Thursday, December 24, 2009

And the winner is...

In September we lauched our, "Pay it Forward" competition where entrants were asked to tell us what they would do if they received $5000 of wedding photography absolutely free.

We received a number of fantastic entries and the competition was tough, but the lucky couple who have won $5000 of wedding photography from Savvy Studios are Dani and Paul from Holland Park. Dani is currently studying at university and has said that she will pay it forward by offering respite care to a family with a disabled daughter.

For anyone who has ever been in need of a respite carer or who has been a full-time carer of someone who needs the support; respite is always very needed and appreciated by the families who receive assistance. Dani's offer was heartfelt and I know she will really make a difference when she pays it forward.

Congratulations to Dani and Paul. We hope you have a great Christmas and look forward to catching up with you in the new year.

We would like to thank everyone for their entries. They were all very thoughtful and it was a lot of fun to read through them.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Pay it Forward - Finalists

Due to circumstances beyond our control, we have been delayed with posting the finalists entires to the blog, however we now present the entries as written in the words of each entrant...

1. Irene and Frank

Frank and I met while we were in high school. We have a mutual friend but never really talked to each other even though we're in the same hang out group. After school finished, everyone left for different studies at different unis at different cities. I just came out of a relationship at the time also so we went out together. Lunches and movies turned into dinners. Feelings developed between us. And here we are 7 years later. :)

The proposal is actually a long story so get comfortable.

Because Frank and I are Chinese heritage, even though he was born Taiwan (but has been here since he was 6) and I'm from Indonesia, the family pressure to get married was pretty obvious. We organised a family meeting for the first time on October last year. Frank had met my parent and vice versa but our parents never met each other as Frank's parents are in Brisbane and mine are in Indonesia. Pretty much since we sat down, the tension was on. I excused myself to go to the ladies and when I got back, the whole wedding conversation was on and heated. Frank's parents are more westernised and think it is Frank and mine decision when we want to get married. While my families think that it is not our decision but the parents to organise the wedding. At the end, we said that we were getting married at 2010 and both parents agreed. Lunch finished and I said to Frank, 'I guess we're engaged'.

Because of the whole debacles, I thought we had skipped the proposal part as bending on one knee and proposing is not a Chinese tradition. There has been a few personal problems in my family and Frank was telling me to get a holiday. He said he would organise something. He planned to go to Byron Bay for a weekend but couldn't get a good accomodation there. He decided on Tweed Heads. While we were walking along the footpath at the lookout near the beach, he looked right and left before bending to one knee. I was just shocked. He showed the ring and I was just speechless. He said that he rehearsed what he was going to say but he completely forgot it was. I said yes and told him to get up before people came. We hugged while he said a few words but it was a blur to me. I couldn't remember what he said at all.

He told me later on that he wrote on the booking for a room at the highest level possible as he was going to do it on the balcony facing the beach. But what we got was a room in level 1, overlooking the driveway and that's why he was taking me for a walk on the beach. I thought it was hilarious.

I'm not sure if my planned wedding is going to be "unique" per say. Our guests are going to be unique and different themselves so it's going to be interesting putting them in one room as they don't know each other. I tried to make my wedding as eco friendly as possible. There will be minimal decorations, locally sourced flowers, using recycled paper and envelopes for the invitations and other stationery. I think this is a difficult question to answer as I do believe that every wedding is unique even though they are the same. So to answer your question properly, what makes my wedding unique is because Frank Leigh and Irene Djasmeini are going to be there. :)

I think as the world becoming more violent and develops distrust, it is always important to be kind and helpful to everyone that I meet or pass on the street every day anyway. I love it when people would smile at me as I walk so I always try to smile to people I pass, unless when I'm running to catch a bus. :) I try to help out people I know when they are in trouble or just for them to whinge about their everyday life.
But if you are asking in term of monetary, I would say that I would use the money for my photographer's cost budget (around $1300) and distribute it to different charities. One that is close to my heart is animal welfare organisations. I would love for the world to be more caring for the animals. If we can't be kind to our defenseless animals, how can we be kind to fellow humans? I would also donate some of the money to children organisations like Braveheart and Abused Child Trust.

2. Lauren and Michael

Let me tell you how Michael & I believe in paying it forward.

We met out of blue. It was a sad day which ended up being quite a happy day. It turned out we knew the same people, one of which those people- Sonny was tragically murdered in Sunrise Beach 2006.
As we said our last goodbyes at the funeral, I spotted Michael out of the corner of my eye. Not thinking anything of it, I told one of my friends which turned out to be Michaels brothers girlfriend. It all started from there, she told Michael, he got my number and we pretty much went on a blind date a few days later and since that day we haven’t been apart.

I remember waking up to Michael walking into the room with big red roses and a tray with a stack of pancakes with a big smirk on his face. I guess I had a idea of what was going on, he then sat on the bed next to me, and ta da, he got on his knee already with tears and asked me to marry him. So now we are in the process of planning our very own and special day that’s why its unique- because its our day, 12.11.2010!!!

Through the last few years there have been ups and downs but most of all we thank our friend Sonny for bringing us together. If it wasn’t for him we probably wouldn’t be here, as tragic as his loss was we thank him from the bottom of our hearts!
So how we believe in paying this forward is by just being there for those people who have these losses in their lives, to just lend a shoulder.

3. Danielle and Paul

I met Paul online and was chatting for a number of years. My friend and I felt sorry that he had been stood up on new years so we invited him into Southbank with us. We figured it was safe enough with all the crowds. On our way to the meeting spot (second tree along the beach) I saw a stranger in the crowd poke his tongue out at me. Anyway, while we were waiting for Paul (at the wrong tree!) I couldn’t stop thinking about the stranger that poked his tongue out at me. Eventually when we figured out we were waiting at the second tree from the wrong end of the beach, we met Paul... and he was the guy in the crowd who I couldn’t stop thinking about. Paul and I remained friends for about 6 months before we hooked up as a couple.

Paul asked me if I wanted to go out for dinner one night, but because I was busy studying all day I said... “I’m in my pyjamas and I’m way too tired!” So that destroyed his first attempt... the next day Paul asked if I wanted to go watch a movie at Southbank, and have lunch at our favourite restaurant. After much coaxing to get me out of my ‘study mode’ Paul and I bought tickets to the movie then went to have lunch. Once we had finished lunch, I was rushing Paul because we were going to be late to the movie. We’d finished lunch and Paul said he wasn’t quite finished yet... “I’m going to fill my drink bottle and wait for you out the front.” I said as I was getting up from the table. Little did I know that he was planning to propose. As we were walking away from the restaurant, I noticed a strange look on his face and pestered him until he told me. He got on one knee, and proposed out the back of the restaurant because I was too busy rushing him to get to the movie.

I intend to have my friend’s heavy metal band play a rock ballad as I walk down the aisle in a beautiful old school church (Graceville uniting).

I will provide respite care for a family I know who has a disabled daughter and really need the support that they don’t get now that she’s in (special needs) high school.

4. Jason and Diana

I met Diana when we were in Melbourne and she was there for a placement with work, she knew a housemate and stayed with us for a few nights, that few nights is still running today, you could say she landed on my doorstep.

We like to go out to nice restaurants and on her graduation night I said I was taking her out for Dinner to celebrate, we ordered champagne at the start of the meal at Moo Moos on the Gold Coast, when the champagne arrived, I surprised her by getting down on my knee and asking her to marry me.

We both come from different cultures sot eh wedding will have both a Lebanese and Australian theme to it, we want to make sure our guest have a great night and enjoy the extras that we plan to include in the wedding. (Fireworks etc)

If we won the free photography we would pay it forward by inviting guests that may not be able to make it here and helping to pay for their travels so they can be a part of this special occasion. We did it for the engagement party but would be unable to for the Main Day.

5. Lauren and Trent

My partner was holidaying on the Gold Coast from New Zealand, we met through one
of my girl friends, which was his cousin by marriage. We spent the next three weeks
of his holiday together. He decided he was going to move back over. When I dropped him to the airport I gave him my mothers wedding ring and said if you are going to move back you can give it to me then if you are not coming back post it to my home address.

He flew back home, and planned to tie up any loose ends in New Zealand to move back to the Gold Coast. He was due to fly in on new years day, how ever a seat become available on another flight and he arrived the 30th of December.

The proposal happened 5 years to the day that we met and got together. We were celebrating our 5 year anniversary having lunch at a resturaunt in Coolangata. After lunch I suggested that we go and sit on the beach. We were walking down to the pathway and Trent said he had left his phone in the car and had to go back to get it (he was getting the ring out of the car boot and calling his mum to tell her he was about to propose) We sat and talked for a while. Trent telling me how special I was and how lucky he was to have met me ect, and asking questions like can you still see yourself spending the rest of your life with me? I hadn't actually realized what was about to happen and I was saying lets go, I am so full from eating to much. Trent said can we just wait a minute, just stand there - he was on one knee and was so nervous, I thought something was wrong! I said are you okay babe? Whats wrong. I think he was almost shaking, but he started smiling and pulled out a box with a ring in it. I was truly shocked and was not expecting this one. He then asked if I would spend the rest of my life with him, and would I marry him. Of course I said yes. After some kisses and cuddles Trent called his mum (so cute) And we called
friends and family - quite a few people already knew!! We then celebrated the after noon with a few drinks with friends.

Our planned wedding is unique as we wanted to do things different to a traditional wedding. At first we were going to take a friend each and go overseas and then come back married, but we knew we may have some regrets.

We are planning to have a nice wedding but on a budget, I am joining the police force next year and my weekly wage will decrease to $500 therefore we are having to save for a wedding and extra money to cover my financial commitments whilst in the academy for 7 months, so this won't be as elaborate as some of the weddings we have attended.

My family is huge and Trent only has his Mum, Nan, Aunt and a cousin. We decided to do a small intimate wedding with close friends and some family around 30ish guests basically because we are both scaredy cats to get up in front of 80-100 people and do speeches and that kind of thing. Our wedding will probably be unique compared to most couples for a few reasons - Trent and I will be getting married on our 9 year anniversary and my parents have not yet met Trents family.

We mainly want to do a nice reception with food and drinks but leave out the bridal waltz and the throwing of the bouquet and the garter, we don't want to do the normal traditional stuff just relax and enjoy ourselves with people we most care about.
We wanted to also have our dog Rusty an English Staffy at the ceremony who we bought on our 7 year anniversary, but will need to see if we can get approval from the council, we want him to be ring bearer and carry the rings on a pillow tied to his back.

You may have seen the movie the secret? And I believe what you give out is what you get back. We believe what goes around comes around, the biggest thing I can do is give back to the community and I will be doing this in my new career every day. I enjoy motivating people and helping succession plan for there future, and to try and help people realize their own potential. I am a retail manager and Trent is a landscaper we will pay if forward by volunteering our time to help others that need it what ever it may be, putting others first.

And if you are a smoker, I have recommended a book called "How to stop smoking the easy way" by Alan Karr to everyone I know, I have been a non smoker for 11 months and plenty of people that have read the book are too.

6. Megan and Liam

My name is Megan and here is our story. I first met Liam back in 2005. I used to work with Liam’s brother Jesse. When we first met I was in a relationship. So Liam occasionally asked his brother about me, and every now and then Liam would turn up at a concert with Jesse. And when finally one day Jesse came home and said, “guess who’s single?” and then proceeded to set us up through dinners etc. We didn’t really date we just hung out all the time, and considering my first impression of Liam was that he was a little strange, well turns out he is very strange and that is why I love him so much. I fell for him pretty quickly. He doesn’t care what people think and he brings happiness to me everyday (he cleans and cooks!!).

We have been together for almost 3 years. And for the better part of 2 years I have been suffering with arthritis. Without him I don’t know where I would be. It has been tough, but it has shown me just how much someone can really love you, no matter what. So we went on our first holiday together only this last July. We went to Asia.

Liam actually bought the ring on a whim and kept it for 6 months waiting for our trip!!! Liam decided Thailand was a great place to propose, and I have to say it was a surprise – he is not normally a romantic. He brazenly carried it around in a shared backpack for 2 days first, by the time we got to Thailand he instantly relaxed (I couldn’t work out why), he just seemed uptight in Malaysia.

We went for cocktails, beers and dinner at this restaurant in the sand around sunset. It was absolutely gorgeous, our food was great, and it was just so wonderful. So we went for a little walk along the beach after dinner, and I was watching a lantern be released into the night sky, whilst Liam got the ring out behind me. He tapped me on the shoulder and opened the box. I was so caught up in emotion I can’t remember what he said, or if he said anything. I got teary and said, ” yes of course”. We continued up the beach on our walk and I was beaming ear to ear. Further down the beach there were fireworks by some coincidence, but it felt like they were for us. I still tease him that he took a risk asking my on the first night in Thailand, we still had 2 weeks to get through if I had said no!

Our wedding is going to be unique but not in an elaborate circus trapeze and gymnast kind of way. And Anne Campbell will be there in her usual attire hopefully. It’s going to be just a relaxed cocktail party at Hillstone. I really want to have fun with my family and friends, nothing too formal. We just want it to be a fun celebration of our love. Liam is totally crazy (pot calling kettle black) and has suggested he just get the guy from work to take the pictures (keeping in mind he is a police officer and you know what they take pictures of…..) I really hope he was joking. Please save me from this fate! Haha. He also has a friend that was involved in a “naked wedding” from one of the radio stations, and well that’s definitely not an option – for everyone’s sake. I want to have a bit of Africa at our wedding, because I was born there. So I am thinking delicate decorations, of flowers and earthy tones. But then surprise my guests, with a performance from an interactive African dance group, drums dancing and the like. It should be awesome fun, that way I can bring a part of home to the party. I think both the South Africans and the Aussies will enjoy it!

My answer to this last part simple, I want to raise money for a cause very close to my heart the “Shave for a Cure”. I can’t work full time at the moment and I don’t own my own business, so I’m not able to give my own money freely. But I work for a really big company, and I intend to pay it forward by doing the shave for a cure the year after the wedding, it is usually in March. I work in the Cytology department at S&N pathology. And a close family friend has suffered for years as he has Leukaemia. I would aim to raise as much money as possible, and because I am growing my hair a bit longer for the wedding it should be a reasonable length by then and difficult to part with, and everyone knows how much I love my hair! So if I raise money for the shave, our company usually matches what we raise dollar for dollar up to a certain amount. I won’t put a figure on it at this early stage, but I will approach EVERYONE I meet and businesses and make it very worthwhile. I have been talking about doing it for a few years, but I have never put my mind to it and just done it. I know it’s not a unique thing to do. But it is a very big thing for me. I hope you think it is enough.

Thank you for having this competition. I think it is a great idea just because it gets you thinking, what have I done lately?


It was a difficult job to sort through the emails but these are the entries that stood out for a variety of reasons. Congratulations to all the finalists!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Savvy Studios Unique Wedding Competition - How Will You "Pay it Forward"?

Remember... It can be sometimes be the small things that make a wedding unique or it can be something totally outrageous. Share all of it and don’t be shy! You just never know...

Hi, and welcome to the “Unique Wedding” competition.

Both Alex and Alicia believe in, “paying it forward”. This means when you receive a kindness, you pass along that kindness to the next person. Alex and Alicia have been showered and humbled by the amazing generosity of many of their friends and family over the last few years that they wanted to take the opportunity to, “pay it forward”, to the next person; and that person could be YOU.

Alicia and Alex have put together the ultimate wedding photography package to give away to one lucky couple, absolutely FREE. The wedding package includes coverage of the bride and groom preparation, ceremony, location photos and full reception coverage by both of them. It also includes a photo slideshow presentation at the wedding reception as well as a 40 side/ 20 page wedding album and the high resolution images on a disc. This is valued at well over $5000.

To be in the running for this fantastic prize, you need to send an email to addressing the following points:
- Your names
- Contact details
- Proposed wedding date
- How you met your partner
- Describe the proposal
- What makes your planned wedding, “unique”?
- How will you, “pay it forward” – if you receive your wedding photography absolutely free, how will you repay that, ‘kindness’ elsewhere?

To be eligible, your proposed wedding date needs to fall between February 1st, 2010 and December 1st 2010.

Entries close 1st December 2009. Ten finalists will be selected and interviewed with a winner being announced on 24th December 2009.

Please share this link around to anyone who you think might be eligible and interested! We can't wait to read your emails and stories and find out about your wedding day and how you will pay it forward.

Good luck!

~ Alicia and Alex

Terms and conditions
* Prize is not redeemable for cash and is not transferable
* Prize is forfeited if the date of the wedding is changed after the winner had been announced.
* Entry is open to any couple intending on having their wedding within Australia.
* If the wedding is held outside of the South East Qld area, the winning couple will be responsible for the travel and accommodation costs for two photographers for at least two nights (night before and night of the wedding).
* For this competition, South East Qld is considered as being anywhere within two hours drive of Brisbane city.
* Any information you submit for this competition may be used on the “Savvy Studios” website, blog or facebook page. * Email, street addresses and other contact details will not be made public or available to a third party at any time and will only be used by, “Savvy Studios” to contact you in regards to this competition.