It was love that led Robyn Bull to Gippsland, and it was love that motivated her career change into publishing. I do I do Gippsland, Robyn’s magazine, showcases couples’ love-filled wedding days. Maybe Johnny Lennon was right? All you need is love!
Gippslandia chatted with Robyn to learn more about the celebrations of love that are blooming all over our region.
Can you please share your tale of coming to Gippsland? What led you to kick-off I do I do Gippsland?
I was living in Bendigo and followed my own ‘love story’: deciding to relocate so that I could be with my beautiful partner. I moved to Traralgon in September 2016, and by October that year, I had started I do I do Gippsland.
This was a pertinent turning point in my life, and career, as I had been working for approximately 15 years in private practice as a psychotherapist, and business and life coach. At that time, the amazing work I was doing with clients was very hardcore trauma work. My speciality was around depression and anxiety, and when I look back to three years ago, I guess I was looking for something that allowed me to bring my wisdom, healing work, creativity and passion to a bolder medium that was more loving and kind. I feel now that I am exactly where I am meant to be: sharing love, paying it forward and making a difference in a softer way. I am inspired every day and feel incredibly blessed doing what I love.
Also, I would often hear how many brides and grooms would travel to Melbourne to seek out their vendors. My intention and vision for I do I do Gippsland is to provide a beautiful and inspiring resource for brides and grooms. We showcase how amazing Gippsland is so that brides and grooms know the quality and creativity of the many vendors here and to encourage them to shop locally. My other inspiration is to bring more brides and grooms to Gippsland.
Please provide some background on I do I do Gippsland? How do you celebrate weddings?
We celebrate all kinds of love. Our theme is that we are a ‘Magazine and Wedding Fair of Intimate Love, Courage + Togetherness’. I look for real weddings that showcase the many pockets of Gippsland. We aim to inspire the bride and groom that are on a tighter budget, so that they can create a beautiful wedding too. My purpose is to bring Gippsland together, to stand as a leader through the magazine and to continually provide inspiration.
Since starting the magazine, how do you feel the wedding industry has evolved in Gippsland?
In the past three years, I have seen the fruition of many changes; notably, what was once predominantly traditional is now the couple’s creative choice. I see how brides and grooms are stepping away from the tradition of a ‘sit down’ wedding and enjoying personal and creative freedom. There is a desire to create ‘spaces of love’, e.g. DIY, marquee weddings in the backyard; tipis; the sourcing of amazing stylists, planners and coordinators; the first look; the rise of smaller, intimate weddings, surprise weddings, as well as elopements; the seemingly stunning creativity of our photographers; not to mention the growth of quirky and varied food trucks with fun names that offer great backdrops and joy for wedding photos that step away from the norm.
Now, I see that a wedding can be created or formed in any way that you want. These dynamic changes have also made our vendors change as well, and it has created more incredible businesses. This has really given an outlet for more people with entrepreneurial spirits.
Also, I am truly in love with, and in awe of, the legislation around same-sex marriage and I love, love, love that equality has a stronger voice. We proudly feature same-sex weddings.
What are some of the many different ways that Gippslandians celebrate their love for each other?
I often hear how couples connect with their values, what is important to them and what inspires them, and they then find their ceremony location and theme for their wedding based on their connection to an area or a memory. Then they gather the vendors that align with their vision and budgets, making weddings that have more meaning and heart.
In our fourth edition, we are featuring a wedding of a couple who have two little girls and the groom has a terminal illness. I truly can’t wait to share this incredible love story. It isn’t just about the couple’s journey, but to provide a gift to their daughters of their Mum and Dad’s love story in the form of a printed piece that will last for years to come. I have heard about how heartfelt and heart-connecting this wedding was, with many tears falling. The girls will have a beautiful and sacred keepsake that will help them as they journey through life without their Dad.
This is what I do I do Gippsland is about — sharing love stories with so much ‘love’.
Why do you think that celebrations of love are important?
In a world that is often challenged by what I call ‘life’, love is the essence. I think we are all seeking love. Who doesn’t love a great ‘love story’? Love brings us together and love is our healer.
How can we celebrate love better in Gippsland?
– Be love.
– Be more kind.
– Be inspired by our elders.
– Be present.
– Follow your heart.
Come back to what is meaningful and real (social media is great, but don’t compare yourself to what is online, as we know this is often not the truth).
How has social media and the Internet influenced weddings?
Social media shares ‘love’ in such a profound way. It inspires and plants seeds for more beauty. For example, Pinterest is an exciting and influential tool that makes us all want to deserve more. For me, it creates so much inspiration and passion. It is a medium that gives brides and grooms the opportunity to create a wedding that is true to them and I believe it brings out more creativity.
Conversely, Pinterest makes it look easy, and not everything you see on Pinterest can be created, e.g. your wedding floral displays — we may not grow that particular flower or it may not be available at certain times of the year
Since covering weddings in Gippsland, what has surprised you the most?
When I first moved to Gippsland, I had never been here before. It was such an amazing time. I would just drive to every area of Gippsland, often not knowing where I was going and I would get lost. But I found pockets of Gippsland that are simply breathtaking. I found people that are so passionate and inspiring, who are doing what they love in the most amazing way. The biggest thing I noticed was people’s creativity. I absolutely love creativity!
When I first chatted with people I would say, ‘You have some of the finest, most sought after, inspiring and creative people I have ever met!’. From florists to caterers, makeup and hair artists, to the quirky names of caravan bars — I have been constantly surprised and delighted. There is true artistry here in Gippsland and it is great to be part of it.
Does spending a large portion of your time hearing about weddings and working with the wedding industry ever affect your outlook on this celebration?
I am continually inspired and truly feel my role as the editor of I do I do Gippsland is to share love stories with honesty, beauty and heart. Every now and again, I hear a story about a ‘bridezilla’ (and do feel sad for this person’s journey, as this isn’t the essence of love) or someone that doesn’t come from a place of acceptance around same-sex marriage, and this makes me feel sad. I value love in its entirety and whether you are black, white, gay, lesbian, pink or purple, to me ‘love is love’. This just creates a stronger determination to plant bolder seeds for change. When I see a gap or come across ‘fear’ in its finest form, it is an opportunity to be better, and I will write an article for the next issue that is a new seed that brings more tolerance and acceptance, as well as kindness.
Finally, Robyn, could you please provide some tips for those getting married?-
– Listen to your heart.
– Definitely have a budget.
– Source the incredible vendors of Gippsland and shop locally as much as you can.
– Ask questions.
– Be inspired by Pinterest, but don’t let it rule you.
– Create a vision board for your own ‘love story’ and wedding.
– Write your own vows.
– Honour your celebrant and know the importance of your celebrant.
– Make sure you create your wedding exactly as you want.