Places to Be: Time to Wind Down

So you’ve made your plans, and it’s the last few weeks leading up to the wedding. Your bride tribe has done all they can for you, and these loyal sisters need a break before the big day just as much as you do, because months of serious wedding prep has taken its toll and you and your girlfriends deserve a mini vacation! 

Of course, one might prefer a private escape with your partner-to-be; just the two of you in a scenic cottage surrounded by lush nature sounds tempting when caught up in the hullabaloo of event planning.

Well, it’s time to kick back, because we’ve done the work for you and discovered these beautiful getaways for your last hurrah. Leave the idea of bar-hopping and bawdy bachelorette affairs behind; from a surf mansion to a beautifully mellow cabin for two in the woods, these retreats are sure to inspire a different sort of hen night.

Paddock Hall is a lovely getaway cabin built by hand on Yalburabah, a ‘place of healing’ as denoted by the indigenous Bundjalung people. It’s perfect for a couple’s retreat, and if you want to see the sights and touch base with nature, it’s only a 15 minute drive to Lennox and Lake Ainsworth, 10 minutes to Killen Falls, and 20 minutes to Byron.

With five bedrooms and enough space for at least eight of your besties, Casa Mio Surf Hacienda on Crescent Head is a dream come true. The beach is right outside your doorstep, barely five minutes away by foot, and the house is handsomely furnished with modern, yet organic interior features.

An original timber and sandstone fisherman’s cottage on the edge of the waters of Mackerel Beach sounds like a great idea for an escape to a simpler time. Fitting up to four people in this lovingly restored Little Black Shack, the seclusion is a luxury in these hectic times, and we adore the raw natural beauty that surrounds it.

Luxury is never overrated, right? Pretty Beach House is such an understated name for this gorgeous award-winning getaway. With incredible private pavilions and premium Italian cuisine sourced from garden to plate, this experience will surely be something unforgettable.

What Went On: Mrs. Fray in the Mosiac Room

As the prosecco flowed and the teas steeped in the glow of the Mosaic Room of Ovolo Nishi Hotel, we were so pleased to meet with all that came down for Mrs Fray’s pop-up. We must mention of course, how all of this started.

Mrs. Fray started in a bid to bring the best of the wedding market to Canberra in an experience that would outshine every other. They’re making a dream of fun and stylish gown hunting into a reality, with the focus on creating a warm and inviting shop space that would never exclude anyone. No bride should go unsatisfied or settle for less with them in town.

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Right now, tri-annual pop ups are happening with them, revolutionising the way brides can scour the city for the perfect pieces. Their offerings are from curated brands with impeccable taste and style, and not only gowns are available.

This March, they featured lingerie, sleepwear and the most divine fragrances. Ready-to-wear and jewellery brands also shared the space with us, Karen Willis Holmes, Lola Varma, and Prea James Bridal.

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It’s a full retail experience of anything you ever wanted all boiled down into one gorgeous space. With personal appointments and free browsing, one could feel at ease deciding just exactly what you want without the distractions of anything else.

Forget suspicious carpets in off-season jewel tones and harsh, artificial LEDs  in the space where you start your dream- Mrs. Frays choice of the Mosaic Room flooded the room with natural light and its natural textures only elevated each outfit being tried on.

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What’s more, Amy and Andi, founders of Mrs. Fray, have just confirmed their permanent status here in Canberra. Watch out for what unfolds as they prepare to welcome you once again to their new space in Campbell.

All in all, it was a beautiful collection of makers and movers all gathered last month. We’re looking forward to meeting more of you in the upcoming events that we have here and there; and thank you for the lovely experience.

Adorn Yourself: Shoes We Adore

We’ve spotted some brands that we love on Instagram! Here’s the spotlight on contemporary footwear for the modern woman.

Forgive the pun, but this is by far one of ourfavourite picks. BY FAR combines nostalgia and modernity to birth a shoe brand with a cult following, and for good reason indeed. Their globe-trotting styles induce a sense of possiblity; you could go anywhere and be anyone in their shoes. The slick sensibilities are made luxe with carefully considered proportions, curves, and of course, materials. You know, a good shoe can really take your breath away.

This Warsaw founded luxury brand has all that we love- glamour, opulence, and a bit of attitude. These aspects combined in their incredible style of shoes have been knocking us out the park since they started in 2017. An offering of stylish, punchy silhouettes and gorgeous satin textures with refined details come in every season. Of course, the artisan’s commitment to craftsmanship can be seen straightaway by the quality of the construction.

Delicately cut fringe and the thinnest leather straps adorn Reike Nen’s contemporary designs. Inspired by the juxtaposition of materials and textures, they embrace raw materials and refine it into a style we can’t deny. Take a closer look at the enchanting silhouettes and next-level attention to detail that the Korean brand offers, and we especially love how each piece can be worn anytime, anywhere.

Korean designer Sunyuul Yie reimagines Mary Jane loafers to colour block mules, while everyday shoes are punctuated with statement designs, trapezoidal shapes, and a focus on comfortable wearability. There’s an undeniable sense of elegance in the architectural shapes and organic style that she has been developing since 2013. It’s a sharp blend of old and new, and like they say, nothing about them is ordinary.

Lose yourself in the dreams that Enio and Monica, the founders of Le Silla, have crafted for you. They’ve translated their strive for femininity into 20 years of luxury artisanal creation, only made in Italy from heel to toe. Le Silla presents a new wave of classic seduction with touches of rock ‘n’ roll, and still attends to the desires of us fickle women.

For The Girls: Bridesmaids Dresses

This time round, we've done our research on a variety of bridesmaid brands that could satisfy any group of girls; and you know how difficult that is!

Stylist Vanessa Cocchiaro redefines typical bridesmaid dressing into something much more fluid and elegant- you'll find no frumpiness here. Jumpsuits and jackets are a way for Les Heroines to deliver their sartorial inspiration while soft colours and silky fabrics retain a feminine touch.

There's really something for everyone with the wide variety of cuts and styles. We particularly love their bias cut pieces; a flattering option with a relaxed fit. They're versatile and definitely easy to move around in!

Dusty sage and warm rust immediately caught our eye with their flowing, simple silhouettes. We looked a bit closer and were delighted to find that they offer 12 beautiful colours for each of their designs in a vicose/rayon blend in sizes XS to XL, all hand dyed and made in New Zealand.

You know what this means, right? Every bridesmaid would find her fit in the exact shade, so who needs to worry about matching anymore? Leave Her Wilder has your back for easy, fuss-free options.

@BHLDN

If you haven't heard of BHLDN, listen up. They're the bridal line of Anthropologist and they offer a selection of carefully designed pieces that are current without being trendy.

Metallic and jewel tones stand out a lot here on their beautifully draped dresses when paired with sparkling earrings.

Delicate lace, subtle sequins and pleats all add a touch of high-fashion glamour to their gowns while still being affordable.  

@becandbridge


Bec + Bridge plays with sensual lines in their signature style of their Wedding Edit. Their dresses feature soft contouring and sophisticated fabrics while keeping it light and spirited. 

This Australian duo have been in the business for about fifteen years now, delivering their perfect balance of accessible fashion.

We’re in love with the range of satin viscose pieces in shades of pearlescent blush, ink, and sand, but their Endless Love dresses are to die for too.

100% pure crinkled silk in these lovely colours offer a sense of light-heartedness and girlish charm, but with none of the traditional frippery and fuss.

@bhldn

@bhldn

@becandbridge

@becandbridge

Adorn Yourself: Labels We Adore

We’ve spotted some brands that we love on Instagram! Here’s the spotlight on contemporary jewelry for the modern woman.

Ryan Storer offers abstractly romantic jewelry inspired by everything and constantly evolving. You can easily see the Sydney-based designer’s evolution since his launch in 2012 with 13 years experience below his belt. We love the delicate floral forms of his most recent collections, and the edgy, dazzling crystals of Collection 9.

Sometimes, a little twinkle in your ear is all you need. Brie Leon’s variety of hoop earrings offer everything from multi-layered textures to sparkling “pillar” glass. The brand’s offerings have been crafted thoughtfully by designer Janine Zafra for you to have a connection to each piece. It’s a contemporary take on classically inspired pieces, and we do love the timelessness of it all.

There’s a staunch commitment to producing responsible, meaningful objects in Holly Ryan’s studio. The intense dedication to craftsmanship and an ethos grounded in sustainability elevates her objects from merely pretty things; these pieces are meant to be treasured forever. Her sculptural shapes are driven by an organic-minimalist aesthetic that we personally adore.

Chubby, geometric shapes of metal dangle charmingly from The Line of Sun’s earrings. They’re cast in precious metals from hand-carved wax molds by Melbourne creative Alice Tsakirakis. Even as she pursues her art and meditative philosophy, she also ensures a sustainable practice in her studio. Each scrap of metal is saved and melted down to create new works right there in Melbourne.

Tips and Tricks: 5 Helpful Wedding Prep Apps

Wedding Planning. These two words alone used to mean hiring a really expensive (but well-worth) event planner or sitting down with your bridal party, surrounded by sheets of to-do lists, invitations, and business cards of caterers.

Well, fret not because we’ve figured out the best way to DIY in 2017 is with none other than your trusted smartphone. There are dozens of apps out there to allow you much less hassle with planning your big day.

1. Appy Couple

Sophisticated, easy to navigate, and useful. Three of the most important things in 1 app, Appy Couple. It creates a sort of a miniature website for your wedding taking in context all your needs and wants for your event.

There are hundreds of designs to create an elegant look for your website so that it can appear as great and in sync as the actual day’s theme. Personalising your experience and managing tasks like vendors, guestlists, invites and RSVPs, collecting photos taken by your guests… It’s all in one.

2. InTime

This app is another that can help you plan your wedding. Creating tasks that may be assigned to people who are also on the app, discussing any problems with them and receiving updates as they complete tasks are a great way to keep track for everything that’s going on.

You can edit and add them in real time. This flexible tool is a godsend if someone in your party is unwell and needs help finishing up. It’s simple enough to sign up and get started.

3. Paperless Post

You’ve always dreamed of your ideal wedding, down to the very last detail. Up comes the quotes from printing companies and wedding planners, and you realise that your gold-leaf, embossed, and wax-stamped invitations are way out of your budget.

Should you pay up or go for a plainer design?

With Paperless Post, you won’t need to detract from your designs at all. The app allows you to digitise everything, from your getting them to your guests (the postal service might just leave your expensive physical invites in the rain), to actually getting an RSVP because who doesn’t have their phone with them everyday?

Avoid receiving last minute RSVPs with its features and put in a little effort into reducing your carbon footprint. The pity of throwing a beautifully printed wedding invitations is miniscule to the actual damage it can do to the environment on a global basis. It’s the 21 st century; time to be modern and eco-conscious.

4. WedPics

A photographer and videographer is a must have on your special day, but sometimes you’d want your friends and family to share how they’ve celebrated your wedding too. Both photographs and videos can be uploaded through the app, and you’re able to download it all for your keepsakes after it all ends.

Seeing your beautiful gowns and happiest moments captured through the eyes of your loved ones are something that professional photographers may not be able to capture. It’s extremely user-friendly and you can look back to catch moments that yourself may have missed in the hustle and bustle of celebrations.

5. Artifact Uprising

If you’re an avid user of Instagram, you might be familiar with the popular editing app VSCO. VSCO has released an app called Artifact Uprising that allows you to create photo books, cards, and gifts with your beautiful photos straightaway.

Co-founder Jenna Walker decided to establish this platform after her foray into photography left her with innumerable captured memories sitting in her phone and computers with no real place to be displayed like they should be.

Artifact Uprising uses recycled paper in their photobooks, and partner with local sawmills to use fallen pine trees that would have been disposed of in their uniquely coloured gray-blue papers. They are also partnered with the non-profit SKCAC to provide jobs for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. It’s a win-win situation here.

Places To Be: Our Top 3 Getaways

In a blink of an eye, the happy chaos of your wedding day is over, and you and your husband are the only ones that linger.

What next? The honeymoon, of course.

Take the chance to journey off the beaten path and into paradises you’ve never seen, much less imagined.  Forget the atypical hotels and trendy beaches that half-hearted Pinterest boards offer you. Adventurous spirits need the extraordinary, and our list of phenomenal destinations will get your heart racing.

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1.      Amangiri Resort

Fitted into the otherworldly landscape of Southern Utah, the raw beauty of nature is arresting on sight. Weather beaten warm rocks hide the resort from prying eyes, designed to be a monastery of luxury.

It’s a retreat in every sense of the word- with perfection planned into its amenities and architecture, crafted for the comfort of those seeking contemplation and meditation. To be with your significant other here in this breathtaking landscape is a whole new experience in itself, and don’t be too worried about flocks of tourists there.

Amangiri ensures that with only 34 suites, you can fill up your time enjoying the landscape around you in the comforts of the resort, hike through the meandering rock formations with an expert guide, or simply relax in their Barragan-inspired spahouse- all at your own leisure.

2.      Cappadoccia, Turkey

You must have seen an iconic scene of hot air balloons of a hundred different colours all rising up through filmy dawn skies at least once before, on social media, television, or even paintings.

This whimsical wonderland is so much more than that, housing secret underground caverns both natural and carved by man through the ages, and exotic bazaars filled to the brim with the hustle and bustle of merchants and hagglers alike.

It’s a geological oddity that translates into a curious lunar-like view of the land, with towering boulders that dip down in soft curves, carved by millions of years of erosion. Explore every nook and cranny this mysterious land has to offer with your beloved; it offers rich foods and an even richer heritage, if you would only lend your ear.

Ph:  Kati

3.      Ananda In The Himalayas

If the tropics are your thing and you’re looking to escape to somewhere that’s warm and lush with the greenery that only rainforests can provide, look no further.

Ananda in the Himalayas of India is a wellness retreat located on a sprawling Maharaja’s (King’s) estate, designed with 78 rooms in the British colonial style.

Lounge in soft, leaf-filtered sunlight while indulging in an array of organic and locally grown fare, or go on a safari in the nearby Rajaji National Park.

You can also trek through the trails leading into the forest or settle down for a holistic healing of mind, body, and soul with your partner. What better way than to start a new relationship upon a clean slate?

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Places To Be: Bali

Bali is the destination of dreams for travellers looking for something more than just the scrubbed-up tourist landscapes we find in so many other beautiful places. Known for its brilliant array of food, culture, traditional art and architecture, the island offers a striking balance of true local lifestyle and comfort. 

Other than the renowned beaches that vary from volcanic and rocky to white sands, the wild beauty of inner Bali lies in its jungle temples, waterfalls, and the lush rolling hills. There’s a place for everyone in here.

We visited the gorgeous island for a shoot against the stunning backdrops of a cliffside beach. If you’re looking to escape the cold, it’s the ideal location to sit back a little, enjoy the province and its offerings whilst winding down from your big day.

Here we have Piece 1, decorated beautifully with frothing embroidery throughout the ivory chiffon. Spin your way through the sand and watch the metallic yarns and glass beads catch the light. Delicate shoulder straps are perfect for basking in the soft warmth of the Indonesian sun and a plunging back pulls everything together for a tropical dream.

Our sylph-like Piece 4 isn’t to be forgotten too, with a modest sleeveless cut and round neck for the modern brides-to-be. Easy to move around while navigating the rainforests or rocky cliffs, this sheer silk chiffon dress is a dream to be in.

After your exploration, head back to your hotels for a wellness retreat or go on gastronomical adventure around the island. We’ve put together a list of the places we think are the cream of the crop, with their gourmet offerings and holistic care.

Fivelements Retreats  Ph:  @andathousandwords

Fivelements Retreats

Ph: @andathousandwords

Maduranese Duck Sate at the Arang Sate Bar  Ph:  @zirafi.carmen

Maduranese Duck Sate at the Arang Sate Bar

Ph: @zirafi.carmen

Canggu

If you’re looking to live on the slow side of life for a bit, Canggu, a coastal village area would be perfect for you. Surf enthusiasts will be delighted with the pristine black sand beaches and great surf breaks.

Seafood is a must here; restaurants and cafes alike are supplied with a never-ending stream of fresh lobster, prawns, and fish of all kinds.

@reddoorbali

Forgo a typical hotel and try the Red Door Villa instead. A luxurious villa set amongst gardens almost like paradise, it’s ideal for couples looking for privacy and a more personal feeling to their honeymoon home.

The Pancaran river runs next to the intimate retreat and provides a brilliant view of the natural wonders around. Personal services such as butlers, maids, and chefs ensure that your every need and comfort is seen to for your ultimate escape.

@cafe_vida_bali

Cafe Vída has shot up into popularity with locals, expats, and travellers alike with their locally sourced, organic ingredients that they turn into mouth-watering meals.

Balinese grown teas, kombucha, jun, kefir, and jamu are just the beginning of their massive menu.

The Pool Suite at the Katamama  Ph:  @eatandtreats

The Pool Suite at the Katamama

Ph: @eatandtreats

Ubud

Famous for the fields of padi (rice) cultivated over decades, Ubud is the hub of culture and art in Bali. Woodcarvings, batik paintings, and other crafts originate from this traditional country town.

@fivelementsretreats

Fivelements, Puri Ahimsa, is a wellness resort offering a comprehensive and high impact programmes aimed at supporting and bringing couples closer in their life journey.

Guided by traditional Balinese philosophies with organic, herbal products and services, the award-winning eco-conscious retreat emphasises on harmony with spirit, the environment, and one another.

Envision a complete severance from toxicity from our daily lives and returning with a whole new perspective and joy of living- that’s what Fivelements hopes to achieve with every one of their guests.

@arangsatebar

If you’ve ever encountered issues with overordering food just because you wanted to try a little bit of everything, Arang Sate Bar is the place to go. Indonesia’s national dish, sate, is presented in skewers of grilled and specially seasoned meats ranging from duck, barramundi, and lamb.

The marriage of tastes is carefully planned by New York trained chef Agung Nugroho. Their extensive bar menu is heavily inspired by traditional Indonesian concoctions with healing digestive properties as well.

A tropical sanctuary at Reddoor  Ph:  @hannaschonberg

A tropical sanctuary at Reddoor

Ph: @hannaschonberg

Organic breakfast burrito at Cafe Vida  Ph:  @cafe_vida_bali

Organic breakfast burrito at Cafe Vida

Ph: @cafe_vida_bali

Seminyak

Seminyak has a lively atmosphere; colourful and bustling. It’s a place for food, dancing, and shopping. With multiple nationalities mingling both in the day and night and it being host to world class cuisine and fine boutiques, it’s a town to have fun and enjoy life.

@katamama_hotel

A gem of a boutique hotel nestled in Semiyak is the Katamama. It’s the perfect representation of the modern and current Bali. Traditional techniques, specially commissioned artwork and handmade furnishings all play a part in the bold and meaning architecture while remaining stylish.

Skilled artisans created the hotel from scratch, from hand dyed indigo, hand-pressed coconut-shell fired bricks, and woven sheets, and you can sleep in comfort knowing that the hotel has maintained a sustainable process from the very start.