Monthly Archives: September 2016

Set to get married on Valentine day

Easy Weddings, Australia’s number one online wedding resource site, CEO Matt Butterworth said more than 300 couples were married on February 14 last year, making it a popular choice with engaged couples.

Today, Canberra’s Samira El Haj and Al Walker will be among them as they tie the knot after a five-year engagement in front of an intimate gathering of 30 guests in the backyard of their Canberra home.

Samira said the date appealed to them for two reasons. “Al is a very romantic guy and I have always received roses on Valentine’s day, but he has forgotten my birthday in the past, so we thought if we get married on Valentine’s day, he won’t forget it,” she quipped.

“The only downfall was that the flowers were quite expensive due to the high demand associated with Valentine’s Day.” Samira, now 47, and Al, now 45, met at a bar in Canberra in 2008 and enjoyed a whirlwind romance when Al followed Samira to Spain when she intended to move back to her native country.

“He came over for six weeks and it was like a baptism of fire for our relationship – it really was make or break as we were with each other 24/7 for six weeks,” Samira said. “And after that, I moved to Canberra to continue our romance. “Because of our ages, we had to get a move on when we found each other.”

They only started to plan their “wedding on a shoestring” in December, after they had confirmation Samira’s family would be able to travel from Spain for the event. Their two gorgeous children Aisha, 6, and Harry, 4, will have integral roles in their 3pm ceremony.

“Harry will be our ringbearer and we will find a cushion to tie the rings really, really tight onto and Aisha will be our flower girl and throw out handmade petals made by my mother-in-law,” Samira said.

“Aisha’s very disappointed that I’m not having the big white ballgown and white carriage fairytale wedding, because that what she thinks marriage is all about. But we are all very excited.”

Mistakes to avoid in your best man speech

There is a lot of pressure on a best man speech these days. You are expected to be laugh out loud funny, yet also charming and tasteful and all to a room of sometimes hundreds of strangers. It’s a difficult balance and the truth is, it’s a tough gig. And with all that pressure, it’s no wonder we sometimes hear the guys getting it wrong.


Don’t mention the ex

No matter how well-meaning your intentions, this is just a no-no.  If you want to avoid awkwardness and bad memories, just stay away from the ex. Weddings are about celebrating the future, there is absolutely no need to dwell on the past. Stay upbeat and focus on the moment.


The bucks party

We all have heard the saying ‘what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas’. But time and time again, the bucks party keeps sliding into best man speeches and it’s just not cool. Not only are you breaking bro-code but the audience and the bride especially do not want to hear what happened and what mischief was managed. Leave the imagery of what might have happened alone and keep it on the level.



You and the groom might go way back. Way way back. And while that is really lovely, we don’t know who you’re talking about when you call your friends Boof, Meat and Sweats. We only know them as James, Tom and Shaun. No matter how small the wedding, assume the room knows nothing. We definitely want to hear your stories and history with the groom – by all means tell us something we don’t know! But in choosing stories, make sure they’re relevant to the event and have a relevant link to the focus of the evening. Perfect examples are marriage, love and the future.

Snapchat wedding geofilter

Wedding hashtags are reaching fever pitch and the creativity of some couples is astounding. But if you have a wedding in 2017, you might want to learn more about Snapchat Geofilters, because they are the next social media craze poised to explode.

If you are hooked on Snapchat, this is the perfect way to add some extra charm to the photos your guests post of your big day.

Geofilters allow you to create personalised filters for your wedding that are only available at a set location. In this case, it would be your ceremony and/or reception venue.

Gold glittery hearts, beautiful doves holding banners or a custom design that captures the essence of you and your partner – the options are limitless.

But, like most great things, there are some regulations. Snapchat needs to approve each proposed Geofilter design to ensure there are no trademarked images, website URLs, phone numbers, usernames or pictures of people in the filter image.

Designs also need to have a transparent background and only cover a small percentage of the screen to allow for the photos being posted to be easily seen.

You can take the bull by the horns and jump onto Snapchat and check out their templates to personalise one for your wedding, or you can employ the services of a graphic designer to create a bespoke filter for you.

Once you have your design ready, you submit it to Snapchat for approval. If you are DIYing a Geofilter, you might benefit from checking out video tutorials on YouTube to ensure you go through the process correctly, but a basic guideline of how this process works is:


Step 1 – Upload

Get onto Snapchat and upload your Geofilter design.


Step 2 – Select a window of time

Choose the amount of time you want to have the filter available. For weddings, it makes sense to base the availability around your ceremony and reception times as you do pay by the hour for this privilege. But if you have extra money in your wedding budget, you can extend this out to the entire day or even weekend. Geofilters can be live for just an hour or anywhere up to 30 days. Be sure to check the time zone that you are working with to make sure it aligns with the location of your venue.


Step 3 – Build a fence

No, you don’t have to get over this one. The geographical area of a Geofilter is defined when you use the Snapchat tool to draw a “fence” to indicate where you wish to have your filter available (your wedding venue). It can be one building or an entire block. Just remember, the larger the area, the more you will need to be prepared to pay.

Valley wedding venues

Dreaming of a tranquil wedding away? Below are ten Hunter Valley wedding venues guaranteed to offer a peaceful countryside wedding in the fresh air.

Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley

Located in idyllic countryside, Crown Plaza is the perfect venue for a destination wedding. Nestled between vineyards and golf courses in picturesque Hunter Valley, Crown Plaza caters for both intimate weddings and larger soirees, with venues seating from 50 to 830 people. And, with accommodation on site, your guests can wholly enjoy the memorable event ahead.


Hunter Valley Gardens

Boasting five star reviews, Hunter Valley Gardens is guaranteed to enthral your guests. Offering an all-in-one location, the location includes the ceremony, photography setting, and the reception. Celebrate your love and commitment to one another beneath the leafy backdrop, and dance into the candlelit night. Hunter Valley Gardens also offers a fireworks display, and helicopter transport, for the more gallant newlyweds.


Estate Tuscany

Located beside the magnificent Brokenback Ranges, Estate Tuscany offers the perfect vineyard setting. Specialising in summer weddings, Estate Tuscany allows you to exchange vows in the sun, and later celebrate beneath the stars in the courtyard. For wetter days, rustic indoor venues are available for a discounted rate. On-site accommodation offers the cherry on top, allowing your nearest and dearest to spend the entire weekend together. A truly memorable experience.


The Vintage

Surrounded by fields as far as the eye can see, The Vintage offers the quintessential countryside wedding. With six wedding venues to choose from, The Vintage caters to all weddings — big and small. With a golf course, on-site accommodation, and a spa, your perfect weekend wedding awaits.

Gift ideas for your couple

Valentine’s Day is almost here and now that you are engaged, your relationship is now on another level. But rather than trying to take your gift-giving to the next level, why not consider something more personalized for your fiance and soon-to-be spouse?

Sure, roses, chocolates and a restaurant meal will always go down a treat, but we have put together some ideas that will make your partner go all mushy and won’t cost you the earth if you are budgeting for your wedding. Here are some great valentine’s day present ideas for your partner.


Personalised photo book or album

Nothing says “I love you and I want to remember how much” like taking the time to put together a little memory book for your partner.  A photo album with printed photos and cute captions makes a really great valentine’s day gift. Otherwise, you could do a more modern digitally-created photo book, which will go down a real treat. You don’t have to look far for inspiration. You can create one of a holiday, your engagement shoot or weekend getaway your shared, or trawl through your photos and create a timeline of your relationship from when you first met to now!


Edible flowers

This is a classical two birds, one stone scenario that will also save you money. There are lots of companies around that offer bouquets of chocolate flowers, or a box of sweet treats and florals. These are a creative change from the traditional roses and chocolates!


Jar of affirmations

Use a jar of any size to fill with your partner’s favourite lollies or chocolates and hide some notes for them inside. They don’t have to be full-blown love poems, but simply writing small comments that express your love for them, what you love the most about them and how they make you happy. This is one of the easiest but most heartfelt valentine’s day present ideas!


Organise a date

This doesn’t have to be dinner at a fancy restaurant. You could do something simple like enjoy a romantic twilight walk, take a picnic to a park or relax at the beach. The idea is to set aside time for just the two of you.

How to Manage Your Wedding Budget

Planning a wedding is an exciting adventure and it is easy to get swept up in all of the possibilities available to you. But there are some things that your wedding day can simply do without.

Considering that the average total wedding cost in Australia is $30,985 (according to the Easy Weddings annual survey 2016) and the average original budget is $20,913, there is a big gap between what couples want to spend and what they end up spending on unplanned costs.

Personalised napkins

They are cute and add a nice touch to your wedding, but at the end of the day, a napkin is a napkin. They are designed to stop condensation from taking over the table, collect crumbs and wipe up messes. A napkin of any shape or size will do the exact same job, so why go for the added expense?


Mr & Mrs letters

Wooden, metal or back-lit boxes, these babies come in all shapes and sizes. While they do add a nice touch to your bridal table, consider hiring rather than buying. It will save you money and then you won’t have to worry about where to keep them once the wedding is over.


Guest books

You can spend a far amount on a flash-looking guest book with the intention that it will be a great keepsake of your big day. But the reality is that not all of your guests will get around to signing it, while others will have a few too many drinks and sign it three or more times (with the contents getting more questionable as the night progresses.)


Bathroom baskets

If you haven’t heard of these before, they are a convenience item some couple choose to include in the bathrooms at their venues. They include toiletries like travel-sized deodorant, tampons, extra bobby pins and other items that your guests may have forgotten to bring with them for the day. These items are useful, but most guests probably have a similar stash in their car. These items are a lovely gesture but often go relatively untouched.