Wedding 101 – Dos and Don’ts of Dress Shopping

In my quest to find a dress for our wedding, I explored a lot of avenues – from CosmoBride editorials to personal recommendations from friends. I cut out pictures, pinned things and had a mental catalogue of what felt like hundreds of dresses in my head.

The only problem was, that the thought of trying any of them on petrified me – especially in front of my Mother, Sister and 4 Bridesmaids. Overwhelming much?

I got engaged in June and was too scared to set foot in a bridal shop until December and even then it took a bit of convincing. It was only after I spilled my fears (what if everything looks awful, what if I don’t find anything, I am a hideous, ugly monster…bla bla bla) to one of my old friends who is also a Bride that things changed. She made me set a date, and pick 3 Bridal shops to go to –  just the two of us – to look/shop for both of us.

Together we picked the three shops we thought would be best suited to our style and figures – Karen Willis Holmes, Paddington Brides and Wendy Makin – and away we went.

The big day came and I was a bundle of nerves but I had no need to be, to my surprise, the whole experience was heaps of fun and I had nothing to be worried about.

We kicked things off at Karen Willis Holmes (KWH) where I fell in love with the first dress I tried on. It fit like a glove and I didn’t want to take it off – a pretty good start to the day!

That dress became my ‘benchmark’ dress, against which the 7 or 8 other dresses I tried on were compared. At the second stop – Paddington Brides – I found a dress I loved equally as much as my benchmark dress and after lunch at our final stop (I Wendy Makin) I found the dress that I have since chosen to be my wedding gown. There wasn’t really a wow moment if I’m honest. On that day I found a number of dresses that I adored, I just wanted to take some time to think about which one I preferred the most and what felt the most ‘me’.

Going shopping with just one other person (and a bride at that), really took the pressure off and I would highly recommend it. It allowed us to voice our concerns without judgment and to make up our own minds without our decisions being colour by too many other opinions.

About a month after our dress shopping expedition I took my bridal party and family back to the same three shops to make the final decision on my three favourite dresses. On this occasion I did try on a couple more gowns I had missed on my previous visit and I somehow managed to find another two that I loved but one of my original choices really stood out, so I picked it.

I would still be more than happy – ecstatic even – to get married in any of the other dresses I tried on and fell in love with as they were all gorgeous and what I ultimately took away form the experience is that in the big picture it doesn’t really matter. Whatever I wear is the outfit that I marry the love of my life in and that is the most important thing.

It’s easy to get caught up and overwhelmed by wedding dress shopping. I could have gone to at least another dozen bridal shops in Brisbane if I had the time and energy to do so…but it would have made the decision much harder and I just didn’t want to. Some things to remember are:

  1. There is a LOT of choice and it looks very different on the hanger – DO try a few styles you normally wouldn’t go for and you might surprise yourself.
  2. DON’T try on so many dresses you confuse yourself. Choice is great but it can muddy the waters.
  3. DO look online and choose just a handful of dress shops that you think might work for you. Spend about an hour at each – you can come back again if you want more time.
  4. DON’T let others opinions sway your decision. It’s great to get feedback but ultimately it’s your gown so pick what you want.
  5. DO wear nude, non-sexy, Bridget Jones style underwear and take a strapless/convertible bra. They will make the dresses look a lot better!
  6. Do buy a gown that suits your figure and personality…rather than purchasing something that’s in fashion but doesn’t really suit you.
  7. DO consider the type of wedding you’re having when purchasing. A low-cut dress with a thigh high split might be perfect for a modern city wedding but could be considered a little too revealing for a traditional church ceremony.
  8. DON’T settle for a dress that is uncomfortable. This is your wedding day, you want to feel relaxed and not have to worry about nursing a potentially broken rib after being laced into a too-tight corset structure.
  9. DO talk to the shop-girls/designers/seamstress about things that you like and dislike in the gowns you try on. They know their stock better than you and can recommend things you might like.
  10. DON’T stress about the dress. In the scheme of things it isn’t a huge deal and you’ll look beautiful no matter what you wear.

Odd things that Queenslanders love

When you’re in a mixed-country couple, you are bound to have cultural differences, some significant, some minor. Being with English boys, we don’t come across too many big, startling cultural differences but dozens of little, every-day ones that can flummox you just as much.

References to pop culture can be rife with misunderstanding and exclamations of “What do you mean you’ve never watched/heard of  this show/person/expression?” or puzzlement when your partner performs a task that is natural to them but you just stare at them and think “What on earth are you doing?”

Inevitably, you become used to all of this and start to adopt the other person’s cultural idiosyncrasies. I am seeing it in my relationship and in my Husband who is becoming more ‘Queenslander’ with every passing month. He hasn’t taken to wearing maroon just yet, but there are a few things I notice him doing that make me feel ‘that is so Queenslander of you’. So I got thinking, what are the strange things that Queenslanders love?

Avocado on toast

We are a tropical climate and we love our tropical fruits. Avocado has reached the point of state-obsession. Avocado on toast with some combination of salt/lemon/cheese can be found on every cafe in Brisbane, probably the whole of Queensland.

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The Weekly G&T

Long weekend time! Even though we had a lovely long weekend in Mooloolaba last weekend, we already need another rest. One of us is heading to Maleny, the other is chilling Brisbane-side but we both plan to relax and enjoy four days off.

NEWSFLASH: S&G will be going through a little upgrade and change of scenery over Easter. It might look a little messy for while but we’re really excited about it!


Our Top Ten Long Weekend Getaways from Brisbane

We’ve just gotten back from a lovely 3-day weekend and with the Easter long weekend almost here it’s got us thinking about where to next?

Brisbane is in such a good position for weekend getaways it’s not even funny. We’re super close to beaches, the bush, rainforest, reef, mountains and wine country. And on top of that we’re just a couple of hours flight from the hustle and bustle of some of Australia’s wonderful southern cities. If you’re overdue a much-needed break it’s time for you so get your butt into gear and book yourself a long weekend away. Be inspired by our list below!

These are our Top Ten favourite places for a long weekend getaway…

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Merriweather Cafe and a drive to Mt Nebo

Is there anything better than a lazy Sunday? Sleeping in, going for a delicious late breakfast and having a super relaxed day…just thinking about it makes me feel calm and happy.

A couple of weekends ago, I had a particularly chilled out Sunday. Tom and I ventured to South Brisbane with a friend of ours to start our day with a late breakfast at Merriweather cafe.

We’d been to Merriweather before for a light snack and coffee but hadn’t ever sat down to breakfast there so it was well overdue.

Merriweather has built a solid a reputation on using locally sourced, sustainable and organic ingredients to create unusual and delicious food so we expectations were high.

One arrival, the place was busy so we waited outside for about 15 minutes until a table became available. Once seated service was swift and we ordered our coffees, shortly followed by our meals. I  ordered the Local Mushrooms with flatbread, goat’s cheese, duke and poached eggs and a banana smoothie. Tom ordered the smoked mackerel and eggplant special and our friend Meiks went with the Yoghurt and Rye Pancake with whipped vanilla ricotta and raspberries (substituted for poached pears). Quite an array of food!

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Floral Fun with Francesca’s Flowers

This past weekend, we had a super girly day out. After breakfast at Mondo and a spot of dress shopping we headed to Francesca’s Flowers at Paddington to chill out and take part in one of their Floral Workshops.

Our workshop focused on learning how to create an autumn bouquet and it was simply fabulous! It kicked off at 1pm, with Francesca demonstrating how to prepare the flowers and strauss a bouquet while we enjoyed tea and cake and some champagne we may have brought along with us – hey it’s the S&G way!

Once Francesca had finished her demonstration we got to pick our selection of gorgeous foliage and autumn blooms and get started on making our bouquets. Francesca helped us all along the way, encouraging us to get creative and guiding us where we struggled. She also gave us a bunch of tips for preserving our bouquets – did you know that sugar and bleach is the best way to ensure your flowers bloom and stay alive for longer? And that when making a bouquet it’s best to stick with odd numbers of flowers and use a mathematical sequence to place them?

Our workshop was 3 hours and oodles of fun – we are already looking at her upcoming dates to do another one. If you’re looking for a relaxing and fun afternoon where you’ll learn a couple of fun new skills, why not sign up for one yourself?

Mondo Organics’ delicious new Autumn Menu

This past Saturday we were pretty busy. With a huge day of bridesmaid dress shopping, a floral workshop (more on that later in the week) and a birthday picnic ahead of us we started that day at Mondo Organics with a big, delicious breakfast for 5.

Mmmmmmm Mmmmmm.

Now before we get into the nitty gritty of all the delicious things we ate, we just wanted to acknowledge that it’s not always easy finding a great cafe in Brisbane that will let you reserve a large table at very short notice for their busiest time of the week, but Mondo were super accommodating and slotted us in with ease. Thanks guys!

In addition to caring about their customers, Mondo is dedicated to using the best and freshest produce from locally sourced, sustainable suppliers. They change their menu seasonally and their new autumn menu is full of amazingly scrumptious meals.

For breakfast on Saturday I ordered the omelette with saganaki, mushrooms, chorizo, chives, with gluten free toast instead of sourdough ($20, g/f bread extra). It was delicious and super filling – I managed to eat almost 70% of it before I was too full to fit anymore in. The chorizo and saganaki in the omelette made for a very rich meal and although this is not normally to my taste I really enjoyed the whole dish. Next time I would probably ask for a little less saganaki and perhaps some extra mushrooms but that’s really just me wanting more of the things I loved!

Omelette with mushrooms and chorizo at Mondo Organics

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