Ceremony Location & Reception Venue in Blue Mountains

Last Friday I was photographing a wedding in the Blue Mountains.  The location for both the wedding ceremony and reception was at the historic house and estate ‘Yester Grange’.

Situated at the end of Yester Road Wentworth Falls, the estate is nestled on 10 acres and backs onto world heritage National Park wilderness. 

Yester Grange’s website boasts one of the finest views you will find anywhere in the world.  Let me tell you that I agree with this claim but it is a view you just have to see for yourself.  The wedding ceremony was held on the lawn so the National Park wilderness was the stunning back drop.  Afterwards guests strolled towards the historic house for a three course sit down reception.

The wedding couple shared with me that Yester Grange is a secret little gem and I have to admit that it was my first time photographing there.  I found the staff friendly, the bushlands and grounds stunning and the house quaint and charming.

If you are looking to get out of Sydney for your wedding, check out Yester Grange as a possibility.




Yester Grange Wedding Reception  Stunning View For Wedding Ceremony in Blue Mountains

Blue Mountains Reception Venues

Yester Grange Wedding Reception Venue



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Sydney Weddings and the Weather Considerations


Do you want to know something that many photographers around the world have discovered?  This phenomenon proves to me that the number one concern for most bride & grooms is the weather they will experience on their wedding day.


What is this truth that I write of?  On any day of the week (even within the busy wedding season) if it is raining outside then our phone will not ring.  I have even noticed that we will not receive emails from wedding couples who live in Sydney when it rains.  It is as if couples don’t want to even think about their wedding plans on a rainy day. 


So with that realisation shared, here is some information to consider in the planning of your wedding day in regards to the weather.



Having a beach wedding ceremony on the sand?  Then check when the tides are due to come in.  Sydney Tide Times 


Sydney Tides at Weddings



Unless you are living in Norway during the middle of summer and can enjoy the benefits of the midnight sun, fading light will be an issue for you and your photography.  You can check the sunrise and sunset months before your wedding day and thus can book your wedding ceremony & reception based on these times.  Sydney Sunset & Sunrise Times  


Photographic useable light is different than sunset.  The last 10-15 min before sunset is usually very dark, however I have used this light at times for some moody, creative ‘end of the wedding day’ type photographs.


Sunset Photographs Sydney Weddings


Wind & Rain

Your best defence is to be thinking of wet weather alternatives at the time of booking your ceremony and reception.  Hoping the weather will be ok is not a plan and denial is not a strategy.  It isn’t a bad idea to start your search for photographers at the same time as ceremony & reception venues, as they can be a wealth of information on wet weather locations and strategies for bad weather.  If they don’t help with this kind of information then it will quickly help you work out the better photographers to book.


Once you have planned for any weather conditions, five days before your wedding you can start to check the weather forecast.  Don’t do it any earlier as you are only going to drive yourself crazy and the information is not going to be accurate (be kind to yourself). Sydney Forecast 


If the forecast predicts rain then contact your photographer and venues if you need to discuss those wet weather strategies.  With the rain can come a change of light and often really moody cloud cover, which I see as an opportunity to get some really creative photographs.  Having a number of large golf umbrellas on hand is a really good idea.  Black ones help with the moody shots and the all white ones (though really hard to find) are great for keeping the rain off but allowing some light through onto the face.  Be careful that the umbrellas selected does not have any company logo’s or writing on them – as they will show in your photographs.


Rain Wedding Photographs Sydney


May the sunlight warm your face, the wind be blowing gently and there be no mention of rain on your wedding day.  Have a wonderful day!

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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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Beware story with choosing a Celebrant in Australia

A Bride\'s view of the wedding isle.If you have chosen or are planning  to choose a celebrant for your wedding, I thought I would share something that a couple recently encountered.

The groom mentioned that their celebrant had told them  she was required by law to have a second celebrant as a witness on the day. Something about this didn’t seem right to me, so I asked their permission to verify this for them.

After speaking to registered civil marriage celebrants, it was evident that this was not true if the celebrant is in fact registered.

You can have other’s taking roles in the ceremony but there are three roles that must be carried out legally by a registered celebrant during the ceremony. The actual ‘Vows’, the ‘Reminder’ (that you are entering into a solemn decision) and of course the ‘Pronouncement’ (you are now man and wife). There are of course legal requirements that also need to be completed by a registered celebrant, before and after your wedding too.

The bride & groom were naturally shocked when they realised the celebrant they choose was not registered. Even more scarey was when we looked into it further we were told that a registered celebrant had to lodge the ‘notice of intention to get married forms’ for the marriage to be legal.  As the unregistered celebrant had already lodge this form, the bride & groom needed to find a registered celebrant to relodge the form on their behalf, otherwise the wedding would not have been legal in the eyes of Australian Law.

This is one part of your wedding day that you don’t want to get wrong, so make sure you select a professional, competent and legally registered civil marriage celebrant. If you have concerns on what the laws are in Australia or if your not sure that your celebrant is in fact registered, then you can check out the Attorney-General’s Department www.ag.gov.au and follow and follow the links for more details.

May your wedding be a happy and legal one!


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