Is the sudden drop in temperature causing havoc on your creative abilities?
Are you finding it near impossible to decide on your upcoming events vision / theme or colour palette?
We’ve trawled the Internet for some recent Events, Shows and the like that are taking place somewhere else exotic, right now – nothing like a bit of escapism, right?
It’s not often you get to work with such a dynamic and beautiful duo such as Dom + Sunny.
Our initial meeting with bride-to-be Dom started in no unordinary circumstances – over Skype. Dom was in Shanghai (at the time), and we were in Berry scouting an event space for a new business client. In this digital age – Skype is fast becoming a trend that is undoubtably a sign of our times.
Planning a destination wedding alongside twenty one vendors is no easy task…
Alongside Dom, we certainly relished the opportunity as theirs was set to be held in Swifts Mansion. Described as the late-Victorian castellated Gothic Revival mansion located in the suburb of Darling Point. Built in 1875. Quite simply put – This was one venue we just couldn’t wait to work in.
For the full gallery and link to the spectacular wedding of Dom and Sunny please head to WHITE Magazine / Dom and Sunny Issue # 32
Below is a snippet from the pages which featured this utterly gorgeous wedding day.
Introducing the TEAM behind it all …
Entertainment – Furnace and the Fundamentals
Lighting + AV – Norwest Productions
Cutlery – Gold Wedding Hire
Catering Equipment – Andre’s Hire
Cake + Afternoon Tea – Kashaya
Catering – Dominic Choy
Styling – She Designs
Photo booth – Photo Booth Guys
Flowers – Botanica
Photography – Lara Hotz
Videography – La Lune Cinema
Marquee – White Umbrella
Transport – Murrays
Staff – Clifford Wallace
Celebrant – Chris Simond
Pyrotechnics – Howard’s Fireworks
Event Management – White Rabbit Projects
Maintaining ones creativity in the Events industry is sometimes overwhelming and tough all at the very same time. Ask any Event Planner, we each have our own way of cultivating inspiration – depending on which job and client we are collaborating with at the time, we are continuously hunting high and low for new innovative ways to inspire and be inspired.
In amongst the obvious creative platforms (Instagram, Pinterest, Travel etc) it still remains our favourite pastime to flick through the pages of a freshly printed magazine (Something has lead me to believe very sincerely that after all those years of working in the fickled world of magazines, the sometimes salacious and utterly beautiful visual ‘page turners’ are still deeply entrenched within me).
This month’s trip to the newsagent was somewhat different and BOY were we ecstatic. Behold, a new magazine has hit our shores. Introducing Australia’s first gay wedding magazine. He goes by the name of Groom and Guy or G+G for short.
We’ve always considered WHITE RABBIT PROJECTS to be more ‘he’ than ‘she’, so we felt somewhat connected the minute our eyes met.
The size of the mag and the launch volume cover are simply refreshing. What’s inside? See for yourself but be warned there’s nothing tacky nor mainstream about any of the events that are seamed firmly within its pages. Think luxe, stylish and sophisticated.
Without boring you with press release-like jargon. Groom and Guy is just a really frigging cool magazine. Do yourself a favour and get to your local newsagent pronto and see for yourself.
Events are designed to communicate their own individual ‘Brand’ or in human-speak; Personality.
Essentially we are talking about an emotion that the host wants above all his/her guests to walk away feeling after the curtain falls and the final applause is but a faint noise in the distance.
The following learnings are easily applicable to events in general – Whether yours is a Wedding, Birthday Party, Private Event or Publicity Launch this simple analogy when applied thoughtfully will see that your event has a meaning and a purpose. Let’s face it, unless your the opening of an envelope kinda gal, without substance what’s the point?
ONE. The invitation
The invitation is arguably the most important detail of organising any event.
The invitation is the first point of contact between host and guest. This is nothing new people – we’ve all heard it before. The invitation sets the tone of your event and prepares your guests for what’s to come.
What should your invitation include?
Language that is understandable does get you brownie points. Formal or informal really does depend on the nature of your event and your guests. Speaking on the same level and avoiding condescending terminology is a bonus. Ask yourself; Do you know them intimately or are they complete strangers? Something polite and not too formal / stiff or informal is a nice medium if you are unsure.
Next up you need to communicate the intimate details such as the date, time, address, dress code and branding (if fundamental to the overall vibe of your event that is). Again, all these seemingly trivial details hint at the kind of event that you have planned for your guests.
It’s a fine line between OTT and just right. Don’t worry you’ll be a master in no time.
Warning: Make sure that you can back up your beautifully curated and master-piece of an invitation with an equally and well-constructed event OR you could leave your guests feeling about deflated as a blockbuster that promises to rock ones socks off and delivers anything but.
In summary. Think of the invitation as the front cover of your events book. The event is like the pages that proceed it. Oh and please don’t tell us you don’t judge a book by its cover. We all know that’s pure nonsense.2
TWO. Sense of arrival:
An Interior Designer once said to me which has remained deeply entrenched in all our events that we plan at WHITE RABBIT is thus; A flat sense of arrival can be the straw that breaks the camels back – even if you’ve put in a million hours to prepare a dinner that would make even a michelin star chef weep – sorry to say it but the sense of arrival is something you simply can’t bluff your way or disregard. There are no short cuts here – this detail needs to be planned with microscopic-like precision.
The first step is to put yourself in your guests shoes – from the second they set on the road to your event to the arrival and their trip to the venue. Having difficulty still? Imagine when your friends invite you over for dinner. Some familiar phrases might be:
- “Oh yes, of course you can park my car for me, what a treat!”
- “Well, they could have at least raked the leaves off their front porch.”
- “This place is impossible to see. What about some lights down the driveway.”
- “What is that beautiful smell?”
- “Oh a glass of bubbles on arrival, just what I felt like after an hours drive in peak hour!”
- “That is the most magnificent bunch of flowers I’ve ever seen”
- “Where can I put my bag / coat?”
Whether you think it’s a bit la-di-da, unimportant, vacuous behaviour or not, you can bet your last dollar that your guests will and don’t be fooled judge you on the level of detail you go into right from their arrival.
Make them feel welcome. It’s not hard. After all, what is it they say about first impressions….
THREE. WOW factor
Another inspiring Event Director used to put this to me always. “Where’s the WOW moment?”
By this we don’t mean one requires the budget of an oil-tycoon. Quite the contrary. WOW(ness) can be as simple as a thoughtful and personalised take home gift / gesture; an Illustrator on-hand taking special requests; a fireworks display; A 45 mins live performance by a well-known artist/act.
Very simply put. A WOW moment is a though designed by the host that is crafted to impress or leave a lasting impression. Other ideas might be a display of beautifully constructed flowers or an impressive instillation of art / sculpture lit up and creating the main focal point of the entire event. An orchestra or choir on arrival. A breathtaking venue with a view to match or a magical room reveal filled with decadent desserts or a bar equipped with a team of flair bartenders making signature cocktails upon request.
A sense of surprise, focal point, delight and an unexpectedness really adds the finishing touches to any event.
FOUR: THE END
You’ve put in a stellar performance all-night-long and played a supreme host. Be proud BUT now is NOT the time to kick off your heels and bask in copious amounts of glory especially of the alcoholic varietele.
Remember you still need to farewell your guests and ensure their departure is just as amazing as their arrival. This is also your opportunity to get first hand feedback on the success of your event. Guests are very vocal and have no problem in expressing their delight or disappointment. Now is the time you can gain some valuable insights.
So, consider the following:
- How are your guests getting home?
- Is there someone on hand to order taxis or show them to their car?
- Have they collected all their belongings?
- Did they grab their goodie bag / take-home gift on the way out?
- Perhaps you want to set-up a gift wrapping station for flowers bunches of flowers used from the event?
Above all. An event is about taking your guests on a journey. The gift of transporting people for a couple of hours and allowing them to step out of their day-to-day lives is something we absolutely love and don’t take for granted and nor should you. Always remember. Your guests regardless of the occasion have made an effort to attend your event. They’ve hired a babysitter, left work early, got their hair and makeup done or bought an entirely new outfit just for the occasion. It’s your duty to deliver and exceed expectations. It’s really very simple.
Some of our top event moments::
Claire & Oliver’s “First Dance”
Event Co:: WHITE RABBIT PROJECTS
Photography: Dan O’Day Photography
The spiel:: In keeping with the ‘Festival’ vibe of Claire and Oliver’s wedding. This image captured was true to form. Unbeknownst to guests who were happily polishing off their dessert under the 30m long kings table the team at WRP quickly whisked Claire and Oliver back of house. Just like that, the curtain revealed an entirely new room which had Claire and Oliver standing front and centre in front of The Jezebels who proceeded to blast out an incredible First Dance track “Look of Love”. Topped off with amazing lights, a stellar camera genius, confetti drop and voila!
More images of this spectacular wedding can be found on our website here.
Dior Autumn/Winter 2012
Event Co:: Bureau Betak
The spiel:: Raf Simons first collection as the new Creative Director of Dior did something no one had to date accomplished. Set in a mansion covered in wall-to-wall fresh cut flowers. It was a dream come true.
The runway comprised of five rooms and five floral stories: one of white orchids, red roses, blue delphiniums, yellow goldenrod and the “Christian Dior room”- a mix of pink roses and garden flowers. For all you event producers out there – the bump-in took two full days and two full nights. Florists from Eric Chauvin arrived by the masses to embed floral foam lined walls with over a million stems.
Video link :: here.
The Silver Party 2016
Event Co:: Rizer
Invitation Design:: Hawk Creative
The spiel:: When your invited to an event set in Baz Luhrmann and Catherine Martin private home here in Sydney, Australia you would expect the invitation to be nothing less than extraordinary. Enter Heather Hawkins and brainchild behind Hawk Creative. Nothing less than impressive is this here pop-up invitation which reminds us of our favourite book our parents read us as a child. One can only imagine to produce just one took an army to conceptualise, design and indeed produce. Clever cats like this are few and far between and congrats to the team who pulled this baby off. No doubt the event was a huge success and had guests entertained from ear to ear.
Video link :: here
[All images via:: Hawk Creative Instagram]
WHITE RABBIT PROJECTS was recently blessed to have Hiromi Okuyama knock on our doors and be part of our Internship Program.
Hiromi was instrumental in many weddings and in the day-to-day runnings of our fabulous and crazy office. Never complaining, always smiling and willing to put in the hard yards. Being an Event and Wedding Planner one needs a lot of patience. We are confident that Hiromi will go far with this attitude and ensure a long and prosperous career if she choses to continue in this industry.
Hiromi – we wish you all the very best for your future and your next adventures in Japan. Enjoy and don’t forget to stay in touch!
Here’s what Hiromi had to say about her time spent at WRP.
What are three things you learnt about being a wedding planner?
One. Through the internship and getting to know the industry I have realized that wedding planning is an industry where you are dealing with so many clients, suppliers and stakeholders, and therefore having the confidence and knowing exactly what you are doing is crucial in order to direct and convince people that you are someone that they could work with.
Two. Weddings are a particularly expensive event to hold and because of this, suppliers and clients want the best out of what they are going to get. I was able to see the business side of weddings in terms of financials and understood that it was definitely not all glamourous but instead involved a lot of money, time, thought, endless amounts of emails, phone calls, interactions with many different people and many months of hard work.
Three. Sometimes clients and suppliers have different perspectives of what they want from a wedding. As a wedding planner they are put into the middle and must be in demand and make sure that both clients and suppliers are able to find a common understanding where they are able to both be satisfied.
What was the best part of being part of Team WRP?
My favourite aspect of wedding planning was to probably see all of it coming together on the day of the wedding. So many suppliers would come in and transform the venue from zero to something really amazing. Claire and Oliver’s wedding at Carriageworks was one that I felt this especially with and was such a good experience to take part in. I thought that this part of the wedding where different people with different knowledge of events come and work together to create the end result was what made working with weddings worthwhile.
Any learnings that made a lasting impression?
Watching Bree work, she was always on her feet. I was overwhelmed at her capabilities of making phone calls and putting things into action straight after, which again was another trait I thought I would like to take away, not just in terms of weddings/events.
Recently we attended a Chet Faker concert at the Sydney Opera House. In between sets the maestro himself requested the entire audience put away their devices (for the duration of minimum one song). We cheered on at this seemingly simple request. In our eyes – it was bloody brilliant (pardon the French). For three and a bit minutes the entire concert was filled with people just watching the magic as it played out. Never again to be repeated or reproduced. I guess you had to be there, right?
The process when one engages a wedding planner goes a little something like this…
In the final weeks prior to wedding day we meet at WHITE RABBIT PROJECTS HQ and discuss the entire wedding day. From the minute the bride and groom wake up in the morning to the last guest departs at the end of the night.
No detail is off limits. Nothing is left to chance.
Believe it or not, the ceremony has everyone more curious than a cheshire cats grin. Questions like – What do I do with my bouquet? Who will cue my bridesmaids and I down the aisle? What will my celebrant be wearing? Where will the ceremony move to if it rains? What do we do after we both walk back up the aisle as Mr and Mrs? You get the picture, right…?
The one question that has everyone stopping in their tracks is when we ask them – ‘Do you want guests to take photographs during the ceremony?’.
As one would imagine WHITE RABBIT PROJECTS witnesses many a magical moment between bride and groom on a weekly basis. This seemingly candid moment is something that every photographer sweats for hours on end to capture. After all, there is only one opportunity to get that shot of him seeing her walk towards him down the aisle for the first time (no pressure!).
Let’s face it. Waiting for the bride – you love it, we love it, everyone is excited to see her walk down the aisle and rightly so. However, there are some guests who have been known to feel themselves somewhat compelled to capture every step she makes down the aisle sans a care in the world.
Whatever happened to living in the moment some might say?
If you don’t know how to pose the seemingly awkward topic, why not ask your celebrant to make a quick announcement before the ceremony and request your privacy to have an unplugged wedding. Your guests can enjoy the day and leave the documenting up to the professionals.
Here’s to being present in the moment. Amen.
This photo sums it up pretty much in one sentence…
[Image by Thomas Stewart]
Yours truly received an exclusive invitation from Manly’s sexiest and newest venue aka Beachside Dojo. The request was to get our creative hats on as part of their ‘Styling Sessions’ which highlights local Stylists and their interpretation of the fab venue. Our task was to style a WHITE RABBIT PROJECTS flavoured faux wedding.
Of course we responded in kind with our trademark enthusiasm. See what we got up to below. We hope you like!
Styling and Design WHITE RABBIT PROJECTS
Venue Beachside Dojo
Recently WHITE RABBIT PROJECTS was invited to collaborate with celebrations magazine HOORAY! Our dutiful task was to Style an Easter luncheon for twenty in conjunction with West Elm at the historic Elizabeth Bay House in Sydney.
With the brief fairly relaxed you can imagine we had the time of our lives pulling this all together.
Mother Nature blessed us with picture perfect weather. We think all involved would agree that this shoot would not have been possible had it not been for her looking down on us that day.
The highlight indeed was the Easter Hunt and getting to meet an earthly bunch of influential women; Bloggers, Fashion Designers, Cake Designers and Party Planning Experts – WHITE RABBIT PROJECTS was in good company.
[Images by Hannah Blackmore Photography]
For the full story; Issue 11 of HOORAY! is in news stands Australia wide as of today 14 May 2015. Get your copy!
Upon setting out on your wedding planning journey consider the three styles of guest you want to be present on your big day.
1. Those who have no choice but to set foot and attend your wedding venue with offspring in toe.
2. Those who are eagerly anticipating attending the “Wedding of the Year” (Yours) and leaving their little ones at home with the Grandparents.
3. Those who haven’t yet entered the fabulous world of Parenthood.
Whilst I believe that communication is key – the venue in which you dreamed of marrying your best friend ‘should’ be the key deciding factor in where you ultimately decide to host your wedding day. Guests are secondary.
Remember one thing. That you can’t please everyone, but you can certainly try your best.
Once your venue is decided it’s time to consider the hurdles you may have eloquently created (for some) for no other reason than it’s your day.
Understandably communicating to your guests that you don’t wish to have children at your wedding is a sensitive topic. It can open up a football field of opinions. Be prepared… If you and your husband have formed a united front and agree that there be no little people at your wedding, we have put together some considerations that will help you trouble-shoot any stand offs, ill-feelings or awkward discussions with loved ones.
Truth be known that not everyone has the luxury of leaving their children with their family. Whether it’s an hour or more to travel to your wedding destination expect that there will be a handful of guests requesting permission to attend with child.
The invitation is a fabulous arena in which to communicate a) your decision to not have children at your wedding and b) the plethora of alternatives you’ve uncovered for your and their benefit.
Some people do not already know that there are a host of Professional Nanny Agencies who can literally rescue a couple from said headaches when it comes to telling guests theirs will be a child-free soiree.
Enlisting the help of a Nanny Agency (on or off-site) from the conclusion of your Ceremony until the end of the night ensures your guests can spend quality time with you on your wedding day. A lot of venues have facilities on site that can be converted to a kids zone. Your Nanny Agency should and will come equipped with games, toys, food (in some cases) and oodles of energy to ensure your child is left amused at all times. Do your homework and make sure you uncover a professional and experienced nanny service.
Provide the name and number of the Nanny Agency on your invitations and leave it up to the parents to reach out and provide their child and his or her requirements. Contact numbers, names, age, sleep + feeding patterns, allergies, likes, dislikes etc… This kind of paperwork you don’t need to be involved in so don’t even try!
If there is a unique case and one or two of your guests just cannot bare to leave their newborn alone for more than one second despite the fact that you’ve expressed the nature of your day. It’s important to be mindful of where you place them on the table. Bare in mind there might be a few guests left scratching their heads wondering why Mr or Mrs XYZ’s child was allowed an extra seat at the table and not theirs.
In all honesty, these days people should understand that it is your day and hopefully they can respect your wishes whatever they may be. Not everyone wants kids running around on their wedding day – some do! Provide your guests with ample time to make prior arrangements that aren’t contrary to what the invite states. A Wedding does bring out the best and worst in some. Hopefully yours conjures up nothing but the best and armed with the above advice will make for nothing other than a seamlessly executed Wedding Day for all.