When Francesca and Matt contacted me over a year ago to chat about the ins and outs of shooting their wedding in New York, I said yes immediately…and then it seemed impossible to imagine that it would truly take place.
Sure, my flight was booked, the months flew by, and the emails that went between us confirmed over and over that this was indeed happening, and yet even on the plane on my way over it still didn’t quite seem real.
I eventually found myself on a perfect summer day driving my rented Jeep across the Bear Mountain Bridge in upstate New York to where I would meet Francesca and Matt. The majestic Hudson River was sparkling to my left and right and under me, and at that point, knowing I was nearly there, a small part of my brain was waving a flag that said “This is insane.”
Yet when I pulled into the absolutely epic Stonecrop Gardens with Francesca and Matt right in front of me, it not only felt completely magical, it also felt like the most natural thing in the world.
I was so honoured to be invited to New York to shoot this wedding. There were so many shots at the end of it all that I have to publish it over two posts (!!). In part two we’ll be going to Brooklyn, so start hailing your cabs now!
Love Sarah xo
Interstate weddings are always a lot of fun. We get to travel (attempting to sneak into the Qantas lounge by flashing Video Ezy membership cards has become a bit of a pastime for us), rent cute little cars (a bright pink Nissan Micra has been our favourite thus far) and suss out whether the interstate hipster cafes are all across haloumi and quinoa. But when Katelyn + Arjun invited us up to Noosa to be part of their wedding and kindly put us up in the Sheraton, we just about keeled over (but not before rushing to the day spa and then scheduling in time to utilise the swim up bar).
Katie’s mum (who grew up in NSW) has a little theory that the further north you travel, the warmer the weather, the nicer the people. That theory really stuck with us, because every person we met along the way were so unbelievably warm and friendly, and by the end of the wedding I’m pretty sure that every guest had checked that we were ok, well fed and watered and thanking us for being there. We could definitely get used to this amazing Queensland hospitality!
The wedding from start to finish was glorious. Warm tropical sun, cool drinks and sandy feet. Katelyn looked so beautiful in her Collette Dinnigan dress and chose to work with some really amazing vendors on the day such as Mondo Floral Designs for all the gorgeous flowers, while CL Weddings was in charge of the beautiful styling. They then partied it up at the Noosa Beach House which was an incredible spot for a reception.
It was such a wonderful day and as we retreated to our room at the end of the night, we both sat up in bed, looked at each other and had a moment where we truly loved our job. The next morning before flying home, we made sure we had a swim and tried once more to sneak into the Qantas lounge.
Love Katie + Sarah xo
When I was planning our wedding back in 2010, I was told you couldn’t cater a wedding in Melbourne for less than $150/head.
I’m not sure whether I was clueless or just pathetically hopeful, but my unfailing optimism told me I could find a better deal somewhere…it just happened that for every great deal there was some hidden clause about paying $10,000 for hiring a second spoon. Ok, not quite, but let’s just say there was a very good reason why I remember thinking things like – “What if we saved money by collecting every glass, plate and cutlery set from tiny country op shops that still haven’t put their prices up?!!”… So. Not. Feasible. But dozens of wedding blogs have told me that hundreds of couples have resorted to this desperate kind of cost reduction and will probably continue to do so. Unless they find out about The Grub Club.
If The Grub Club had existed when I got hitched, it’s safe to say I would have booked them in a flash. You know the catering company we all wished existed, but just can not find? Well this is it. Brand new, all-inclusive, and oh-so-genius. Here’s how it happened…
About two months ago, I had this idea to do a styled wedding shoot in the Dandenongs. I live here, I drive past amazing scenery every single day…fields of daffodils, incredible forests, gorgeous tiny hills villages. The actual scenery in the Dandenongs is what dream wedding photography is made of. But for the most part, wedding venues in the hills are not my kind of thing (not in a snotty way – for every photographer like me, there’s a million photographers who rock most when they’re shooting at these venues). I just prefer shooting a wedding in a cute country hall with an open fire over a reception centre that also does a great conference.
So, the styled wedding shoot. My idea was to find a clearing in one of the many forests up here, rope in a couple, dress them up, stage a mind blowing but fake elopement, then create the sweetest, teeniest reception dinner for just the two of them. The dinner would look super cosy even though it would be wintery, and I was hoping like nobody’s business that there would be mist…
OHHH YEAH…Like every other styled up fake wedding shoot you’ve ever seen on Pinterest! So original am I!
But I swear this was going to be different!! I roped in my favourite cafe, The General Foodstore in Emerald to cater this romantic dinner for two. Rita from Blooming Brides in Emerald agreed to do flowers. While the setting and general vibe may have been seen a million times before, the food and florals would be the focus. And they’d be oh-so-original.
So here’s what happened. I met with the owner’s of The General Foodstore (chef Paul ‘Dougie’ Douglas and his wife Bel who is a communications designer) at Rita’s floral studio. Within ten minutes we found ourselves chatting about food at weddings and began begging Dougie on behalf of all couples, everywhere, to start up a wedding catering company. Which was amazing because Bel admitted it had been on their minds for a long time (in fact, ever since they got married). They weren’t sure of the exact vision yet, but essentially they wanted to start a catering company “without the bull”. Rita and I like to think you can thank us for what happened next…ha!
We set a date to do the test dinner, and then I left to shoot a wedding in NYC (because I have waaay better things to do than styled shoots in forests, clearly). The styled wintery elopement dinner was now dead and the launch of a brand new catering company imminent. (If you are genuinely sad that we didn’t get to do the original idea, type the phrase “Dinner in Forest” into a Pinterest search. You’re welcome).
Whilst overseas, I got an email from Dougie and Bel saying they’d settled on the name The Grub Club and a mood board was emailed to me which was so on the money I got chills. It was simple, clean, beautiful, and made so much sense. I think when you’ve been married and you know how complex catering can be, you know what you don’t want, and therefore can create the right product pretty quickly. I couldn’t wait to get home and see it all come to life!
I’m not even going to bang on about how amazing the food was, because it was basically the best ever and that’s why there are photos. We had the Full Whammy catering option plus canapes to start and dessert canapes and cheese board to end. See the tables towards the end of the night? Every square inch was covered with food. There is no way your guests will need a late night Macca’s run on the way home from a Grub Club wedding. Being adaptable is all part of The Grub Club’s charm, and Dougie was happy to work with everyone to provide the exact food they required – “We pride ourselves on our ability to make delicious gluten free, vegetarian, vegan, pescatarian, fructose free and allergen friendly foods”.
Rita from Blooming Brides created the incredible florals that decked out the hall so beautifully and Mel from Cherrytree Bakehouse worked with the subtle citrus theme to make a tiered lemon wedding cake that this photographer and her husband devoured for Sunday breakfast the next morning. I wanted to stay in that hall eating Grub Club food, smelling Rita’s flowers and staring at Mel’s cake (drooling ever so slightly) FOREVER. If that had been my wedding I would have cried happy tears all night.
What I especially loved is that between Dougie’s incredible seasonal food and Bel’s design, you can have your entire wedding or function look and feel so cohesive. These guys are partners in life and love for a reason – their individual aesthetics support the other so incredibly well. And here’s the best bit – the jugs, plates, mismatched cutlery, paper runners, napkins, tables, menus, place cards, giant welcome and seating chart are all included! Every couple wants this, but so often you have to settle for the generic version the venue has been using since 1989, or else you end up spending a fortune on outside stylists, graphic designers and hire companies. Not at The Grub Club. No sir. It comes standard.
I heard at least 3 guests say that if they ever renewed vows they would have this exact set up. I must admit, I feel exactly the same way. I am so so pleased that this incredible company is now servicing the Dandenong Ranges. There has been a gap in the market for this exact thing for so long, I’m just so glad that couples out there who want to rock an old hall or their backyard can do it in such a fun and exciting way!
“We’ve had a lot of fun pulling The Grub Club together. It’s been a hugely creative yet methodical process and we’re excited to be launching the business within the beautiful Dandenong Ranges which has so much goodness to offer. We get a real buzz out of providing people with quality and value – not to mention a good time!” – Dougie + Bel.
So excited to share these images with you! Let us know what you think!
Love Sarah xo
So here it is folks, the Packing Shed Wedding we have been dying to share with you all. A wedding so epic, it was almost impossible to fit into one blog post.
Renee + Dave grew up in Shepparton and Renee’s family have been in the fruit business for years (we even headed to the old SPC factory during portrait time to pay homage). So when it came time to plan their wedding, there was no question that it was going to be held on their family’s property. In their fruit packing shed. The very same shed that is usually home to forklifts, semi trailers and huge industrial machinery.
But they had a vision, so they brought in the big guns. A team of stylists, caterers, dressmakers, florists, musicians, waiters, chefs, forklift drivers, videographers and chefs (have I missed anyone?) so large it almost rivalled the amount of guests. If we were wearing hats, we would absolutely take them off to the incredible team from The Style Co who arrived three days early to transform the shed into a magical extravaganza (no more words needed, we’ll just let the photos speak for themselves) while the team at Tommy Collins busted out their best cocktails, food, smiles and the coffees that fuelled our long drive home. The talented groom even stepped in to relieve the band to sing a few songs himself, one for the father and daughter dance, and then his own surprise song for Renee which was honestly the best thing we’ve heard since Adam Sandler wooed Drew Barrymore on a plane with “I want to grow old with you”.
It was epic, it was beautiful. But we’ll let the photos do the rest of the talking.
Love Katie + Sarah xo