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.

Wedding 101- Wedding Fever

As I prepare for my wedding in October this year, I thought I’d bring you all along for the ride. This is the first of a few posts on my wed-ventures and planning – with the hope that it assists a few of you out there in engagement land or at least gives you a giggle. Enjoy!

Many women dream of their wedding day for years, conjuring up images of the perfect dress, flowers and cake in their minds.

I was never one of those girls. So when Tom proposed to me last June aside from feeling deliriously happy I also freaked out a bit.

What style of dress would suit me? Where would we have the wedding? What about Bridesmaids and Groomsmen? I had no idea where to start! Unsurprisingly, in my quest to find answers, I descended into a crazy wedding induced fever.

I devoured bridal magazines with fervor and spent hours pintrest-ing my life away. I meticulously compared  venue after venue and vendor after vendor.

I’m not going to lie, there were (and maybe there still are) spreadsheets involved.

For a while it was quite fun curling up on the couch and pouring over Polka Dot Bride and Style Me Pretty for inspiration. But ultimately, it became exhausting and led to a bit – ok a LOT – of overthinking.

Thankfully, I snapped out of it before my fiancé had to stage an intervention, but what I took away from those few weeks of craziness (aside from the fact that wedding videos are EMOSH) was that I wanted my wedding to be easy.

Spectacular, fun,  bursting with love and easy. Not too much to ask right?

I didn’t want to have to organise a million suppliers or feel stressed when thinking about the big day. I just wanted to feel excited and happy and relaxed.

But hooooooow do we do this? I mean we are organizing a WEDDING! We need a bunch of money, and ideas and white doves and a horse and carriage and…well actually, all jokes aside it can be quite easy. We are just under 7 months away and we’ve pretty much got our sh*t sorted. From our celebrant to our photographer to our DJ, it’s all done and now it’s just the fun stuff like cake tasting and dress fittings to enjoy…oh and that whole writing vowels thing but that will happen in time. Stay tuned for more Wedding 101 over the coming months (it will culminate with wedding photos I promise!) and in the meantime why not tell us about your wedding planning experience? Was it six-weeks of quick decisions like B’s or did you spend a lot of time and consideration on all the elements? Feel free to share – we’d love to hear for you!

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?

An Exceptional Dinner date at Gerard’s Bistro

Dinner at Gerard's Bistro

To all you foodies out there, you best prepare yourself to become green with envy because this post contains pictures of mouth-watering meals from my recent date night at Gerard’s Bistro.

My fiancé Tom and I recently dined at Gerard’s and it’s safe to say that is was pretty much one of the best dinner dates we’ve ever had. Of course it’s really no surprise – Gerard’s has built a strong reputation as one of Brisbane’s best restaurants and in January was awarded 2 Chef’s Hats by the Australian Good Food and Travel Guide. Let’s just say we were very much looking forward to this dinner – and we had some high expectations!

Head Chef Ben Williamson and his team produce unique, adventurous, and seriously delicious food inspired by the Middle East and this works perfectly with the gorgeous 1970’s-esque decor and exceptional service to create a great dining experience.

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The Weekly G&T

It’s almost Australia Day Long Weekend (Woo STRAYA!) and we at Sunshine and Gin plan on celebrating with a pool party, the Hottest 100 and some Gin and Fever Tree tonic. If you’re yet to lock in your long-weekend activities there is LOADS happening around Brisbane so sit down and start planning the most epic weekend ever.

  • It’s a poorly kept secret that B hates the gym. She does however love a bit of Bollywood Dancing and this week has been participating in Dance Detox. The Detox is almost over but there is still an event tonight so if you’re keen to try some aerial yoga now is your chance!
  • There are Australia Day Events happening all over Brisbane this weekend – from the cockroach races at the Story Bridge Hotel to something a little fancier like Soleil’s Pool Party or the always fun functions at The Fox Hotel which will be serving up lamb rolls and beer. Is there anything more Aussie?
  • What is Australia Day without a Pavlova?! If only the things weren’t so bloody hard to make in the humidity…Never fear though, Gourmet Traveller has put together a list of Australia’s best restaurant Pavlovas including Brisbane’s very own Chester St Bakery and Chur Burger! Get your orders in now.
  • The Brisbane Reggae Carnival is on this Sunday and Free!
  • QTC’s 2015 season has launched.
  • Would love to try this service!
  • There is a bunch of music happening this weekend with Jamie T, The Kooks and oddly enough Darryl Braithwaithe all gracing the Sunshine State…to each his own.
  • Seminal Australian artist Tracey Moffatt is still exhibiting at QAGOMA but not for much longer so make sure you get along and see ‘Spirited’ before February 8.

The Weekly G&T

Oh the Christmas break cannot come fast enough! We are so looking forward to relaxing and spending time with family, then a beach break with friends over New Years! Bring on the sun, surf, sand and Sand Crab!

Weekly G&T