Portabello Bride Boutique Wedding Market giveaway

Happy Monday! What did you get up to on the weekend?

My weekend was full of weddings. On Sunday it was my one year wedding anniversary and RM and I had our first baby-free evening out, although we still had dinner at the parent-friendly hour of 6:30pm. Thank you Kat’s Cakes for our unexpectedly large one year anniversary cake too!

And in a nice turn of events, on Saturday we attended the wedding of a friend which was held in the same location as our own wedding a year before, the Portico Balcony of Melbourne Town Hall. Melbourne turned out a gorgeous sunny day, the bride and groom looked very happy and the father of the bride teared up. Oh I do love a good wedding :–)

So today’s giveaway is well-timed, as I reflect on my wedding and weddings in general. Portobello Bride is a website and blog that features wedding suppliers who are cool, unique and interesting rather than the frou frou and once a year they hold a boutique wedding market. While I have a fear of bridal expos generally, I know what it’s like to work full time, have a busy social life and still try and fit in wedding planning. The Portobello Bride Boutique Wedding Market contains a curated selection of 30 or so stallholders in one place who will hopefully provide you with some creative inspiration beyond the norm.

For brides (and grooms) to be out there, I have 5 free tickets for the market on Saturday 26 March 10am-5pm which is being held at St Kilda Town Hall (cnr Carlisle St and St Kilda Rd). All you have to do is leave a comment below and the first 5 responses will win. If you miss out you can still purchase tickets for Saturday or Sunday here or at the door. Good luck!

HOT: Diamonds Exchange, Level 7, 267 Collins Street, Melbourne

**Please note that my HOT was based on my experience in February 2010. It seems that things have gone very downhill since then and the company has gone into administration. Read the comments below for more information.**

I’ve never been one for wearing rings – in fact, I find them quite uncomfortable (I think it’s from years as a pianist).

But I did think that when it came to marriage a wedding ring was an important symbol for me to wear. As I’d never received an engagement ring  (I got a Kitchenaid – much more ‘me’) I wanted my wedding ring to be a combined wedding/engagement band.

After receiving a number of quotes from jewellers around the city RM and I decided to order a platinum and diamond ring for me and platinum wedding band for RM with Diamonds Exchange. We basically selected Diamonds Exchange based on their price, service and proximity to my office.

We met with one of the jewellers Annie and together flicked through some magazines before coming up with a few basic ideas for what I liked and didn’t like. After about 30 minutes, Annie and I designed my ring together  – a single ring spitting into two overlapping bands, with just a simple row of diamonds on upper band (my thin fingers don’t look good with a solitaire) and a scattering of diamonds on the lower band.

Not only was the design unique and subtle, just as I wanted, but the price was between $500-$1000 cheaper than some of the other quotes I received. Also, the whole experience was done with a minimum of fuss – an important aspect given the million other things you could be stressing about as part of wedding planning.

(Image by Rodney Hobbs Photography)

HOT: Mecca Cosmetica, 150 Little Collins Street, Melbourne

I’m pretty low-key with my makeup – every day I brush on some mineral foundation, swish some neutral eyeshadow and blush and if I’m not eating straight away, a slick of lipstick. Takes about 2 minutes from whoa to go.

My super-speedy routine is ok for most days. Actually, even for black-tie events and weddings  I can get dressed and made-up in about 15 minutes (I have bobbed hair for which there’s a hairstyle option of one).

However, I recently had to front up to do a photoshoot for my business. I hate having my photo taken at the best of times, but in a situation where I would be front and centre of every image, some of which might end up in print media? I decided that it was worth the money to let a professional take charge.

After a bit of research amongst my girlfriends, I decided to get my makeup done at Mecca Cosmetica. The trained makeup artists at the stores offer two services – a 45 minute makeup application for $90 or a 90 minute makeup lesson for $150. Both of the charges are redeemable with a purchase so I think it’s excellent value for money if you’re intending to buy some product anyway.

I booked an appointment on a Saturday afternoon and turned up about 30 minutes early, but Siobhan sat me down in a chair anyway and we started discussing the kind of effect that I wanted to achieve – a neutral look that would work with a variety of different coloured outfits, was conservative enough for work makeup and would photograph well without pastiness or shine in mid-afternoon sun. She talked me through every process, from building the layers of eyeshadow to achieve contour and definition to how best to deal with my tumultuous pregnancy skin.

At the risk of a bit of ego-bruising, here are the untouched before and after photos (eek!).

If you are planning on getting make-up done for photographs, I highly recommend you take a camera along! Siobhan found it helpful to see how the makeup was sitting via the camera lens and was able to adjust colours and shades accordingly eg the foundation was a little bit darker than my natural shade so I wouldn’t look washed out the afternoon light. I was most impressed by her care and attention to detail and she actually ended up spending 1.5 hours with me.

To cover the cost of my makeover I decided to buy the NARS Sheer Glow foundation (my new favourite product!). It was more than I’d normally pay for a foundation ($99) but combined with Siobhan’s expertise and effort it actually felt like a bit of a bargain.

PS If you’d like to see the makeover in action, here are the results of the photoshoot taken by Cheryl of Business Chic.

HOT: Flowers by Tribal Rose, 257 Smith St, Fitzroy

When it came to choosing a florist for our wedding, I basically went for the florist that was closest to my house, Flowers by Tribal Rose. Their quote for a bouquet and table arrangements was mid-range with other florists in the area, they were conveniently located and I’d always admired their window displays so I trusted that they would do a good job.

I met with Camilla, the wedding florist specialist, twice – once to discuss my thoughts on the kind of flowers and colour scheme that I’d like, and the second time for her to show me some of the blooms in season in March. I’m not sure whether it’s usual but I didn’t actually get to see the bouquet or table arrangements until the wedding day – but I felt entirely confident in their expertise.

The brief was a mixture of orchids and Australian natives (reflecting RM and my respective ethnic backgrounds), with red as the dominant colour, the use of bamboo to anchor the table settings given the wooden tables and almost tropical feel of our reception venue, Longrain, and shapes that were modern and striking. I am not a round pink-posy kind of person, and I didn’t think my wedding flowers should be like that either.

I hope you’ll agree with me that Flowers by Tribal Rose did a great job! I high recommend their service and design eye and I wouldn’t hesitate to use them for any sort of large-scale event again.

HOT: Kat’s Cakes, 309 St Georges Rd, Fitzroy North

Over the years I’ve been to many weddings and being a huge sweet tooth, I always pay particular attention to the cake. Modern couples have definitely moved away from fruit cake and white royal icing, and I’ve had chocolate cake, sponge cake and lemon poppyseed cake (although I’ve yet to be cheated with a wheel of cheese instead of cake, which is apparently a growing trend).

When it came to my own wedding, I was very keen on having a cake with a  ‘wow’ factor – I mean, I have a foodie reputation to uphold! RM’s only criteria was that it should be chocolate. Easy.

To find a cake supplier I’m went to the  list of award-winning suppliers by the Australian Bridal Industry Academy (a useful but truly retch-worthy website) and scrolled down until I found someone in the inner city. I trotted down to Kat’s Cakes in North Fitzroy, selected the only style which wasn’t round or white and was given a sample of the chocolate mud cake by Kat, who runs the commercial kitchen on the same premises.

Our cake ended up being a 5 tiered cake of  individual chocolate mud cake boxes sandwiched with chocolate ganache and framed with thick chocolate panels. It was delivered to our reception venue, along with 100 takeaway noodle boxes. The structure was as tall and impressive as I’d hoped and the dark colours I thought looked particularly good with the scattering of orchids and Australian natives. As for the taste, it was soooo moist and rich that it was unfortunate that it came at the end of a huge lunch banquet and platters of amazing sorbet and icecream. I really couldn’t appreciate it at the time and wish I’d had the foresight to take some home.

Oh well, we’ll just have to wait to order our 1 year anniversary cake, an unexpected and pleasant surprise which we only found out about after the big day.

  • Kat’s Cakes, 309 St Georges Rd, Fitzroy North +61 3 9486 6575

HOT: Corporate Audio Visual, 103 Boundary Rd, North Melbourne

When RM and I were planning our wedding I vetoed a dance floor, wedding waltz or bouquet throwing – but the one thing he did insist on was speeches.

So I asked on Twitter whether anyone could recommend a good microphone/AV rental company. Thanks to Miss Kish, we found Corporate Audio Visual and spoke to Justyn Pawsey. Justyn personally delivered the radio mike on Friday, showed us how to how to plug it in and use it and picked it up on Monday.

In comparison to some other places I called, Corporate Audio Visual were very reasonably priced at $146.52 and in fact when I cheekily offered to pay $100 they took it!

Corporate Audio Visual provide all sort sof audio visual hire and staging for exhibitions, meetings, launches and special events. My experience with them was efficient and fuss-free – just what you need for a big event.

HOT: Portico Balcony, Melbourne Town Hall, Cnr Swanston and Collins St, Melbourne

It’s been a month since I was married and so I thought it would be a good time to start a series of posts relating to the wedding – basically my review of all the different suppliers we used for our day. I know that when I was researching florists, photographers and cake shops I would have liked to hear some honest opinions of other people’s experiences.

For those of you who are not getting married or are already married – I think the posts will still be useful for other events you may be organising. Otherwise please enjoy the photos!

The wedding posts will be coming sporadically in the next few weeks. First – the ceremony venue.

Epicure MTH

(Photograph from Epicure Catering)

Neither RM and I are churchgoers, so when it came to deciding where to hold our wedding ceremony the one thing we were sure about was that it wasn’t going to be in a church.

The other part we were sure about was that we wanted to get married somewhere iconic to our adopted home town, a building or place with some history. After much brainstorming we alighted on the idea of Melbourne Town Hall.

Melbourne Town Hall hires out many of its rooms for public functions and weddings. Originally we had thought we would hold the ceremony in the Assembly Hall – how many people can say that they got married where parliament used to sit? But when we visited the marble and stone Portico Balcony, overlooking the beautiful National Trust listed Manchester Unity Building and with the background sound of the dinging trams of Swanston Street, we knew that this was the perfect place.

The semi-outdoor space and limited seating gave a more informal tone to the ceremony and the roof protected us from Melbourne’s unpredictable weather (although it was gorgeous on the actual day).

The indoor room (we moved into the Melbourne Room because it was available and nicer than the adjoining Portico Room) meant that there was space for us to conduct a traditional Chinese tea ceremony.

As we had also decided to have our photos taken before the ceremony in the morning, we were able to take advantage of Melbourne Town Hall‘s rich red carpets, brass fittings and beautiful architecture ad backdrops. The photo below was taken by our photographer Rodney Hobbs (more on him later) on the steps leading up from Collins Street to the foyer.

Finally, Casey Hearps, the Event Sales Coordinator from Epicure Catering (the company that manages functions at Melbourne Town Hall) was really good to work with. She was helpful and knowledgeable, took RM and I around on separate occasions when we were deciding on which room, then let us trek various parents around the venue at different times when they were visiting from interstate. She was prompt, efficient and clear in all of her communications and helped us by providing chairs, tables and a hot water urn for the tea for the team ceremony.  Having an organised events management person really made things a lot easier so I really commend Casey and Epicure Catering on their work.

I’m getting married tomorrow!


MEL: HOT OR NOT is the decisive guide to Melbourne, but it’s also a diary for myself, my family and friends, detailing all of my comings and goings in my home town.

So it feels a bit strange to post a restaurant critique, a film review or an interview at the moment – as tomorrow is my wedding day. I’m going to have a new husband and a new name! I’m excited, nervous and feeling a little bit hyperactive and I just hope that the day goes smoothly for everyone.

And if you happen to see me flitting around the city in a long white strapless dress and the most expensive shoes I’ve ever owned, wave hello!

As for the blog, service will resume as per usual on Monday :–)

HOT: Melbourne by Delicate Mayhem

Delicate Mayhem Melbourne

When RM and I moved in together we discovered several things:

1. I had a lot of kitchen gadgets and shoes;

2. He had a lot of books and electrical cords; and

3. We both had too much artwork and not enough walls to hang them.

Given our shared tendency to buy photographs, prints and paintings, when it came time to design our wedding invitations we naturally decided to commission a piece of artwork. Specifically, our own representation of Melbourne, the city where we met and which we have grown to love.

And I knew just the artist for the job. I first encountered Laura Jordan’s work  (under the label Delicate Mayhem) when I became enamoured of her finely-coloured ink drawings at the Portobello Road markets. I brought one of her London cityscapes home with me (it’s got a spot on one of our scarce walls) and we asked her to design a companion piece for Melbourne which incorporated our wedding venues and little personal touches like our favourite place for yum cha and the rowers on the Yarra.

Laura did a stellar job and we’d like to say a huge e-thank you to her and Eleanor for working with us on this beautiful piece. The picture will reward you if you take the time to pick through the incredible detail (you might need to right click to view then zoom). Without ever having been to Melbourne, Laura has captured the city’s landmarks, the genteel rumbling of the City Circle tram and Melbourne’s eclectic, multicultural population going about their everyday business as they buy a tram ticket, cycle or read a book. It’s like we’ve all has gone down a 21st century rabbit hole and come out a little scrambled, intertwined with winched cables, industrial tubing and dripping paint. It truly is delicate mayhem and I love it.

For London readers, Laura Jordan of Delicate Mayhem will be exhibited by Gallery One at London Art Fair stand G30 from 13-17 January.

HOT: Stellini, 6-8 Howey Place, Melbourne

Dear Mum

I think I’ve just found my wedding dress! Five minutes after entering ever-reliable dress shop Stellini, the decision was made.

Every time I’ve needed a special occasion dress I’ve popped into Stellini ‘just for a look’ and come out with something wonderful, in exactly my size. And this dress? Well, it’s white and long and just right. They’re customising a few details for me and I’ve had a fitting already – just have to go back a month before the wedding to get the zip inserted for the final size.

Love Jetsetting Joyce