Bridal emergency kit

I have packed a few emergency kits in my time. I think it is my sewing skills that get me the job. Here for the benefit of brides everywhere is my must have kit.

  • Water – If you need a Panadol it is likely that what you really need is water.
  • Panadol – Especially when drinking in the sun.
  • Baby wipes – Not only are they a wonder for a freshen up but for any marks on the dress they are the perfect spot cleaner. They are always damp and have some soaps in them that will lift most small marks.
  • Safety pins – Not supermarket ones as they will just bend if put under any stress, go to the dressmaking shop to get some. They are ideal to re attach a broken strap.
  • Needle and thread – The little ‘sewing kits’ you can buy are hopeless, if you need to sew something you don’t want to be dealing with cheap and nasty thread. Using good cotton I like to cut the thread to lengths and actually thread them on the needle. Wrap the threads around some card and poke the needles through. As well as a small needle with regular sewing cotton bring along a heavier one with some stronger thread.  (top stitching thread is perfect) The best solution to a broken zip is to sew the dress closed and you will need a heavy thread for this.
  • small scissors – If you have to sew a dress closed she will eventually have to get out of it. Also handy if a veil gets a hole somewhere near the edge before photos the edge can be trimmed to take the hole off.
  • Sore tummy fixes – if you have a nervous tummy make sure you have something to settle it. Ask your pharmacist what will be best for your nervous tummy type.
  • Snacks – something small for an instant pick me up. If you have a friend who  is a cyclist get them to make you something small and packed for ease of eating on the run and full of energy.
  • bobby pins – Not being a hair expert myself  I will leave this blank for advice from your hairdresser, they will know what you will need.
  • Lipstick -as bobby pins
  • Medication – If you take something regularly in the evening make sure you have it around and remember to get it over and done with after cake. If you take something you can not miss, set an alarm in your or a bridesmaids phone.

pack all this in a small bag, choose something cute if you can as it will be hanging around all day. I hope you don’t need any of it but you will be fully prepared if you do.




Feminist Killjoy ruins wedding jokes.

This morning I found this ‘hilarious’ pair of socks on the feed of one of a large number of wedding sites I follow. It actually made me feel a little bit sad.

What we say, even in jest actually matters.  These socks say Men are hopeless commitment phobes ands marriage is the worst. They also more subtly bring up the worst stereotypes of women as being the one who really wants to get married and doing anything to get it then quickly regressing into a nagging unsexy housewife.

I know all this this because there was no lady equivalant sock.

Just like there is no lady equivalant of the ‘last chance to run’ sign. Great article here on Offbeat bride.


I was going to give amazon the benefit of the doubt when I saw they had a ‘reluctant bride’ as well as a ‘reluctant groom’ cake topper but a quick scroll down showed the actual ratio of toppers following the theme of reluctant groom to bride is 6 to 1. A small selection below, google ‘funny cake topper’ if you need more proof.

Wilton-Oh-No-You-Dont-Humorous-Cake-Topper Wilton-Now-I-have-You-Cake-Topper Wilton-Ball-and-Chain-Humorous-Cake-Topper  Humorous-Wedding-Cake-Topper-Groom-on-Leash Reluctant-Bride-Wedding-Cake-Topper


Silk v Nylon

A little discussion about tulle. The exact weaving technique is what defines tulle but the material it is made from makes it behave as if it was an unrelated fabric.

Silk tulle

Bought back into the spotlight by Katherine middleton and worn perfectly. Silk tulle is made of the same technique as nylon tulle but it looks and feels completly different. It has more drape and inertia than nylon and depending on the quality can look a little more opaque.

Kate shows the way is falls straight down, looking lovely over the face. She also has a wide attachment around the whole front of her tiara. this holds the tulle open so its sheerness can be seen.  A narrow atachment lets the tulle fall straight and none of its transparency  can be seen. I personally think that the kate method is the only way to use silk tulle.

2 veils showing the fall of a silk tulle veil with a narrow base, lady Mary showing how seemingly silk tulle works best with tiaras.

Silk tulle veil  Silk tulle veil silk tulle veil

Nylon Tulle

Normally my fibre snobbery would prevail and I would prefer silk fabric over a synthetic but not when it comes to veils. The threads the fabric is made of are much finer and lighter than silk so the tulle has a lightness and can be incredibly sheer. It also has some stiffness which holds it more open and allows the sheer layers to all be seen. It is also quite inexpensive and available everywhere. I have also seen it in more shades than silk which is usually only white and ivory if you are lucky. Nylon tulles come in white, ivory, The poorly named ‘nude’,champagne and almost caramel (as well as almost all bright colours if you want a coloured veil, I should make a post about coloured veils, against a white dress they are brilliant)

A simple light circle from bhldn (look at the distance from her shoulders the veil is sitting compared to lady Mary), A 60’s bride showing what is possible when you embrace the pouff, A tiny little blusher in an almost invisible whisp of tulle.

Tulle veil bhldn 60's veil   tulle blusher veil


Backyard weddings

If you are looking for an informal wedding the backyard is number 1 on the list for me.

Location – the sucess of the backyard wedding obviously depends on the house, if your house isnt up to scratch or size, consider your extended family. You may be able to borrow a house if you can assure its owners that they wont have to lift a finger other than to drink their champagne.

A great space for a reception may not have the ideal ceremony location. If you don’t want to hold the ceremony elswhere then you can make a backdrop of the ceremony. Streamers, baloons, bunting, candles…the possibilities are endless. A quick search of pintrest for wedding backdrops will yield a thousand wonderful ideas. I love the idea below to bring some colour to the location.


Having access to the location for at least the day before is a huge advantage. You can mannge the decorations and set up well before the wedding. much less stressful than having only a few hours to set up and having to rely on the venue to do it or pay your florist extra.

Below friends and family install an amazing branch chandelier in a marquee set on the driveway.


Time – you will have full controll over the time, no need to start later or finish earlier than you would like. Make sure you do consider the neighbours, better yet, invite them.

Children – In most cases a backyard wedding is ideal if you will have children attending. There may even be a few spare rooms where the little ones can be put down for a sleep. The bigger ones can be set up in another room with a perpetual loop of Frozen.

Drinks – Alcohol can be a large expense. If you purchase it yourself it can save you a lot of money. Using a venue with a liquor liscence you wont be able to do this. I spent a weekend scouring hunter valley cellar doors for a mix of great wines at a much better price than retail (and Dan Murphys is hard to beat).

Beers and ciders can be served in the bottle (with cute straws where appropriate) Most bottle shops and supermarkets can get you a few cases of little mineral waters or ginger beers if you want.  Set the tables with some ice buckets and allow the guests to get their own bottle from the bar to share at the table. This avoiuds the need for anyone to serve drinks.

Flowers – When working with a florist consider asking them to order you what you will need for the table decorations. They can apply their skills to the technical bouquets and you can collect the flowers the day before  and make simple bunched in vases for tables the day before the wedding. The florist wil be able to advise you on the flowers who will still look amazing the next day.

The flowers below a mix of florist supplied and garden collected made the day before, proving that Australian natives are a great choice.


Relaxing – Finally the most lovely thing about being at home is the ability to relax. You and your guests can take off their shoes at the end of the night, chairs can be shifted and cars can be left to be picked up tomorrow.

Finally one of the most lovely parts of the backyear weddings I have attended has been the guests who are able coming over the next day to help clean. It is a great time to catch up and polish off the last wine and cheese. Delegate someone to cook the egg and bacon rolls on the bbq while the others rinse and stack glasses. This is the perfect antidote to waking up the next day and feeling sad because it is all over.


Dressing a baby bump

If you or your bridesmaid are pregnant, surprise or not there is no reason to worry that the expectant mum wont look amazing on the day.

The dresses I have featured are not my work (and not all pregnant), I am just using them as examples of ideas and shapes.

Ist trimester – If you will only have a little bump then it is often possible to simply shape the style you would otherwise have chosen to fit. When making the dress a little extra is left in the seam allowances so the dress can be let out a little if needed. Lacing at the back can also be great as it means the dress can be tightened as little or as much as needed. Special consideration will also need to be made for larger and possibly uncomfortable breasts.

If you are hiding your bump then a little soft gather or ruffle across the tummy will do the trick. (Also plan a signature cocktail that can be made without alcohol and will still look exactly the same as what your guests are drinking)

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2nd trimester – A medium size bump still leaves a lot of room for style choice. Again lacing at the back is a great option when a dress is delivered weeks before the wedding. If you can have the final fitting in the days before any closure will work. Gathers are a great way to leave a little extra room for a bump, as is stretch fabric. (most sequin fabrics like the mini dress above have a stretch fabric as their base). A 2nd trimester bump can also sit a lot lower than a larger one so a nice fit around the chest is possible allowing a perfect fit for strapless for any size.

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3rd trimester – For a larger bump the style and fabric chosen will be a little more limited. Planning is Key. A dress fitted around the bust and draped or gathered over the bump is an easy choice. An addition to this is to consider having a full skirt like the tulle gown below. A dress can also be shaped to allow room for a bump if you want a more modern simple style like the layered Dior dress below.

A strapless will only work well for smaller breasted ladies, the structure needed to keep a larger bust from being over squished isn’t possible with a larger bump. A little extra support over the shoulder is all that is needed, asymmetric , fine straps, halters and fine fabrics will all do the job.

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Having a dress made is a wonderful way to remove any stress around dressing a baby bump.

Advice for the newly engaged

It can be overwhelming to be newly engaged. Awesome because you must have said yes to someone amazing but worrying because there is now so much to do. From the stress of my own wedding I developed some ideas for keeping sane while wedding planning I would like to share with other newly engaged.

Let it evolve – The first overwhelming feeling is ‘where do I start’. Having infinite possibilities sounds great but is actually really unhelpful. Once you find that first thing (date, location, colour, idea) that will narrow down your choices immediatly and will start to make other decisions easier.

As each detail is selected let it tell you what the next detail is. For my wedding I decided to have it at home and I was struggling with how to manage a dinner at that location. As soon as remembered how much I prefer drinking in the day time all the hassles of dancing, heating, lighting and full meals were gone. Instead a more informal meal of shared platters and champagne. A day wedding meant a simpler matte dress and daywear for bridesmaids (image below, The first thing for the bridesmaids was actually the red waratahs and then the shoes, when we saw them and held them against a swatch of red they begged us to buy them)


Remember details of other weddings you loved – I am not talking about the thing that other copled purchased that made their wedding lovely but the things that made the day work. The thoughtful details, fun games, attentive service from staff. These are the things that make weddings memorable, make them inportant to your wedding.

Some colours are easier than others – Choose a palertte of colours over one colour. you wont ever be able to match your colour perfectly everywhere and sometimes close enough isnt as nice as a contrast or complementary colour. Some colours are actually more difficult to work woth than others as flowers do not come in all colours. Blues and purples can be challanging. If you select a group of shades to work with then you will have more to choose from. If in doubt choose everything in white where you cant get exactly the shade you want. There are heaps of great websites with wedding colour inspiration boards, Snippet and Ink being the Queen of them all.


Let people help – People love to be involved and it gives them an extra investment in your day. Choose aspects where you are happy to share out the jobs. Choose people with the skills for each job. Plan a party for the repetitive tasks and drink champagne with girlfriends and fold serviettes or make crepe paper flowers. Have the simplest jobs ready for when people nag you to help but you don’t really trust them to. (Below helping to set tables in a cave in rural France) Even where people have helped you and know some of the details already, they will still be blown away when they see your wedding come together as a whole.

forget what you ‘should’ do – Family and bridal magazines, constantly at you with their opinions of how a wedding should look and be. Read the magazines but dont use their checklists of what to do and when. listen to your family and their opinions and smile and nod then do what you want. If you end up being stressed due to someone pressuring you don’t tell them what you are planning or lie to them. Weddings are a little like children’s names, when you are pregnant everyone will have an opinion of your cherished name, when your child is born and named everyone will tell you its lovely. (photo of a lovely harbour side wedding included to make this post more beautiful)

CIMG1505_2 Take care of yourself, surround yourself with people who think every detail you are planning is fantastic and they cant wait to hear more, ask for help and have fun.

Buying your dress online


More brides are buying their dress online now. Some retailers offer known brands at better prices, perfect if you can find the dress to sneakily try on.

There are also a lot of retailers who offer non branded gowns for less than $500 and they can be tempting. Below are my tips for any bride who wants to go down this road. These comments also apply to bridesmaids dresses.

My advice for buying your dress online.

  • Have a back up plan incase it is not what you want. Understand that you may need to start again and this dress and money may be wasted.
  • Have someone lined up for any alterations you may need. If this person is an experienced dressmaker they may also take more accurate measurements for you.
  • Err on the side of larger for any measurements, a dress can be made smaller easily in most cases but rarely bigger.
  • Small adjustments can usually be done easily but large adjustments may not be possible or may be expensive. Full sleeves, boning and heavy detailing make alterations more difficult.
  • Dresses with lacing in the back are a great choice, they can simply be tightened instead of altered.
  • If you are tall take care, making a dress longer could be very difficult. The length should be on the website or available on request.
  • Order fabric swatches if you can, if you cant reconsider using this supplier. The exact colour, quality, shine and finish of the fabric will make a huge difference to the finished dress.
  • It is unlikely the dress will be silk at this price point. If they say silk be wary. Synthetic fabrics can look a little ‘cheap’ so push for swatches.
  • Websites that have a selection of photos of ‘real brides’ are great becasse it can help seeing the dresses on non-models and in real light.

Solving disasters

My dress is late!

  • It is safe to assume your dress will be shipped from China. It is also safe to assume they will want to send it sea freight to Australia as that is a lot cheaper. If the delay is under a month ask them to send it air freight. Especially if it is their fault it is late.
  • Consider paying the difference between sea freight and air freight yourself.

I hate it!

  • Look at it in the light your wedding will be in, it may look amazing in candle light.
  • Try adding a splash of colour with a sash, if the fabric isn’t what you want, breaking up the volume of it can help.
  • If it looks bad on your body take it to an experienced dressmaker. To have it fitted correctly will make a world of difference.
  • Shorten it to a reception/rehearsal dinner dress and start again with your ceremony dress.
  • If you or a few family members can sew consider covering it with beads and sequins. This can work well with lace as it is a repeated pattern the lay out of the beading will be even if you bead each repeat of the lace.
  • It could be the shape of the skirt that isn’t sitting well. For a fuller skirt see if you can borrow a hoop or tulle petticoat to try on under it. if this improves it you can arrange to have one made. For a straighter skirt try pegging it at the back to make it look narrower. If this works find someone to make the alterations.
  • Add an over layer or a few of bridal tulle, it is cheap and doesn’t need to be hemmed. A full tulle skirt with a simple ribbon waist work over the dress may be better than you expected.
  • Send it back, They generally only offer credit but you may have luck with another dress. If the dress has a fault or looks so far from the photo it may be possible to force them to reimburse you.