Inspirational ideas for the perfect ‘I do’

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THERE are so many things to consider when planning the perfect wedding. 

In the lead-up to the big day, it often involves driving from one end of town to the other – sometimes beyond – to find a breathtaking wedding dress, the best catering, the most beautiful venue or exclusive honeymoon deals. 

To save future brides and grooms on stress and time, “CityNews” has spoken with many of the region’s wedding experts, some of whom will be at the Canberra Wedding Fair, on Sunday, August 18, where anyone can seek inspiration!

Fair brings wedding experts to one spot

Viktoria Novak… will speak at the fair.

THE Canberra Wedding Fair is about to celebrate a decade of helping couples create their perfect day when it showcases more than 80 exhibitors at the Australian Institute of Sport on August 18. 

Event organiser Danielle Cleary, of Danielle Cleary Events, says the fair is an opportunity for people to explore innovative ideas around weddings, events, food, travel and lifestyle.

“The fair is about giving Canberra and the surrounding region something innovative and interactive,” she says.

But overall, Danielle says, it’s about the chance to meet experts who are passionate about helping the bride or groom with events, travel plans and wedding plans in general. 

Other highlights, according to Danielle, will be live music, an outdoor “Foodie Fair” and a “Take Flight Market”, which is a platform for new, small, start-ups. 

Danielle says the fair will also feature wellbeing and styling workshops and a runway presentation of new looks by leading designers of bridal, evening, resort and lifestyle attire. 

Special guest Viktoria Novak will share her talents in interior and fashion design.

“I’m thrilled to be attending the Canberra Wedding Fair with a VIP style crowns-and-gowns model workshop,” Viktoria says.

“I’ll share a few of my personal stories about my own wedding planning experiences, my background in interior and fashion design and how I found my career in millinery today.”

Whether someone is newly engaged, preparing for an event, looking for a getaway, has a love of food and live music or just has a passion for fashion, Danielle invites everyone to come along for all the fun of the Canberra Wedding Fair. 

Canberra Wedding Fair, at the Australian Institute of Sport, Leverrier Street, Bruce, 10am – 3pm, Sunday, August 18. Call Danielle Cleary Events on 0427 666584, email or visit

Gowns that’ll take his breath away

ANNABEL’S Bridal Studio has gowns to make any bride’s walk down the aisle completely breathtaking, says owner Misty Annabel. 

Misty, who opened Annabel’s Bridal Studio about 15 years ago after seeing a gap in the Canberra market for a luxury bridal boutique, says she’s intent on helping future brides find the perfect fit for their big day.

Offering an intimate retail setting adorned with chandeliers and soft furnishings, Misty says she wants to create a calm and relaxed environment where she and the consultants can focus on the client.

“My team and I are passionate about what we do and we go to great lengths to make sure our brides are happy,” Misty says.

To give future brides the best experience, Misty says Annabel’s Bridal Studio is by appointment only so the qualified consultants and in-house tailor can help brides create their dream look. 

“I make sure the process from choosing the gown to the collection of the gown is as organised and as enjoyable as possible,” she says. 

“[I want to] give our brides a premium service with a strong focus on Australian designers.

“Our diverse collection of 160 gowns provides brides with the option to try every style on and feel confident with their decision.”

Of these 160 gowns, Misty says she has exclusive luxury brands such as Martina Liana, Rosa Clara, Jack Sullivan and Watters. Annabel’s Bridal Studio also has a collaboration collection with Wendy Makin Couture.

Annabel’s Bridal Studio, at “The Kennedy”, suite 2, 28 Eyre Street, Kingston. Call 6295 3984, email or visit

Quality weddings without the stress

Wedding and events manager Angelique Carter.

FROM intimate gatherings of 20 people up to showstopper weddings of 230 people, the National Press Club has everything covered, says wedding and events manager Angelique Carter.

“The National Press Club has perfected running nationally televised speaker addresses and these skills translate to a no fuss, no stress, quality wedding for you and your guests,” she says. 

 Angelique grew up in a hospitality-based family, has worked in the field since high school and has been working at the National Press Club since 2014. 

Working alongside Angelique is a passionate and experienced team, who in 2018 were awarded wedding caterer of the year.

“A wedding at the National Press Club stands out because all our staff from front of house to our executive chef and his team at the back of house want your wedding to be as special as possible,” she says.

The National Press Club, 16 National Circuit, Barton. Call 6121 2199, email or visit

Say ‘I do’ in a tranquil setting

Events and functions co-ordinator, Carey Lander.

TUCKED away from the bustle of busy roads, the Royal Canberra Golf Club offers a tranquil and sophisticated venue for weddings, says events and functions co-ordinator Carey Lander.

“There is no traffic noise, just the afternoon calls of native birdlife and the breeze as it rustles through the leaves,” she says.

“[But] the Royal Canberra Golf Club is more than just a destination of ambience, professionalism and sumptuous cuisine.

“It’s everything you need for an unforgettable day.”

With 30 years’ experience in the industry, 19 of those at the Royal Canberra Golf Club, Carey says she is passionate about ensuring brides have their dream weddings, a passion that saw her win the title of No. 1 wedding planner at an ACT venue at the Brides’ Choice Awards in 2018. She is also a finalist in the 2019 Brides’ Choice Awards.

“[I ensure] that each and every bride experiences the perfect day while I fulfil above and beyond their initial expectations,” she says.

“And most importantly, I make it fun [because that’s a] simple element that many brides often forget, particularly as stress levels start to rise.”

Then, on the big day, Carey says the wedding lawn will be the perfect backdrop for the ceremony.

“The lawn is leading up to the glass doors of the intimate Westbourne Room and into the experienced hands of myself and the entire food and beverage team,” she says. 

Royal Canberra Golf Club, 71 Bentham Street, Yarralumla. Call 6240 2206, email or visit

Rooftop view elevates event 

ORIGINALLY built in 1959 as Canberra’s first luxury hotel, the beautifully restored Rex Hotel offers a unique rooftop view where couples can say “I do”, says events team leader Ben Mitchell.

“We’re the only venue in Canberra that can have Black Mountain as a backdrop,” he says.

“[And we often] have sunset ceremonies overseeing Black Mountain.”

The Howling Moon rooftop bar is popular, according to Ben, who says the Rex Hotel regularly hosts weddings, with couples having wedding ceremonies on the rooftop and then the reception inside the hotel.

He says the reception can be held in either the hotel’s Great Room, which has high ceilings and subtle detailing, or the Grand Ballroom, which radiates old-school glamour and has marble detailing.

In addition to the unique view the rooftop bar offers, Ben says the hotel’s presidential suite is complimentary for newlyweds who hold their wedding at the Rex. 

He says the suite is the hotel’s largest and most luxurious room and includes a walk-in dressing room, wet bar, jacuzzi, study with a fireplace and private balcony.

Canberra Rex Hotel, 150 Northbourne Avenue, Civic. Call 6248 5311, email or visit 

Dishing out great food

Rochelle and Phil Hosking.

RENOWNED for its great service and delicious food, the Coast to Coast Golden Roast, one of the country’s biggest and fastest growing spit roast caterers, is a popular choice for weddings, says owner Phil Hosking.

“Nearly every weekend we’re doing weddings,” says Phil, who runs the catering company with his wife, Rochelle.

The long-term locals say they love feeding Canberra great food at great value. 

“Our wedding market has skyrocketed because the way we do things works well for a lot of catering needs,” he says.

“We cook everything fresh on site and we can cook anywhere. We have no restrictions.”

The Coast to Coast Golden Roast can cook inside or outside for a number of events such as birthdays, sporting events and corporate gatherings. 

According to Phil, there are about half a dozen menus to choose from and all come with generous servings to ensure nobody is left hungry. 

Phil says menus vary from grazing tables and build-your-own wraps to a gourmet buffet and meat-only menu. 

He says they’re also able to cater for a large number of people, up to 5000. 

The Golden Roast Canberra, 59 Vicars Street, Mitchell. Call 1300 655602, email or visit Phil’s catering won’t leave guests hungry

Maria’s got something special for any event

Owner Maria Smith.

MARIA Smith, the owner of Everything Special, loves contributing to someone’s special day with her extensive range of beautiful gifts, keepsakes, bonbonniere and accessories. 

Her lifelong passion for weddings and background in bridal design inspired her to establish Everything Special so she could help people with the finer details of their wedding.

“I love creating and contributing to someone’s special day,” says Maria, who can make custom products such as signage, gifts, candles, cake toppers, table place cards, acrylic wishing wells and engraved photographs. 

“We design, personalise and custom-make almost anything,” she says.

“[We use] a state of the art laser machine to cut, engrave and etch.”

Maria says she stocks an extensive range of off-the-shelf products such as wedding accessories, bridal party socks, robes and T-shirts. 

The Everything Special showroom is in Maria’s home in Rivett, which she says means her hours can be flexible and she is open to appointments. 

“[We also] offer a mobile service in Canberra where we bring a range of products and even start the design process for products with our clients in their home,” she says.

“We work with our clients to design the perfect product that will complement any special day [whether it’s a wedding, birthday, religious sacraments or anniversary.]”

Everything Special. Call 0430 093588, email or visit

Historic venue for an unforgettable day

THE Royal Queanbeyan Hotel will once again attend the Canberra Wedding Fair and is happy to answer any questions about the venue, says functions and events manager Naomi Chen.

“We’re excited to be an exhibitor again for Canberra Wedding Fair’s upcoming fair with the beautiful and exciting atmosphere they provide,” she says.

“We offer a unique venue with exceptional food quality and services by our experienced event staff and management.”

Naomi says she and event staff will showcase the hotel’s wedding-hosting capabilities and services at the fair. The Royal Hotel, which has been recently renovated, offers beautiful and luxe furnishings including velvets, marble and brushed brass, features that will provide wonderful photo opportunities. 

Coupled with the character of a heritage building from the early 1900s, Naomi says a wedding at the hotel would create unforgettable memories.

“We offer a unique experience and luxe events like no other spaces in Canberra or Queanbeyan.”

Naomi says the final touch to the hotel’s momentous renovation is the Royal Suite, currently being completed, which is designed to accommodate the full bridal party and make-up artist, hairdresser, and photographer.

“For wedding receptions, we provide the Upper House venue exclusively and the wedding couple are provided with a dedicated wedding co-ordinator along with an extensive range of affordable menu packages,” she says.

“We can [also] work with the wedding couple to tailor a menu that reflects their own personal taste and style.”

The Royal Hotel Queanbeyan, 85 Monaro Street, Queanbeyan. Call 6297 1444, email or visit

Reception with Italian flair 

AGOSTINIS in East Hotel recently hosted its first wedding reception and the hotel’s general manager, Todd Handy, says they can’t wait to help other couples on their special day.

“Agostinis provides an upmarket yet relaxed atmosphere where people can enjoy top quality food, which is made on site – that’s appealing to all taste buds,” he says.

Certified by the Italian Government for the food’s authenticity, Todd says everything is made fresh including the pizza dough and pasta but there are other options, too, which he calls “Italian flair”. 

“We have a very experienced event team that love working with our guests and make sure every detail is looked after,” he says.

“The couples work closely with the operations team and executive chef to ensure that everything runs very well on the day so the bride and groom can focus on enjoying their event.”

Todd says the restaurant fits up to 120 people inside and can be set up in a number of ways.

“Whether it’s individual tables or a couple of long tables to make it feel more family friendly to encourage people to mingle and share the day,” he says.

“Couples are welcome to come in to discuss options with the events team.”

Agostinis, East Hotel, 69 Canberra Avenue, Kingston. Call 6295 6925, email or visit

One-off rings to say ‘yes’ to 

WITH 30 years’ experience in making intricate and sophisticated designs, Clover Master Jewellers in Manuka loves working with brides and grooms to design their perfect engagement or wedding rings, says Veronica Oh. 

“If the customers have a design or an idea that they’ve always wanted to put together or bring to life, we are able to do that and guide the customer through the designing procedure,” she says. 

“What makes this experience really special for the customers is that they are able to create something that is unique and they are able to meet their dream piece. 

“Our aim is to provide our customers with that priceless experience and we believe being able to deliver that is what makes us unique,” says Veronica. 

Specialising in laser engraving, Clover Master Jewellers is able to turn a piece of jewellery into something more personalised.

“When you are able to add a little bit of your own ideas, design or message it usually means that you are creating something that is unique and probably the only one in the world,” says Veronica. 

Clover Master Jewellers, Unit 2, 16 Bougainville Street, Griffith. Call 6295 8545, email or visit @cloverjewellerycanberra on Facebook.


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