Personal : A New Addition To The Family

04 Jul 2014            Jessica Ratty

I HAVE VERY EXCITING NEWS THAT I COULD NOT WAIT TO SHARE! And NO... before any of you even think it... Stuart and I are definitely not expecting a child! 

My gorgeous older sister Melissa gave birth to my new little NIECE yesterday! Her name is Scarlett Melina and I am in love! I am so excited to be an Aunty - my very first niece or nephew!! Being an Aunty is the best role ever - you can buy the baby all of the cute outfits and fun things, you get cuddles and give them back! It is the perfect arrangement for Stuart and I!! We are SO excited to be a Zia & Zio, to this adorable little bunny!

We can't get enough of her.. she is just so cute!

Friday, July 04, 2014 comments (0) post comment 


EDS : Stuarts New Company

23 Jun 2014            Jessica Ratty

I am very excited and proud to announce that my amazing husband Stuart has started his own company - Erect Defy Scaffolding Pty Ltd. His company specialises in mining and construction scaffolding. So now there are two "Defys" out there! I am a very proud wife right now!!

Monday, June 23, 2014 comments (0) post comment 


Our Wedding Day : Incorporating A Missing Loved One

16 Jun 2014            Jessica Ratty

As many of my clients know, in the lead up to our Wedding Day, Stuart's Dad was quite ill with cancer. But he always insisted that he would definitely be at the wedding and there was no way he would miss it. So we never had a back up plan, or ever thought he may not be there. Everyone just stayed positive and thought he would be okay for the wedding day. And about a month before the wedding, it seemed like he would be okay for the day. But as we got closer (a few weeks out) he was admitted back into hospital. He was quite sick and weak, we had discussed that maybe he wouldn't be strong enough to come to the wedding (especially as it was in York - about an hour and half away). But he stayed positive and said to the Doctors that it was our wedding he had to be out for and he has to be there. So again while it was in the back of our minds, we just thought he would be there. We had no plans in place incase he wasn't, we had booked his accommodation, we had made his place setting, we had ordered customised cufflinks for him to wear on the day (he LOVED golf) so on one it said "Father of The Groom" and the other said "I would rather be golfing", we had chosen the song for him to walk up to do his speech to, we had him to witness and sign our marriage certificate. 

We never thought for a moment that he wouldn't be there. About a week and a half out from the Wedding Day, Peter was moved from the normal cancer ward, to ICU. His condition changed very quickly and all of a sudden he wasn't even allowed to have visitors unless they had masks on and no germs what so ever. It was just over a week away from the wedding day and I remember being in my office and getting a call from Stuart saying that his Dad had just told him, that the Doctors said there is no way he will be at the wedding and they wouldn't even let him out for the day. We were devastated, all of a sudden, realisation hit that his Dad would not be there for our wedding day, we wouldn't be able to have a photo with him, he wouldn't be able to do his speech. 

We were going to postpone the wedding, but Peter insisted that we didn't and said he still wanted us to go ahead as usual. With the entire wedding planning, I had all of these random things I wanted to have and to organise and at that stage it all seemed so important.. But in the last couple of weeks before the wedding, our priorities completely changed. What had seemed important for the wedding a few weeks ago, was crossed off our list and seemed ridiculous all of a sudden. We spent every day before the wedding at the hospital and all of the details and plans we had for the wedding, seemed so insignificant. Not only could he not attend the wedding, but at that stage we didn't even know if he would make it through the week.

So in the last week before the wedding, I realised I needed to change the details I was planning and try to incorporate Peter in our wedding, as much as possible. He was definitely one of the most important people, that we wanted to be there with us. 

I had no idea what I should do to "have him still at the wedding"... I didn't want us to have no photos from our wedding day that didn't have his face in them. But we only had a week to get things organised.. so there was a few things that we did to have him incorporated at the wedding. 

The one thing I really wanted, was for Stuart to have something about his Dad on him during the day and something he could keep forever. So I decided to get him an old style pocket watch, that opened up on both sides. On one side I put a photo of him and his Dad when he was only little and on the other side of the pocket watch, was a recent photo of them together. 

Images by Jerry Ghionis

I had already decided that I wanted silver pendants hanging from my bouquet with black and white images of my Grandparents who have all passed away. They were already on my Bouquet and ready for the day.. So I had the idea to add a photo of Peter to my bouquet, but I didn't want it to be the same as my grandparents, as he was still here. So I managed to get the same pendant in gold and had his photograph printed in colour. So they were all present and remembered on my bouquet.

I also wanted a big photo up so that all of the guests could acknowledge him and think of him while they were at the wedding. 

When it came to the ceremony, my Sister in Law's partner was kind enough to set up a video camera and a web link - so Peter could watch our ceremony from his hospital bed. 

Peter had already written his speech, so Stuarts brother read out his speech on his behalf. While he was reading Peters speech, we had a photo of Stuart & Peter projected up on the screen behind him. 

The reason why I wanted to share this on my blog, is because I have had a couple of Brides who have had very ill parents or close family that they weren't sure would be okay to make it to their wedding. Luckily, they were both able to be well enough to be at their weddings in the end. 

After the wedding, we planned on getting redressed in our wedding attire and have a photo with Peter as if it was on the wedding day. Unfortunately Peter never got well enough to do that. Less than 4 months after our wedding day, Peter passed away, so we never got to have a wedding photo with him. Even though I am a wedding photographer and know how important photos are and have always tried to explain to people how important they are... I never actually appreciated how much 1 image could mean.. especially when it was an image that wasn't taken. 

We have both discussed how much we wish we could of had that one image from the day. So for our one year wedding anniversary, I did the closest thing I could to that and had a painting done of Stuart and his Dad, as if it was taken on the wedding day with Stuart in his wedding suit. 

Stuart had no idea I had organised it to be done and was completely surprised. 

Monday, June 16, 2014 comments (0) post comment 


Our Wedding Day : The Little Details

09 Jun 2014            Jessica Ratty

My favourite part of planning our wedding day, was creating and finding all of the perfect little details! I love details at a wedding and the more details you have the more there is for the guests to look at and enjoy. But also the more memories you have to keep from the day. Small beautiful details can completely change the look and feeling of any wedding day. These are just some of my favourite details from the day...

I had "Groom" and "Bride" Coat hangers made, just to add a personal touch and to hang our outfits on, instead of just normal coat hangers. 

I had these cuff links made for Stuart as a gift for him on the wedding day. All of the Groomsmen also had personalised cufflinks.

Stuart and I wanted something really different for our wedding rings, so these were our rings.

I didn't want to wear the typical white wedding shoes, I really wanted something different, so I found these amazing finch feather shoes in Sydney and fell in love with them! 

I am a perfectionist and like to make sure everything is perfect and exactly how we pictured it before the day. Also as my Bridesmaids were having knuckle duster clutch bags instead of flowers, it would have been hard to have just one bouquet made and delivered to York for the day. So I found an amazing florist in the USA who makes them from "real touch" flowers. I still have my bouquet and still love it! I also wanted to incorporate the special people in my life who couldn't be there on the day, so I hung their images from my bouquet (I will go into more detail in another blog post about incorporating missing loved ones into your wedding day).

I also didn't want to have the typical wedding jewellery or "natural" makeup. I wanted it to be quite a statement, it is your one wedding day... why not make it amazing! So I searched everywhere for these green tear drop earrings! My bridesmaids all had matching simple black tear drop earrings. 

I hadn't planned on wearing a bracelet before the day, but Stuart surprised me the morning of the wedding with this amazing bracelet, so I definitely wanted to wear it on the day. 

I love veils! They always look so incredible in photographs and just make such a beautiful statement. I really wanted a veil that had the horsehair braiding around the edge of the veil and it to be very long - 130 inches in the end! I looked everywhere for a veil like this but couldn't find them anywhere. So I found an incredible company in the USA who hand makes the veils to your custom order. I was so nervous about how it would arrive and the quality, but when it arrived, it was amazing, it was exactly what I wanted and sat perfectly!

Our ceremony was an evening ceremony, but we still wanted our guests to be able to enjoy lawn games, a cocktail bar, canapés and an oyster bar. So we had our guests arrive about an hour before the ceremony so they could all mingle and make the most of everything, before the sun went down.

I knew that at an outside wedding in the evening, some ladies may get quite cold with their dresses on.. So we had a basket out with big fabric scarves/wraps. Which the guests really made the most of and loved to even where them around them to keep warm. 

Stuart loves to smoke Cigars at special occasions, so I really wanted to organise something that would entertain the boys and would be something for him. As most of the details and events are usually targeted at the females. So I had a Cigar Bar set up, with different types and flavours of cigars, for the guests to enjoy. Stuart had no idea about it until the day! It turned out to be a big hit, all of the guests loved it and wanted to try the different flavours.

As our wedding reception was in an open marquee and our dance floor was just on the grass in front of the marquee, I wanted the girls to be comfortable and not have to worry about heels and sore feet, so we had a little basket with thongs in it, for the girls to wear if they wanted to take their heels off. 

All of the little stations listed above were set around a "chill out lounge area" for the guests to go out and sit during the reception.

Instead of having a typical Photo Booth, we wanted something really unique and fun. So Stuart made this incredible Photo Board from scratch! We had photo frames with our family and growing up photographs but then the 3 large frames were for people to pose through and interact across the board to each other... there are a couple of examples of the board at the end of this blog post. 

With our bonbonnieres I wanted to come up with something that was unique, that matched our theme and also that our guests could actually take home and use. So we had little potted herbs - 4 different types with little wedding associated name tags. 

There was:
  - Thyme - which had the tag "It's about Thyme"
- Rosemary - which had the tag "Rosemarry"
- Mint - which had the tag "Mint to Be"
- Lavender - which had the tag "Lovender" 

Our guests loved these little gifts and so many have told me how they have planted them in their garden and how well they are growing. 

We had a Degustation dinner for our reception and I wanted to have quite a unique menu for all of the guests. So I designed this up and hung them from every guests chair, instead of just having them on the tables.

I love the American style long tables, so I was set on that style layout, with my favourite chairs of all time - beautiful white Tiffany Chairs. I also love this layout because it makes the guests closer together and easier to talk and mingle with each other. 

For the table arrangement list, I didn't want just a piece of paper with a list of names. So we got an old 3 panel old shutters. We had 3 long guest tables, so I used each panel as a table to list the guest seating. 

As our wedding ceremony was in the evening, we lined the wedding isle with french Shepherd Hook Lanters that were lit up before the ceremony. 

I decided so give Stuart another surprise and get a wedding Caricature of us done. With a few things that are important to us both. He is a scaffolder, so I wanted us to be on the scaffold. 

To match our theme we had a bird cage for our guests cards and notes.. Instead of the usual Wishing Well.


We had a guest signature album, for our family and friends to write little messages in, but we also had a framed tree print, so our guests would leave their inked thumb print on the tree (like a leaf) and sign their name with it.

For our Bridal Party Table. we again did something a little different from the usual, as we had such a big Bridal Party - 14 in total, there was no way we could have a long table with everyone facing out to the guests. We also didn't really like that idea, as the people towards the ends of the tables wouldn't be as included in conversations or what was going on. So we designed our Bridal table to have one circular table in the centre, for just Stuart and I to sit at and then on either side was a long table for the bridal party to sit at and face each other. So it brought us all closer and we could all talk and enjoy the evening together.

Our beautiful cake was made by Stuart's Nanna, who isn't a professional and has only just started making cakes for fun... When I saw the finished product, I was amazed, I did not expect it to be so professional and perfect! The bottom tier of the cake was covered in hand made rosettes - to match the bottom of my gown. And then the top tiers had the ruching to match my gown and a beaded sash, which was similar to my sash on my gown.

We also had a candy and dessert buffet for our guests to enjoy, throughout the evening.

These were just one of the styles of centrepieces we had - with the help of my amazing Bridesmaids and Stuart... we hand made all 18 of them!! I wanted that French ball of flowers look - but I didn't want real flowers.

As the wedding theme was very French provincial - we didn't want the typical red carpet, so instead we had a long linen/hessian isle. We also had our ceremony right in front of our reception marquee.

Instead of having a dance floor, we just wanted the entire grass area to be the dance floor and where people could mingle together. Also when we entered the reception, I took off my veil (as it was so long it would have been stepped on) and swapped over to a Bird Cage veil. 

We had chandeliers hanging from the trees, which looked so amazing and impressive once the sun went down, but also made an incredible photo opportunity! 

This is how the photo board was used.... (except I don't think Stuart got the concept to stay inside the wall to make it look like a picture! :p)

Images by Jerry Ghionis. 

Monday, June 09, 2014 comments (0) post comment 


Our Wedding Day : 1 Year Anniversary

22 May 2014            Jessica Ratty

As all of my amazing clients know, Stuart and I had our own wedding last year and Sunday (18th of May) marked our 1st wedding anniversary! All of my clients always ask me to see our wedding photos, so I thought I would finally share them with you all. The one question that everyone has asked is "So, who did you get to shoot your wedding?...It must have been a hard decision". But for me that was the first thing that was confirmed. Being a photographer and seeing how beautiful wedding photography will last a lifetime and how important it is, the photography was the most important part of our day. I am lucky enough to have the most amazing Husband, who let me have my dream photographer, who is my favourite photographer in the world. So we flew our amazing photographers over to capture our day - Jerry Ghionis and his gorgeous and bubbly wife Melissa. We are so happy with our photos, they are incredible.

I loved the entire wedding planning process, all of the details, the planning, the styling, I was so in my element! 

Our wedding day was perfect, it was our dream wedding and we had honestly the best day of our lives! Because I am always surrounded by weddings and wedding planning, there were some of the traditional things that we wanted to change and make it our own unique day. 

A lot of our wedding style was based on more the American weddings and how they do things. Our wedding was at the incredible Laurelville Manor in York, which is an amazing Manor that was built in the 1800's and has since been done up to have an incredible French Provincial feel - which is exactly what I wanted. There are 8 incredible rooms in the Manor, so our entire Bridal Party could stay with us for the entire weekend. 

I have never really been a huge fan of flowers (although my gown was covered in hand made fabric rosettes), so one thing I really did not want, was Bridesmaid bouquets and Groomsman boutonniere's. We wanted quite a modern/unique/french feel to the wedding. So instead of flowers, my Bridesmaids has knuckleduster lace clutches, instead of the Groomsmen wearing a flower boutonniere on their suits, they just had a simple white pocket square. Stuart didn't want to wear a typical tie, so he wore a black silk scarf, under his white shirt and then had his suit over the top, so it was still very formal, just a lot more modern. Instead of a chief bridesmaid, I had a "Man of Honour", who has been my best friend since we were 4, so I felt it was very important for him to be standing up there with me. 

We also really wanted a night time ceremony, so we could have a beautiful romantic atmosphere, surrounded by candles, chandeliers in the trees and lanterns. So to have our night time ceremony, it meant we needed to have our photographs taken during the day before the ceremony. So Stuart and I had our "first look" where we had our backs to each other and then turned around to see each other for the first time on our wedding day. I love first looks, I just think they create such a beautiful and intimate moment for the Bride and Groom. 

I will be doing another blog soon, with all of our detail shots and little features. But for now here is just some of our amazing photos from our wedding day.

My Gown: Amsale
Stuart Suit: Henry Bucks 
Venue: Laurelville Manor - York
Photographer: Jerry Ghionis

Thursday, May 22, 2014 comments (0) post comment 


Our Dream Wedding Day!

10 Jun 2013            Jessica Ratty

I have always been blessed to be apart of so many amazing wedding days! Weddings are one of my favourite things! There is so much excitement and happiness on a wedding day and so many beautiful things as well as beautiful moments. 

On the 18th of May, it was Stuart & I's turn to tie the knot! It was such a surreal day, as I am so use to being apart of everyone else's wedding day! In the morning while we were getting ready, I was so calm and relaxed - it just felt like I was at one of my Bride's houses watching all the girls get their hair and makeup done... It wasn't until our incredible photographers arrived that reality hit... I wasn't photographing a wedding today! Our photographers were there.. to photograph OUR wedding! 

The entire day was perfect, it was definitely our dream wedding! 

I will be posting more blogs about the day and list all of our amazing vendors who definitely helped make the day perfect! 

Here is just a little teaser photo from the day ... there are many many more to come!

Monday, June 10, 2013 comments (0) post comment 


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