Friday, May 22, 2009

Wedding Gowns with a touch of COLOUR!

A bit of excitement and action here in my studio this morning....the "Sunday Telegraph" newpaper just visited me, photographing & interviewing a bridal client of mine, on a story about "Colourful Wedding Dresses" and the fact that these days, more & more brides are wearing non-white bridal gowns.

This very subject is something that i have a keen & rather passionate interest in.... in fact, the whole basis for my label "Culture Shock" is to provide brides with a colourful alternative to the traditional white "meringue"!!!

I really believe that these days, alongside certain wedding traditions we can also add a dash of individualism, personality and fun - and the wedding dress is a perfect chance to express these wishes. A FABULOUS & stylishly coloured wedding gown can make a great statement of who you are, what you like, your passions, and how you'd like your family, friends and especially your partner to "see" you. Of course, it can also reflect your cultural heritage (or that of your partner of families), or perhaps a culture you adore, such as the Exotic lands of Asia, or fascinating India with it's rich textiles and wild colours.

For many of my bridal clients, we create a unique wedding gown in white or ivory silk, then add just a subtle dash of colour, like a soft pastel japanese OBI waistband, or perhaps a beautiful cropped kimono jacket over a "white wedding dress". This way, they are giving a nod to tradition (the white or ivory) but also adding a personal touch which is also more flattering to their skin tones (the dash of colour) and we're creating a memorable and individual wedding gown that all the guests will LOVE and talk about for years to come!

Red is definitely the colour i get requested for the most - and done well, red can look magnificent againt white or ivory. But it needs to be done cleverly, so you don't look like a "football supporter" rather than a fashionable & chic bride! Of course, in other cultures, RED is THE wedding colour for brides (India, China & other parts of Asia) and also represents wealth, happiness and rich cultural its universally known as the "colour of love"!

For my bolder and more adventurous brides, this grand opportunity to wear their favourite colour on their wedding day - proudly & with much pizazz- is just irresistable! Over the years i have created exquisitely coloured weddings gowns in the deepest Purple, BLUES from soft pastel shades to deepest Midnight Blue, Silvers and Golds, Burnt Orange, Emerald Green, Peacock-inspired Teal, Hot Pink, and every shade of RED you can possibley imagine!

So, i hope that the ongoing trend for embracing colour in the realm of bridal fashion lives on, and that it becomes not just "unusual" but the "norm" in years to come!
Til next time,
xx Lisa
Top Left image of our bride Natalie, photo by
Second Top image of our silver lace bride Kristy, photo by
Third image of our stunning red bride Kiri, photo by
Fourth image of our retro-themed bride in blue, Belinda, shot by
Fifth image of our fabulous purple kimono bride Kirsten, photo by Hamilton Lund
Final image of our dramatic red kimono bride Paz, shot at the Chinese Gardens
see our website for more -

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Intimate Beach Wedding... simple yet FUN!

I recently had some good friends fly over to Sydney to get married. Their needs were simple - they wanted a small & intimate wedding on the beach, in Sydney, with a relaxed yet exotic mood and a fun, child-friendly atmosphere. As they had travelled from Europe with their 2 young sons, they also needed their wedding to be affordable, so they could still enjoy their 2-week honeymoon/holiday here without "blowing the budget"! Sound familiar in some ways? Read on......
So we came up with a simple wedding plan that turned out to be PERFECT in every way - it was stylish yet relaxed, we were blessed with great weather, the bride Chantal looked BEAUTIFUL (of course Culture Shock made her designer gown!), the kids all had a ball, we found a lovely inner-city beach that was accessible and it was ALL very cost-effective!

Via the internet from their home in Europe, my friends Stef & Chantal sourced their Sydney wedding celebrant who was extremely helpful, and she organised all the necessary paperwork, sourced the beach location, and recommended a fab photographer who shot in film (rather than digital - a lovely change & it really captured the carefree mood and feel of the day!) The photographer then delivered a high-res CD with around 130 beautiful wedding images a few days after the wedding, so the bride & groom could organise their own printing and albums back home later on.

Meanwhile, i organised a white mini-van to transport all the guests to & from the beach & the reception (11 guests in total - i told you it was "intimate"!) and sourced a fabulous cake-maker who bakes delicious wedding cakes from home for very reasonable rates. I also made the decision to make the bride's floral bouquet myself - something i have never attempted before, but thoroughly enjoyed.

We booked an Indian Banquet Lunch at a local Indian restaurant, which was kid-friendly and suited the exotic theme of the groom & pageboys' wedding outfits - white Nehru-collared cotton shirts and casual white linen pants. We were able to have our (wedding) cake and eat it too - the tasty banquet menu felt very festive, the BYO wines were flowing freely, and the bridal table looked lovely with Chantal's bouquet & wedding cake decorating the white linen tablecloths beautifully.

Chantal's white silk georgette Culture Shock Couture wedding gown was made rather quickly, within 7 days of the wedding - not something i would attempt on a regular basis, but with advanced planning it was no problem! Luckily, the bride fell in love with a fabulous Grecian-inspired design i had featured on my website, so we had all the fabrics, trims and beading on standby & ready to be cut, sewn & fitted within a very short timeframe. The delicate silver Sari waistband was hand-beaded with Swarovski crystals, and the design had a split at the front, under the waterfall frill, so walking on the beach was a breeze. My wonderful team all did a fantastic job & we actually finished making the gown a day ahead of schedule - woo hoo!

The bride's jewellery was an easy choice - Stef had hand-made a necklace out of shells he'd collected from the beach on a seaside holiday previously, so Chantal wanted to wear that necklace as a symbol of their love & adventures together. And the bouquet HAD to have some franjipannis (the brides' favourite) so we collected the beautifully scented franjipanni flowers from local trees the morning of the wedding, then i wired them into the bridal bouquet of white roses, lizianthas & tiger lillies, with some greenery added for volume. Not bad for a first attempt at "floristry", i thought!

On the morning of the wedding, our fabulous make-up artist arrived for the bridal hair & make-up session... she did an up-do (bun), we pinned some franjipannis in the hair to match the bouquet, and the make-up look was fresh, natural & beach-friendly, without looking too "overdone"... our bride was made-up, dressed & ready within 2 hours!

I hope the photos you see here reflect what a fun, relaxed and very romantic wedding day it really was for Stef & Chantal - with their 2 young boys as the ring-bearers, and a few close friends as the guests, it was a truly special day and one that was absolutely enjoyed by all... The guests and the celebrant all loved kicking off their shoes and walking barefoot on the sand, & everything felt so easy & totally carefree! The celebrant spoke beautifully and the cermony was short, sweet & personal, the photos were all shot on location on Milk Beach & Strickland House (as a majestic backdrop). As for the kids, they were all easily entertained with the sand, ocean & seashells, & we were all blown away with the stunning views of Sydney harbour right behind us!

I have listed our "DREAM TEAM" of suppliers for this wedding below, and highly recommend them for anyone looking for a simple beach wedding in Sydney.

until next time, xx Lisa

Wedding gown - Culture Shock Couture
Celebrant - Pauline Fawkner -
Photographer - MIke Locker -
Make Up - Dee O'Keefe - ph 0437 264 475
email Dee at:-
Cake - Katie Loffler - email -
Wedding ceremony venue - Milk Beach, Strickland House, Vaucluse (Nielsen Park)
Reception venue - Darbar Indian Restaurant, Glebe