Pantone's "Parisian Pâtisserie" Palette Wedding Inspiration at Mirra in Brisbane, Australia

Photographer Emily McDonald was glancing through one of Pantone's inspiration colour palette collections recently. One, in particular, jumped off the page: "Parisian Pâtisserie". Between the grounding 'Costly Cacao' & 'Apricot Spice' and the cheerful 'Melted Butter' & 'Pink Frosting', this was guaranteed to be a delightful theme to execute. Pantone's challenge to 'blend them in daring ways with icings & sugary embellishments' was accepted and the concept for the following styled shoot was born. We embraced simplicity and elegance (the Parisian way) and teamed them with a playful pop of pastel.

While Emily was responsible for the conception of this shoot, Carissa & Serena from Emunah Events undoubtedly formed the backbone of the planning process. In addition, they executed the original vision flawlessly and styled the shoot beautifully. It was a privilege to work with them and this shoot would not have been possible without them. We are incredibly grateful.

Tess (from Little Duck Calligraphy), responsible for the stunning stationery suite, carefully curated elements that showcased the palette for this shoot. Tess delighted with her bespoke & timeless style that is characteristic of her brand. Sarah, from Gloriosa Florals, embraced the theme and delivered classic floral styling with playful pops of pink & orange. The bouquet was wrapped in Songbird Silk ribbon; the softness and drape of the silk adornment radiated sophistication. Little White Couture’s Bree supplied the elegant accessories for our lovely model, Samantha. The exquisite crown and jewellery complimented the theme perfectly. Gabrielle, from Makeup by Gigi, expertly created Samantha’s look (both hair & makeup).

Samantha looked stunning in her When Freddie Met Lilly gowns (we were lucky enough to be able to showcase two of them!). Johnré, our distinguished groom, rocked his suit from Wil Valor. Fiona McIntyre, our lovely celebrant, was a pleasure to work with; Fiona brought both her charisma and professionalism to the shoot. Mirra provided the perfect backdrop in terms of venue location and Rebecca (from Mirra) could not have been easier to work with.

Click Picnic provided the event hire, including the adorable & versatile white cart. The chairs for the table setting were obtained from David at Superb Party Hire. Macarons by Monika contributed the pretty-in-pink cake topped with a Molossi Designs cake topper. Molossi Designs also provided the donut board. Sophia Mulheran Designs handmade the copper bowls and plates. Last - and in no way least - Raw Cotton contributed the beautiful leather clutch.

We are very grateful to each and every team member for their individual, professional contribution. There is always a lot of hard work that goes into shoots behind the scenes but, all in all, this shoot was a lot of fun!

  • Samantha Blackie // bride // website

  • Johnré Blackie // groom // website

  • Click Picnic (Dave & Brodie) // event hire // website

  • Emunah Events (Carissa & Serena) // planning & styling // website

  • Fiona McIntyre (Fiona) // celebrant // website

  • Gloriosa Florals (Sarah) // florist // website

  • Little Duck Calligraphy (Tess) // stationery // website

  • Little White Couture (Bree) // accessories // website

  • Macarons by Monika (Monika) // cake // website

  • Makeup by Gigi (Gabrielle) // makeup & hair // website

  • Mirra (Rebecca) // venue // website

  • Molossi Designs (Josh & Suzanne) // cake topper & donut board // website

  • Poppy & Sage Photography (Pete & Em) // photography // website

  • Raw Cotton (Anna) // leather clutches // website

  • Songbird Silk (Tamara) // silk ribbon // website

  • Sophia Mulheran Designs (Sophie) // copper plates // website

  • Superb Party Hire (David) // chair hire // website

  • When Freddie Met Lilly (Vanessa) // gowns // website

  • Wil Valor (Mark) // suit // website

Brisbane :: Botanical Gardens

We love our beautiful hometown of Brisbane. Previously, we collated a list of our favorite things to do and see and eat in Brisbane. Every spring, Brisbane Arcade hosts a flower show featuring spring fashion collections and a stunning bloom display installed throughout the Arcade grown and harvested by Redlands Fresh Flowers, one of Brisbane’s last remaining flower farms in the Redlands Shire. This year, the flower display:

  • was installed over 3 nights

  • required an estimated 150 hours of manpower

  • covered 850m2

  • featured more than 1340 stems

  • 1894 bunches of flowers

  • 36 bags of moss - and more!

We planned to pop into the Arcade and share some of the impressive work here BUT we were one day too late. :(

While at the Arcade, it was impossible to resist a spot of window shopping at Wendy Louise & Belle Folie (see below). We actually have a shoot featuring Wendy Louise accessories due for release next month. Looking forward to sharing!

It is a reasonably straightforward walk from the Arcade to the Brisbane Botanic Gardens. The staff looking after the gardens always do a wonderful job of caretaking. The space is really welcoming and well-maintained. The most recent garden layout, however, would have to be my (Emily’s) most favourite to date, though. We are so grateful for such lovely, clean gardens in the heart of our city.

Story Bridge, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

Elephant in the Room :: Pinterest

tl;dr: The best outcome is borne out of compromise.

Expectation vs Reality

Ah, Pinterest - in short, it's both a blessing and a curse.

When we were in the position of the client, we printed off the images we found that resonated with us and provided them to our wedding photographer. We get it. Totally. When it comes to weddings, there are so many different styles and concepts out there. Pinterest really gave me (Emily), in particular, some much-needed clarity during the planning process. Not even sure how brides figured it all out before Pinterest, to be honest!

We (Poppy & Sage Photography) have set some boards up to (hopefully) make life easier for our clients:

We are on your side, of course. However, like most things in life, Pinterest is not simply black and white for us. ;)

Tammie Joske (a photographer) states: "Photography is one part art, one part science, one part math, and that extra something else we can never put our finger on - usually we call it a 'good eye', or natural talent". We agree. You need all four components for a truly outstanding image. When you are busy focusing on replicating an image produced by someone else, there has to be compromise somewhere along the line. In addition to the above-mentioned components, there are usually environmental variables to account for, too: lighting, colours, natural elements*, to name a few. If everyone is okay with that, we can work with any situation.

[*For example, the image sourced from Pinterest might have a lot of movement in it from wind. We may need to bring along a leaf blower to replicate this situation. ;)]

I (Emily) worked at a small pharmacy on the Sunshine Coast for several years. One of the pharmacists I worked with was equally left- & right-brained (we'll call her Anna). To keep both sides stimulated, she worked as a pharmacist some days of the week and a hairdresser on other days. Hairdressing clients would come to Anna with cutouts from magazines or from hair colour boxes with the request to make their hair the same colour. Anna would ask the client a couple of questions to gauge what was motivating that particular colour choice (especially if she thought that the colour might not suit them best and she needed to find a diplomatic way to suggest a slight variation). One day, she mentioned that she had noticed an interesting phenomenon. Anna said that it very often became apparent that the client was more attracted to the image of the person rather than the hair colour per se. She found that stripping the situation back and addressing the colour alone was, in some cases, quite challenging. Sometimes the client genuinely seemed to think that they would look more like the model if their hair colour was similar.

This is just one aspect of how the concept of expectation vs reality can play out.

Some would say that this grey situation can stifle creativity and limit the creation of unique content. We would not disagree.

In addition, spending time replicating images has the potential to disrupt (to one degree or another) the organic flow of the day.

HOWEVER, a lot is dependent on the situation for us. We will explain where we are coming from.

If we are doing a personal project for our portfolio, we'll go out with a model and experiment... explore our creative realm... take risks... push boundaries; that is our personal creative release.

If we are shooting an event for a client, we are respectful of your wishes - including inspiration derived from Pinterest. No questions. No judgement. It is not our day.

Ultimately, you are hiring us to capture your story your way. One big aspect of our business model is to work closely with our clients. In fact, one reason for why we provide two photographers for weddings is so that one can be responsible for ensuring that we meet the brief given to us by the client. We print off communication from our couple (including Pinterest suggestions and the questionnaire) and that shooter has the responsibility of keeping the brief on track.

In addition, we love that Pinterest means that we see less matchy denim pants and white shirts, peeking awkwardly around trees, terrible studio backdrops that are Awkward Family Photo-worthy, and so on. Pinterest definitely has a place in the wedding photography world. On a personal note, my travel board is bursting at the seams and I am okay with that. ;)

Final Thoughts

Feel free to bring your lists from Pinterest to us. We will happily work through them.

One final thought is buried in this adage:

Don't give the client the images they want. Give them the images they need.

Information :: Offer for Engaged Couples

Hope this finds everyone well. We have introduced an offer for engaged couples into our packages. This offer allows you to book your engagement session with us ($350) and then if you choose to book your wedding session with us, too, you are entitled to $250 off the total package price. You can read more about what we offer on our FAQ page.

Bridal Shoot :: Deep Red & Purple Inspiration

We love a good bridal shoot (we mentioned that previously here). You will find a good bridal shoot (hopefully great!) below featuring a stunning deep red and purple bouquet & a smoke bomb. None of this would have been possible without the following talented team (looking forward to working together again!):

  • Courtney Cusack // makeup // instagram
  • Emunah Events // conception of shoot, florals & styling // website
  • Kayla Narelle // model // instagram
  • Poppy & Sage Photography // photography // website

To be published in:

Emunah Events :: Event Styling & Floral Design

This feature is about showcasing the wonderful team behind Emunah Events & the outstanding work they produce. You will find Emunah Events listed among our recommended wedding vendors based in Brisbane, Australia.

We have worked with Emunah Events regularly in recent times. We have really enjoyed getting to know Carissa & Serena. We have also really appreciated all the hard work and effort that goes into their role (mostly behind the scenes). Carissa & Serena are patient & friendly. They are driven & ambitious. They are a delight to work alongside. Furthermore, we wanted to share some insight into the hidden - but back-breaking and not always so romantic-as-it-sounds - work that is floristry and floral design. Ultimately, though, we wanted to focus on their stunning work. <3

When afternoon tea is almost as pretty as the florals you're working with. <3

Finally, most of us are under the impression that Carissa & Serena run Emunah Events. It is a little-known fact that Barney is actually the boss. He does a very good job of keeping everything running smoothly! <3

We highly recommend the Emunah Events team and we are confident they will deliver a service & product that you will be forever happy with. <3

The lovely Carissa & Serena from Emunah Events

Hannah <3

We recently caught up with lovely Hannah for a photoshoot at South Bank. Hannah is one talented girl; she is both a model and an actress. It was a pleasure to get to know her and we think the images below reflect some of the fun we had. Hannah has a delightfully confident nature. We would also describe her as mature and grounded. Approximately half of the shots were Hannah's concept and she did her own makeup - this girl is going to go places. You will find her instagram here.


We are excited to see what the future holds for Hannah; we are sure it will be as bright as her fun, bubbly personality. All the best, Hannah, and make sure you update us from time to time! <3

Community Group :: Brisbane Wedding & Events

We have teamed up with the talented Emunah Events team (Event Styling & Floral Design) to start creating a space where Brisbane couples and vendors can connect. Couples are welcome to ask for advice and/or products/services. Vendors are welcome to advertise their business. The idea is to make the Brisbane wedding world a little smaller. This goal is in line with our mission statement: "Provide a quality, bespoke photography service while supporting our local community". We already have a list of vendors we personally recommend (here) and this is the community expression of that spirit.

We are offering a deal for the first 5 couples that join the group AND book their wedding with us (minimum of 5 hours of coverage):

  • 25 4x6 heirloom fine art prints (archival quality that lasts for over 100 years)

Looking forward to growing together and experiencing a more personable wedding planning journey for everyone.

Elephant in the Room :: Wedding Tax

tl;dr: Things are rarely as black & white as they might appear.

Wedding vs Event

When talking about organising weddings, one often hears two words bandied about: wedding tax. When we were busy planning our own wedding, we had well-meaning people give us advice along these lines: "Call up x business and say that you are enquiring about an event. Call back a few days later regarding the same date but state that it is for a wedding this time. You can bet there will be a significant difference even if you mention that the same number of people will be involved. It's the wedding tax".

At the time we thought this was a great suggestion. We did not have time to implement the process ourselves but the concept sounded plausible, for sure. However, since starting our own business in the wedding industry, this additional cost concept has popped up again but from a different angle.

Personal Experience

We own a photography business. Here are just some of our personal expenses: Camera bodies. Different lenses for different purposes (macro, portrait, landscape, to name a few). Travel. Continuing education. Legal paperwork. Software licences. Website host. Website build. Memory cards. Hard drives. Flashes. Batteries. Computer. Insurance. Registration. Marketing. Advertising. Accounting. Tax. Liability. And, of course, time.

Time for: Planning. Emailing. Culling. More emailing. Editing. Emailing (again). Oh, and sick days and limited holidays (necessary for health, contentment and the opportunity to work to the best of one's ability) also need to be factored in there somewhere.

All of these costs need to be accounted for. Moreover, the higher your costs, the more you need to charge the customer for your services. The more you charge the customer, the less competitive your pricing becomes. Adding an additional cost on top of the cost to run your business reduces your business' perceived value. We have a cost-of-doing-business spreadsheet and I can assure you that there is no column for "wedding tax".

So why can wedding services cost so much? The short answer is that different businesses work from different models depending on individual market drivers. We will explain.

We have an amazing business mentor in Las Vegas: Josh Line from Josh Line Photography (professional headshots). One of the first things Josh recommended that we do was to read "Oversubscribed" by Daniel Priestley. Daniel lists four main drivers of market imbalance: innovation (these businesses secure for themselves a niche position in the market), relationships (these businesses invest time in their clients and really get to know them), convenience (these businesses focus on producing the most frictionless solution to client needs), and price (these businesses create an imbalance in the market based on price). You will find these applicable to most, if not all, industries (wedding-related or not). The specific individual driver for each business you approach during the planning process will influence the price you are quoted - more than any arbitrary and ambiguous additional cost in the form of a wedding tax.

Furthermore, we recently read an article entitled The Wedding Tax Is Totally Real Except When It Isn’t. In it, the author (Rachel Sugar) interviewed a high-end planner who works in New York state. He explained the reality of his job like this: “If I ask a corporate client what kind of chair they want, I show them one or two options, and they say yes. If I talk to a bride and groom about what kind of chair they want, it’s a 25-email exchange. Your mom has a chair she liked sitting in at the last wedding she went to; your dad has an issue with pillows and seats; your groom wants long, rectangular tables; and you want round tables. I price so I can stay sane.”

Real Life Example

Lovely Anna, owner of Raw Cotton in Swan Valley, Western Australia, sums up how most of us feel in the bespoke small business industry: "When buying from a hand maker, you're buying more than just an object. You are buying hundreds of hours of failures and experimentation. You are buying days, weeks and months of frustration and moments of Pure Joy. You aren't just buying at thing. You are buying a piece of heart. Part of a soul. A moment of someone's life. Most importantly, you are buying the artist more time to do something they are passionate about. So thank you for supporting me". (Check out Anna's instagram @rawcottoncollection.)

Final Thoughts

Our advice is to find products and services you love and/or people you value and want to support. We all have a story so find one that resonates with you and your priorities and get behind that small business. Even if you are someone who would score much the same as your cat on an empathy quiz, we are sure that you can appreciate why Rolex charges the amount it does as compared to Quartz. If you're on the market for a Holden, you won't go to a Lambourghini dealership and ask them to match Holden's price.

Work out your wedding budget and set your upper limit. Be realistic. Source your three quotes and get to know each of the businesses at the same time, if possible: you might find you're not ultimately drawn to the lowest price. Perhaps you don't feel like a number with one and they allocate more than enough time to get to know you. Perhaps another one is a standout based on product or service alone. Perhaps another one is hard to beat for price. Or another one offers the most convenience at an already stressful time in life. Figure out where your priorities lie; perhaps you want a unique venue or designer dress or stunning cake? Whatever it is that adds to your story as a couple, find the product and/or service that meets your criteria and support the hardworking people making it all happen. We want to wish you a smooth, fuss-free (wedding tax-less) journey of wedding planning!