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SJ & Mark’s New Years Eve Country Wedding

by | Australia - New South Wales, Bride, Inspired Weddings,


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SJ & Mark

SJ and Mark put so much thought into their New Years Eve country wedding – every element had to have a story and reflect their loves and their life together. Each part of the day was carefully planned and sourced to create their vision, all photographed by Tracy Beveridge Photography.

 SJ tells the story of how they came to be. “My good friend Lou and I had moved back from London about 9 months ago and since getting home, she had met her now husband – Rob. I was not looking for a relationship at all, very eager to spend some time by myself, yet Rob and Lou were convinced that I HAD to meet Rob’s best mate, Mark. A lot of events started popping up where Mark was going to be at, which I continued to avoid. There was one encounter at Customs House Bar where we did actually meet, where SJ was infamously known amongst friends to later tell Lou that she wasn’t ‘enamoured’.

As Mark said on our wedding website, the couple that couldn’t make a match in a match factory filled with pre-made matches, persisted with their belief that Mark and SJ could be brought together. Rob had his 35th birthday – for the ninth time. For reasons that are still entirely unclear, Mark and SJ were the only invites to the dinner part of this event, which now on reflection was clearly part of a cunning plan! Over dinner Mark’s inimitable charm and wit kicked into action and an everlasting relationship started after a dance off at the Boat Shed and a kiss at a Westpac ATM, with Mark uttering those immortal words “Am I pushing the right buttons”. t ”

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The day started just as relaxed as the bride had hoped, she tells, “On the morning of the wedding, my bridesmaids went back to their cabins for breakfast so I could get some sleep after a bad night’s sleep. 15 minutes after they left, my step mum sent a pic of my dad, brother and nephew having a celebratory champagne in the spa on their balcony with a breathtaking view of the valley. I put on my swimmers and a robe and ducked through the property to their cabin. By the time I got there, my brother and nephew had left but my Dad was all ready for a glass of champers. We jumped in the spa, surrounded by gum trees and overlooking the most perfect view, and chatted and celebrated the day ahead. My bridesmaids tracked me down an hour later, with a couple of champagnes under our belt.

My bridesmaid, Tash, who until now had worked to ensure I got a good night sleep, was hydrated and fed healthy food, realised my dad and I were a force to be reckoned with, so both girls put their feet in and we sat and chatted about the day ahead, about the world in general, and had another glass of champers. It truly was the most magical start to the day.”

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Of their photographer, SJ notes, “I have two words for Tracy- girl crush. I just adore her in lots of ways, partly because of her amazing talent, but also because she is a beautiful soul and she really was a support to me on the day. When we started looking for a photographer, we looked through quite a few and none of them fit, but as soon as I saw Tracy’s work I knew I had found ‘the one’. Her ability to capture natural, in- the- moment photos really struck a chord with both of us, so before we had even met her we had decided. After meeting her, her easy-going yet professional nature assured us that she was who we wanted.

She had arranged for my Dad and I to do a ‘first look’ so when my poor dad arrived at the time we had told him but I was only just getting started, Tracy was the one that looked after him. She arranged for my step daughters to give my Dad the gift I was meant to give him, and did things to ensure we weren’t even later. When we got to the venue, she was there with a bottle of water for me, to have someone take my bag so I could walk down the aisle. She went above and beyond. But also, her photos – amazing! We have had SO many comments on them.”

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“It was really important to me that I was able to bring in something from Mark’s parents’ wedding. Mark’s Mum, Olly, gave me some little trinkets that she had on the bouquet for her wedding, and our amazing florist Ash tied them on the ribbons on my own bouquet.”

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“As my Dad and I were walking down the aisle, he patted my hand. He told me what a beautiful day it was, how beautiful I looked, and how proud of me he was. That he “had a lot of time” for Mark and that he really really liked him and looked forward to spending more time with him, Sofia and Jasmine. As we got closer to where everyone was standing, he patted my hand more firmly and noted the beautiful breeze and how it was coming through the trees. He totally talked me through the long walk down the aisle.”

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Of her walk down the aisle, SJ remembers, “I chose the Emile Sand acoustic version of ‘Next to me’. It still gives me goosebumps every time I hear it. When I first heard it, I just thought it was so perfect. I listened to others but it was the only one that felt so right and that brought a tear to my eye. Every. Single. Time. One day we were driving to Tocal to show Mark’s two daughters the venue, and I played it for them. When I played it with all of us in the car, I knew it was even more perfect. Mark isn’t just Next to Me, he is next to the 3 of us, all the time.”

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Tocal Homestead was chosen by SJ and Mark for their ceremony and reception, SJ noting, “While we live in Sydney, we wanted somewhere we could get away to, and was set amongst natural environment. We both had in our mind a renovated barn for the reception that we could have a big family dinner in, followed by a great party. We found Tocal Homestead through Google searches and had decided on it before we saw it ‘in the flesh’.”

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Victoria Langham performed the ceremony, SJ remembering, “We did our own vows, which no one knew we were going to do. We both started our vows with ‘I stand here today, the luckiest woman/man alive, ready to enter this marriage with my heart wide open’.

I vowed to ‘listen when you need to talk and give you time for silence when you need it, and gather my strength when yours is failing’. I promised that ‘When life gives you a lemon, I will be right next to you with tequila and salt. I will love you through sickness and health and care for you, but can’t promise my patience won’t waiver in times of man flu or if the sickness is due to too much tequila’.

Marks vows included, “You allow me to soar as high as I dare, yet dance to our beat. I promise to be the best that I can be, to provide you with the independence and support so that you can be your truest self and sing your own song.” More importantly though, he promised ‘I will always laugh with you and occasionally at you. When I do laugh at you, if it is in public, I will do my best to create the illusion it is with you’.”

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“Mark’s two daughters were our amazing flower girls and before we swapped rings, the celebrant gave them to the girls for a ‘ring warming’. They held them in their little hands, warmed them and thought of their best wishes for us. It was such a nice way to have them more included in the ceremony.”

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“When our celebrant Vicki announced us as husband and wife, that was the best feeling! I felt elated, I turned to my new husband and gave him a high ten- we were both really ecstatic!”

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“We celebrated our marriage on New Years Eve (2014) – it was the perfect day for a wedding. Everyone was in party mode and we were able to bring in the New Year as husband and wife. Our ceremony was under a beautiful giant Moreton Bay fig tree at the stunning Tocal Homestead in Paterson, NSW. Friends and family traveled from as far as the UK and NZ to share an amazing long weekend with us. We wanted to celebrate our marriage and welcome in the New Year in the same way we wanted to live the rest of our lives together – surrounded by our family and nearest and dearest friends, having a brilliant time!”

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“Because there are so many beautiful spots at Tocal, we also didn’t need to leave the venue for photos, which was a big plus – we took an hour out and got all of our pictures done amongst the barns and in the beautiful paddocks and could then get straight back to the party. The location made for the most stunning photos!!! ”

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The Wedding Designer styled the wedding, SJ remembering, “Jess and her team are absolutely amaaazing to work with. They were booked up for New Years Eve but squeezed us in for a ‘full design package’, and they absolutely made our vision come true. They helped us to create a personal, ‘rustic elegance’ with New Year sparkle, theme. Monik in graphics nailed our vibe, Jess and Mac brought our style together brilliantly, and Ash’s flowers – wow. As a team, they were so fabulous to work with. Every time we met with them I would come away so excited, as they took our ideas or gave us their own, and pulled them altogether with so much style. Could not recommend them highly enough.”

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The Wedding Designer also created the floral arrangements for the day. “I gave Ash our budget and our vibe, told her my favourite flowers in the world were peonies, a couple of Pinterest pics and then gave her creative license to do what she wanted. The flowers that she ended up doing for us were better than anything I actually could’ve imagined. Even if I had given her direction, I wouldn’t have been able to describe what she did and I wouldn’t have been as happy. They really were absolutely beyond perfect.

For the reception she did similar flowers to our bouquets in a variety of different jars and vases. Knowing our blue, blush and gold theme, she then spray painted leaves with gold and hung them in bunches from the roof. They looked absolutely amazing.”

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As with everything at the wedding – dessert was in abundance with plenty of touches from SJ and Mark. “We had a dessert buffet with lots of jars of our favourite lollies, and then we each chose our fave dessert. I chose Hummingbird cake, Sofia chose lemon pie, Jasmine chose lamingtons, and Mark’s favourite is his Mum’s pavlova. We asked his mum to make some mini pavlovas for us, which we turned into a ‘pimp your pavlova’ bar so had bowls of berries, mint crisp, cream etc.”

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“Mark’s daughters had some little plastic animals that I found while I was cleaning up a cupboard, that I spray painted gold and covered in glitter. By the end of the project, I needed to be held back from spray painting our whole house gold. We used these on the tables as decorations, and spread through the lolly bar. I bought some glass jars that looked like the Roses marmalade jars, and asked family members to collect glass jars, which I used glue spray in and then also covered in glitter. They were used to put candles in on the tables.”

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“For the table plan, we had postcards for each guest that were on an old postcard spinning rack. On each postcard it had the guests’ name on the front, with an individual message to each guest on the back. It was one of those personal touches that our guests told us they really loved.”

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“After photos, everyone was in the reception and we were introduced as the new Mr and Mrs Hayward by my brother with Beautiful Day by U2 blasting. It was the most epic feeling walking into a room of your favourite people like that!”

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Eden Catering worked on a feasting style menu for the reception, SJ noting, “We wanted a family banquet feel, with share plates in the middle that everyone could get into. Spatchcock, slow cooked lamb, salmon, salads. The food was absolutely amazing, which was important to us as real foodies ourselves. We still get messages drooling about the food. They also did a great job of presenting it in funky pots, chunky wooden boards, etc- it really matched the theme.”

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“The speeches were really brilliant. My brother, Dave, was the emcee and did a really great job. Two of my friends from the UK had done a telegram video, singing ‘Love on Top’ by Beyonce between their best wishes message. Dave also helped my Dad with an ‘audiovisual speech’ where he finished his speech with a photo slide show to a song that Dave and I heard a million times as we grew up. There were lots of funny pics from my childhood through to awkward teens.”

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The speeches continued, “Mark’s daughters, Sofia and Jasmine, also did the most beautiful little speeches each. Mark had worked with them to do it- they welcomed each of my family members, and said why they were excited about me being their new step mum. Jasmine said it’s because I give her good cuddles and call her my blueberry crumble. Sofia said she can tell me anything and I won’t tell… cue tears”.”

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Carlo From El Paso Dance Studio choreographed the couple’s first dance, SJ remembering, “As it was NYE we wanted to change the tempo after dinner to ring in the party and NYE celebrations. We elected to do a mash-up of Tarrus Rielly’s ‘Love Situation’ with Michael Jackson’s “The Way You Make Me Feel”, which combined a slow dance with a very upbeat ending.

We organised about 10 lessons (Mark needed a couple of extra to get his hips moving) from ‘Carlos’ at El Paso Dance Studio who made us a really fun dance that we surprised everyone with. On the day, Mark didn’t know I was going to do it, but I changed into a sparkly short dress. He was waiting anxiously on the dance floor as the intro played, possibly a little concerned that he’d be doing the dance by himself. As the intro played I ran onto the dance floor and we finished it without a hitch, doing the American Swing, twirling around the dance floor, and lifts and spins. It was the perfect way to bring on the NYE celebrations, because afterwards everyone just filled the dance floor and didn’t leave for the rest of the night!”

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Hunter Valley Videos captured the wedding film for SJ and Mark who remember, “I am so, so, glad we went for a videographer – we initially weren’t going to. I would’ve been devastated not to have those memories captured. The day is such a whirlwind and afterwards I had to sometimes pinch myself that it had actually happened. We have watched the 3 min video a thousand times already. I cannot recommend enough doing it – best money we spent on the wedding I think!”

Congratulations SJ and Mark! Thank you for sharing your stories with us! Thank you also to Tracy Beveridge Photography for sharing today’s wedding!

Photographer: Tracy Beveridge Photography / Cinematographer: Hunter Valley Videos / Ceremony Officiant: Victoria Langham / Venue: Tocal Homestead / Stylist: The Wedding Designer / Flowers: The Wedding Designer / DJ: DJ Kev / Catering: Eden Catering / Barman: Stan the Barman / Dance Lessons: Carlo From El Paso Dance Studio
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Carlie & Duncan’s Classically Elegant Wedding

by | Australia - Queensland, Bride, Inspired Weddings,


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Carlie & Duncan

I love colour, all kinds of colour, I love quirk too but classic elegance? It gets me every time. The classic elegance wedding of Carlie and Duncan is simple and so beautiful in its simple white colour palette, bountiful white flowers and silver candlesticks. There is so much to love about this beautiful celebration captured by Karen Buckle.

Carlie tells the story of how they came to be. “We went to high school together. After being together for 14 years, we had already discussed weddings and had the location and dates etc picked out, so I knew it was coming. I just didn’t know when. We were having a beach day / picnic at Point Cartwright. It’s a spot we love to go to and something that was quite normal for us to do so it was a surprise when he got down on one knee and had packed champagne.”

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The bride chose a sparkling white sequin gown by Karen Willis Holmes.

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Carlie notes, “It was the best day of our lives. We have never felt so loved. Having everyone that matters most to us in one room was amazing. We couldn’t stop smiling and laughing. Thinking about it, just makes me smile and brings back the best of memories. In terms of our theme, we chose classic elegance, which suited our venue and our own personal pared back style.”

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Carlie and Duncan chose Tiffany’s in Maleny  for their wedding, explaining, “We got married and had our reception in the one location – which made everything really easy. “Weddings at Tiffany’s” has a beautiful little chapel with glass windows looking out to the Glasshouse Mountains. There is a cute little courtyard area for canapés/drinks under maple trees and then the restaurant has a verandah with magnificent views. The venue was so stunning, we really didn’t need to do too much in terms of decorations.”

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Bill Scully  performed the ceremony, Carlie noting, “We wrote our vows and exchanging of rings together, as this was really important for us.”

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The couple chose a champagne toast, right after the ceremony. Carlie remembering, “Straight after the ceremony we went and had drinks and canapés with everyone in the courtyard area. And we got our speeches out of the way then, so that those making speeches could then relax and enjoy themselves. And then we went off for our photos at sunset.”

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Carlie explains, “We chose not to have a bridal party. There were a few reasons for this… we have too many close friends that mean the world to us that it was too hard to chose, and it also meant they could relax on the day, and it also made our planning process easier, as there were no colour themes etc to stick to and less to organise. It was also really nice when we went to have our photos, as it was just the two of us, so we were only gone for a short time, but it meant we had some time just the two of us to take it all in.”

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The reception continued with the classic elegance styling, Carlie explaining, “We chose white textured flowers, and really let Dez from Twig & Grace weave her magic. We made the flowers, crystal cut vases, and candelabras a real centrepiece for the chapel and tables to give a romantic feel and had beautiful white provincial furniture from Simply Style Co.”

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Carlie notes, “I think the main thing was having all our family and friends there. It was so nice to stop and look around at everyone laughing and having a great time. In planning our wedding, we really tried to focus on the things that mattered most to us at other people’s weddings – having a relaxed vibe, great food, plenty of drinks, and music to get everyone up dancing to. Guests never really notice those small things you spend hours thinking about.”

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“We had a lolly buffet for guests instead of bonbonnieres. We also decided to have a Polaroid guest book, so guests could take a picture of themselves and stick it in the book with their message. Duncan made a wooden backdrop for our guests to stand in front of.”

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Of the first dance, Carlie notes, “We almost didn’t have our first dance… everyone was already up dancing!! It was only that the DJ made a point that he really liked our song choice, that we decided to stop everyone and have it. We had our first dance to “You’re the Best Thing” by Ray LaMontagne. We loved the words and the old school band sounds. We had had a practice the week before, but nothing rehearsed.”

The icing on the classically elegant cake – a wedding film, shot beautifully by BxcSmxth

Congratulations Carlie and Duncan! Thank you for sharing your day with us! Thank you also to Karen Buckle and Karen Willis Holmes for sharing today’s wedding with us!

Photographer: Karen Buckle / Cinematographer: Bxcsmxth / Bride’s Dress: Karen Willis Holmes / Bride’s Shoes: Nine West / Hairstylist: Hunt + Hair / Makeup Artist: Makeup by Jess / Flowers: Twig & Grace / Invitations & Stationery: Minted / Venue: Tiffany's in Maleny / Ceremony Officiant: Bill Scully / Rental Furniture: Simply Style Co / Cake Baker: Cake Designs / Wedding Rings: Diamonds International / Transport: Chauffered Elegance

Odylyne The Ceremony – Romantic Bohemian Wedding Gowns

by | Bridal Fashion, Bride


Dreams of vintage bohemian – a gown which infuses vintage and wild spirited style into something modern and of today. Tones of blush, flowing lace, capes, sleeves and details that are reminiscent of the gowns of yesteryear but equally as modern.

Meet Odylyne – The Ceremony. A collection of bridal gowns straight out of L.A. The label, created by designer Stephanie Lampkin created her own label Odylyne in 2009. Sheer demand led to the launch of Odylyne – The Ceremony in 2015. A collection that speaks to Stephanie’s ideal of bringing vintage, bohemian style into the modern era.

The first collection titled “The Romantics” is inspired by the magic and drama of the 1800s. The ” sensibility and beauty of the life and art” form this era drawing Stephanie to create pieces like the “Fairy Loren” cape – a lace piece which is designed to wear atop one of Stephanie’s beautiful gowns (Isabella) is created from beautiful lace and adorned with rhinestones. Its centre opening allowing the wearer to move freely while exuding a sense of the ethereal. “Gwendolyn” features a high Victorian style neck couple with long sleeves and a shirred waist reminiscent of Victorian style gowns.

Odylyne – The Ceremony gowns are available to purchase via the website and ship internationally.


Vendor of the Week – Amanda Pattie Marriage Celebrant

by | Blog News, Bride


Happy Monday Dotties! I hope wherever you are that your start to the week has been a little bit drier than last and that you are safe and secure after last week’s craziness!

Before we kick off our own week of happy wedding inspiration it’s time to highlight, spotlight and show off the members of Ms Polka Dot’s Directory.  We have Transport, we have Bridal Gown Services, we have  Stationery and Paper Goods, we even have Venues! We work really hard to get vendors on board who are lovely – they’re excited to share a cup of tea and help you plan  the best wedding day possible!

Check out Ms Polka Dot’s Directory for wedding vendors who will love your wedding as much as you!




Ceremonies crafted with attention to detail celebrating the unique qualities of each couple are what Amanda of Amanda Pattie Marriage Celebrant prides herself in. Offering support and guidance with plenty of resources to help you personalise your ceremony, Amanda aims to give you, and your guests a friendly and professional ceremony experience ensuring lasting memories of this most important part of your wedding day.

We asked Amanda of Amanda Pattie  Marriage Celebrant five questions in five minutes –

What is your favourite after five drink?

My favourite after 5 drink would have to be a nice glass of Sauvignon Blanc however this changes a little during the hot summer months when I think there is nothing better than sharing a chilled jug of well made Sangria with friends.

Your favourite weekend getaway?

I have not been away for a weekend in such a long time that I have no idea.

Favourite restaurant?

I am based in Melbourne so I have a few favourites Florentino’s for Italian, The French Brassiere and Tonka for Indian cuisine. Also the best fish and chips with an amazing view would have to be the Anchorage in Williamstown

What can we find you eating for breakfast on a Sunday morning?

I have a very sweet tooth, so on a Sunday morning you will find me toddling round to Yarraville Village to buy fresh croissants and pastries for breakfast.

Your favourite wedding story?

Probably one of the more unusual stories is from the lovely Jason and Lea who invited their friends and family to their engagement party which was in actual fact their wedding We managed to keep it a secret right up until just before Lea walked down the aisle. When I announced to their guests what was actually happening there was a lot of gasps and huge round of applause but what I felt most of all was the amount of love and happiness that filled the room. It was one of those precious priceless moments that I will never forget.


Visit Amanda Pattie  Marriage Celebrant‘s page to find out more about our Vendor Of The Week. Amanda Pattie  Marriage Celebrant is a member of Ms Polka Dot’s Directory

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