Weddings at Lavender Bay Sydney?

Within North Sydney, there is a little area known as Lavender Bay.  Over the years this small area of North Sydney, has become a favourite location for wedding photography and wedding ceremonies.

There are two Churches in Lavender Bay.  Christ Church which is Anglican and St Francis Xavier with is Catholic.

For photography, a great spot is down by the water of Lavender Bay.  The entrance into the park can be hard to find from Lavender Street (if it is your first visit).  Also it is really important to know that many larger cars like limos will find it very hard to enter the park.  If you are wanting your photography to be captured at Lavender Bay, I always highly recommend my couples tell their wedding car company, that we are going to Lavender Bay.  Make sure they have checked out the entrance and small road leading down through the park, if they have not been there before!

I have put together a slide show of photographs captured at both Lavender Bay churches and photographs captured down by the water.

Usually I have only ever seen one or two other bridal parties down at Lavender Bay while I have been photographing.  However I have to be honest and say the last time I was photographing a wedding at Lavender Bay,  there would have been about eight other bridal parties having their photographs taken at the same time.  Lavender Bay isn’t as secret as it used to be years ago but if you visit, you will understand why the word has gotten out.

Lavender Bay is a gorgeous spot for a wedding!

Map Lavender Bay Sydney

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Parking concerns for St Patricks Estate Manly – the Cardinal Cerretti Chapel


I regularly meet with a number of wedding photographers in Sydney. For many years we have looked at each other not as competitors but colleagues and support. By sharing knowledge, ideas and sometimes techniques we believe we all benefit.

One such meeting, we were talking about the Cerretti Chapel in Manly. If you have ever been to Manly you would have seen this church; sitting high above Manly on the hill in all it’s grandeur.

Two of the photographers mentioned that they had just recently (in the last two weeks) photographed a wedding at this church and parking had been a huge issue.

Parking has always been supplied to wedding guests & suppliers across the road in the school yard. Both photographers shared that now parking wasn’t supplied and said that wedding couples were asked to pay extra for this service.

The photographers thought that as this has just been introduced (free parking had always been supplied) that perhaps the couples didn’t know or it was too late to budget for it.

For whatever reason parking wasn’t supplied and guests had no where to park. If you have ever tried parking up that end of Darley Road in Manly you will know how hard parking can be, especially with Manly hospital being right across the road.

Both photographers mentioned that out of concern that they were going to miss the ceremony, they drove into the grounds of the church but were sent away. They were told “no parking is allowed on the grounds for any quest or wedding supplier”.

I have decided not to place my own opinion on this new policy especially as I do not know if it is the school or church that has brought it in.

However I do feel it is important to let wedding couples know about the new parking policy, as like me I would have assumed free parking was provided just like all the years before.


St Patricks Estate in Manly



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Wedding Day Timing

My post entitled ‘A Wedding To Do List’ is helpful in working out what needs to be done leading up to the wedding day.  What about the actual wedding day timing? 


Around a month before the wedding day, I chat with all my wedding couples in regards to finalising their wedding photography.  Here are some of my tips, thoughts and suggestions that I go through with all my couples.


Start your timing plan with the wedding ceremony.  Even if you are unsure of the exact time you wish the ceremony to commence, write down an ideal time and then later everything can be adjusted accordingly if needed.


Let’s say the ceremony ideal start time is 3pm.  Now the ceremony duration will depend if you are having a church wedding or civil ceremony.  As a guide a traditional Catholic mass can be around one hour, while a normal church wedding is around 45 minutes including two readings, minister’s sermon, signing the register and walking out.


However a civil ceremony ranges from 15 to 30 minutes.  Speak to your minister or celebrant who will help you finalise a more accurate duration time.


After the ceremony, there are three possible areas you need to be aware of in regards to time.  Firstly do you wish to have a large group shot of all your guests (approx 10-15 minutes)?  Secondly think about how much mingling time you would like to share with your guests.  Thirdly are the family photographs. 


Working out the time to allocate for family photographs will be hard but as a rough guide allocate 5 mins for the first family photograph and then two minutes for each family photograph after that.  I strongly recommend you speak with your photographer in detail about your family photographs and in particular the timing.


From this point, now jump ahead in the timing planning to the reception arrival time for the bridal party.  Let’s say you want to arrive at 6pm to your wedding reception.  Now you can work out the time you will have remaining for travelling and ‘location’ bridal party photographs.


Recapping: wedding starts at 3pm and the duration is 30 minutes (civil ceremony).  Afterwards let’s say you want a group shot (10 min), mingling time (30min) and then ten family photographs (20min).  This will mean you will have one & half hours for travelling and ‘location’ bridal party photographs.


If an hour and a half is not enough time (or too much time), then you can decide to change the ceremony starting time, have longer mingling time or perhaps even arrive earlier to the reception to share pre dinner drinks with your guests.


I will share more information in future posts about timing before the ceremony and at the reception.

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Have your dog share your wedding!

“Do you have the rings?’ was more a prompt for the best man than a question.  The Minister spoke those words just like many times before.  This time however the response was different. 


I watched on, together with the 100 plus guests as the best man fumbled around his pockets, while the Minister held out his right palm in anticipation of the rings.


The bride’s response quickly altered from amusement to interest to annoyance as she looked towards the groom for a solution.  Sensing his bride’s concern, the groom made the decision it was time.  With that he whistled loudly while turning his attention towards the back of the church.


All heads spun around to witness two little dogs proudly walking down the aisle towards their master.  On closer inspection, we noticed attached to their backs with ribbons were tiny pillows. Closer still and we saw the wedding rings were securely affixed to the pillows.


Oh my gosh………..this was one of the cutest things I ever saw at a wedding.


It inspires me to write a post about dogs at weddings.


If you too are now inspired, here are some things to think about:


1)       Get Permission!    Check with the church minister if they will allow your pets in their church.  If the wedding is outside in a public area, check local council regulations.


2)       Allegis?    Not a bad idea to make sure no guests have allergies to your four legged friends.


3)       Make Sure!   There is nothing at the location that can harm your dog e.g. main roads the dog can run onto if it gets away, cliffs without fences etc.


4)       Help Needed!    Have a handler who will be responsible for picking your dog up, adding bows /ribbons if needed, providing drinking water and ensuring the dog is safe and not running muck.



‘Porter 4 Pets’ is a Sydney based company who offer pets at wedding handling services.


I have personally worked with Janet Porter on weddings and can honestly say having her expertise and knowledge makes my job in capturing images of the bride & groom with their fur kids so easy.


From German Shepherds to Miniature Poodles, Janet is a dog whisperer.


Tips Janet has taught me (and just some idea of her service)


1)       Take the dog to the location well before it is required (and before people start to arrive) so it becomes acquainted with the surroundings.


2)       Take the dog for a long walk/run beforehand so they don’t have so much energy.


3)       Liver treats, liver treats, liver treats.  Dogs love liver treats and are more likely to sit / stay / come for one.  Try this before the wedding day.



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Children at Weddings


Some of my all time personal favourite wedding photographs have been of children attending weddings.









As a professional wedding photographer, I get excited when couples say that there will be children taking part in their ceremony.


It is children’s spontaneity, wide eyed enthusiasm and general energy that can add extra life to a wedding day and the photography.


The biggest advice I can offer couples who are having flower girls and page boys, is to remember to keep your expectations reasonable.


Children become overwhelmed with the responsibilities and attention given on the lead up and on the wedding day.  It is not hard to understand the reason for their tantrums on the wedding day. 


Here are some practical ideas that may help:


1)     Having a back up plan is helpful.  You may plan for your niece to walk down the aisle first but your back up plan may be that she walks down the aisle with your matron of honour (someone the child knows and loves).


2)     Giving the child something to do while walking down the aisle may help distract them from the many grown up’s faces (man this must be overwhelming for a child).  Throwing petals from a basket for example would be a good distraction.


3)     Instead of walking down the aisle how about riding a decorated scooter or being pulled down the aisle in a wagon? 


4)     Have a loving familiar face at the end of the aisle that the child can be motivated to head towards.  Even better if the loving face has a treat for them.



In finishing, I truly believe children add so much enjoyment to a wedding.  Allow their little personalities to shine.  I have found if you give children the time to express their nerves while not allowing yourself to react in a hostile, frustrated manner, then 80% of the time the child becomes interested and then will participate.


Good Luck


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Things to Remember to take with you on your Wedding Day!

I write this post from my sunny balcony overlooking the ocean in Thailand (enjoying some time out).  Back in Sydney soon……..



8 Things to Remember to take with you on your Wedding Day – for the girls:



1)     Lipstick for touch up’s during the day.

2)     Hankie or tissues (there may be tears).

3)     Your speech notes for the reception.

4)     Bobby hairpins.  This is especially a good idea if it is a windy day, as your hair and veil my give you some issues.

5)     Needle and thread.  I don’t see bride’s doing this much anymore but from time to time a button will come off or a hem comes down.

6)     Band-aids for the back of your shoes when you can’t take it anymore.

7)     Maybe a sugar lolly or two, which you may need especially if you suffer, low blood pressure (it can be awhile till dinner).

8)     Along the lines of the band-aids, you may consider taking some comfortable slip on shoes when you are ready to ditch your high heels.


8 Things to Remember to take with you on your Wedding Day – for the boys:


1)     Your speech notes for the reception.

2)     Safety pins because often the florist doesn’t supply enough or strong enough pins to secure the boys flowers to their jackets.

3)     The rings (don’t laugh as forgetting the ring happens more often than you think).

4)     Refreshments for after the ceremony.  Sometimes the hire cars will offer this as part of their service.  You will appreciate been given a drink of wine, water or soft drink along with crackers and cheese as soon as you arrive at the photography location.

5)     Wedding day schedule.  Everyone has some kind of list or timetable for the running of the day.  If you do, don’t leave it at home.

6)     Mobile phone numbers of the photographer, wedding hire cars, videographer, minister/celebrant, ceremony musicians and reception venue.

7)     Are you walking down or up the aisle to your own favourite music?  Don’t forget the CD!

8)     If for some reason you go over your allocated time for the hire cars (e.g. the bride was running late, photographer took longer than they should etc), they may ask you to pay the extra amount when you arrive at the reception.  Make sure you leave with some cash in your wallet for these unexpected expenses.

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A Church Wedding Ceremony and Photographers

If a church ceremony is what you have your heart set on, then you will want to read on.

What I recommend couples do, is to discuss with the church minister about his or her views on  photographers taking photographs during the ceremony.

Will the minister allow flash in the church? If the church was built in the last thirty years there is a good chance it has fluorescent lighting (which is not a great light source for photography). If the church is illuminated by fluorescent lighting and the minister doesn’t allow flash inside the church, then you need to check if this will be a problem for your photographer.

I suggest you confirm these questions with your minister too:

1) Are there areas inside the church the photographer is not allowed to take photographs?

2) Are there any times during the ceremony that the photographer is not allowed to take photographs?

Confirming these questions with your minister will give you information to share with your photographer. Chat with your photographer about the church’s policies to see if they will affect what you had visualised your wedding photography inside the church to look like.

Do this before you walk down the aisle and you won’t have to worry about the minister getting annoyed at the photographer during the ceremony.

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