The Wheatbelt Collective | Classic Elegant Winter Styled Shoot | Buckland Estate, WA | 16 June 2019 {Perth, Avon Valley & Wheatbelt Wedding Photographer}

The Wheatbelt Collective was founded by myself and the ladies from Confetti & Co and Petallica Flower Co, as a collaboration between like minded wedding and event specialists based in the Avon Valley and Wheatbelt regions, just east of Perth in WA.  

Our aim as a collective has always been to provide a space for talented locals in the wedding and events industry to get creative, share ideas, and work together, towards the common goal of providing both city and country folk with a host of quality suppliers to choose from, when planning a wedding or event in a rural area. 

So when we heard that one of our most loved and historic homesteads, Buckland Estate, was being renovated as a new wedding and event venue, we joined forces with the new owners, keen to showcase the endless possibilities this incredible property has to offer.

And I had a personal incentive for being involved too. It was my fourth great grandparents, Charles Pratt and Ann Solomon, who upon arrival from England in 1830, began building on their newly allocated land holding, 120km east of the Swan River Colony, near the fledgling town of Northam. Their daughter Ann Ellen Pratt went on to marry one of Charles’ employees, a Seaman named James McLean Dempster, and together they produced the long line of Dempsters that are well known to both Buckland Estate and the local Northam area, to this day.

And what better way to explore the options, and to get word out about this fabulous new venue, than with an elegantly styled shoot full of classic feels, and warm, Wintery tones? A huge thanks to the following vendors and suppliers for contributing their wares and talents on the day, and for doing us proud in the country once again!

Russell, of Buckland Estate (venue) for all his hard work landscaping and renovating in the months leading up to the shoot, which provided us with a perfect backdrop on the day.  Sarah and Holly at Confetti & Co (planning & styling) for providing the brief and organising the shoot, and for their delightful table setting on the day. Sarah from Petallica Flower Co (floristry) for all the beautiful blooms you see, and Jamine Fowler (HMUA) for her incredible hair and makeup work with our fabulous model, Molly.  And finally, Yvette from Yvette’s Cakes (cake) for the delicious cake you see nestled amongst the candles and fruit on that delectable Winter table setting.

So if you’re in the process of planning a wedding or event, and you are yet to nail the perfect location, get in touch with Sarah and Holly at Confetti & Co to arrange a viewing of this beautiful venue. Otherwise, make your way out to Buckland Estate on Sunday 11th August 2019 between 11am and 3pm for the Wedding Open Day, being co-hosted by Confetti & Co. You’'ll have an opportunity to look over the venue, and to speak to a select team of fabulous vendors (both local and Perth based) who will be on-hand to answer any wedding related questions you might have. Plus there’ll be food trucks and a drinks van, so why not make a day of it, and we’ll see you there!

 

A Snapshot of 2018 | Avon Valley, Wheatbelt & Perth Wedding, Family, Event & Commercial Photographer}

As 2018 draws to a close, it's time to reflect on what an amazing year its been for me, with a random selection of some of my favourite images from the past 12 months.

A big year for my business, 2018 saw me awarded Owner/Operator of The Year at the annual Wheatbelt Business Excellence Awards, and a Finalist in the Best Home Based Business category at the Avon Valley Business Excellence Awards. I also managed to squeeze more than 50 weddings, family, event and commercial gigs in, plus a number of incredibly satisfying personal projects. And The Wheatbelt Collective grew from a simple light bulb moment to a successful collaboration with a bunch of great local suppliers and creatives.

So here they are, thirty memorable moments from 2018, in no particular order.  An eclectic mix of images from the incredible work I've been privileged to shoot throughout the year, plus a few from my own collection too, including a couple of self portraits.  Because its important for photographers to make time to document our own lives too (and because they took me forever to get right, so I’m pretty darn proud of them!).

So a huge thank you to all of you who have made 2018 so rewarding for me.  Because without you, my amazing clients, friends and family, I wouldn't have been witness to these moments, or had the opportunity to create these beautiful images.

Have a fabulous Christmas and New Year, and I'll see you all again in 2019!

 

Glenn + Jess | Rustic Farm Wedding | Northam WA | 22 September 2018 {Perth, Avon Valley & Wheatbelt Wedding Photographer}

I love a good farm wedding, and this one was certainly no exception! Held on the family farm at Southern Brook just east of Northam, surrounded by their family and friends, and blessed with a superb Spring day, Glenn and Jess really did have the makings of a perfect wedding day.

But farm weddings can be hard work too, with much of the labor required the day before, and on the morning of the wedding. Everything has to be accounted for, and set up without the help of a venue or experienced staff to share the load. Furniture, seating, flowers and decorations need to be brought in, drinks, food, and portaloos sorted, and the ever present flies and mozzies dealt with.

So early in the planning stages, Glenn and Jess decided to engage the help of local wedding planners and stylists Holly and Sarah from Confetti & Co Events. These girls rock at what they do - seriously, they take all the stress out of the day! They organise the hire of furniture and equipment, which they collect, set up, and then drop back to the suppliers when it’s all over. They help plan the schedule and timetable for the day, then keep vendors updated and running on time as everything unfolds, and they deal with the little problems that can arise on a wedding day. Plus they’re super creative too, adding the finishing touches to everything from ceremony areas to table settings, to take your wedding to the next level.

So I was stoked when they announced that Glenn and Jess wanted me on board as their photographer, along with Sarah from Petallica Flower Co on flowers, making it a Wheatbelt Collective collaboration. Formed just over 18 months ago by myself, Confetti & Co Events and Petallica Flower Co, The Wheatbelt Collective encompasses a group of local wedding and event suppliers who aim to provide a high level of service and quality to people who wish to host their wedding or event in the country. Our goal is to encourage people to ‘keep it local’ by providing the kind of service previously perceived to only be found in the city.

But our ability to provide great service relies to an extent on the fabulous suppliers we work alongside on the day. And we were blessed to have the following team on board for Glenn and Jess’s wedding. Julie Chesson A Love Story (celebrant), Jasmine Fowler (hair & makeup), Yvette’s Cakes (cake), Lala Design (stationary), Little Miss Vintage, Grandscene Wedding & Event Hire and HA Hire Events & Weddings (furniture & tableware hire), Complete DJ (DJ), Avon Valley Hospitality (catering) and The Northam Country Club (reception venue).

A huge thanks to all of you for creating such a beautiful and well run wedding for our couple, and for showcasing the possibilities for events held out here in the Avon Valley and Wheatbelt. I think the results below speak for themselves. Seriously, why would you want to get married anywhere else, people?

Congrats Glenn and Jess, and thank you so much for having me share your day with you, it really was fabulous!

 

Meckering Earthquake Gala Dinner | Meckering WA | 13 October 2018 {Perth, Avon Valley & Wheatbelt Event Photographer}

On the 14th October 1968, an earthquake rocked the small Wheatbelt town of Meckering in Western Australia, demolishing 60 of the 75 homes, and most of the commercial buildings in a matter of minutes. The population was effectively reduced to a quarter of its original 500 inhabitants, as most of the business owners and many local families never returned to rebuild.

But fast forward 5 decades, and Meckering is again a thriving community with the vision and talent required to host a remarkable commemoration weekend recently, in celebration of 50 years since that fateful day. And I had the pleasure of covering the glitzy evening that was the Gala Dinner on the Saturday night!

Held in a Swan Events marquee in the middle of town, 200 guests from all over Australia enjoyed a fabulous 3 course dinner catered by Citron’s Catering, an exclusive commemorative beer by Lucky Bay Brewing (aptly named Richter Ale!), and music by DJ Mac and one of our favourite local bands, Another Fine Mess. Rosary Floral Design provided the gorgeous floral arrangements dotted around the marquee, while the boys from the Cunderdin Football Club did a sterling job of serving tables throughout the evening.

Then Sunday saw over 2000 people descend on the town for a day of celebration, which included bus tours to the earthquake fault line, a display of memorabilia in the Hall, and the unveiling of the revamped earthquake walk trail.

A huge thanks must go out to Rebekah Burges and her team of 30 local volunteers, for the 12 months of work that went into bringing this incredible weekend to fruition. What a credit to you all, and a shining example of what’s possible out here in the Wheatbelt!

 

The Wheatbelt Way | A Road Trip | May 2018 {Avon Valley & Wheatbelt Documentary Photographer}

With my Autumn weddings done and dusted, I took the opportunity for a three day Roadie earlier this week, heading north-east to the shire of Mt Marshall on the edge of the Wheatbelt, where the Emu Proof Fenceline divides our farmland from station country.  

Late Autumn is such a beautiful time of the year out there.  The days are warm and still, the flies are (mostly!) gone, and the evenings cool.  But it's also the driest time of the year, normally following a long hot Summer, and before the first rains of Winter settle the dust and germinate the newly sown crops. 

Founded on a nomadic pastoral industry, which later included the cutting of sandalwood, the Shire of Mt Marshall takes in the tiny towns of Bencubbin and Beacon, running north to the Emu Proof Fenceline. Nowadays it mostly consists of vast areas of flat, open cropping country, pockets of bush teaming with native flora and fauna, long straight gravel roads, the remnants of small settlements, and some very large rocks.

So, armed with my Fuji XPro2 + 18-135mm lens, plus a few other essentials, like food, water, my coffee machine and a Wheatbelt Drive Trail Map, I headed east to the Beacon Caravan Park, to set up camp - ever conscious of the fact that I was going to be far more comfortable in my Donga than my great great great grandfather JS Roe would have been, when he first discovered and explored this country in 1836! 

  And for the next three days I drove long distances, trekked through bush, climbed rocks with easy to spell names names like Billiburning, Elachbutting and Beringbooding, and watched farmers kick up trails of dust across the landscape with their seeding machines.  I also walked through towns (both existing and extinct), and met a few of the locals, including Bruce and Mal, who offered me a stiff cup of black tea and a rollie, and took me through the Beacon Men's Shed, and a short history of the tractor in Australia. 

But mostly I just hung out on my own.  Sometimes it's good to just quiet the chaos, to switch off and celebrate the simple things in our own backyard. That's what this trip was all about for me. And maybe a little bit about taking photos too, because, well, that's just what I do! 

 

The Grand Ball | Northam Women in Business Fundraiser | The Grand, Northam WA | 24 February 2018 {Perth, Avon Valley & Wheatbelt Event Photographer}

Last Saturday night the Northam Women in Business hosted their second annual Grand Ball, at The Grand, Northam, and what an evening of glitz and glamour it was!

 The proceeds of this gala event are awarded in the form of a Business Scholarship, to a local woman looking to open and/or continue to run her own business in the Avon Valley. The process for applying includes a written application and interview with a panel of representatives from the Bendigo Bank, The Northam Chamber of Commerce, and the wider business community. 

Applicants are required to demonstrate their desire, ability and readiness to either start or continue a career, venture or vocation that will bring wide ranging benefits to the Northam business and social community.

A huge amount of time and effort goes into creating an event like this, with dozens of sponsors, suppliers and donors contributing to make it second to none. So a big thankyou to all those who donated, especially our Gold Sponsor, the Bendigo Bank, and our Silver Sponsors the Commonwealth Bank, The Grand Northam, SportsPower, West Coast Fireworks, Darren West, Simply Spectacles, and Angie Roe Photography.  

Special thanks also to the following event suppliers, for making it such an awesome evening!  The Grand, Northam, Confetti & Co, Chalk on York, and Studio Luxe Candle Company (venue, styling and decorations), Swift Hound Films (videography), Citrons Catering and Confetti & Co (catering), Rosary Floral Design (flowers), Rhyce Toovey, BellyDance Bombshells Perth and Another Fine Mess (entertainment), WestCoast Fireworks (pyrotechnics), Leeson Digital and Jodie Longmire (marketing and artwork), and Spuds Marquee Hire (marquee).

And although I couldn't possibly list you all (there were more than 70 of you!), a huge thankyou to all the local businesses who donated their wares to both the auction and silent auction which were held on the night, and also to the people who bid on them. Your generosity contributes a significant amount of the funds required to make both The Grand Ball and the Business Scholarship possible, and we simply couldn't do it without you.

And the result of all this hard work and vision?  A fantastic night full of glitz and glamour, which saw guests enjoying the incredible grazing and dessert tables (think sweets with names like pear and almond frangipani flan!), and a host of entertainers, including Rhyce and the band, and our gorgeous belly dancers, who even brought their own snakes along - as you do!   

Now all that remains to see is who wins the scholarship!

 

The Wheatbelt Collective | Rustic Boho Styled Shoot | Faversham House & Mt Brown, York WA | 17 January 2018 {Perth, Avon Valley & Wheatbelt Wedding Photographer}

The Wheatbelt Collective has now been established for just over 6 months, with the aim of seeking out the best of our local Avon Valley and Wheatbelt talent, in order to provide both city and country folk with a host of quality suppliers to choose from, when planning a wedding or event in a rural area. 

Founded by myself and the lovely ladies from Confetti & Co and Petallica Flower Co, the Wheatbelt Collective is a collaboration between like minded wedding and event specialists, based in the Avon Valley, just east of Perth in WA.  

The Avon Valley and Wheatbelt offer a stunning backdrop to any style of wedding or event, and being local to these regions, we have an intimate knowledge of rural venues and suppliers, which means that together, we can help you plan a unique and exciting day that runs smoothly, is loaded with personality, and most importantly, reflects you and your event.

We are not a directory of suppliers as such, but rather, a bunch of creatives who love to work together, and who take our recommendations seriously, which is where our styled shoots come in.  The aim of these shoots is to not only have fun creating something awesome, but to allow us the opportunity to work with local suppliers we may not have worked with before, and in turn, showcase both them, and what we can offer you in the country, should you choose to keep it local.  

So in preparation for our summer shoot, we put our heads together to brainstorm something uniquely suited to our region, and invited an amazing bunch of both new and old businesses to contribute. And not only did they all do an incredible job, but they were also totally lovely to work with, which means we'll definitely be recommending them in the future! 

So a huge thanks to Nola at Faversham House for providing such a perfect backdrop (and a beautiful cool room to get ready in, on a very hot, sticky day!).  And to Jasmine Fowler for her incredible hair and makeup work with our fabulous model, Ash, to create a natural, summery boho look.  And to Kimberley from Blue Silk Design Studio for not only providing a stunning gown, but for tailoring it to Ash on the day. Also to Sue from Birdsnest Gallery of Old and New Things for all her gorgeous rustic knick knacks for our table styling, and to Angela from The Knotty Kiwi for her stunning macrame backdrop, flower wrap, table runner and chair pieces.  

And of course, to Sarah and Holly of Confetti & Co for providing the brief for a rustic, summery, vintage boho look, full of natural tones and pops of pink, peach and copper, and for their fabulous table and arbour styling on the day.  And to Sarah from Petallica Flower Co for all the beautiful blooms you see, and finally, to Lauren and Ben from Swift Hound Films for their incredible film footage, which I really can't begin to describe, so seriously, just watch it, people! 

And following is the result. Which I have no words for.  Except to say that I feel immensely proud (and lucky) to be surrounded by so many wonderful personalities, and such talent, right here where I live.  This is what we are capable of out here, and I think you'll agree, there's really no need to go to Perth, or to source your suppliers from the city, when planning a wedding or event in the Avon Valley or Wheatbelt!