Fiona Deans- Dundas is the founder and CEO of Couture Wedding Planning. As one of the best in the business, we sat down with her to talk all things weddings. Here is her take on weddings for 2015 and the New Year coming…
When asked of her favourite venues Fiona is quick to respond with Sergeants Mess. “It’s a larger venue to style located in Chowder Bay in Mosman. Sergeant Mess has incredible harbour views and has beautiful art deco chandeliers and bar. Sergeants Mess has a minimum of 100 guests and maximum of 250.”
“One of my favourite smaller venues at the moment to style is Gunner Barracks also located in Mosman and also has beautiful harbour views with a vintage luxe feel – they have 3 ceremony location, the stunning Harbourivew lawn, the historic courtyard and enclosed Harbourview Terrace. Gunners’ can take approx. 80 guest seated in the main dining room depending on the floorplan. A wonderful thing about both venue is you are the only bride at each venue when you get married – both are very exclusive.”
“I actually wanted to get married in Gunner Barracks’ but sadly it was a little small for my guest numbers and also enquired about Sergeants Mess for my wedding but sadly it was still under construction 6 years ago.”
“Both venues are owned by the incredible Grand Pacific Group who also own Dunbar House and The Queen Victoria Tea Rooms. I particularly like working with this group as they have very helpful sales staff with a can do attitude and wonderful banquet staff that run the events.”
Some of Fiona’s favourite venues located in Sydney if you wanted to consider them for your upcoming wedding include:
Over 100 Guests
Under 80 guests
When it comes to finding the ultimate wedding dress Fiona says “I adore going to the Wedding Dress Boutique with my brides, it is one of my Favourite parts of the wedding planning process. You immediately know when the bride finds the gown of her dreams as there is usually a very emotional energy in the room and most of the time we all cry – which is lovely to witness.”
‘From overseas I adore Galia Lahav who is fantastic Israel Designer, thankfully Eternal Bridal now stocks this stunning brand so it is available to Australian brides.”
“I also love Vera Wang (had the privilege of trying on her Fall 2015 collection in New York Recently and the gowns where exquisite) Inbal Dror – available at Helen Rodrigues and Berta Bridal – available at Brides By Francesca. Locally I really love what Steven Khalil has created for my brides over the years, he has incredible fit and really knows how to dress a women’s figure. Some of my other designers here locally include Pallas Couture, Velani, Diane Lewis and Moira Hughes.”
If you are a bride just starting out and planning your wedding, here is Fiona’s best tips;
“Firstly, Start a basic Budget, begin with some approx. costings – what you think things will cost and then add in the actual costs as you receive the quotes from your suppliers and then once you lock them in, add in the deposit you have paid and how much and when final payments are due so you don’t have to go back through all the invoices and contracts again.” The Easy Weddings Website has some very helpful Wedding Planning Tools including Budget Management for the brides that wants to plan their own weddings. For our Couture Wedding Planning Brides this is major part of what we do for each of couple.
“Secondly, Make sure you begin a rough timeline from the beginning of your planning – begin by adding the start time of the ceremony and reception and then as you go through the wedding planning process just add the information as you receive it from your suppliers such as the start time the make up artist, when you cars will arrive and what time your florist will be setting up for the ceremony and reception and then when you get to the wedding, you can just send this document to you all your suppliers to confirm you are all on the same page. For each Couture Wedding Planning Bride we will make sure we maintain a very detailed timeline that we communicate to all your suppliers.”
“Thirdly, Create a mood board either on Pinterest or just add your Favourite images to a word document – this way you can take this document or present your pinterest board to your supplier such as your florist, Stylist and Décor Hiring Company etc to show them the direction and Colours you would like to incorporate into your wedding. We love creating a unique moodboard for each couple so they have a clear understanding of what their wedding will look like before the wedding day.”
When asked about wedding trends, Fiona replies “Looking at the coming year florals are trending heavily. Flower Walls are increasing in popularity at the wedding. Love the stunning framed fresh flower walls by Maria Lush Floral Designer.
Beautiful Floral Ceiling Installations are massive at the moment. Vesna Grasso has some beautiful silk wisteria which are perfect for ceiling installations.
Gold is very on trend at the moment. Both John Emmanuel, another talented florist I love working with at the moment and I are obsessed with.
Luscious Linens are becoming even more popular in Australia like the incredible Preston Bailey Linen available at Events by Nadia.
Stunning Charger plates are increasing in popularity at wedding in Australia at the moment as suppliers have a much wider variety available to our brides. Contact harbourside decorators to view their large range.”
If you are just starting out Fiona suggests an appointment sooner rather than later… “One year is fantastic but we have planned weddings in 3 months before for example Joe and Kuan we planned with in a year 1 year and Frank and Elizabeth we planned in 3 months. I am also planning two wedding at the moment for 18 months.”
Fiona’s favourite element when styling a wedding is florals.
“Flowers are Key – Florals are a key element in any wedding styling – they can communicate the colour scheme of the wedding to all the guests as well as theme of the wedding and personality of the Bride and Groom in the way they are arranged and what vases they are contained within. For example a modern bride use structured flowers like orchids and tulips in glass vessels, a classic bride might us a tall vases with beautiful floral balls and a boho bride might use Hessen wrapped vases of a mixture of vases.”
Fiona has seen dramatic changes in wedding styling in the last 2 years in Australia – “Things have just amplified. I believe this is due to increasing popularity of social media amongst Brides like Pinterest and Instagram which shows Aussie Brides what is trending in America and so these items are becoming more and more available in Australia such as Charger plates, a large range of stunning chairs and beautiful linens.”
“Some brides arrive with whole folders and some with just one or two photos and then we help them build on these as we develop their Wedding Mood Board. Magazines and Instagram are very inspiration but pinterest is by far the most popular way of creating mood boards and easily communicating them to your creative suppliers – We normally create an anonymous pinterest board for each of our couples. Pinterest is such an amazing tool but be warned it is very addictive.”
Here are some tips for all couples to make follow during their wedding planning
Always ask how much Extra Sides are when seeing your photographer
Always read the contract
Always do a menu tasting
Always do a floral mock up
Always do a final meeting with you venue, florist and photographer
Here is a taste of Couture Wedding Planning’s packages;
The Haute Couture is a very exclusive package available to 3 lucky couples each year. We limit this package to small number of couples so we can provide them with the exclusive and detailed service. Be part of this Exclusive Society and allow Couture Wedding Planning to create a beautiful wedding for you and your fiancé from concept to completion. Our Haute Couture Couples will be provided with an Ipad so they can connect with their personal wedding planner and create mood boards and store all their documentation.
The Demi Couture package is perfect for couples who have organised their wedding venue and a few other suppliers so far but not sure what to do next and need help with organising the rest of the wedding and with tying all their ideas together.
The Couture Coordination package is perfect for a Bride and Groom who would like to plan their own wedding but would love to have professional wedding planner there on their wedding day to ensure that all your intricate details are in place and will make sure their day is seamless.
Check out Couture Wedding Planning’s website for more details on our packages and view their portfolio
Follow them on Instagram and Facebook to keep up the latest styling trends Check out the Pinterest page and start pinning!