The Pure Bride Blog

Winter Viking Wedding Shoot- Stellar Weddings

The island of Tasmania is full of incredible yet undiscovered creatives. This styled winter shoot coordinated by Stellar Weddings shows just that. No amount of snow turned these guys off, and we are thrilled to share this styled shoot with you.

By Stellar Weddings

When the idea of “Winter Viking Wedding” came to the girls at Kingbilly Flora, they knew it would be the opportunity of a lifetime to create a scene that showed just how incredible some of these undiscovered creatives were and thus these images were born. Kingbilly Flora created floral arrangements solely with dried flowers. The creative points for the pieces in this shoot were “Fierce and Bold Ruler”. They wanted to created pieces that made the couple Feel what they needed to project. 

 Tasmania has some of Australia’s best photographers. The scenery on this bountiful island is muse to our incredible artists behind the camera. But when it came to choosing a photographer for this shoot, only one came to mind. Otherwise known as “snow child” Shirley Bliss started as a Commercial Photographer specialising in food photography in the local restaurant scene. Her ability to evoke emotions through inanimate objects led her to pursue Wedding photography. Where there’s passion, she will make you feel it. And that’s exactly what she did in this shoot. Shirley now photographs a combination of multiple genres that she has accumulated through her photography journey. Food, fashion and passion, she can capture it all and give you all the feels.

With so many wedding boutiques across Tasmania it was difficult to choose a dress we knew would “fit the bill” but after a lot of research we came across a boutique that we couldn’t go past. A local fashion boutique- Strutt Design Studio. They  specialise in bridal and formal wear. When we told Strutt about this collaboration they were on board straight away and without so much as a conversation they knew they had the perfect dress to fit the scene and that they did. Every element of this dress was perfect for this shoot. 

The make up was created by Tanisha Koops. Tanisha needed no guidance. In the door at 7am on the day of the shoot, having never met, she made us feel so confident in her ability to create the look that was needed. “Fierce” was the word she gave us and we agreed. Within an hour she had our bride looking like the most Boss bride you’d ever seen. 

You can’t have a Viking wedding without Viking armour, right? The props were handcrafted by a local Dad & Daughter team- Victor and Elisabeth Soo. They create props with foam: otherwise known as the “Foamsmith”  these incredible pieces looked the part with unbelievable attention to detail. They were everything we dreamed of and more. 

Finally, the couple. Toby and Esther Long. Both medical professionals, they share not only their work space but the most intense passion for each other both on and off camera. These guys had us feeling all kinds of emotions! Although this wasn’t their actual wedding, you would never have guessed it. Their love for each other just as strong as the day they said “I do” over three years ago. If you love a good Nicholas Sparks movie, you’d love this couple! 

 

Social Media Handles:

Photography: @Stellar.weddings 

Dress: @Struttdesign

Make-up: @Tanishakoops 

Concept & Flowers: @Kingbillyflora Props: @Makeroos 

Models: @Esthermlong & @toobyl

Christine & Harry

Sandridge Estate, North West Tasmania

Photographer: Michelle Dupont

Emily & Luke

Pure Bride Issue #6

Location: Mt Rumney

Photographer: Agape Media House

Jenna & Matt

Issue 5, Pure Bride Magazine. 

Quamby Estate, Northern Tasmania

Photographer: Clint a& Bethanie

Caitlin & Jo

Acoma Photography

North West Tasmania- Highfield House, Stanley



Carla & Robert

Issue #5- Real Weddings

Michelle Dupont Photographer

Entally Estate, Hadspen North Tasmania

Stories Within Stories: With Nina Hamilton

Tasmanian wedding photographer Nina Hamilton is one adventurous lady. A seeker of stories, she writes from the heart about personal bravery, the power in being present, and learning how not to be your own worst critic. 

We comprise many stories; we collect them in the everyday with each experience, interaction and conversation. We carry them with us as memories, as scars, as badges of honour. Your wedding day becomes a significant part of your story; it is a celebration of a threshold, or intersection, from one part of your story to the next. And it’s a story that deserves to be told.  

I tell stories with a camera. I consider myself an observer of people and life; a seeker of stories. I seek moments and stories in the ordinary, the everyday and the in-between – the best stories lie in the unexpected snippets of life. Visual storytelling is a skill I’ve refined through a combination of travel, people-watching and street photography. I compliment this by drawing on my background in architecture to inform the way I see and use elements such as light + shadow, pattern, texture, lines, form and colour.

I definitely never intended to photograph people and make visual stories. I was about 7 when got my first camera and started telling half-stories; by half, I mean that most of the people in my photos had no heads and were unidentifiable. At school, I wanted to be a journalist. I had my sights set on being a foreign correspondent, collecting stories of human experience from some crazy corners of the earth. But my involvement in the Port Arthur Massacre in 1996 and watching the way the media worked made me realise that I didn’t have it in me to elicit stories from people who were grieving or under distressing circumstances. Instead, I ended up studying architecture and developed an interest in humanitarian design. This lead me to volunteer and work in India, South Africa and Uganda. It was during my 2 years living in Uganda, and traveling East Africa, that I learnt to photograph people. I undertook a pro-bono documentary project in Myanmar in 2018 which finally brought together my love of architecture and photojournalism; and took me out of my comfort zone.

In the creative fields, it’s easy to become comfortable, even complacent, with your process and output, and become static. Pushing yourself out of your comfort zone, broadening your knowledge and skills, and learning from others in your industry is essential for professional and personal development. Most of us are visual learners, so workshops are perfect learning tools.

When I signed up for the EXSPD Adventures at Mt Hotham earlier this year, it looked like a pretty straightforward workshop, with the promise of “photography, adventure, hiking, fires, beers and good vibes”. Sure, I hung out with a bunch of incredible photographers and speakers, drank beer (and gin), took photos in the most amazing light (yes, lightgasms are real) and learnt a few tips from the pros. However, the workshop far exceeded everyone’s expectations. And some of us took away personal stories.

 

I had no idea that my time on the mountain would become a very personal, and crucial, turning point. It began with an unexpected conversation, on the first afternoon, with Si Moore (Bayly & Moore). We discussed my architectural and design roots and I mentioned that I was hesitant to share most of my work. I have a lot of work that I don’t share; I’m my own worst critic and I fear it’s not enough. Part of me knows this is absolute bollocks, but my anxiety always screams louder and overrules the rational voice in my head. Even though I’m creating images for others, I still find it a very personal process; and I’m apprehensive about how others will view them. The conversation took a sharp turn:

Si: Show me something interesting plz.
Nina: Here, look.
Si: Holy fuck, just do that forever.
Nina: K, bye.
Si: What just happened. AMAZE. *eats cold pie*

In the days that followed, I did a lot of observing and listening and, as a result, I made some stuff that I had no idea I was capable of making (even though it has been in me all along). I was finding traces of architecture throughout the wild landscape and (finally) drawing upon the plethora of architectural knowledge that was once second nature to me (light/shadow/lines/pattern/texture) when composing photos. I had misplaced that intuition.

Then, on the top of Mt Hotham on the last night of the workshop, when the light was singing the most beautiful arias, I had an ‘ah ha!’ moment. I realised that it was the first time I had felt completely present for almost 6 years. I realised that I had finally been shooting with more purpose and intention than I had since I was in Africa. I realised that I wasn’t second-guessing myself. It was moment of clarity and a bloody magical feeling.

Postnatal depression is a bitch and for a long time, I wasn’t ok. It has become a big part of my own story and has taken me to some pretty dark places – most days it was a struggle to breathe and I felt completely numb to feeling very much at all. I also lost touch with my own identity. When the depression started to lift, anxiety slipped into the cracks. I still carry this anxiety with me. It was through hearing the personal stories of the speakers (and some of the participants) at the workshop that I was able to finally find my voice to share my own story. I don’t talk about it often; but seeing the vulnerability of those people in the industry who we often hold up as ‘invincible’ flicked something within me. 

We are all human, with human stories and human experiences. We are all imperfect, which makes us ‘us’. We are simultaneously strong and vulnerable, and we feel more feelings than we could ever name. I feel a lot of things and some days anxiety still gets the better of me. But we can turn our own stories and experiences into how we collect others’ stories. My experience with PND and anxiety allows me to be the calming voice when someone is on edge or nervous on a wedding day. It has made me more aware of noticing the most fleeting and quiet moments that might otherwise be missed. It is also the main reason why I believe in a people-first approach to wedding photography –  people, human connections and in-between moments first; the material details help tell the story, but they are not the most important part.

 

I want to make people feel in their hearts by seeing visual stories with their eyes. I want to document stories as they unfold in front of me. I want to visually narrate the realness of your day, creating beautifully honest stories of love and human connection. You see, you’ll want to look back on your wedding day – your story – and feel the words spoken, the deep belly laughs, the safe embraces, the gentle kisses, the stolen glances, and hilarious and heart-warming speeches. Because this is the stuff that’s at the very heart and soul of your celebration. 

Every wedding story is different; you’re unique and your relationship is as well. Your photos should be a real representation of who you are, your love and your togetherness. I want to tell your story in a way that feels true to you.

And the moral of this story? Be brave and put forward more work. Starting right now, by sharing my story.

 

 

Getting to Know… Jon Gazzignato

People would say you’ve got a pretty amazing job, Jon. Tell us how you fell into wedding photography.

Yeah I’m not gonna lie, it’s bloody incredible. My passion for photography actually started while I was travelling. I backpacked for a year through South East Asia and Latin America with a beat up, cheap camera taking photos every single day. While I was away, it didn’t really interest me to take photos of sights where you’d find hundreds of wannabe influencers waving around their selfie sticks. What I really loved, was taking photos of people living their everyday lives. I would stay in tiny villages and visit local markets just to observe people doing their thing. It was on that trip that I really developed my photojournalistic style and appreciation for capturing people’s true personalities. I now use that same creative mindset with every wedding I shoot.

    
You shoot in some amazing locations around Tasmania. Tell us more about how that inspires you.

With every shoot I am always looking to make the most of how incredibly spoilt we are here in Tasmania. There are bucket-loads of beautiful, untouched locations to shoot and it’s all pretty much on our doorstep. I’ve been so fortunate to shoot at iconic locations around Tassie such as Cradle Mountain and Freycinet, but what really inspires me are the lesser talked about wild settings that can be found everywhere you look. Whether it’s just a spot where ferns grow ragged or the edge of a beach with craggy cliffs, those snippets of untamed wilderness are what make our state so beautiful. Before each shoot, I spend several hours researching, scouring Google Maps and hiking to locations to find the perfect spot that has a killer setting, mint lighting but most of all – suits the personalities of the couple that I’m photographing. And the best part of it all is that I LOVE a good adventure.

You recently tied the knot yourself.. congratulations! What did you find most surprising about being on the other side of the camera?

Haha thank you so much! It really was one of the best things I’ve ever done. We ran away and did a secret elopement on top of a mountain with only a photographer, celebrant and chef. There were quite a lot of tears…on my behalf. Then when we got home we threw a massive party with all of our friends and family. It was insane! But back to your question: I think the most surprising part was how much having my photos taken didn’t phase me. Sarah and I were just focused on each other and we were so caught up in the moment that nothing else even mattered. We’d also had a fair few froffos, so that can help too!

 

If you had to choose a favourite moment to photograph with your clients, what would it be?

I enjoy the storytelling of getting ready, I love ripping up the dancefloor with the wedding guests, but most of all – I love the couples shoot. I say this to my clients all the time, but at a wedding it’s the only part of the day that they will spend alone with each other. Sometimes the couple won’t see each other all day, they spend the morning frantically getting ready before being rushed to the ceremony where a hoard of people are staring at them and watching their every move. When the ceremony ends they’re swamped by a sea of hugs and kisses. The crazy thing is – the couple still hasn’t even talked to each other yet! So when we go off to do the couple’s shoot, it’s the first time they actually get to be alone together. I love observing couples during their shoot because there is such a mixture of excitement, joy and feelings of holy sh!t did that just happen! There’s a real stillness about the way couple’s open up and become vulnerable when there aren’t a hundred odd people staring at them. And THAT is what I absolutely love to capture.

Have you got any tips for planning a wedding?

Something I tell every couple I meet with – get married however the heck you want. There are so many old school traditions at weddings that people do because they think that it has to be done. It’s YOUR wedding day! Whether it’s as simple as getting your couple photos taken before the ceremony so that you can spend more time partying or having a cake made out of Maccas cheeseburgers (I wish I thought of that for my wedding). The only thing you legally have to do is get a celebrant to officiate the marriage. So when you’re planning your wedding, start there and really ask yourselves “this is our day, what do we want?” Plan it so that you will have a rad AF time on a day that is about celebrating the awesome relationship that you and your partner have.

Any advice to couples looking to find a photographer?

Do your research! Referrals from friends are great, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you will like the style of that photographer. You don’t wear the exact same clothes or order the same food as your friend, so it’s important to do some flippin’ research. Whether it’s social media, Google or magazines – pour through photos until you find a style and photographer that you absolutely fall in love with. There are so many extraordinary artists in Tasmania that all have a unique style. If you do the research you will definitely find a photographer who speaks to your soul.

Blank Canvas- What you need to know

Photo: Olivia Brown Photography, Sandridge Estate NW Tasmania

Venue hire is undoubtedly one of the biggest expenses when it comes to wedding days, and it can be very tempting to cut costs in this area and hire a “blank canvas” venue such as a hall or shed that doesn’t include the big dollar bells and whistles of specialised venues. 

Blank canvases can be beautiful and unique but they can come with a lot more considerations and work for bride and groom. It’s easy to be swayed by a pretty location and a low price tag, but to ensure you avoid any wedding day dramas or disasters there are some things you’ll want to double and triple check before booking that blank canvas venue. Think about each of these:

  • Is the venue in a residential area? You don’t want your reception party shut down by the fuzz before the sun goes down!
  • Capacity of the facilities. If you have one loo and 200 guests you’re in for a bad time.
  • Chair and table hire? This can get costly if it’s not included with the venue. Also think about other items such as audio visual equipment, kitchen facilities, lighting, decorations etc. Are these extras?
  • Power capacity – lights, audio, fridges, heating/cooling etc. Are you going to end up shorting and being left in the dark?
  • Safety of your venue. Smoke detectors, safe exits, hazards, insurances. You want your guests going home happy and safe.
  • Some of the best blank canvases can be a little remote. How are your guests getting there and home safely? Will your caterers, DJs, band, wait staff be willing to go the distance? Transport can be pricey.

Venues that specialise in big events such as weddings charge a price that reflects the amount of work and risk that they face. They put in love and labour, with landscaping, cleaning, maintenance, decoration and set up, to get a property perfect and wedding ready.

Communication and availability is one of the biggest must-haves with any venue you decide to go with. There is inevitably a lot of back and forth communication that will go on between you and the venue owner/manager. You want to be able to reach them for the finer details and to view the property multiple times, particularly close to the wedding day. Are they going to be able to provide that time to you? Think about your stress levels here.

A big drawcard for the blank canvas venue is that they are often more free rein; no venue rules and regs to worry about, and you can dance ‘til 5am. Okay, I don’t want to sound like anyone’s mum here but who’s going to be cleaning that up? Even at the most tame wedding there is inevitable party wear and tear. Spillages, glasses broken, floors scratched, driveways churned up, gardens walked through. I went to one reeeally fun wedding where “lively” (a.k.a. uber drunk) guests broke in excess of fifty glasses. At $5 a glass the new bride and groom woke up to a very unpleasant surprise bill.

So the bells and whistles at specialised venues can be a little pricey for a reason. They can mean a lot less to organise, a lot less to clean up, a lot fewer hidden extras to pay for and way more time for you to relax in the lead up to your wedding. There is a lot to consider but get your list and check it off — the most important thing is for you to have a happy and worry-free day.

 

Words: Amy Farrell

The Bridal Party: To Love, Honour, and Protect

Photo: Jon Gazzignato, Clare & Brady's Real Wedding Issue 6

In the days and months after your engagement your nearest and dearest friends are going to start looking at you with anticipation in their eyes. What are they waiting to find out? It’s definitely not your venue selection or who will be catering the reception. Their hungry eyes are waiting to see if they have made the cut for your bridal party, or the ultimate honour of best man / maid of honour. While you deliberate on your big decisions those looks will persist, and some might even be so bold as to ask the question; “So, who is going to be your maid of honour?”

What we don’t often get asked is “why a maid of honour?”

Before you choose your special few, let’s take a moment to reflect on the rich history of marriage celebrations and revel in the realisation that weddings are, at their core, beautifully bonkers.

There are a huge range of legends, myths, and superstitions shaping our modern day wedding ceremonies, many of which come from Ancient Rome. The Romans were a suspicious and paranoid lot who believed a bride and groom needed ten maids and ten men to stand by them and protect them from evil spirits. The bridal parties dressed identically in order to confuse the devilish forces and prevent them from targeting the love birds.

Other origin stories say that the parties weren’t there to chase the bad vibes away; they were there to protect the couple from dangerous dowry thieves and bride-nappers. Who might try to kidnap the bride? According to legend the tradition comes from cultures where “marriage by capture” was common. The groom’s men formed a little army to ride in and snatch up the bride from a neighbouring community or disapproving family. They had to fight off anyone that got in the way of the kidnapping and stand guard to prevent her family from trying to bride-nap her back.

If a family knew that a particular girl was going to be targeted by captors they would have her maids and servants dress identically to her. They hoped that this would confuse the little army of kidnappers and maybe they would even pinch the wrong girl.

The best man was chosen based on his skill with a sword and his fighting prowess and presumably the maid of honour was a high ranking servant, who hopefully could pass as the bride.

An amazing mix of culture, tradition, fashion and maybe even blood-soaked battle have created the roles and responsibilities our much-loved best men and maids of honour have today. Whether it be it wielding their swords to protect your life and dowry, or simply popping that champagne by your side, it’s a gesture that remains just as relevant today in recognising how special these people are to you. Let’s hope it’s just for the latter. 

 

Photo: ACOMA Photography, Caitlin & Jo’s Real Wedding Issue 6