Rebecca Higgins of Sydney wedding venue Sydney Polo Club joins us on Polka Dot Wisdom today after a fresh shift in management and a fresh start at this rustic style Sydney venue! It’s a pleasure to have Rebecca here with us today to share her insights on the Sydney venue!
Please introduce yourself to us.
In my experience, any successful event or business agreement starts with building a mutual relationship with the client.
I started my career fresh out college as an office junior in an architect’s office. I was the general dogs body, I helped draft building plans, do detail drawings and pick the surface finishes for the jobs on the boards. Fortunately for me my boss saw that I had potential and encouraged me to start up the interior design department within the office. I have always had an eye for detail and a passion for beautiful things and this opportunity is one that I have always been extremely grateful for.
These were the skills that have enabled the Sydney Polo Club to become what it is today. There are many strings to a bow and my career has taken various twists and turns over the years, all of which have helped shaped me to where I am today.
I married the love of my life and we are still married after 22 years, Peter and I have 4 beautiful children, 160 cattle, 200 odd goats, 55 polo horses and 2 dogs! What I enjoy most about managing weddings at the Sydney Polo Club is the love that I see between our couples; it is a refreshing experience for me and a constant reminder of how much I love my own husband and family.
I started doing events about 15 years ago when I ran the Polo By the Sea tournament on Sydney’s Northern beaches; our events have snow balled from there. I have taken my two passions, design and event management and combined them to create the weddings business. I don’t just ‘do’ weddings or events, in fact, I create a space and design an experience with the end result being extra ordinary.
Please feel free to check out my LinkedIn profile for some of the interesting programs I have developed and implemented at the Sydney Polo Club.
Image by Nuance Photography
Please describe the Sydney Polo Club.
From the moment you enter through the impressive sand stone gates you know you are in for a special treat. I can honestly say there really is no other place quite like the Sydney Polo Club. As well as being a ‘boutique’ events venue we are also an active working farm.
Originally, the farm was a dairy, today we breed our own Black Angus cattle and Boar goats and are working to develop a sustainability program growing all of our own fodder for our animals. Eventually we would like to expand into market gardening, my dream is to be able to feed my family and our guests with fresh produce grown on the land around the club. We already sell our meat into boutique butchers around town.
Aside from the cows and goats, we have an established Polo Pony breeding program that has seen 6 beautiful foals safely delivered over the past 2 months.
With the farms origins steeped in history I have taken much care and pride in utilizing every existing building and redeveloping them, into what you see today. The Polo Barn once was the milking shed, Sunnybrook a feeding pen.
The Polo Club is our home, my staff love coming to work and our guests never want to leave.
Image by Nuance Photography
What changes have been made to your business since 2012 and have there been changes to the services you offer brides?
With any business there is always room for change. Change allows for growth and renewal.
On the agricultural side over the past 12 months we have bumped up our meat production and put in new irrigation pumps. A little boring possibly if you are a bride, but exciting for the farmers amongst us! We have restructured our events department bringing in a new wedding planner. Apart from the weddings, we design and implement polo and other equine events with our pinnacle event being the Sydney Polo Gold Cup. Normally held in October, 2000 guests will converge on the Club to experience some of Australia’s best polo.
Our weddings have become extremely popular. From the experience I have had to date, I have elected to structure our weddings differently from formats used by most venues. We are a unique boutique venue, offering a range of services from venue hire only through to a fully designed wedding or event. This means you choose whether to hire only the space or for the less adventurous type then we have an events department that can help mold and create your dream wedding. We can do as much or as little as you like.
What facilities and services can you offer brides and what is included?
Our events department includes a new wedding planner, an events organizer and me! Designer, planner, jack-of-all-trades!
When I designed all the spaces on the farm I wanted them to be versatile. Our barns are actually working barns. We have 2 x barns; the Polo Barn, a beautiful space that sits around 150 guests, this lends it’s self to the more traditional wedding yet still maintaining that country feel. The Sunnybrook Barn is an extraordinary barn, with that old worldly feel. This space lends it self to a rustic country wedding and seats 130. Our ceremonies usually take place in The Grandstand on the edge of the Celebrity Polo field, The Garden Pavilion or under the 100 year Oak tree. We are not your average venue and I love a creative challenge, I am open to discussing and developing any ideas that a bride and groom may be thinking.
Do you offer a particular style of venue, or can a bride expect that you can accommodate a wedding that is very elegant, to a bride who wants a rustic wedding?
You can’t put a limit on imagination. The Sydney Polo Club is predominately a glamorous country venue and I can design and bump any theme that a bride may want. I have had experience with cultural requests and have helped design Jewish weddings, Christmas parties, Corporate events; we once had a Hindu wedding reception, which was spectacular.
Image by Frank Farrugia
What is your favorite place in the Polo Club?
I have too many favorite places to be able to choose just one.
My favorite thing is driving in through the main gates and just feeling so immensely happy for all that I see. The beautiful trees, the lush green spaces my gardens and the animals. I love being in the beautiful spaces I have created and if I had to pick just one it would be on the Celebrity Polo field playing polo on a barmy Sunday afternoon with my family and friends watching the sunset over the Blue Mountains.
Who most inspires you?
One of the architects that I worked with when I was a junior once told me, ‘take pleasure in the small things’. He probably didn’t realize the impact his words would have on me and to this day I am inspired by the small things.
To see the blooms on my roses just open up and be perfect, to experience the moment when one of the new born animals just stands up and walks, random acts of kindness, my world is filled with inspiration every moment all I need to do is look around.
Image by Nuance Photography
Thank you Rebecca for sharing your story and beautiful images with us. To see more of the Sydney Polo Club go to their website.