Simone + Ricky – 15 November 2014

Laid back and gorgeous, Kirsty and I loved every second of working with the couple.  Simone and Ricky and about 80 of their nearest and dearest came up from Victoria to celebrate their wedding with us in the Far North.

November weather can be a bit hit or miss up here but Nature put on a perfect day for them.  They wed at the Cairns Botanic Gardens in Edge Hill and had their reception at NuNu’s in Palm Cove.  After some canapés and cocktails the couple had their first dance under a blanket of fairy lights on the deck next to the ocean.  But what tops off a perfect first dance?  Fireworks!

Congratulations Simone + Ricky!

Suppliers:

What do you actually do on our day?

Good question!  We are yours for the entire day, even if we are technically coordinating your wedding for 8 hours, our day starts long before we arrive for set up.

Should your flowers get run over by a truck at 5.54am (it’s happened), we get the phone call and start working on a solution while you are still getting your rest.  Are the tables not set right?  We organize the staff to make sure it is how it is supposed to be, before anyone walks in the door.  It is our job and priority to make sure everything is perfection and to assist your suppliers so they do not have to ask you a thing.

Want to know a little bit more?  Check out our super long (but not all inclusive) version below!  Get that cup of tea ready, you’ll need a few minutes…

  • Make certain that You, Your Groom, Parents and the Wedding Party are comfortable and have all the attention and service deserved while getting ready for the Big Day
  • Receive all deliveries, greeting and supervising all vendors as they load in and set up, etc.
  • Distribute hard copies of your Final, Complete Wedding Day Itinerary to all vendors
  • Oversee proper set- up and design of ceremony and reception areas
  • Accept all personal flowers and distribute and pin all corsages, boutonnieres, wedding personal flowers and flower-girl and ring bearer items
  • Ensure proper placement of the guest’s assigned seating place cards, guest books, pens, photographs, candles, wedding favours, ceremony programs, menu cards, candy store and sweet table items, etc. as per your exact instruction
  • Make certain guests with special needs of any kind receive care and assistance without making them feel uncomfortable or like the centre of attention
  • Greet your guests and kindly direct them to the ceremony and reception areas at the appropriate times
  • Find the flower girls and the ring bearers when it’s time to walk down the aisle and help them get down the aisle
  • Round up, line up and cue the Wedding Party when it’s time to walk down the aisle, making sure they all look great, smiling, paced perfectly, no hands in pockets, and mobiles off!
  • Let you know when it’s time to walk down the aisle, make sure you are ready for the big moment
  • Make sure your dress and train are perfect and send you on your way down the aisle with your escort
  • Make certain that ceremony musicians are given parking validation if prearranged and have correct sound requirements and appropriate shade and seating
  • Make certain that all ceremony musicians have the correct musical selections for guest arrival, family seating and also the correct processional and recessional musical selections
  • Make certain that the ceremony musicians are cued appropriately to ensure correct pace and timing
  • Come to the rescue of the crying flower girl or ring bearer during the ceremony when their Mom and /or Dad happen to be in the Wedding Party
  • Take family pets involved in Wedding Ceremony away at appropriate times to another area
  • Direct your guests to the cocktail reception after the ceremony
  • Assist the Photographer in gathering your Wedding Party and family members for pictures as needed
  • Make certain that You, Your Groom, Family and the entire Wedding Party get your favourite cocktails and canapés served to you by catering staff during your photography session, if available
  • Make certain your selected Reception Entertainment have proper power, staging, shaded seating, parking validations, vendor meals, green room access etc.
  • Make certain that all décor items from ceremony which will be reused at reception get to appropriate places
  • Make certain that all finishing touches are complete and exactly as you wished before allowing guests to enter the reception area
  • Make certain all candles are lit and remain lit throughout the entire reception
  • Answer all guests’ questions and concerns graciously throughout the day
  • Assist the DJ / MC in guiding guests through the day and on to the next scheduled events making certain that no one misses these events and there is a steady, comfortable flow with no dead air or rushing
  • Assist your Maid of Honour in the bustling of your Wedding Dress before Grand Entrance
  • Organize the Grand Entrance and get everyone lined up outside the reception area in correct order informing the MC of all correct pronunciations of names
  • Always letting You and Your Groom know what is next and making sure you are ready so that you are never caught off guard
  • See to it that parents and very special people are given special care and their every need is catered to
  • Make certain that dietary needs and requests of guests such as allergies, vegetarian and vegan requests are followed through with correctly
  • Supervise and communicate with the chef, banquet captain and catering staff to ensure superb, timely dinner service
  • Make certain that everyone scheduled to give toasts, blessings or host special events during the day are cued and prepared
  • Make certain that you and your shy groom do not get left out in the middle of the dance floor for an entire very long first dance – On the other hand, make certain that you are the only two on the dance floor to show off those choreographed dance moves you learned!
  • Make certain you have your comfortable shoes under your table to change into at the reception if you desire and your make up available to touch up if needed throughout the day
  • Make certain your Parents and Grandparents gets a great spot for the cake cutting and first dance, etc.
  • Come to the rescue with a warm, damp cloth when your Groom wasn’t as nice as he had promised you to be during the cake cutting or vise versa
  • Be there by your side, ready and available for any emergencies or unexpected occurrences
  • Guide you graciously through your day, Keep things running on schedule, without a coordinator it’s very easy to simply run out of time and you never get to do all those creative and special things you spent months planning
  • Distribute final balances and gratuities to the vendors on your behalf
  • Keep track of, organize and pack everything up for you at the end of the evening
  • Collect all of your wedding gifts, your guest book, pen, toasting glasses, cake top, etc
  • Bring everything to your Honeymoon Suite, Designated Room or Designated Car
  • Decorate your Honeymoon Suite for you on your Wedding Night
  • Arrange Getaway Transportation, making sure that they are present and on time when you are ready to depart reception
  • Know exactly when you need a soft voice to calm you, one other than of your family or close friends
  • Be the one person to offer you a little laughter when those people nearest and dearest to you (forgive me) are driving you nuts

Michelle + Jarrad’s Rainforest Wedding – Misty Mountains Retreat

13 September, 2014

Michelle and Jarrad – oh what a lovely couple!  Based in Sydney, this couple simply loves to travel and thankfully, Michelle works for an airline.  They decided that they wanted to have a destination wedding and having lived in Cairns before, they wanted to have it here.  After checking out their options, they decided on the amazing Misty Mountains Retreat an hour south of Cairns.  This place is like heaven on earth, the lush gardens, the stunning creeks, it is truly breathtaking and also a perfect place to whisk their guests away for a unique wedding.

They added a lot of personal touches to the wedding including popcorn bags and hangover kits as bombonieres, a picnic for their cocktail hour, and little additions of Vikings through the day (check out the cake!).

Congratulations Michelle + Jarrad!

SUPPLIERS:

Hello 2015!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Well HELLO 2015!  What a year 2014 turned out to be.  Kirsty and I were lucky enough to join over 25 couples on their wedding journey and now that we have turned a new page on the calendar, we are looking forward to growing our relationships with our current clients, and looking into meeting some new couples.

We are also enjoying some personal triumphs in the last 12 months.  I welcomed another little boy into our family and Kirsty found out that she will be expecting her own bundle of joy come April (don’t drink the water in our office!)  My sister got engaged and the planning began for her August 2015 wedding in Maine USA and my husband and I welcomed a new little nephew into the world.

Kirsty and I really look forward to everything that 2015 has to offer (included that lovely little nugget)  and we wish you a wonderful New Year!

With love,

Claudette xx

A New Welcome

Good-41I am happy to announce that we have had a new little addition join the Cairns Wedding Planner family!

Sullivan Allan Good was born on 27 September at 6.36am, weighing in at a healthy 3.91kg.  He is happy and healthy and getting seriously loved on by his big brother (who insists on calling him Sacha).

Thank you for the great photos Stephie from Peppermint Lane!

Wedding Planning – How to Avoid the Panic – Start Small

As i embark on my on my 5th journey into a bridal party, it becomes increasingly clear to me that wedding planning isn’t for everyone and can frankly cause some to go into a wee bit of a panic.  Now, with the onslaught of Pinterest, amazing blogs like Style Me Pretty, Polka Dot Bride, and just about every other new awesome blog coming into existence every month…it is getting really difficult to figure out what you and your fiancé (key word) want.

I love a styled shoot as much as the next wedding geek, but are they practical?  Sure, you have amazing centrepieces dripping with orchids set against a full flower wall, but seriously…how much does that all cost?  Do you have to have something a la Kimye to get married these days?  And what about those amazing lighting installations?  And a fully choreographed first dance?  And the cavalry of classic cars?  And the photoshoot?  And the video?  And…and…

Are your palms getting sweaty yet?  I don’t blame you.  There are so many photos swarming around so you decide to be organised and sign up for some great website help from sites like TheKnot.com.au and EasyWeddings.com.au only to get bombarded by emails which remind you “243 days until your wedding!”  Cue – PANIC!

Obviously, as a wedding planner, I completely toot the horn for our industry.  We create calm amongst the chaos and send you on your path to planning bliss – no arguments on what “kind” of tiffany blue you say?  I know when you are in the middle of panic mode you think no one can dig you out, but quite honestly, give a wedding planner an hour or two to sort your brain and you will feel better – 6 hours and you will be thinking of you and your honey on a beach somewhere sipping Mai Tai’s.  Yes, here I can dive into our packages and how awesome our services are (they really are!  Planning and Coordination would be a great package for you or simply by the hour for a great planning sesh!) but I won’t.

I know that a wedding planner isn’t for every one so I will give those of you my starting pointers that I give to my new clients…Start Small

 

Firstly – MAKE A LIST!  

What kind of list you ask?  You and future other half get out your trusty pen and paper and write your top 5 priorities in order from 1 (super important) to 5 (want it, but it can go if you don’t).  Then show them to each other ONLY after you both have finished.  You need to be respectful of what the other person wants and work your wedding and your budget to suit.  Below is an example of what (I think) was my mine and my husbands:

Claudette: 1)  Beachside Location in Hawaii  2) Amazing Food  3)  Open Bar  4)  Private feel to venue  5) Dancing

David:       1) Hawaii  2) Pig on a spit  3)  Open Bar  4)  Guests to have drinks in hand at ceremony  5)  Great music

As you can see from the above, we were both keen on Hawaii, fab food, and a full open bar for our guests.  Now you focus on the similarities but don’t forget the other important items (i.e. the pig).  I didn’t mind much on the music so Dave took over that aspect and he also willingly dragged his feet to a dance instructor so we could do a first dance that made it look like we actually knew what we were doing.

 

Secondly – MAKE YOUR BUDGET

Numbers are a scary, scary thing, but if you don’t get this sorted at the beginning, then you will lose some of your important aspects you wanted so much (bye bye super amazing venue).  Sort out EXACTLY who is providing what from the beginning and do not let it be a guessing game because you feel uncomfortable.  Here is what you should do…in order:

  1. Budget chat with the two of you:
    • What will you two be contributing to the wedding?  Be realistic.
  2. Have a chat with the Brides parents:
    • If there are two sets or parents, chat with both
    • How much will they contribute to the wedding?
    • How do they prefer to pay?  Invoices sent to them?  Credit Card?
  3. Have a chat with the Grooms parents:
    • If there are two sets or parents, chat with both
    • How much will they contribute to the wedding?
    • How do they prefer to pay?  Invoices sent to them?  Credit Card?

Do not expect an answer straight away from your family members and do not expect them to say a dollar figure.  You may also hear – “we have the bar tab”, or “we will buy your wedding dress.”  In that case, ask what the maximum spend is on that statement.  They may expect the bar tab to be $5k, you may think $10k.

And back to the other hand some people may just not have anything to give and that is OK.  Do not make them feel like they need to contribute.  This is their choice and their gift.

Consider this combined dollar figure your maximum total.  Go over and expect to be emptying your honeymoon/new house/fab shoe fund.

 

Thirdly – BREAKDOWN YOUR BUDGET

Now that you have your maximum total – go back to that trusty list you made in step one and RESEARCH how much things cost (or call us, we can do a budget for you based on industry norm – just saying!).  This does not need to be done in a day but should be done over about three weeks.  One major point is do not assume you know the costs.

WARNING! You will need to venture into internet land for some ideas on vendors.

Have a peek around the sites and find 2-3 vendors who you like the look of and email or call them to find out their packages and pricing.  Any more than that we will be right back to panic mode.  Remember, this is research stage.  Just keep in mind to let the vendors know that you like their work and are researching to make your budget and should you be able to afford them, then you will contact them for a quote and meeting.  This saves the vendors time and yours when they all start calling and emailing to find out if you would like to book.

Now that you have some prices, start putting them in the budget.  You can go back to the handy wedding sites (or if you are our client, we provide you with a joint site called Planning Pod which gives you budgets and checklists and no spammy emails) and start typing in your estimates.

KEEP IN MIND THE SMALL THINGS – you know that you want a photographer, a videographer, a 3 course alternate drop sit down meal at long white linened double width trestle tables, and a fab venue and woo hoo!  They all fit into the budget!  Hold on to that garter ladies…not quite.  Have you considered the small things:

  • Stationary (Save the Dates, Invitations, Thank You’s)
  • Postage
  • Alterations
  • Wedding Party Attire – are you buying?  Are you providing alterations costs?  Well then it needs to be in there
  • Wedding Party Gifts – if you are providing…you guessed it
  • Shoes
  • Accessories
  • Undergarments/Lingerie
  • Gifts for parents
  • Gifts for each other
  • Buttonholes and corsages for parents/grandparents
  • Transportation
  • Wedding Night Accommodation
  • Night before wedding accommodation

The above can easily add up to an additional $5,000 so make sure to add those in!

 

Now What?

Now that you have your budget in hand you should be feeling a bit more on top of it all.  You have also now worked out what kind of vendors you want and who works into your budget so start calling the ones that do work into your budget and check their availability.  If they are available, book them in to avoid disappointment later on.

From here you can quickly start ticking off the boxes and getting the wedding that you both want in the budget that you have set for yourselves.

Planning a wedding is not in everyone’s daily lives so it can get overwhelming, remember to breathe, laugh, and have a glass of bubbles or two.  You are in this boat together so make the most of it!

 

Happy Planning!

Claudette

A beautiful gallery of photos from Alex and Amanda’s Ellis Beach Wedding

Alex and Amanda came to sunny North Queensland from chilly Victoria for their intimate wedding at Ellis Beach.  It was witnessed by their two young sons and nine of their nearest and dearest.  It was such a lovely and relaxed atmosphere – so relaxed the whole gang came together!
We were contacted by Amanda who wanted a simple wedding brought together with no fuss and we were absolutely up to the task of getting together their cake, flowers, and venues.  It really was a beautiful day and we wish them all of the happiness in the world!
Click on “Post” below to see the beautiful images from Focus Imagery!

Planning and Coordination: Cairns Wedding Planner

Ceremony: Rhapsody Ceremonies

Flowers: Pink Moss

Photography: Focus Imagery

Ceremony Location: Cairns Yacht Club at Ellis Beach

Reception Location: North Food and Wine Restaurant at the Shangri-La

Cake: Orangiere Patissiere

Hair and Makeup: Maria Morrison

What is it all about?

As wedding planners, we are there every step of the way through the planning process.  We answer the questions, calm the minor panic attacks, and make sure the details are covered.  But after the wedding is done and dusted and our couples are swooped up into their wedded bliss, what do they feel is the most important?  We’ll share with you some of our responses to our favourite question below!

 

When asked what was their favourite part of their day?

Putting our rings on and becoming Mr. & Mrs.

Our son doing a reading at the ceremony

Our first dance as husband and wife

The whole day was just a big blurry whirlwind [but] it was the most amazing day of our lives!

Seeing him at the end of the aisle

Everything!  But the food was pretty amazing!

 

We love making sure that your wedding runs smoothly, the is our job after all!  However, we always remind you to just stand back on your wedding day and appreciate the little things.  Take a step back, look past the centrepieces, past the cake, and past the music and look and see the enormity of the day.  You have found your other person and promised them your forever.  All of your guests have travelled from either around the block or around the world to celebrate with you and show their support.  Grab your spouse’s hand, give it a squeeze and know this is truly a magical day and not one that you will quickly forget.

 

Happy planning!

Claudette

 

 

Tamara + Michael’s Sugar Wharf Wedding in Port Douglas – 14 June 2014

I don’t even know where to start with these two.  They are, hands down, the sweetest couple I have met.  You can actually feel the love the have for each other because it is so strong.  These local darlings both work very busy jobs in Cairns real estate and needed a guide to help them through their planning and big day and I can say I was more than thrilled to help!

This gorgeous couple who have been through so much together, made every single guest (and their wedding suppliers!) feel like they were one of the family.  Their day was full of love and laughter and their night was full of homemade desserts and dancing.  We wish them every happiness in the world.

Congratulations Tamara + Michael:

  • Ceremony Venue:  St. Mary’s Catholic Church
  • Officiant:  Father Neil
  • Reception Venue:  Sugar Wharf
  • Catering:  Ochre Catering
  • Videography:  rawpix
  • Photography:  Peppermint Lane
  • Love Letters:  Letters 2 U
  • Decor:  Bride’s Own and Flowers + Lace
  • Bomboniere’s:  Bride made preserves and decorated by the bridal party
  • Vintage Touches:  Borrowed from Family
  • DJ:  DJ Postie
  • Lighting and Equipment Hire:  Ochre Catering
  • Bride and Groom Hotel:  Mantra Heritage
  • Flowers:  Flowers + Lace
  • Cake:  Nibble, Nibble, Nibble
  • Cars:  Provided from Friend
  • Wedding Coordination:  Cairns Wedding Planner

Video is courtesy of rawpix:

Below are some snippets from our after wedding survey:

What services did we provide that were the most helpful?

“Just being there to be a liaison point of contact for everything, plus the timeline was awesome!”

 

As a couple, what was your highlight at the ceremony?  The reception?

“Wow, I don’t think we had a highlight as the whole thing was just so ridiculously amazing.”

 

Were you happy with your vendors?

“We loved all our vendors of course Claudette but Stephie from Peppermint Lane and Alana and Rory from Rawpix were crazy good.”

 

“To the beautiful Claudette, thank you for absolutely everything you did for us in the lead up to and on our big day. It was funny as my partner questioned my need for a wedding planner when I first booked your services however he was the one who remarked on the day, thank goodness we got Claudette, she was the best money we spent on the whole day. I cannot sign Claudette praises high enough, I only utilised Claudette’s day-of-coordination services and I felt she went above and beyond on all accounts. I was slightly stressed leading up to the big day (hey, what bride isn’t) but on the big day I had nothing to worry about at all. It truely gave me the opportunity to just sit back and enjoy the day. Claudette is so crazy friendly, happy and super organised. If I was to do it all over again I wouldn’t hesitate to book Claudette. She didn’t miss a beat!” – Tamara Ortiz

Two weddings in a day? Yes we can!

Wow, this weekend proved to be a busy one!  We have had exceptionally poor unseasonal weather up here at the moment which has saturated the region.  Never thought I would have to try and track down gum boots in June (Big W for anyone on the hunt)!

Anyway, the Gods listened and the sun shone on Saturday for Mr and Mrs Ortiz’s wedding at St. Mary’s Catholic Church and the Sugar Wharf and Mr. Hellmuth’s and Mrs. Walsh’s wedding at Little Cove and the Sheraton Mirage, both in Port Douglas.

I had the absolute privilege of getting to work with local couple, the Ortiz’s on their big day.  Both busy working in the real estate industry, they still found the time to make (yes, make) three different kinds of preserves for their guests!  Check out their handy work below:

Sugar Wharf Wedding Port Douglas

Image from the super gorg Peppermint Lane Photography

These two were surrounded by so much love.  The bride’s aunt, a vintage fanatic, lent her some amazing items for their decor, and their bridal party made their entire dessert buffet.  The dessert’s were amazing and I think the guests agreed…I have never seen one get smashed so quickly!

All in all, it was an absolutely wonderful day – I think the bride and groom agreed because they sent the most lovely text message:

Thanks so much for everything, you were definitely the best money we spent on yesterday.  You were and angel, thank you so much for everything xxx

It still gives me warm fuzzies thinking about it!

 

We also had another wedding on for a lovely busy Brisbane couple.  The bride and groom and their 30 guests arrived from all over the country (one even flew in from Switzerland) to celebrate these two.

A lot of planning went on to bring her European dream alive but the couple could not have been happier.  We brought in amazing lanterns from the States and decorated the tables with fresh bougainvillea’s to give her a Mediterranean feel.  Their reception venue at Il Pescatore in the Sheraton Mirage was a perfect fit for their theme.  Kirsty took the reigns of the coordination and they were thrilled with her styling and calm presence.

For a big thank you to all of their guests, they treated everyone to a big surprise of fireworks!  They were magical and I can’t wait to see the photos!

 

Now that a mammoth wedding weekend is done and our couples are happily off on their honeymoon, this girl is getting a pedicure 🙂

 

Happy Planning!

Claudette