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Shannon & Joss’ Bohemian Destination Wedding In Greece

by | Honeymoons, Inspired Destination Weddings, Inspired Weddings, Location Europe


Polka Dot Bride

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Shannon & Joss

True to their spirits, Shannon and Joss chose a bohemian destination wedding in Greece for their nuptials. Their love of the water and of the sun led them to invite their closest family and friends for a very special celebration in Santorini.  Chris Spira Photography was there to capture the week’s festivities as they unfolded!

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Shannon tells, “I (Shannon) designed, printed and sewed our invitations which consisted of simply an anchor and our initials on the front and details on the inside of the card (in blue) on kraft paper. I sewed a little detail on the cards with twine & ivory cotton. Within our favors we included printed & sewn cards that read ‘there are tall ships, small ships, ships that sail the sea… but the best ships are friendships, may they always be’ as well as printed on fabric our surprise invitations to the boat cruise the following day, tied with twine as a scroll with little anchor charms.”

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Shannon tells, “One of my best friends is a hair stylist- so Cassie from True Vanity did my hair on the day. My bridesmaids helped me with my makeup which was all MAC products bought over from home.”

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The Babushka Ballerina created Shannon’s gown, she remembers, “I had my gown made by The Babushka Ballerina in Brisbane (QLD, Australia) I had a cropped bustier bodice with a satin and chiffon skirt in ivory & with a two metre extended train. I always loved the idea of having a cropped bodice. A little less formal, a little bit fun and it fit the boho brief I was going for.”

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Shannon and Joss chose Marizan Caves, Oia, Santorini for their wedding ceremony.

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Shannon telling, “Joss has a very strong connection with the ocean and I (Shannon) have always loved the bohemian style. We wanted to effortlessly combine the two to create a casual ceremony.  Our groomsmen with the help of the Staff at Marizan set up our simple ceremony. We didn’t use personal decorations for the reception dinner, but Bronte had it all beautifully lit by candlelight. We re-used some of our ceremony decorations for the boat which included antique alcohol bottles we found at a local op-shop back here in oz filled with wildflowers.”

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Fabio Zardi created the floral arrangements, Shannon remembers. “Everything was done by email and they were so great in advising what flowers could be sourced and appropriate for the climate. We wanted bohemian, romantic, effortless with a cool palette. They used lavender, daisies, million stars, blue stars & more among wheat and millet. Flowers I had never heard of before, nor seen locally. It felt risky but it was worth it, it was the most beautiful bouquet I have ever seen.”

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Shannon’s bridesmaids wore different cream dresses while the groom wore Wayne Cooper . Shannon notes, “We wanted to keep the guys quite casual. Joss wore navy Chino’s by Wayne Cooper and a long sleeve white linen shirt.”

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As the suns set, the couple adjourned to  Katharos Lounge at Katharos Beach for a private dinner noting, “We found our reception venue whilst casually looking at venues over Facebook – Katharos Lounge was our dinner reception venue. We booked a private table and selected many shared tapas plates. Bronte (owner and chef) and I discussed the menu via email & confirmed the day prior. The food was beyond outstanding! And was a great way for our guests to try lots of foods they hadn’t eaten before. We had an open bar and the crew made delicious cocktails all night. We had a table with a perfect sunset & the bar supplied great jazz/soul music which made way for some sexy dancing!! Was a very memorable experience! ”

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But day two held even more in store for the guests of this special wedding – a surprise cruise on the Bella Aurora! Shannon explains, “Our guest favours included the card, fabric invitation to the surprise cruise as well as a little Santorini donkey souvenir we picked up the day prior from the street stalls. We also used the two days prior, equipped with a 4 wheeler, took Polaroid pictures from all over the island and popped them in the little white bags as well.”

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Lixoudis Bakery created a beautiful wedding cake, Shannon telling, ” We used Lixoudis bakery in Fira for our wedding cake. Vasiliki answered my emails promptly and everything was easy. As I was indecisive on the flavours & style, she encouraged we visit her within the 2 days we had prior. So glad we did – we taste tested the Greek sponge and end of story. We had a three tier nude chocolate/vanilla sponge with cream & fresh strawberry filling. Vasiliki had our consult and wedding with delivery booked in even though we weren’t able to wire her a deposit beforehand.

The delivery to the boat was prompt before we arrived & I cannot speak more highly of the service! We used a wooden cake topper which had engraved our first initials separated by an anchor which we found from the Etsy store Timberandstitch. And two engraved spoons created by ‘House Of Bec’ scouted from instagram that read ‘You me and the Sea’ and ‘Joss & Shannon Greece, 2014’ ”

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Congratulations Shannon and Joss! Thank you for sharing your day with us! Thank you also to Chris Spira Photography for sharing today’s wedding with us!

Photographer: Chris Spira Photography / Bride’s Dress: The Babushka Ballerina / Bride’s Shoes: Forever Soles / Groom's Attire: Navy Chino’s by Wayne Cooper / Flowers: Fabio Zardi / Ceremony Venue: Marizan Caves, Oia, Santorini / Reception Venue: Katharos Lounge at Katharos Beach / Boat Cruise: Bella Aurora / Cake Baker: Lixoudis Bakery / Cake Topper: Timberandstitch / Engraved Spoons: House Of Bec / Engagement Ring: Greg Riddleston of the ‘Gem Shack' / Hairstylist: Cassie from True Vanity

New Zealand Honeymoon Getaway – South Island

by | Destinations, Honeymoons


Chloe van der Werf

The South Island of New Zealand is absolutely breathtaking. As I sit here listening to the rain on my tin roof, finally a respite from the heat, I think back to the near month I spent in New Zealand many years ago and the beauty of this island is still fresh in my mind.

The island is made up of many gorgeous lakes, glaciers and awe-inspiring mountains. Not to mention the lush rainforests and rolling pastures where lambs frolic.

One of my dream honeymoon locations is tucked away amongst the rugged snow-capped peaks of the Southern Alps, where the lodge lay on the shore of Lake Wakatipu. Blanket Bay Lodge celebrates the fine art of pure relaxation. But how could you not be relaxed in such a magical location?

Blanket Bay offers couples the ultimate all-inclusive honeymoon package. It features five nights in your choice of the luxury lodge or chalet suite. Upon arrival you’ll both be greeted with flowers and Amisfield Arcadia Methode Traditionelle. Breakfast will be served to you each morning and a five-course dinner in the evenings. On an evening that you fancy you’ll both enjoy a private candlelit dinner that will be served in the exclusive Wine Cave. One lunch is also included on a day of your choice.

Blanket Bay also caters to guests that enjoy a bit of adrenaline. Trekking, skiing, heli-skiing, jet boating, kayaking, fishing, horse riding, trips to the world-famous Milford Sound and 4WD tours just to name a few.

Now if this doesn’t quite cut it Blanket Bay has designed an over the top honeymoon picnic edition (at an additional cost). A helicopter will collect you both from the lawn of Blanket Bay and usher you off to a choice of spectacular mountaintop locations all overlooking Lake Wakatipu for an incredibly romantic and memorable gourmet champagne picnic.

When you have finished either a romantic and relaxing day at the lodge or back from an exhilarating adventure a games room, heated pool, Wine Cave, Lake View Dining Room, open fire place or at Blanket Bay’s Spa will be waiting for you on return.

Whether you want to lounge around reading by an open fireplace overlooking the lake and surrounding snow-capped mountains or get out and about and get your adrenaline pumping, you’ll both be sure to have an unforgettable time on your New Zealand honeymoon getaway.

Images provided by Blanket Bay

Nautilus Resort, Cook Islands

by | Destinations, Honeymoons, Location South Pacific


Polka Dot Bride

Kia Orana!  Last month, Mr Polka and I took a fun trip to the Cook Islands to discover all that this much underrated country has in store for honeymoons and destination weddings. Check out part one of my adventures on the Expedia blog

Cook Islands

It was dark when Mr Polka and I arrived at Nautilus Resort, our home for our time on the island of Rarotonga in the Cook Islands. General manager Ben greeted us and we made our way to the bar for one very well needed pina cola. We couldn’t see a thing but the palm tree outside the window behind us. It was a strange feeling – I had known the sights of this tropical island from photos and all I could see was darkness. Now don’t get me wrong – our arrival was not without fanfare – from the frangipani eis placed around our necks, to the fruit platter and (aptly named Nautilus) sparkling wine waiting in our fridge to the tropical blooms which literally were on every single surface, I knew I had arrived in paradise.

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In some ways, I think the evening arrival only heightened the amazing views we woke up to the next day – a beach right in front of our room, off our own deck with infinity pool and the quintessential tropical island sitting in the middle of it, palm trees creeping out the top. This is the stuff photographs are made of.

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Nautlius Resort Pool

Nautilus is brand new – having only opened in August last year. It will have 18 rooms upon completion – each with it’s own deck and infinity pool. There are five kinds of rooms  here – the garden villas which overlook the resort’s beautiful tropical gardens, the lagoon view rooms which look directly out onto the lagoon (and are a mere few steps away) the beach front rooms and the two and three bedroom rooms (perfect for families or destination weddings). Our room – number two was a lagoon view room and was a mere few steps away from the water’s edge.

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Each room is an oasis of luxury – as well as the private deck and pool, they each have super king beds (complete with mosquito nets, Mr Polka’s new favourite thing), air conditioning and ceiling fans, an enormous bathroom with double sinks, deep bath and rain shower, a kitchenette with bar fridge, Nespresso coffee machine, kettle and toaster and decor that while chic and sophisticated, doesn’t take away, or compete from the beauty of its tropical surroundings.

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Nautlius Resort Room

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The open plan layout of the rooms allow for a living area with flat screen TV and writing desk all focused around that view that is easily accessible through the floor to ceiling doors. Internet here is free and the multi-channel TV has much to choose from. But I suspect you won’t need either during your stay here (unless it’s to instagram that incredible view).

Nautilus, like it’s sister Muri Beach Resort is eco-friendly. From the water that comes from your tap being UV treated, to the solar panels that power the resort. Even the gardens lend a hand –  filled with edible plants which make their way into the restaurant.

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Nautilus Resort Cocktails

If we’re talking about food – Nautilus Resort has one main restaurant, but let me assure you it’s a good one. Firstly the bar sits right on the sand so you can definitely tick the bucket list item of drinking cocktails under a palm tree off the list (And just a top tip? Their mojito is one of the best I have ever tried). We would often drift inside to the main restaurant for dinner after enjoying the bar’s happy hour and settle in for a three course dinner that was well on par , if not better than a lot of Melbourne restaurants (their Island fries? My new favourite!). The restaurant also serves breakfast and lunch and if you tire of it, or want to expand your culinary horizons – the resort is located right on Muri Beach and most resorts and their restaurants welcome diners in from the sand.

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The resort has a range of free water-sport equipment for guests to use – we spent one afternoon kayaking around the little island (well I sat, Mr Polka hates getting hit in the face with my kayak paddle) while Mr Polka attempted stand up paddle boarding later that afternoon. The resort also has flippers and snorkeling masks. Soon they’ll house an on site spa and active kids club.

While I send you dreaming with the resort’s facilities – all of which made our stay just that little bit perfect, there was one very special part of Nautilus that left it ingrained in my memory – the people. From Ned, who introduced himself the moment we walked into the bar that very first night and greeted us by name every time he saw us, asking about our day to telling us about the news back home. To Leilani who made me laugh every night at dinner with her cheeky personality and who gave me the warmest hug on our final night. And Ben – the general manager who always wanted to ensure our stay was okay. To the team who upon hearing we were leaving on our final day before the restaurant would open for breakfast, organised a breakfast hamper to be delivered to our room to make sure we were well fed.

These moments are the ones I remember Nautilus by. I’ve stayed in a lot of nice places and I can’t remember the people – but Ned, Leilani and Ben (as well as Jane, the lovely owner of Nautilus who we were lucky enough to have a drink with) will forever remain embedded in my mind as what Nautilus is all about. A luxury experience that comes with heart and soul.

Cook Islands Sunrise

The Polkas traveled to the Cook Islands courtesy of Expedia & Cook Islands Tourism. My tan (Mr Polka doesn’t tan  – he remains neon white) is courtesy of the Cook Islands sunshine and still remains. Meitaki for the amazing trip and long lasting memories.

Images taken by Ms Polka Dot.

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