'How to get the most out of your Hair & Makeup trial' by Blush & Bangs

We always recommend a hair and makeup trial for the Bride; it is the perfect way to ensure you look exactly as you imagine when your big day comes around. 

Trials are the best way to meet with your beauty glam squad, have a complete idea of how you would expect to look on the day and ask us any questions or concerns you may have. 
To ensure you get the best result from your hair & makeup trial the key is to come prepared!

•    Bring in image references and start an inspiration board – look in bridal magazines, Pinterest, Wedding catalogues etc. Images of hair and makeup but also flowers, colour schemes will help us create a unique look for you and tie it all into your personal style. Try to identify what it is you like about the hair and makeup in the images and take into account your skin tone and hair texture and length. There are about 100 ways to do a smokey eye and a natural eye so images always bring light to just how smokey you are wanting to go! 
•    Come with clean dry hair with minimal to no product in it so we are able to start from a clean base and create the perfect style. 

•    Wear white or soft neutral coloured clothing on the day of the trial so you can see how the hair and makeup looks against it- will allow you to imagine how you will look in your dress on the day
•    It’s a great idea to schedule your trial on the day of your engagement shoot, hen’s night or a special night out. 
•    If you intend on having a spray tan on your wedding day it is always a good idea to have one for the trial, if you haven’t selected a tanning technician we can provide you with that service and can come to your house or hotel! 
•    Bring a supportive friend or bridesmaid, someone that you can rely on to give an honest and helpful opinion but also share the special experience with you 

Written by Katina from Blush & Bangs

Introducing Enchanted Empire

At Enchanted Empire we are a full in-house creative agency, based on the belief that any idea is possible.

Based in Brisbane, we are a highly sought after styling agency with attention to detail, colour matching, custom event graphics,  textiles and textures, fabrication, lighting and floristry, being our teams speciality. Nothing short of perfection, our Head Stylists and Creative Directors, Shae and Brooklyn, pride themselves on offering a service that is backed up by years of industry experience and expertise and is nothing short of extraordinary.

Our in-house team consists of qualified Wedding Planners, Event Coordinators, Visual Merchandisers, Florists, Photographers, Graphic Designers, Stationers along with a Prop and Arts Department. Having everything under one roof means we can quality control our theming and finishes, whilst ensuring a smooth transition leading up to and on the day of your event. Understanding the logistics in each event is crucial to the execution, along with our experienced team, you can be assured that we will bring your visions to reality ensuring that your event is as individual and as unique as you are. We want your event to be an occasion to be remembered and one that will be talked about for years to come.

Our team is renowned for its ability to infuse each of our client’s personalities into their individual events. We orchestrate mesmerizing corporate galas, romantic weddings and private soirees that take your vision and turn them into reality. We are abreast of all the latest local and international trends, but also enjoy pushing the envelope and exploring new ideas in the event space. Whether you are a bride and groom, corporate client or planning that special event, you can breathe easy knowing that by hiring an Enchanted Empire events specialist you are hiring one of the industries most creative and innovative companies. 

Written by Brooke from Enchanted Empire

'10 Secret Tips for Creating a Beautiful Wedding Bar' from Gathering Events

1.    The menu
Take time to create a custom and delicious menu that reflects both partners. Through your menu, tell a story of special moments you have shared, your favourite red wine and even that local brewery you visited together.  

2.    Sweet words… 
When planning your wedding and all of the beautiful stationery that comes along with it – don’t forget a bar menu and bar sign. These little extra’s will ensure you’re bar is a part of the day. 

3.    A glass is not just a glass… 
Guests will have a glass in their hand for most of the day (and night), so make sure this often overlooked element is well-thought-out. Consider a stemless glass option, crystal glassware, a colour-pop range, and even novel glasses – guests LOVE them!  

4.    Cocktails! 
Treat your guests with a little cocktail surprise. Make sure it has meaning, celebrates a special moment or even matches your wedding style and theme. A cocktail on arrival, a dessert cocktail, or even a late night cocktail on the menu will be a highlight for guests. 

5.    The beauty in BYO
Being able to provide your own beverages for the big day means you can select exactly what you would like on your menu, weather it the latest craft beer or the full range of white wines from the vineyard where you first met. These personal touches change a drink into an experience. 

6.    Dress up your drinks
This is such an easy way to add some fun and theming to the bar. Consider edible flowers, novel straws, garlands, tassels, signage, cotton candy, doughnut toppers, fresh fruits, rose buds and sprinkles.

7.    Big Blooms
Fresh florals make the world of difference when styling your bar. Try arrangements of various sizes and even a garland. To add a little something extra, save some of the petals as pretty garnishes when serving champagne.  

8.    Stylish Bar Tenders
Your bar tenders will bring the bar to life. What is a bar without charming, experienced and professional bar tenders that genuinely care about your special day and that your guest’s glasses are always full. 

9.    Whisky…pure liquid gold
Offering a whisky bar or a late note whisky menu is such a special way for the groom and his groomsman to share a special time together, and it will also allow your guests to slow down and enjoy the beauty of sharing a drink with friends.  

10.    Light it up
Show your guests the light by bringing the bar to light with some clever lighting options. Hanging pendant lightings, letter lights spilling out ‘B A R’ or even a back drop of fairy lights will ensure the bar steals the show. 

Written by Gathering Events

'7 Tips for a Festival Style Wedding' from The Photo Booth Guys

Hitting a festival during the summer months is most people’s idea of a good time… so why not plan a wedding around the same idea?

Festival-style weddings have been on the rise for some years now. Couples have continued to throw off staid conventions in favour of more relaxed celebrations, and Lisa and Rich here are one such couple. Aren’t they cute?

We were lucky enough to be a part of their gorgeous festival-style wedding earlier this year. So how do you go about having a cracking festival wedding? Let’s a have a nose around Lisa and Rich’s big day to get some ideas for for the necessary ingredients…

Festivals need room to breathe, so warehouses, barns, parks or fields work well for that casual al fresco vibe. Werribee Park was the glorious location chosen by Lisa and Rich, and has a good selection of spaces and venues available for weddings, including a plush hotel and spa.

Our good pals The Style Co were in charge of putting this one together. Setting up a beautiful party in a field is no mean feat but these guys are dab hands and make it look like a breeze. It’s all in the details…

Plenty of great lighting is essential for the festival wedding party, so as the sun dips the atmosphere increases… festoon lights, lanterns, torches, fire pits, candles – the more the merrier, although some venues aren’t cool with anything fire-related!

Some sort of shelter makes for a cosy feel to the evening, while retaining the outdoorsy feel. Gas or electric heaters could be included, depending on your location, for grandma and the less warm-blooded of your guests.

While you can pop your festival wedding near an existing bad location, having an outdoor bar keeps the essentials within easy reach! Atmosphere is often boosted by keeping everyone together while giving them options for different spaces to hang out in.

Being outside for a long time can get wearying. Having a nice sit-down between key moments of your ceremony or reception keeps guests fresh and happy.

Yeah we would say that wouldn’t we! Once you’ve gone to all that trouble creating the perfect day, you’ll need heaps of photos to remind you of every single moment and to bore friends and relatives with for years to come. Let’s see what kind of thing you can expect from the booth, here with our deluxe Hedge backdrop!






So there we have it, a fabulous festival wedding pulled off with aplomb. For more ideas, check out our post on Hamish and Kristin’s wedding, have a browse through our Instagram, Facebook (UK or Australia) or Pinterest pages, or get in touch for a chinwag about all the cool stuff we can do for your big day.

Written by Sophie from The Photo Booth Guys

White Magazine

Issue 33 is white magazine’s brightest issue yet. They’ve injected their pages with an abundance of happiness, bringing readers a theme around the wonderful emotion that is joy!

“We really wanted to bring the fun back into wedding planning, and, in particular, we hope that couples will remember to always have fun with their lover. Joy is a choice we all have and through all circumstances, the difference a smile, a touch or your frame of mind can make is huge. So we’re inviting couples to choose joy!” shares editor Carla Burrell.

Set in a wondrous colour palette of muted brights, this Spring edition welcomes an awe-inspiring mix of eclectic wedding features from the talents of renowned wedding photographers Beck Rocchi, Logan Cole, Finch & Oak Wedding Co., Ben Adams, Heart and Colour and The Robertsons. There’s truly something to inspire everyone, with wedding themes ranging from whimsical circus, playful Palm Springs and modern glamour, to rustic woodland, earthen elopement and traditional elegance.

Their fashion shoot is the height of wedding dress inspiration, with feminine, flowing designs by Suzanne Harward, The Babushka Ballerina, Georgia Young Couture, Grace Loves Lace, Corston Couture, Judy Copely Couture, Helen Constance, Karen Willis Holmes and Love Marie. You may just recognise the glowing face of Emma (Wiggle) Watkins pirouetting and plieing around a warehouse scene, followed by the lens of Lara Hotz. 

While the team has prepared a smorgasbord of ideas and imaginings for weddings, as always, white is about so much more than just the “day”. They offer a new understanding of joy and how it requires choice and careful cultivation between two people who are dedicated to an eternity together. 

About White
Here, white magazine’s editor, Carla Burrell, shares the ins and outs of running her passionate wedding and relationship publication.

What is the driving force behind white magazine?
This might seem a little cheesy, but we honestly love “love”! Looking past the pretty pages, I hope you see that what we are creating is a catalyst for positive change in the culture of marriage and relationships. Every marriage touches the lives of more than the two involved and I see it a total privilege to be invited into so many homes (not me personally) and walk this journey with couples. I hope it makes them excited about creating a beautiful celebration to kick-start an amazing committed marriage. 

What will couples gain from bringing white magazine into their wedding planning journey?
We want to dream and celebrate it all with you. But more importantly, challenge you, laugh and cry with you and always point you home. We’ll be here as you discover that home is a person, not a destination and we hope that we’re here to help you create a marriage as beautiful as your wedding day. I have the honour of hand-selecting weddings with beautiful images that I believe offer inspiration and beauty that goes beyond just the “things” you can see, but also meaningful conversations on life and love. We hope you see that marriage is so much more than the wedding day … it’s the starting point for ALL the days after.

How do you keep white fresh, providing new inspiration for readers in every issue?
On the aesthetic side, we have levels of filters for each issue starting with an overall theme and colour palette where I set the mood and tone that everything comes out of. I also get to work with our talented creatives and engaging writers who also put their hearts into what they do. We are always trying to look past current trends to what could be—to create something that’s forging new paths.
On the content side, we work with a key focus like this issue’s ‘Joy’ theme that underpins all our editorial and imagery. It’s fun weaving everything together creating a seamless journey through the pages. I think so often that the “serious” stuff is glossed over and perhaps even avoided, but we offer genuine and honest pieces that you can relate to.

What role do you play in the creation of every issue?
I bring the heart and vision that sets the tone for each issue, though this is definitely in collaboration with our team. I love all things creative and set the visual direction for each issue. I also work with our creative contributors and white’s fashion editorials are my “other” baby. It’s not hard looking at pretty dresses but it isn’t unusual for me to be selling ads one minute, using Indesign the next or be sitting alongside our designers as they create the magic you see before you.

What is your most important piece of advice for engaged couples?
The destination isn’t a particular day or moment in your relationship; this is a journey you are on together. Be patient, always talk and choose to love.

White Magazine will be at The Wedding Harvest on Sunday 6th November at Lightspace in Brisbane. Tickets will be on sale soon!

Introducing Cuisine On Cue

As a leading Brisbane wedding catering company, our simple and elegant cuisine will stir conversation. Fresh local produce and quality ingredients are combined to create the best in taste and presentation, served to your guests by our professional wait staff.

Our wedding coordinators will work closely with the bride and groom to explore and select the right menu to complement your wedding style, theme and budget. Whether you desire a cocktail reception, a generous buffet or perhaps an on-trend banquet dinner, our menu offerings will provide your wedding with unforgettable sophistication, elegance and presentation.

Cuisine on Cue understands that your special day requires personalised attention on every front, so we are dedicated to extending our offerings far beyond catering. As a Brisbane based, full service catering company, our professional wedding planners work with our industry partners to organise everything from wedding photographers, flower arrangements, event styling entertainment and every other detail to make your day truly memorable.

We are proud to work with a number of wonderful function venues in Brisbane. Our wedding catering team prides ourselves on the ability to flawlessly execute any function: backyards and beaches are no exception. Should you have your heart set on a beach wedding or a celebration on the family property, our staff will be more than happy to assist in the hire and set-up of marquees, lighting and other equipment for your wedding.

Cuisine on Cue look forward to working together with you to make your special day an unforgettable celebration. Say “I do” to Brisbane’s best wedding caterers and contact us today.

Introducing Ivy & Bleu

Ivy & Bleu are the specialists in creating beautiful events and offer a wide range of wedding planning, special event and corporate styling, floral styling, wedding bouquets and DIY hire options for our customers. We know that it’s people that make your day special; our team of skilled stylists work hard to create the perfect atmosphere for you and your guests.

Whether you are looking to style a wedding celebration, party or corporate event or school formal, our luxurious styling services provide a beautiful backdrop for any get-together and we pride ourselves on catering for all tastes, budgets and ideas. With any creative design, we know it’s the finer details that make the difference. From drapes to table decorations or lighting to props, our stylists work hard to get every element perfect. With our Warehouse and Showroom based on the Northern Gold Coast we service Brisbane, Gold Coast, The Hinterland, Northern Nsw & beyond.

Deep autumn shades of lush green & burgundy where inspired by the natural ever-growing riverbanks of Riverwood Weddings. Upon site inspection of this gorgeous venue both the photographer Lee Calleja Thomas Photographer & the stylist Mandi from Ivy and Bleu Events saw star crossed gypsy lovers entertwined in the height of passion eloping amongst tipi’s & wild florals. 

We used lush Foliage, burgundy tones, glittery gold textures & flower crowns on elfish flower girls to pull this shoot together!

Photo shoot credits:

Photographer - Lee Calleja Thomas Photography
Dress - Made With Love
Suits - Made With Class
Venue - Riverwood Weddings
Tents - Glamping Days Hire Co
Styling & Floristry - Ivy & Bleu

Introducing Shut The Front Door

UK-born, and residing on Queensland's Sunshine Coast, Heidi is the driving force behind boutique headpiece business, Shut The Front Door. With a background in the beauty industry and wedding consultancy, Heidi's designs can now be seen adorning the heads of brides worldwide.

Graduating in certificate IV Millinery from the Metropolitan South Institute of TAFE, Heidi's designs have been featured in numerous international editorials and online publications. She now creates her award winning signature bridal range and couture millinery designs from her studio on the Sunshine Coast.

Shut The Front Door will be just one of the amazing Wedding Harvest suppliers at our Event on the 6th of November at Lightspace. Tickets on sale soon! 

The Wedding Harvest is coming to Brisbane!

'Understated elegance' is the concept behind our latest photo shoot for our upcoming Brisbane wedding showcase!  The subtle sparkle and beadwork of the new Karen Willis Holmes collection is complemented by flowing fabrics and soft, textured florals. The look for this shoot is light and airy, with tones of grey, white, blush and green. The Wedding Harvest is coming to Brisbane on the 6th November 2016 at Lightspace, showcasing the cream of the crop in the wedding industry. 

Photography & Videography: White Images

Dresses: Karen Willis Holmes   

Models: Alison, Billie and Millie from Busy Models

HAMU: The Beauty Case  

Jewellery: Samantha Wills  from The Babushka Ballerina  

Diamond Rings: Amalthea Diamonds  

Flowers: Kate Dawes Flower Design 

Stationery: Sunshine & Confetti

Cake: Gillian Bell Cake 

Furniture, glasses, cutlery: Hodgepodge Hire

Crockery, napkins & candle holders: Prop it Pretty 

Concept: The Wedding Harvest

Styling: The White Events Co 

French Bohemian Styled Shoot

Photo Shoot Credits:

Venue: Deux Belettes https://www.deuxbelettes.com/ 

Planning, Styling and Furniture: The Collector & Cohttp://www.thecollectorandco.com.au/ 

Dress: Odylyne The Ceremony http://odylynetheceremony.com/ from The Babushka Ballerina http://thebabushkaballerina.com.au/

Accessories: Samantha Wills http://www.samanthawills.com/ from Emte Boutique http://www.emteboutique.com/

Diamond Ring: Amalthea Diamonds http://amaltheadiamonds.com/ 

Suit: Black Jacket Suiting http://www.blackjacketsuiting.com.au/ 

Hair: Foxs Lane Stylinghttps://www.facebook.com/FoxsLaneStylingPage

Makeup: Jess Brailalik Makeup Artist & Spraytanning   https://www.facebook.com/JessBrailakMakeupArtistAndSprayTanning

Flowers: Primula Floral Styling http://www.primulafloralstyling.com

Stationery: Cass Deller Design http://www.cassdeller.com.au/

Cake: The Cake That Ate Paris http://www.thecakethatateparis.com.au/ 

Catering: Your Gourmet http://www.yourgourmet.com.au/

Photography: White Images http://whiteimages.com.au/

Videography: Matt Barwick Films http://mattbarwickfilms.com/

Models: Melody and Braeden from Katz Model Management http://www.katzmanagement.com.au/ 


Palm Springs Styled Shoot

This Palm Springs inspired styled shoot was all about luxe, modern desert styling by Peachey Pie with pops of teal, coral and gold under poolside palms. Beautifully captured by Shelley from Ivy Road Photography and Rabbit and The Bear Wedding Films, the fresh and edgy hilltop scene oozes modern elegance and Southern Californian vibes.

The bride stands out as the modern centrepiece of the hilltop scene with views framed by the ceremony arbour over the hills to the ocean below. She wanders the grounds of Summergrove Estate draped in her Made With Love Bridal gown, enjoys summer canapés and sunset mojitos while taking in the stunning view and setting sun.

Featuring the incredible talents of the following wedding suppliers (many who will be at The Wedding Harvest next weekend!)

Photography: Ivy Road Photography
Venue: Summergrove Estate
Stylist: Peachey Pie
Film: Rabbit and The Bear
Hire: Hampton Event Hire
Hire Items: Lovestruck
Dessert: The Cake That Ate Paris
Catering: Your Gourmet
Hair: Jarrah Hustler Hair
Makeup: Avia Beauty
Flowers: Flowers by Julia Rose
Plants: The Borrowed Nursery
Stationery: September Creative
Model: Busy Models - Jessica Roche
Dress: Made With Love Bridal
Accessories: Samantha Wills  supplied by Emte Boutique 
Engagement Ring: Amalthea Diamonds
Musician: Sarah Archer 

Ash and Jay's indie style wedding at Kirra Hill Community Centre

Venue – Kirra Hill Community Centre
Photographer – The Follans
Hair - Maverick Hair and Art Space
Makeup – Rocco Makeup Artistry
Wedding Gown – Casey Tanswell
Groom Suit – Scotch & Soda
Flowers – Bride’s Aunty
Cake – Bride’s Mother
Celebrant - Nathan Crouch from The Institution
Stylist & Wedding Coordination – Bride DIY and The Events Lounge
Catering - Crusta Woodfired
Mobile Caravan Bar - My Vintage Lane
Lighting - Elyssium Lighting

Introducing Rabbit and the Bear Wedding Films

We are Rabbit and the Bear. 

When we dreamt up Rabbit and the Bear it was about balance. It was our vision to develop a company that fulfilled both of our creative needs as well as deliver something of absolute substance. We want our films to breathe, and in order to create a living work of art we approach every film as a brand new challenge.

It hasn’t happened yet but we genuinely don’t think we could produce the films we do without genuinely liking our couples. We believe it’s that first meet that helps the story flow so well on the day. From the opening formalities to the closing hugs, that initial bond lets us float around you like old friends and produce something you’ll keep forever.

It’s a constantly changing industry and we are aware of that. There are things on the horizon which we are looking at to further ourselves creatively so we can offer even more to our clients as standard. But for now being ourselves, meeting new couples and just genuinely loving everything about them and what they have planned for their wedding is paramount.

Andrew & Jordyn

Introducing Renee Simone from Byron Bay Experience

Byron Bay Experience is a collective of Byron Bay entertainers coordinated by the gorgeous Miss Renee Simone. 

After having played at over 650 weddings and with over 15 years experience of entertaining around the globe as a singer, DJ and wedding entertainment coordinator, Miss Renee Simone has combined all of her talents to create entertainment packages to suit all occasions. 

Miss Renee Simone has hand picked the ultimate entertainment collective with every entertainer being of the highest calibre in their field. They are chosen not only for their skills but for their positive, friendly, professional attitude. 
The collective comprises of all of the following but not restricted to:
•    Live music (solo, duo, trio, full bands) 
•    DJs all styles (with optional additional live performers) 
•    Fire performers
•    Stilt walkers
•    Hula hoopers
•    Acrobats
•    Burlesque performers
•    Comedians
•    Magicians
•    MCs
•    Dancers
•    Creative workshops
•    Photographers, videographers & photo booth

Choose any style of music, any tempo, any vibe.

Watch testimonials from Byron Bay Experience's brides here:

Romantic Bohemian Elegance - A Styled Shoot

Sunshine & Confetti's vision of native flowers, earthy tones, organic textures and a little bit of sparkle was the inspiration behind this romantic bohemian styled shoot. Set among the beautiful surrounds of The Grove in Byron Bay, our very own Wedding Harvest suppliers worked together to create this whimsical look with a native, earthy flare. View even more photos from this gorgeous photo shoot on White Magazine's blog here: https://whitemag.com/inspiration/the-wedding-harvest-honest-love/ 

Venue: The Grove Byron Bay
Photographer: Figtree Pictures
Videographer: White Leaf Films
Planning, Styling, & Stationery: Sunshine & Confetti
Florist: Poppy & Fern
Catering: Your Gourmet
Cake: The Cake That Ate Paris
Make up Artist: Jess Brailak Make up artistry
Hair Stylist: Foxs lane styling
Bridal Gown: Anna Campbell from the Babushka Ballerina Brisbane                                                   Accessories: Samantha Wills
Grooms Suit: Black Jacket Suiting
Glassware: Hampton Event Hire
Plates: Alfresco Emporium
Models: Que Models - Olivia & Dane

Introducing Sunshine & Confetti

PLANNING & STYLING - With our design experience, attention to detail and industry knowledge, we can work with you to create an event that both you and your guests will remember for years to come. We can help with the initial planning & styling and then bring it all to life for you with expert advice and recommendations along the way, or we can just come to set everything up beautifully for you on the day. Our aim is to ensure you have a stress free day, enjoying it with your family and friends.

HIRE - Sunshine & Confetti have a range of items available to hire for your wedding including ceremony packages and smaller hand picked items to add finishing touches to your day.

STATIONERY - With a passion for design and outstanding quality, we create beautiful stationery that will reflect your style & leave a lasting memento of your day. With both custom designs and an existing range available, we make sure all your design elements tie in together seamlessly from your save the dates, to place settings and everything papery in between.

Introducing Wedding Flowers by Julia Rose...

I am one of those lucky people who just adore what they do! I love inspiring people for the momentous moments & special occasions in their life with exquisite flowers and beautiful styling props.

My love of flowers stems from spending hours amongst the blooms and herbs in my grandmother’s garden as a little girl.

Playing inside cavernous branches of the magnificent hydrangea, picking one of my Grandfather’s prized roses to carry around with me all day to enjoy it’s sweet perfume…. relocating snails out of the garden and worms into the garden.

Now, on my farm, I wake up bright and early to collect the florals for the day as Hook, the larrikin rooster cheekily welcomes the sun and watches protectively over his harem of hens.  Rosie, my rowdy pup runs happily through the rows of peonies with a basket to help/hinder me collecting them. Possum the galah and Chachi the parrot always have a chat and nibble of the fresh sunflower seeds scattered on the lawn. Rod, my main squeeze, plays flamenco guitar under the weeping fig while I design a fabulous floral gown for a photo shoot. Life is perfect, I’m living my dream.

I love creating & designing beautiful pieces of floral art – from sweet and simple all the way to the spectacular! Working with event coordinators, I help bring a room, marquee or simple area to life with flowers. Flowers relax, be-dazzle, impress and evokes the senses through sweet perfumes.

I take the utmost pride in my Designs & my Name. Over the years I have helped to inspire brides by passing on “the seasons’ trends to many publications as well as being a freelance writer for some of Australia’s top Floral Industry Magazines.

Julia Rose x

Julia Rose is just one of the fabulous florists that will be showcasing at The Wedding Harvest next month. Get your tickets here: https://theweddingharvest.iwannaticket.com.au/event/the-wedding-harvest-2016-MTAzNzk

Top Tips for a DIY Wedding Bar

Contributed by Anika from The Canavan, Byron Bay's mobile bar service.

So you’ve chosen your venue, you’ve got your caterer locked in, now to think about that all important social lubricant we all love (possibly a little too much at weddings, let’s face it) – alcohol.

Setting up your own bar at your wedding is easy right? A couple of trestle tables, some eskis, a few champagne buckets, a bunch of glassware and everyone will be cheers-ing their way to the dance floor? Wrong.

When Adam and I got married on a family property a few years back, we thought the same thing. So it came as a bit of a shock when we were hit with the reality of a DIY bar by a family member who worked in events:
    •    What if it rains? You’ll need a pop-up bar tent.
    •    Have you organised staff? You’ll need at least 3 people serving for that many guests.
    •    What about a wash station? You’ll need somewhere to clean the glasses that has access to hot water. And somewhere to dump the dirty water.
    •    Oh and you’ll need a coolroom. 40 cases of beer and wine won’t chill themselves.
    •    You want Margaritas?! Well that’s another table, another staff member, and about $200 worth of cocktail glassware. And be prepared to spend a day juicing limes…

So what we thought was a simple exercise turned out to be a major component (and cost) to our wedding.

The idea for our business, The Canavan, was born from this experience. We came out the other side of our wedding totally buzzed on how we might possibly be able to make the whole wedding planning escapade a little easier for couples. And it seemed (back in 2011) that no one else was really offering an all-in-one bar package.

So with or without a Canavan on hand, there’s a few considerations when designing your DIY bar and deciding how much you want to invest into the experience:

It’s a wedding, not a house party
An open-eski free-for-all might be the vibe you’re after, but if tripping over bottles before the speeches start is not your cup of tea, you need service staff. That’s more than one guy with a bottle opener by the way. A general rule of thumb is two for behind the bar, one glassy, then add another staff member for every 40 or so people over 80 guests to keep things running smoothly.

Self serve vs. table service
This comes down to how casual your wedding is, and will generally follow how your food service is run. If it’s formal sit down table service for food, then you can’t expect your guests to get up and down every time they want to wet the whistle. Things like ice buckets on tables and funky ice tubs of beers dotted around the place are a good middle ground if you don’t want to fork out for extra service staff.

Defining the space
One of the greatest pleasures of our job is providing a fun environment for guests to hang out in, and having a good old yarn through the hatch. People just really LOVE going to the bar… and not just to get a drink. So think about how you define (and design) your bar area with lighting, furniture, plants and plenty of free standing area. The biggest difference between us and using a caterer to do your drinks service is that the van serves to define the space, and the bar becomes an experience itself.

There’s no more beer?!!
These four words (especially when uttered in the first 2hrs) instil the mortal fear into most wedding parties (particularly the groomsmen). Be realistic when ordering your alcohol. Divide your guests up into heavy vs. light and male vs. female drinkers, and estimate the number of each drink type you think will be consumed over the duration of your wedding. You’d be surprised how it adds up (especially when it’s free). Look for alcohol suppliers that allow you to return unopened cases, or have a back-up plan (i.e. someone sober who can do a bottle-o run) if need be. It’s always better to have a little too much – those bottles of wine and cases of beer are excellent bargaining tools for next-day helpers and general gestures of thanks.

Cocktails, mocktails and punches
Simplicity is key here. Cocktails that sound fancy, but are really just mixed drinks (such as Vodka, Ginger Beer and Lime – a Moscow Mule) are much easier to prepare (and serve) on the night. Easier still is having a large non-alcoholic fruit punch for the non-drinkers, that can be easily spiked with spirits or champagne. Keeping cocktail service to a specific time of the day (such as the welcome drink, or pre-dinner aperitif) will ensure you’re not blowing the budget on spirits and just need to cater to one drink per guest.

Amenities, amenities, amenties!
Be sure to check out what amenities are on hand for drinks service when scoping out your venue. Things like washing up facilities with hot water and on-site coolrooms or refrigeration facilities will save you a lot of trouble (and money).  Access to power is also a must if you want coffee urns or blenders going. And of course these amenities need to be close to where you’re hoping to have your bar set-up (and not over the field or across the barn).

Yes. Believe it or not, but once all the speeches are spoken, the dance floor is vacated and everyone goes on their merry way, there will be rubbish, and LOADS of it. 100 people drinking bottled drinks for 6hrs straight generates close to 8 wheely-bins full of glass recyclables alone. And, more often than not, it’s the bride and groom (with a few gold star friends and family) who are there the next day picking up the pieces. If you don’t have rubbish management and removal included with your caterer or venue (or us… it’s an added service we offer), you’ll need to hire extra bins and deal with it the next day. Be sure to check this.

That’s definitely not everything, but it’s a pretty good wrap up of the boring logistical stuff that we find people tend to ignore (or not even know about).

Now if all this makes you go ARGHHHH, don’t fret. Many caterers offer drinks service, but be sure to read the fine print on what that entails, otherwise you could be paying extra for just staff and glassware, and having to take care of all the logistics yourself. Then of course, there are more and more mobile bars popping up all over the country. These ought to be more than just a pretty service space, and provide solutions to all of the above for you.

And if you are tying the knot in the Byron Bay, be sure to give as a shout. There’s way more exciting things to think about and we’re here to take the (ahem) headache out of drinks service.

The Canavan is one of our preferred suppliers on our directory.

Find out more at www.thecanavan.com

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