In the third of our Destination Wedding Australia series, we visit the beautiful State of Victoria. From the rugged coastline to the cosmopolitan city of Melbourne to the rustic Victorian ranges, this south-eastern Australian state offers a plethora of destination wedding options for the discerning bride and groom. Our expert for Victoria is the highly respected Marisa Welcome of A Lavish Affair.
Q. Please tell us a little about yourself, your company and your experience in the wedding industry.
I began event planning more than 13 years ago, devoting my creative energy towards putting on the ‘perfect party’ for birthdays, baptisms, barmitzvahs and engagements. I built a large client base and had many happy clients with repeat business on a number of occasions.
Early 1998 I planned to marry the man of my dreams and life presented us with two little hurdles, a move to the States for his work and subsequently a wedding to plan in 3 months. We married in March and moved to Chicago 2 months later. With my background in events I was given the opportunity to join a Chicago based wedding planning company, where I helped plan over 300 weddings during my stay.
Upon my return to Melbourne, I pondered the experience of my own wedding and the disappointment I had in regards to some of the decisions we’d made. We did have a lovely wedding and it was a very special day however to be honest I could have done so much better. Especially with the lovely luxury of hindsight and the knowledge I gained from managing over 300 American weddings since. I decided I had found a passion in wanting to continue to pass onto brides my knowledge, my expertise and my lessons learnt making their wedding planning experience as painless as possible. I decided I could best do this by offering brides a personalised wedding planning service here in Melbourne and A Lavish Affair was born.
As a boutique wedding planning service, A Lavish Affair offer the discerning bride the right advice and clever coordination for those looking to realise a dream, minus the legwork and the headaches. We believe couples should enjoy their engagement, without racing ahead in a panic of booking deadlines. Because let’s face it, weddings take time to organise – especially the most exquisite ones – and we’re experts at that. Our personal, professional service includes designing wedding themes, recommending suppliers and finding those personal creative touches that capture our couple’s personalities.
Q. You organise weddings all over Victoria. What are your favourite Victorian wedding destinations and why?
Melbourne CBD – I love a versatile city! Historic buildings with old-world charm, beautiful rose gardens, chic restaurants and modern waterfront venues all in the one place. We have created weddings of all styles, from vintage to contemporary, all over Melbourne each bringing a unique experience.
Daylesford (above) & The Yarra Valley Areas – gorgeous sweeping hills and vines, fresh produce and fine wines. Victoria country can offer couples an exquisite ‘extended weekend’ wedding experience. We have created romantic weekend escapes in the Macedon Ranges and Yarra Valley regions for many years and have found the beautiful surrounds have added a magical essence to our couples wedding day.
Q. For each of your favourite destinations, can you tell us your favourite venues, ceremony sites and anything special about the locations?
Melbourne CBD – we would have to say Comme (above, photography by Hilton Stone) is one of our favourite wedding venues for small groups, a ceremony service can be conducted at the top of the grand staircase with pre-drinks in the adjoining Onyx Room followed by dinner in the Grand Ballroom. With old world features fused with comtemporary styling and service that is second to none, Comme ticks many of our boxes.
Daylesford – This small country town is bustling with activity, under two hours drive from Melbourne, Daylesford can set the scene for a breathtakingly romantic wedding. The Convent Gallery (above) offers a traditional ceremony and reception location however renoun restaurant The Lakehouse and ‘quirky’ Lavendula Farm all offer endless possibilities with a little imagination. Popular for its day spas, private accommodation, cafes and restaurants, Daylesford is a wonderful place for family and friends to enjoy an extended stay.
Yarra Valley – There are a number of splendid wedding locations out in the Yarra Valley region. Quaint wineries, historic buildings, converted barns and contemporary resorts. Ceremonies can be conducted in chapels, gardens or even in a hot-air balloon for more daring couples. We recently assisted a bride in creating the wedding of her dreams at Chateau Yering (above). Arriving by helicopter which landed on the Eleonores during pre-dinner drinks and concluding the fabulous evening with a fire-show and fireworks this bride gave her guests an amazing experience they will long remember.
Q. Do you have any tips for couples contemplating a Victorian wedding?
It can be exceedingly difficult to plan a wedding from interstate or overseas. The key is to come prepared, know your vision, know your budget and think about what is important to you especially when it comes to selecting a venue location.
A Lavish Affair as professionals in this area help you sort through the answers to these questions. With unbiased advice our aim is to assist you to ascertain your requirements with the minimum of fuss. With this information we are able to provide you with the shortlist of options in regards to all areas for your wedding such as venues, celebrants, photographers, videographers, cake artists etc you can rest assured you would be making the right choices without having to rely on published literature.
Q. What are your best tips for a destination wedding?
Plan ahead – Give yourself ample time to make arrangements. If you are short on time seek the assistance of a professional. A Wedding planner who knows your destination of choice can save you hours of research and you needn’t worry about the unknown.
Delegation of tasks – share the load with family and friends, this is a great way to involve others in the planning of your wedding. Choose wisely though as too many opinions may confuse you even further and be sure to be clear with your instructions. This will avoid confrontations if a task hasn’t been carried out to your satisfaction.
Think about your guests – Provide travelling guests with as much notice as possible in order to book their flights and accommodation. Offer in advance accommodation options relatively close to your reception location at various price points and suggest activities for your guests during their stay ie. local attractions to visit, things to do, shows to see. A Lavish Affair have often collated little travel books for guests with this information and more.
Q. For 2009 and 2010, what are the trends on the horizon for weddings?
I will always love the contemporary vintage wedding, however for those with personalities to match be prepared for a wave of colour splashes. Expect to see fresh designs from Australian gown designers in 2009, we’ve seen some very exciting concepts from the likes of Shane McConnell and Capellazzo in Melbourne. The incorporation of bold accents on classic designs and the use of bold print fabrics are sure to please the modern bride wanting the ‘WOW’ factor the moment she hits that aisle!
For bridesmaids out with vintage and soft pastels, try bright bold colours mixed with soft accents eg. Bright orange combined with soft peach tones. Carry this through to florals and reception decoration. A Lavish Affair are already encouraging our 2010 brides to go bold using hot hues of red, yellow or orange. Red inspirations will be heavily featured in all the style magazines this year.