Marquee weddings offer a charming blend of natural landscapes and customisable celebration spaces. Today, we’re exploring what you need to know about planning a seamless marquee wedding day as we chat with Julia Vardy from the picturesque Mewburn Park.

Nestled 2.5 hours from Melbourne, Mewburn Park marries historical buildings with beautiful country surroundings. With multiple wedding spaces, including a grand clear marquee, and on-site accommodation, it’s an ideal choice for a weekend escape wedding. Julia’s expertise makes her the perfect guide for navigating marquee wedding logistics.

In this chat, we discuss:

  • The amazing history of the family-run Mewburn Park business
  • Tips for selecting the right wedding venue
  • The importance of vibing with your vendors
  • Pros and cons of a marquee wedding
  • Key considerations for a summer marquee celebration
  • Creative ways to personalize the marquee’s blank canvas

From understanding power requirements to preparing for weather contingencies, Julia shares her insights on merging your dream vision with realistic planning. We’ll also cover coordinating with other vendors and personalizing marquee decor to craft a unique atmosphere reflecting your styles.

Julia offers a behind-the-scenes look at running a venue, highlighting special moments that make each event memorable – from the pre-ceremony excitement to the magic of the grand reveal. Learn how to create an unforgettable experience by finding the perfect setting and thinking through all the details.

Tune in for a practical guide to planning your marquee wedding at Mewburn Park’s breathtaking venue, leaving nothing to chance.

Links & Vendors Mentioned:

Mewburn Park Instagram

Find Julia & Mewburn Park

On Polka Dot Wedding: Mewburn Park

On The Web: Mewburn Park

On Facebook: Mewburn Park

On Instagram: Mewburn Park

On Pinterest: Mewburn Park

Find Dorothy & the Polka Dot Wedding team:

On Instagram: @polkadotwedding

On the website:

This podcast was produced by Polka Dot Wedding

The Polka Dot Wedding team is honoured to conduct our work on the land of the BoonWurrung, WoiWorung, Eora and Kuring-gai people. We honour the traditional Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders custodians of the land and pay our respects to Elders past & present.

Episode Transcript

Dorothy (Ms Polka): If you are looking for a wedding podcast that’s not just fun but goes a little deep, then you have found it.

We’re the Feel Good Wedding Podcast by Polka Dot Wedding and my name is Dorothy and I am also known as Ms Polka Dot. I am the founder and editor of Polka Dot Wedding and I have been writing about weddings for years. The Feel Good Wedding Podcast dives a little deeper than the stories.

Of course, we tell the stories, we tell plenty of them, but we’re also talking about vendor advice. We’re also talking about business advice and we’re also diving a little deeper, beyond those stories. We’re diving into the mistakes and the ‘I wish I did’s’ and the problems and the qualms that these couples have and that vendors have too. We’ve got so much in store.

We’re jumping into season two and we can’t wait to have you along for the ride. Keep on listening and we’d love to hear from you, so make sure you stick around.

The Polka Dot Wedding team is honoured to conduct our work on the land of the BoonWurrung, WoiWorung, Eora and Kuring-gai people. We honour the traditional Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders custodians of the land and pay our respects to Elders past & present.

Dorothy (Ms Polka): We are really excited to have you back for another episode of The Feel Good Wedding podcast, and today we are chatting something very foundational when it comes to wedding planning venues. Our guest today has an incredible country wedding venue that not only has beautiful spaces but also allows for marquees, and marquees have their own nuances and pitfalls and pros and cons that you really have to think about when it comes to planning a wedding. So today Ms Rose, otherwise known as Mary, is chatting to our very special guest and I’m going to hand it over to her to introduce her.

Mary, who did you chat to today?

Mary (Ms Rose): Thanks, Ms Polka and hi dotties. I was lucky enough to speak with Julia, who lives on and runs the beautiful Mewburn Park Homestead. Now, if you haven’t yet, make sure you check out their Instagram because, honestly, it’s like a wedding dream. It’s beautiful. We spoke not only about their stunning venue, but we also dove into Julia’s expertise in marquee wedding receptions because, like you said, Ms Polka, their property has a permanent clear marquee that allows for stress from the weather, for wedding options, and it still lets nature and the outdoors play a part on your day. So she knows a thing or two about creating the perfect marquee wedding and she gave us some terrific tips on how to start deciding on a venue for your big day. So it was really exciting.

Dorothy (Ms Polka): Well, I love Mewburn Park and I can’t wait to find out more from Julia, so let’s hit, play and get started.

Mary (Ms Rose): Let’s go. It’s a stunning venue and Julia was beautiful, so let’s go.

Hi Dotties, it’s Ms Rose or Mary with you again today. Lucky me,  for another episode of The Feel Good Weddings podcast. It’s definitely no secret that we love a glorious wedding venue, and there is so much more that goes into choosing your perfect venue and what the venue team does behind the scenes and on the day to make sure your wedding is everything you dreamed of. So, to chat with us about choosing your wedding venue and all things to consider, we have the lovely Julia from Mewburn Park Homestead.

Mewburn Park is located in the heart of Gippsland’s food and wine region, so that’s about two and a half hours east of Melbourne, and it is a  400 acre private property and working farm offering a beautiful colonial homestead that’s dating back from the 1850s and as is their stable. So the property is tucked behind an oak tree line driveway, can you imagine, and it has lush gardens, tranquil walkways, ponds, stables and even a stunning bridal suite. So, if you haven’t, check out their Instagram, it is such a beautiful property and the buildings are stunning. It’s just like you step back in time. So thank you so much for being with us, Julia. We’re so happy to have you. Thank you.

Julia Vardy: Thank you for having me.

Mary (Ms Rose):  Beautiful, so why don’t you introduce yourself to us?

Julia Vardy: Yeah, no worries. Hello everyone. My name is Julia. You might be able to hear that Germany originally, and I came to Australia in 2008 the first time, I met my now husband, Adam, who is an Aussie, and he actually grew up on this property since he was two years old and when he was  30 he had the idea of doing something with this beautiful location. So when we met, we started talking about it and started dreaming about it. But I had to drag him to Germany first, meet my family and friends, learn German. Then we got married there and yeah, of course, and then had to get married here and in 2016 we started our dream of a Mewburn Park wedding and events. Yeah, we’ve got two kids and a dog.

Mary (Ms Rose): That’s wonderful. Oh look, we’d love you to create a picture of Mewburn Park for us. Would you describe the property for us? Tell us all about it.

Julia Vardy: Yeah, you’ve actually summed it up pretty well in your little intro.

Mewburn Park is actually one of the oldest double brick buildings in Victoria, or homesteads, to be precise, and yeah, that’s back to the colonial stages. So, yeah, it was meant to be like a massive mansion, but that didn’t happen. But it has beautiful grounds, like the drive. With the moment you drive in, you sort of have this drive round. On the right side you have like a creek and the ducks are swimming on there. And then you enter the property and there’s lush gardens and, you know, homesteads always have a palm. Of course, we also have a 10 year old prickly pear and, yeah, lots of waterways,  ponds and little creeks. And then, probably most iconic part of Mewburn Park is the old brick stables. Back then they had horses here, and one of them called Starlight, I believe, or they’re even winning the Caulfield Cup at some stage.

Don’t ask me the details of that, though, yeah, but it is a beautiful old brick building and actually quite often I find, you know, everyone takes a photo in front of it. I find a random, you know person on Facebook having the door (we call the door at the stables) as their background picture. So I’m like, oh, that’s it always. So, yeah, if you see that, you probably think like, wow, this is a pretty, pretty cool old building and obviously  170 years adds loads to the character. And then, next to that, we have a clear view marquee in the centre of it all. So you overlook the ponds, the creek, the mountains, the brick building or the stables, the old dairy and the homestead, so you really get to see it all from when you are in the marquee. So, yeah, that’s it and it’s run by Adam and me.

Mary (Ms Rose): Oh, it’s run by you and Adam. That’s beautiful, and I bet your kids can do a little bit as well. Why not yeah?

Julia Vardy: Well, actually it is a family affair at the start. Every now and then they popped out in their pyjamas and they starting dancing and people were laughing. We’re like, well, we should hire you out. That’s extra entertainment. But our son is almost nine and, yeah, whenever he wants some extra pocket money, we’re like, oh, there’s some sticks to pick up.

Mary (Ms Rose): Perfect. Why not introduce them into the business? Start them young, I think it’s perfect.

Julia Vardy: Oh yeah, oh yeah, and Frankie, actually, so whenever our couples, every now and then they do stay here, or actually most of the time they stay here and they get breakfast the next morning with us. And he sort of says hello to them and just sits on their feet.

Mary (Ms Rose):. That’s your dog, isn’t it? Frankie?

Julia Vardy: He’s a big teddy bear. He just wants cuddles.

Mary (Ms Rose): So yeah, oh gorgeous. Look, let’s dive into it, let’s chat about choosing your perfect wedding venue, like where do we even start? How can we create a short list? That’s – the very beginning.

Julia Vardy: Obviously, that’s a bit different for every couple, but I would always suggest, like the first and all, is the general look and feel of your wedding dream. So are you sort of going for like garden or are you going for like a ball room? Do you like a look of a marquee or do you want sort of like an air conditioned space? And you know like it depends on what your dream is. So obviously, once you know what your vision and dream for your perfect ceremony and your perfect reception is, then I would obviously start narrowing down what is available in my state, which is – we are in Victoria, and from there then probably you need to look a little bit at your budget and your guest list. Because sometimes the guest list do just determine the budget, also a little bit because more people more food and drinks and whatnot.

So once you’ve done these three, I think it’s the vision and dream of you know how, where you see yourself with your ceremony and reception and then your guest list and your budget. From there, you can then pretty quickly narrow it down to what’s available and then, for some, having you know, a venue close by is an option or important, and for some, they actually want to take everyone away for a weekend. So, yeah, that really, I think, once you’ve done those four, I would then probably, you know, check on the budget and the cost matching the venue and maybe get your first three ones in and then start looking at them. Otherwise, it’s a little bit like with the wedding dress shopping. There’s so much out there.

Mary (Ms Rose):  You’ve just got to check so much out there, yeah yes.

Julia Vardy: I would just, oh, it’s like I always actually say it’s almost like an interview. That sounds so, you know, stiff and all that, but it’s not. It’s really just sort of getting the feelers out there. Every venue does it different and there’s so much to consider. From there once you meet them, I think you can then see what are the actual inclusions.

That’s another really, really important thing. And then also, how do I click with them? How does it feel if I’m there? Can I envision myself I do every viewing I’m doing like sometimes you can really see like the couple they’re getting excited and they sort of start jiggling their shoulders. That means they can see themselves there. Yeah, that’s a nice thing to watch, yeah, so I think you need to sort of like actually look at it. Sometimes it’s just the first one you’d need to test run really, yeah, but yeah, I would go from there really.

Mary (Ms Rose): And you touched on, and something that quite a few vendors say to us, a fair bit which I’m going to reiterate it because I think it’s so important, yeah is, you know, is connecting with the people who are, whether they’re a vendor, which is your photographer or your caterer, or, you know, your dress designer or suit designer and your wedding venue team, you know it’s very, very important to click with them, to have a bit of vibe and a bit of flow back and forth and know that you know they’re going to see your vision and that you feel really comfortable, you know, speaking to them about it. I think that’s something that you know, as we, you know, have spoken to vendors and especially, you know, anyone through our podcast. You know that’s that’s such a constant message that you know, if you click with your wedding vendor, you’re going to have such a more exciting time of planning and then on the day, I think that’s a really great one to reiterate.

And you, you, I think you sort of said you know the kind of the three sort of main important things when choosing a venue, you know, can you see yourself there and how do you feel there? Is it the look you’re after? How many guests you’re having and your budget, so that you know. I was going to say you know what are the most important things you should consider, but I think you’ve sort of wrapped that up and said you know, this is where I’d start, like these are the things I’d start with and are pretty important. Do you think there’s anything else that you know couples forget in terms of how important certain things are when choosing a venue? Is there anything that you know you tend to reiterate for customers and couples coming through that they hadn’t thought of?

Julia Vardy: I think, first of all, I sort of like a goal. I actually, when I do my viewing, see, I go through them and show them how a wedding day can be run. I’m not only talking about like numbers and dates and all that. So, in particular with our venue, like everyone does it a bit different, but we are sort of like we’re also quite flexible so we allow them to have their ceremony almost anywhere on the property, but that means that there’s a few different options. The bar is set up always specifically for each couple, so I walk them through, like the grounds and the property, obviously, and then I show them some photos.

We’ve got some photo albums here from lovely photographers – they left them here and explain all the little bits and pieces and guide them. So I think another really really important thing is so that goes back to clicking, I guess, or the vibe, and 100% agree with you and all my colleagues who have already talked to you about this. This is so important that you sort of are on the same wavelength, I guess, or maybe it may be visually or for the atmosphere, and you know, like, obviously, like you want to like, just you know if you’re working someone, you’re employed at a corporate company, you want to, you know, get along with your colleagues and all have a good working environment. Then you’re actually more productive.

So it’s the same thing really. At a wedding, like I don’t want to say the happier everyone is, everyone’s professional, we all do our job. But you sort of kind of want to click with the right person…

Mary (Ms Rose): And you want to have fun.

Julia Vardy: Always, exactly, you want to have fun, like a wedding should be fun. I get to that later but yeah, sort of like you know, I love to chat to the parents and the grand parents, the Nanna and Pops and all that, not only the couple. So when we do a viewing, sort of it’s my chance to get to know them and their chance to get to know me and the way we operate and we’re super transparent with that and I think that calms them. And the other really really, really important thing is and maybe that happens during that viewing, but in the whole process of how much guidance and help there is, rather than saying “oh the rules are you can only do this, you only have that”. Obviously, you know they need to be timely rules, maybe. And you’ve got your liquor license and you’ve got your other things. There are some rules, but it’s more about how can I help you, sort of what help  and guidance do I give you?

So, for example, I always tell my couples where the sun is because there might be an amazing ceremony spot. But if you’re looking right into the sun and she was squinting and sweating like an, excuse me, pig, it doesn’t help you. And you know like, I had lots of chats with wedding photographers and they’re oh, it’s how you know – that works and that doesn’t work and blah, blah, blah. So I try to give them that already in the viewing so they can factor that all in. And obviously, I don’t want to sound like Nancy negative, that “you can’t do this and you can’t do this”. I’d usually say it’s your wedding, it’s your dream, go for it. But in March or in February, it might be too bright, might be too hot, too sunny. You’re looking right into the sun.

And with all of that, I do think one really important thing is how much guidance? Because most of the time they never done that before and so many of our couples they’re like “Oh, I don’t know what to do, don’t know where to start”. So, giving them help and guidance for the whole planning is another really big thing to check with wherever you’re going to get married. And then also, I think and that’s probably also something coming from our last six years and you know, Victorian weather can be anything,  (just in the last week) not only evacuation messages for bushfire, and then we got floods and yet, but in the end all good and nothing was really that dramatic. Back to weddings.  Sometimes you know you might love the ceremony spot, but also definitely check the backup plan, the wet weather spot, and then check the reception so that make sure they all look what you want and give you the opportunity to make it look what you want, right?

So I would always say check the vibe with your ……you know how you feel, wherever you want to get married, next to obviously budget and you know if it makes sense to travel there or how the general feel. But then how much help there is, how much guidance, yeah, I think that is all really important.

Mary (Ms Rose): You know your property, you know your venue. Yeah, you know. You know you’re there every day, you know exactly, you know, like you said, where the sun is going to set, you know what, what the weather is generally (thank you, Victoria) what the weather is generally going to be like at any certain time, you know, whatever season.

You know you’ve done this so many times and I think that’s the same for so many venues that you know, if couples, actually, you know, take the time to see a venue, which many, which many will do, which I agree is so important, but it’s also then speaking with the person who is taking you through the venue and actually getting their thoughts and their ideas.

And you know, like you said, it is the couple’s wedding. They can do what they want, but you’re definitely here to create this beautiful memory for them as well, and you have that in your mind, which is just incredibly lovely and so many wedding vendors do, which is beautiful to you know to give them these tips and this advice to say, look, I want you to have these incredible photos, I want you to have these beautiful video, or just even this beautiful memory, or your guests to have a beautiful time and be comfortable, so these are the tips that I have. So I think that’s, I think that is so important that you’ve touched on there. You know, for couples to be open, to listen to the people who run the venue and who know what they’re talking about and have done it at this specific spot so many times.

Julia Vardy: Yeah, and you know what, like I, sometimes I find that you know that there’s sort of like a bit of a myth about you know, that it should be like a less friendly cooperation, but it’s in everyone’s maybe wedding venue, photographer, florist, stylist, caterer, whomever – celebrant, it’s in everyone’s interest to make this wedding the best wedding. Because I say that this there’s no like, I don’t want to even say the word, but it’s not like you know, I’m your enemy, I’m actually your best friend, yeah or not your best friend, but I’m, you know, sort of go-to person and I, yeah, I don’t want anyone to leave the property and say something negative, so it’s in my own interest that it’s all running smoothly and that’s and I’m 100% sure that my colleagues are similar.

It doesn’t matter which industry you are. Everyone you know does weddings – because weddings are high pressure, but they do them because they actually like them.

Mary (Ms Rose): That’s it.

Julia Vardy: There’s a there’s a DJ we use quite often here and he took a photo of me the other week and sent me a message to the next day. He’s like it’s so lovely to see that you still, when you’re listening to the vows during ceremony, that you still smile and that you still totally there, and I’m like so true, isn’t it?

Mary (Ms Rose): Oh, that’s beautiful.

Julia Vardy: I watch so many others like videographers and photographers and they’re still totally there after years and years being in the industry. So, yeah, I think everyone is actually wanting to make it the best day for each couple.  Please, please trust that!

Mary (Ms Rose): Exactly what that’s it. You know that’s what you’re in the wedding industry, because you love it, you love love, you love creating this incredible memory for these couples. You know, I think trust is a really important part of that and you know, trusting that you know we’re here with your best interests at heart and that means that our, that our best interests will follow. You know, we just want everyone to have the most beautiful day possible, which is really important. And that’s again talking about that vibe and that connection that you know you and the couples can have. If you, you know,  and whatever correspondence that is, whether that’s a visit out to the venue, whether that’s through emails or phone calls or whatever it is it’s, you know, trying to really yeah, really trying to establish that, that excitement and that connection, and knowing that you’re on the same wavelength, in the same page for that, for each couple’s specific day.  I’m going to go back a little bit, because you did mention wet weather, which, yes, you know it’s – it’s if you’re going to have an outdoor wedding, the weather is pretty important. You know how important then do you think it is to have, like, the perfect wet weather ceremony set up in your head as an alternative option. You know so that if the perfect on the day, or in your favour on the day, you know that you have options to run to you like, is that something that you think that every couple should at least entertain in their mind, you know, as part of the ……

Julia Vardy: Yeah 100%. So I think there are two approaches. There’s two kind of couples that….. one is going for “oh if I don’t think about it, it’s not going to happen”, and the other one is “if I, you know, factor it in, it’s not going to happen”. But unfortunately, the weather is the weather. Yeah, yeah, the weather is the weather. And you have, unfortunately, no say in that – I wish… I always joke with couples like if I could, you know, predict the weather would be, oh yeah, I would be a millionaire wouldn’t I. But that’s why I think, and you know what, my very own wedding was in pouring rain and obviously the week leading up to it that brought me really down. But it’s just really that week leading up to it where everyone is texting you also. So I actually want to tell all family and friends stop texting .

They know the weather because you know, they know it and they’re probably check it every day so stop adding to it really.

Mary (Ms Rose): That’s a good point. Family and friends, don’t tell couples that the weather is doing what it’s doing.

Julia Vardy: Exactly because it’s not helping and you can’t change it really. But so, therefore, I do think so, I actually always at every viewing, and I do show them all the ceremony spots that we have here. And then I said let’s have a look at the wet weather option, and in our case, we do have we call the farm shed and that’s, um, a really pimped up shed with, like you know, and we actually bought a couple of trees and put it in the shed so it feels like the garden. We know, yeah, we know that, you know the majority of our couples that come for the gardens and the stables and all that, so they feel like they’re missing out on it.

Fair enough, though you can still see it and used to get all the photos. You still, you know you and photography, for they’re marching the property in umbrellas and whatnot, with umbrellas, not in umbrellas, but yeah, so we brought a few trees in there and we painted it all white. So it’s actually is a quite nice sort of, it’s still a shed, a bit rustic, but pimped up with some white bits and pieces, but that I’m sure like loads of venues, or, yeah, and you have a bad weather backup plan. I just want everyone to put the same dreamy picture of the ceremony, they have in, let’s say, good weather in their head about the bad weather one.

So make that the most gorgeous ceremony look and, you know, maybe discuss with your florist-stylist, okay, if we know, two days or the week leading up to the wedding, it’s going to be crap and it’s going to be pouring rain, that’s not a chance, it’s actually like… Yeah, yeah, yeah, it’s going to happen. Can we have a backup plan for like candles and just add like candles to make it more, you know, like really intimate, romantic looking and so many times like when we look at our option, obviously there’s no one dressed up there, it’s all like blank, there’s no music, there’s no food, there’s no light, no florist. It’s quite sort of, you know, like notvery inviting, if I may say so. It looks nice but it’s not set up like a wedding. But once it’s full, with your guests and your flowers and your music and your food and the drinks and there’s this chatter from all your guests, it’s actually always a nicer space than you think it is. It doesn’t matter, I’m not talking only about us, I’m talking everywhere and it’s really what’s in our heads. So put that picture of your dreamy ceremony you know, when you’re going into the garden or wherever, and you have, like I don’t know, pillars, an arch or whatnot. That dream you have there. Put a similar one for the bad weather one in your head. So that went on the day it comes. It’s nothing you have to get used to. You already had that in your head as much as you had the other one.

I think it’s super important. And then another thing is also just going through in like we do a detailed meeting, sort of like six weeks out and wherever you get married and you do like a meeting with either your wedding coordinator or planner or whomever you have, your venue just go through, when is that decided? How that all looking, how’s this working? Just so you can, you know, ease your mind. I think sometimes you know if that’s not been talked about and it’s leading up to that you know that stressed last week it’s just an extra stress you don’t want to.

If it’s been talked about. Let’s have a quick chat. How do you really we’re doing this and this and this? Oh yeah, you know it’s all sorted, they have it covered. And then just trust it, because I can tell every couple all the galleries I get from photographers, (I actually think photographers should promote this), the smiles on each couple’s face is the same as if you’ll get married on a sunny day. It’s the same happiness. It doesn’t matter. It’s literally just up until you walk down the aisle, if you have an aisle that up until then there’s a bit of you know, the weather is good. It’s not my dream, but after that it’s all kind of gone. And the photos walking back down the aisle or during the ceremony, they’re the same happiness.

Mary (Ms Rose): Well, you’re still getting married to the person that you love and I will say on that note, I, as someone who, years ago now, got married outside and it was pouring rain all week, you know I was devastated going “What are we going to do? What are we going to do?” You look back on the photos of my ceremony and I’m euphoric, so you know. Yes, we had to have umbrellas, yes, we had to time it a little differently and, yes, things were a bit foggy, but I was so happy and you would never have known that I was stressing.

Wow, yeah, and I think so had I put some thought a bit more, can I say a bit more thought into what a wet weather plan might look like, then there would possibly be less stress that week leading up to it. I just think there’s such a good point you make about saying, okay, this is my dream ceremony spot, but if, on the day that this is just not a possibility, what are my other options and how can we make that option just as dreamy, so that I am not sad about it, I’m not stressed about it. I’m actually looking forward to how that’s going to look. I’m happy with either option. I think that’s incredibly important and such good advice, because you just – the last thing you want as again, speaking from experience, is feeling really stressed and sad right before this incredibly beautiful special day.

And I am, for anyone listening, please go and check out the Mewburn Park Instagram page, because I’m just doing a scroll here and I have found photos of couples getting married in the shed. And, oh my goodness, you, literally there are trees in the shed. It looks like a woodland little forest in a shed. There are candles. Oh my goodness, that is incredibly dreamy. So I’m so with you creating an option that feels just as magical, is so important. Absolutely. And look speaking of magical spots. You know you also have the stables and your garden and a beautiful massive marquee. You know what are the advantages of having your reception in a marquee.

Julia Vardy: Well in our case we can take the surroundings in. So, I think that was actually the original why we came up with a clear-view marquee. There’s also, you know, a marquee and a clear view.

So marquee with like a white roof, then you can’t see the sky, but you’ve got lots of shade, or in our case it’s all clear view. And we’ve done that because we wanted everyone to be able all night, while I guess, depending on the time of the year, to be able to take in the outside and bring it kind of like inside. And then, I have to say, when the twilight or the golden hour sets in, I am like – I live on the property. I see it every day and I’m in that marquee quite a lot. I still love it.

Stars in the sky and some birds flying all the way and the festoon lights and the fairy lights. I still totally love it. So, yeah, that’s something really magical in a clear view marquee that you are able to enjoy the outside while you’re inside and then in general with marquees yeah, they are, I guess, a really, you know it’s quite often used that phrase, but with a marquee it definitely is – it’s a blank canvas. So it’s giving you shelter if you want to, (back to Victorian weather) but it also lets you create and decorate and style it any way you want it. And you know, if you are a native flower fan, if you’re roses, if you’re elaborate, if you’re minimalistic, if you’re, whatever you are, it’s just literally the blank canvas where you know it doesn’t sort of have like a very specific look, because, yeah, that’s up to you to fill it then.

And the other thing is probably that it’s kind of like a safe way to feel like you have an outdoor wedding. But, you are still protected. So may it be a couple of drizzly spots, or even rain, from you know, up above you, or sometimes you know that’s another thing in, I don’t know, is that specific Victoria? I don’t know but winds…..

Oh yeah, and then we, for example, we are sort of like we’re that like that song, you know what’s it – The Wiggles? that we got  – open, shut them, open. So with the marquee, with the marquee, we’re sort of like monitoring the weather and sort of you know, if it’s a bit breezy from one side, then we might close that side off, but keep the other side open if we can.

Ideally, we obviously have it all open. If the weather’s not enough, we have it shut, but you still feel like you are in the outdoors. So, I guess for the, for the lovers of that, then that is the right option and you get the breezy like on like a beautiful barmy eve, it’s just magical, really, because you’re covered but you’re still in the outside. Yeah.

Mary (Ms Rose): Whoever invented clear marquees? Oh, my goodness, Like thank you Honestly. You’re right, it’s the perfect. It really is the perfect choice because, especially if you just go, I really want an outdoor reception, but I really just don’t want to stress about the weather like that. I want, I want to take that off my plate completely. This is the perfect option for that. Yet, you’re right, you still get nature, you know, all around you and you, like you said, you can lift up the sides, you know if, if, if, the weather’s all fine and all of that sort of thing. You know there’s still ways to, you know, still have it out outside, but you are protected. Do you think that there, you know, are any cons about having a marquee wedding? Like you know things that you have to think about, like a hot summer day or anything else that might be …..

Julia Vardy: Oh yeah, absolutely yes. So there is tricks, you just need to know how to work it really. Heat is a massive thing because at the end of the day, it’s like a greenhouse.

Whilst the sun is coming through that roof, it has a bit of a magnifying glass effect. Yeah, so, yeah, you just need to be able to work that. So with us, we kind of suggest to everyone, especially in December, January, and February do not put flowers or candles in too early. Most of our couples anyway have a florist-stylist, so that’s up to them. Then same with glassware and cutlery crockery, because they just get hot so it can’t be, you know, six hours in there before anyone rocks up and there are tricks with that.

Like we, for example, have a shade cloth we can put on top to give a bit of shade, and then obviously fans or aircon, or heaters or whatever you need for any kind of season. But yeah, that’s probably the con, is the heat. So flowers and candles they don’t necessarily like the marquee during lunchtime. Yeah, I actually don’t know if you don’t have a marquee if the florist would start way earlier than that. But they do all have their tricks too. So you just need to be aware of that and factor that in with your florist-stylist and yourself and same with so we kind of have a routine here. So they have this ceremony wherever that is. We have them, let them have the cocktail hour or the after-ceremony drinks. Everyone names a difference. The time between the ceremony and reception really is, with us wherever their ceremony is.

And then we sort of like, depending on the month of the year, we kind of like say, all right, maybe  6.30 is the time to come into the marquee, or six or seven or whichever because beforehand it might be just a bit too warm. But we’re also sort of a little flexible with that. But then in our case, our couples can choose from four slash five caterers. They all know that. And then, yeah, we just sort of point that out in the viewing as well as in our packages. If they choose to have like a florist- stylist who hasn’t been here, then we just point out like, look, this is what you can do. But, for example, we have like a pulley system in the marquee, so if there needs to be anything in the roof, they just prepare it in shade and then bring it out and yeah, and then yeah.

So that’s why I mean that there’s just a couple of tricks, you just need to know how to work it. And yeah, I’d say that heat is probably, with a clear view of the marquee the biggest factor to factor in.

Mary (Ms Rose): Yeah, and the thing is you know what you’re doing with it and your other, the other vendors that you work with, you know, we’ll have worked with marquees or clear marquees or you know that sort of thing, or even at your specific venue, you know. So it really is about you know the couple communicating with the venue and with other vendors, instead of saying this is what we’re having, this is when we’re having it……

Julia Vardy: And also it goes, it goes back to you know what we’re talking before, the whole trust thing and you know, like, take our guidance and you know we’re happy to help you sort of figure that out. It goes back to that. That’s that, yeah.

Mary (Ms Rose): Are there extra amenities or features that you know that we should look at in a venue if we do want to have a marquee wedding?

Julia Vardy: Well, it depends. So our marquee is part of the venue hire because it’s a semi-permanent structure. So obviously for us, it’s different. But if you have a venue who usually don’t have a marquee as their part of their package and it needs to be brought in, then there’s a few things to factor in.

It’s obviously an even ground or what is the ground? We have a concrete, polished concrete floor, because I always thought, oh, with the Victorian weather, I don’t want muddy grass in there, no, but I also don’t like bucks or something like that potentially creeping up on me when I eat my dinner. Well, that’s just a very specific ‘me’ one. But you know, if you have to bring a marquee in from the outside, and that’s actually not the easiest thing, like, oh, we put our marquees up and, trust me, this is the hardest job ever. There’s a reason why it’s so pricey to hire them, because it’s not that easy, especially if it’s windy, I’m not envying any marquee suppliers, I have to say. But yeah, you just need to sort of look at the surface. They probably come up for a site visit to see where they can pack it in and weights to hold it down. With us, we sort of put in some fans and heaters. We’ve decided against an air con because most of our couples want the curtains open and then really, that’s you know, electricity blown out the window. Yeah, that’s not really resourceful.

But there are other venues and suppliers who also say look, you can have an air-conditioned unit in there, put in there. So that’s a couple of things. And then, yeah, if you go and hire a marquee for like a, you know, private residence wedding or somewhere else and you need to bring everything in from tables and chairs and bar furniture and potentially even toilets, but that’s different to us. With us that all comes with a venue hire as part of it, yeah. And then so we also and that’s a good thing about a marquee as well, and I’m sure that’s another place is similar – it is quite flexible in the space.

So what we do is, if you’ll say so, we’re licensed for 130 but we had a few bigger weddings here. We can do that. We just need to apply for an extension. But also, you know, some couples only want like 50 or 60  people. That want it a bit more intimate. So we have kind of like a curtain and that’s the divider to make the marquee smaller because she doesn’t want it to be too big. Then you potentially lose a bit of atmosphere. So it’s quite flexible in that too. So that’s something else to look at.

Mary (Ms Rose): And do the other elements of the reception that the couple has to consider bringing in for something like a marquee wedding? Like are there hidden costs or logistics? Like you said, if they’re having a marquee at a private venue, you know what else are they going to need to bring in. Like you’re saying, you have basically everything they need there. But if they’re, if you’re bringing in a marquee somewhere else, you know, do you think it’s more costly? Are there more logistics around it? You know, is it something that couples should really think about?

Julia Vardy: Yeah, probably not, not at the start you know, you know it’s so hard. Like to be honest, we, when we got married here, we obviously got a marquee and it wasn’t set up at all like it is now. From there on that’s when we decided, ok, we have a semi-permanent structure here because, holy moly, like you know, your marquee supplier should point out all these things. But you have to literally think about everything like as I said, tables and chairs, but also a generator for power.

Yes, you need to create a space for the catering, if you’re not going for a food truck, you need to have power for musicians, power for your light, or you know tables and chairs, a dance floor potentially.

If you don’t want to know where it’s going, yeah, so, there’s a lot to consider and that’s, that’s the thing which you know at the start of your wedding planning process you’ve got so much time and you enjoy this. Or you know, do this and do this and blah, blah, blah. But I actually say to our couples I would say to everyone, but that’s the one that I’m saying you to, is, you know, those four weeks leading up to your wedding, this is where your suppliers come back and ask oh, you know, when is bump in, bump out? Where can a park, where can I have access? Do I have power?

Do I have the blah blah, blah blah? That’s the five million questions they ask. And if you have a private property, one (should) definitely get a wedding planner because they will do all that for you.

Because that’s the thing and these questions will come up in the last two to four weeks and your brain is going a hundred miles an hour. Rubbish removal, rubbish bins, how do we get rid of the rubbish and alcohol brought out there? This is like loads to think about and I’m not saying don’t do it. Like if you have a property or you know how many parents have a beautiful property, go and do it, just be mindful of.

Mary (Ms Rose): Yeah, just know that there’s a lot. There is a lot to consider.

Julia Vardy: It’s not only. You know, 18 months out, think, oh yeah, we’ve organised a marquee. You know, we’ve done that, I’ve been there. And then oh my God, I remember picking up you know bottles and whatnot days after. Yeah, so I’m speaking from experience.

I’ve been there, done that, and here we are trying to make it a little easier, and then that’s you know, that’s always the way. If you book a venue, doesn’t matter if they have a marquee or a room or whatnot. They look after all of that and that’s part of the venue hire, rubbish removal, getting the alcohol there, fridges, power, all that kind of stuff.

Mary (Ms Rose): Yeah, which is amazing. Which is incredible, like you were saying, you know about that sort of month leading up, you’re going to have, you know, vendors reaching out to you and asking about the actual coordination and everything on the day. What do you think couples have to think about with that vendor coordination when it comes to making sure that you know their venue can accommodate their vendors? Like, obviously, for you know, you guys, you have, you know, plenty of space and vendors that you work with, but you know, for couples who don’t necessarily have that you know, how can they make sure that a venue can accommodate their other vendors or how they can communicate with them?

Julia Vardy: So I would like – how about I split it up? So I talk about how we do it and that might help someone.

And then I think I could maybe suggest how you could do it if it’s not here. As I said before, we’re doing like a – they get like a, you know, helpful welcome pack PDF once they’re booked with us. So that’s already a lot of information. And then I do my six weeks out meeting and then that I’ll go through all the suppliers and all the vendors and all the…

So you know you, not only you find the numbers, where you got married, are you having whatever lawn games? How do you arrive? Do you have a first look? Dada, dada, dada, dada. Go through ceremony, cocktail hour and reception. I go through everything, all the suppliers, and in that point out a few things. Then with us, they get also, like when they book with us, they get an email with links and I just suggest a couple of suppliers and that’s a very extensive list, because I do hundred percent believe in you need to pick someone which is not only on your budget, that’s important factor. But also really you click with we start talked about that and sometimes someone doesn’t want a male, someone doesn’t want a woman or whatever?

Yeah, acoustic, or DJ and everyone or however yeah, everyone’s different visions and dreams and like, yeah, exactly, so I give them an extensive list. I don’t get anything out of that besides that. I do say, look, sometimes it’s worth taking one or two people off that list just because they’ve been here.

They know, how to work the grounds and all where to park and what to do. And before they contact you, they probably contact me. So, with all the ones who’ve been here a few times, we actually, you know, texting or calling the chatting or writing an email to touch base rather than going through the couple, and that is not keeping the couple in the dark. It’s more easier because really do you really want to talk to them about where to park and when to park?

Mary (Ms Rose): Yeah, yeah.

Julia Vardy: A shortcut, and but I also understand if you sort of you know, really feel you know the vibe with all of them that haven’t been here with us, then I usually say to our couples you know what I have, that next week sometime or the week after, the band hasn’t been here and with us, I guess also specific, because we, you know they can have the ceremony anywhere and after ceremony drinks, but then that sort of determines where they can drive in with us. Yeah, so I usually say, how about you tell your musician, caterer, whomever, to give me a call the week of your wedding, because that’s fresh enough in my mind, and then it’s off the list of the bride. She just passes that on. Here we go. But then in general we also supply like a run sheet with an overview of suppliers which they sometimes do themselves an extra sheet, or they use ours or whichever, and that helps keep an overview of everyone involved. And you know, then suppliers could talk like sometimes videographer, photographer, talk to each other beforehand or whatnot.

If you’re not getting married here, I would definitely reach out to your vendors well ahead and just say, oh, you know, have a list of them. Do that run sheet of, you know, company name, my person, you know sometimes it’s an agency of many DJs. Okay, which DJ do I have? What’s his mobile phone number? What time does he arrive? And then do share that with everyone because, for whatever reason, sometimes they need to talk to each other and then request like a final meeting. But almost everyone does it really like a final meeting that can be on Zoom on the phone by email, just fill out forms, final forms and just yeah, I guess comprehensive is that the word?

Mary (Ms Rose): Comprehensive yeah just knowing what part of it?

Julia Vardy: Yeah, is that sort of answering the question?

Mary (Ms Rose): Yeah, it definitely is. It’s you know it’s absolutely saying this is what a coordinating, whether it’s your ceremony and reception or just reception, you know what that looks like in terms of the vendor coordination on the day, like that’s and that’s even, I think, quite specific for plenty of venues, like not just specific to yours. You know that’s, that’s usually how it runs as well, and trying to take out that middle man I think is a really good point of saying you know, how can we not go through you if it’s possible, meaning the couples and speak, you know how can the vendors speak together to kind of you know also, you can speak, you speak the same language.

Wedding vendors, you know, you know you’re talking about. You know done so many that you know if couples you know are happy for vendors to kind of communicate, you know the logistics of the coordination, then that can just take out you know this extra level of you know remove this level of stress that can sometimes come with coordinating your vendors on the day or even leading up to it. You also sort of are saying you know comprehending, you know all of the, you know all that sort of nitty gritty stuff. What should we keep in mind when it comes to, you know, venues and contracts and, you know, is there anything special for marquee weddings that we should be mindful of with this?

Julia Vardy: Wow, yeah, as we talked about the weather there’s obviously the weather – well for some venues, but definitely marquee venues. Yeah, there’s a force majeure and all that. We learned that all through COVID-19 haven’t we, we have to be honest. So we have that in there. That obviously, if the weather does something – a trick on us, then you know we try our best. Yeah, just have a plan for that it has never happened, though. Yeah, never happened to us.

Mary (Ms Rose): It’s good to have it in there. You never know!

Julia Vardy: Exactly, and I would definitely definitely touch base on that in there in your viewing. Also just you know, like the general cancellation or whatever you ever want to, need to, for whatever reason. There’s multiple reasons.

Mary (Ms Rose): Well, just to read them, isn’t it? It’s, it’s good to read them and ask any questions.

Julia Vardy: Yeah, and like we have it, like we obviously have it all listed and structured and touch base on everything – on food and alcohol and gardens and liability and weather impact on what not. But it’s good to have a chat about it, but in our case, thank God, touch wood.

And we had to even last Friday after the flood and it all worked out. So yeah, I think that’s something also you can check the way your venue responds to you in with questions you may have in your viewing about that, you can really sense that they thought that through and that they will come up with a plan B, C or D like offer you a postponement or whatnot. So yeah, I would just keep asking the questions, really.

Mary (Ms Rose): A little while ago, you know, you touched on how marquee weddings specifically can be quite a quite blank canvas for couples to really, you know, put their own personal touch on it and you know, create, you know, a wedding that is really what they had in mind, rather than just working with, say, the decor or you know that that’s already in a particular venue which look  – a lot of venues the day called that they have, it’s been so mindfully put there and it’s been so specifically created for those venues that it looks stunning and can be the majority of the reason why these venues get chosen. But if you have a marquee wedding, you can kind of put your own stamp on it, which is really beautiful. Can you describe, you know, some of the really lovely personalised decor and other ideas that you’ve seen? You know, taking in advantage all that the Park has to offer. You know, just so we have any idea of, like, the possibilities for our own wedding day?

Julia Vardy: Well, do you know how I was talking that we put some trees in our wet weather shed. That actually came from a wedding we had here, oh, almost three years ago. That’s crazy – times flying – where they for this ceremony… So there were in the garden, they were surrounded by a garden but they had this custom-made arch. If I may say, yeah, like around like an arch, but like in a box kind of a pattern – I can’t explain it really. Yeah, I should send you a photo.

Mary (Ms Rose): You should, please do.

Julia Vardy: They had that for their ceremony, but the stylists and florists had actually created three of them and then they brought the one from the ceremony and, which is quite often done, like any ceremony, flowers are being brought into the marquee to reuse it again. But that one was all put behind the bar and there was like a whole wall of these round arches with flowers behind the wall and our marquee’s 10  metres wide and it was probably seven metres of these 10 meters and it just it was like this focal point, absolutely wowser. Then, after that, our Instagram went off and but it was funny for us working at the bar was such a nice thing to work with, that, like we were in an enchanted garden and it was quite modern, but still romantic and whimsical somehow.

Mary (Ms Rose): Yes.

Julia Vardy: But very modern. So, yeah, that was one of the most, you know, amazing ones we’ve ever had and yeah, I do love a pop of colour in there. That was this year, a wedding just after Valentine’s Day and that really shows that there are no rules and just do what you want really, what means something to you. So there was the bride and groom and they sort of wanted to get married under the tree and she wanted for the ceremony all white flowers, so beautiful white flowers, plastered behind – just gorgeous. But then in the marquee, she’s like let’s play with Valentine’s Day and it was all red and pink so much fun, like from you know, stationery, to the candles, the flowers, and it was, there was everything.

And then she had like a sofa couch like you know, the pink love heart glass. Just played Valentine’s in a really cool way and it was so much fun.

Mary (Ms Rose): There has been so much colour, which is, I mean, look, there’s something really incredible, you know and very striking about you know your sort of minimalistic colours, you know really elegant. You know your whites and the neutrals and that sort of thing. They’re just so soft and beautiful. But I’m really we love a bit of colour here at Polka Dot Wedding and it, you know like we really really do, and so seeing all this colour come through is really, really fun. It’s just so lovely.

Julia Vardy: And you know what? I had a few detail meetings on the weekend and all my three couples they originally had like more white and neutral tones because I caught up with the stylist because she came out here.

So, see, that can also be done, like in, quite often with three really stylists in the area. They said you know what? Can I join you for that meeting? And it makes it so much easier because we’re all literally on the same page. So they had all the neutral and white tones and then they all changed to colour – all different and we were, and we were like oh yeah, this is fun. But you know, like we also had some of the most elegant, gorgeous looking white and white and white weddings and I love them as much.

One of them had sort of like created like a grand entrance to the marquee. So the arch it was again like one of those round archie things she used from the ceremony to put next to the marquee as an entrance. So everyone came through that and that was pretty cool. And another one put it over everything all the ceremony flowers into like a cake station.

So the cakes. They cut it under the arch and they were sort of like surrounded by flowers. I think I’ve never seen such a gorgeous cake-cutting scenario.

Mary (Ms Rose): Surrounded by flowers. That’s the dream, isn’t it like that?

Julia Vardy: It is so. Yeah, there’s so many things, but yeah, that’s probably where you, you know if you are looking for that wow factor or that special. There’s so many options.

Mary (Ms Rose): And I know that we have talked a lot about your, the marquee, which is just just stunning. And again, if you can, if you’re listening and you go to the Instagram page of Mewburn Park, honestly you could. You just – it’s like a rabbit hole. You’ll just, you’ll just scroll and scroll and click into everything. That’s what I’ve been doing.

Julia Vardy: Thank you.

Mary (Ms Rose): You’re welcome. I can also see the beautiful stables. Now the stables. I, from what I’m seeing, you know it’s – there are a lot of ceremonies that happen there. Do you ever have any reception, smaller reception, set up at the stables?

Julia Vardy: We did, actually, and we’re about to have another one and then. So when we started, probably our like I don’t know fifth wedding was there and it was amazing. With that, you kind of like just need to factor in the weather. Again you have to have a plan. So with that, it’s kind of, I think, why it has stopped being out there it’s more that I think that couples feel a little bit overwhelming planning both scenarios on their own if they don’t have a coordinator or plan out stylist.

But yeah, we had one big one over there with that. You just need to factor in, like, I guess, whether, if it doesn’t work and you know, you’ve got the marquee anyway. But when you’re over there, the only requirement we do have is a dance floor because need to be put on top, otherwise, you know, the grass is ruined. And then what do I do with the next week’s couple?

Mary (Ms Rose): Yeah.

Julia Vardy: But that’s ours, and but we actually have a few – we have a specific elopement. A twilight elopement.

Mary (Ms Rose): Yeah, stunning.

Julia Vardy: Yeah, and that’s going to happen towards the end of November and I’m really excited because they’re getting married on one side of the stables and then the reception is on just one long row table in the middle of it.

Oh, you know 20 people. Yeah, so it’s, but it has a bit of like an Italian vibe.

Mary (Ms Rose): Oh how gorgeous.

Julia Vardy: But yes – he is Italian so there you go.

Mary (Ms Rose): Oh, it’s perfect, that’s so on brand for them, then that’s really special. But I mean, even if you say, even if you were to say, I love the stables area, I love that area, but I’m too nervous to go for that. I prefer to book the marquee because at least I know that we have the wet weather covered if it were to happen. But I can see as well, you know, there are stunning photos, twilight photos, of couples with the festoon lights there. You know, even if you don’t have your reception specifically there, you’ve still got the opportunity to have these stunning, stunning photos at the stables, which is incredibly beautiful all our couples go there.

Julia Vardy: Yeah and all our couples goes there. So if you had your ceremony in the garden, you know, comes the time of the golden hour, they’re all head there with the photographer and actually gets to, and that’s fine.  Like once with us, once your ceremony has started, and ceremony and the reception, the property is all yours to choose from wherever you go. So, yeah, and you know what? As I said before, you can see the stables from the marquee. So, yeah, the lights are on over there. It’s a beautiful, you know building to look at once you’re having dinner.

Mary (Ms Rose): I was going to say you know what, what is it that makes Mewburn Park, you know, the Mewburn Park experience really special, like that is a huge part, like you just said, which is you know once, once you’re there and the ceremony starts, or you know or your reception or both, whichever, whichever you choose, you know it’s yours, you know on on the day and you get to really utilise the whole place pretty much, which is incredibly special. And then, like you’re saying, having your reception and you can still the view, the view all around you, is incredible. You know there must be some really special couples and moments and experiences. You know, and it must be really incredible helping couples celebrate their weddings, especially in the country under the stars. You know what do you enjoy most about the wedding days? You know that you have at your venue.

Julia Vardy: You’re asking like for a favourite child.

Mary (Ms Rose): What’s one of your takeaways that you love? That you just go. You know that is so. That is incredibly moving every time, or that’s really fun every time.

Julia Vardy: Yeah, yeah, I do. I personally do, I love the energy just before the walking down the aisle moment. That is just something between whatever setting you are, is it, you know, daughter and father, daughter and mother or brother and sister, or whoever walks you down, and whomever that is the couple, there’s almost there’s always this like excitement, but the energy of that is so high, it’s so pure and so real.

I love that. I’m actually getting goosebumps talking about it, and you know, with us, I guess sort of we’re doing the venue coordination and I always have our couples  walk down the aisle because there’s so many ways you can go here. So I’m always there with you and I help you if you want to. So yeah, it’s really special to see how the interactions are with you know whomever is walking down when, and I do have a few tricks and say something funny which I can’t tell you now because I blow my joke here.

So I think this is number one. And then I do love the vows and the speeches. I still haven’t gotten sick of that. I listen to every ceremony and I do love the vows and speeches later that night. That’s something because you really get to know the couple really, and the family and friends too. I never forget we had a wedding where the groom was Scottish and yeah, it’s almost can’t say it, but I almost wee’d my pants. It was hilarious.

Mary (Ms Rose): And that’s a really special thing about you know speeches and vows and that sort of thing. They’re so specific to the couple and their friends and family that it’s so entertaining each time and sometimes you’ll be crying your eyes out and other times you’ll just be laughing and laughing and it’s so funny. You never know, it’s unpredictable, you never know what’s coming.

Julia Vardy: Yeah, it is. And it’s every time different and yeah, but you get to know the parents and all the best friends or the sisters and you sort of. I guess you know we’re watching everyone listening, so you watch the crowd and that’s just. Yeah, I don’t know. I love it. I haven’t lost that, but I do. Also, I am a lover of florists. So you know that once it’s all set up and most of our couples do like the first look of the marquee. They just want to have a look before they just come in and see it and they don’t look, can’t really. You can still see it, but everything is a little bit more, don’t want to say chaotic, but you know people are in there and whatnot.

I do love when they come in and they see it and it’s all coming together, because I think what it is like months, potentially years of planning not years, but like it could be.

Mary (Ms Rose): It could be, yeah, it could be.

Julia Vardy: Planning and it’s all in your head and you know you’ve been to the venue and you’ve talked to your florists and all that. But when it’s actually all coming together, set up for just you and your size of guests and with what you’ve chosen, that’s pretty cool. I think. For couples that must be so, you know. Finally, wow it actually it is exciting and yeah, so yeah, it’s all working out.

Mary (Ms Rose): It is, it is. Is there something like is there a particular time of day, like you said, the golden hour, but is there a particular time of day? Or is there a particular building or angle or area at Mewburn that you really is really special to you or that you love couples using or utilising?  The whole thing – I know, I’m sorry.

Julia Vardy: No, the whole thing. Because obviously, it depends a bit on the weather, right?

True, but let’s say it’s today. Right now I don’t know when this podcast is going to be published, but today it’s 24 degrees, blue sky, perfect day, really, like a light breeze, in the country at least. But yeah, the golden hour is pretty cool, like it doesn’t matter where you are at the marquee when you know it changes into this pastel, all this. Yeah, our daughter always says it’s a rainbow, but it’s actually not a rainbow, but it’s the blues and the grays and the you know pastel colours. That’s pretty epic. And the bricks of the stables, like with that sunlight they just are having a beautiful glow really.

And the paddocks where the sun is setting, like I always joke with our couples, like when you look at it during the day for a viewing, you know it’s a paddock, but once that golden hour kicks in and once the sun is setting and then photographers are worth their money. Absolutely I have no idea how they do that, but every time I’m getting a sunset photo gallery – I say oh how pretty,  and the driveway, say with the driveway, like I drive in that driveway every day probably four times, right, kids drop off and pick up from school, so let’s say at least four times in and out, and I still love it, and it doesn’t matter which season it is and it’s yeah. So sorry, it’s not a straight answer – you get it all.

Mary (Ms Rose): But I love that and you can really, I can just I can feel how much you love your home and how much you know you, and what’s so special is how much you want to share it with couples. You know how much you go, you know, yes, we love it because it’s our home and there are memories for us here and memories for Adam here, you know, growing up there and all that sort of thing. But you know, then it’s a whole other level to go, “Well, it’s so special and so glorious that we have to share this with couples as well”.

And having that intimate knowledge that you and Adam have of the property and of you know, of you know the buildings and all the different angles and different areas or whatever particular time of day, is just so invaluable for couples getting married. And but also, you know you create excitement around it because you love where you live and you love what you do. So that’s such an important part of it as well. It’s really, really special and I think that’s you know, that’s very – you know you can’t buy that really. Well, you can if you just comes with it.

Julia Vardy: Yeah, and you know, it’s like it sounds like such a phrase is love where you live, but really like we are both very grateful that we’ve, you know, followed our dreams and doing it the way we do it, and so, yeah, we’re true hospitality people like as I said before, like I love to sort of, you know……It’s so funny. So all our Melbourne couples like probably you know, 65 – 70% of our couples are from Melbourne, they’re doing the whole city escape thing. And it’s so funny because they must kind of like, you know, when they tell their guests or we’re getting married in Maffra, they must get a bit of like oh, where’s that, where’s Maffra? Yep, Maffra is in Gippsland, two and a half hours out of Melbourne, just keep driving. But then it’s every time the same. When we sort of welcome people at the gate, where they then have to go either to the stables or the garden, they come in, they’re like, oh, okay.

Mary (Ms Rose): Yeah.

Julia Vardy: That driveway and now going into here. Oh, we understand. And then you naturally start talking to them because they’re like oh, and there’s always like an uncle or a grandfather who wants to talk about the stables or the homestead, and then we easily get into conversation with them because, yeah, and again we’re sort of these old school, not old school, but like the true hospitality people. Adam actually studied hospitality management. My parents had a catering company, so I think we both grew up with this – it’s in our blood, really.

It’s in our blood really, and so, yeah, it starts the conversation easily and one of our toilets. So we’ve got five toilets and they’re all different, and one of them –  I’m a graphic designer by trade, but I had to do something funny, yeah. So one of them is we call it the history toilet, so it’s plastered with, like, pictures and information on the history and I swear to God that by nine or  10 o’clock that night, every night of the wedding, people come out of their toilet and they start talking about it and they’re like, oh, did you see that? And have you heard this? Oh, it’s 1842. So, yeah, and then if they haven’t talked to us before, then definitely they’re coming up to the bar and having a chat to us.

Mary (Ms Rose): Yeah, fantastic, that’s awesome. That’s a bit of fun, isn’t it? You know, it’s one thing to have this incredibly you know epic, you know property but then to inject that bit of fun so that you can, you know, have these chats with, you know, with these guests, or you know a couple, or anything like that, that’s really fun.

And but you know what I think is, you know something really really special and I’ve just picked up on this, you know, the whole time we’ve been chatting is that you know you do love where you live and you love what you do, and I just think that that love and that passion like that just permeates walls and spaces and people.

And so you know couples wanting to book somewhere for their wedding, which is the most- meant to be the most loved up day of their life, wanting to book somewhere that just feels like it’s full of love and it’s and it’s warm and inviting and exciting, like that’s, that’s something that is that’s, you know it’s hard to teach and you know you don’t have to teach it if you’re living there and loving it. So that’s really, really exciting and it’s beautiful. You know, do you have any sort of last bits of advice around wedding venues or or marquee weddings, but you know, for couples specifically looking at planning a marquee wedding that you know that had their heart set on it? You know anything, anything that’s popped up, you go oh, I need to make sure I mention that because it’s really important.

Julia Vardy: I think one specifically is maybe a marquee. So I think if you, if your dream is a marquee wedding, wherever you go, don’t book too late. I would then try to pick the right month and time of the year for you. Okay, so I’m just saying that – I’m leaving it as that.

Mary (Ms Rose): Yeah.

Julia Vardy: And the other thing, oh no, not really. I think I’ve, you know, went through the three ones. You know, obviously, vibe, budget and general look and feel and if you go and visit and all your must-haves are answered and all your questions and worries, you feel like you’re looked after with that. And if you actually can in your head, see you get married there, then don’t let um, yeah, something you know, stop you from that.

That may be, you know, and I’m sounding such a like, such a sales person now, but no, but I know quite often we hear you know like oh, we want to make our guests happy, we don’t want our guests to travel, we don’t want our guests to take a day off or like whichever midweek wedding or whatnot. But I can tell you from all the guests I’ve been talking about or loads of them, not all of them, but loads of them they’re all happy, they’re invited to your wedding, they’re all happy to do their travel or take a day off. It’s a good excuse to take a day off.

Get free food and drinks and dress up, yeah, so sometimes I do find that couples are too worried to please not only parents or family, that you know guests as well, and obviously sometimes it is the way it is. You know, if you’ve got really old grandparents and then that’s fair enough that you want to make sure that they’re comfortable and whatnot, um, but I think that is something I really love to have more of a chat about in the wedding industry.

The other thing is, I really think there’s kind of like a bit of a stigma or like a myth about you know that you have to be stressed that something has to go wrong before your wedding day or on your wedding day. It does not.

Mary (Ms Rose): No.

Julia Vardy: Like I had this conversation only a few weeks ago with a couple. I’m like you’ve prepared it all. You’ve chosen a really great team. They’re looking after you, they’re all professional. They all know what to do, and that’s why you booked them and that’s why you’re paying them right.

Mary (Ms Rose): Exactly.

Julia Vardy: That nothing needs to go wrong and if it feels like it goes way too smooth – smooth- another word – don’t worry, that’s totally fine, that’s great.

Mary (Ms Rose): Maybe it is just smooth, like, maybe it’s just gone well.

Julia Vardy: Yeah, and maybe you know you’ve just organised it well, you’ve found the right people to organise it for you well, and or you had a really clear idea of what you want, and so, yeah, that’s kind of like two things I wish there was more conversation around. Without feeling like I’m telling someone what to do. I don’t really I don’t, but I wish, yeah, I could sort of show them somehow – magically.

Mary (Ms Rose): I think you could, I think you could tell it, I think you could say to couples a) make sure you’re picking, picking things for your day, choosing things for your day that are really specific for what you want. And if that, if that means that there are particular guests that you want to, you know, cater for a bit more than because it’s really important and special for you to, then that’s part of it. But make sure you’re choosing things based off what you want for for the day. And also – you’re right.

There is a lot of conversation about what I think something’s going to go wrong, something will always go wrong. You can’t, you can’t control it. Just let that, you know, slide off your back, which, on one hand, is true, because there are things that can go wrong, but, on the other hand, maybe there won’t be, maybe everything will just run exactly how you’ve planned it, exactly how you’ve spoken to your vendors about, and you just get to the end of the day and go well, “that just went off without a hitch” and you know there’s no point stressing about the things that will go wrong if you just take a little bit of time to – you know, talk to your vendors, have it, you know, sort through a little bit more plan for like things like wet weather, and then just go right, I just give over and whatever happens happens.

Julia Vardy: You’re right – with the flow.

Mary (Ms Rose): Yeah. Go with the flow. Exactly.

Julia Vardy: And you know, I was talking about this cake setup and that was actually like a last-minute thing that the stylist she came up with because of the weather we couldn’t have it where the bride wanted it. So in the end she’s like “You know what I’m going to do this”.

And everyone came into the marquee is that, oh my God, oh my God, and that came up because of something wasn’t working, because of weather impact or whatnot. But if you trust your suppliers and the bride was like, “Oh my God, I would have never thought about it. It was so good”. So you know, so civilised, sometimes something great comes out of something which doesn’t go wrong. But if you’ve got your major things covered, discussed and planned for, there you go.

Mary (Ms Rose): You’re going to have a great day.

Julia Vardy: Anything. As you said before, you’re going to have a great day and you’re going to marry the love of your life, your soulmate, your partner, which you probably fell in love with on a rainy day.

Mary (Ms Rose): Oh, you’re the beautiful. Oh, I just got chills. That was gorgeous. That’s what I need to do on a Wednesday afternoon, thank you.

Oh, that’s beautiful. Oh, Julia, thank you so much. That has just been. It has been so lovely to speak with you. You know it feels like now I’m dying to come out to Mewburn Park and meet you and, you know, get a feel for the property myself, even though I’ve been married for quite a few years now. But thank you so much for giving your advice about wedding venues and your ceremony and your reception, especially marquee receptions, because I think that can be a little bit daunting for couples when they don’t know a lot about them. They don’t know a lot about them or how they work. So that has been really, really invaluable and we’ve just absolutely loved having you as part of the Polka Dot family and on our podcast today. So thank you so much.

Julia Vardy: I can only thank you Thanks for having me it was fun. I was a little nervous.

Mary (Ms Rose): No, don’t be, it’s been lovely.

Dorothy (Ms Polka): If you would like to find out more about the beautiful Mewburn Park or more about today’s episode, head on over to We have all the links over there and, of course, a full written transcript.

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