The Great Bridesmaid Debate - What Should You Expect to Pay For?

Hello Lovely Readers! Today I’m talking bridesmaids and their financial responsibilities as a member of your bridal party.

I see a lot of debate online about who pays for what, in terms of dress, shoes, hair, etc, and sadly I also see a lot of women falling out over it. If it’s true that money is at the root of most arguments for married couples, then it seems the same can also be said of you and your besties. So to help you out before it gets that far I’ve listed below the answers to your most common bridesmaid dilemmas when it comes to the costs associated with a wedding.

Though from the get-go may I advise that being clear with your bride tribe from the very start about what their investment will be, and allowing them the opportunity to decline gracefully if needed, would be both considerate of you and appreciated by them.

What should the bride cover?
it's standard for the bride to cover the cost of bouquets, transportation to and from the wedding venue, and a thank you gift to her bridesmaids. Optional costs may include hair and makeup, hotel accommodations, and bridesmaids' dresses.

Shoes and Accessories
Typically, each bridesmaid will be expected to provide her own shoes and accessories. The bride may give some guidelines as to colour, heel height, etc but this means they're selecting what they'd like to wear and feel most comfortable in which seems fair since they’ll be keeping them for future wear. If you prefer to have the bridesmaids all wear matching jewellery, you can select a matching piece to give the ladies as a gift and request that they wear it for the wedding.

Hair and makeup
If you, the bride, have the budget and would like the bridesmaids to all have professional hair and makeup done, you might cover the associated costs. If there's a large bridal party and the girls would prefer to use their own hair stylist or if the bride cannot cover all of the costs, the bridesmaids can offer to pay for their own hair and makeup.

Wedding Gifts
Yes, it's customary for bridesmaids to give the couple a wedding gift. Some bridal parties choose to go in on this together especially if they’ve all been friends for a long while and know the bride equally well, while others stick with individual gifts.

Hen’s Party
It's quite common for all of the hen’s party guests, including the bridesmaids, to pitch in to cover the bride's expenses. In the event a destination party is planned, guests will typically only chip in for an evening out rather than pay for the duration of the bride’s weekend.

This is the biggie that often causes the most drama, probably because it’s generally the biggest cost of them all, as well as bridesmaids being anxious about having to pay for a dress that they feel doesn’t suit them or they would never choose to wear. In all the weddings I have been involved with I would have to say that this particular expense is pretty evenly split between the bride and her ‘maids.
My personal thoughts are that if you know you are going to want your girls to wear matching dresses of your choice then you have to be prepared to pay for them yourself. If however, you’re happy to give them guidelines around colour, length, style and let them choose what they feel best in, then it’s fair that they should pay, as it’s more than likely going to end up in regular rotation in their wardrobe afterward.
You might even give them the fabric you’ve chosen and let them take it to a dressmaker to have it made up into the style of their choice, as this splits the cost between you both and gives everyone a say in the final result.

What other expenses should a bridesmaid expect to cover?
Most often, bridesmaids also cover the cost of their lingerie, a bridal shower contribution, bridal shower gift, and any travel costs.

The bridesmaid gig is not for the faint of heart, but they’re showing up and being supportive for you, the bride so I think it falls on you to make it as easy and fun for your besties as you possibly can. And isn’t that what it’s all about anyway? Sharing the greatest time in your life with those you love best.

Over to you readers. What are your thoughts on a bridesmaid duty? I’d love to hear what you think so comment below and let’s chat! Emma xo

Your Wedding Website: What Should You Include

Congratulations! You’re about to get married, and in a beautiful venue to boot! You’ve spent all this time finding the perfect dress, booking your favourite photographer, and coming up with the best wedding hashtag (which is a feat to be celebrated all on its own!) and now you need to be sure your guests can make the most of it, particularly those who have travelled to celebrate with you.

What better way to create an even better guest experience from the minute they receive their invitation, then creating your very own corner of the internet to share all of the wedding details, room block information, travel tips and sights to see. They’re guaranteed a fun-filled (and more organised!) experience and it gives your special day that added touch of care. Think of it as an extension to your invitations - updating your guests on transport, accommodation, weather, and any extra links or photo galleries you’d like to share.

So how do you build this information mecca in a way that’s both easy and beautiful? What should you include, and how do you get it out there? (Add your registry straight to the site? Share all of your engagement photos? Yes please!) Read on my friends and let’s make it happen!

There are lots of options available for creating inexpensive wedding websites including Squarespace and Appy Couple. When you’re looking at options keep in mind that the site needs to be easy to navigate and aesthetically pleasing. We all have relatives that aren’t necessarily tech savvy, so you’ll want to make sure that the site easily gives them the information they need. My other tip is to choose something that’s easy to edit and add information as it comes to hand later on.

What travel details do we recommend including?
Guests need to know the when, where, and how. We suggest including the full itinerary with times and locations for each day you have events planned (from the welcome party to the reception). Include recommendations on where to stay at different price points, and direct links for them to make reservations. It’s awesome if your recommendations are either close to the wedding venue, or close to the city for easy access to shops and restaurants. You can also offer guests tips on where to eat and what to do during their trip since some of them may be unfamiliar with their destination. Depending on their mode of transport, you can include your best advice on how to get to and from the airport.

What day-of details are most important to include?
Let guests know everything and then some… where to be and when, if there is transport provided — and if not, where to find parking, or how to book a taxi. What they should wear — both formality and what is weather-appropriate. If it’s on a beach and you’re fine with everyone going barefoot, make sure to say that! If it’s on a lawn, let ladies know since heels dig into the grass. Let guests know if they will be indoors or out. Make it easy and put it all out there, the more detailed the better.

Bring your personality!
Don’t get so caught up in the logistics that you forget to customise the site and have it be a reflection of you both!  Your friends and family may know the basics of how you met, but it’s fun to include your whole story on your website. Add some pictures of yourselves too. If you’ve had engagement photos taken then this is the perfect place to show them off!

Making your guests aware
Have the site ready to go with the basics from the time you send your save-the-dates, and put the website address on there with a little note directing people to it. Let them know to check in regularly as you’ll be adding more details as your wedding day gets closer.

Setting up a wedding website might seem like extra work and just another thing on your to-do list. But I guarantee if you get this right at the beginning you’ll be saving yourself a ton of work down the line, when your guests want to know the answers to the above questions, and you start receiving an avalanche of phone calls and emails from them all.

One more note, if you’re working with Sparrow to plan your wedding you’ll be given exclusive free access to our wedding website platform - As a special bonus, use the code WEDDINGWEBSITE when booking with us to receive 5% off your chosen service! (Valid for bookings made by 30April2019). Click here to fill out our inquiry form xo

How to Include Children in Your Wedding (Beyond the Bridal Party)

If you’re planning your wedding and there are kids in your life, it’s really a no-brainer to invite them into your bridal party, right? It’s an honour to be asked, and it makes their family super-happy, proud and even more excited for your big day.

But what I’ve come to realise when chatting with the various flower-girls and page-boys I get to meet with, is that they often don’t share quite the same excitement. It’s simply that for the under-ten crowd they don’t yet fully realise the significance of a wedding. It can be a long and tiring day for them.

So I started thinking about other ways to ensure our little loved ones feel involved and it really comes down to the individual kid (funny that!). Once I’m aware that a couple wants to involve a child in their big day, I recommend they sit down with them and ask what makes them feel most excited about your wedding.

One boy was super-excited about the wedding cake. So we asked him to draw a few pics of his ideas and collect a bit of inspo on Pinterest. We then took him along to the meeting at the bakery and he had a chat with the baker. Between them they came up with a design that fitted his ideas and that the bride and groom liked also. In fact they were amazed at how seriously he took the task! He really wanted to get it right for them. As a final touch, when we had the menus printed for that wedding, under ‘Dessert’ we wrote ‘Wedding Cake - Designed by Oliver’ and Oliver experienced the joy of having guests congratulate him on his work.

Another very little one was going to act as her aunt and uncle’s flower-girl and she believed very firmly that the role involved giving out flowers. So while the bride and groom were signing the wedding certificate and making things official, this little girl was given a basket of loose stems and she walked through the crowd handing them out. It made her so happy to fulfil her role as she saw it.

For some kids the bridal party just isn’t for them, but there are still lots of things they can do to feel like they’re doing something special for you, particularly if they’re a little older. I’ve seen a twelve year old do the most amazing job as MC for the evening. If you’re having your pet at your wedding a lot of kids like to be assigned Puppy Wrangler for the day. They can do a reading at the ceremony, escort the bride down the aisle, show people to their seats, or help with any DIY projects you have going on. Play to their talents and interests!

So by all means, have your special little ones in your wedding party. The photographs will be adorable, and no doubt they’ll appreciate the honour as they get older. But I also encourage you to ask them what they would like to do for you on your wedding day. They’ll probably surprise you, and I guarantee it’ll make for all kinds of good vibes on the day xo

Emma + Josh | Moody Winter Wedding

I just love these two!  They're genuinely so much fun to be with, and their love for each other is so obvious in the way they look after each other's needs.

Love Story -
Emma + Josh met seven years ago when they both worked at Woolworths.  Josh took Emma on a date to Zapata's Mexican Restaurant to catch up after he left Woolies.  Emma had no idea they were even on a date, and she hates Mexican food, so she suggested they head to Elephant Walk next door for dessert (she has a HUGE sweet tooth).  Josh thought she was indicating she was keen because of the dark lighting and private booths, so he kissed her whilst they were awaiting their order!  Emma was completely shocked, but it worked because she and Josh have been inseparable ever since. 

The Proposal -
Emma says 'Whenever someone would ask Josh when he was going to propose he always responded with 'When Em plays her cards right'.  We were on holiday in Port Douglas when he eventually proposed.  He had been going for a run along the beach each morning and said he wanted to show me a lookout he'd found.  So on the way to dinner we went to this lookout over-looking the water, when Josh pulled out a deck of cards that he had stashed behind a rock earlier that morning.  Josh requested to play a game of snap, to which I reluctantly agreed because I was starving!  So we battled through a game of snap (which I thrashed Josh at) and on the last card, the ace of hearts, he had written 'Will you marry me?'  He pulled the ring from his pocket and that was that!'

What are your fondest memories of your wedding day?
A few!
-       Walking towards Josh for our first look.
-       The photographer, Joel, hiding in the tree out the front of our house to take photos.
-       Nat from Ten22 sneaking me out whilst everyone was waiting for me to walk down the aisle so I could check out the set up – I was speechless!
-       My dad getting tangled in my veil and dress and tripping over me once we reached the end of the aisle.
-       Josh’s oopsie in his wedding vows where he declared he likes waking up ‘behind me’ rather than beside me.
-       Photos in the middle of South Road at 10pm – it was freezing! Poor Joel copped a bit of abuse… even from his assistant.
-       Our Uber driver on the way to the hotel asking us whose birthday party it was we went to… while I’m sitting in the car still in my wedding dress.

What was the best decision you made when planning your wedding day?
The best decision we made was to not DIY anything and to have Emma do all the ‘heavy lifting’! We didn’t have to fuss around with set up or pack up and really were able to enjoy the lead up to the wedding.

Any advice for future Brides and Grooms?
My biggest advice for future brides and grooms is to not waste time attempting to please others - remember who and what the day is about for you as a couple and invest your energy accordingly.

- Style Guide -
Photographer: Joel Roosa | Bride's Gown & Bridesmaids Dresses: Ultimate Bride | Cinematography: Jason Marner Videography | Entertainment: Trent Slater Entertainment | Florals: Fleur de Lys Flowers | Groom & Groomsmen's Attire: Joseph Uzumcu | Hair: Sam Frost Hair Stylist, and Makeup: Makeup by Hayley Marie | Officiant: Jess Maida |  Rentals & Décor: Festival Hire | Stationery: Tanja Dear Design | Venue: Ten22 Boutique Venue | Wedding Rings: Andrew Mazzone | Styling: Sparrow Weddings & Events

Adelaide's Best Wedding Vendors | Michael Elwood, Celebrant

Today I'd like to introduce you to one of my fave Adelaide celebrants, Michael Elwood.

When you consider that the celebrant you choose will perform the most important task of your entire wedding day (getting you legally married!) you realise how vital it is that you find someone who understands your vibe, who makes you feel comfortable, and will make the journey easy and stress-free.

Michael is genius at quickly getting to the heart of the kind of ceremony you'd like to create, and translating that vision into something that truly reflects you as a couple (something we're equally passionate about here at Sparrow).  I've seen him go above and beyond for his clients and he is a wonderful addition to your wedding day.  Read on and learn a little more about what makes Michael tick...

Tell us a bit about yourself, and how you got involved with weddings -
I had wanted to be a celebrant from the time I was in my mid-50s, as I occasionally thought about what I would do in 'retirement'.  I knew that sitting around was never going to keep me occupied, with my brain working.  My working life involved managing several major arts organisations - mostly in music and then in film.  Later in working life I ran charity organisations in international aid then disability.  So I became an Authorised Civil Celebrant in late 2009, and since then have conducted over 300 ceremonies.

What do you love most about your job? -
I am a 'people person', so find it very easy to converse with and relate to people.  So working with people to help them achieve something special for their marriage ceremony is a real 'buzz' for me.  So many couples come to me not knowing what a wedding ceremony could be like - often with a very limited view, and sometimes never having attended another ceremony.  So it is incredibly rewarding when a couple get really excited about the ceremony that we have worked on together that reflects their wishes and personal style.  And then when they write reviews of my work, I get a great sense of joy at enabling people to create something beautiful and memorable, that will remind them of the most important day of their lives.

Talk us through your process when putting together a couple's wedding ceremony -
I always start by trying to find out as much as I can about the couple - what is their style, have they seen something that they really liked, importantly have they seen things that they definitely DON'T want.  Will the ceremony be traditional and formal, or more relaxed and gentle, or do they have any particular theme that they would like to work within.  Then I have a template of different elements that can form part of a ceremony, so we talk through those ideas.  I provide the couples with a large file (electronic) of sample wedding and ring vows; readings, possible rituals and traditions, and I emphasise that a ceremony can be as complex or as simple as they wish - they have the choice and great flexibility.  I usually ask them to consider the materials that I have provided to them for between two to four weeks - depending upon their schedules, and come back to me with any suggestions that they might like to include.  I then start to build a ceremony around their choices, and send back a first draft asap.  We then email back and forward as much as necessary until they feel that they have something with which they are pleased.  They may not have written their personal wedding vows at that point, they like the general shape and content.  If time permits, I encourage them to put the draft away for a few weeks or months, and then come back to it with 'fresh eyes', and see if they still feel happy with what they have.  From there we try to finalise the ceremony, hoping to have it all complete at least three or four weeks before the big day, so that there is no panic when the schedule of the last few weeks arrives.  Of course, I am happy to make any little (or big) changes right up until the last minute.

What are your top tips for choosing a celebrant? -
1. Do as much research as you can about the celebrant - look for reviews, etc
2. Arrange a 'no obligation' meeting with the celebrant to see if you feel comfortable with them - personality, flexibility, creative, sense of humour, making you feel confident that they can do the job want from them
3. Check to ensure that you have a fixed price agreement, and that it is fully inclusive.

What tips you do you have for couples planning a wedding? -
1. Prioritise the type of celebration that you want
2. Be realistic about the available budget, about how you cope with stress, what role your families might want to play, about the time you will have available, what you will need to achieve to have the wedding day that YOU want
3. If you have time, research widely the wedding suppliers that you feel you will need - ceremony venue, reception venue, photographer, celebrant, wedding planner.
4. Give serious consideration to engaging a Wedding/Event Planner - they are a wealth of information about so many of these things.  If you do engage a wedding planner, then you are taking a lot of weight off your shoulders, especially as the time approaches, and you already have so many other things to think about.

What's the last thing you watched on TV? -
Some of the Soccer World Cup

What one song or album could you listen to on repeat? -
I am a classical music buff, and cannot answer that question in one sentence.  If pushed, then the trio 'Soave sia il vento' from the Mozart opera, 'Cosi fan Tutti'

And finally, what are you known for among friends? -
I am a foodie and love cooking for people, enthusiastic, out-going and talk to anyone, have a sometimes quirky sense of humour, but laugh easily, love people, and dedicated to my family.

Thank you Michael, you're a beautiful soul!  If you'd like to learn more about Michael's celebrant services, or get in touch and chat about the possibilities for your ceremony you can find him at

Adelaide's Best Wedding Vendors | Paper Halo

Continuing on in our quest to showcase some of the best wedding vendors in town, today I'm so happy to introduce you to Mel at Paper Halo.

What an absolutely beautiful soul she is, I felt I'd stumbled on one of Adelaide's best-kept secrets when I found her.  And in a very Adelaide coincidence we'd actually met before in our previous lives as barista and travel agent!  Melissa is a talented graphic designer who loves weddings, and works really hard to capture the unique vibe of every couple she works with.  She's super-fun to hang out with and I always feel happy after a coffee-date with Mel.  (She's also one of the few people I can confess my over-the-top love of stationery to, we both share a passion for all the pretty paper things).

Hope you enjoy this little insight into who Mel is, and why you need her on your wedding team.  Emma xo

Tell us a bit about yourself and Paper Halo
I'm Mel and wear a few different hats daily!  I'm a wife, a mum to two year old Ava and we're about to have our second bubs in a few short weeks.  I also have a background in primary and middle school teaching, which I've been juggling on the side of running Paper Halo for almost three years.  I'll often refer to myself as a complete stationery addict and font queen who loves the occasional chocolate and glass of red wine!  
Paper Halo started in early 2015, when I finally decided that I had to stop talking about starting a design and invitation business and to just jump in and do it!  It was born from the love and passion I have for graphic design, I was teaching at the time and felt that I simply wasn't filling my creative bucket.  I wanted an outlet where I could play around with beautiful fonts and graphics so I put my idea of running my own business into motion after several courses in graphic design.  I started by doing everything and said yes to a whole range of jobs, I think I got too excited and simply wanted to 'do it all'.  I quickly found my feet and have narrowed down my products and services to the wedding and event industry where I love working with brides and event planners to create unique and beautiful stationery.  I've worked out I'm a true people person and not only love working with my clients, but also with local South Australian vendors such as wedding planners, stylists, photographers, and venues, who have truly helped my business flourish.  I am super proud to say that I have worked with clients in every state and territory in Australia and even New Zealand!

What's your favourite part of the job?
I feel the expectation as a reply to this question is to simply say that I love all the pretty fonts, graphics and elements I get to play around with and make come to life.  This is without a doubt a huge love of mine, but I've quickly realised that working with fabulous couples, mothers, business owners, event planners, and the likes is what I love most about what I do.  Exploring the ideas of bringing something to life that will set the scene for a wedding or birthday with someone, whether they know what they want (or not!) is my favourite part of what I do.  I love reflecting back to the start of the process and then hearing how much they have loved the final product.  I love working with people and creating new relationships (many of my clients are now friends!) and I simply love just hearing that I listened to what they wanted and I nailed the design!  Customer relationships are central to how I run Paper Halo and I think meeting new people with new challenges and ideas is a number one love of mine!

How would you describe your design style in three words?
Timeless.  Fresh.  Bespoke.  

Are there any trends that you absolutely love, or would love to see brides leave behind?
I've just chuckled to myself!  When I was married in 2013, the trend was rustic.  Lace, glass jars filled with gyp, hessian runners and banners, kraft brown card and an overall rustic style.  I'm seeing less and less but I would really love to give it the heave ho!
On the other hand I am really loving the timeless designs which have only two or three beautifully paired fonts, which do all the work.  Typography is a huge passion of mine and I love playing to make the font work in different ways.  I also love the bolder colours at the moment.  The burgundy, navy and deep, rich golds that can work by themselves or together to create some beautiful moody stationery.

What tips do you have for couples choosing their wedding stationery?
You don't have to follow the trends, follow what you like and work out how you want to tie it all together.  Some couples I've worked with really struggle with the stationery needing to match every item that might appear at their ceremony and reception and it's really not the case.  I am loving the simplicity of a pared down wedding set.  Reducing the overall cost of the set but also helping the environment, a simple wedding invitation and details card which has all the relevant info (like transport, accommodation, rsvp details returned electronically or via sms and even a wishing well poem included) makes life so much easier!

What stationery item is worth splurging on?
Oh a good one!  You know my love for Officeworks, Kikki.K and every other stationery outlet is strong, so this is a really tough one.  I would have two items, a beautiful pen and a really fab planner.  I love planning out my weeks and months and have gotten really picky about how I do this!  I love spending a little bit more than I usually would on these items because I find that they set the scene for how I spend my time.

What has been your most rewarding creative project to date?
Oh I have so many!  So many that haven't been published or even seen the likes of any social network, but without a doubt my favourite project was working with a bride who planned to elope on one of the stunning mountaintops in New Zealand.  Not only was the stationery we created unique and a little different to what I would normally produce (I do love a challenge!) but it was truly special to be able to work with her, knowing that I was one of only a handful of people that actually knew what was going on!  She was so super-organised and also asked me to create her stationery for the wedding party that was held back in Adelaide months down the track.  Something I won't forget in a hurry!

What's the last thing you watched on TV?
I am really into a Netflix show called Black Mirror, a show different to what I would normally find myself watching and right now I'm trying to get in as many episodes as I can.

Are you into green smoothies?
I like every other colour!  I haven't jumped on the green smoothies bandwagon and would much prefer something with a kick of caffeine!

What do you do to take time out and relax?
Oh so much trickier with a two year old!  I love reading.  I love getting away and travelling South Australia with friends and family, and you'll often find our car packed and ready for a road-trip of some sort.  I do enjoy a little bit of quiet time and have found that five minutes will usually do the trick, enough to relax and go again.

Thank you Mel, we love you!  If you'd like to contact Mel or see more of her work you can find her in the following places - | Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest

Five Tips to make Buying your Wedding Dress Online a Breeze!

Look, we're all modern women here right?  Online shopping is awesome - it's convenient, easy, and so much fun when that little gift to yourself arrives promptly on your doorstep!  But we can probably all admit to having been caught out on occasion by a few of the pitfalls too.  The sizing is wrong, it doesn't look like the pic online, and all of a sudden there's no way to contact the site for help.

Shopping for your wedding gown is no different, and there are a lot of designers selling online (sometimes exclusively), so what to do if you've fallen in love with a dress you can't take off the rack and try on before putting your hard-earned cash down? 

It's one of the most important wardrobe purchases you'll ever make and fear not, I'm here to make it easy for you.  Follow these tips and you can't go wrong!

1. Do a bit of sneaky stalking
Yep, jump online and start doing some detective work on the brand's social media.  If they have no social media, then just stop, we're done here.  There's no reason why an honest, reliable brand wouldn't have up-to-date accounts.  Look for recent, frequent posts and feedback from previous brides.  Next-level stalking involves sending off a message (perhaps a query regarding the dress you love) through their 'contact' button and waiting for a quick, informative reply.  If they can't tick all these boxes then back away girl!

2. Check the T's & C's
Before purchasing from any online store, you need to thoroughly check the terms & conditions and make sure they work for you.  I know, super-boring, but also super-helpful in times of crisis!  Key points to read up on include delivery times, shipping charges, and the returns policy.  If you're unsure about sizing, a flexible returns policy allows you to order two dresses and return the one that isn't right.  While we're on that, make sure there is a good sizing chart available to you, and it's not a bad idea to have a good dressmaker measure you properly too.  

3. Be prepared for alterations
If your dream dress arrives and it fits perfectly, then hurrah, pop the bubbles!  If not, don't despair, remember that dressmaker who took your measurements?  Go back and ask if she can now make the alterations you need.  Even when buying off the rack, most brides have to get alterations done, usually to the length at least (hands up all my fellow short girls!), so it's nothing to worry about.

And now, a word about bridesmaids...

4. Bridal Parties must all order their gowns at the same time
I cannot emphasise this one enough ladies.  If your bridesmaids are buying online, then please, order them all together.  I know it can be tricky to organise and it will seem easier to let each girl do it at their convenience, but just don't okay?  One order for all will mean your dresses are made from the same dye lot (avoiding slight colour variations), they will all arrive at the same time (making alterations so much easier), and there is no chance that someone leaves their ordering too late only to find the dress is no longer available.  Disaster my friends!  

Finally, what if you're expecting the pitter-patter of tiny feet...

5. Shopping for a pregnant bride or maid
There's no doubt this adds an extra layer of complication, but it's nothing that can't be dealt with fairly easily, and a new little one should be celebrated!  The general rule is to jump up two dress sizes when ordering for pregnant women.  This gives room for the lovely bump to expand without the mother-to-be stressing about how her dress will fit.  A gown that is too big can always be taken in and fitted to suit, but a garment that is too small can be almost impossible to make work.

Do you have anything to add to these tips?  I'd love to hear from you! 
Also, if you'd like to get this kind of advice through all aspects of planning your wedding then please give us a call, drop us an email, or even better, fill out an inquiry form through the link on our Contact page.  Speak soon!  Emma xo

Adelaide's Best Wedding Vendors | Fleur de Lys Flowers

Today I am so happy to announce the first in a series of blog posts featuring some of my favourite wedding vendors around Adelaide.

I get to work with the best people in town and thought it was only fair that I share them with you!

This week I'm casting the spotlight on one of my absolute faves - Liesa, the Creative Director of Fleur de Lys Flowers is an extraordinarily creative florist with a heart of gold and a wicked sense of fun.  I love spending time with her (it's not work when you visit with Liesa), and here she answers my questions regarding her work and her home life, giving you a little insight into the reasons why you might want to bring her on-board your wedding team.  Enjoy! xo

Q - Tell us a bit about yourself and Fleur de Lys
A - I have worked in the floral industry for over twenty years, have been called 'the Jamie Oliver' of flowers, and just get more and more passionate about all things floral as the times passes.  I am a wedding, event and installation specialist, and now also hold workshops.  I just love passing on my knowledge and love for all things floral to others, and seeing them grow to be as passionate about flowers as I am and to embrace their new-found skills.  
Fleur de Lys and our style is very textural and soulful.  I describe it as an organised mess, meaning it's styled but left to look natural and organic, not too perfect, just as a garden left in its natural state is.  I love sourcing unique and unusual flowers and using combinations that ooze both a masculine and feminine energy to suit each client's brief, and to embrace nature and the various seasons.

Q - How would you describe your style in three words?
A - Textural, eclectic, innovative

Q - What's your favourite part of the job?
A - Designing with florals but also working with beautiful clients to make the process both leading up to and on their special day or event as pleasurable and exciting as possible.

Q - Are there any trends that you absolutely love, or would love to see brides leave behind?
A - I love garden-style installations that are built from the ground up and that embrace plants and florals together.
I'd love to see trends in general left behind.  I love to work with each client to bring their floral vision to life, which is a total representation of the two of them and their personalities and style.

Q - What tips do you have for brides choosing their wedding florals?
A - Choose a designer that you trust both personally and style-wise, and that you feel 110% comfortable with.  Don't just pick someone as they have the lowest price, you will get the service, experience, and florals that you pay for.

Q - What floral item is worth splurging on?
A - A reputable floral designer whose work you love and admire.  See above comment :)

Q - What has been your most rewarding creative project to date?
A - Two of the wedding installations that my husband and I built and custom designed.  They both hung at three metres in height and were completely a representation of both couples personalities and passions.

Q - What's the last thing you watched on TV?
A - the Food Network

Q - Are you into green smoothies?
A - Not necessarily green, but I have a fruit and coconut water nutri-bullet shake every morning for breakfast.

Q - What do you do to take time out and relax?
A - I love cooking, reading, swimming, markets and spending time with family and friends, eating great food of course!

If you'd like to see some of Liesa's stunning work, or contact her to book a consultation you can find her right here - | Facebook | Instagram

Thanks for playing Liesa, we love you! xo


Wedding Dress Codes & Why You Need One

Ladies (and Gents, if you're reading), I ask you now to consider the dress code you'd like followed by guests on your wedding day.  Do not brush me off, or decide that it's a boring and un-necessary detail, maybe too formal for the day you're planning.  It's important, and I'll tell you why... 

Put yourself in your guest's shoes (whether they be Jimmy Choo's or Havaiana's).  You receive a wedding invitation, hurrah!  You pop the details into your diary and your thoughts naturally turn to what you might plan on wearing to this particular soiree.  But the invitation doesn't divulge too much about what to expect and there's no dress code indicated.  This is a problem now.  You don't want to be over or under-dressed compared to other guests, you want to fit in, know you look fabulous, and dance the night away.  You go and stare into the abyss that is your closet, full of clothes, and yet you have nothing to wear.  Maybe... Nope!  The classic Aussie girl's staple of 'jeans and a nice top' will not suffice here. 

Brides, if there was any kind of dress code listed on your invitation your guest would not be panicking right now and actually dreading your special day in case she gets it wrong.  We've all been there, and it's not a great feeling right?  So let me run you through the options and probably save you a whole lot of emails and calls when your invitations hit those letterboxes.  

Firstly, you don't have to stick to the more traditional ideas, you can have whatever you want (without being too weird.  Nobody wants to wear a toga to your wedding okay).  It could be Gatsby Chic, A Touch of Red, or Cowboy Boots Welcome.  If you're going for an alternative like this try to make it fun and easy, rather than stressful.  And word it so that it gives guests an out if they don't actually own a pair of cowboy boots.

If you want to go for a more traditional dress code but you're not sure exactly what to choose, here's a list of what they mean exactly -
* White Tie - (not often seen in Adelaide, but there are some venues where this would look fabulous)  For the gentlemen it's a tuxedo, a long black jacket with tails, a white vest and a bowtie.  Black formal shoes and even white gloves wouldn't go astray.  For the ladies this will be a formal, full-length ball gown in a neutral colour like dark brown or black.  Glam hair & make-up and dramatic jewellery are all appropriate.
* Black Tie - A tuxedo, black bow tie and patent leather shoes for the men.  Tradition also says a cummerbund but I can't stand those things, so No.  Just No.  A chic cocktail dress or a long evening gown, again in a dark colour, with all the hair, makeup and jewellery you like will work for the women.
* Formal (Black Tie Optional) - Men could pop on either a tuxedo or a formal dark-coloured suit.  Definitely with a tie to match.  Women could wear a long dress, a dressy suit, or a formal cocktail dress in a dark colour.
* Semi-Formal/Cocktail - Lads, a suit and tie in any colour will work for this one depending on the season and time of day.  Ladies, a cocktail dress or a dressy skirt and top are the items to go for here.
* Beach Formal - Guys can wear a summer suit with linen shirt, and skip the tie.  Linen pants or khakis, and sandals complete the look.  Girls will need a formal summer sundress with flat sandals, and everyday hair and makeup.
* Garden Party - For him, a summer suit, boat shoes and optional tie is appropriate.  For her, a tea-length sundress with strappy sandals works well.
* Casual - I usually like to try and word this one differently because it runs the risk of a lot of denim and flannels showing up (unless that's what you want and then hey, go for it).  Dress pants and a button-down shirt or polo for the guys, and either a sundress, or skirt or pants with a top for the girls.  Nothing too fancy in the hair and makeup department.

See, it's not so hard.  It's actually kinda fun.  No?  Just me?  Okay, well I hope at least I've shown you how much easier you can make things for your guests if you spend a few minutes thinking this one through.  It's one extra line on your invitations, and I think it's just the considerate thing to do.  Happy Days! xo

Zoe + Rob | Vineyard Wedding

Colourful Vineyard Chic was the dress-code recommended on the invitation, and Zoe & Rob's spectacular wedding day turned out to be all that and more.  

Set on the bride's family vineyard in South Australia's Fleurieu region, Zoe was so dedicated to her vision for the wedding that the day before I found her up a ladder, getting her arms all scratched while hanging gum tree foliage from the ceiling of the clear marquee.  When she was finished she took a look at the effect and we both knew the sacrifice had been worth it!

We set the long communal tables for dinner with simple white china, paired with gold cutlery and laser-cut place names for each guest, a lovely souvenir for them to take home.  Hundreds of festoon lights, pillar candles in glass holders, and gorgeous floral arrangements in deep, rich colours completed the look.

Guests arrived at the ceremony by coach, courtesy of the bride & groom, to be greeted by Rowdy the Labrador looking very dapper in his black bow-tie and ready to lead the way down the hillside toward the cluster of trees by the water that Zoe & Rob had chosen for their ceremony.

There were lots of personal touches in this wedding to make the day extra special, and Zoe was driven to the ceremony by her father in his vintage MG.  A light rain began to fall, but it didn't phase the bride who politely refused an umbrella and made her way down the aisle smiling, and glowing with happiness.

Making their way back toward the marquee afterward, guests were served pre-dinner drinks from an incredibly stylish and fun bar-cabin built by the groom and his team from timber pallets and decked out with fairy lights and greenery.  There was also a gorgeous acoustic set, performed by a friend of the happy couple.

After a banquet style dinner and some heart-felt speeches, the real party got started.  Everywhere you turned there was something festive happening, something different to involve yourself in - toasting marshmallows over the fire pit, helping yourself from the dessert table which was loaded with contributions from family & friends, taking a turn at the wedding cake piñata (hand-made by the bride and a long-standing family tradition), and the band who kept the dance floor full all night with Dragon and Bon Jovi covers amongst other classics.

It was such a pleasure to be a part of this amazing day, which was full of love and countless happy moments.  If you'd like the opportunity to focus on being with your loved ones on your special day, and leave all the work to the Sparrow team, hit the Contact button at the bottom of our Services page, and we'll take it from there! xo

- Style Guide -
Photography: Love Fool Photography | Beauty: Hair by Pipsqueek in Saigon and Makeup by Liv Lundelius | Bride's Gown: Suzanne Harward | Catering: Dine Fine Dining & Catering | Cinema: Lightwise Cinematography | Entertainment: Jesse Francis and the Happy Leonards | Florals: the Rose & Radish | Hire Equipment: the Outhouse, TJ Hire | Officiant: Married by Ali | Rentals & Décor: Festival Hire, Lily & Bramwell | Transportation: Goolwa Bus & Coach | Planned & Styled by the Bride & Groom | Coordination by Sparrow Weddings & Events

Six Ways a Wedding Planner Will Keep the Romance Alive

I have found that while many people think a wedding planner's life must be super-glamourous, they don't often have a clear idea of exactly what we do.  Yes, I have seen the movie 'The Wedding Planner' starring the fabulous Jennifer Lopez (in fact I love it and often pull out my battered DVD copy on a rainy Sunday afternoon for yet another viewing).  Very occasionally my job does look like that, and that's awesome.  But not often.

So I thought it was time to explain how we can help you in slightly more practical ways than Ms Lopez demonstrated, during what can be one of the most busy and challenging times of your life.  Ready?  Read on friends....

1. We do away with your stress - In a recent study 70% of engaged couples said planning their wedding felt even more stressful than buying a house, or public speaking.  And this is a process that often runs for up to a year!  If you were buying a house you'd hire a real estate agent, and if you had a big public speaking gig coming up you might hire a voice coach.  Doesn't it make sense then to also hire a professional wedding planner?  Someone to guide you through the planning process in an order that makes sense.  Someone to be right by your side going through monthly checklists, making and attending appointments with vendors, building a comprehensive timeline of the day, designing a cohesive theme and colour scheme with you, creating and managing your budget, and handling a myriad of other details.  Having someone take this on for you will give you the peace of mind of knowing that nothing has been forgotten.  And of course we'll be there on the day, prepared for the unexpected, and making sure your big day is as perfect as it can possibly be.

2. We do away with your family's stress - A lot of couples are lucky enough to have wonderful family members whom they can ask to help with wedding-related tasks.  This seems like a good idea at the time, but it almost always goes pear-shaped on the day.  These jobs are all an enormous amount of work, they take a lot of time, and your well-meaning relatives may not quite know what they're getting themselves into.  As an example, I typically spend three to four hours doing set-up on the morning of a wedding.  It's things like moving furniture, setting out décor, greeting vendors as they arrive and making sure they have everything they need, and ensuring equipment is in working order.  And that's just the tip of the iceberg.  These things all need over-seeing during the event itself also.  There are two big reasons why employing your family is not a good idea -
Firstly, your mum, dad, auntie and bestie all deserve to spend your wedding day doing nothing but being in the moment and celebrating with you.  They've been there through the hard times of your life and they should be free to enjoy the best times with you.
Secondly, if anything should go wrong, a wedding planner has the experience and expertise to simply fix it and do their best to make sure you never hear about it.  I always carry a tool-box full of dozens of odd things like bobby pins, a hammer, traffic cones, garden shears, and umbrellas, and I have needed every one of them more than once.  And if your lovely auntie has made your wedding cake and it doesn't make it through the car ride in one piece, for example, there's probably no fall-back.  A professional baker knows how to transport your cake safely and should the worst happen they will be tootling straight back to their bakery in a big hurry to make it right, and get it back to the reception on time.

3. We save you a TON of time - The average wedding takes 250 hours to plan from start to finish (even the 'simple' ones).  That's more than six weeks of full-time work!  Plus, you probably haven't hired too many wedding professionals in the past, so naturally you may not know what to look for in the many different vendors you'll need on the day.  Instead of your having to decline all invitations in order to spend evenings and weekends trawling the internet, interviewing the candidates, and trying to compare the benefits of each (and doing this fifteen times over for all the different vendors), a wedding planner will listen to your needs, do the research, and present you with two options to choose from that suit both your personal style and your budget.  Hey presto, you're done!  And as a bonus you've maintained the balance of time in your everyday life.  Well done you :)

4. We work for you, not the venue - Some venues offer a Venue Coordinator as part of their package.  Please don't make the mistake of thinking this alleviates the need for a wedding planner.  Venue Coordinators are lovely people who work very hard at their job, but they're only concerned with what happens at the venue.  This is great for your reception.  But your wedding day starts hours before that, probably early that morning when your hair and makeup artist arrives at your home.  Who will be there for you when the mini-bus doesn't arrive on time to transport your guests to the ceremony?  When you're starving mid-afternoon because you haven't had a chance to eat since breakfast and you need snacks?  When there's a last minute shopping run to do because someone forgot the cake cutting set?  Who will be at the ceremony early to ensure fans are running on a hot day, and flowers are set-up as arranged?  You got it, it's your wedding planner.

5. You're planning a wedding somewhere other than where you live - It happens more often than you think, for many different reasons.  Each year I work for at least a few couples who live interstate and are planning a destination wedding here in Adelaide.  You need someone on the ground who knows the best vendors in town, and how to secure their services.  Your wedding planner will also keep things moving during the planning process, and attend appointments on your behalf, when you can't be there to manage it.

6. We're going to save you money - Yes it's true, we do charge a fee to manage your wedding.  But we're more affordable than you might think and there are financial benefits to having us on your team.  For one thing we know all the best vendors in town!  There are many wedding photographers who do amazing work, but we're going to direct you toward the one who is both amazing and considerate of your budget (and the one who is fun to hang out with all day!).  Also, our favourite vendors give us a discount on their services, in return for referring couples to them.  Some planners keep this as a commission which is cool if it's right for their business.  Some of us, myself included, feel that one of the benefits of having us on-board is you get to take advantage of these discounts, and we pass them straight on to you. 
Think of your wedding planner's fee as an insurance policy that protects you against mishaps on the day, and the wrong type of vendor, as well as wasted time and probably saving your sanity at some point.  The average style and size of a wedding in Adelaide costs around $30-$35,000.  If you bought a new car or an overseas holiday for that amount, I bet you'd invest in an insurance policy on them.  Same goes for your wedding.

7. (I know, the title says six, I'm into surprises and this is your bonus.  You're welcome xo)
We're going to help you define what you want
- A common myth about wedding planners is that we're going to ignore your needs, go off on a tangent, and do things the way we want to, in order to boost our portfolio, or something.  I wouldn't know, I don't do that, and neither do any of the other planners I know.  Our job is to listen to you.  Really listen.  It's one of the most vital skills a wedding planner must have.  Your dream wedding is our dream wedding, and if you're not sure what that looks like yet, we know the questions to ask you in order for us both to be able to work it out together.  I figure one of the reasons you hired me is for my expertise and knowledge in this area, so I'm going to give you my best advice where it's needed.  But you are in control of the final outcome on your wedding, I'm here to facilitate that and make sure it happens, exactly the way you want it.

Well that about wraps it up, I hope I've answered some of your questions about how a wedding planner can make your life soooo much easier and help to ensure you remember your wedding as a beautiful day spent celebrating with all your favourite people gathered around you, instead of a stress-filled chore you just had to get through (ugh, who needs that, right?) 

If you'd like more info about exactly how Sparrow can help with your wedding, please visit our Services page and hit the Contact button to send an inquiry directly to our inbox.  We'd love to hear from you!  Cheers, Emma xo

Winter Blues Wedding | Sarah + Adrian

Sarah & Adrian are both doctors and as you'd expect they first met at work.  With such high-pressure careers they both felt they wanted to take a step back from the usual hustle of their day-to-day lives, and create a wedding day that was intimate and relaxed.

Adrian is a real foodie and wanted to treat his guests to an amazing meal.  With its stellar reputation for creative menus, and together with stunning Adelaide Hills views, the choice of Mount Lofty House for their venue was easy.  Sarah and Adrian chose a morning ceremony, followed by lunch in the Piccadilly Restaurant where the open fire would keep things warm and cosy.

Their June wedding date called for a winter theme and Sarah's brief for the design was simply that she loved blue, and ice cream (at this point, I knew I was going to love her!).  They showed me a Ben & Jerry's ice cream cup, custom designed and personalised by Adrian, in which he had popped Sarah's engagement ring before proposing.  

We presented several different blue-based designs with the bride & groom eventually deciding on Navy Blue, Blush Pink & Gold.  They fell in love with a table setting pic and we built the rest of the décor around that.  (The Ben & Jerry's cup was immediately slated for the bridal table and you'll find it in the pics below).

Flowers featured heavily in the design, to complement the natural surroundings.  Incorporated in the blush pink bouquets and table arrangements were soft, fluffy dahlias, berries and frosted leaves, all tied together with navy striped ribbon.

Sarah and Adrian allowed me to have fun adding some surprise elements to their décor, so the big reveal on the day was as much a treat for them as it was for their guests.

As a sidenote, this bride is such a rock-star she went out to her fave band's concert the night before her wedding day, rolled home late, and was up and at 'em early on her wedding morning, looking as fresh and gorgeous as if she'd gone to bed early with a hot chocolate and a face mask.  Nothing was going to stop her!

These guys were so much fun to spend time with, it was really a pleasure to be able to work on creating their perfect wedding with them.  We're wishing them a lifetime of love and happiness together xo

If you'd like to ask Sparrow to plan & style your wedding day, please fill out a Contact form on our Services page, we'd love to hear from you!

- Style Guide -
Photographer: Katherine Schultz Photography | Beauty: Vivacious Hair Styling & Makeup Artistry | Bride's Gown: Bridal on Pulteney | Cake: Heidelberg Cakes | Entertainment: STARDuo & Snap Snap Photobooth | Florals: Fleur de Lys Flowers | Groom & Groomsmen Attire: Peter Shearer Menswear | Rentals & Décor: Chaircovers Overall, Festival Hire & The Party Company | Venue: Mount Lofty House | Planning, Styling & Coordination: Sparrow Weddings & Events

Ten Things Bride's need in their Survival Kit

If you're planning your wedding right now, I'm sure you've got a to-do list a mile (or two!) long.  You've probably chosen your dress, designed your invitations, and booked your dream venue.  Although you're focussed on the things you need to do for the event itself, a lot of brides are not aware that they need to be prepared for things to get a little cray-cray during the 'getting ready' phase of their wedding day.  You know, when you're in the hotel suite with your girls, drinking champagne, maybe having a bit of a dance party, and getting your hair and makeup done.  I don't want to rain on all this fun, but *whispers* things can go wrong.  You need a Bride's Survival Kit, and don't worry, I've got you covered.

The Bride's Survival Kit is a curated set of essential items designed to ensure a stress-free wedding day for the bride, her maids and her guests.  A miracle basket of goodies where you can find just what you need, at just the right time. 

The real truth is that no matter how well you've planned everything, there will always be unforeseen mishaps along the way, and we want you to be prepared!  A bridesmaid might need to clean her teeth after spending the morning snacking on jellybeans.  The father of the bride may need a quick brush-up before escorting you down the aisle.  A guest may find themselves with a case of the sniffles, and at some point the bride will probably need a few extra bobby pins (when you figure out where those things constantly disappear to, let me know okay).  All of these minor hiccups can quickly be resolved with the contents of your wedding day survival kit.

So what exactly is in there?  The kit includes items to handle any emergency situation that may arise.  From hair accessories to dental care, sanitary products to skincare, snacks and mints, cotton tips and facial tissues, nail tools and basic first aid.  It's all in there and when you need it, it's a life-saver!  The list of needed inclusions is long, but here are ten of the basics to get you started -
* Toothbrushes
* Toothpaste
* Breath Mints
* Hollywood Tape
* On-the-Go Snacks
* Lip Balm
* Band-Aids
* Bobby Pins
* Hair Ties
* Sunscreen

Your survival kit needs to check-in to your hotel with you so it's there when it's needed for both yourself and your attendants while getting ready.  It can then be moved on to the ladies rest-room at your reception for guests to be able to use.  They will love you for enabling them to fix their outfit or their hair in a hot minute, and get back to enjoying the party!

[Image courtesy of Styled Images]

Why is it called Sparrow?

Friends, I get asked quite a lot about how I came up with Sparrow's name and I thought this was a good place to share the answer.

Firstly, coming up with a business name is H.A.R.D.  I know all you business owners out there will agree that it's no picnic coming up with something that's easy to spell, easy to remember, not already taken, can be married (ha! see what I did there?) with a recognisable logo, and all the other considerations that go along with it.

So I knew where I wanted my career to head next, and I had this business all planned out in my mind, I just needed a name for my baby.  So I started doing my research and digging around online.  I came up with all kinds of cute, cheesy, funny, dodgy, catchy and just-plain-awful names and played around with them for a bit, but nothing really stuck.  Folks, I'm not going to lie, I was not having fun at this point.  But I still wanted to launch this business so I had to get over my melodramatic meltdown and push forward.

And then, I found Aphrodite, the Greek Goddess of Love.  She's beautiful (as all brides are), and sacred to her were myrtle, roses, doves and sparrows.  Ah-ha!  It all came together very easily after that.  I had a graphic designer form my ideas into the logo you see today and very quickly I couldn't imagine any other identity for my business.  Oh, and the colour?  It's just my fave :)

About the only one not pleased with Sparrow's evolution is my trusty office assistant.  Dash is a Brittany Spaniel with a very high opinion of himself who thought his face should be on the business card.  (He pops up on Sparrow's Instagram feed now and then if you'd like to meet him).  I had to tell him that of course he's extremely cute but not quite right for this particular project, he's destined for bigger things.  He still gets a long walk and lots of cuddles every day so he's pretty well reconciled to it now.

Well that's the story, onwards and upwards my friends!

Love, Emma xo

Adelaide Destination Wedding | Natasha + Chardon


Natasha & Chardon had an Adelaide destination wedding on Chardon's parents property just outside of Oakbank in the Adelaide Hills.  A lovely old homestead with a carefully tended cottage garden for the ceremony, followed by a large marquee reception for one hundred guests on the rolling lawns.  They wanted their wedding to have a very easy-going vibe so they decided to forgo the formal sit-down affair in favour of food trucks for dinner and drinks.  Although there wasn't a set colour-scheme for this wedding, the bride & groom designed a rustic country style for their décor that was both simple and elegant, and fitted in perfectly with the surroundings. 

Natasha & Chardon met at work where Chardon is a pilot and Natasha a flight attendant.  I know, it's just like a classic romantic movie and I love it!  They started talking with each other so much on that first meeting that they almost missed their shift, and they've been together ever since.

As you'd expect, the location of the proposal was another destination and Chardon went down on one knee at a winery during a weekend getaway in Hobart.  I'm told Natasha had no idea that this was going to happen and had to be prompted several times before spotting her engagement ring amongst a plate of oysters.

A highlight of the wedding day included Griffin, the happy couple's labradoodle, who had flown down especially to see his Mum & Dad get married and at the ceremony he was the cutest ring-bearer you've ever seen.  Afterward, while the bridal party set out to take photos, the guests were served drinks & canapes, and were entertained with live music and lawn games including a giant game of Connect 4 that was particularly popular with the smaller guests in the crowd. 

Later on, the bridal party were announced into the marquee to much fanfare and food truck service began with a choice of wood-oven pizza or german food.  It went down very well with guests and there was a real festival atmosphere as the sun went down and strings of festoon lighting lit up the scene.

Guests were keen to hit the dance floor after dinner, and the party kicked off with a traditional Greek Zorba dance, enthusiastically led by Natasha's YiaYia who had flown from Greece to celebrate her granddaughter's marriage.

Sparrow was thrilled to Coordinate this gorgeous wedding and we wish Natasha & Chardon a lifetime of happiness together. 

If you'd like to book Sparrow to Coordinate your wedding, just send an inquiry through our Services page.

- Style Guide -
Photography: Whitewall Photography | Bride's Gown: Made with Love | Cake: The Sweet Tooth Factory | Bar & Beverage: Little Vintage Bar & Van and The People vs Coffee | Catering: Two Fat Blokes Pizza and Wienerbago | Cinema: Lightwise Cinematography | Entertainment: Adam Moffatt Music and Adelaide Professional DJ's | MC: Michael Elwood | Groom & Groomsmen's Attire: Gerry's Suit Hire | Rentals & Décor: Adelaide Hills Party Hire, Olympic Party Hire , Minty Mary Pea and Bulb Lighting | Transportation: Luv Bugs | Coordination: Sparrow Weddings & Events | Cake pic by Sparrow Weddings & Events


Tropical Bali Wedding | Sasha + Jason

Sasha & Jason's wedding was the final wedding of 2016 for Sparrow, and I think we saved the best for last! 

When we first got together to discuss the direction we wanted to take this one in, Sasha & Jason spoke of their love of travel, and together they have a very impressive list of destinations they've ticked off the list!  In particular they have enjoyed time in Bali recently, and together with the generous offer of friend's lovely home with it's tropical gardens, a Tropical Bali theme seemed the natural choice.  I was asked to keep things simple and stylish, in keeping with the atmosphere and natural beauty of the mountains, rainforests, terraced rice paddies and temples around Ubud, in the uplands of Bali.

And so we began, pairing neutrals and rose gold metallics, bringing in flower walls to serve as back-drops, furnishing the garden with natural timber bar tables and plush lounges, adding lots of small accessories and décor, and finally bringing it all together with absolutely stunning arrangements of florals and foliage by Liesa at Fleur de Lys Flowers.  The bride and her maids accessorised with pineapple earrings and flip-flops on their feet :)

As the big day dawned, Adelaide's unseasonal storm of the night before cleared and left us with a hot and steamy summer day, just what we needed to complete the authentic Bali vibe!

Guests arrived in the early afternoon to be greeted with fruit cocktails from the caravan bar and Sasha & Jason were married under an enormous fig tree with their four children by their side.

After the ceremony, Happy Hour was declared by the best 12-year-old MC ever, and guests gathered around the pool to spend a relaxing afternoon with more drinks, live music playing, and plates of canapes being passed around.  The customary speeches followed and such genuine, heartfelt words were shared, leaving barely a dry eye in the house!  The day was rounded out with dessert platters and plenty of dancing on the lawn, making this wedding one of my absolute favourites so far. 

There was such a genuine feeling of love and warmth running through the whole day.  We can't wait to see what adventures Sasha, Jason and their gorgeous family get up to next! xo

- Style Guide -
Photography: Natasha DeLacy | Bar & Beverage: Little Vintage Bar & Van | Hair & Makeup: Susan Mercer | Bride's Dress: Dotti | Bridesmaids Dresses: Bardot Junior | Cheese Cake: Feastling Catering | Catering: Plenty Catering Co | Entertainment: STARDuo | Bombonniere: Seed Skincare | Florals: Fleur de Lys Flowers | Groom & Groomsman Attire: Oxford | Officiant: Cathy Humzy | Rentals & Décor: Vintage Custom Designs, Adelaide Flower Wall Experts, Festival Hire | Rings: Tiffany & Co | Stationery: Little Birdie Invitations & Design | Transportation: Adelaide Impressions Chauffeured Services | Venue: Vella Residence | Styling, Planning + Coordination: Sparrow Weddings & Events

Classic + Elegant Wedding | Catey + Mark

Catey & Mark's wedding was truly An Occasion with all the elements of a classic, elegant, beautiful celebration.

With a gorgeous Victorian-era mansion as a backdrop, located on a leafy street in one of Adelaide's oldest suburbs, this wedding was infused with history and tradition from the first.

At our first meeting Catey told me she wasn't sure what colours she wanted to go with yet, but she knew she wanted the whole design to fit in with the Victorian setting.  She also told me that she loved fairy lights, flowers, greenery, lace, and simplicity overall.  A little further into the design process we decided on neutrals, white/ivory/cream with a touch of blush pink, which suited both the venue and Catey's own personal style. 

Following the church ceremony, guests arrived at the venue to be greeted with champagne in the ballroom where a musician was playing classical music on the grand piano.  Guests were then invited to move outside to the gardens where there was a clear marquee, lined with thousands of fairy lights, urns full of flowers, and a seven-piece band playing jazz and swing music.  Fairy lights in the trees, a hanging floral installation and French provincial furniture for lounging on when your dancing feet got tired completed the picture.

From there, the night was just about perfect, filled with amazing cocktail food, heartfelt speeches, so much dancing, and free-flowing drinks from the silver pressed-metal bar.  A spectacular start to Catey & Mark's married life, we're wishing them all the very best for their future together. 

- Style Guide -
Photography: Katherine Schultz Photography | Ceremony: All Souls St Peters | Bar & Beverage: Are You Being Served | Beauty: Vivacious Hair Styling | Bride's Gown: Grace Loves Lace | Cake: Heidelberg Cakes | Catering: Indulgence Food Design | Entertainment: Baker Boys Band | Florals: Fleur de Lys | Rentals & Décor: Festival Hire, Old Refinery, Olympic Party Hire | Styling, Planning & Coordination: Sparrow Weddings & Events

Seasons of Love | When to Get Married

Lots of things come into play when you’re deciding on your wedding date, but today we’re talking seasons and how the time of year may affect your decision.  The seasons here in Adelaide are really lovely and there’s a definite change from one time of year to another, offering lots of amazing photo opportunities and wedding styles.  Here’s a few of the pros and cons that may help you make up your mind…

Winter -
From a practical point of view the winter can be a great time to get married if you’re looking to make the most of your budget.  While not guaranteed, many vendors offer discounts due to it being the ‘off-season’ for weddings and that could mean money left over to upgrade your honeymoon plans.  Some may think that winter is too cold for your ceremony but I think it’s an opportunity to really go to town with the styling details – add a fur stole (faux of course!) to your wedding gown, decorate indoor trees with sparkling silver frosty lights and serve warming cider pre-ceremony.  Don’t choose an outdoor wedding venue in the winter time unless there is some sort of solid flooring installed throughout.  Guests do not want to tramp even a short distance through the mud to get to your venue, and a horse and carriage is not ideal transport in that situation either.  The other thing is that the available hours of sunlight throughout the day is shorter at this time of year so you’ll be running on a tighter schedule to get outdoor venues set up and have photos taken in the best light.

Spring -
The most traditional time to marry and certainly one of the prettiest with its abundance of flowers.  Spring conjures up dreamy images of floating tulle and pastel colours with the season’s natural beauty being the ideal backdrop.  There are no weather restrictions to think of when choosing your gown, the weather will more than likely be mild and sunny so whether it’s short or long sleeves you prefer, you’ll be comfortable on the day.  With spring being the most popular choice however comes a few logistical issues.  You may not always get your first choice of wedding vendor as they are super-busy and often booked out 12-18 months in advance.  It can also be more difficult to secure a date that works for all the most important guests on your list as they’ll probably be attending several weddings during that time.

Summer -
Outdoor weddings are fantastic on a summer evening.  A late afternoon ceremony, followed by a cocktail bar set up by the pool and chinese lanterns hanging from trees over the dance floor, and there’s generally going to be an amazing party vibe going on.  A good photographer will be able to get some fabulous shots on an evening like that one.  One of the seemingly obvious choices in the summer is a beach wedding, but do remember that there is no shade on the beach and the weather regularly tops forty degrees at this time.  A better time for the beach is at the change of season from Spring to Summer, the end of November or perhaps beginning of December, and even then I’d recommend a fairly short ceremony, just in case.

Autumn -
My fave time of year to get married!  The weather is mild, and those autumn colours in your photographs are going to be to-die-for.  The first half of autumn generally finds us with a hint of summer still lingering, so an outdoor venue is still a pretty safe bet.  If a rustic theme is your choice then this time of year is perfect, with many natural settings providing all the décor you need.  It’s a good idea to choose a flexible venue with a back-up plan for rain, and these are not always easy to get so you’ll need a good 12-18 months again to get this one right.  Also, it might not be such a good season to choose if you have lots of guests travelling in from out of town.  They’ve often used up their annual leave over the recent Christmas period and won’t be able to get the time off they need. 

There you have it folks, hope you’ve enjoyed this walk through the year and it’s made your choice of date a little bit easier.


Wedding Registries

Setting up a wedding registry has to be one of the most fun parts of planning your wedding, maybe second only to choosing your dress.  You get to wander around a department store in a happy daydream, picking and choosing household items and décor at will, and building your perfectly styled home in your mind as you go along.  It’s like a pre-internet version of ‘adding to cart’ when you’re fantasy shopping online (come on, I know you do that too!).  Let me give you a few tips to make the whole thing run smoothly...

Firstly, don’t go overboard when registering.  Two or three stores you love are plenty for guests to choose from.  A department store with traditional household items is an especially good choice if you’ve never set up house before. You’re going to need all the big things like sheets and towels, as well as the smaller more obscure things like a corkscrew and barbecue tools.  Older guests generally feel more comfortable choosing from this type of registry also.  For your second option you can choose a place less conventional and more specific to your own interests such as an art gallery or a camping store.  Don’t forget there are some fantastic online gift registries available too.  Remember to be considerate of those on a budget and choose things from a variety of price ranges.

For several reasons, a good time to create your registry is about four to six months out from your wedding day.  This gives guests time to choose and purchase something, and have it posted to you if necessary.  If the store has run out of whatever a guest has chosen, it gives them time to order it in.  Also, if you are going to include the registry information in your invitations your printer will need all the details in plenty of time.

If you plan on requesting money as a gift, that’s fine, but a gift registry full of alternatives is still a good idea.  In the end, the choice of gift should always be up to the giver.

It’s considered to be in poor taste to include your registry information on your invitations or save-the-date cards.  In fact, traditional etiquette says that the registry message should simply be spread by word of mouth.  But the practical part of me just doesn’t see that working, so compromise with a separate insert in your invitation suite.  There are lots of cute little poems online to help you out with the wording.

Finally, don’t forget a thank you note!  It’s largely going out of fashion, but nothing brings more joy than a hand-written thank you card in the mail.  Texts and Facebook messages just do not cut it here, plus it’s a great excuse to get some personalised stationery made with your new initials (hurrah!).  If you can begin by sending your notes as gifts arrive, you’ll find it easier to keep up with and certainly less of a task than if you wait until after the wedding is over and you have to sit down to a whole stack of them. 

Keeping these few rules in mind will make your wedding registry a win-win for both you and your guests, so start shopping and have fun with it!

Wedding Etiquette

Still with me after the last blog post on Traditions?  Right, let’s move on to answering some of the common questions regarding etiquette, and handling some of those more delicate situations.

Children at the wedding - If you don’t want children at the wedding you need to do both of these things in order to make it clear to your guests and avoid awkward conversations further down the line:
1. When addressing invitations, leave the children’s names off, and don’t allow for confusion with wording like ‘the Clark Family’
2. Friends and family can pass the word around that children aren’t included this time

Also, we suggest you try adding one of these phrases to the bottom of the reply card:
* Adult Reception
* We hope the (# of) you will be able to join us

Other invitation etiquette –
* If someone hasn't responded to an invitation by one week past the RSVP date, call them.  They’re the ones being rude here and you’re entitled to ask.
* Children over the age of eighteen get their own invitations, even if at the same address as their parents.
* Your parents and wedding party will probably love to be sent an invitation as a keepsake, but for obvious reasons they don’t have to reply.
* You should put return postage on your RSVP’s, it’s just the considerate thing to do.

Wedding Gifts - This is such a tricky one, and everyone seems to have an opinion.  You’re certainly free to go your own way, but our thoughts are that gifts should be a lovely surprise and much appreciated, rather than an expectation of your guests.  After all, the important thing is that your family and friends are there to share the day with you, right?  So here goes…

Although wishing wells are very popular, traditionally it is considered rude to put ‘cash only gifts’, or other wording meaning the same thing on the invitation. 

Etiquette dictates that registry information shouldn't be put on the wedding invitation and it's left up to friends and family to inform everyone.  But that's not very practical.  We think it’s fine for gift information to be on a separate insert within the invitations.  Again, it should be worded so that your guest understands it is there to help guide them in their choice, should they choose to do so, rather than an expectation.  For example, ‘If you wish, we have registered at David Jones Adelaide’.  

Some couples like to politely inform their guests that gifts are not necessary on this occasion.  Perhaps you already have all you need, or many of your guests are spending money to travel to your wedding.  Alternatively, you may like to use the opportunity to direct your guests’ contribution toward something more meaningful to you.  We’ve seen many couples ask for donations toward their favourite charity in lieu of gifts, often in memory of a loved one who can’t be there on the day.

Second marriages -
* If the bride has been married before or has children it's still perfectly acceptable to wear white.  She is not supposed to wear a veil, have a train attached to her dress, or carry orange blossoms (must be a sign of purity or virginity thing).
* You know what, it's your wedding, wear whatever it is that makes you feel fabulous!
* The second time around, parents are not obliged to pay for anything.
* If the bride gets along with her ex-husband and his family, and its fine with her fiancé, then it’s acceptable to invite them to the wedding.  (It might be acceptable but we think it’s almost always a recipe for awkwardness at the very least).

If the bride is wearing gloves (which by the way, gives her wedding attire such an elegant look) -
* They can be taken off sometime before the wedding rings are exchanged and handed to the maid of honour who will give them back at an appropriate time.
* It’s appropriate to wear gloves in the receiving line and for the first dance.  When it comes time to eat and party, the gloves come off!

Seating Plan Basics -
* Don't seat battling relatives together.  In-fighting within families is always difficult, but trust us when we say that your wedding is not the time to try and mend fences.
* So that everyone has a good time, seat teens together, aunts and uncles together, etc.  Try seating groups either by their relationship to the bride and groom or by their ages.  One wedding we attended did away with the ‘immediate family’ table and split those people up amongst each and every table at the reception.  Surprisingly it really worked!  That family member was able to provide some insight on personal family traditions when they happened during the night and generally keep the conversation happening at tables where guests may not know each other very well. 
* As for the head table, the rule has changed so often that there really isn't one anymore, so do what makes you happy.  The bride and groom can sit at a raised table with their wedding party below them. They can have their own table with a table on either side of them with their wedding party. Bride and groom in the middle of a long table with men on one side and women on the other, or boy, girl, boy, girl. Parents and grandparents at the table or not, it's up to you.

Guest Rules -
* If a guest arrives at the church during the procession they should wait until the bride has gone down the aisle before entering.
* If a guest is late for the ceremony they should walk down an outside aisle and find a seat quickly and quietly (this once happened to me and the only way in was behind the bridal party, eek!)
* If they are of a different faith they are not required to participate in the rituals, but if they want to that's fine.
* Guests from out-of-town pay for their own transport and accommodation (although it’s lovely of you to have a welcome basket waiting in their room).

Speech Etiquette - Everyone basically knows, you have a wedding, you better get the speeches prepared, because they are inevitable. If done well, they can really add to the enjoyment and atmosphere of the occasion.  As for the proper order of speeches, we've looked at books and websites, and everyone has a different order.  What is universally accepted is that the only person who is required to make a toast at the wedding is the best man.  And we say, other than the best man being first, and the couple being last, what happens in between is up to the bridal couple.

If you’re having more than five speakers try and fit a couple of speeches in between dinner courses. People tend to get bored if they have to listen to one speech after another, and after eating a big meal people have to get up and move around, or risk dropping off to sleep.

Advice on the Speeches -
Things to Say and Do:
* Keep speeches short, five minutes is ample
* If you can, add a funny (yet tasteful!) story
* If you get sentimental, you'll be a hit, so don't be embarrassed about it

Things Not to Say and Do -
* Don't be drunk before you give your speech
* Don't curse, don’t chew gum and don’t use a lot of slang
* Don't bring up the couples past relationships, they will not love you for it
* Funny is one thing, but taken too far can become humiliating.  Save it for the bachelor party instead.

The Ceremony & Reception Etiquette -

Which side of the church?  Left side is traditionally the bride’s side, and right is for the groom.

The correct order for the attendants in the processional - There are many variations to the processional, we’re just giving you one option.

* The groom, best man and groomsmen are already at the altar
* Bridesmaids first
* Maid of honour next
* Flower girl and ring bearer
* Bride walks with her father, other escort or by herself.

 The order of the recessional -

* Bride & groom first
* Flower girl & ring bearer next
* Maid of honour & best man
* Bridesmaids & groomsmen in couple pairs

So there you have it.  We hope that covers everything you ever wanted to know about the why and how of a traditional wedding.  If you have other questions, let us know, we can cover it in another blog post!  You might choose to follow some, all, or none of them, and that’s okay because there’s another much-loved tradition we haven’t mentioned yet - rules are made to be broken!