Mixing business with pleasure is easy in the wedding industry.
I’m up and down to Sydney all the time so you’d expect I’d be sick of driving. But I love Orange and it doesn’t take much arm twisting to get me in my car and heading out west. After packing the car with dress bags, tool box and my Lord Howe Island pandanus basket Rob and I headed off down Monkey Mountain road and on to the highway. Our first stop on the road to Orange was Braidwood for a pie (we are pie lovers as you will see). The pies were very ordinary but filled a gap for the journey to Canberra.
My first meeting was with the lovely Elise and her mum Suzie at Tilley’s wine bar in Lyneham. We met to discuss some design sketches I had done for Elise’s wedding dress. (Check out photographers Heart and the Sea’s engagement shoot with Elise and Jacob.)
Tilley’s is a much loved Canberra venue, with legendary bar food and great music. When I lived in Canberra, Tilley’s saved me from homesickness and it still has the same ambience and warmth that I remember. They serve magic sweet potato chips with sour cream and chilli, which uncharacteristically I was too busy talking to eat!
Afterwards I had to do a bit of backtracking to Kingston for another lovely client and her fascinating munchkin cats and then out to Collector where we were staying for the night with old friends. You can see their house from the highway a long way before you get to it. It’s like a cosy lighthouse on the hill to guiding you. We ate marvellous food (no surprises there ) and finished with some of Lois’s damson and elderberry hooch. If you look carefully you can see the word fizz, and it did!
We took the road to Orange in the morning via Collector for coffee at Some Cafe where all sorts of interesting people and things seemed to be going on, good food, a wine shop too…
Always so much to see on a road trip including the elegant arms of the Crookwell new wind turbines and the poses they strike, so much more pleasing than coal fired power stations.
I always stop at Vinnies in Crookwell and this time I was in luck, a black merino skivvy, unworn with its swingtag, marked down from $130 to $6. I love a bargain! And we had to sample the pies from the Coffee Buzz bakery, they were lovely old-fashioned how I remember them, pies.
It’s so exciting driving into Orange via Tuena, Blayney and Milthorpe eventually the road opens up into treelined avenues and wide streets. In autumn the golden and magenta leaved trees are dazzling. And like so many old towns the architecture is fascinating, every house is different from its neighbour. Summer street, the main street, is dominated by grand public buildings, parks and fabulous old pubs that loom over the main street resplendent with balconies for watching the ghosts of parades.
We have stayed at Leloma BnB in Orange for a few years now, an immaculately presented Nineteen Fifties house presided over by Neil who is the most charming and friendly host. He has all the goss on where to go and what to do and especially where’s good to eat. We ate at Stepping Stone which had absolutely beautiful food, simple delicate celebrating the ingredients from local producers, thank you Neil.
On Saturday I met the lovely Sarah of Bespoke Country Weddings. There was an instant rapport between us and we managed to ignore the stares of the Byng Street crowd as we swapped wedding stuff and I showed her my sketch book and talked about the process of Pearl Button. She would be the perfect planner for a wedding in the central west, she’s warm, enthusiastic and full of creative ideas. Check out her Instagram feed for inspiration.
We also hit the Orange farmers market, one of the best I’ve ever visited. Lots of Orange wine and beer and other drinks, fabulous apples, cheese, cakes and all the producers happy to talk about their goods. Sophie Hansen from Local Lovely was entertaining the crowd by cooking waffles with buttery apples with help from her kids. The band were singing crowd pleasers interspersed with jingles which they made up on the spot for a small fundraising fee. They did one for Pearl Button, but it wan’t very catchy and I can’t remember it.
Oh and our visit to the Orange regional gallery was something else!
On Sunday we had a few hours to fill before my fitting and we hit the Bathurst Artisan trail, a showcase of all the craft that exists in the central west region.
We met some amazing people, a coachbuilder, embroiderers, knitters, chain-mail makers, …unfortunately we ran out of time to see the Wiradjuri possum skin cloak makers and the River Yarners.
Amazingly at my afternoon fitting I got to hear about the possum skin cloaks and the River Yarners after all as Brit’s fiancee’s aunt is a River Yarner! The dress I’m doing for Brit has an amazing back story that I have written about in previous blogs. I’m no closer to finding out the mystery of the dress but I am closer to finishing it for her October wedding.