April 29, 2011

The wackiest ways retailers are cashing in on the Royal Wedding

From cocktails to condoms, fragrances to sick bags, it’s safe to say that the world is royally equipped for tomorrow's wedding.

We’ve rounded up some of the wackiest celebratory products and gimmicks out there.

The Royal Cocktail: Belvedere Vodka’s head mixologist has devised a Brit-inspired concoction
Nail Inc’s Royal Collection limited edition set  

Bath & Body Works Royal Pucker pocket sanitising hand gel

Twinings Royal Tea Blend
Royal Sick Bags by Lydia Leith

A cardboard cut out of Kate and Wills at their engagement announcement 

Crown Jewels condoms

Tanzania, Africa: A honeymooner's guide

For those newlyweds lured by the call of the wild, it doesn’t get much wilder than an African safari.

We’re all fans of David Attenborough’s documentaries, but while the cameras show the wildlife up-close-and-personal, it’s not until you’re plastered up against the perplex window of a jeep that you realise the true power of “the wild”.

In order to fully integrate into the wild African landscape (without compromising on luxury of course), stay in your very own safari tent.

The Serengeti Migration Camp’s old-world spacious elevated safari tents, each with hardwood floors, rain showers and lavish furnishings, are surrounded by private decked verandahs with rocking chairs, where you can overlook the Grumeti River and its resident hippos.

The camp is located at the starting point of one of the world’s natural travel wonders: the Serengeti, host to the largest overland mammal migration and therefore one of the best spots to go on safari.

While the main drawcard is of course the day drives into the Serengeti National Park, you can also go bird watching, trail walking along the Grumeti River and enjoy romantic sunset dinners on your own private deck.

When to visit: June to November is Tanzania's dry season and is the best time to be on safari.

Must-do: It’s hard to top getting up close to the animal herds, but try heading for the clouds to take in sweeping views of the African landscape via a hot air ballooning ride. Be sure to toast to the wild with a glass of Champagne on your decent!

Stay at: Serengeti Migration Camp, Tanzania.

April 27, 2011

Designers sketch their suggestions for Kate Middleton’s wedding dress

With only two days until Prince William and Kate Middleton tie the knot some of the world’s best designers reveal their sketched bridal gown suggestions for the princess-to-be.

Karl Lagerfeld suggests a Chanel take on “the Victorian wedding dress, with a twist — high boots and open in the front.”

Alberta Ferretti: “In Kate I see the natural, radiant and self-confident attitude of today’s girls. For this, I can’t help but think of an embroidered, fluid-silhouette dress in precious fabrics that will help her make an everlasting impression.” 

Christian Lacroix: “Something old: Victorian skirt. Something new: patchwork gown. Something borrowed: Queen Elizabeth’s veil. Something red: Elizabethan top, as red was the wedding colour until 1900!”

Elizabeth Emanuel: “It’s entirely different from the Diana dress I designed, which was very much of the 80s, but it’s still fitting for a royal occasion. It’s a much more modern dress, but romantic and out of the ordinary.” 

Frida Giannini, Gucci: “I admire the balance Kate Middleton strikes between elegant and contemporary with her unmistakable style. For her, I had in mind clean lines, soft shapes and classic touches such as the boat neckline and distinctive train.” 

Angela Missoni: “This dress was designed to enhance Kate Middleton’s beauty through precious fabrics. The clean and contemporary lines, never redundant and beyond all specific stylistic periods, give her an eternal image of grace and elegance.” 

Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccioli, Valentino: “We designed a ‘blossoming’ dress because we imagined her as a new Botticellian Venus.”

Peter Copping, Nina Ricci: “Light as a feather, layers of lace and organza… a dress fit for a princess.” 

Vera Wang: "The tradition of intricate hand-pieced lacework in the high-necked bodice with elbow-length sleeves, together with the voluminous skirt of a mixture of stiff and soft silk tulle, feels regal, yet poetic.” 
Rebecca Taylor: “The A-line silhouette of this dress is elegant and sophisticated, similar to Kate’s style, but the floral appliqués and corset top add a youthful feel. Fit for young royalty.” 

Tips and tricks for beautiful brides

Make light work of your beauty prep in the lead up to your big day with these handy tips.

Tip: A tropical honeymoon calls for a bikini worthy body. Eliminate the hassle of waxing and shaving with laser hair removal. Laser treatment targets each hair follicle, killing the root – ensuring you’re fuzz free forever.

Tip: Get a million dollar smile with a professional teeth-whitening treatment like Brite Smile. The procedure takes just over an hour, in which a gentle hydrogen-peroxide whitening gel is applied, then activated by a special, patented ‘blue light’ – guaranteeing you’ll walk out with super bright whites.

Tip: Have your hair coloured approximately one week before your wedding day to allow your colour to settle, and also ask for a conditioning treatment to add shine to your tresses. Weekly, use a product like Wella’s Biotouch Color Intensive Mask ($20.50) at home to give your hair added moisture.

Tip: Exfoliate and moisturise your body regularly in the lead up to the wedding day to prepare your skin for fake tan application – a must for glowing brides. Try St Tropez’s range of products for a three-step program.

Tip: Have regular facials in the weeks before your wedding to make sure your skin is in top condition, eliminating the chance of a stress breakout on the day.

Tip: For brides going the extra mile for their skincare regime try a course of professional microdermabrasion, which sloughs away dead skin cells to reveal good as new skin.

Tip: Slather on a nourishing balm like Lucas’ Papaw Ointment ($4.69) on lips daily to keep your pout ultra soft and kissable.

Tip: Have your eyelashes tinted to open up your peepers – also great for when you’re away on honeymoon and make-up application is the last thing on your mind!

Tip: Have your brows professionally shaped. Adding a slight arch will open up your eyes and balance your features.

Tip: Keep nails in peak condition with regular salon manicures and a daily application of a nail treatment like OPI’s Nail Envy ($32.95), which strengthens dry and brittle nails. Also, regularly apply a hand cream to smooth and hydrate your hands.

Tip: Keep your feet smooth and free of dry skin build up by using a paddle brush before showering. Manicare’s 2-In-1 Ceramic Stone Foot File ($8.99) removes hardened skin and smooths rough tootsies.

Tip: On your big day, ensure you have an emergency kit containing lipgloss, powder compact for touch-ups, blotting papers to combat shine (try Estee Lauder’s Clear Difference UltiMatte Blotting Sheets, $29), hairspray to tame flyaways and a glam purse-sized fragrance like Chanel Coco Mademoiselle Purse Parfum ($167).

April 21, 2011

Compiling the perfect guest list

Nobody wants to leave anyone out of their wedding, but before you set about preparing your 1,000-strong guest list, ask yourself this: could there be anything worse than having a room full of strangers staring disinterestedly into their Champagne glasses as you and your husband enjoy your first waltz together?

All experts agree, when it comes to weddings, you need to be selective, even harsh. If you’re on any kind of tighter budget, then things need to be trimmed even further.

Wedding planner Emily Bedard offers the following advice on who should make your final guest list.

1. Divide evenly. Compose the guest list by allotting one third to the bride’s parents, one third to the groom’s parents, and one third to the bride and groom (or another division as you see fit).
2. Cut coworkers. This is a tough one but is very necessary if you are trying to cut the list. The only exceptions may be coworkers who are also very close friends.
3. Don’t return the favour. Cut any guests who are on your list simply because they invited you to their wedding. You need to remember everyone’s circumstances are different, you can’t assume the same criteria.
4. Switch places. Put yourself in the other person’s shoes and imagine – would you be hurt if they didn’t invite you to their wedding? Anyone for whom the answer is no gets cut from the list.
5. Trim out-of-touch friends. If it takes a week or more research to find their contact information, consider cutting them. Also, if you haven’t been in touch with them for over a year or more then you should consider trimming them from the guest list.
6. Make it adults only. While not for everyone, an adults-only event is a quick and clear way to cut down on numbers. The cut-off age is up to you – most couples choose 16 or 18 years old.

On the touchy issue of family members, etiquette expert Ceri Marsh offers this: “You may not be close [to certain family members] now, but think about how you’ll feel five years from now. Invite them all.”

And whatever you do, while your nous with phone calls or text messaging may border on legendary, weddings are still some time away from shifting from the time-honoured snail-mail invite. So keep it in the envelope please!

April 19, 2011

Wedding fashion inspiration from the Red Carpet

When it comes to fashion trends, let's face it – we all look to the stars... The red carpet stars that is. So which of these red carpet "bridal-worthy" gowns are you enamored with?

Eva Mendes

Miley Cyrus

Kate Beckinsale

Penelope Cruz

Sarah Jessica Parker


Diane Kruger

Jane Krakowski

Jennifer Love Hewitt

Anne Hathaway

Sandra Bullock

April 18, 2011

Wedding hair à la Emily Blunt, Christina Hendricks, Kate Beckinsale & Olivia Palermo

Our resident beauty blogger Laura Curtis provides some celebrity inspiration to help you find your perfect wedding hairstyle.

Emily Blunt’s braided chignon is pretty and practical. Neatly pulled back from her face, this romantic style would be perfect for a spring wedding; but would also be able to withstand wind, hail and even a bride’s worst nightmare – humidity. In case of emergency, have some spare Lady Jayne Hair Pins tucked away in your (or your bridesmaid’s) purse.

The beautiful Christina Hendricks demonstrates how shorter hair can be oh-so-chic. Asymmetry provides visual interest, while her classic waves instil old-school glamour. Bumble & Bumble Spray de Mode will keep shape and bounce without the “crunch”.
This stunning hairdo worn by Kate Beckinsale is perfect for a bride wanting to inject some elegance and sophistication into her big day look. And as every star and her stylist know, a high ponytail provides an instant, injection-free facelift, effortlessly lifting the brows and smoothing the forehead. Aveda Pure Abundance Hair Potion will emulate Kate’s voluminous roots.
Looking sweet and demure, Olivia Palermo showcases the ideal hairstyle for a bride to wear with a veil. Her barrel curls and centre part are soft and romantic, while her loosely pinned fringe frames her face beautifully. For Olivia’s shiny locks, treat your hair with Kerastase Serum Nuit in the lead-up to your wedding.

And finally, a few tips to ensure that your bridal hair goes smoothly:
When choosing a style, take everything into consideration. The theme and season of the wedding, as well as your face shape, hair type and bridal attire. Ideally, your hairstyle should complement all of these elements.

Have a trim and colour touch-up a few weeks beforehand.
It’s an absolute must that you book a trial with your wedding hairstylist. Provide any feedback to the hairstylist so he or she can make improvements for the wedding.
No matter which style you choose, the most important thing is that you look and feel comfortable and gorgeous.
And a couple of no-no’s – don’t go for a dramatic hair colour change or lop off your long locks the week before your wedding – you still want to look like you!
Laura Curtis is a beauty writer and make-up artist. To see more of her writing and beauty advice, you can visit her blogs One April Morning and Pretty Poesy, and follow her on twitter (@laura_valerie).

April 15, 2011

Matching your fragrance to your wedding theme

The say that of the five senses, smell is most directly linked to memory. To ensure enduring visions of your unforgettable day, you should look for a fragrance that you love to wear – then every time you catch its aroma, you’ll be reminded of your blissful day.

The day: Classic and traditional. Think church nuptials, a princess dress, pink David Austin roses and a Rolls Royce.
Fragrance match: A lush floral, feminine scent that complements your girly side. Notes to look for include lilies, gardenias, jasmine and orange blossoms.
We recommend: Hugo Boss Femme by Boss EDP.

The day: Glam black tie cocktail affair – complete with limousines, a stylish beaded gown and gold Jimmy Choos.
Fragrance match: Aromatic and sensual blends of spices and exotic flowers.
We recommend: Estée Lauder Tom Ford’s Amber Nude Youth Dew EDP.

The day: A garden party setting featuring gorgeous coloured blooms and brightly coloured bridesmaid dresses and bombonieras.
Fragrance match: Anything with strong citrus notes of lime, tangerine and mandarin.
We recommend: Sisley Eau du Soir EDP.

The day: Beachside chic – a relaxed, waterside wedding with a tropical theme encompassing frangipanis, windswept hair and embellished gladiator flats.
Fragrance match: Oceanic and aquatic middle notes which evoke crisp, fresh summery visions of the seaside.
We recommend: Issey Miyake L’eau d’Issey Summer EDT.

The day: Romantic countryside ceremony with a high society estate feel: luxe vintage gown, orchid bouquets and a classical string quartet.
Fragrance match: Refreshing earthy blends of pine, juniper leaves and pine.
We recommend: Ermenegildo Zegna Essenza Di Zegna Summer EDT.

The Prenup: Should you or shouldn't you?

Ah, the prenuptial agreement. A potential land-mine for loved-up couples who may have differing opinions on whether drawing up a contract to protect hard-earned assets and future fortunes is the ultimate romance killer. But this is a modern trend clearly gaining popularity, with celebrities easily leading the way.

By all reports, Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones have one, as do Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes, and Ben Afflleck and Jennifer Garner. Donald Trump swears by his – all three of them.

It's already come in handy for the failed unions of Britney Spears/Kevin Federline, Heather Locklear/Richie Sambora and Jessica Simpson/Nick Lachey.

While the rest of us may not have quite the vast fortunes to protect, it still pays to be practical.

“Writing up a prenuptial agreement may not sound very romantic, but it is very smart,” says MSN Money columnist Terry Savage. "Prenups aren't just for the wealthy. Forget the stereotype – even young couples who have already embarked on their careers could benefit from a legal agreement about the financial consequences of divorce.”

Here are a few financial issues to consider dealing with in your prenuptial agreement.

Premarital assets: "If you agree that any assets owned before marriage will be kept separate, you might want to set up separate, revocable living trusts and transfer title to the assets into the name of your trust," says Savage. 

Marital assets: "You’ll have to decide on how to deal with assets acquired by joint purchase during your marriage and any assets and earnings you acquire separately during your marriage," says Savage. "You may want to discuss how to divide marital property in the event of a divorce, or make an advance agreement on ownership of assets acquired during the marriage."

Retirement assets: "Although retirement plans are considered separate property, in many states a non-working spouse is entitled to a share of the working spouse’s retirement assets. You’ll definitely want to see how the law applies in your situation," warns Savage.

Inheritances: "If inherited property is kept separate from marital property, most courts do not consider it part of the marital estate in case of a divorce," says Savage. "But if you take a portion of your inheritance and use it for a down payment on a house owned jointly, you’ll convert this portion of your inheritance into marital property. In any case, if you’re expecting to inherit money, your prenup should spell out your intentions to keep the assets separate."

Financial lifestyle and support: "Your prenup can outline your intentions for contributing to the financial lifestyle of the marriage, during the marriage," says Savage. "For example, non-financial contributions such as child rearing should be taken into consideration. One spouse may limit career prospects to build the family lifestyle. Courts take these contributions into consideration, and so should your prenuptial agreement."

Terms: "Many prenups for support and property division in the event of divorce include a scaled agreement. That is, if the marriage lasts only one or two years, the couple could agree to no support," Savage says. "If a marriage lasts for a longer period, then either larger support or a lump-sum payment could be agreed upon. Or the agreement might 'vest' like a pension plan – with a portion of the payout dependent on the longevity of the marriage."

Life insurance: "Financial circumstances can change during the course of a marriage. Many prenups call for both parties to maintain life insurance – with each spouse owning the policy on the other’s life," says Savage. "This won’t pay off in the case of a divorce, but as long as each has an 'insurable interest' in the other’s future, the owner can continue paying premiums and maintain the coverage."

So in the end, signing a prenup is a smart move – and once you've signed on the dotted line, you can put it out of your mind and get busy living happily ever after.

April 14, 2011

Choosing your wedding photography style

After you’ve exchanged vows, danced your first waltz, the last of the Champagne is drunk and you’ve tossed your bouquet, all that is left are your cherished memories and the photos from your wedding day, making them the most enduring keepsake.

Which reinforces just how important it is to find both the right professional photographer and decide on what style of photography you will have.

There are various photography options to choose from but generally speaking there are three main styles: traditional, documentary and contemporary.

Traditional wedding photography
Traditional (or classical) wedding photography captures those customary wedding day shots such as the exchange of rings, signing the marriage register, walking down the aisle as husband and wife, posed family group shots and the cutting of the cake.

Weddings are still considered formal occasions and this type of wedding photography has stayed popular. 

However, traditional wedding photography has occasionally had a bad reputation caused by photographers taking eons to complete endless group shots, with the bride and groom ending up spending more time in front of a camera and less time with their guests enjoying their wedding day.

A good photographer however will be able to work quickly and put people at ease to ensure the posing doesn't look uncomfortable or staged.

Documentary wedding photography
Documentary (or photojournalistic) wedding photography is generally more relaxed, with the photographer appearing to “blend into the background”, capturing events as they unfold, often without being aware that your photograph is even being taken.

Opting for this style of photography will result in some truly special shots, as people are relaxed and less likely to plaster on forced smiles or stand stiffly.

An experienced photographer will catch those unaware moments between you and your partner – a shared look, a stray kiss – which will result in an even more romantic wedding album.

This “reporting” style of photography really became popular with the onset of digital photography, due to the low expense per photograph that reportage style of photograph thrives on.

Unfortunately, many new or inexperienced wedding photographers use the "shot gun" approach – shooting thousands of pictures during the wedding day in the hope that they capture a few good shots, so again, go with a proven professional.

It’s worth mentioning that you may want to request a few more traditional, posed shots, even if you want the overall theme of your wedding album to be photojournalist, as these kinds of photos tend to make great framed gifts to loved ones.

Contemporary wedding photography
Contemporary, sometimes called avant garde, wedding photography generally involves unusual or "off the wall" ideas, often using unique camera angles.

This style of photography brings more of the photographer’s personality and their own artistic vision, whether it’s “fashion” or “arty” type photography.

Although this style may be less popular, when done correctly the results can be fantastic and your wedding album will be highly unique.

The downside of this style is that it doesn't really provide a true record of your wedding day. It’s very stylised and if you have a very particular kind of “look” you want, you may not like the end result if your albums ends up like an art exhibition.

Just be sure to discuss your wedding photography “vision” in extreme length with your chosen photographer and negate any chance of miscommunication.

Choosing the best: Regardless of the photography style you eventually opt for, the most important thing to remember is hire a professional! It’s also advisable to get recommendations or read testimonials from other couples who have used a particular photographer’s services.

April 11, 2011

Celeb make-up looks - Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis, Jessica Hart - to steal

 Achieving a beautiful bridal look is easy when you know how. Our special guest blogger, Laura Curtis divulges some tricks-of-the-trade for looking picture perfect on your special day.

1. Avoid wearing too much foundation. Every bride wants to look flawless in their photos, but it is just as important to look fresh and gorgeous in person. Ask your make-up artist to use a full coverage, light-textured foundation, like Chantecaille Future Skin, and apply it sparingly. Set with a talc-free loose powder for longevity.

2. Give yourself a glow. Your happiness will radiate from within, but a highlighting powder will add an extra touch of luminosity. Apply it where the sun naturally hits your face. Dior Shimmer Powder in Amber Diamond produces a pretty bronze sheen.

3. Perm your eyelashes. Curled lashes do wonders for making eyes look bigger and giving a fresh-faced look. If your eyes are prone to sensitivity, stick to an eyelash curler. Shu Uemura Eyelash Curler is an industry favourite.

4. Have your eyebrows professionally shaped. And when I say “professionally”, I don’t mean settling for the local beauty salon. Go to an eyebrow specialist, who comes recommended from friends or online reviews. Some brow experts can charge up to AUS$60 (waxing, plucking, trimming and tinting included), but it is well worth it. Well-groomed brows frame the face.

5. Put together a touch-up kit for the big day. No matter how long-lasting your make-up claims to be, it will fade. Keep a lipstick, blush and pressed powder on hand throughout the day/night. By Terry Teint Terribly Compact Powder freshens up the complexion beautifully.

6. Find inspiration. You should feel like a movie star on your wedding day, so celebrity make-up looks are the ideal source for inspiration. Here are some of Bride Tasmania’s favourites...

Natalie Portman’s make-up is perfect for a low-maintenance bride who wants a simple and pretty look. Korres Zea Mays Powder Blush in Pink 16 will recreate her soft pink cheeks.
 If you would prefer a sexy, sultry vibe, Mila Kunis is a perfect example. Her bronze smoky eyes are soft but defined; her dewy skin and classic lips balance the look. Imitate with Chanel Eyeshadow Quad in Mystic Eyes.
Jessica Hart’s fresh, youthful approach would be lovely for a summer wedding. Try Chantecaille Lip Chic in Zinnia to emulate her gorgeous watermelon lip colour.
7. Have fun. Always remember that your wedding is about you – it is a celebration of you and your impending marriage. So don’t worry too much about the dos and don’ts. Just embrace your own style and you will feel as beautiful as can be.

Laura Curtis is a beauty writer and make-up artist. To see more of her writing and beauty advice, you can visit her blogs One April Morning and Pretty Poesy, and follow her on twitter (@laura_valerie).