Our regular blog covering all aspects of our work helping couples plan their Antipodean wedding from the UK

Small Weddings

30 July 2009

My friend Charlotte recently discussed with me ideas for her South African wedding. A small 'intimate' celebration is what she envisages, no hype, no unnecessary expense, just a day that's memorable and brilliant.

If the notion of a lavish event with hundreds of guests you don't know or haven't seen in years is your worst nightmare, just like Charlotte, you'd be amongst a growing number of many a bride-to-be with the exact same fear.

'How can I create an intimate wedding without it being a non-event?' I'm often asked this very question and the answer is: 'Very easily!' Whether you're getting married on a beach, in a garden, by a lake, in a church or stately home, you can make your day anything you want it to be - even on a minimal budget! In fact opting for a smaller, more intimate wedding can open up further possibilities rather than limit them.

And no matter how low-key your event may be, every bride can do with a little help. A major misconception many couples have is that wedding consultants only assist with big budget weddings.

If you’re not the most organised bride-to-be, if event planning is a stress that looms like a big black cloud, or if you have a demanding job that doesn’t leave you with time to spare, making an allowance for some professional assistance could be the smartest thing you do, especially if you're getting married in a location different than where you live.

Keep in mind that a wedding planner can design your wedding from start to finish but you don’t have to hire a wedding planner to do everything. A wedding professional is there to offer guidance, giving you a clearer picture of what you want (or can have), helping you stick to your budget, to prioritize and introduce you to reputable vendors that suit your tastes, alleviate family conflicts by taking charge, pose questions to vendors that you might never have considered, devise an overall wedding vision and even book your honeymoon. The purpose of all of this is to allow you as a couple to relax, have a good chance of getting better rates with vendors and ultimately have more time to devote to other things like your job, fiancé and life in general!

Budget issues aside, there are some significant reasons why planning a smaller wedding is the way to go. If money is not an issue a smaller wedding offers the opportunity to spend lavishly on fewer guests rather than conservatively on many. Smaller venues can often create an intimate and romantic setting. A shorter guest list means that you and your new spouse can spend real time with your special guests, and of course inviting friends and family who are closest to you can be so much more meaningful than the pageantry of a large wedding.


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Press Release

19 July 2009

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NZ Nuptials

14 July 2009

There is nowhere in the world where you will find such divine extremes of nature as those New Zealand has to offer. Majestic snow capped mountain peaks, clear tranquil lakes, dense rain forest, bubbling hot mud pools and all within two relatively small strips of island. For those of you heading to New Zealand for your nuptials, we have an abundance of recommendations for you all over the country.


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Wet Wedding

13 July 2009

It’s gone from being super sunny, sleep with all windows open and nothing but knickers on weather to gloomy and dull. But I will admit I enjoy a thunderstorm and a water-coloured rainbow every now and then and if you get caught in one on your wedding day, though it may not be part of the original plan, think of the photographic possibilities! Be inspired …


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Aussies still splashing out

Australian couples continue to defy the tough economic times, spending up big on lavish nuptials, a bridal magazine has found. The economic downturn hasn't dampened the bridal spirit with the average cost of tying the knot $49,202, an increase of 25 per cent in the past three years, Bride to Be says.

The magazine's Cost of Love report, investigating the financial repercussions of romance, found couples are turning away from the traditional, splashing out to make their big day more personal.

"There's no recession in bridal town," Bride to Be acting editor Jacqui Mooney said. "It's about quality not quantity with couples lavishing more money on fewer guests."

Couples are spending an average $10,476 on their receptions, inviting 97 guests at $108 per head, the magazine's online poll of 1,007 couples found. Less than a third choose to tie the knot in a church, with more than half opting for outdoor civil ceremonies "in a setting that's significant to them as a couple".

"Couples are older now at the age of first marriage, they're more sophisticated and well travelled so they're really taking control of their day," Ms Mooney said. "They see it as a significant life experience and they want to invest heavily so that they can have the day that reflects their personal taste."

There's a growing trend toward destination weddings with more than a third of couples marrying interstate and almost one in 10 (nine per cent) making their vows overseas.

The average spend on the all-important white dress is up from $1,900 in 2006 to $2,220. However, 36 per cent of women are paying between $2,000 and $4,000 for their gown, while 12 per cent splurge in excess of $4,000.

Ms Mooney said the groom's style had become just as important in recent times. "It's about what the boys are wearing as well as the girls," she said. "One in five grooms are even having skin and hair treatments in the lead-up to the big day."

While couples are spending three times more on wedding decorations, Ms Mooney says they haven't lost sight of what's important.

"When we asked brides what was most important to them on the day, half of the ladies said it was all about committing to her partner and celebrating their love in front of their closest family and friends," she said.

More than 116,000 couples tied the knot in Australia in 2006.


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Good Planning

*Prioritise - Avoid getting lost in the detail and make sure that all the essential planning elements take first place, such as booking your venue and key suppliers.

*Delegate - You'll be amazed at how talented and helpful friends and family can be. Everyone loves to be involved with a wedding, so hand out as many tasks as you can.

*Stick to the budget (as best you can) by making sure you have these basic items costed in.

1. Venue hire/reception
2. Photography
3. Wedding attire
4. Flowers
5. Music/entertainment
6. Wedding rings
7. Stationery
8. Gifts
9. Transport/accommodation
10. Cake
11. Food/drink
12. Ceremony/legal fees
13. Wedding planner/toastmaster
14. On-the-day preparations


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Kiwi Wedding

Having a New Zealand themed wedding can be loads of fun and there is so much choice in great food, wine and favour ideas.

New Zealand is known for it's amazing landscapes. Mountainous peaks, white rivers and rolling vineyards. Consider your setting and utilise every part of it, even if the weather's rubbish. Often photographers prefer to work with inclement weather to maximise the effect of the images.

Have your catering encompass all things ‘Kiwi’ by serving New Zealand roast lamb with chargrilled kumara and of course there are endless wines to chose from that will compliment any meal. My personal favourite is Cloudy Bay sauvignon blanc. When your guests arrive why not offer a kiwi and lime cocktail garnished with kiwi fruit and for a traditional end to your meal, serve posh mini pavlovas followed by Anzac bikkies with coffee.

For favours you can't go past a traditional bone carving or something that includes Paua shell. If you're a rugby fan, give the men little All Blacks keyrings.

Think of the things you took for granted during your childhood such as Manuka honey and lamingtons at Grandma's. My husband's fondest memories are of catching trout on Lake Taupo and the reminiscent smell of manuka chips when smoking the fish. All of these sentimental memories are wonderful to incorporate into your day.


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Bridal Showers

So I was chatting to my friend and neighbour recently who informs me that bridal showers are 'an American thing'. It seems it's not the norm for UK brides to host such an event but ididjeridoo predicts they're set to become the next best thing here in the UK.

Traditionally the event is all about 'showering' the bride with small gifts but it's also an opportunity to invite all your girlfriends, neighbours, work colleagues and family members (female only of course) to mingle and get to know one another.

They are no hard fast rules, but the structure needn't be formal. In contrast to a hen night, bridal showers tend to be held in the afternoon with a relaxed, girly atmosphere. It should also be a relatively easy to plan affair and are often hosted in the Bride's home.

There are endless options for hosting a bridal shower but here are just a few ideas to get your brains ticking.

Food is the important! Serve a combination of hot and cold finger foods. You don't want your guests balancing plates of food on their laps while trying to carve into meat and potatoes, instead opt for skewered foods that can be eaten with one hand with the greatest of ease and mixtures are limited only by imagination. Marinated fish skewered alternately with pepper and served with a chilli dip is a treat as is skewers of cherry tomatoes with stuffed olives. Dessert options are endless such as mini cupcakes but my signature dish for gatherings is chocolate cups filled with berries and cream. Easy to make and a favourite every time!

Games are the best part of any shower and it's customary to incorporate them into your shower so here's a few of my personal faves.

Wedding Pictionary
Everyone writes down a word related to the wedding theme and puts it in a bowl. The bride starts by picking a word and attempts to draw it on the white board, and all the guests have to guess what it is, beating the one minute egg timer. If successful, the guest gets one point.

How well do you know the bride?
Each guest must answer 20 questions about the bride and when everyone has finished, all the guests read out their answers one by one, and then the Bride can correct them! The person with the most correct answers wins. All questionnaires should then be put into a folder for the Bride to keep!

This is a sentimental and emotional game. All the guests have to sit around in a circle and starting from the person to the left of the bride everyone states what they most fondly remember about the first time they met the bride or they're most cherished memory about friendship or the happiest memory or even something to embarrass the bride.

Of course just because showers are traditionally held at home, that doesn't mean you can't host one anywhere you please. For a soiree with a difference why not have a bit of retro fun at All Star Lanes private bowling alleys or indulge in a spa day with a few of your closest girls.


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Going Green

10 July 2009

Going Green. Not the first thing most brides consider a priority on their big day, but eco-chic is in and there are loads of ways to make your wedding memorable and cost effective too!! Here’s just a few ideas.

1. Choose local suppliers to reduce carbon emissions and of course support your local economy. You will save on travel expenses too.

2. Reduce your decoration costs by booking an outdoor venue such as botanical gardens or a vineyard, which of course both Oz and NZ have an abundance of.

3. Opt for local, organic seasonal flowers, which are cheaper!

4. Make your own invitations on recycled handmade paper. There are many suppliers that can assist with this.

5. Celebrate with candlelight. Not only does it create a romantic ambience but also reduces your electricity bill.

6. Serve food on banana leaves or bamboo plates.

7. Recycle flowers used for the church into table centerpieces.

8. Collect jam jars and turn them into vases for your guest tables. Fill them with candles, pebbles or flowers.

9. Give favours that double as place cards such as engraved trinkets or wooden nametags.

10. When you're done with your flowers, why not deliver them to a local nursing home or church.


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When you find THE dress

8 July 2009

For me and for perhaps every other bride-to-be, when considering THE dress, it to be something that said ‘this is me in my element’. I didn’t want was in fashion or what would make my 32ff’s look pert and my pear shaped bum taut, I wanted a dress that made me feel fabulous and that didn’t detract from my personality. So I thought about the look I wanted to create, I thought about what makes me ME. And soon enough I had in mind the perfect dress. Problem was, I hadn’t actually seen it anywhere. I was on a mission.

Luckily I started my search early. I found a dressmaker back in Australia who was willing to create the gown of my dreams, to whom I paid my 50% deposit upfront and began discussing fabrics and trimmings on a daily basis.

It was all coming together perfectly … until my dress-maker went missing and I soon discovered that her company had gone into liquidation and I was one of many women who had lost not only a large sum of money but months of working with someone who had promosed to create my perfect wedding gown. Disaster had struck, but as I said, lucky for me I’d begun the search early, which meant, the only thing I really lost was money and not time.

So the search for a dress continued and this time I decided that buying in London would be wise. I trawled the internet searching for all the elements that would make my gown until I found it. Exactly what I wanted bar a few minor alterations and for a price I could well afford.

Here I am at my very first fitting. I had no desire to wear a veil until the shop assistant placed one on my head and I was instantly sold. It completed the look and I couldn’t help but swish back and forth around the shop like I was Cinderella. ‘You look stunning’ gushed the shop assistant. To which I replied ‘I know!’

I had a few things done to the dress like changing the 80s bows on the back to buttons but in the end, I ended up opting for a store bought dress, which was never the intention. And I didn’t only buy it because of the previous drama. I genuinely fell in love with it and knew it was for me, which is why I would encourage every bride to search beyond what you won’t compromise on because in doing so you may just nab your dream dress, for less than you bargained for!


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Throw a weekend wedding and draw out the celebrations!

So everyone hates that day-after feeling, like Boxing Day when things start to return to normality and the months of hype have faded. No one wants celebrations to end so why not spread the festivities over several days. Who ever said that your wedding has to be the best ‘day’ of your life? Why not make it the best weekend?

When Kiwi and I begun planning our Sydney wedding from London, none of our families had met. His clan are all in NZ and mine, Australia, so the thought of introducing our families for the first time on the actual day was not only daunting, it felt improper. We wanted all the important people on the day to have at least been introduced. As well as this, when you’re a couple residing some 10,000 miles away from the majority of your invited guests, you want to find a way to spend as much time catching up with everyone as possible.

So we organized a dinner cruise on Sydney Harbour for the bridal party and immediate family the night before the wedding. It was the perfect setting for out of town guests, some of whom had never been to Australia and a fantastic opportunity to share good food and wine with the most important people.

The morning of the wedding, the groom and his entourage headed out for a game of putt putt golf and a few cold beers in the sun while the girls enjoyed getting ready over a champagne breakfast in our hotel room followed by tea with scones and cakes.

Our intimate ceremony took place in the late afternoon in the gardens of Sydney’s most infamous historical sandstone castle and my parents hosted a lunch at their home the next day. They hired caterers to provide a buffet style meal of hot and cold meats, salads and masses of desserts, along with chairs, tables, crockery and cutlery which meant we didn’t need to do a thing except take pleasure in hearing again and again how superb our wedding was. The celebrations went on till late in the evening and for my new husband and I, it was the perfect end to 15 months of planning, organizing and coordinating.

In many ways a day after celebration can be more enjoyable than the main event simply because you as newlyweds are able to relax in more laid-back and stress-free surroundings without worrying about how your hair looks or whether you’re going to fluff the vows.

Celebrating over a whole weekend is particularly relevant for brides and grooms traveling from abroad as we did, as well as out of town guests. When significant travel is required for just one day of festivities it can be physically and mentally demanding and loaded with more expectation from you as a couple and your families.

A weekend wedding is all about getting the absolute most out of the biggest celebration you and your partner will ever have – your union. And it makes sense that couples reward their guests with festivities spread out over a few days.

Being victims of geography, it was important to my husband and I that our guests, many of whom we see every several years, were given the opportunity to spend quality time with us, rather than just a quick cuddle before we jetted off back to London.


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And here I am ...

7 July 2009

I'm super excited to be posting my very first ididjeridoo blog!

So what is ididjeridoo and why is it worth having a blog?

I launched ididjeridoo for two very good reasons ...

1. Having planned my own Sydney based wedding from London, I couldn't help but think how useful it would be to have a UK based Antipodean wedding planner that I could bounce my ideas off. Then ... I began to wonder how many Antipodeans living in the UK (and there are almost half a million of us) were going home to get hitched and struggling to plan the whole thing across the world, on their own just like me. I realized there was a gaping hole in the market and a genuine need for a London-based wedding and event planner specifically designed to help Antipodean brides returning ‘home’ to get married ... which leads me to the reason two ...

2. I come from a creative mould; a childhood that encompassed performance, music and dance. I always knew that my gifts were in the art of expression whether it be singing, scrap booking, photography, poetry, fashion, illustration and design. It was what I indulged in. I spent hours collecting cards and drawing, writing lyrics and carefully adding them to my collection. I had an eye for detail and a passion for craft but it wouldn't influence my career until much later.

After more than a decade of administrative rot and unfulfilling roles, I made a decision to challenge myself and finally launch a concept that I knew would make a difference not only within the wedding industry but also within myself. So here I am, encouraged by my own strength and embracing my creative abilities for the first time in too long and loving every minute.

ididjeridoo is all about making the journey from engagement to marriage stress-free and enjoyable for Antipodeans headed home. We are a service driven consultancy and we operate under two very different banners that can be employed separately or as an all-in-one. Firstly we offer advice. We understand that not every couple has the need for a wedding planner. I know of some couples that are so clued up on what their day will entail, hiring a professional could prove pointless. That doesn't necessarily mean however that the same couple may not need someone to run through a checklist to make sure that everything has been thought of or assist with booking a last minute celebrant or even advise on how to get all the paperwork sorted before they get on that plane.

Every bride can do with a few tips and advice, which is why ididjeridoo offer just that without further obligation on the client's part.

Of course there are also couples who need the whole shebang; no idea where to start and requiring all the details taken care of from conception to completion. For this we assure expert planning, meticulous organization and flawless attention to detail by offering packages that can be tailored and are purely a guideline for the busy couple.


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about ididjeridoo

Aussie girl heads to London in search of adventure and soon falls for Kiwi boy. The pair begin to plan their Sydney wedding from across the globe and quickly discover a distinct lack of help available for UK based Antipodeans returning 'home' to tie the knot. How many couples are struggling with their long distance wedding planning just like us, they wondered ...

more about ididjeridoo here

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Shadan of ididjeridoo

Shadan is the Aussie girl who married a Kiwi boy, and discovered first hand the lack of help available for UK-based Antipodeans returning "home" to marry.

After more than a decade of customer focused roles, including personal assistant and events coordination, Shadan longed for a new challenge, doing something she was truly passionate about.

From a genuine desire to put her knowledge and love of all things wedding-y to good use, sprung forth a unique concept that makes long distance wedding planning special and simple for brides just like Shadan...

Read more about Shadan here

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