Friday, February 27, 2009

I seriously hope

that when it's actually close enough in time for me to seriously consider the hat-thing I will wear on my head, that I can find something this fabulous. I don't really want to share where it is... but since I'm generous I did. Maybe it'll still be around in a year's time? (ha!)

You know how you get two-dress brides? I think I might be a multiple-hat bride. I'm going to work my way up from 'significant' headbands to hats for everyday wear, just to get used to them. At least, that's my justification for the navy straw pancake number that's sort of a hat attached to a headband that I'm about to buy on etsy.


I love the idea of mint and basil - so fresh with cornflowers!

Okay, I clicked on this link by mistake, thinking it was something else. This florist (sorry, I can't get on board with the term 'floral designer') is the USA (SF & bay area). But oh. my. god. I thought I didn't care about flowers. I thought I'd just wholesale a whole bunch and stick them in op-shopped pint glasses (and hell, when I look at the budget I probably still will*). But for dreamy, dreamy inspiration, go check out Rose Now Floral.

(I'm dreaming of a rainbow bouquet now)

* But maybe I'll add some mint, and maybe some pansies or sweetpeas, to those glasses now.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Fabulous shoes

I'm a tall gal, and while I do genuinely love teetering about on 4 inch heels, I don't have the back or the balls (of my feet!) to do it for very long. Especially not standing on a stone floor for the ceremony. So I had always intended to wear ballet flats beneath my dress. But if I'm going to wear a short dress, I'm going to need heels. The legs will need to be to their best advantage.

And that's where Hey Lady shoes come in. Mmmm... they're cute and chic and sometimes a little bit vintage, and they're especially designed to be comfortable. Padded linings, carefully thought out heel angles, choice of heel heights... and did I mention cute and chic? I can actually barely choose between them all. And I don't even normally go for strappy styles.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

If a had a $5000 dress budget...

This dress, by Chloe, available at Net-A-Porter, would certainly be on the short-list.

The Gifted Ham & The Engagement Party Plan

Image from Sunday Driver under a creative commons licence.

So we haven't actually had an engagement party yet. I'm partly indifferent, partly embarrassed (at the thought that we will have one literally months after we got engaged). We're in the process of buying a wee house, and it would be just so perfect to be able to have a combined housewarming/ engagement party* in our own place. Not to mention our current rental is really quite revolting and not suited to guests. So.

Just prior to Christmas my mother got a gift voucher for a ham (long story). She decided not to use it at Christmas, as there's enough ham then for everyone plus some, and has instead told us that we may have the ham for our engagement party. It's very generous, and also kind of hilarious. I am left trying to plan a menu around a ham-on-the-bone.

I initially wanted Southern-inspired food. Ham in coke, baked "fried" chicken, potato salad, green bean salad, cajun spiced sweet potato,** sweet iced tea and mint julep punch. I thought it was a gorgeous idea. BCB said no. "I just think it's a weird theme. We're not Southern, our new house isn't Southern... why would you do it?" Because we have a ham to work with darling. Because of the ham.

But just this very weekend I found a ridiculously cheap source of quince paste (don't I sound like a crack dealer?). Like, $12 a kilo cheap. So now I'm thinking mustard glazed ham, lots of cheese, quince paste, bread rolls... and what? I need more vegetable suggestions to go with this kind-of-European-rustic-picnic-thing... but I can work on it. And what vodka-based cocktail to go with this hearty fare? (We have a stockpile. BCB and my mother have made a point of bringing back their full duty free allowance every time they travel).

* because it's combined, and because the party will still be eighteen months before the wedding, and because the wedding will be small I am going to invite people that won't be invited to the wedding. I want everyone to see our new house! Is that just too rude?

** the vegetables take a certain priority, as I won't be eating the animals.

AWESOME! And so suited to a summer wedding in Australia, no? From New York Weddings.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

More suit options for the Lank of Build and Retro of Style

To be honest, we haven't looked into the cost yet. But with the tanking Australian dollar it might end up costing no more than a made-to-measure suit from Duchess Clothier.

Fullin Tailoring, on Beaufort St in Mt Lawley, are third generation Italian tailors, willing and able to make "period style suits". I guessed this before I checked out their site. Because their window display has two chipped mannequins in lime green and rust red 70s safari suits. Those outfits mightn't match our "wedding theme", but they'd sure match BCB's sideburns.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Duds for my love

To be honest, I haven't done much searching within Perth for an outfit for BCB. It's kind of his job, no? But I'm not holding out a whole lot of hope right now. He's a skinny, lanky thing, and regular cut dress pants look just a bit silly on him. Most of his suits are vintage. 70s cuts, with their slim fit, fitted waists and flared pants look rather dashing on him.

So maybe he'll just wear his lovely powdery-blue-grey suit from Circa Vintage.

Else, ordering online from Duchess Clothier is looking like a distinct possibility. Made to measure retro suits for $500 US? Hell yeah.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Rose & Ruby

I am loving this lace shift dress from Rose & Ruby right now (via Polka Dot Bride). If you check out the site, you'll see it ends above the knee.

Boring Sidney

Is it bad that I kind of adore this hat? It reminds me of the Sex & The City movie, where something like this goes on:

Carrie: How can he do this to me?! I wore a dead bird on my head for him!
Charlotte: Oh, is that a whole bird? I thought it was just kind of feathers...
Carrie: Mm-mm. Whole bird.

If Siamese doves aren't your thing, Boring Sidney do have other amazing fascinators. I particularly love the Lanvin.

Here's a Real Life Bride wearing the Lanvin and looking to die for! The rest of her photos are here. I particularly love what she's done with her hair. I reckon I could pull it off.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Dressing to impress

I've had a few people ask me, since I've gotten engaged, whether I will be wearing white. I'm not quite sure whether they are asking if I'm wearing white as opposed to ivory or latte or champagne or ecru, out of concern that white mightn't be the best shade against my skin (that kind of stark pale normally reserved for redheads and Christina Ricci). They also might be asking on the basis that as they see me as a Wild and Crazy Individual, it is entirely likely that I will buck this tradition and wear purple or something. I kind of hope their question is not motivated by the thought that BCB and I have been living in sin for a couple of years now, and thus I have no claim to white.

Because I do want to wear white (or ivory or latte or champagne or ecru). It's not a colour I wear in my everyday life (excepting one white blouse, and one cream t-shirt with a skull on it). So to me it feels like a special shade, reserved for weddings.

When it comes to style, however, I'm not so sure. While I haven't tried any on yet, long wedding dresses have kind of been leaving me cold. Right now, I'm kind of attached to the idea of a short dress. Like, a really short dress. A mini-dress, like the Jamie at A Desert Fete wore. I love mini-dresses, and I wear them a lot. But so rarely does a gal get to wear an ankle-length gown these days that I'm worried I'll regret passing up the opportunity.

I mentioned to my mother than I was thinking of getting a short dress. "That's wonderful!" she said (to my surprise), "I wore a short dress to my wedding!" That's sort of true. She wore a tea-length gown that my grandmother had made in the 1950s.* I decided not to tell her yet that my definition of short involves visible knees, and a fair chunk of visible thigh too...

* My mum, rockin' vintage before it was fashionable, in 1984. It was a white cotton gown with puffy sleeves and a zig-zagging hem.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

A barn in the Perth metro area

Barns seem to be quite fashionable for weddings right now, at least in the US. I can understand why. Rustic, casual, photogenic, no parking problems, no noise complaints from the neighbours and a big boxy space where everyone gets a decent view of the bridal table and some room to dance.

But barns are in short supply in Australia. So how would you feel if I told there was a barn. Set in the middle of a herb garden and bushland. In the Perth metro area. That caters for weddings. That looks like this:

Pretty sweet, huh? You'll never guess where it is. The Zoo. Yup. Perth Zoo. As if having your wedding at the Zoo wasn't cool enough, you can have a barn too. It's in the Australian Homestead area, next to the solar powered house and the native animals. It came out at a little over our price range, but in the scheme of Wedding Things, it's not unreasonable in price. You can find out more from Mustard Catering, who are the contracted caterers for the Zoo.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Wedding headbands

There's been quite a few posts recently on non-veil wedding headgear. I have to admit, I'm undecided on the whole veil thing. I think I'll wait to see what dress I get, and how I feel in one. But one thing I've noticed is that most veils, and most alternatives, are on combs. Being Short and Fine of hair, keeping a comb in will require painful styling. Which isn't really my bag. So I've been looking about for wedding head-stuff on a headband. And have been pleasantly surprised!

My absolute favourite of them all, from Belcanto

A stunning kind of astral spray, from Lulu Splendor

A pricier option, but it has a veil and some preppy charm, from Castle Bride (a non-etsy site).

A beautiful, minimalist, silver-dipped oak-leaf, from ThreeBirdsDesigns.

A pretty flapper-style bandeau, from HemsandBustles.

Bleached peacock feathers, very chic, from BethanyLorelle.

And some other options:

Vintage diamantes in a floral spray, from LaurelLime.
Big! And fluffy! With feathers! From HairFascinators.
A little bit of lace and a little bit of netting, from HemsandBustles again.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Oh Happy Day!

In the mail the other day we got an invite to BCB's cousin's engagement party. Quite the surprise, as BCB's cousin and his partner have been together for, well, ages, and neither of us expected them to be the marrying kind, after all that time.

A quick call to BCB's mother established that, in fact, the cousin proposed on 27 December - the same day BCB proposed to me! Which also explains why the cousin and his fiancee were absent from the family shindig that went hand-in-hand with my proposal! (I had wondered why they weren't there, and no-one was able to explain it to us).

How really, really lovely.

Ditch all previous plans

I need to have this wedding. Need.* (I suspect finding grass that lush in Western Australia is the least of my troubles should I attempt to recreate this wedding in its entirety).

* I am strangely addicted to the idea of Southern-style food. One day soon I will blog about the Gifted Ham & The Engagement Party Plan, in which my love of Southern cuisine is pitted against BCB's opinion that "It's just kind of a weird thing to want."

Friday, February 13, 2009

ring ring - part 2

BCB was insistent, from the moment engagement was mentioned, that he would also like an engagement ring. He has, apparently, always though it a little unfair that the girl gets to show she's taken but the guy does not. But BCB is not a very blingy guy. A masculine ring with diamonds was never going to suit. I suggested two rings that sort of fit together, like Georg Jensen fusion rings. Nup, he didn't like the swirly shapes. He did know that he wanted one white gold and one yellow gold ring. Our jeweller brainstormed like a mad man - welding, clips, neoprene, rivets - all were suggested in search of a wedding ring set for a man. And then the jeweller suggested magnets. And BCB was sold. Nothing other than magnetic rings would do.

You can see the magnet in the wedder.

In the end, it took months. The jeweller had massive problems sourcing small enough magnets (despite assuring us they had done such rings before). Apparently they had some problems getting the magnets into the rings. The rings had to be chunky to accomodate the magnets. So chunky initially that they were sent back to the workshop for the ring equivalent of lipo - convex sides (so BCB's fingers weren't so spread), comfort fitting, edge softening. And we still don't know if he'll interfere with credit cards and what will happen if (when?) the magnets rust... but they sure are are beautiful.

One ring can support the other. And there's an invisible attraction between them. BCB loved the symbolism.

Our jeweller, as is obvious from the box, was Koro. We chose them because I found a few online recommendations, we wanted someone in the city so it was easy to drop by for appointments, and Linney's won't make something with a stone they haven't supplied themselves.

They were a great choice for us, albeit with a few stresses. If you want control over the whole process, if you want to see the little wax cast of your ring and all that jazz, forget it. With my ring I gave them a rough illustration of what I wanted, and we concluded some finer points would be decided once they had 'something to show me'. Then a fortnight later they rang BCB to say my ring was finished and ready. That said, it was just beautiful, with wonderful workmanship and design. They were willing to make any changes I wanted, but I didn't want or need any.

BCB's ring took months. They weren't terribly good at keeping us updated with what was happening, or exactly what his rings were going to look like. That said, they were very creative and helped him come up with a really unique idea; and they kept working on making it possible even when I strongly suspect they would have liked to have given up. They made cosmetic changes willingly; and while not dirt dirt cheap, for what they do I think their prices are extremely reasonable.

And my favourite part about the store is the sales assistants. Unlike another jeweller we went to, the sales assistants were really, really knowledgeable about jewellery design and stones. They were friendly and patient and had great communication with the workshop.

Ring ring - Part 1

Most (though far from all) engagements start with a ring on the finger of one party to the nuptials. Ours was no different. I thought I knew what I wanted. I wanted something modern and organic with few or no diamonds, preferably diamonds from the Argyle mine in WA.

Turns out modern and organic looked like rubbish on my finger, and something a little princessy was the better-looking option. But bigger (as in, larger than pave size) diamonds felt wrong on my hand. Should have seen the face of one jewellery salesperson when I asked if they had anything smaller than 1/3 of a carat. I decided I wanted a weeny little diamond with sapphires solid all around. Except it turns out that to do that, you have to custom cut the sapphires into little wedge-shapes so they sit flush against each other properly. Which was a teeny bit pricier than we expected. So I reversed the idea. Sapphire in the middle, diamonds round the outside.

I then went on a three-month hunt for a sapphire. A colour-change sapphire, to be fancy about it. Ended up buying one online from the US and taking it to the jeweller to be set. It was larger than I intended, but I figured after three months I wasn't going to turn down a stone because it was too big. So I ditched the idea of diamonds round the outside. And, that, ladies and gentlemen, is how I ended up with a sapphire solitaire.

And for the record, I love it. For a review of the jeweller we used, and the saga of BCB's engagement ring (yes, he got one too), stay tuned.

Why here? Why now?

I'm not a bridezilla. I swear I'm not. I asked my bridesmaid to slap me if I showed a hint of bridezilla.* So why the wedding blog? Well, there's some freakin' awesome wedding blogs floating about on the Interwebs. A Practical Wedding. East Side Bride. Snippet & Ink. Peonies & Polaroids. They showed me that a wedding needn't be a paint-by-numbers, or a pick'n'mix of bog-standard wedding vendor offerings.

But all these fabulous brides are halfway round the world from me. From where I live, and will be getting hitched. In the most isolated capital city in the world. Perth, Western Australia. It is a proven fact, that quaint barns and organic farms willing to host a wedding are in short supply here.** I've been finding it hard to find vendors and ideas that would translate to the South-West corner of WA. The fabulous Emmiebe at West Aussie Wedding (being not only of a person of excellent taste, but also the only Perth person I can find with a wedding blog aimed at people beyond the ceremony guestlist) has had some great finds and tips. And I thought that if she could share, so could I.

So here's to a year or so inspiring the fiances and fiancees of Dullsville to something a little different.***

PS: And the blog name? Black Swans are the State Bird of Western Australia. Nice, huh?

* My bridesmaid (The Only Bridesmaid) said "Nah, man. You go crazy. Because one day I will hopefully be a bride too, and I know that I will go power-crazy and demand complete and utter obedience from you. So you might as well take advantage of me in the same way."

** Though to be honest I haven't actually asked Highvale Biodynamic Orchard. Maybe they could sort something out for a really keen couple.

*** I do still reserve my right to stress over napkin colours, hire a limo and buy a dress from HobNob if, after looking at all my options, that's what I really want to do.