Vintage Weddings

I turned twenty-something a few weeks ago and couldn’t resist a belated birthday present to myself when I stumbled across this beauty in Dymocks last week.

Vintage Weddings – one hundred years of bridal fashion and style had me at hello. Given my childhood love of all things bridal, it isn’t surprising really. What is is how well-written and researched this book is.

Leafing through the pages, I find myself getting caught up in trivia before devouring sketches and photos of bygone eras. Did you know, for example, that the Roman Catholic Church only approved the exchanging of rings between men and women in 1956? Up until this point, the Church took the view that only women should receive rings. Vintage Weddings closes with a summary of modern day designers and a ‘wedding planner’ to assist in achieving the wedding style you’re after. 

The dresses featured in this book are, quite simply, divine. A girlfriend of mine who has long professed no desire to ever marry her partner of many years picked it up and was enthralled by an Elsa Schiaparelli-inspired number from the 1930s. I’ve picked out my dream dress. Or two. Or seven.

Two girlfriends and I are going on a road trip to Bendigo next month to see The White Wedding Dress exhibition and this book has only served to heighten my excitement. There are just so many beautiful images and traditions captured within its pages.

Judging by the amount of people who’ve picked it up off our coffee table since I acquired it, I’ve a feeling Vintage Weddings will become a family heirloom.

If you’re married, about to be married, a history buff or simply a style devotee, this book is worth turning into a heirloom of your own.


This ain’t a Supermarket Sweep

In May this year I married the beautiful Samantha and Phillip. There’s a post on their wedding coming soon, so I won’t give away too much about their day other than to say that it was as gorgeous as they are.

Phil sent me an email this week ‘for your website’.  Phil has quite a way with words (he wrote a poem cataloguing the history of their relationship and read it at the reception) and what he wrote both touched me deeply and made me laugh out loud. Read it below for yourself.

I recently attended a wedding where the couple was married by a middle-aged man with an interesting take on fashion. The combination of sporadic blonde tips, Burt Reynolds style moustache and slightly-longer-hair-at-the-back made him look more like a ’80s game show host than a marriage celebrant. Mid-way through the ceremony he started waffling on about the “love for one’s first car”- real romantic stuff. But in the words of the groom, “he was cheap”- seems you get what you pay for.

I don’t think most couples really consider the important role that the celebrant has to play on the wedding day. I know I didn’t – we just got very lucky. Growing up as a kid my parents used to joke “one day you’ll marry Koren Harvey”. I guess I never really considered the possibility that the reverse would literally come true. And so picking a celebrant was easy; one of our closest friends was prepared to do it and we weren’t prepared to look around! 

In all honesty the day would not have been the same without Koren. During the ceremony she made us feel like we were the only ones present. We are so grateful for the wonderful effort and performance Koren put in on our wedding day. We are grateful for her attention to detail, for her calming persona, for the professional delivery she put into every line and most importantly for the fact that she looks nothing like Ian Turpie. 

Thanks Koren, we are eternally grateful!
– Sam and Phil, married 21 May 2011.

Have I mentioned how much I love what I do, and the people I get to work with?

Photos: Red Butterfly Photography

Jennifer and Charles

As a marriage celebrant, you’re not supposed to cry at weddings. You’re the one who’s meant to anchor the ceremony, to stay calm when the bride, groom and their families are carried away by emotion. But I’ll admit I came close at Jen and Charles’ wedding.

East 13 Photography

I first met Jen almost a decade ago when we were both exchange students at a German university. Over a period of several months we studied German, travelled through Europe, ate our combined body weight in Belgian truffles and laughed. A lot. The memories from those days remain some of my fondest. Therefore, when she asked me over lunch a little while ago if I could marry her to her partner of five and a half years, Charles, I had no hesitation in saying yes.

Jen arrived on her Dad’s arm to the strains of Balcony Scene, from the Romeo + Juliet soundtrack. This particular piece of music lasts for about 5 minutes and was the perfect length for their long walk into the park. By the time Jen reached us, the music was at its crescendo. The strings and piano combined with Jen’s calm radiance and Charles’ obvious pride gave me goosebumps and I had to wipe away a tear. I’ve got goosebumps just remembering it now!

Arriving with her Dad

Jen and Charles are both family-oriented people and their ceremony was a reflection of this.  They paid special tribute to Charles’ much-loved late Dad and Jen’s late Grandpa and included every immediate family member on the day.

Jen’s parents gave her away. Readings were given by Charles’ sister and Jen’s Granddad. Jen’s brother was entrusted with the rings. Their mothers acted as the witnesses to the marriage.

East 13 Photography

As a celebrant, you get used to seeing a lot of love, yet it never fails to astound me. The feelings of wonder and joy – yes, joy! – that I get when I see different generations of people uniting for the single purpose of celebrating love can’t be described. They have to be felt.

When I pronounced Charles and Jen husband and wife, quite a cheer went up. A cheer much louder than that which can be made by 20 people. So where did the noise come from?

East 13 Photography

Unbeknown to us, a children’s fair was scheduled for the same day as their wedding. A few kids and their parents had wandered across to admire the handsome couple and been caught up in the magic of the day.

It’s lovely when those who know and love you wish you well, but when people you’ve never met start yelling out a ‘Congratulations!’ or two,  you can’t help but feel that love really is (to paraphrase a somewhat sappy 90s song) all around.

Congratulations, Jen and Charles. xx Koren

East 13 Photography

Jennifer and Charles, 20 March 2011
Venue: Darling Gardens, Clifton Hill
Photos: East 13 Photography
Bridal gown: Mariana HardwickCelebrant: Koren Harvey

Photo love

If you’re a regular reader (hi, Mum!) you may have noticed some new pictures popping up around the blog.

I’m in the process of setting up my official website – watch this space – and a key component of any website is photos. Unfortunately, in my case that means they need to be pictures of me. Eek!

Now, I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’ve not posed for pictures since my schooldays. The idea of doing so as an adult filled me with dread. You mean… I’d have to pose? By myself? Without a wine glass/statue/landscape to camouflage myself against? GAH!

What if they were horrendous? What if I looked naff? What if someone saw them? (By now my hysteria had taken over and I’d forgotten why I was having them done).

And then I met Leanne of h&b foto.grafic.

Calm, personable and seriously talented, Leanne is a family and lifestyle photographer based in the south east suburbs of Melbourne. I was referred to Leanne by someone I trust and the images on her website took my breath away. Everything looked completely unposed and yet absolutely perfect. If she could make me look half as wonderful as all the people on her website I’d be doing well!

Once my photographic nerves had been calmed, I set off to find myself a make-up artist. After all, if I was going to be smack-bang in front of the camera, I wanted to give myself every possible advantage! This is where Gill of Beauty in Motion came in.

Gill had been recommended to me by a friend and I knew her easy manner and make-up artistry skills were exactly what I needed. She made me look just like myself – only better – and our girly chat in my kitchen got me in exactly the right mood for the shoot ahead.

On the day, Leanne had me comfortable and relaxed in front of the camera in about 3 minutes flat. The entire experience felt like I was walking around the backstreets of South Yarra chatting with a girlfriend who just happened to have some very impressive camera kit with her. In fact, I found myself wanting to do it again just so we could hang out more!

Have a look for yourself at the finished product. Like most women, it takes a LOT for me to like a photograph of myself (why are we always our own harshest critics? Hmm, that’s an entirely different blogpost…) but Leanne and Gill have achieved the impossible… I LOVE THEM!

What do you think?

You can see more of Leanne’s work on her blog here. She’s also on Facebook, as is Gill.


Ai Mie and Mark

I dare you to look at the photos of Ai Mie and Mark’s February wedding and not smile. Go on. It’s near impossible!

Ai Mie and Mark are two seriously cool kids (just check out Ai Mie’s gorgeous dress and Mark’s cheeky pocket square) who happen to be completely unaware of how cool they are. Combine that with being genuinely lovely people and photogenic to boot and you have what I call a gorgeousness triple threat!

Friendly and laidback,  Mark and Ai Mie wanted a relaxed ceremony that honoured tradition without being stuffy. They gave me a lot of freedom in planning their ceremony but also had some very fresh ideas of their own.

One of the best parts of being a celebrant is standing with the groom waiting for the bride to arrive. Grooms are almost always overcome with emotion right before she gets there (I’m yet to meet one that wasn’t) and yet they all calm down as soon as they catch sight of their beloved.

Ai Mie and her bridesmaids walked in to one of her favourite songs, As Long As You Love Me by the Backstreet Boys. The girls timed it so that Ai Mie entered right on the chorus and it was so perfect that I now struggle to think of it as anything but a wedding entrance song!

One of my favourite moments of the day came when Mark began his vows. Ai Mie started to cry, taking herself – and all of us – by surprise. And I’m not talking little tears. I’m talking big, emotive, noisy sobs. She then turned to everyone gathered and cracked us all up with an apology because ‘I hate girls who cry!’

Both music lovers, Mark and Ai Mie used songs to infuse the ceremony with their personalities. One of their readings was the first two verses and chorus from Guns n’ Roses classic, Sweet Child O’ Mine. Go on. Have a listen. You’d be surprised at how suited it is to a wedding.

And as they married on a Friday, care to guess what they left their ceremony to? Yep, that’d be Friday, I’m in Love by the Cure. I told you these guys were awesome!

Following their wedding, they took off for a safari honeymoon in Africa.

Seriously. Cool. Kids.

Ai Mie and Mark were so much fun to work with – I don’t know that I have ever laughed so much preparing for, during and after a ceremony.  Sigh. I love what I do! xx Koren

Ai Mie and Mark, 25 February 2011
Venue: 3 Station Pier
Photos: the incredible John Warren of Warren Photography. More photos here.
Event styling: Balwyn Events
Bridal hair and make-up: S.A.S.S.Y
Celebrant: Koren Harvey