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The best and easiest way to create a romantic atmosphere at your wedding reception is candlelight. However, there are a few aesthetic and safety rules you need to consider to create the best experience for you and your guests. We’re sure you don’t need the drama of the fire brigade attending your wedding!

Keep the flame burning all night

If you decide to include tapered candles in your wedding styling, enclose them in vessels or glass sleeves to protect them from airflow. Candles can suddenly be blown out with a gust of air, and the breeze from an air conditioner will make candles burn down faster.

If you are buying tea light candles yourself, ensure they are the nine-hour variety, so they don’t burn out before the main meal. If you’re setting up your wedding, stand the tea light wicks vertically when you’re placing them in the candle holder – this will make the lighting process much easier and faster!

Image: Georgie James Photography / Furniture Hire and Styling: Gather Vintage Hire / Florals: Thistle and Fern / Hire Xback Chairs + Trestles + Rounds: RBR Party and Event Hire / Stationery: Quill / Table Linen: Table Art / Wedding and Tableware Rentals: Event Merchant Co / Venue: Mount Ophir Estate

Avoid calling the fire brigade

Flames, hot wax, and flammable table cloths don’t mix well! 5-10cm wide pillar candles should be placed on an inflammable base such as a glass plate, marble pieces, or glass vases. You can also use timber boards as it’s not likely this size candle will burn all the way down throughout your event. Unless you want to pay for a new one, we advise not having candles sitting directly on table cloths.

Also, avoid the ambulance!

If you’re having share platters and tapered candles, ensure the candlelight is in covered vessels and placed in clusters so your platters can fit in the spaces between without your guests or staff burning their hands (or catching their sleeve on fire!).

Image: Free The Bird / Florist: Thrive Flowers / Styling and Décor: The Small Things Co / Glassware & Crockery: Complete Function Hire / Table Linen: Table Art / Furniture: Valiant Events / Stationery: Ivory and Stone / Venue: Chapel 1885

Focus on the food

Scented candles are perfect for your home but keep them away from the dining table. Not only does the fragrance conflict with the food aroma, but it can also upset some guests’ senses or allergies – not everyone may love that coconut-lime scent as much as you do!

Prepare for all seasons

Candlelight can transform your outside space, but unless the candles are enclosed in lanterns, and it is a calm evening, we suggest you use LED candles. Though they have had a bad reputation in the past for looking tacky, LED candles have come a long way in recent years. These days, you can find quality LED candles made from wax which flicker as a real candle would. The best part is that they withstand the wind and rain, and aren’t messy to clean up after your event.

Image: Sarah Eshu / Concept, florals, candlesticks and styling: Madeline Anne / Furniture and tableware: Simply Seated / Table Linen: Table Art / Silk napkins: Song Bird Silk / Charger plates: Take Me Hire / Venue: The Front 

Skip the cleaning fee

Do your event hire company (or yourself!) a big favour! At the end of the night, allow the blown-out candle to solidify again before moving the vessels. This saves you from burning your hands, and your event hire staff hours of tedious cleaning!

Image: Anchor and Hope / Florals and Stylist: Wild Flos / Stationery and Stylist: State of Reverie / Tableware, Candlelight, and Stylist: The Small Things Co / Table Linen: Table Art / Venue: Firecracker Events

Ms Floral Says: Such fantastic and practical tips. All the sparkle and no drama! Thanks for sharing, Team Table Art.

About Table Art: Table Art offers an inspiring collection of linen and table accessories for hire from the fabulously contemporary to a selection of timeless classics, to compliment and add a unique flair and polish to your event. Lead by event stylist Allie Hammet and her team of table styling experts, we have worked on events for two people to 2000! From the bottom of Tasmania to the top of sunny Queensland, our linens have graced tables across the country for more than a decade. Get more style tips over at tableart.net.au and find inspiration for your wedding on Instagram at @tablearteventhire or on Facebook.

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In the last year the way we live, work and enjoy ourselves has completely changed, but those who had weddings booked in have faced a particularly daunting challenge. How to plan among shifting restrictions? Where to have a wedding, who to invite and how far out to lock it in? In the face of uncertainty, many have pushed their weddings to next year, while others have opted for smaller and more intimate celebrations, even eloping to tie the knot. For those that have gone this route (kudos on the bravery!) we thought we’d piece together some tips on how to dress for elopement in style.

Formal

There’s something to be said for those who say, “We’re getting married in private so it won’t matter too much what I wear!” Opt for a tux in black, navy or cream, and have fun with the details – satin lapels, bow tie and waistcoat. Whether there are guests or not, it’s still the biggest day of both of your lives, and your outfit should reflect that (you want to make sure you’re looking like perfection in those photos). Or, if a tux is taking it too far, design a classic navy two-button suit from one of our 100% Australian Merino wool, paired with a cotton cutaway collar shirt and silk or wool tie. Regardless of what you choose, the style guide should be effortlessly timeless and the suit should be versatile, so that you can reach into your closet for many years into the future and know you’ve got a practical, well-designed and perfectly fitted garment on call.

Smart Casual

This is the sweet spot most will settle on, because smart casual guarantees you’ll look appropriately dapper for your big day while offering you a few quality and versatile garments that can be worn at many other occasions. We suggest a quality pair of cotton chinos or woollen tailored trousers, paired with a crisp collared shirt and blazer crafted from wool, linen or cotton (or a blend). With the jacket, a deconstructed option with casual patch pockets and stand-out buttons will ensure it’s more versatile in the future, pairing easily with denim or more formal options. With colour, we suggest thinking about where the elopement will occur, as well as when – summery types of ceremonies would be perfect for lighter pastel shades, while a more conservative town hall or wintery affair would lend itself to dark and neutral colours.

Casual

Just because you’re not making a big deal of the wedding doesn’t mean your outfit shouldn’t be striking and perfectly fitted, regardless of how casual it is. We suggest opting for an impeccably fitted pair of chinos or woollen trousers in a timeless fabric, with a tailored shirt in a colour that emphasises your best qualities. We find a Mandarin collar shirt with a lightweight linen is popular for summery events, while a crisp Oxford shirt crafted from sturdy cotton in classic white is ideal for winter. Tuck, or untuck: it’s your wedding and it’s up to you! But make sure you invest in a quality pair of shoes, because they’ll inevitably get a lot of attention with a simple outfit. We’d recommend a pair of leather or suede loafers from a top brand.           

If you’re considering getting hitched in the coming months (by yourselves or with an audience!) book an appointment with an expert stylist at InStitchu, or take the online shopping portal for a spin at institchu.com

Ms Floral Says: Such stunning suits! These are fantastic tips, because just like weddings, elopements come in all different styles.

About InStitchu: We believe that every man should be able to afford high quality tailored suits and shirts. Our customers order by designing their own tailored suit or shirt from scratch or can use an existing design from our collections page. With a guaranteed fit policy, we have strict quality control procedures to ensure our tailored suits and shirts meet the highest quality standards expected by our customers.

You can book in for an appointment at InStitchu to discuss your options with an expert Stylist at one of their many Showrooms, or dive in and design your dream suit online right now.

 

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The below wedding vendors made this magic happen and are an approved part of the Polka Dot Directory. Visit their portfolios to learn more and enquire about their services!

If this crazy year has made me realise one thing about weddings, it’s how important the celebrant is! Because really, besides your partner, they are all you need when it comes to saying ‘I do’. That’s why it’s crucial to choose a celebrant you like, and one who makes you feel comfortable and confident when it comes to your ceremony. Megan Jordan is one of those fab celebrants who really looks after you. Megan creates personal, unique ceremonies that are all heart and laughs. She likes to make sure that your ceremony is the highlight of your wedding day, and that it will be engaging and authentically you. Megan does this by taking the time to getting to know you and finding our what you want out of your celebration. Below, she shares more about her celebrancy style and offers some beautiful thoughts on weddings and elopements in 2020.

Where are you based?
I’m based in gorgeous leafy Eltham, but I travel all over Victoria and Australia, for celebrations.

How long have you been a celebrant?
Late last year I left my day job and took the plunge to go full time with my amazing business. I’ve been a celebrant for two glorious years and it’s the job that makes my heart sing.

Why did you want to become one?
I’d been to so many weddings that were at best forgettable, and at worst slightly cringey. I felt like, too often, the wedding didn’t feel like it represented the couple that we were all there to celebrate.

I’ve always been a storyteller. For as long as I can remember, I loved painting pictures with words and marking moments with ceremony.

Weaving your words into a narrative, holding the space for you on your wedding day and telling your story, is the best job that I could have ever hoped for.

Image: Dijana Risteska

How would you describe your celebrant style?
My style is warm and engaging. I’m lighthearted and joyful, but can hold the space with a sense of ceremony when we’re down to the serious bits.

I’m super organised and will have your back all the way through the planning process, right up until you say ‘I do’.

What sets you apart from other celebrants?
Before my marriage celebrancy adventure, I was a social worker. I’m used to making sure that my clients, their goals and wishes, are at the centre of my work. I won’t tell you how it has to be. I will spend the time to get to know you, and work with you to create a ceremony that excites you.

Throughout the planning, right up to the big day, I have your back. I don’t mind you sending me a million emails, or calling ‘just to check’. And on the day, if you’re feeling a tad overwhelmed, and you just need a moment, I’m there for that too.

I make sure that I only book one ceremony a day so that my energy, can be completely focussed, on you and making sure your wedding is as memorable and beautiful as possible.

I also pride myself on having an ethical eco-conscious business, and offset all my car travel with a yearly subscription to Green Fleet – who is helping to re-forest Australia with gorgeous native trees for tomorrow.

Images: Rweddings & David Fowler Photography

What kinds of weddings have you been a part of?
All sorts! Big weddings and tiny weddings. Gorgeous garden parties and farm festivals. Edgy urban wineries and coastal vineyards. On stage at the Westgarth Cinema, and down at the beach with our toes in the sand.

Whatever the location, I find that the couples who invite me to be a part of their day, want their ceremony to be the highlight of their wedding day.

They want to tell a little of their story together. They want to have a laugh, without loosing the heart of the occasion. They want a celebration that is unique and memorable. Simple and beautiful.

Have you done any elopements? What do you love about them?
I absolutely adore elopements. It is the most beautiful, intimate and intentional way that you can get married. Without the pressure of a hundred guests and Aunt Beverley giving you the evil eye because her twins weren’t invited, you can just focus on what matters. You and your partner, the love you share, and the promises you want to make to each other.

Image: Caroline Sada Photography

Any COVID elopements this year?
Not yet!

For anyone planning a wedding in 2020, I know how challenging it has been. Being down in Melbourne, it’s been tricky to have a wedding the last few months (even a wee elopement).

I know how hard it is to re-imagine what a wedding might look like, when you’ve dreamed of things being ‘a certain way’ for as long as you can remember. But you know what? Staying together through a pandemic, coming out the other side stronger, and more in love than ever before is absolutely incredible.

Choosing to elope, or have a micro wedding, is such a beautiful way of reclaiming 2020, and honouring everything you have overcome together.

How far in advance do couples need to book you in?
Generally about six months is more than enough time. That said, with COVID turning the world on its head, I’ve actually still got a lot of availability for this spring. If you think I’m your kind of person, just give me a buzz, I’d love to hear from you.

Image: All My Wednesdays

What’s the process after booking you in? (Meetings with the couple, writing vows etc)
Getting married is about the most personal thing you will ever do. It’s so very important that you are comfortable with the person doing the marrying. Because of this, before booking, I am more than happy to meet up to have a chat, and to see whether I might be a good fit for your celebration.

Once you’ve decided you need me there with you on your big day, we get started straight away on your Notice of Intent to Marry. Getting this locked away as soon as we can is great because it means you can tick it off your list and feel crazy accomplished. Doing it early means that you can then have flexibility with your dates should you need to bring your wedding forward for any reason.

Over the months leading up to your wedding I’ll walk you through the whole process. I send your ceremony planning resources and a love quiz for each of you, so that I can make your ceremony so unique to you that your guests will ask how long I’ve been a good friend.

I give my couples the option to save the content of their ceremony as a surprise for the wedding day, or to read over it in advance. This is your wedding, and at every step, you are completely in control of the process.

If you’d like to write your own vows, I have some awesome resources for vows that will wow. I’m also happy to give you advice if you’re struggling and print them up on the day for you!

Image: David Fowler Photography

Do you book multiple weddings on a day?
Absolutely not! All sorts of things can happen on a wedding day – bad weather.. crappy traffic.. fainting guests…

I get to your wedding super early to make sure that everything is in place for you. Doing only one wedding a day means that I don’t need to rush off to marry someone else. It means that I can be completely focussed on you, and making your experience as worry free as possible. You are my number one priority.

Any tips for couples writing their own vows?
Okay. Do not stress. Writing vows is absolutely not scary.

You love each other. You want to spend your lives together.

Get together ahead of time and agree on roughly how many promises you would like to make.

Now it’s time to get personal. Personal and specific. Think about all the things that your partner does for you that no one else does. What difference have they made in your life?

The little things are often the big things.

Do they make you the very best espresso martini?

Do they know your secret tells?

Did they agree to you getting a cat even though it makes them allergic?

Do they always clean the shower because you hate it?

Focus on these micro-moments in your life. They are the thread that holds together the fabric of your life for the big stuff; the holidays, the babies, the first home purchases, the grief and the gladness.

They are what makes up a life together, and what will keep your marriage going long after the flowers have dried and you’ve outgrown your wedding suit.

Now, how does that make you feel about them? And what kind of promise would you like to make to them as a great big thank you for being so awesome?

Whatever is in your heart is the right thing to say on your wedding day.

Image: Sarah Godenzi

How do you approach the wedding day?
With the same excitement I had for the very first wedding I ever did!

I always come prepared – I even bring along a little emergency kit for you (think breath mints, tissues and tampons).

I get there super early, introduce myself to your guests, talk with both of you, make sure everyone’s happy, feeling comfortable, and that you haven’t got anything unsightly in your teeth.

It’s all about you. And making sure you’re comfortable, happy and ready to make some great big promises, to your very best person in the whole world.

How do you make each ceremony you do super special?
The beautiful thing about meeting couples from all over is that no ceremony is the same. I write every celebration from scratch. I take the time to get to know you, what you love about each other, what is important to you (and what’s not important), so that I can guide you to create a celebration that in years to come you look back on, and think ‘yep, we wouldn’t have changed a thing!’

Image: It’s Beautiful Here

What’s your advice for brides and grooms for keeping stress to a minimum on their big day?
Don’t stress the little stuff. So long as I’m there, your partner’s there, and we have two witnesses, you can get married. Everything else is peripheral.

And if you’re having a big do, make sure you escape for a little alone time together during the reception. Just the two of you and a glass of wine. Soak it all in, and really ground yourself together in that moment. After all the excitement and planning, it’s often over so fast!

Best testimonial you’ve ever received?
“Megan is a gifted celebrant. She is warm, funny, fantastic with words and super organised. Megan made the whole process really enjoyable and helped us to create a ceremony that excited us and was unique. We couldn’t have been more thrilled with how the day turned out and received so many compliments from our guests. Thanks again Megan!” From the very lovely Amanda and Andrew.

Image: It’s Beautiful Here

When you’re not working, where would we find you?
I absolutely love my garden. There is something really cathartic about getting your hands in the soil and stopping to watch the bugs pass you by. I’m often down in the dirt, with a cuppa beside me and streaming the latest podcast. This year we’re growing rhubarb, cucumber, beetroot, capsicum, tomatoes and snap peas. Wish us luck!

Thanks Megan for sharing some insight into your wonderful career! Your words of wisdom about marrying or eloping in 2020 will no doubt be a comfort to many as well. To find out more about Megan and her services, head to her website or check out Megan Jordan Celebrant on the Polka Dot Directory.

Headshot by Megan Browne Photography