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our top 5 of what to do once you are engaged

mel silva photographyCongratulations….You’re Engaged!


Knowing you are going to be married has to be up there with first kisses, butterflies in your stomach, knowing you have met ‘the one’, your wedding day, giving birth and achieving your goals. All of a sudden it’s hard to focus on anything else, except the how (it’s going to look and how much is this all going to cost, or should we just elope!), the when (3 months’ time, next year, 2 years) and the where (his home town, your home town, Bali, Tuscany!!!!)…..


As a few of us are married and have lived through this process we decided to list our Top 5 of what to do once you’re engaged, (Oh, this doesn’t include telling the parents, family, friends and ex’s!, which is obviously at the top of the list!)



We have combined these 3 things together as they are the most important questions to sit down with your partner and discuss, and as each one dictates the other it’s imperative you are both on the same page and happy with your decisions.  Are you saving up to buy a house, so a small intimate wedding or elopement is the best option?  Have you always wanted a big wedding with all the trimmings, and can you afford it?  And lastly where is the wedding going to take place, locally, the town where you grew up, your parent’s back yard or overseas?  Once you have decided on the big 3 you can start organising everything else.



If you have decided to have your ceremony or reception at a paid venue, the booking of your chosen location needs to be at the top of your list of things to do first.  As we all now know, the Dry Season here in Darwin is the most popular time of the year to get married.  According to Nigel Walsh, Event Coordinator at the George Brown Darwin Botanic Gardens, couples are now booking up to 2 years in advance.  Just in July 2015 alone the gardens hosted 21 weddings.  Pee Wee’s at the Point one of our most beautiful locations had over 50 weddings last dry, and Char Restaurant in the city catered to over 30 functions a month last year from April to October.  


Please don’t assume that all the great venues just host weddings, during the dry it truly is a corporate bonanza, so if you have a time and date in mind, and to save disappointment, please book you venue straight away.



We are lucky here in the Territory as we have some of the most talented photographers in the country to choose from.  A lot of our wedding photographers here in Darwin earn the majority of their income during our Dry Season, sometimes booking up to 3 weddings each week.  Their chosen profession might sound easy, just rock up, snap a few shots and collect a nice pay check, but trust us, they are our friends and we can tell you now it’s a very time-consuming and high pressured profession.  For when they aren’t shooting your special day, they are editing, editing, editing, they are creating your albums, writing blog posts, meeting with clients, scouting locations and maintaining or purchasing new equipment, and for about 3 months each year it’s a 7 day a week job!


Weddings can be expensive and one of the best reasons for hiring your photographer early is that you will have longer to save up and pay off your invoice, just think of it as one big lay-by!  Now some of our more well-known wedding photographers like George F Photographer, Mel Silva | PhotographerAllison Cole Photography, Nichole Taylor Photography and Forevermore Wedding Photography get booked over 2 years in advance, so if you have a favourite in mind, book an appointment early to avoid missing out on your chosen date with your favourite photographer.



According to the Bureau of Statistics there were 820 marriages registered in the NT in 2014, and even though the stats aren’t our for 2015 from our discussions with the Bureau this looks to have increased.  If you are a part of a local congregation booking your date in might not be an issue, but if you don’t attend a church regularly but have always wanted to be married in one, booking early seems like a good idea.  


At the end of 2015, Nicole Silva from Married by Nicole – Marriage Celebrant Darwin officiated at 15 weddings and 3 vow renewals, not bad for her first year!  This year Nicole has already booked in 25 weddings and referred at least 10 to other celebrants due to couples requesting the same dates, so it truly does pay to book in early, after all without all the legal necessities none of us would be legally married in the end!



Now this might not seem like an important item to add to our Top 5 list, but let’s just say, that when it comes to hiring your furniture and lighting it truly is a ‘first in, first served’ situation.  We spoke to Sandra and Danielle from Allabout Party Hire & Events about their wedding season last year.  Now not including the gazillion corporate functions they booked, AAPH set-up and/or styled about 80 weddings during the dry season.  Sometimes setting up to 5 weddings on the one day!  


With more and more weddings taking place each year, something as simple as a white folding chair, can turn into a logistical mission.  There are only so many white folding chairs in the Territory, and when there can be up to 15 weddings on the same day, there have been many a time where chairs have had to be borrowed from other suppliers or substituted just to meet everyone’s needs. The chair is just one example, we can say the same for table hire and lighting hire.  Couples, lighting is something you really need to arrange as early as possible.  It truly isn’t fair to ring up 2 weeks before your event and expect the lighting guy to drop everything, meet you at your location, measure up, go back to his office and write a quote up for you, just because you are panicking as you’ve left it all to the last minute.  Speaking from experience this really isn’t something you should leave till last.  Even if you don’t know your guest numbers, make a rough estimate and book your furniture and lighting in, this will ensure peace and harmony all round!


Photo credit: Mel Silva | Photographer

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