Amy & Daniel’s Chic Garden Cafe Wedding

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

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Amy & Daniel

I have a rule at Polka Dot Bride, I only choose weddings to feature that really make my heart sing, that really connect with me and something about Amy and Daniel’s chic garden cafe wedding did just that. The bride’s aunty, a florist, set the scene with a stunning floral necklace, the couple walked down the aisle together and the bride’s aunty and uncle made homemade jam favors using fruit from  the apricot tree in their backyard. Gold Hat Photography was there to capture the moments of the day,

Of their love story, Amy remembers, “We’re a teenage tryst that worked out well – really well. We went to the same school but didn’t really know one and other. In late 1998, when I was 16 and Daniel 18, Daniel joined the fresh produce team at Coles, West Gosford and that’s when things got going. When Daniel left to do his apprenticeship, I plotted to host a party as a reason to invite him out and see him again – a 300-strong crowd of high school revellers got wind of things and, while it worked to woo Daniel, I was never allowed another party (although the night provided enough debauchery to be shared around several wedding speeches!). That was 22 May 1999 and we’ve been together ever since and now live in London together.”

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Amy’s florist mother (of The Wildflower Place) created the floral arrangements for the day. She notes, “All the flowers my Mum and her crew from The Wildflower Place created, were incredible – from the bridal party flowers to the styling and decoration of the arbour, chairs and reception venue. The bridesmaids had tight posies of Christmas bush and I had a mix of flannel flowers (my favourite) and sweet sixteen. As a family of floral professionals, my Aunt also made me a completely stunning necklace, also made from flannel flowers and sweet sixteen. Flannel flowers have always been my absolute favourite flower – I have a tattoo of one that my Mum actually drew, so needless to say there was an abundance of them on the day!”

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Amy and Daniel were married at Centennial Parklands “We chose Centennial Park for the ceremony because of the gorgeous Melaleuca trees – at the ceremony site there’s this magic corridor of them and they have this amazing textured paper bark and the trunks form in these incredible clusters that I just love. There’s also a huge bat colony in the trees – Daniel has a strange love of bats, so they were a weirdly welcome addition to ceremony!”

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Amy was met by Daniel part way down the aisle. “We walked down the aisle together to Eva Cassidy, Songbird. Absolute cheese, but we just love it and when performed by our acoustic guitarist and singer, it was a great stripped back rendition that we just loved. There was never a doubt that we’d buck tradition (quite a few times) and that I’d have Daniel walk me down the aisle. I didn’t fancy myself to be ‘given away’ and I also thought that having been together for so long that if anyone actually ‘owned’ me, then it most certainly was Daniel.”

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Amy’s bridesmaids wore dresses from ASOS , Alexander McQueen and Forever New The bride noting, “Keeping things individual and personal was something we tried hard to do – even with the bridesmaid’s dresses and shoes, we didn’t want them to look like twins because they’re all so different. We charged them with finding their own knee length white dresses and gold shoes and they did a wicked job and looked fabulous.”

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“We wrote our ceremony and vows ourselves, with help from our celebrant. It meant the whole thing felt like us. The celebrant (Jo McErvale) is also our bridesmaid’s mum and we’ve known for her years – it made it all the more special to have someone close to us officiate our marriage.”

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“By far the best bit was having almost all of our favourite people on the same side of the world in the one place at the one time. Having lived in London for almost 7 years now we couldn’t imagine having a wedding without at least some of the people that we’ve spent all our time with in recent years. We’re so grateful to all our friends who traveled from London to share in our big day – it just wouldn’t have been the same without them. As luck would have it, many of our British friends have moved to Australia in the past 6 months, so we already had a posse of poms waiting for us.”

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Amy notes, “The wedding was very relaxed and made the most of being in Sydney for summer – it was a kind of botanical wonderland meets urban-esque country fete (stay with me…). There’s really no other way to explain it – just had loads of things we love.”

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Of their photographer, Amy notes, “Our photographer, Mark at Gold Hat Photography, was an absolute legend. We grabbed a coffee with him in Bondi when we were back in Sydney in February for another friend’s wedding and gave him the job on the spot. He was really laid back, personable, professional and not only ‘got’ what we wanted (which I think was a challenge in itself) but seemed to be genuinely excited in helping us capture it. For the most part we barely knew he was there – I look back on the photos and think ‘how did you get that one, I didn’t even see you there?!’ – totally unobtrusive but always there to capture the best moments. Plus he’s REALLY tall, which helps eliminate any double chins 😉 ”

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“My something old, borrowed and blue was an incredible rose gold bracelet with an aquamarine that belonged to my great grandmother. It was her wedding present from her husband in 1916 that he gave her before going to war and being KIA, having never met his son / my grandfather. It’s not only an amazing piece that I absolutely love, but it was incredible to have wear something so personal and with such history.”

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“The Grounds of Alexandria set a perfect reception scene for us – by day it’s a classic outdoorsy café with amazing lush gardens everywhere – just the kind of place we love and miss about Australia. Given we were organising from afar, we booked and paid for both venues before we actually saw them – there was a lot of online image searching, sending friends/family on ‘reccees’ and finger crossing going on but we couldn’t have been happier with both venues. Since we saw The Grounds in February they’d constructed this amazing long arch of fairy lights – it was totally dreamy and we decided to forgo the normal space they use for the dance floor and just use the space under the arch. It was incredible.”

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All of table names were also the botanical names of some of the main flowers used on the day – Ceratolpetalum, Actinotus, Anigozanthos, Eucalyptus and Bracteantha. The style of the ceremony and reception was by Little Lane Events   along with blooms by the bride’s mother.

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Amy tells, “Daniel I wrote out everyone’s table place cards on amazing gum leaves Mum sourced too. My sister also made some incredible kids activity packs for all my little nieces (flower girls) and nephew – she made crosswords and find-a-words with questions and words about Daniel and me and made sure they had enough sugary snacks to be bouncing off the walls well into the depths of the evening.” The guests’ favors was homemade jam made by the bride’s aunty and uncle from their backyard apricot tree.

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Amy tells, “Two of our best friends (also Aussies living in London) were married in Sydney 3 weeks before us and we were unable to make it to each other’s weddings, which was really hard for us all. The bride had secretly sent her parents along to represent them, which brought us both to tears as soon as we saw them.”

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Amy remembers, “I loved the variety of speeches we had and that because we’ve been one big family for years now, all of our speechmakers shared stories about the both of us. It wasn’t really ‘bride side’ and ‘groom side’ speeches, everyone already knew us both so well.”

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Amy remembers, “The night before the wedding I got laryngitis, leaving me with barely any voice. Adrenaline, Prosecco and cup after cup of lemon and ginger tea from The Grounds thankfully got me through. Pretty much nothing can get you down on your wedding day!”

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Of their first dance, Amy tells, “Given we’ve been together for 15.5 years already and a wedding is just one day (before many more) we wanted to savour as many moments in the lead up as possible. Without a rhythm between us, we decided to get some dance lessons – nothing to create a YouTube sensation, but just something we could spend time doing together in the weeks leading up that would be a bit of a surprise to our family and friends. We arranged for private lessons with Emer Walsh at Pineapple Dance Studios in Covent Garden to help us piece together a dance to Coldplay’s Magic. We were utterly terrified but Emer was fabulous and within four lessons, some bruised toes and a lot of practice sessions we had a 3 minute dance down pat (sort of).”

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Congratulations on your marriage Amy & Daniel! Thank you for sharing your day with us. Thank you also to Gold Hat Photography for sharing today’s wedding with us.

Photographer: Gold Hat Photography / Styling/Hire: The Wildflower Place / Styling/Hire: Little Lane Events / Bride's Dress: Akira Isogawa / Bride's Shoes: Karen Millen / Bride's Jewellery: (Earrings) Monica Vineda / Bride's Jewellery: (Bracelet) Family / Groom's Attire: Ted Baker / Groom's Attire: Op shop vest, Politix pants / Groomsmen Attire: Ted Baker / Bridesmaid Dresses: Asos / Bridesmaid Dresses: Alexander McQueen / Bridesmaid Dresses: Forever New / Bridesmaid Accessories: (Earrings) Monica Vineda / Hairstylist: Maria Wassef / Makeup Artist: Taryn Standen / Flowers: The Wildflower Place / Invitations & Stationery: Project Pretty / Ceremony Venue: The Lily Pond, Centenial Parklands Sydney / Ceremony Officiant: Jo McErvale / Ceremony Musicians: The Baker Boys / Reception Venue: The Grounds of Alexandria / Wedding Cake: The Grounds of Alexandria / Favors: Aunty Corrie and Uncle Gary / Wedding Ring (Bride): Stephen Webster / Wedding Ring (Groom): Georg Jensen / Transport: Uber / Dance Lessons: Emer Walsh at Pineapple Dance Studios

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