Sounds Like… Time I Updated My Opinion…

As much as I joke that,” if it wasn’t for my humility, I’d be perfect”, I don’t mind admitting that, now and then I am completely and utterly wrongheaded about something. Today’s wrongheaded woolly thinking blog post on the topic of mics and sound at weddings is brought to you by the letters O and K and by the number 1, and it goes like this:

As a Celebrant, I am prejudiced beyond debate about how important it is that the words of the ceremony be clearly heard by the guests – after all, the ceremony is the reason for the celebration!  To that end, I work hard to make sure that every word I speak is clearly broadcast, either by using ‘my big voice’ [ TM], and having the couple speak out their own parts of the ceremony ‘repeat after me’ style – so that every one present is able to be an active participant in the ceremony and the vows they have gathered to witness.

I take a great deal of pride in the fact that some well-respected DJs and sound crews who have worked ceremonies with me in the past are confident enough in my speaking volume and clarity to back off the amplification.  I’ve had sound techs unclip the mic and put it away when they’ve realised that I’m the Celebrant who will be speaking.

I’m not afraid to use a microphone, and in certain settings, it’s a necessity. Applied skillfully and discreetly, amplification is an incredibly wonderful thing, subtly supporting those who are speaking.  After working alongside skilled and intuitive operators, with quality gear, I know that it’s not that difficult to place microphones so that the couple can be heard without looking like they are speaking their beautiful wedding vows to a microphone, and not to their own true love, or to quickly adjust for changes in wind direction, or the speaking volume of different participants.It’s my considered opinion that the skill of the tech AND the quality of the gear are equally important – leave one out and it would be like making cheese on toast, without the cheese. Or without the toast…

I hate-hate-hate it, [with the fierce and fiery passion of a thousand dying suns], when PAs and sound gear are used badly, either because the DJ has good gear but no real art, or when the gear is whatever battered old bits can be hired for cheap. To be blunt, poor quality sound is at best, a waste of time, money and effort to set up. At its worst, bad sound is a horrible distraction, overshadowing the words with the way they are broadcast.

So, for that reason, whenever a couple has come to me asking where they can hire a PA system, they’ve usually been the recipients of my somewhat scathing opinions about the quality of the gear an average person can affordably hire, and the lack of skilled operating that tends to come bundled with it.

I’m becoming aware that the times they are a-changing, so I’m drawing my line in the sand, and saying, there are some fantastic options for excellent sound available now, and I’m recommending them without reservation!

First shout must go to Ali Holmes, Avago Entertainment, who is one of the best DJ’s working in Nelson. I’ve had the good fortune to have worked alongside Ali at a number of weddings now, and it’s SUCH a luxury to be in such skilled hands – her gear is top quality, carefully maintained and set up, with attention to detail that is second-to-none. I’ve seen her transition smoothly through subtle pre-wedding background music, through the bride’s entrance, mic-ing the ceremony, and then segueing smoothly into pre-dinner music, mics for speeches etc, and finally cranking up into full party mode for the rest of the evening, reading and responding to the requirements of the guests throughout.

And, since sometimes, the reception venue, or the musos you’ve hired for the party, will have 90% of the sound under control, when you just need a little bit of sound for the ceremony, I’m excited to be able to say that Andrew and Kath at Event Audio have the perfect solution with a totally portable system, totally wireless, and able to be set up in the middle of the remotest paddock, deserted island, or backyard. The main unit is about the size of your commuter’s wheelie suitcase – and with an 8 hour capacity battery, there’s no worries about running extension cables for miles! With a really simple interface, it takes just moments to grasp the basic knob twiddling skills required.  Add in extra mics, CD or mp3/4 players, additional speakers – the sky’s the limit!

And that’s just the start of it – Event Audio were responsible for the sound at the recent Crusader’s game at Trafalgar Park, so I’m pretty confident that they can handle whatever size event you’re planning!

In case you missed it, in among all that, this is me, saying, hand to heart, YES! I do know where you can get really good audio services, and heartily recommending that you go talk with Ali, or Andrew, about your specific requirements. [I’ve never been so glad to be wrong! ]

I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how inexpensive the options are. Plus, you’ll enjoy the confidence that comes with crossing something off your planning list, knowing you’re actually able to get what you’re looking for! YAY!






Trash the Dress / Drown the Gown

…It’s enough to give brides nightmares – wedding gowns dragged in mud, snagged on bushes, rolled in sand or drowned in seawater. Yet a photo shoot trashing the wedding dress is a popular concept overseas, and after a test trashing with a model at Tahunanui Beach on Saturday, a Nelson photographer is keen to bring it to our region… [Nelson Evening Mail]

Trash the Dress / Drown the Gown is not a particularly new concept, but it’s one that has been slow to catch on in this part of the world.  I suspect that misconceptions about what goes on at a Trash the Dress photo shoot have more than a little to do with that.

Point in case, the headline to the article linked above:

“New trend ruins wedding dresses”

It’s an attention grabber. But it’s also totally wrong.

In spite of the name, Trash the Dress is not about wrecking your gown, or disrespecting the traditions around a wedding. It IS about getting the most mileage out of your wedding gown – getting images that just aren’t possible on your wedding day while your guests are waiting, while you still have to get several more hours’ wear out of the gown.

And really, what’s not to like about a chance to get back into your wedding dress and glamming it up in a totally different context from your formal wedding photos?

It’s not always messy, though gumboots are usually a sensible accessory. The possibilities are only limited by a bride’s imagination, and her willingness to take risks. From messing about with an umbrella and a high pressure hose, to literally jumping in the deep end of a swimming pool or the ocean; the mood can be wild, or serene, mischievous or romantic – and every couple’s photos will be different.

I guess that’s some of the appeal – The rulebook is tossed, and tradition gets set aside. And the resulting images are breathtaking, eye-catching, and beautiful. Suddenly, instead of sitting politely through a standard album of  traditional wedding photos, you find yourself eagerly turning pages, asking questions,  and emotionally connecting with the images.

That’s why I’m so excited to see Sandra Johnson, Boutique Photography and John Jepson, Feijoa Films adding  Drown the Gown to their respective portfolios. They each have the vision, passion, and [most importantly] the mad-camera-skillz to take a Trash the Dress photo shoot off your wish list and into reality.

The results speak for themselves…

Here are the roughs from Saturday”s session:  photos video1 video2

Nelson’s Ultimate Wedding Experience 2010

While, to be honest, I’m not sure that it quite lived up to the claim of being Nelson’s ULTIMATE wedding experience for 2010, the bridal show hosted at the Grand Mercure Monaco this past weekend was a heap of fun, and incredibly well attended.

If you didn’t manage to get there, don’t fret! I went for you. Which means that The Corner Store has even more up-to-date information about who’s doing what for weddings in the Top of the South. [I also saved you a piece of wedding cake, but I eated it…]

Sites of note [other than, of course, MINE!] included:

Edible Creations, makers of the afore-mentioned, and very delicious cake! I always recommend Edible Creations because they do such great work – and always with a smile. I’ve called on Yvonne and her team a few times this year when DIY brides have arrived at The Store, in tears over marzipan that’s refusing to mould right. Without a hint of fuss or recrimination, Yvonne has worked with them to rescue and decorate the cake. It’s rare to find someone who is such a professional and who is also so very approachable and easy to work with!

Fields Designer Florist are one of my favourite florists. I’m not sure whether it’s because Wendell is a bloke, [and therefore approaches the whole floral design thing from a completely different angle], but I have been consistently surprised and delighted by the way he as interpreted my [often garbled, and never ordinary] requests for floral arrangements. Their new premises on the sunny side of Queen Street, Richmond, is a gorgeous boutique where you can find traditional or funky floral designs to suit any occasion!

Avago Entertainment: I’ve had the pleasure of working alongside Alison and Keith a number of times now. Normally, I HATE HATE HATE it when a couple suggests we’ll be using microphones for their wedding – done badly, it’s distracting and disruptive. Pretty much the only exception to my hate-hate relationship with sound gear is Alison Holmes / Avago Entertainment. Getting the sound right in the challenging environment that most weddings present is a real skill, and Alison manages it with minimal fuss, boosting vocal volume perfectly so that it’s almost undetectable.

As well as making me happy, Avago also provide music entertainment, from DJ and Dance tunes through to Karaoke, with a range of music available from 1940s to current chart hits, tailoring playlists to your requirements, and even offer versatile vocals as the singing duo good4tunes. You can track Alison down the old-fashioned way, by phoning 03 5419414 or 027 635 3955

Nelson Tailors Menswear Now, I should point out that, being a girl and all, I don’t have much call for suit hire services, so this is gossip and hearsay, but… it’s all good! Paul and Sue have been in the business pretty much forever, and those years of experience really show. They give excellent advice – trust me, any time I see a groom or groomsmen in poorly fitted suits, I know before I even ask that they didn’t come from Nelson Tailors Menswear. Because all their stock is held in Nelson, you can be sure that your suits will fit and look fantastic, rather than waiting and hoping that they arrive in time and in shape. Their range is massive – almost all styles are accounted for, from top hats and tails to mafia style pinstripes, or even disco fever coloured suits!  Seriously. Why would you go anywhere else?!

Southern Distributors Ice Sculptures are your source for gorgeous ice sculptures. Priced from as low as $20, these are a cool addition to your reception decor. I’ll admit, they’re not everyone’s idea of classy decor – people either love them or hate them, but, lit from within, these are a great alternative table decoration!

So there you have my top picks – and, for the record, NONE of them are paying me to say nice things about them! – of course, there were heaps more fantastic wedding professionals who weren’t exhibiting at the show, too.  For expert advice from someone who’s watched them at work, call into The Wedding Whisperer’s Corner Store. It’s more efficient than throwing darts at the Yellow Pages, and more comprehensive than any list of paid advertising could ever be.

BioPaints : Opera in the Park – Call for Charity Nominations

I’ve got news and it’s all good! Not only are BioPaints sponsoring Nelson Opera in the Park this year, they’re bringing fresh new ideas to the table, too!

For instance, this year, tickets are free! You’ll still need a ticket to get in, but it won’t cost you anything! And, with all that money you’ll be saving, you’ll be able to purchase all kinds of treats and extras at sites around the venue, or even make a generous donation to support a local charity!


BioPaints, the principal sponsors of Nelson’s Opera in the Park 2010, are asking for nominations from registered local charities who would like to be beneficiaries of a charities collection at Opera in the Park at Tahunanui on February 13, 2010.

BioPaints is receiving all nominations via email – Any registered charity in the Nelson/Tasman region is eligible to put themselves forward, explaining why they believe they should be the recipient of the evenings charity donations.

“The process is that charities can email us and explain how they would use any money raised for the benefit of this region. It doesn’t matter how large or small they are – if they do good works with a local focus then we are happy to consider them.


The deadline for nominations is December 7th – so if you know of a local, registered charitible organisation that might qualify – pass the word along!

BioPaints : Call for Charity Nominations.

A mondo task for Mondo Travel

MainPromo-SamoaAppeal2As soon as news of the Samoan Tsunami reached the Mondo Travel Company offices, they moved into action, putting out an appeal to their entire network, requesting donations for Samoa.
The results were incredibly moving:

mondo responseThis week, a Mondo representative met with the Consulate General for Samoa, the Manager of Habitat for Humanity, and 3 RETKO owners at the RETKO depot, where the donations had been collected in one location.
The pictures speak for themselves of the lengths the team at Mondo, and their clients, had gone to.  There is no doubt that these items will be received with great appreciation by people whose lives were literally turned upside down just a few weeks ago.

mondo response2A heartfelt thanks is due for the “mondo” response, to everyone who contributed to the appeal. I am proud to be part of such a generous community!

One of the things I love most about this story is the visible demonstration of what i have already observed – that Mondo really are not like any other travel company – it’s the way they operate – building a relationship with each of the destinations they offer, and the people who live and work  there year round.

mondo and repsIf you’re planning a destination wedding, or honeymooning overseas, you should definitely talk to the team at Mondo about your plans. Their expertise, combined with their own personal knowledge of the destinations they’re recommending, and their community spirit, will ensure that you have the trip of a lifetime!

Whining about Art…

Wait! No, I meant WINE!

Kaimira Ventures [Kaimira and Brightside Wines]  tasting room / art gallery opens for the summer, from Labor Weekend! Their gallery in Brightwater is packed with an changing display of works by local artists. What better way to spend a lazy afternoon than by browsing some of the best established and emerging local talent while sipping a glass or two of extremely excellent wine?!

What makes it excellent, aside from the fact that it’s delicious, is that it’s also local, grown sustainably, to organic standards, the whole process is certified carbon neutral, and… it tastes great!

Ian and June, Principals of Kaimira are known locally, not just for their wine [did I mention it was good?] but also for their sponsorship of NMIT’s Fine Arts and Hospitality & Tourism Schools.  Kaimira are sponsors of the local arts community, from Opera in the Park, through to the Wakefield Nouveau Design Awards, and the Buskers Street theatre – with a real focus on supporting young talent – dancers, musicians and artists – keeping it local, and keeping it fresh.

Not only that, but if you ask them nicely, they’ll even bottle your selection of wines with personalised labels for your wedding! I’m a fan!

Kaimira Ventures

Operation Christmas Child

I know, I know – there’s still all that Halloween Stuff in the stores, so we can’t think about Christmas yet….

…except for just this one time, okay?

Operation Christmas Child is a fast, simple, and practical way that you can help out kids living in poverty in developing nations.

I mean, you just bought some new shoes, didn’t you? And they came in a box?
Right then, you’re already halfway there!

Pick a specific gender and age range: 2-4, 5-9, or 10-14.  Mark the correct age category on the label, and tape the label to the top of your box. [ download a label here ] and then fill the box with “stocking stuffers” – lots of little bits of pleasure for a child to enjoy – little toys, school supplies, luxuries we consider as everyday items, like soap and toothpaste, candy, hairclips,socks, etc. [more ideas]

Check out the linky for more details about how it works, where to drop off your shoebox full of joy, and more.

And, if you didn’t just buy shoes, you can have a shoebox filled and shipped for you here.

There. Now you can tell anyone who cares that you’ve already made a start on your Christmas shopping.

Thanks for your generosity!

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