On 14 July Southern Bride’s first live event was held in Dunedin. ‘A Practical Wedding Planning Evening’ sold out a week before the night, and went off better than I dared hope.
First off, I guess I should explain that this has been an idea in my head for a very long time - years - and so having it all come together was surreal. This is a huge goal ticked off my bucket list. I'm a staunch believer in building relationships and the power of meeting someone in real life versus online (even though I feel awkward and shy haha) so it was a priority to do something like this. The concept was unusual, there were a lot of moving parts, and it was pulled off in a pretty short timeframe... but with a little help (ok, a lot) we pulled it off.
I don't have all the photos back yet, but here's a few shots from the evening to feast your eyes on:
Cake, wine and nibbles. Right from the get-go, the decisions were made around the premise "If I was getting married, what would I want?". Excellent way to create an awesome event, terrible way to stick to a budget (which BTW I totally blew).
When I go out for an evening, wine is usually a top priority so that was a non-negotiable. Unfortunately because we were selling tickets to enter, we needed a special liquor licence. Thank goodness for Leah from Encore Events - as well as being a duty manager and applying for the licence, she also sponsored some of the bubbles.
Of course you can't have wine without nibbles and the guys from Speights Ale House in Dunedin sorted us out with some generous cheeseboard/platters.
Tess from Williams and Co Kitchen Ltd came on board to provide cake tastings and did a top notch job. There was even some left over which I claimed - it was well deserved, I was too nervous about my speech to eat all day and so by the end of the night I was hungry!
The goody bags were a hit! It was really important to me that the bags were packed with awesome, useful wedding planning goodies. A huge thank you to NZ Bride and Groom Magazine, Be My Guest, Veronica and Me Designs, HelloWorld, KILT, Jan Lane Beauty Therapy, Angela Port Celebrant, Beau Couture, FOOP and Brides by Donna Rae for contributing.
I still have a couple of the VIP Goody Bags available (which include the Little White Book Wedding Planning Diary!), so if you'd like to get your hands on one, then find out more here.
There was a lot of fun to be had in the photobooth too - some fun shots from the night here.
A highlight of our evening was the bridal catwalk by Brides by Donna Rae and bridesmaid dress demonstration from the lovely ladies at KILT. The talented ladies from Silk put up their hands to style our models (including the gorgeous celebrant Megan McKenzie). The hair and makeup was just spot on - I'm so grateful to Gemma and her team for their help.
I don't have the pics back from the catwalk portion of the evening yet but here's a couple of videos from the night, so you can see the action:
The talks/speeches. This was, well, the whole reason for the night, and went perfectly. Sharyn Payne was a brilliant and witty MC. She had a wedding in Invercargill on the same day, then hopped in her car and came up to Dunedin to look after us in the evening! Dedication right there.
The part of the evening I was most nervous about was my speech, and although they claimed the same, my lovely fellow-speechmakers did incredible (Leah at Encore Events, Kate at Still Water Photography, Sophie from Harmony and Donna from Brides by Donna Rae).
The best pieces of feedback were
- a bride who is only a couple of months out from her wedding, who said she still took a lot of advice away from the wisdom we shared, then
- two brides who have set a date and nothing much else, found it really helpful and a great basis for starting their wedding planning.
To me, hearing that both ends of the wedding-planning spectrum found it valuable made my week.
The Q & A was the last part of our evening, and I wasn't sure how it would go. So we were relieved to have some questions submitted beforehand (because noone wants to put their hand up first) and then we had some great questions on the night too!
Finally YES there’s already thought going into what we will do for 2019, and where we could do it. If you missed out on tickets this year, make sure you’re in the Facebook group or on the email list, so that you hear when they go on sale. If you’re a wedding vendor and want to be involved, then consider joining Southern Bride Verified!