’s more convenient for everyone to stay at the same place. It makes it easier to do group activities the days leading up to the big day, as well as nice to catch up with everyone. If the hotel can’t accommodate all of your guests, ask them for a referral for a second hotel, preferably within walking distance. Check out Brighton Savoy’s website at to look at their choice of accommodations and then try to negotiate a group discount for your guests.
  • Are children allowed or are there restrictions? If your family is full of younger cousins or nieces and nephews, then it’s imperative that you find a family-friendly hotel, where they’ll have fun just like the adults.

These questions have only scratched the surface. There are many more you should ask your wedding venue, but this is a good place to start.

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5 Tips for Taking the Best Candid Wedding Photos

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5 Tips for Taking the Best Candid Wedding Photos

Some of the most wonderful wedding photographs to come out of a shoot are taken when the couple is looking completely natural and at ease just being themselves. To really capture the love and excitement that flows so freely at weddings, the best strategy is to aim for some excellent candid shots. Although these can be often be difficult moments to acquire on film, there are a number of handy tips that will help ensure your photographs will be high quality mementos of your special day.

Rather than old fashioned, posed portraits, good candid photography really captures the energy and emotion of the day and reflects the celebratory atmosphere and the mood of the guests. Portraits often take place away from the guests and can sometimes be missing the sense of spontaneity and overflowing joy a wedding can evoke. That is why Studio 4 Photography in Brisbane highly recommends planning ahead to get great candid shots.


Using a powerful telephoto lens is probably the ultimate method for capturing intimate candid photographs without having to come too close to the guests. The level of detail and intimacy a telephoto lens can zoom in on from a distance is incomparable.

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Many couples like to distribute disposable cameras amongst the guests and have them take their own shots during the event. Although the quality of the images is far from ideal, the content and subjects of these candid photographs can really convey a sense of story and narrative that would otherwise be missed. Often with so much occurring at a wedding it is hard to record it all. Having multiple cameras and photographers doing their best to capture the flavour will yield some very memorable images.

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Whenever possible, visit the venue or reception room and take note of the best areas to set up and catch the action as it unfolds. This also includes using certain angles to get access to the most flattering profiles and using doorways to be unobtrusively positioned. Nothing spoils candid photographs more than the subjects suddenly becoming aware they are being photographed and becoming camera shy. Be sure to stay on the move and roam with the camera but circle back to those predesignated choice vantage points as much as possible.

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While it may seem obvious, the photographer should be attentive to the sound of laughter and try and take shots where the fun and frivolity is flowing. One still needs to be discreet as if the guests notice they are being photographed they will often become self-conscious. A savvy photographer will know how to go into stealth mode and fade into the background.

It’s important when taking candid images to never direct or instruct the guests even if there is an obvious shot to be made as this is not what candid images are about. The knack every candid photographer needs to learn is how to blend in and not be noticed. Check out the amazing blog post here for some beautiful examples of candid wedding photographs.

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In an instant those perfect moments can vanish forever so it is vital the photographer knows their equipment and can dial in the correct settings on the fly without fumbling. Capturing candid images is all about being at the ready without any distractions that would cause one to hesitate and miss the shot. Although there is the need to act quickly, that doesn’t mean rushing the process. Often a dozen well anticipated photographs taken with a methodical ease will trump one hundred rushed and haphazard images. Finding the right balance is crucial.

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As always, the key to getting great candid photographs is preparation and forethought. Knowing what to anticipate, having a loose plan as well as the proper equipment will increase the odds of bringing home a successful photo shoot. There is nothing more satisfying for a wedding photographer than seeing a grateful couple gushing over how well their wedding photos turned out.

All images are copyright Alexis Arnold Photography and can not be used without permission.

Welcome to 2016! Advice to Start Your Wedding Planning

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Welcome to 2016! Advice to Start Your Wedding Planning

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It’s here. Another year. Another holiday season complete. We hope you had a nice and relaxing time with you family and friends. We know we ate a bit too many sweets but enjoyed the indulgence. If you received a small sparkly gift this holiday season, congrats on your engagement! It really is a magical time to be proposed to. So now what? Where do you start with the planning? Whatever you do, take a deep breath and slow down. Here is a list to get you started so you can avoid the stress!

  • Don’t let everyone start telling you what you should do. This happens quickly and can get out of control fast. Trust me. Just politely smile and say thank you for the ideas.
  • Get an idea of the date you want first but have two others on stand by. If you fall in love with a location and they don’t have your date you will want to be flexible.
  • More advice on picking a date. Make sure it doesn’t fall on dates that your guests would already be busy or out of town. These include Superbowl, Fourth of July, Memorial Weekend etc. Look at a calendar so you can see all the holidays.
  • Have a general budget in mind before you start looking at venues. Being able to afford $5000 is a lot different than $10,000.
  • Start looking at ceremony and reception venues when you have a few dates picked out. Again remember to be flexible if you fall in love with a site.
  • Take notes and photos of the ceremony site. If it’s outside when you visit it now is not how it will look when you get married.
  • How many people can the site hold? Love a small intimate restaurant but have a guest list of over 100? Then be realistic. Cutting out 60 guests from your list is painful, really, really painful and not worth it.
  • Referring to the previous post, get a general headcount of who you want to invite. This will really help determine what time of venue will work for you.
  • Have a note book dedicated to your ideas, photos, plans, budget. Things will change and should while you are figuring out the details. I can’t stress enough that you need to be flexible during the planning stages. Sometimes you just can’t fit a round peg into a square hole! Save yourself the stress and take it step by step.

This is a basic list to get your started. I know there are many books out there that detail what you should do. I have seen them, bought them and in my opinion they were overwhelming. They are a good source to refer to but it’s best to break up your planning into sections. The ones above are first. Don’t call anyone else until you have your date and venue booked! I used to get so many calls from folks who wanted to book my services but they didn’t have a  date. I can’t do anything with that. Photographers, caterers, florists etc need to know when and where you are getting married. Otherwise you are wasting their time. Happy planning and  be sure to head over to our vendor list when looking for fabulous wedding professionals.

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Unique Themes for Your Wedding Day

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Unique Themes for Your Wedding Day

If you’re planning a wedding, then you probably have a lot on your mind – decorations, invitations and seating arrangements. But have you considered the possibility of having a theme? Themes can be fun, and can be a celebration of the mutual interests which brought you together in the first place!  Themed weddings can be fun and classy – although some people can get a little bit carried away. Here’s a list of some of our favourite crazy wedding themes, which might give you a few ideas of what you might want to incorporate into your wedding – and what you might want to avoid!

To begin with, if you’re looking to add some magic into your life before you find your way home, then you can do what this couple did and host your wedding at the Land of Oz, a mostly unused theme park situated in North Carolina. Follow the Yellow Brick Road to say your vows in the heart of the Emerald City itself.

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Alternatively, lots of people like having weddings based around their favourite books, films and TV shows. There are no doubt countless examples of weddings themed around various books and shows, but one of the cutest is this adorable couple and their Harry Potter themed wedding. Guests travelled to the reception via the Hogwarts Express, where they paid a visit to the sorting hat and were sorted into table assignments under the headings of Muggles, Gryffindor, Slytheryn, Hufflepuff or Ravenclaw. The assignments were attached to magic wands, adding some extra magic to a meticulously planned evening.

wedding themes

Comic Books and super heroes are also becoming increasingly popular as wedding themes, with guests and even the newlyweds dressing up as superheroes to say their vows. Since many married couples often need to morph into super humans in preparation for their big day, it’s a fun payoff to see this physically manifest itself.

crazy wedding themes

Gambling is a popular past time for many, but not necessarily that many people would be willing the theme the happiest day of their lives around it. However, for some people gambling is more than just a bit of fun – it’s a way of life. New Casino Sites‘s owner can attest on his own wedding essentially being a tribute to his work, with a casino themed card cake, tables decorated with dice and card games, and everything appearing in red and black, the colours usually associated with Casinos. Talk about being married to the job!



So as you prepare for the big day, maybe you ought to think about a special theme which will really make it a wedding to remember for your guests.

Destination Wedding – Australia

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Destination Wedding – Australia

One way to get the honeymoon of your dreams is have your wedding in the location you want to travel to. Have you always wanted to travel to Australia? Then why not plan your ceremony in Melbourne while you are there? Below you will find a list of venues that you could host your event at. Invite a few of your favorite friends and family and your destination wedding goes from a dream to a reality. Doesn’t get more fun than that, does it?

You Can Have Your Dream Wedding at Melbourne venues

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You are already ahead of the game. You know where you want to get married: in Melbourne! Now, your next step is to figure out where. You’ve been given the go-ahead. Follow your dreams.

There’s no universal “dream” wedding – each person has their own idea of what they want. For some, it’s to arrive to the service in a vintage Bentley or in a horse-drawn carriage. Others want to walk down the aisle in a detailed replica of Kate Middleton’s dress. Some couples, influenced by the confluence of YouTube videos, dream of a perfectly choreographed “flash mob”-style reception.

Whatever a couple aspires to for their big day, it can certainly be, at least partially, facilitated by Melbourne venues, of which there are many.

Centre Ivanhoe

Beautiful Art Deco highlights The Centre Ivanhoe in Melbourne’s inner suburbs. The Centre is an idyllic wedding venue and features everything you need to set the tone and create an atmosphere — lighting, stages and large parquetry dance floors. Although the centre is rich in historic architectural detail, the design is wholly timeless. And, unlike some places with only a single offering, The Centre Ivanhoe has several function spaces, to accommodate a variety of reception parties, from small to large, and include (numbers are how many can be accommodated)

  • The Great Hall 800
  • The McCubbin Room 200
  • The Conder Room 120
  • The Streeton Room 500
  • The Withers Room 100 

Melbourne Town Hall

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For those who yearn for authenticity and historical accuracy, there’s the Melbourne Town hall, an iconic building located in the heart of the CBD, with more than 135 years of watershed events celebrated here. Major nation-shaping took place here, where the concept of freedom was debated and milestones reached. Nellie Melba debuted and the Beatles told legions of fans that they loved them, yah yah. Opulence is at the heart of the town hall and the grand design hosted many a commemoration, festival, gala and celebrations. Generations of Melbourne’s residents have attended events here.

Located in the heart of the CBD, Melbourne Town Hall has been the centre of Melbourne’s civic and cultural life.  Theatrical performances, weddings, receptions, exhibitions, corporate launches, school concerts, conferences and cocktail parties have been held at the Town Hall.

The Portico function room overlooks Swanston Street. Eight function rooms include (numbers are how many can be accommodated)

  • Main Hall 1900
  • Swanston Hall 400
  • Yarra Room 150
  • Portico Room & Balcony 120
  • Supper Room 280
  • Melbourne Room 50
  • Rebent Room 20
  • Council Chambers 42

Zinc Fed Square

Also in the heart of Melbourne, on the riverfront side of Federation Square, Zinc is another one of the popular Melbourne venues for events and weddings. The previously mentioned venue may have offered a more period atmosphere, but Zinc is modern and stylish and features floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the Yarra River. There are outdoor decks, shaded by elm trees, an ideal setting for pre-dinner drinks and wedding ceremonies and features views from the river to the city skyline.

Positioned on the riverfront side of Federation Square, ZINC offers a rare private space in the heart of Melbourne. This modern and stylish venue adds a sense of elegance and sophistication to your special occasion, with contemporary design and striking features such as floor-to-ceiling windows that overlook the Yarra River. Shaded by elm trees, ZINC’s outdoor decks provide an excellent setting for pre-dinner drinks and wedding ceremonies with views across the river to the city skyline.

Zinc can cater and accommodate parties with dinner and dancing.  Speaking of dinner, Zinc specializes in unique seasonal menus. The chef can develop a customized menu to suit dietary needs. They do Kosher service, too. Locally sourced produce, procured with eco-friendly practices with seasonal consideration are featured.

Zinc also features a “dedicated wedding coordinator” to will work with you, taking care of all the details, so you can relax and enjoy your special day. Zinc can accommodate from 120 to 500 guests.

Musicals, art exhibitions and sports events in Melbourne, make the city more appealing to your guests.  These are just a sampling of the many venues for a memorable wedding.

How to Create the Perfect Rustic Wedding

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How to Create the Perfect Rustic Wedding

When hosting a wedding, people often want to stand above the rest. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to impress people as most ideas are so overused that it’s not easy to stand out. While true, don’t give up as you can throw a rustic wedding that will impress all your guests. However, it’s not an easy wedding to pull off. Luckily, with these five tips, you can throw the perfect rustic wedding.


Without a doubt, if you want to throw a rustic wedding, you can’t do so at a hotel or another modern venue. At the same time, if you want to impress your guests, you won’t do well if you are on the beach or other areas where crowds of strangers will congregate. You need to find a nice location in the middle of nowhere. With an older house and barn, people will grow excited when they notice all the interesting and old buildings. In fact, with an old and worn barn door, you will impress people and watch as they take plenty of pictures and enjoy your setup. With an excellent site, you will go a long way in throwing a beautiful and memorable wedding.

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Painted wooden signs

When you want people to find your site, you will need a well-placed sign right off the road. While tempting, don’t run to a local printing shop and create a large banner. Also, it’s wise to avoid large cardboard signs as visitors will struggle to read the letters. No, instead, when you want to impress guests, find a large block of wood and create a hand-painted sign. Then, when on the road, visitors will not get lost as they will notice the rustic and unique sign pointing them in the right direction.
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Pillows on seats

A rustic wedding held outdoors will impress people and provide guests plenty of opportunities to take amazing pictures. To ensure that guests stay comfortable and don’t grow antsy, you need to invest in seat cushions or pillows. Then, once you find the pillows, you need to place them under each seat. Simply put, with pillows, your guests can sit comfortably and won’t need to deal with pain.
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Live band

If you want a rustic theme, you can’t play music from an iPod or smartphone; it will look tacky and the guests will notice. Instead, hire a band and require them to dress the part. When doing so, you don’t necessarily need to require your band to play country music or other older songs. However, if they dress up in rustic outfits and play well to the crowd, you will go a long way in creating the perfect atmosphere. Remember, nothing ruins a rustic wedding more than a tacky DJ or large speakers connected to an iPod. Finally, when you want to provide the stage, make sure to use reclaimed wood so it fits in with the rest of the theme.
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Ensure your guests wear the right outfits: When you send out invitations to your guests, you need to let them know it’s a rustic wedding. Most people, when heading to a wedding, will wear a suit and tie. While a nice look, if you are hosting a rustic wedding, you will probably want people to wear something a little more unique. If you tell them this in your invite, you will avoid communication problems when people show up dressed in the wrong outfit for the situation.

When you want to throw the perfect rustic wedding, you need to prepare well in advance. While some things like weather are not in your control, you can take a few steps to help everyone remain comfortable and happy. With these five simple tips, not only will you throw the perfect wedding, but your guests will have fun and won’t need to worry about the elements or any other issues.

Tea Party Wedding

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Tea Party Wedding

The great thing about a wedding is that it can be intimate or grand, relaxed or exciting, casual or fancy. You get to choose. It’s your day, it’s your memories and it’s your chance to have a gathering that makes you happy. That’s why we enjoyed Paula & Scott’s small scale event. It took place at a lovely tea house in Sherwood, Oregon called The Lavender Tea House. I’m sure many people have driven by not even noticing the quaint little space. Those who take the time to stop and enter will find a lovely bright and airy home that is perfect for an afternoon of conversation with a friend. Paula and Scott chose the space for it’s close location to their home and great food & staff. With a small guest list of just family and a few close friends they said their vows in a sunlight room and then celebrated with a beautiful display of finger foods and tea. Enjoy browsing thru their images below and get ideas for your wedding day! (all images copyright Jasmine Photography).