160 … Bonbonnière

Do you or don’t you? Bonbonnière is given as a keepsake of the wedding. I’ve received all sorts at weddings and sometimes none at all. As a guest, I haven’t ever been concerned about what I receive or whether I receive anything, which really leaves it open as to what you might do.

The traditional gift is five sugar almonds in an organza or tulle bag. The bitter flavour represents life and the sugarcoating represents the hope that life will be more sweet than bitter. Five are given to represent health, wealth, long life, fertility and happiness.

Image: Sugared almonds and sunglasses

There are of course no restrictions to what you can give as a momento, or how much you spend. My friends have given out tree seedlings and treats and they’ve been lovely, but I’m surprised how much I’ve been concerned with what to give. I swing between giving gifts and not giving gifts because in the end they don’t make a big difference.

Remember my original theme was focused around using succulents? I researched buying succulents, including trying to find out whether I could propagate and pot my own. That idea was quickly dismissed, as I only had four months to prepare! I found someone that sold small succulents in lots of 60, which seemed about the right amount. I would then collect tin cans and jars and pot them, then set them out as part of the table settings on each table. It’s lucky my theme changed because that was going to be a lot of work. So pretty though…

Image: Succulent gifts and tins

New theme, new idea. I was really stuck, but then thought maybe I could develop the origami theme further. I didn’t want to have more cranes, as it would be too much, so I began looking at other patterns. The first I liked was a ‘secret heart‘ box. I could have a lolly bar and they could take their little heart box and take lollies home. Or I could donate money to charity and leave a little note in the box, and they could still fill it up with lollies.

I didn’t like how the secret heart wouldn’t sit flat and wasn’t an attractive shape. There were lots of other heart patterns to try and one that really stood out for me was one I showed you in my first post on my wedding theme. It was called a blossom heart. I had a hard time finding paper in suitable colours. I wanted a hint of blue and gold if possible to link it to my dress colours. It was hard to find paper lighter than 80gsm (easier to crease) and there was no origami paper I could find that was the right blue. I found some wrapping paper on special, and it was an okay solution but still not perfect. I then found some designs that were perfect that I’ll print onto good quality paper.

Finally, I’ve had another little idea that I’ll save for the final photos of the wedding, but it involves a card tucked into the back of the blossom heart, and asking people to write us a note sharing advice or just good wishes. They’ll have a little something to take home too and I think I will still donate to charity.

Image: A little card tucked in the back of the blossom heart.

124 … Lighting

Obviously it’s possible to have very extravagant lighting for your wedding. Think fairy lights stranded across the ceiling, and twisted through overhanging flower arrangements, or hundreds of suspended tea lights, or even chandeliers. Some of these options provide so much light I’m not sure how the guests avoided glare headaches!

Images: Lighting can add a lot of atmosphere – overhead by Samantha Scott Events or more subtle by Susan Jaffe

My wedding is a little more low key, and is also going to be held during the day, so I’ve been a little unsure how much impact any lighting will actually make. I’m going with a winter bare branches theme with my centrepieces (more on that later), so I’m interested in lighting that works with or emphasises that.

Images: I particularly like this simple one from ‘KackyW‘ and lights can work at daytime (Lucia Paul Design and Bear Flag Farm)

I bought a whole range of options for holding tea lights, and also bought a strand of tiny fairy lights to see what they would look like with my draft and very messy centrepiece. I narrowed down my choices to either a mini-bucket or a lace finish tea-light holder. I found the LED lights were too cold (you can get warm white) and overwhelmed the other features of the centrepiece. I also didn’t like that you had to conceal the battery pack somehow, and each battery pack required three AA batteries! The photos below aren’t great, but show what I was working with.

Images: Tea light samples and LED lights

I’ve decided to go with the lace tea light holder because it will create nice patterns on the tablecloths (and it’s a little harder to get at the candle, so less risk of wax spilling on tables – for which we have to pay penalty rates to clean). I think candles give a much softer light than the LED lights. It would look much nicer with a warm white, but I think I’m happier to stick with the tea lights, especially since it’s a daytime wedding. I’m not allowed to hang anything from the ceiling except around the edges, and since I have other plans for that area, I think my lighting will simply be the tea lights (and a roaring open fireplace!).

97 … the ring

I went away on the Easter weekend, still madly folding cranes. I took a little packet of squares with me so I could get some more done during the weekend. This included taking them along on the bushwalk and folding them in the late afternoons after the day’s walk, or folding them on other long breaks.

Image: Folding cranes near Guthega, NSW

There is one thing I don’t have yet that a fiancée normally would by now, and that’s an engagement ring. After the proposal, I did a lot of research on ring styles and really wasn’t attracted to the standard engagement ring of yellow or white gold with a diamond or diamonds. I liked rose gold and I knew that I wanted something different, but didn’t want a lot of money spent on the ring because I felt that money could be better used elsewhere (like on our house).

Image: Top – Bud Ring, Emma Fielden; Wedding Band, Joseph Jewellery; Bottom – Arctic Ring, Cass Partington

When I started looking, I got distracted by other designs that weren’t what I was originally looking for, such as the Bud Ring by Emma Fielden. It was a pretty and original design, but when I saw it in person, it was a little too dull (ie. not shiny) to take the place of an engagement ring. I’m keeping it in mind for a dress ring though!

I then came very close to ordering half of the ring from Cass Partington. Rather than four rings, I just wanted the diamond studded band, and one plain band, as I thought four rings would be too wide, and I also wanted to reduce the cost. I love the square finish – this ring was a brushed white gold.

In the end I found a jeweller that could do something similar to the engraved style by Joseph Jewellery. Once again, I liked the square edges, and was particularly interested in the engraved finish as something completely different that didn’t rely on gems for show. I originally looked into getting a plain rose gold band to wear with it as the ‘wedding band’, but in the end I opted for just the one engraved band that would act as both engagement and wedding ring.


Image: Todd Turner jewellery

I was working in Parramatta at the time, and found a local jeweller, Todd Turner, that did very similar work. I loved a lot of his other designs too and was happy to take my request to him. It turns out his partner is a specialist in engraving, so the design I wanted would not be a problem. Only thing is, I have to wait a while before I get to see it…

61 … Wedding location

We spent a pleasant Saturday visiting several surf lifesaving clubs along the northern end of the Northern Beaches in Sydney. We aimed to visit Avalon, Bilgola, and Warriewood, but also ended up visiting the Long Reef Golf Club. Keep in mind that we were not only looking for a reception venue, but somewhere to get married. We’re planning to have around 70-80 guests.



Image: Philip Johnson

Our first stop was Avalon Surf Lifesaving Club. This has been renovated fairly recently and this has been done to a high standard. There are two rooms available, and both were an appropriate size. The smaller room was dominated by the bar, and we didn’t want it (or alcohol) to be the major feature of our reception. The larger room was huge but there was no option for self-catering – you are required to use the company that runs the restaurant next door.

Images: Avalon surf club

We found the balcony of the venue shaded and cold, and that was in summer. Given we’re getting married in winter, this was a big negative. The wedding ceremony would be held in the park, and with a busy beach/park area, and traffic noise from Barrenjoey Road, it just didn’t appeal.



Image: View of Bilgola Beach

Bilgola is a lovely beach, much smaller than many of the others, with high cliffs and rock shelves at either end. The rooms at the surf club were attractive, and you also have use of the bar next door (the bar itself is a converted surf boat – very cool), and the garden outside, which was perfect for the wedding ceremony. It had a great balcony that had the option of lowering transparent ‘walls’ to protect people from wind/rain without losing the view.

Image: Bilgola surf club – top, bottom left, bottom right

The only apparent downside was the room looked a little small for 80 people, but it can seat 100 if you use two long tables. They also charge for bar staff on top of the venue booking.



Image: Warriewood beach

Warriewood is another cosy little beach with good rock platforms. This was the only venue that allowed you to do your own alcohol (ie. no bar service). The club building is a bit older, but they have renovated the function room, and it had a lovely high ceiling with exposed beams. Like the other clubs it had a balcony, but no access to any other rooms or space at the venue. It was a lot cheaper though!

Images: Warriewood Beach wedding; inside the surf club

We liked this venue for the ability to do our own catering and alcohol, and I quite liked the room, which was a bit bigger than Bilgola’s. There was nowhere really to get married at the club, although it is right next to Turimetta Head, which had several open spaces with glorious views of the coastline. The spots there were either too steep, didn’t have anywhere to put seats for the less agile members of our party, or were too exposed to roads/paths. Nothing seemed to really work, although we could have gone a little further down the road to Mona Vale and used cliff-top open spaces there.

Long Reef Golf Club

Images: Scenic location with the bells and whistles

We were sorely tempted by the Long Reef Golf Club. It’s a beautiful location, they do everything for you, and it’s only a few thousand dollars more than doing it all yourself. They set up your wedding location, they organise the reception, including flowers, food, styling and even the wedding cake, and they even provide a golf cart to shuttle you around for wedding photos. Very, very tempted…

So which did we choose?

It was between Warriewood and Bilgola. Warriewood was cheaper and had more flexible options for doing things ourselves, but Bilgola was a better all-round package, with a place to get married right next to the reception venue, it was pretty and well-kept, had a great room with a separate bar, good parking and level access, and a scenic beach. We can’t wait to get married there 🙂

54 … What type of wedding venue?

I’ve worked out that I need to make 10 cranes a day to have 1000 folded in time for the wedding. I’ve not achieved that on one single day yet. Hmmm.

The first thing we confirmed when we got engaged was that it would be a church wedding, followed by a reception in a marquee on a friends farm. This very quickly morphed to a church wedding followed by a reception in one of the surf clubs on the Northern Beaches. This then slowly, over a period of about six weeks, changed to a celebrant wedding at or near a beach, followed by a reception at a surf club.

Why the change?

There was an obstacle to us having a church wedding, namely that I am divorced, which means that to get married in a Catholic church I need to have my first marriage declared invalid. This was a little upsetting to contemplate, even though I was divorced 13 years ago. As much as I don’t regret getting divorced, the marriage and my first husband were a big part of my life and having the marriage declared invalid seemed to diminish it. Since we were married in a church by a priest, the marriage couldn’t be declared invalid for that reason, but there is hope it can be declared invalid because I wasn’t baptised. If you want to read more about this whole process (which I found mentally exhausting and fairly traumatic) go here.

After meeting with the Catholic Church Tribunal we found out this whole process, which includes consulting the Vatican, could take 10-12 months. We decided to have a civil ceremony, and then have a church ceremony if/once we receive approval to marry in the church.

17 … A theme

Images: Succulent centrepiece ideas; Dress – Anna Campbell; Bonbonniere

I began planning my wedding in love with the idea of a floaty boho-style white dress, which I thought I would make myself; driftwood centrepieces with succulents; and little succulents in pots to give away as bonbonniere. It was going to be a perfect beach wedding.

Then I went to try on some wedding dresses to get some ideas. I found a dress that suited me perfectly and was being sold for a price similar to the cost of simply buying the material. Did you know laces are AUD$400/metre? I bought it. It isn’t white, it isn’t boho/beach style, and it won’t go with succulents. It is fitted and sophisticated, has blue and gold coloured lace, and is probably more suited to vases of roses.

Images: Some $400/metre laces!

Time for a new plan.

I still had my cranes, well three of them anyway…and lots of paper. I just had to work out how to incorporate the blue and gold colours. I found some great gold squares of paper, and started folding golden cranes. It was a start, and I hoped a theme would come to me.

3 Cranes


Image: Origami heart invitations by Amy Moss.

My online hunt for wedding dress inspiration led me to a search on rustic weddings. Instead of finding a dress, I was inspired by ways origami had been incorporated into weddings. My initial idea was to send out ‘fortune teller‘ origami invitations, but then I fell in love with the story behind creating cranes.

An ancient Japanese legend promises a wish or eternal good luck to the person that makes 1000 paper cranes. They should be completed within one year, as the crane in Japan is a mystical or holy creature that is said to live 1000 years.


Image: Andre Blais‘ photo of Angie and Brian’s wedding.

Plus, they look really pretty! The next day I went out and bought two big A3 books of 50gsm paper and learnt how to make a crane.