The White Tree’s Launch in WA
Earlier this year we launched The White Tree in Perth. When we made the decision to expand to the WA market we had a few people within and without the business advising against it. Rhetoric such as “the Perth economy has come to a grinding halt. The mining dollar ain’t what it used to be” or “Perth’s like a country town…any top creatives up and leave for the east coast” were things that were mentioned to us.
We obviously listened to these opinions and did our research…but our gut instinct kept telling us to give it a bash. Despite the absent mining boom and the smaller population, there still appeared to be enough potential to justify the expansion. Margaret River alone is home to thousands of weddings a year.
So we shielded ourselves from some of the doubting connections and embarked upon a series of reconnaissance trips from Sydney to Perth.
We soon realised that despite the slowing mining industry and some associated transient business people moving back to the east coast, the true Perth population obviously remained, and Perth as a city, seemed focussed on reinventing itself and developing a whole heap of industries that would invigorate its economy, whether that be tourism, auxiliary natural resources, education (and yes the renowned WAPA seriously does produce some of the country’s best musicians), sport, the restaurant and cafe scene, food and wine, or the arts.
PERTH’S ARTS & NIGHTLIFE
We would walk the streets of hot spots like Leederville, Mt Lawley and Northbridge and stumble across an awesome restaurant or bar every 10 metres. “The Bird” on William Street has become one of our faves and “Lucky Chan’s” for more drinks and late night ramen is the absolute bomb. For great live music of an international standard you can’t go past venues like The Ellington, The Rosemount, Laneway Lounge…and new venues that are gaining notoriety – such as The Good Shepherd in Leederville.
We even came across some incredible indie acts at El Grotto…primarily a tequila bar serving Mexican food…but they also put on awesome gigs featuring Perth’s finest.
During the day, you’re then spoilt for choice with miles and miles of beaches. Seriously if you are into food, wine, music and surfing…you should consider a move to Perth!
NETWORKING WITH THE WA SCENE
People have often asked us how we start The White Tree in a new market. Some people even get confused and ask us if we fly people in and out of Sydney or Melbourne (the answer is no by the way). Quite simply, we take our brand ethos along with our systems, booking processes and marketing ideas…and then throw ourselves into the local scene to find talented and willing creatives.
There’s definitely a skill to finding awesome musicians, photographers and filmmakers who are prepared to work within the confines of a wedding or event. For some artists, they refuse to do this sort of work, for several reasons…and that’s totally cool. We respect that. However most of the time, the people we connect with are creative freelancers who are happy to diversify. More than that, they see the benefits of having a range of income streams.
When we step off a plane and start our “scouting work”, we’re also careful to respect the local scene and the talented established players. There are so many awesome wedding bands, cool wedding photographers and talented filmmakers in Perth and WA at large. So we try to look at the space we can occupy within the existing market…and how we can add a positive dimension to the scene…not just for potential clients…but also for the musicians, photographers and filmmakers who will work with us. This is important to us, ethically speaking. We want to feel that when we launch in a new city, we’re genuinely offering something new and original.
We’ve already found heaps of talented musicians, photographers and filmmakers in Perth who are ready and raring to go for WA weddings and events. And stylistically, they were all already pretty in line with the way we do things. We do have to talk to photographers and filmmakers about nitty gritty things such as composition and post-production techniques, and chat to the musicians about repertoire, but by and large the cohesion and quality control issues have been a breeze.
SHOWCASING IN WA
When we launch in a new city, a key challenge is finding a live venue where we can hold our regular showcases. These are an awesome platform for clients to come along and check out our Perth musicians in a live setting, and to chat to our booking managers and shooters about our photography and film service.
At the showcase, all of our Perth singers (male and female) are in attendance, so you can come down and choose your faves. Seriously, if you’re looking for an awesome Perth wedding band we strongly suggest checking them out live first!! Booking a cover band purely based on their song list, audio samples and film clips online is pretty risky in our opinion. The best wedding bands in Perth will hold live public gigs so you see and hear the band and get a true depiction of what they will be like on the night of your wedding or event.
When we were looking to find a live venue in Perth, we were obviously thinking about our target market (from a geographic point of view) and then what venues suit our brand aesthetically speaking.
For the first 9 or so months, we opted to hold our showcases at an incredibly beautiful venue in Fremantle, called Guild Hall. Ashley (who is the events planner there) and the two owners have become good friends of our business. They were incredibly supportive of our early expansion – their attitude to doing business and the industry at large is very similar to ours. We should also mention that if you’re after an awesome WA wedding venue that has great food and drinks, perfect in door/outdoor flows and an incredible planning team…then you should definitely consider Guild Hall. We’ve played there for our showcases and also numerous private weddings and events…and the nights have always been a raging success.
Recently however, we have shifted from Fremantle to Perth for our showcases, opting for an inner city venue that’s a little more accessible for the bulk of our clientele. Last month we kicked off our new showcase venue home at The Laneway Lounge on Murray Street. This venue has great cocktails, food and a stylish bar and band area. We showcase every few weeks at Laneway. Entry is free and it’s a case of the more the merrier. Our next showcase is Thursday September 21. More details here
Yes, many great Perth wedding bands hold similar events…but we’d like to think The White Tree version is that little more spesh! You have a full 8 piece band and Perth’s best singers performing everything from Bohemian Rhapsody and I Will Survive, to Ed Sheeran, Mumford & Sons and Tay Tay.
BANDS Vs DJs
One thing we’ve certainly noticed about the Perth wedding music market is that many couples prefer the idea of a DJ to a live band. When we started attending bridal fairs in Perth (such as One Fine Day) and chatted to local couples about this issue, it was surprising to us how many wanted DJs over live bands. Hailing from Melbourne originally, we at The White Tree have known it to be the other way round, that is, more people book bands over DJs. But there’s no right or wrong, and perhaps it’s a shifting trend with the next generation of brides and grooms.
Regardless, when we expanded to WA we soon decided to extend our live music offering to feature bands and DJs. Now, admittedly, our DJ service is rather basic. We’re essentially a service involving a PA system , mixer, and a lap top with Spotify. But in our opinion, that’s the set up most professional wedding DJs are using anyway…they just don’t tell you that!
We’re also very happy for brides and grooms to connect their own wedding play list via Spotify to our system if they prefer. We’re not precious in this department so whatever works for the couple and their guests, that works for us!
In regards to the pros and cons of a DJ vs a live band, check out our recent blog about this topic…as there are many things to consider!
Note – we do offer wedding band and DJ combos which seems to be a great fit for a high percentage of Perth wedding couples. All of our WA wedding band and DJ prices are online so we encourage to check these out: http://thewhitetree.com.au/order/#step-1
WA WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY & FILM
We’ve been amazed by how many awesome wedding photographers Perth has to offer. When we first hung out in WA, we were lucky enough to meet the amazing Amanda Alessi, who introduced us to some fine local photographers. Amanda’s own photography work is amazing by the way…check her out! Through Amanda and several other connections we soon had three photographers on board with us who are incredible shooters and personality wise, they are perfectly in line with The White Tree “vibe”, which is very much that candid, relaxed, journalistic and documentary style of photography and the personal demeanour to match.
Wedding photographers in Perth are lucky to have some amazing backdrops to work with. The Margaret River landscapes are an absolute joy to work with. We’ve already been lucky enough to photography and film James & Emma’s incredible wedding at Gilgara in Maragaret River. We were actually also the band for these guys…so the trifecta!
There are also some amazing inner city wedding venues in Perth that are equally fun to shoot. We’ve been really impressed by the internal and external options at venues like Perth City Farm, The Flour Factory and Lamont’s Bishop’s House. We actually shot one of our favourite wedding films (ever!) at Lamont’s Bishop’s house. Amazing styling, great food and wine and an incredible group of people. *As Essendon fans we were particularly stoked to shoot alongside Jobe Watson!
You can view this film here:
Ben & Tess – Film
WHERE TO NOW?
We’ve now got two legendary booking managers in charge of our WA operations – Matt and Joe (you may have been chatting with them!). Matt is one of Perth’s best wedding singers and guitarists…and all round great bloke! He’s also married to the lovely Chiara who runs an awesome local wedding furniture business called Owl & Bear (check them out!). Matt and Chiara have been a huge help in setting up The White Tree successfully in Perth.
We also have Joe Southwell as our second booker. Joe is one of Perth’s most in-demand bass players and he has been instrumental in connecting us to WA’s most talented musicians. We are extremely fortunate to have Matt and Joe on board and for any of you WA couples out there, trust us, you are in safe hands with these guys as your point of contact!
Matt and Joe share The White Tree vision which focuses on high quality service, a general sense of fun, creative boldness…and when it comes to the band…the “three E’s”…which we see as the vital ingredients of an awesome wedding band = Energy, Entertainment and Engagement.
If you’re getting married and you want the best wedding band in Perth, or you want cool and creative wedding photography and film concepts then please don’t hesitate to contact Matt or Joe…or rock along to one of our live showcases at The Laneway Lounge.
We are here to stay in WA…and we can’t wait to deliver The White Tree goodness to hundreds of WA couples in the future, and work alongside what is a incredibly talented list of WA events suppliers.
Thanks for reading and see you at a wedding or event soon WA!