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Catherine & Julian’s Romantic Woodland Inspired Wedding

by | Australia - Victoria, Bride, Inspired Weddings,


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Catherine & Julian

There is a definite sense of enchantment at Catherine and Julian’s romantic woodland inspired wedding. From the bride’s incredible family heirloom hairpiece, to the wooden table rounds of hand printed menus. Every moment was considered to reflect the love and style of the newlyweds and all was captured by Elleni Toumpas with planning and styling by will&jac.

Catherine tells the story of how she and Julian came to be. “We met while studying music together at the Queensland Conservatorium of Music in Brisbane. Our weekly keyboard class brought us both to each other’s attention and it wasn’t long until we became a couple and have now been together over ten years.”

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Catherine chose a gown from Nevenka , noting, “I fell in love with the story behind Nevenka and their one-off bespoke creations. I walked in one afternoon and knew that the style and fit of the dress were just for me. I met the owner of one of their beautiful dresses and couldn’t have been happier with how I felt on the day.”

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Bride with gold crown

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The groom wore a custom bow tie by Beau Tie as well as a family heirloom brooch to match the bride’s detailed headpiece.

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Catherine and Julian were married at Abbotsford Convent, noting, “It was always Abbotsford Convent – from the moment Julian and I walked into the surrounds, saw the ceremony location in the Courtyard with the old world convent elements meets nature, and the high ceiling and exposed beams of the Rosina Hall, we were sold. We were also terribly spoilt by their staff who supported and offered first-class service during our entire planning stages.”

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Paul O’Donohue officiated the ceremony, Catherine explaining, “Our ceremony brought together Julian’s Jewish heritage and my Catholic upbringing. We had Paul O’Donohue facilitate our ceremony – he brought such joy, comfort and relaxation to our ceremony. We were then joined by a family friend Fr Francis who offered a Catholic blessing, and then Nita Jawari who presided over the Jewish elements. We think we had a lovely combination of both our family’s cultures, in a modern setting.”

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Of their photographer, Catherine remarks, “We first met Elleni at a mutual friend’s Wedding, and it was then that it became known she was initially a music photographer from Brisbane – instant friendship! We felt comfortable with Elleni and found that her photos truly told a story in a unique and natural light. On the day Elleni allowed us to partake in the celebrations with shots being taken without our knowing – we wanted to be immersed in the day, rather than posing for countless shots. The results speak for themselves!”

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“The favourite part of the wedding planning for me, was being the bride. After being part of so many weddings, it was fun being on the other side of the process and thankfully I had my right-hand lady by my side – Clare!”

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will&jac planned and styled the wedding, Catherine noting, “We loved will&jac being involved and allowed to shine! We wanted a earthy, green, woodland style with vintage touches.”

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The woodland elements were carried through the reception thanks to Honey Honey Creations  and will&jac ” The wooden table rounds were hand crafted by Honey Honey Creations, with will&jac labouring over the personalised menus for each table. It was our biggest DIY job and was totally worth it. The finished product has been mentioned by all guests.”

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The cheese table by Milk the Cow was one of the highlights for the bride and groom, the bride telling “Our decadent and delicious cheese grazing station – out of this world! We always wanted cheese as part of our Day but the way the fabulous head cheesemonger from Milk the Cow, Laura Lown, gushed over our station and nearly made it too beautiful to eat! All of our guests were in awe of this feature element.”

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For the first dance, Catherine remembers “We chose “The Look You Give That Guy” by The Ells A band that Julian and I have shared a lot of memories with over the years, and this song truly tugs at the heart strings – it just felt right.” The Dan Melita Band performed the music for the day – from the beautiful ceremony music to the tunes ready to get people on the dance floor.

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“Being a luncheon wedding, we continued the party at Dr Morse following the Reception. Julian loved that we were able to continue mingling with our guests, especially with all the necessary formalities out of the way, we were truly able to kick up our heels and celebrate!”

Congratulations Catherine and Julian! Thank you for sharing your day with us! Thank you also to Elleni Toumpas and will&jac for allowing us to share today’s wedding!

Photographer: Elleni Toumpas / Wedding Planner & Stylist: will&jac / Bride’s Dress: Nevenka / Bride’s Shoes: Gifted from bride's sister / Bride’s Jewelry: Family Heirloom / Bridesmaid Dresses: Nevenka / Groom's Bow Tie: Beau Tie / Hairstylist: Terri Williams / Hairstylist: Libby O'Hanlon (Bride's sister) / Makeup Artist: Libby O'Hanlon (Bride's sister) / Flowers: Leanne Simmons Floral Design / Venue: Abbotsford Convent / Ceremony Officiant: Paul O'Donohue / Ceremony Musicians: Dan Melita Band / Band: Dan Melita Band / Catering: Bursaria / Cheese Station: Milk the Cow / Cake Baker: House of Elegant Cakes / Wooden Table Rounds & Wooden Tea Light Holders: Honey Honey Creations / Wooden Table Round Printing: will&jac / Wooden Guest Name Tags: Light & Co
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Polka Dot Christmas Gift Guide – Groom & Groomsmen Gift Ideas

by | Bride, Wedding Gifts


Welcome to instalment two of our Polka Dot Christmas Gift Guide (see the first gift guide here)! Groom and Groomsmen Gift Ideas are coming right up! Now let’s be honest, most of the items in our gift guides can be translated to brides OR grooms, it’s really only limited by your imagination!

I find the groom and groomsmen in my life the hardest to buy for, mainly because they are rather picky, have very definite tastes and aren’t interested in little luxuries like amazing skincare and makeup or even candles. So with that in mind, I set about rounding up my favourite gift ideas that I hope will inspire you for that hard to buy for favourite person in your life.

Groom Gift Ideas

Blacklist Studio Now Or Never Notebook ($29.95 Available at From The Owl), The Horse Matte Black/Walnut Leather Watch ($140 Available at Bloom & Co), Ted Baker Leather Polish, Ted Baker Spotwal Embossed Leather Wallet In Tan ($129), Harman Kardon Soho Slim Foldable On-Ear Mini Headphones ($259) Ecco Denio Messenger Bag ($389.95), Whipper Snapper Distillery Crazy Uncle Moonshine ($69.95), Izola Fine & Dandy Brass Comb ($39.95 Available at From The Owl) Izola Four In One Bar Tool in Bronze ($39.95 Available at From The Owl) Molton Brown Recharge Black Pepper Cracker ($30)

I love the classic feel of this Blacklist Studio Now Or Never Notebook ($29.95 Available at From The Owl), plus, let’s be honest, it can give a bit of a kick in the right direction with the silver printed quote! The black with silver is a stylish combination and make a great gift idea for the thinker, the doer, the always forgetful one or the one who just has a lot on his mind!

I have been eyeing off the watches from The Horse a lot this year and love this Matte Black/Walnut Leather Watch ($140 Available at Bloom & Co). This one is unisex, but in the extra large size. The black face is a different look and a little unexpected, made more causal by the walnut leather band.

Just a little stocking stuff for someone who loves to keep themselves looking good. The Ted Baker Leather Polish, is the best addition if you plan on gifting something very special in leather.

I’ll admit it, this wallet is one of my top picks this year and how can it not be? The Ted Baker Spotwal Embossed Leather Wallet In Tan ($129), has my polka dot loving heart in a warm embrace. The colour is chic, the polka dots a touch of whimsy and the combination? An all round winner.

Music lovers will appreciate finding these Harman Kardon Soho Slim Foldable On-Ear Mini Headphones ($259) under the tree. They come in a hard case (perfect for travel) and the retro chocolate brown is a nice change from standard black.

I love a good satchel and I adored this Ecco Denio Messenger Bag ($389.95). Perfectly sized to fit a laptop, notebook and all the essentials this bag makes a great gift for the guy who is always lugging too much stuff around and needs a bit of a helping hand.

Whipper Snapper Distillery Crazy Uncle Moonshine ($69.95) is a great base for cocktails and locally created by a Perth Distillery Described as a bit of a cross between vodka and whiskey, and it should be the top pick on your list for the liqueur lover in your life.

For the guy with a beard, pick up this Izola Fine & Dandy Brass Comb ($39.95 Available at From The Owl) to put under the tree. The stately comb, printed with “Fine & Dandy” and in it’s own cotton pouch is the most luxurious and special of beard combs that will be able to be treasured forever.

For the one who is always serving the drinks, the perfect host, pick him up the Izola Four In One Bar Tool in Bronze ($39.95 Available at From The Owl). The tool cracks ice, pops the cork, measures spirits and opens bottles. It’s like the leatherman for the bar tender!

If you’re looking for a skincare gift, then I love this Molton Brown Recharge Black Pepper Cracker ($30). The scent is really smokey and dark and the cracker, which comes with Black peppercorn body wash and body lotion plus a Ultra-light Bai Ji Hydrator. So you can cover all bases without giving products that a new to skincare soul might not use.

Groomsmen Gift Guide

Jonette George The Specialty Coffee Book ($40 Available at Smudge Eats), Uppercut Deluxe Filled Washbag ($75 Includes Uppercut Deluxe Shave Cream, Aftershave Moisturiser, Soap and a Toothbrush), Buckle 1922 Bow Tie in Red Spot ($34), Acca Kappa Barber Shop Wenge Wood Beard Brush ($89.95 Available at Saison), Areaware Bottle Opener in Brown & White ($23 Available at From The Owl), Izola Fine & Dandy Tie Clip ($19.95 Available at From The Owl), Laura Ashley Harmonica ($19.95), Valentino Uomo Eau de Toilette(From $89), Narciso Rodriguez For Him Bleu Noir Eau de Toilette (from $99), David Beckham Beyond Eau de Toilette (From $39),  Lush Stardust Bath Bomb ($6.25) Acca Kappa 1869 Shave Soap Bowl ($49.95 Available at Saison), Papier d’Amour “You’re Entirely Bonkers” Copper Foiled Print ($30)

If your gift receiver is addicted to coffee, then the Jonette George The Specialty Coffee Book ($40 available at Smudge Eats), is the bible of that morning cup of Jo. Available in Melbourne and Sydney editions, The Specialty Coffee Book rounds up 100 of the best places to get coffee and dives into the science of exactly what makes one cup amazing and another awful. It’s definitely a good project to kick off in the new year – just how many cups can you try?

I can never find toiletry bags for a groom that aren’t either incredible plain or incredibly… pink. So I love this Uppercut Deluxe Filled Washbag ($75 Includes Uppercut Deluxe Shave Cream, Aftershave Moisturiser, Soap and a Toothbrush), The army green with leather buckle look is a stylish alternative to plain black and the fact this bag comes complete with the best skincare basics makes it a brilliant all in one gift.

My favourite thing to give is gifts that can be used again and again over a lifetime and this dapper Buckle 1922 Bow Tie in Red Spot ($34), ticks all my sentimental boxes. A beautiful bow tie can be worn for a lifetime and this one has a touch of quirky fun while still being smart and delightful.

For the guy who is more than serious about his beard, this Acca Kappa Barber Shop Wenge Wood Beard Brush ($89.95 Available at Saison), is the present to get. With an ergonomic handle grip, and made from Wenge wood, this beard brush allows you to really work product into the beard while detangling.

Like a bottle opener with a stylish difference? Meet the Areaware Bottle Opener in Brown & White ($23 available at From The Owl), it has a rustic simplicity about it. It’s made from Walnut and has the special secret of being magnetised so you can keep it on your fridge while you open a bottle (and it doesn’t look like you have a horrid bottle opener right on your fridge door!) A stylish stocking stuffer!

For the groom planning to wear a tie, or one who does every day this Izola Fine & Dandy Tie Clip ($19.95 Available at From The Owl), imprinted with “Fine & Dandy” could there be a more appropriate gift for your favourite dapper gents?

Want a present your favourite can serenade you with? I love this classic Laura Ashley Harmonica ($19.95), for the muso, it’s a great little addition he can pop in a backpack or the car and keep forever.

Let’s talk scents! Valentino Uomo Eau de Toilette(From $89), in it’s beautiful glass studded bottle is designed to reflect classic Italian style. Smelling of wood – cedar, bergamot, coffee and white leather and cedar, it’s a top pick for  a wedding day scent. You can even go for a his and hers combination with the Valentino Donna.

How smart is this navy bottle? Narciso Rodriguez For Him Bleu Noir Eau de Toilette (from $99), is all about being a deep and clean scent. It has notes of nutmeg, cardamom, musk, cedar, black ebony, vetiver & amber and has been described as a deep musky scent with a citrus tone.

The latest release from David Beckham Beyond Eau de Toilette (From $39), kicks off with cedar, black pepper and geranium with vanilla. The black bottle is always a classic and a good all rounder scent.

Why not include a fun Lush Stardust Bath Bomb ($6.25) in the Christmas stocking of the one you love? The Stardust Bath Bomb is a limited edition bomb with fair trade vanilla, rosewood and perhaps a hint of sparkle!

The shaver will love the Acca Kappa 1869 Shave Soap Bowl ($49.95 Available at Saison), with coconut oil, hemp oil and English Oak Extra this luxurious product is designed to keep skin soft, and reduce irritants. A perfect pre-wedding pamper present!

I love the quirky fun of this Papier d’Amour “You’re Entirely Bonkers” Copper Foiled Print ($30). Not only do I love the copper, but the Alice In Wonderland quote? Just a little bit of fun in what can be an otherwise long day. Plus this as a wedding present? Why not have some fun?

Groom and Groomsmen Gift Ideas

Redecker Shoe Shine Kit in Metal Box ($139.95 Available at Saison), Cocktail Traders The Chocolate Lovers Gift Set ($69.95 contains Distillery Botanica Koko Noir, Stewart & Claire Old Fashioned Lip Balm & Spirited Candle Company Small Batch Bourbon Candle), Denver & Liely Whiskey Glass ($50 each), Marshall Kilburn Active Stereo Speaker in Cream ($449) Ted Baker Bi Fold Leather Wallet In Tan ($139), W&P Design Carry On Cocktail Kit (Old Fashioned) ($ Available from Pigeonhole), Apothecary Department The Damn Handsome Beard Kit ($ Available from Pigeonhole), Laura Ashley Table Football ($69.95), Wedge Australia Three Step Skin Fitness For Men Set ($86.92)

Redecker Shoe Shine Kit in Metal Box ($139.95 Available at Saison) is a fabulous all in one set for the groom or groomsmen to be. With everything from polish, wax, brushes and soft cotton cloths this is one of those gift you never buy yourself but need so very often. Sparkling toes here we come!

For the chocolate cocktail lover, this Cocktail Traders The Chocolate Lovers Gift Set ($69.95 contains Distillery Botanica Koko Noir, Stewart & Claire Old Fashioned Lip Balm & Spirited Candle Company Small Batch Bourbon Candle), is just the ticket for a delicious night of cocktails. I love that it rounds out completely with a cocktail flavoured lip balm and unisex bourbon candle.

For someone who appreciates the finer things in life, the Denver & Liely Whiskey Glass ($50 each), are a special gift that is sure to be a winner. The special tulip shape is hand blown and is said to enhance the flavours of the spirit, sure to be appreciated!

Marshall Kilburn Active Stereo Speaker in Cream ($449) make a great gift for the music lover in your life. I love the retro, classic styling of this speaker and of course the fact that it is so easily portable is a winner Take it from the kitchen to the deck for your parties, the shed to the backyard, because it needs no cables. The best part? It connects via wifi to your devices!

For someone who maybe isn’t into polka dots (what? who are you?) this Ted Baker Bi Fold Leather Wallet In Tan ($139), is a classic. The simple shape, the elegant stitching and tan colour make it a stalwart for the one who likes simple and plain with a sophisticated edge.

For the frequent traveler, this W&P Design Carry On Cocktail Kit (Old Fashioned) ($ Available from Pigeonhole),is one of my top picks for gifts this year. All packed in a sweet little tin, the carry on cocktail kit has everything you need to turn a mixer and spirit into a decent cocktail (including everything from the spoon to the detailed instructions!)

Know someone who likes a good beard? Pick him up this Apothecary Department The Damn Handsome Beard Kit ($ Available from Pigeonhole), all packaged up in a smart little tin this kit contains everything from the mustache shaped comb to beard oil, scissors and wax makes it a one stop grooming shop for the bearded lad.

Something about retro games makes them endearing and a fun gift idea and I love the vintage fun Laura Ashley are doing this year. This Table Football ($69.95), is going to make a great gift and fun way to spend the wedding day morning (or Christmas Day!).

If you’re looking for a fresh new brand of skincare that values natural ingredients and is Australian made, then you need to add this set by Wedge Australia Three Step Skin Fitness For Men Set ($86.92) to the list. Designed to be used in just two minutes a day, the three step skincare package includes a face wash, a facial exfoliator and moisturiser all designed by Thom Wedge for the harsh Australian climate.

Photos by Talia Cain for Polka Dot Bride.

Whitney & Jed’s Garden Restaurant Wedding

by | Australia - Queensland, Bride, Inspired Weddings,


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Whitney & Jed

I love the romantic, relaxed feel to Whitney and Jed’s garden restaurant wedding. They wanted the day to focus on a fun and relaxed atmosphere with a ceremony that was humble and authentic. Together, it all combined to turn into one very special wedding day. They chose Figtree Pictures to capture it all.

Whitney fills us in on the story of how she and Jed came to be. “We met in the last year of primary school. We were the best of friends throughout high school and decided to get together in grade eleven. 12 years later, here we are.”

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Whitney chose a gown from Bohemian Brides  noting, “I was lucky that the first dress shop I went to had the dress I chose, in the window and I loved it instantly. I loved the lace detail in the dress and most of all I loved that the dress was comfortable. The dress had a small train, beautiful detail and had an exposed back, it was exactly what I wanted.”

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Whitney and Jed chose Mediterranean restaurant Osteria for their wedding, noting, “Osteria was the first and only venue we looked at. We loved the beautiful garden that had colourful bougainvillea, it was the perfect setting for our ceremony. We also loved that the venue offered a feasting option for their menu. This was perfect to create the atmosphere of a big family dinner. We were happy that the room was simple so we were able to style it in our own way.”

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Eden Place created the floral arrangements for the day, the bride remarking, “It was a relaxed and fun atmosphere, we wanted it to be a big feast and party with family and close friends. I didn’t want it to be a specific style as I like vintage, I like rustic and I like pretty. As far as theme is concerned, I guess I knew I wanted the pink proteas and cream lace to stand out on the day and I just worked around that.”

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Whitney remembers, “I walked down the aisle to an instrumental arrangement of the Journey song Faithfully.”

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Clarah Luxford  officiated the ceremony, Whitney remarking, “We were both happy to keep the ceremony relatively short as we were both very nervous. Jed wrote joint vows for us both to say as we didn’t want to use someone else’s words to express something so personal. We wanted the ceremony to be happy and honest and a celebration of the time with have spent together and the time to come. We were going for a really humble and honest ceremony, we decided not to have any bridal party with the exception of our nephew Paddy serving as the perfect long-legged ring bearer.”

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Of their photographer, Whitney remarks, “We had Kristy from Figtree Wedding Photography take our photos on the day and she was fantastic. We both felt very relaxed and comfortable. We weren’t away from our guests too long and she managed to capture our style perfectly, while having a laugh with us.”

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Guests received homemade cookies, made by the bride, as wedding favors.

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Whitney adds, “With help of family and friends, we made the table runners, welcome sign, table numbers, seating plan, cake, vases and place cards were all DIY.  I made sure that I included something from both Nans. I included a vase that was my Nan’s and we included a teacup from Jed’s.”

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There was one very special surprise for the bride, who remembers, “Jed surprised me by performing a song he wrote for the day. He had the whole room in tears. It made my day all the more special.”

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Of their first dance, Whitney tells, “Our first dance song was performed by our close friend Jess. She played “Future Days” by my favourite band Pearl Jam. The lyrics are about spending the rest of your life with someone, it seemed pretty fitting.”

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“Our friend Stacie was having such a great time dancing on the dance floor that her water broke and she had to rush off to hospital. Hours later she gave birth to her beautiful baby Keiran.”

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Thank you Whitney and Jed for sharing your day with us! Thank you also to Figtree Pictures for sharing today’s wedding !

Photographer: Figtree Pictures / Bride’s Dress: Bohemian Brides / Bride’s Shoes: Myer / Bride’s Jewelry: Bohemian Brides / Groom’s Attire: Myer / Groom's Shoes: Myer / Hairstylist: Tina and Kristen Weddings / Makeup Artist: Tina and Kristen Weddings / Flowers: Eden Place / Invitations & Stationery: Handmade by bride / Venue: Osteria, Casuarina / Audio Equipment: Cedar and Strings / Ceremony Officiant: Clarah Luxford / Reception Hire Items: Elyssium Lighting / Reception Music: Jessica Foxlee, Blake Howson, and Cedar and Strings / Favors: Homemade cookies, made by bride / Cake Baker: Bride's sister and sister in law / Wedding Rings: Paradise's Facet 58 Jewellers

Wild Romantics Bridal Inspiration

by | Bridal Fashion, Bride, Hair and Beauty, Inspiration Shoot


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I’m feeling inspired by the stunning floral arrangements from today’s  “Wild Romantics” bridal inspiration shoot. Brought to life by a team that included Nicole Peterson of Light and Type, Dear Delilah Florist and Alchemy Hair and Makeup, the trio wanted to bring to life the magic of the Gippsland region with a wild romantic, bohemian feel.

Inspired to produce something new and fresh, the team created eight different bridal looks with simple, stunning gowns that let the florals do the talking. From bold floral crowns,a collar of tulle and buds, wrist corsages and flowers woven through softly tousled curls. If you’re a flower lover, dream away with this inspiration shoot!

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Photographer: Nicole Peterson of Light and Type / Flowers: Dear Delilah Florist / Hair & Makeup Artist: Alchemy Hair and Makeup
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