Category Archives: Budget

Destination: Be My Valentine!


Destination: Be Mine!

Valentine’s Day is nearly upon us, and for those of you needing a bit of a nudge as to whether or not it’s worth the effort, this blog will focus purely on that one specific day each year when romantic gestures are not only expected but encouraged and embraced by everyone from teenagers to the elderly!  Valentines Day is the perfect excuse to tell that special someone how much you care about them, whether it’s a new interest or an old love that needs rekindling!

If it weren’t for Valentines Day, my shy and introverted friend Trav may not have had the courage to send a bunch of roses to me at work.  A couple of days later we went on our first date, and we’ve been inseparable ever since! It was an unlikely partnership however we must be doing something right, because this Valentines Day we’ll celebrate five years together, and our wedding is all set for September this year when we make the whole thing official! Funny to think that one simple romantic gesture has led us to a lifetime of happiness together.

So, if you are thinking about planning a Valentine’s day for that special someone, my recommendation (and Trav’s!) is GO FOR IT!

Destination: Life’s a Picnic!

I know it might sound a little clichéd, but I have always loved picnics, and I think if you use unique and personal elements, this is such a romantic and fun way to share your Valentine you care.  Pack their favourite foods, and add some luxury elements such as fancy silverware, pretty flowers and a bottle of champagne.  This is a great idea for the girls wanting to spoil their guy on Valentine’s Day too, because everyone knows the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach!

Image: Ellie Millar

Destination: DIY Romance!

For those of you who can’t afford to buy expensive extravagant gifts for your Valentine – fear not!  Valentine’s Day is the perfect occasion to put your DIY skills to the test!  There are plenty of great projects online giving tips and ideas on things you can make yourself, but why look any further when you can be inspired by the Queen of DIY – Martha Stewart. Martha’s website has lots of great projects you can DIY for Valentine’s Day.  I really love these sweet felt fortune cookies, which are cheap and easy to make even if you are creatively challenged! You can view the step by step process or video on how to make these for yourself on the Martha Stewart website.

Destination: Hungry For Love!

If crafty DIY isn’t your thing, perhaps mixing up some sugar, spice, and all things nice will win over your Valentine!  There are so many delicious ways to whip up a Valentines day feast, and you can simply choose a recipe that suits your skill level, and away you go!  Trav famously made me a special Valentine’s dinner one year, which involved him hollowing out a pineapple to serve a tropical fried rice dish inside! Not only was it delicious, but I was so impressed that he’d managed to hollow out a pineapple that it made the dinner that much more meaningful!  If your Valentine is a sweet tooth, why not try out this amazing looking recipe from Dessert Living Today.  It looks almost too good to eat!

Destination:  Love, Population You!

 If you really want to impress your Valentine, why not think outside the square and come up with a fun, grand gesture that will knock your Valentine’s socks off! Book out an entire restaurant so you can enjoy a private dinner for two, or set up your own little restaurant at home.  Plan a surprise weekend away and take your Valentine to a place they love to visit like the art gallery or a museum. Just try to think about the types of things your Valentine loves, and go from there!

Destination: Hooray for V-Day!

No matter who you are, or how you decide to celebrate, make sure that this Valentine’s day is spent with people who you love. Whether that be your partner, your kids, your friends, or even your dog! Make the most of any opportunity that encourages people to feel warm and fuzzy and get into the spirit of things this Valentines Day.

 And who know’s where it may lead you….. a little bit of love can go a long long way!

xx DWB

PS – For more great ideas on what to do this Valentine’s Day remember to regularly check our Facebook and Twitter pages for ideas

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Destination: A Very Vintage Wedding Fair


Calling all Vintage Brides-to-be! 

As a lover of all things Vintage, I couldn’t wait to tell you about a fantastic event that you should all mark in your calendars immediately:  Brisbane is about to play host to Australia’s first ever “A Very Vintage Wedding Fair” on the 24th and 25th March 2012 at the Bleeding Heart Gallery.

What’s It All About?

A far cry from the clichéd, mass-produced bridal expos that we’ve all been fooled into attending (only to walk out with 13,000 pamphlets, worthless vendor brochures and a general feeling of deflation) A Very Vintage Wedding Affair is challenging that very Wedding Expo stereotype and instead delivering a beautiful, intimate event that features hand-picked vendors that reflect the Vintage theme.  In the words of the very talented ladies behind A Very Vintage Wedding Fair:

“Think of an expo… a traditional wedding expo.  And then imagine the total opposite.  This is A Very Vintage Wedding Fair!”

Who’s Behind It?

Image: Debs Ivelja Photography

So who are the masterminds behind this ingenious idea? After listening to feedback from couples and wedding suppliers alike, wedding planner Rebecca Price of Weddingesque and Photographer Debs Ivelja have come together to create A Very Vintage Wedding Fair.

According to Rebecca and Debs “Every stand will be beautiful, showcasing a suppliers business with maximum impact. We will encourage vendors to really engage with attending brides and grooms, even offering a small tea relaxing area where they can go for a cup of tea and a chat. The whole day will be a unique experience and attending brides and grooms will walk away inspired and with a raft of potential vendors to use on their day.”

And as if the thought of one vintage wedding fair wasn’t exciting enough….The fun doesn’t stop there! A second fair is already being planned in Brisbane for the end of 2012.

How Do I Buy Tickets?

To secure your tickets to A Very Vintage Wedding Fair you can pre-purchase them online for the discounted price of $8.00 per person (or $10 on the day).

Tell Me More!

For more information A Very Vintage Wedding Fair, check out their blog like their page on Facebook or follow them on Twitter.  Don’t forget to tell them that Destination: Wedded Bliss sent you!

xx DWB

PS.  Stay tuned for upcoming feature blogs showcasing  A Very Vintage Wedding Fair’s fantastic vendors!

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Destination: DIY


Ok. so if you haven’t already figured it out by my previous posts, or my weird and sick obsession by everything on Etsy, here it is: I like to dabble in Crafty DIY.  I’m not sure why but I’ve  always felt a certain amoutn of exhilaration in ‘Doing It Yourself’.

For those of you who don’t know me, I’ll spell it out for you:  I’m one of those people who often browses markets and says “Why would I pay $40 for that when I can make it myself?” (and yes – I’m often that person who should just shut-up and buy it, because rarely do I have the time or energy to ‘make it myself’!) Having said that – I think that in a world full of mass-produced rubbish that there’s something refreshingly satisfying about making something yourself.  It’s unique, personalised and brings about a huge amount of satisfaction when you can tell people you made it yourself!

With my wedding on the horizon, this incessant need to DIY has really been thrust into the forefront as I experience the frustrations that I’m sure most of you planning a wedding have already encountered – That as soon as you mention the word ‘Wedding’ everything is fifty times more expensive than it normally is!  I’m also a huge believer that anything and everything regarding your wedding should be personalised to reflect you and your partner – because after all, it’s all about you two!

With that theory in mind, I decided that I’d start out my DIY test run on the Engagement party (as you may have seen in previous posts) and then really have it perfected down to a fine art in time for the wedding!

This blog is all about motivating and inspiring you to do the same – but keep in mind that you have enough to stress about for the wedding, so whilst the idea of sewing your own wedding dress sounds fabulous in theory – if your more likely to sew your own finger to the dress than be able to hand-craft the 200 taffeta rosettes that you are dreaming of – then don’t go there girlfriend!

Where do I Start?

Alright – so you’ve decided that you want to give this DIY caper a red-hot go, but you have no idea where to start right?  What I would normally do was stalk some of the amazing wedding blogs that are out there (or even event or craft blogs will work!) and start looking for ideas and inspiration (remember – the whole point of this exercise is to do something original – so avoid blatantly ripping off people’s ideas!).  You might find elements of things that you love, and then combine it with your own personalities and interests to make it unique.

Inspiring Destinations

As featured on Ruffled Blog

One of my favourite places to visit for inspiration for DIY inspiration is RuffledBlog. Not only is it a beautiful blog and full of inspiration, but there is also a dedicated section to DIY! They are constantly updating the blog so I recommend subscribing to their updates.

Another fabulous website that is full of inspiration for all kinds of things is Pinterest.  Pinterest is basically a website full of ‘interest boards’ that its users create and share. The boards can include anything from colour themes, images, craft etc. You can browse through peoples ideas and choose who to follow.  You can even make your own Pinterest boards which is a lot of fun….but I must warn you – it can be addictive!

One of my all time favourite time wasters is trawling through the pages of Etsy.  Etsy is basically an online market dedicated to  ‘hand made’ products.  It is the perfect place to find inspiration for any number of projects (or if you like to cheat – the perfect place to buy things that someone else made by hand!).  I spend hours just picking a topic and then sitting back with a cup of tea marvelling at peoples creativity!

Etsy Inspiration - by Geneploss

Practise makes Perfect!

Now that you have an idea of what you’d like to do, my best advice is to do a trial run – I can’t tell you how many fabulous ideas I’ve had, only to attempt it once and then realise my exclamations of ‘I could totally make that myself’ are not entirely true! Think about the cheapest, easiest ways you can achieve what you want, and don’t be afraid to use the expertise of your nearest and dearest to improve on your vision (e.g. I have a fiance who has an eye for detail, and he’ll often as quality control!).

Let the Creativity flow….

Once you’ve started your project and experienced the joy of having it actually turn out the way you’d imagined, start thinking about how you can personalise other aspects of your wedding, this can save you money on all sorts of things such as decorations, flowers, favours, the wedding cake, invitations, place cards, etc.  The possibilities are endless!

Lead by Example

In the hopes of inspiring you all, here are some examples of what I’ve managed to DIY for my own Engagement party/Wedding.  And trust me – if I can do it, so can you!

Click on any of the images below to see them in all their glory 🙂

xx DWB

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Destination: New York (themed) Engagement Party!


Our DIY Engagement Invitations

After much anticipation (and a little bit of trepidation) our Engagement party has now come and gone!  After months of designing invitations, planning menus, and countless afternoons of DIY crafting, our New York themed Engagement party happened last weekend, and it was a massive success! (Although I am slightly biased).

Location, Location, Location!

We chose a gorgeous spot in the Bayside suburb of Manly in Brisbane, and arrived at the park nice and early to secure ourselves a great table that overlooked the water.  We arrived nice and early to begin setting up trestle tables, bunting and all sorts of New York themed decorations, before the guests started to arrive at midday. If any of you also decide to use a public space that you can’t reserve, I recommend you arrive early and check the space out for amenities close by such as toilets, taps, and Barbecue’s that are in good working order

New York – The City that Eats!

Desserts were home-made by family members

Our aim on the day was to keep things as casual and relaxed as possible (an intentional nod towards the demeanor of the couple being recognised on the day ;-)) and decided that a BBQ lunch was the perfect way for people to kick back and enjoy a beautiful day on the bay.  We tried to make the menu meaningful and relevant, so all the usual suspects were present: Steak, sausages, coleslaw, potato salad etc.  It was also necessary to introduce some New York favourites to carry our theme throughout, so this included New York cheesecake, chocolate brownies, and our delicious Arnold Palmer ice-tea concoction!

Styled to Perfection

We also went out of our way to ensure our New York theme was recognisable, but not tacky so we kept our colours muted and used highlights of red to add a pop of colour.  I purchased some fabric that featured New York icons, then matched it with neutral tones of biscuit and white which my Mum sewed into bunting flags.  They looked amazing and it was nice to have this personalised touch which we will also be able to reuse for our Central Park wedding next year.  My fiance ordered some big red disposable cups as he loved the fact they resembled those used at American frat parties.  We then teamed them up with white paper straws that had red hearts on them that I sourced through Sharnel Dollar Designs.  They were very popular especially with the kids that attended!

Bunting made by my Mum featuring NYC icons

Favour Flavour!

As a special thank you to all of our guests who attended, we also created little party favours to ensure everybody got a little piece of New York to take home.  These came in two forms: The first was a little airmail envelope that we’d stamped and tied up with bakers twine.  Inside the envelope was a little thank you note, as well as three little Polaroid magnets that my Fiance and I made ourselves.  The images on the magnets featured photos of New York that we’d taken ourselves, as well as little descriptions.  The magnets were a hit and were a nice little talking point for all our guests as they now take pride of place on their refrigerators.  We got the idea from a blog by Ambrosia Girl and then changed the design to meet our own needs.

 

Red Velvet "Big Apple" Cake Pop Bouquets

The second take-home gift (although many didn’t even make it to the car-park before being devoured) were our Big Apple cake pops!  I ordered 70 red velvet cake pops from Tori’s Delights which were made to resemble big juicy red apples.  The cake pops were displayed in metal pails supplied by Tori and decorated with red and white apple ribbon that I bought from Ribbons Galore.  As a final touch, my Sister helped me hand-stamp our initials onto little manila shipping tags to add a personalised touch.

An Engaging Map

Because our wedding next year will be small and only attended by a handful of family members, I decided that the Engagement party was a more appropriate event to have everyone sign our signing board.  Because I thought the idea of a guest book was a little old-fashioned and not nearly creative enough, I decided to design my own framed map of New York, that was surrounded by a white photo mat that people could write on.  I purchased a good quality re-print of an old vintage map of New York, then took it to my local framing place to have a heart shape cut out of the photo mat.  They then put it all into a silver frame and left the glass out so that people could write on it.  After everybody had signed it, I took it back to the framing store so they could add the glass, and voila! we have a beautiful keepsake that will hang on our wall for years to come.

We designed our own signing board featuring a map of NYC

Party’s Over…

With the party now over, it’s so nice to look back and see all the hard work and planning paid-off, and that our closest friends and family had the opportunity to share such an exciting time in our lives.  If any of you are planning a destination wedding and you also aren’t able to have everybody you love attend your special day, I highly recommend throwing a destination-themed Engagement or Post-Wedding party.  You can do it with a very small budget like I did, or go all out and book a fabulous venue.  Either way, it’s worthwhile and I’m sure you’ll enjoy yourself as much as I did!

xx DWB

The Happy Couple

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Destination: Party Time!


Throwing an ‘Engaging’ Party

As a Destination Bride-to-be, part of the sacrifice my Fiance and I have made to have our dream wedding in New York City meant that we’ve had to keep our wedding an intimate affair.  This was a tough decision, as we both have lots of extended family and friends that we would have loved to be there to share our special day.  As a solution, we have decided to throw ourselves an Engagement party prior to our wedding and invite along everyone that we would have ideally liked to have at our wedding!

My fiance and I made each guest a personalised little favour that tied in with our vintage, destination New York theme!

Low-Key = Low Costs!

My fiance and I are pretty low-key people, therefore we decided to keep it a relaxed affair and have opted to have a BBQ in the park.  We chose a spot that has existing tables, seating with great views of the bay that we knew would be the perfect setting for our casual get together. 

 Whilst we were keen to keep the party fairly basic in terms of planning, we also wanted to ensure that our guests felt like this was their opportunity to celebrate our day with us, and to do that we went with a New York/Vintage theme that will reflect our actual destination wedding.

To do this, we made a lot of the party favours and decorations ourselves.  Not only was this cheaper, but it meant that we could personalise and inject our own quirky personalities into everything we planned. 

If DIY is not your thing, don’t forget there are lots of great companies that hire out party decorations too.  I’ve arranged to hire a large glass drink dispenser through  Sharnell Dollar rather than spend a fortune on buying one brand new.  It will look a million dollars on the day, but in reality cost lest than $50 to hire! There are lots of other great products available too, and it means you get the look you want without having to blow your budget.

Choosing a Palette

I was completely overwhelmed when it came to choosing a colour palette. I started out by heading to Spotlight to find some fun fabric to make up some decorative bunting. My mum had pointed me in the direction of some fantastic New York themed fabric that had cute iconic NY images printed on it.  The colours were simple and neutral (biscuit, white and red) so I found some other designs to compliment this, and went from there! I decided to build upon the theme and added in some fun additions, including a decorative wooden apple, a miniature statue of liberty (that we bought on our last trip to NY), and few other bits and pieces to decorate tables and help carry the theme throughout.  Once you find your groove, the colour palette is easy but if like me you were slow to start, check out The Perfect Palette who specialise in colour palette possibilities – If you don’t find exactly what you are looking for you will at the very least get an idea of where to begin.

I chose my palette after finding these fabrics that I loved, which we used to make decorative bunting!

Choosing a Theme

It’s not easy choosing a theme or colour palette, however if you are struggling to come up with your own, try talking to the experts!  I met the lovely girls from Enchanted Empire recently at a Brisbane Bridal Expo, and they did some amazing stuff! They have a gorgeous website and had some beautiful original ideas.  If you are on a lean budget and can’t afford the luxury of an event planner or stylist, I recommend looking to blogs for inspiration, I know they are a constant source of inspiration to me! Check out our Facebook page for some of our favourites. 

Once your theme is in place, you can decide how you are going to replicate it in other aspects of your party. I decided to stretch the New York theme throughout our menu for the day, so steak, mini hot-dogs and coleslaw will all be featured on our menu.  We’ve also decided to do up a big batch of ‘Arnold Palmers’ (a popular iced-tea/lemonade drink) to keep our guests cool and hydrated throughout the day.  We tried our first ‘Arnold Palmers’ at the famous Magnolia Bakery (of SATC fame) in the US last year, and have been longing for them ever since so we figured this was the perfect occasion to try making them ourselves.

I love Enchanted Empire's take on this 'Pink Lemonade' theme

It’s all about You!

Whilst most of what I’ve planned for our Engagement Party is all about pleasing our guests and ensuring everyone enjoys themselves, remember that at the end of the day this celebrations is all about you and your partner! Make sure you inject your personality and some of the things that make your relationship special, and then remember to sit back and enjoy your day….as it’s not often you get a room full of your friends and family and an opportunity to Party!

Please check back with us soon for the second part of our blog, which will include some pictures and the wrap up from our engagement party on Saturday! Wish

xx DWB

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Destination: Dressed to Perfection


Ask any Bride what she’s most excited about when she starts planning her wedding, and if she’s anything like me, her answer will be “The Wedding Dress!”

Collette Dinnigan - 2011 Collection as featured on The Knot http://www.theknot.com.au

Finding the perfect dress can be difficult though, so we thought this weeks blog would look at some ways to simplify the process, ensuring it’s a positive experience for everyone involved 🙂

Here’s a couple of simple tips that will help you all say Yes to the Dress!

Step One: D.Y.R. – Do Your Research!

So you are probably thinking to yourself, how hard can it be to find a pretty white dress? Well with so many different brands, styles, and budgets – it can be harder than you think!  A great place to start if you aren’t 100% sure of what you are looking for, is Bridal Magazines!  There are a huge number of Magazines out there dedicated to everything Bridal, but not all magazines are the same, and when you are forking out up to $15 a mag, you want to make sure it’s a worthwhile spend!  Here are some of my faves that have a great range of dresses that will help you find a starting point for the most important dress you’ll ever wear!

  • The Knot Magazine is a fantastic magazine that is filled with gorgeous wedding dresses! They also do great features for the more ‘budget conscious’ bride, meaning there are beautiful option available regardless of your budget!
  • Martha Stewart Weddings is another favourite, MSW is packed with Advertisements from many different dress designers and stores, and this will help you decide on not just the types of dresses that you like, but also get a sense of which designers/brands will work for you
  • Cosmopolitan Bride is my pick for young brides, and brides on a budget.  They nail the ’20 – 30 something’ demographic, and it’s filled with great editorial and images, making it easy to cut pictures out for your scrap-book of dress ideas!

If you don’t want to spend money on magazines, another easy option is to check out some of the local stores in your local area online.  Research the brands, designers, and price points so that when you are ready to make appointments at the store to try some on, you already have a rough idea of what you like, and what you can afford.  Try the yellow pages online to get you started, or try googling it for broader search results.

Step Two: Dress Dollars – What price are you willing to pay?

Now I know that some people might think that you cannot possibly put a price on a dress that makes you happy – but the reality is that the majority of brides need to find a dress that they can afford – and this isn’t always easy!  Do yourself a favour, find the designers and brands that you like, that also do a range within your price point.  If your dress budget is $1500, don’t torture yourself by visiting a high-end boutique that has nothing in your price range!  You know you’ll just end up lusting after a dress that you can never have – and there’s rarely a happy ending in those situations!  Give yourself a reasonable number and keep that amount in mind when you are visiting bridal stores.  Make sure you also tell your bridal consultant the dollar amount you have in mind, doing so will help keep you honest, and ensure you don’t waste time looking at a dress that is not within your reach.  Here’s a few ideas that will help keep you on track!

This beautiful gown by Rachel Gilbert retails for under $1000AUD available at http://www.frockaholics.com

  • Pick a number – and stick to it! Don’t be talked into buying something you can’t afford as you’ll just regret it later.
  • If you find a dress you love, that’s at the top end of your budget, try get some accessories thrown in as part of the deal.  There’s usually quite a high mark-up on anything to do with weddings, so ask them to throw in a veil, accessories, or shoes to sweeten the deal and help ease the purse strings
  • If you are determined to buy a designer dress, but don’t have the $$$ to back up your champagne tastes, consider buying a pre-loved dress, or even renting one. It’s a fantastic way to look  like a million dollars, without it costing a million dollars! check out these sites to get you started: I Do GownsStill White, or even Ebay!
  • Don’t forget that not all wedding dresses have to cost you the earth – Australian Designer Rachel Gilbert has beautiful gowns, and all within the most budget-savvy brides reach.

Step Three: Your dress should be YOUR dress!

With all of the above in mind, at the end of the day you need to choose a dress that’s all about YOU.  Whilst you should welcome imput and advice from your loved ones, even if your dress is being paid for by a family member it should still be something that you feel comfortable in. 

The best way to ensure you’ll look back at your wedding photo’s in years to come and not cringe in horror, is if you’ve chosen a dress that best reflects your style and personality…not something you’ve chosen just to please your Mother!

Choose something that reflects your style, ideals, morals and feels like it’s ‘right’ when you are wearing it.  If you aren’t a ‘girly’ girl in your everyday life, then think long and hard before you decide your wedding day is the day you will wear a big meringue dress covered in bows and ribbons!  You will most likely have enough nerves and anxiety in the lead up to the wedding, and you want this to melt away when you slip into your bridal gown.  Just remember, nobody does ‘You’ better than you do!

With all that in mind, make sure that finding the right dress is the fun and positive experience it’s supposed to be, and don’t ever feel that you need to fit in with someone else’s tradition – whether you wear white, black, pink, sparkly, classic or a pant suit, if it makes you happy and feels right, then go for it 🙂

xx DWB

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