Melbournians are all about being on trend with every aspect of their lives so it was only a matter of time before the traditional “chicken and beef” sit down wedding reception evolved. These days, anything goes for reception styles and catering; the ever so popular long tables with feasting platters are always a winner, or my personal favourite – Cocktail style weddings!

Cocktail style is brilliant for an informal reception where guests can mingle as they please. It creates a party atmosphere, which is fantastic for couples who want to have a good time. That being said there are some important factors that you need to remember.

Food, food and more food!

You need to have a decent amount of food and it MUST be easy to find. You don’t want all your guests congregating near the kitchen doors or tackling the wait staff over the last arancini!

Consider having antipasto stations and ensure that you have some substantial canapes, that way guests won’t be looking to do a Maccas run at the end of the night.

You’ll also need to make sure that food comes out quickly at the start of the night, it’s important to get your guests fed before they drink too much!

Adequate seating

Seating is often something that can get overlooked. Ladies, just imagine standing for hours in 6 inch stilettos! Rather than formal chairs, opt for some comfy lounges with ottomans, café style tables and cocktail furniture. This will help style the venue and create different zones for the wedding – WIN WIN

All images by Beckon Media


To pull off this chic, relaxed vibe there needs to be some serious planning on the progression of the night. Picture an acoustic duo performing as guests arrive in the pre-function area of the venue. As guests make their way inside the canapes continue and the band is playing some awesome tunes. Once formalities are done, it’s time for the DJ to open the dance floor. All the while the lighting has changed from soft whites and golds into disco lights, changing the mood as the night goes on.

No matter the style – Keep these handy hints in mind and you’ll be sure to have a magical wedding that guests will be talking about for years to come!

Ms Zigzag says: The beauty of cocktail parties is the freedom you have to sit where you like, eat what you like, get up and dance anytime and the bride and groom can easily mingle with all of their guests. Such handy tips, thank you Showtime Events. 

Post contributed by Lauren Haskell (Event Producer) at Showtime Events: Lauren started planning weddings a few years ago after being in the corporate event world and is a self-confessed hopeless romantic. You’ll always find her at the back of the room tearing up over the speeches! Combining her love of fairy-tale endings and producing events, Showtime is the perfect venue for her to demonstrate her flair whilst coordinating a seamless, stress-free experience for her couples.

Going all out for your big day doesn’t have to mean 10 bridesmaids, 400 guests and a dress to rival the Royal Wedding…. There is an alternative, says Camilla Airs – founder of


The Coachella of weddings is absolutely achievable, and there’s no better place to make it happen than the stunning Yarra Valley and Dandenong Ranges in Victoria. In fact, the right location is what it’s all about.

With so many incredible venues to choose from, the first step is to work out just what you want to achieve – be it the ethereal vibe of Woodstock or country to the core CMC Rocks.

Like any wedding vision (not to mention marriage!), commitment is key. Before you engage in a bonfire tribal dance with your jingle sticks, nail down exactly what it is that you’re aiming for. Get your mood board going and work out the elements of a festival that you want to emulate and make sure the ‘feel’ is coherent. It doesn’t need to be difficult or expensive, but you do need to have a clear picture of what you’re looking for.

As much as it’s your day, done your way, you will need to consider a number of things including logistics and suitability of venue. Is it a weekend wedding wonderland of whimsy and delight – are you talking glamping or pitching a tent? Or one night of food trucks, festoon lights and prosecco popsicles?

There may be nothing romantic about talking toilets, but it’s infinitely preferable to guests queuing for one dodgy porta-potty. Think about numbers and accessibility of toilets, not to mention options to work around everything the climate throws at you.

Consider flexible indoor and outdoor space, to give the feel of different ‘stages’ and chill out areas. Spectacular lighting, bunting, rustic seating – hay bales and swings – and home made signage, are all part of creating the right ambience. Re-purposed furniture is all the go, and with gumtree at the touch of a button it needn’t cost a fortune.

Glowsticks, festoon lighting and festival props are inexpensive ways to keep the party going after dark. Of course you’ll need activities to ensure that your guests stay caught up in the ‘wedfest’ bubble, so DIY or look into suppliers of outdoor games, set up a photobooth or caricaturist. But, importantly, get your music right. After all, what’s a festival without someone really special taking to the stage?

So there it is, nail down your vision, find your perfect venue and just enjoy making it happen.

And one word of warning – if your dream wedding includes a dress with a cathedral-length train, you might need to think again. Wedfest calls for flower crowns, boho bridesmaids and gumboots!

Images by Emma Wise Photography.

These images are provided by Find My Perfect Venue from Greg + Emily’s Wedding at The Log Cabin Ranch back in March 2017. Greg and Emily had two beautiful teepee’s set-up on The Log Cabin Ranch lawn, with different lawn games, picnic blankets and pallets for guests to sit on.

Ms Zigzag says: At Polka Dot Bride, we love to share examples of all kinds of real weddings, from elopements, to destination weddings, to intimate winter weddings and traditional white weddings… I love that we can now also inspire our engaged couples with festival-style weddings too! 

About Find My Perfect Venue: My husband and I moved to the Yarra Valley five years ago and fell in love with its tight-knit community and stunning scenery. If only loved-up couples could easily find the places that had captured our hearts. That’s why I wanted to start Find My Perfect Venue – to connect couples with the all of the secret treasures scattered throughout this picturesque backdrop.



PHOTOGRAPHER:                  Emma Wise Photography

CELEBRANT:                            Kate Haley Civil Celebrant

CATERING:                               Taylor Made Gourmet

VIDEOGRAPHER:                    Kyra Boyer

ENTERTAINMENT:                 Djs Alive

TEEPEE:                                    Tipikata

A new wedding ceremony venue and celebrant service has arrived in Melbourne with a bang. Well, with blazing neon lights and rock ‘n’ roll vibes at least! The Altar Electric is offering a real alternative to cookie-cutter registry office weddings and the many little white chapels of Las Vegas elopements (these guys give Elvis a run for his “hunk a burning love”).

The trio behind the Altar are experienced Melbourne celebrants Dee Brinsmead, Anthony Cribbes and Sarah Dobson. They’ve popped-up at laneway bar Ferdydurke until December (with more bars in their future sights) for couples that baulk at the idea of a big white wedding or simply can’t comprehend spending the average $30,000 to get hitched. But they sure don’t sacrifice any on a swaggeringly cool brand of panache.

“More and more we are seeing couples who don’t want a big shindig but they’re also not after a ceremony performed by a public servant at the registry office,” says Anthony, “at the moment there’s not much on offer in between. We’re targeting couples who want to celebrate their commitment with a ceremony that’s fun, meaningful and reflective of their lifestyle but without the fuss and stress of a big wedding.”

Ceremonies are short and sweet but still creative and impactful. You can invite up to 20 guests (or as few as you can get away with, without making the next family reunion awkward) to witness the official proceedings and have a quick glass of bubbles before you’re off to begin your new life together. Of course, they love commitment ceremonies too – even going so far as to offer to do any future paperwork on the house for their current LGBTIQ couples once marriage equality becomes legal.

While The Altar Electric team highlight that Ferdydurke is a ceremony-only venue, Boilermaker House, The Emerald Peacock, Section 8, Cookie and Rooftop Bar are mere steps away for all your wedding reception and after party location needs. Though, we certainly wouldn’t blame you if you skipped the fuss and headed straight for all-you-can-eat-dumplings at Hutong after putting a ring on it.

Photography by Ali Bailey

Ms Zigzag says: A big white wedding is certainly not the only way to lock your relationship down. A wedding with The Altar Electric is outside the box of the norm. A guaranteed good time, I say!