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DESTINATION BACHELORETTE

DESTINATION BACHELORETTE #MYKONOSMEL

 When your best friend of 20 years, gets married to a British gent in London in the summer time, asks you to be her maid of honor, and announces she is keen to celebrate her hens / bachelorette in Mykonos, Greece…. The excitement is real!

 If you follow me on Insta, you would have seen some of my Mykonos snaps already, but as this was my first time actively organizing a hen’s (for our USA readers, in Australia & the UK we call Bachelorette a ‘hens’) – I wanted to share of what I learnt, should you be throwing your BFF a hens do!

So – grab your bikini & your flower crown – We’re going to Mykonos!

 Mykonos

DUTIES

Melanie (the bride & my BFF) has lived in London for seven years, after heading across the pond from Australia. Her & her friend Natalie, have frequented Mykonos every summer together for the past 5 years, so it was a no brainer for her to choose there to celebrate, get a pre wedding tan, and as guests where already flying in internationally, give them the option to see some more of Europe given the hens was only a week before the wedding.

 Luckily for me, the amazing Natalie knows the island well, and therefore she took on the duties of the dinner, bar & beach club bookings for our group of 11.

  I was in charge of  other hens duties…. So what does fall under the ‘other banner’?.... Here is my version. 

 

BRANDING

It could be the Creative Director in me speaking (ok, it definitely is) but as most will create a hashtag for such a celebration (ours was #MykonosMel) I like the concept of also creating a logo or insignia for the event.  This doesn’t have to be professionally done – it could be as simple as something you create in a word.doc with an image you have cut & pasted in & added the Brides name beneath. Mel’s wedding theme is tropical, and as we were going to an Island for the hens, I went with a series of green palm frons (I sourced these from Shutter stock).

I used this across all printed material; Itinerary, welcome notes & tags.

hen

 

 HENS PARAPHERNALIA

Penis straws, flashing veils & bride-to-be sashes where not going to make an appearance on my watch. So instead of a veil, I contacted the incredible Keahny at MINT + MELON  to create a luxe flower crown for the bride to be & slightly smaller ones for all the bridesmaids & hens guests. I am not throwing shade on the traditional hens props, but my suggestion is know your bride-to-be’s taste, I know Mel would not have been comfortable rocking around Mykonos with a flashing Bride-To-Be sash & veil – So tailor to your brides style. 

Flowers

 WELCOME GIFTS

A destination hen’s celebration is the ultimate, but often not always achievable…so whether you are organizing a destination escape, or simply a weekend away (anything that requires travel or over night stay) I think the touch of a Welcome Gift is a nice thankyou to everyone who took the time & cost to travel… So what was in our welcome gifts…

Gifts

GUESTS

I created little Hangover Kits that were ‘For the morning after the night before’ – a cute little drawstring bag containing Advil (Panadol), EmergenC (Berocca), Altoids (TicTacs) & Band aids.  There was a gold ‘flash tattoo’ for each guest that said ‘Brides Tribe’, some travel hair products from Original Mineral, a tiny Apple flavored Smirnoff Vodka with a tag attached that said ‘Let’s Get This Party Started!’, some SW Jewels (obvi), a print out of the itinerary from Nat’s bookings, and welcome note, all packaged in an SW wooden box lined with black tissue papar. The flower crowns where added to the top of the box, with a name card attached, that I doubled up to use as place settings on our first night there.

BRIDE

The Bride’s Welcome Gifts where the same as above, but with a few additional luxe items… a White & Lace over swim kaftan, a customized ‘Mrs Rama’ white silk sleep mask + some For Love & Lemons lace side panties, all wrapped in white tissue paper.

While these gifts are a bit of an investment, you might want to plan it out is far advance, and start collecting samples at makeup counters, asking friends or families who work at brands if they have any promo items you could include, or get crafty & make some gifts that will be special (and useful!) to the occasion.

 WHITE + NOIR

As the gifts were differentiated for the bride & guests with Black & white tissue, I made sure to let all guests know, that one a certain day, they were only allowed to wear black. That went from breakfast, to beach, to beach club, to dinner…. And on that Day, Mel could ONLY wear white…. This not only made for lots of photos, but got Melanie SO many well wishes for other island goers, it was really special! I highly recommend this, and its super easy to do. As we were in a tropical destination, it also included Bikinis – so be sure to be really clear with all guests how far it extends, no guest wants to be the one who thought it would be OK to wear her white cossie that day!

black and white

 

SMOOTH CRIMINALS

I sourced a criminal lineup backdrop (available on ETSY) and after a big night out, made everyone stand infront of it, with a pre printed arrest identification card – Sunglasses allowed. The result is below! 

 Criminals

CAPTURE THE MOMENTS FOR THE BRIDE

I am an avid iphone photographer. I love to capture & archive most things in my life like one would write a diary, I do so with pictures. Capturing the bride at her most glowing & glamorous provides great lasting memories for her forever. Does she look like a luxe goddess on her sunbed sipping her mojito? Capture that for her! Did you all have a great group dinner with a beautiful toast? Don’t interrupt the toast to take a pic, but after the toast DO have everyone re-raise their glasses & capture a photo of the clicking glasses.  Try to capture as much natural (un-posed) moments as possible – guests chatting or laughing together, one of the best ways to capture is, if you are taking a pic of the bride & a few guests just standing smiling at the camera, after you have captured that, tell everyone to look at the bride & laugh (I know, seems ridiculous, but it makes for a probably what was happening before everyone knew a photo was being taken). I’m sure a beautiful edit of these photos will find their way onto a Facebook album for archive, but you might also want to do the archaic practice of sending the photos to print, and putting them in a album for the bride… A beautiful way to relieve all the fun a few weeks after the celebration.

hens

hens

hens

 

NO STRESS

Obviously as a bridesmaid, your job to ensure the brides experiences as little stress as possible on her special day. The same goes for the hens celebrations. Especially when you are celebrating as a big group, going for dinners / lunches etc, no ones wants to talk about money, its especially not cool to do it in front of the bride. My suggestion is to advise everyone to bring cash (as to not have to bother re splitting amounts on credit cards), and possibly give everyone a heads up as the approx. cost of each organized meal… have them give you the cash pre meal, and if it goes over, start a kitty for after dinner cocktails.

  hens

So that’s my hens take-aways! We’re off to London now for the wedding – Can’t wait to show you pics from what I know will be one of the most spectacular weddings!

 

Congratulations to my beautiful Best Friend! I cannot wait to stand beside you on Sunday! - SWx

 

Add a Comment 0 Comments | Posted in The Wedding Journal By Samantha Wills

SW BRIDE: JAMEE & ANTHONY

JAMEE & ANTHONY

Every chapter of this story was timeless, romantic and intimate. From its beginning, when Anthony fell in love with Jamee (the girl next door), to the proposal at her parent’s 30th wedding anniversary at sunrise in Fingle Bay. The couple had envisioned their special day to be an escape. So along with their 18 nearest and dearest, Jamee and Anthony jetted across the ocean to the stunning Italian town of Tuscany for a celebration of good food, good wine and good company. 

The ceremony was simply stunning, overlooking the rolling green hills of the Tuscan countryside, with guests seated on rustic wooden chairs and benches. The beautiful scene was framed perfectly with wine barrels and wooden carriage wheels, a small token of the heritage of the beautiful wine region. 

The bride made her entrance wearing an exquisitely beaded, fitted, Fara Sposa gown that was only overshadowed by the smile on the bride herself. Jamee’s bridesmaid was dressed in a soft Grecian inspired gown, with the pair wearing Samantha Wills jewels. She was met at the outside altar by Anthony, beaming in his navy MJ Bale suit, and from that moment, the couple were not without a smile on their faces.

The celebration carried on into the night, with Jamee swapping her bridal gown for a floaty Carla Zampatti number so she and Anthony could have their first dance to an Ed Sheeran song, lovingly performed by a friend of the couple. The party enjoyed a formal 4 course dinner (with plenty of Prosecco) nestled around a banquet table that was set up in front of the altar and the incredible view and adorned with local flowers and foliage.

From the handmade wedding cake, and invitations, down to the timber and wildflower archway that Anthony had built himself on the morning of the wedding, the day was absolutely exquisite, yet intimate and filled with personal touches from the couple. 

SHOP BRIDE’S DRESSES HERE AND HERE 

SHOP BRIDAL SHOES HERE 

SHOP SW BRIDAL EARRINGS HERE

VIEW PHOTOGRAPHER HERE

VIEW VENUE HERE 

Add a Comment Comments | Posted in The Wedding Journal Real Brides By Samantha Wills

SW BRIDE: ANDREA & PATRICK

A ROMANTIC LOVE AFFAIR

Perched atop the sun-drenched cliffs of Palos Verdes, California; Patrick Burke, along with the 175 guests, stood waiting to marry his stunning bride Andrea Marron.

The couple met at school in Dartmouth, and after a surprise trip to Bermuda the couple chose the Catalona View Gardens as their venue to be close to Andrea’s parents.

Both the bride and bridesmaids wore blush. Andrea; a vision in lace Monique Lhuillier, and her bridesmaids in floor-length beaded gowns. This simple chic theme was carried through to the decorations, with floral arrangements of romantic blooms paired with architectual succulents and wildflower accents. The table flowers were beautifully displayed in vintage blue glass; a beautiful tribute to Andrea’s late Grandmother. There was even a lace teepee assembled, much to the delight of the adorable flower girls.

The bridal party was an intimate affair, with the couple’s siblings as their bridesmaids and groomsmen. After the gorgeous dusk ceremony, and the local Californian food and wine, the guests joined in the fun at sun-down. Draped in brightly coloured Kenyan shawls, they joined Patrick and Andrea for dancing beneath a canopy of fairly lights.

The wedding was simple and romantic, and could not have been more fitting of the beautiful couple.

 

SHOP BRIDAL DRESS

SHOP BRIDAL SHOES

BRIDE’S EAR CUFF

WEDDING PLANNER

VIEW PHOTOGRAPHER

VIEW VENUE

FLORIST

Add a Comment Comments | Posted in The Wedding Journal By Samantha Wills

SW BRIDE: HANNAH & RYAN

FESTIVAL OF PAYNE

Hannah & Ryan’s wedding followed the theme of his proposal, and indeed their meeting moment; beautiful and off-beat, and filled with fun & laughter. 

The couple wanted to move away from the traditional, and opted instead for a weekend celebration, with the emphasis on good times and shared memories with their beloved family and friends. 

Hannah wore a breathtaking backless, fitted lace gown from Katie May and with the roses in her hair, was a vision of beauty with a bohemian twist. In keeping with the relaxed chic vibe, Hannah’s 3 bridesmaids wore cream Zara maxi dresses, with their hair in soft waves and braids. They each wore their bridesmaid gift from Hannah; the gold 'Partners In Crime' necklaces from the SAMANTHA WILLS FINE collection. Both parties put their individual marks on their outfits, with the bridesmaids wearing different coloured SAMANTHA WILLS 'Bohemian Bardot' rings, and the Groomsmen donning various style Happy Socks.

Set on the beautiful NSW south coast at Terara’s Driftwood Shed, the rustic backdrop was the perfect setting for their special day. The couple exhanged their vows in front of 98 of their friends and relatives who had made the journey, and when the heartfelt ceremony was done, the party moved to the marquee. Long wooden banquet tables, decorated simply, yet beautifully with hessian table runners and white dahlias, that would later be covered in food for the guests to share. 

Down to the peanut butter and chocolate cake, their rustic wedding was beautiful, with a quirky flair and was truly reflective of the individual taste of the gorgeous couple.

 

SHOP BRIDAL DRESS: KATIE MAY

PHOTOGRAPHER: FIONA + BOBBY PHOTOGRAPHY

SHOP SAMANTHA WILLS JEWELLERY: RINGS + NECKLACES

 FLORIST: SHADY FIG

WEDDING VENUE: DRIFTWOOD SHED

CATERERS: GARNISH CREATIVE CATERING

Add a Comment Comments | Posted in Real Brides By Samantha Wills

LOVE NOTES

Add a Comment 0 Comments | Posted in Love Notes By Samantha Wills

SW BRIDE: KELLI AND ASHLEY

A SEASIDE CELEBRATION

Kelli and Ashley wed in front of 80 of their closest family and friends, by the sea, at the beautiful Sandbar Beach Cafe in Middle Park. After meeting during university, Ashley proposed on Christmas Eve in 2012 to an unexpectant Kelli, and they set the date for the wedding during the same holiday period, two years later.

Kelli looked absolutely radiant on the special day in her Mac Duggal dress; a perfectly light yet glamorous dress for a summer, beachside ceremony. Her SAMANTHA WILLS 'All I See Is You' headpiece completed her look in the most sparkling way possible, with Kelli also proposing to her bridesmaid (her sister in law), with the 'Bohemian Bardot' Ring in Electric Mint.

Step into sparkling, bohemian chic with Kelli & Ashley. 

 

SHOP KELLI'S HEADPIECE

Add a Comment 0 Comments | Posted in Real Brides By Samantha Wills

MASTERCLASS: FLORALS

FLORIST: BOUTIERRE GIRLS

We sat down with Sydney based floral artist, Emily Michele Smith of Boutierre Girls. Boutierre Girls specializes in floral deisgn & boutique wedding cakes.

SW: HOW LONG HAVE YOU WORKED IN THE INDUSTRY?
EMS: I have worked in floristry as my main profession for just over a year, but have had a passion for all things flower related since I was about 4!

HOW MANY WEDDINGS WOUL DYOU DO A YEAR?
I work on between 70-100 weddings a year currently. (1-4 a week)

WHAT ARE YOU SUGGESTIONS FOR FLORAL STYLING?
I love big beautiful blooms on mass for centerpieces. Any flower on mass always creates an immediate focal point. If available I love working with seasonal flowers that are locally grown. Centerpieces can often get really lost in large wedding venues so to avoid this from happening I love incorporating bright colours in big and bold arrangements. I often use 3-5 different flower variations in arrangements. ( I have only used 3 different types in photos) I like grouping the same flowers together before placing in an arrangement, this creates a really beautiful impact, whilst still highlighting the natural beauty of each flower. It’s really easy to lose the beauty of individual flowers when mixed in large arrangements.

Table settings generally make up the majority of the bloom budget. This is because most weddings have 8-10 tables to dress. The budget for centerpieces is often overlooked, so it is important to work out what you have to spend on flowers early on so you can get an idea of what is available to you for that price. It is always best to speak to your florist about maximizing the impact of your flowers with the budget that you have. No matter the budget it’s really important that they are a real statement piece as they make the venue personalised to your wedding. You can never go wrong with flowers on mass. Even if you don’t have a huge budget, I think you’re always better off going with a big vase or bucket of one type of flower which willstill give that immediate “Wow” factor. It is also a really nice idea to have your centre pieces gifted to guests who have helped out with your wedding day.

WHAT IS THE BIGGEST MISTAKE BRIDES CAN MAKE WHEN IT COMES TO BLOOMS?
The biggest mistake brides can assume with wedding blooms is that the flowers they want will be in season. There are beautiful flowers every season of the year. To avoid disappointment it is best to have an idea of what flowers are available at that time of year or checkwith your florist what is available. If you do have your heart set on a certain look we always can suggest the best substitute flowers to achieve a similarlook for you.

HOW FAR OUT FROM THE WEDDING SHOULD A BRIDE START TO PLAN HER BLOOMS?
I think you should book in with a florist as soon as you book in a date! I take bookings over a year in advance! A lot of florists book out very quickly especially in peak wedding season and most only will commit to 1-3 weddings per weekend so it’s best to have someone locked in even if you aren’t 100% sure of what you want yet. I have found that brides tastes and ideas tend to evolve a lot during the planning process, you have your whole engagement to chop and change your mind. There is lots of room for new ideas and can alter what you want right up until the wedding date, but you don’t want to be running around last minute trying to lock in a florist that has been booked for a year. 

 

 

JOIN BOUTIERRE GIRLS ON INSTAGRAM: @Boutierre_girls

ALL IMAGES SUPPLIED BY BoutierreGirls.com

 

 

Add a Comment 0 Comments | Posted in In Bloom By Samantha Wills

SW BRIDE: BETH & LUKE

BOHEMIAN FIESTA

This should come with the preface of a #TBT – and my apology for not posting sooner! However, what’s that saying, better two years late then never? (or something like that!)  I just came across these photos of one of my best friend’s wedding, from February 2013. (In my defense, the Wedding Journal wasn’t even around then!)

Beth & I have been friends since our early days working in retail together, in Surf Dive n Ski in Sydney! My heart was full standing beside her as one of her bridesmaids on her special day, marrying her long time love, Luke, in one of the most beautiful locations in the world, Byron Bay, Australia.

This wedding was so true to Beth & Luke’s style – Laid back, warm, inclusive & fun.  Held at a private residence  at Broken Head, the bridal party called the residence home for the days leading upto the nuptials, a Balinese pavilion style home with walk ways joining all areas of the house – and then come wedding day, served as the ceremony & reception location.

With a bohemian fiesta theme, we transformed the house that morning as vintage couches (From Little Gray Station Hire), Aztec rugs & crimson & sunshine coloured blooms all got delivered. The aisle was an overlay of different rugs, surrounded by mismatched chairs, leading to a arbor with a spectacular Mexican / Day of the dead inspired bloom arrangement (by the incredible Elysium Blooms). Of course, Byron Bay being Byron Bay – there is usually one tropical downpour a day, if not more. The heavens opened the morning of, but cleared to have sun streaming thru the clouds by the time vows where exchanged.

The reception was a party in every sense of the word & carried on well into the midnight hour, with an incredible Mexican feast served from tents & sangria all round.

Some pictures that I took through out the day are below, rather then congratulations, I am going to wish Mr & Mrs Bennett a very happy 2nd anniversary!

Love you both dearly, but you knew that. – SWx 

BRIDES DRESS: BADGLEY MISCHKA | BRIDES JEWELLERY: SAMANTHA WILLS BRIDAL 

BRIDEMAIDS DRESSES: TIGERLILY | BRIDEMAIDS JEWELLERY: SAMANTHA WILLS

PROP HIRE: LITTLE GRAY STATION HIRE  | FLORALS:  ELYSIUM BLOOMS

 

PHOTOGRAPHY: SAMANTHA WILLS + SAMUEL LINDSAY

Add a Comment Comments | Posted in Real Brides By Samantha Wills
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