One Fine Day is always a spectacular event – amazing vendors, beautiful venue, glamorous models, fabulous fashion show, and lots of gorgeous styling everywhere you look. And it always attracts a really fun, friendly and enthusiastic crowd of brides-to-be, often in big groups with their families and friends. We enjoy it immensely, because we end up talking to so many different people, with totally different wedding themes and venues, and with wonderful and varied creative ideas.
This year was no exception! The new location, The Cutaway at Barangaroo Reserve, was truly stunning. The first time we walked in and saw it, late last year, it literally took my breath away for a few seconds. The sandstone wall which spans one whole length of the cavernous space is, in a word, EPIC! I was blown away by the sheer size of the room, the vast width of the columns, and the height of the ceiling – and to be honest, I was a little daunted. Our brief was to soften the space and add colour and texture with greenery and plants, but how were we going to be able to compete with the sheer vastness of the existing structures? Even our tallest potted trees would surely be dwarfed by the massive pillars and the soaring sandstone wall. But I also got butterflies of excitement at the prospect of working in such a great space…so many possibilities!
The theme this year was a southern European / Mediterranean feel, with lots of terracotta and earthy warm colours, mixed with splashes of vibrant pinks and yellows. The VIP area was styled with two giant pergolas draped in hot pink bougainvillea. To complement this, we prepared a selection of Tuscan-style Spartan juniper trees, flowering gardenias, fruiting fig trees, lavenders, shiny green viburnums, a tall bay tree, colourful pink and white mandevillas, and two beautiful silvery-leaved olive trees to give some real height. We also brought a selection of fragrant herbs, like our 2m tall mature rosemary bush, the smell of which just instantly transports me to summer holidays in Italy. My favourite pieces were the citrus trees – 3 lemon trees with big glossy lemons – so lovely! And the most gorgeous giant euphorbia, with flaming red and maroon leaves, providing a great contrast to all the greenery.
For the entrance to the Cutaway, we constructed a Green Wall, spanning right from one pillar to another – a total of nearly 8 meters. This was not only a stunning backdrop to the reception desk and the lush floral arrangements by FloraFolk, but also served nicely to divide up the vast space (a little anyway!). I love the look of our Green Wall, especially at this time of year, when everything has been growing furiously in the Sydney summer heat – the herbs are all so fresh and fragrant, the grasses are growing long and thick, and the ferns provide the most amazing variety of textures and colours and shapes. It was a pleasure to construct such a big feature wall in such a beautiful space, and it complemented the rugged stone and concrete perfectly – adding some much-needed colour contrast and warmth. Combined with FloralFolk’s peach orchids and pink dahlias, and some funky festoon lights from our amazing friends at Sammy & Lola, the entranceway to the Cutaway looked exquisite!!
Finally, after all that hard work, we started setting up our own Pop-Up Gardens stand. We had decided to keep things pretty simple, going for a rustic theme – giving our wooden pallet Green Walls a chance to shine! The pallet walls are looking particularly sumptuous at the moment – the lemon verbena is growing fast and smells absolutely divine (and is fantastic in cocktails by the way…), the strawberries are just beginning to fruit, and lots of pretty little flowers are popping up everywhere as a nice contrast to all the lush greens. We dressed the walls with plenty of big palm trees behind, to add extra height and leafiness to the backdrop, and then lots of smaller tropical feature plants around the front (like my absolute favourite – the rubber plant, with its glossy dark purpley-green leaves). We set up a wedding aisle looking onto the green walls, and at one side created a fun chill-out area with wooden seating and a table. Some mod-grass across the floor, and white mandevillas sprinkled around to tie the whole design together. Our amazing friend Sarah Cleaton, from Sarah Jay & Co styling, helped us with some beautiful finishing touches – twinkly fairy lights, candles, lanterns, and some hints of gold to add a touch of class! We were super happy with the result; it looked just the way we had envisioned it.
Over two hot and busy days, Iain, Paul, Sarah and I chatted to loads and loads of people at the fair. It’s so great to speak to brides-to-be because they’re happy and excited to be planning their big day, and that enthusiasm and joy is infectious! There were lots of girl groups, drinking Chambord cocktails, chatting, and having fun. It’s always nice to see a few grooms along for the ride too!
We were really happy that lots of people took selfies in front of our Green Walls and entered our Instagram competition. It’s lovely when people admire your work enough to put it on their social media and tell their friends about it – gives me the warm & fuzzies J Big shout out to our comp winners Hannah & Charlie, who will be receiving their gorgeous hamper very soon.
There are so many of you guys having weddings in the most amazing venues – from QVB to Coogee to Palm Beach, the Southern Highlands, Hunter Valley, Orange….in hotels, in clubs, at wineries, at re-modelled warehouses, on rural properties and at mountain hideaways. I’m actually a little jealous – it makes me want to do it all over again! Speaking to people about their wedding days – the venue, the theme, the views, the colours, the types of flowers and plants they like, what their personal style is – that’s what gets me feeling inspired and creative. That’s what Pop-Up Gardens is all about. And that’s what makes me love this job!
Special mention goes to our friend Melissa Fahey (Mine Forever Celebrant Services) for being such a joy to work with – we organized some lush tropical plants for her beautiful stand. Shout out for her stylist, Sky from The Maker’s Factory, for doing a fantastic job – the end result was stunning.
And on a funny note, Iain has managed to get several people addicted to the smell of lemon verbena – it’s one of his passions in life that he loves to share!
Fabulous creative people, fabulous brides, fabulous fun, fabulous weekend!!
Until next time, One Fine Day!