It's funny when you become a parent and a wife, because for me my identity kind of changed at that point. Because I stopped working full time, and only worked freelance for a short time, I began to identify myself as just that, a wife and mother and all my achievements, accomplishments, adventures and experiences all seemed to fade into oblivion and become the part of somebody else's life. It was as if I became two separate people.
|Here's the Easter cover of BHG we shot in my apartment.|
|And one of the pages inside with the styling I did and we shot on my dining table|
|This is the scrapbooking cover I mentioned before. Which was shot in my living room. |
Note all the photos of my family members in the frames.
He always wants to chuck it out, and can't understand why I want to lug all the old crap around with us. But I get very defensive and protective of it. It's like my life is tied up in that one box. Aside from family and our homes, that's the box I'm most proud of. That's all the things I've done that make me feel like something other than a regular wife and mother. They are all the experiences and accomplishments I've had that validate me, give me my self-confidence, self-esteem and remind me that I was something else once. I was good at stuff, I was in demand, I was paid to do something I loved and I didn't have to make excuses or justify the time it took to do it.
I could stay up all night making things for shoots, or all day shopping for props and I didn't have to worry about how much the babysitter was costing or if I was taking too long. I look back at those halcyon days and I can't help but feel a pang of jealousy for that girl and her carefree life. Of course I wouldn't swap what I have now, but they were wonderful times. I know there's nothing really stopping me going back and doing it all again, except I just can't work out how to juggle being a good mum and wife, with a commitment to the work I love. I barely have enough time to write a half decent blog post. As I type this Amelia is clawing at my feet trying to get my attention and banging her head on the chair she is stuck under! So I am amazed at women who manage to make it all work, to have a family and do what they love without having a nervous breakdown. I just don't seem to have enough hours in the day, or I'm completely crap at time management. Probably more the latter.
Anyway, this post has gone in a completely different direction than I planned. The original point was to show you this great job I had with Better Homes & Gardens back in 2003. I had been working as a magazine stylist, I wanted to be Martha Stewart, I'd been a wedding planner and had a wedding shop, and worked as a TV presenter. But I came up with a great idea for a wedding reality TV show. So I pitched the idea to BHG who I had worked with on several other projects.
The idea was to find a couple who would like to have their wedding planned by me and the team (these were the days Noni Hazelhurst was host), then get married live on TV, and have the whole thing done and paid for by the show. BHG put an ad in the paper and surprisingly didn't get that many responses. Perhaps not too many people wanted their wedding filmed. Anyway, the couple they picked were not my first choice I have to say, they weren't exactly what I had in mind. I felt they didn't understand or appreciate what I was trying to do, and annoyed me the whole way through filming because they wanted to change everything I planned and kept complaining about things. It drove me a little nuts. They didn't like my blue and white scheme for starters!
Anyway, it was about 12 weeks of BHG TV episodes which was run concurrently with a special wedding features in 3 issues of the magazine. I had about 40 pages of editorial I had to produce all up, plus film the TV show as the wedding planner, going around doing all the wedding planning things with the couple ie go to a wedding fair, visit the car hire, the florist, meet the family, try on the dress etc. It was great fun, but a huge amount of work and rather stressful to be honest.
Here's a selection of the shots we did for the magazine spread. It was all photographed in my apartment or at my parent's place in the Highlands. Saved a fortune in location and studio fees for them, plus using all their furniture as props. Lucky my parents have great taste eh!
I copied this look from a Martha Stewart Weddings mag and had a local cake maker recreate the gorgeous cake. I just adore this shot.
These blue boxes above and the little posy below are some of the things hidden in that box I won't part with. The boxes are empty, but they are so pretty and the butterfly posy is still in tact. The cake stands I bought from Martha Stewart a few years earlier when I was in the wedding business. That was when she was selling her products online, but you had to phone up from Oz to order them.
My Mum was such a help during this and sewed most of the fabric items like this ring pillow and ring pouches. I had sold these handmade items in my wedding store previously.
Some of you may have seen these photos before, so humour me!
This was photographed on the blue wall in my apartment bedroom.
Another lovely idea I copied off Martha. These gift boxes with the bouquets resting on the top.
I made this hydrangea wreath using silk flowers stuck into a foam base. Then made a template for the leaves which had guests names on it and their table number.
Recognise that blue and white pot? It's been on my hallway console for a while. I pinched it off my Mum.
I love making pin wheels. They are such fun and they always look wonderful no matter the type of party. This was shot in the guest cottage at my parent's farm. I borrowed a lot of the props from a fabulous shop in Berrima called Peppergreen, which has since closed, but which was the stylist's dream.
I made these fabric flowers and beaded flowers as boutonnieres, thanks Martha. They are all photographed on the chests of various accommodating family members!
I used this beautiful beaded flower as a topper on a birthday present once. I wish I'd asked for it back!
I look at these and can't imagine that I ever made them really.
The model below is me, wearing the bridesmaid's dress I wore for a friend's wedding.
I made this bouquet and Mum made the veil below.
Yep, that's me. Again, saved money on models (not that I'm model standard by any means, but when you're on a shoot you have to make do with what you have and cut costs!).
That gorgeous beaded top I'm wearing above I bought from a little boutique in Soho on my trip to New York a few years prior. I bought it because Jennifer Aniston had been photographed wearing the same top and I had to have it! Sadly they wrapped it in hot pink tissue paper and my suitcase got wet on the trip home, so the pink dye ran all over the top. I was gutted!
This was one of my favourite photos. I love this pretty bouquet I made of dried flowers, all found in baskets at Spotlight. It's just one of those shots that work.
And here's how it looked in the magazine.
And here are the location shots of the actual wedding on the day it was staged and filmed with bride, groom, guests and all including all the celebrity TV presenters from BHG. The wedding was held at Lindesay House in Darling Point, which is owned by the National Trust. A beautiful Georgian mansion built in 1834 overlooking Sydney Harbour. It was the perfect location.
This was the view looking out over the harbour and luckily it was a glorious day. You can see the camera crane to the right.
I chose square tables instead of round and luckily could get these gorgeous bamboo chairs in white to go with the beautiful blue and white tablecloths. How could you not love this colour scheme?!
I had the little blue and white candy rock made with the couples' names and a heart in the centre and made up these wedding favours.
There's the hydrangea wreath a the guest signing table.
Unfortunately it wasn't the right time of year for hydgrangeas, otherwise I would have used them as the main flower.
The wedding went off without a hitch although there was a lot of "CUT!" happening throughout the ceremony, as planes roared over or neighbours made noise. And I think they probably had to saw their vows a couple of times. So they didn't have a completely normal wedding, but given the whole thing was free they were pretty damn lucky.
Thank you for indulging me in that little trip down memory lane. Hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. Now if you'll excuse me, I smell a dirty nappy.....
Wedding photos by Melinda Hartwright
Stills shots by Chris L. Jones