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WeddingFeature

Laura’s Wedding: Choosing Vendors

Laura Peppas

Picking vendors for your wedding can be a tricky process. Finding that perfect venue, photographer or hair stylist is so often about relying on word of mouth than it is picking it out of a magazine. Here, in the second part of her wedding series, Laura Edwards reveals how she found her wedding vendors, and her experiences, ahead of the big day…

Reception venue

QT Hotel

With around 280 people on our invite list, we needed a venue that would fit a large group. We also wanted somewhere modern and fresh; a place we hadn’t been 50 times before. We loved QT Hotel on London Circuit with its warm, inviting atmosphere that we felt fit our winter wedding perfectly.

The HC Team at Laura's wedding.

The HC Team at Laura’s wedding reception.

We had relatives travelling to Canberra from overseas and interstate so liked that they would have the convenience of simply retreating upstairs to their rooms after the wedding is over. An added bonus is that Lucky’s bar is on the ground level, for guests who wanted to kick on.

Photographer

Heartstory Photography

Jeremy and Katie of Heartstory were the photographers for our Editor Jess’ wedding back in November 2013, and I was really impressed with the results. I contacted Jeremy in December, and we were offered a complimentary engagement session which we had in April. I loved how relaxed and friendly they were during the shoot, especially given my husband-to-be and I are not exactly comfortable in front of the camera!

A photo taken by Heartstory on the wedding day.

A photo taken by Heartstory on the wedding day.

Styling

Show Pony

As we were having our wedding in the dead of winter, I wanted to embrace that in the reception styling. I met with Kathy from Show Pony and told her my ideas: I wanted lots of candles, dim lighting, white florals and tall centrepieces to create a warm, intimate atmosphere. She quoted me for set up and styling of ceremony and reception. For the florals, Show Pony referred me to their florist, Pauline from Bloomin Mad Flowers, who was super flexible and helpful to deal with.

Showpony styled the wedding.

Show Pony styled the wedding reception.

Makeup

Ali Price Makeup

I found Ali Price through a HerCanberra shoot and loved her laidback, friendly nature and the way she brings out your features without caking on makeup. My trial with her was so much fun — two hours flew by without us knowing! I showed Ali a photo of what I was after for some guidance — I have a little face, so I didn’t want too much going on. Ali used airbrush foundation, which lasted longer than regular foundation and came out well in photos. When picking your makeup artist, it’s important to choose someone who has experience in weddings and who will put you at ease on the big day.

Laura before, after and during her makeup trial with Ali.

Me before,during and after the makeup trial with Ali.

Hair

Roji and Infinite Hairstyling

I have thin strands of hair but lots of it; so my hair drops incredibly easily. Given I wanted a half up-half down do, I knew I’d have to get it washed on the day, so I decided on Chloe from Roji. This little hair salon, nestled in the corner of Hotel Hotel’s impressive foyer, has a relaxing atmosphere and uses Aveda products which are gentle on dry hair like mine. Chloe is great at getting volume out of hair, which is my biggest issue. Another issue for me was getting curls to hold and not drop – after my trial my hair went back to dead straight within an hour!

Laura, her bridesmaids and her husband on her big day.

Laura, her bridesmaids and her husband on her big day.

 

I was thankful for the trial however as it meant we knew what did and didn’t work on my hair. For the big day, we knew to use different products and plenty of heat to set the curls. For the bridesmaids (who are having updos) I chose a mobile hairdresser, Maryana from Infinite Hairstyling, to come to our room on the day. She’s super quick and the results were impressive.

Dress

Annabel’s Bridal Studio

After visiting boutiques in both Sydney and Canberra, Annabel’s Bridal Studio was one of my last stops. I had set out with a specific idea of what style I had in mind, but managed to try on a few other styles for comparison. At Annabel’s, I found a gorgeous fitted dress with lace detail that fit me like a glove and was exactly what I wanted. My advice to other brides-to-be is to have an idea in mind but also try on other styles to reassure yourself (you never know what might suit you). I also recommend bringing no more than three people to shop with you – having too many opinions can make the process confusing and stressful. After I bought my dress I was told I’d have two fittings, spaced one month apart.

Annabels bridal studio.

Annabel’s bridal studio.

Fitness

To ensure I fit into my dress on the day, I’ve been training with Charlotte from Anytime Fitness in Civic twice a week to get myself motivated. In our sessions, we particularly focussed on core strength and posture – I didn’t want to be hunching at the altar on the big day!

Jewellery/accessories

I bought my pearl drop earrings from Devine Goddess in Canberra Centre, and was really happy with how they looked against my hair/makeup. They offer a huge range of earrings and other accessories, which add a touch of glamour to any big day. I bought my headpiece from Three Sunbeams, which offers an absolutely stunning range of veils and accessories (and they’re made right here in Canberra!).

DJ

Our DJ was actually from Sydney, but it turns out he was the same price as some of the local DJs we consulted. Brett Martin from Sydney Wedding DJs has had over 15 years of experience and was incredibly easy to deal with. Polite, easygoing and intutitive, Brett made sure the dance floor was packed all night. Everyone of every age had a dance, from our 5 year old nieces to my grandma! Music can make or break a wedding in terms of atmosphere, so I would definitely recommend choosing your DJ carefully. Most decent DJs provide videos of previous weddings and their playlists so you can get an idea of what you’re in for.

Cake 

After being quoted almost $1,700 for a three-tier cake, I knew I’d have to shop around and thankfully found The Cake Lady through a friend. For a three-tier cake, she quoted me a much more reasonable $500. For us, the cake is more of a decoration than anything else as our package at QT already includes dessert. We’ve opted for a buttercream cake with lace detailing to match my dress and cream flowers for that ‘winter white’ feel.

A wedding cake by The Cake Lady. Photo: The Cake Lady Canberra

A wedding cake by The Cake Lady. Photo: The Cake Lady Canberra

Invitations

I discovered Nikki Jane Design though my previous job and found her quick, reliable and very reasonably priced. Nikki charged about $40 for design and roughly $280 for the printing of 200 invites. (I had previously been quoted a startling minimum of $1,500, so this was a welcome surprise). We chose a silver and white theme for the invitations to match the reception styling.

Laura and Peter's invitations and RSVP cards.

Laura and Peter’s invitations and RSVP cards.

A few words of advice…

Never rush into anything or you could be caught out. Once you pay a deposit, it’s not coming back. We experienced some pushy people when searching for our vendors but it’s important to remember you’re the customer, so make sure you stand up for yourself and know your rights.

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Laura Peppas

Laura Peppas is HerCanberra's senior journalist and communications manager and is the Editor of Unveiled, HerCanberra's wedding magazine. She is enjoying uncovering all that Canberra has to offer, meeting some intriguing locals and working with a pretty awesome bunch of women. Laura has lived in Canberra for most of her life and when she's not writing fervently she enjoys pursuing her passion for travel, reading, online shopping and chai tea. More about the Author

  • Megan Chapman

    Congratulations Laura woohoo! I messaged you check your Facebook others folder 😄

  • Thank you Laura for sharing this post which I just happened to find out! You looked devine on your wedding day. Congratulations on your wedding and marriage! Much love, Hannah. Xx

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