Back to Top
PolkaDotBride - Australia's number 1 Bridal Blog, Wedding Directory and Advice for Brides
Log In Register

A Glass Of Bubbles With….Amanda From HerCanberra

by | A Glass Of Bubbles With..., Weddings


Bec Lawrence

a glass of bubbles with Amanda from HerCanberra

For Canberra locals it’s often hard to find information about upcoming events, a good place to eat and anything that really connects them to the city. That was until HerCanberra quickly became the ‘go to’ website for everything and anything you’ve ever wanted to know about the Nation’s capital. The brain behind the success of HerCanberra is Amanda Whitley, who we sat down with for a glass of bubbles and reminisced about her wedding in Canberra.

Tell us about you and your business/blog?
HerCanberra started out as a website for Canberra women just on five years ago. It’s since grown into a quarterly magazine (entitled Magazine), a new podcast, videos and a whole heap of events. Everything we do has one simple aim – to connect local women to their city and each other.


Tell us about your wedding?
Our wedding was held in Canberra on 3 October 2004, so a while ago now! We hosted our ceremony in the Sculpture Garden of the National Gallery of Australia, next to Clement Meadmore’s ‘Virginia’ sculpture, commonly known as ‘The Knot’. We loved the idea of ‘tying the knot’ next to ‘The Knot’ and took this image through our invitation, place cards, etc. which were designed by a friend.


My dress was a deep-backed gown of Chantilly lace, made by Petal Couture in Paddington (Sydney) and necklace and earrings from Kai.Monte (both have since closed).  My shoes were from Midas and a friend did my make up, which was super minimal.

It was an intimate event, with just 50 guests, as we wanted the emphasis to be on sharing quality time with close family and friends on our special day. A local string quartet entertained guests while they waited for the bridal party and then accompanied the procession up the ‘aisle’. My Mum did the honours, as my Dad has MS and was unable to make the four-hour trip from his home in the Riverina to attend.


It was important to us that guests didn’t have to kill a few hours between the ceremony and the reception, so they went straight to Waters Edge Restaurant – a couple of hundred metres away from the ceremony to start on the canapés and champagne. We instructed our photographer that we wanted to be done in 45 minutes so that we could join in too! The result is some lovely candid shots which really capture the day.

We LOVE food, so our reception was a six-course degustation with matching wines. At the time, Waters Edge was one of Canberra’s top restaurants and had never hosted a wedding before…they had always said no to closing on Saturday nights to accommodate functions, so we scheduled our wedding for the Sunday of the October long weekend especially. It has one of the best views in town, overlooking the lake, and was perfect for a reception.

We worked closely with Michael Gray, who was then the Manager and is now the CEO of Vue de Monde in Melbourne, to create a menu that we absolutely loved—people still rave about it! Our dear friend, Clare, made the flourless chocolate cake topped with raspberries and 50 mini cakes as favours (and she’s allergic to chocolate so couldn’t even taste them!)


There was no dancing or bouquet throwing – just a fantastic night of food, wine and funny, emotional speeches from our nearest and dearest. Afterwards, those who were keen to party on, joined us at a nearby bar for post-celebration drinks. It was fabulous!

What was your most memorable moment (or moments!)?

It’s really hard to pinpoint one specific moment (especially since it was 11 years ago!) I just have an overwhelming feeling of happiness whenever I look at our wedding photos – it was such an amazing afternoon and evening spent with the people we loved. It’s made all the more sweet knowing how our marriage has gone from strength to strength over the past decade and brought two beautiful little girls into the world.

If you could change one thing, what would it be?

The weather! Although the clouds and the sky were amazing for photos after a morning of storms, IT WAS FREEZING! I couldn’t wait to get inside for the reception…


Who are your favourite vendors?

Canberra’s wedding scene has changed A LOT since 2004. It used to be nigh on impossible to source everything locally, but we now have some amazing vendors. If I was doing it all over again, I’d give these guys a serious look.

FLORISTS – Moxom and Whitney and Lady Larissa both do beautiful, creative work and are lovely ladies (bonus!)

PHOTOGRAPHERS – Hilary Wardhaugh is still around and still doing amazing work! I also love Kelly Tunney and Lauren Campbell .

DESIGNERS – Rockstars and Royalty and Chachino  are local couturiers and their gowns are to die for. There are a number of bridal boutiques around town, but for modern, ready-to-wear styles, head to Momento Dezigns – this Manuka boutique stocks Rachel Gilbert, Alex Perry and Eileen Kirby, among others. A couple of shops away is Carla Zampatti which has some sophisticated options.

CAKES – Sweet Bones Bakery’s  creations are absolutely delicious (and vegan!) They’re extremely cost-effective, too…

STATIONERY –  Artforme does the most exquisite letterpress. Just beautiful.

STYLING – We’re lucky now to have quite a few styling companies popping up. Show Pony Events  is probably the most well known, and for good reason; Wren and Rabbit  are a gorgeous little boutique company with really interesting ideas!

CELEBRANTS – We used Roger Thomson  and he’s still very popular in Canberra…a sweet man. I also love Amanda Corbett – she has such a nice, down-to-earth style and really works with couples to ensure they have a day that’s all about them.

CATERERS/VENUES – The National Gallery of Australia, National Museum of Australia and Poachers Pantry  are all amazing. For brides looking for something a little different, we love Mr Papa’s Peruvian Street Food – the food is delicious and they put so much love and care into the presentation.

MAKEUP Lesley Johnston , Jacqui Scott , Amy Capeda and Jolina O’Hair are all fabulous. The girls from Browlab will whip your brows into shape.

HAIR  Love all these hair stylists, who we work with regularly on Magazine: Emma Luscombe from Antique Hair, Renee Pound from MEKI Hair , Peter and Carolina from Pony & Pins  and Adam and Lexi from AXIS Hair .

Who was your photographer?

Hilary Wardhaugh . Our friends Dominic and Roger filmed it for us!


What advice do you have for others planning their wedding?

It might sound clichéd, but just relax and enjoy the day – don’t stress if it doesn’t go 100% to the run sheet (chances are you’re the only one who’ll notice little deviations anyway!) And plan a wedding that makes you and your partner happy…don’t feel pressured into doing things a certain way just because it’s expected.. it’s your day, it should be whatever you want it to be.


Swirl divider

Ms Chinoiserie Says: What a beautiful celebration full of food, wine and fun; for a focus on positive stories highlighting women and what’s going on in Canberra, pop by and visit HerCanberra; it’s a fabulous online sisterhood!

Kirsten and Tom’s Pretty Pink Maleny Wedding

by | Inspired Weddings, Inspired Weddings, Weddings,


Kirsten Hall

Tom + Kirsten-1293Kirsten and Tom

Tom and I first met in Whistler, Canada. We were both on working holidays – him from the UK and me from Australia – when our paths crossed at a party one night. Some mutual friends of ours played match-maker and a few days later we went on our first date which lasted for hours.

From there, we spent every waking minute together until we both had to return home. After some months of long distance chats, Tom visited me in Australia for a holiday and we decided that it wasn’t just a summer romance. He moved to Australia permanently five months later so we could be together.

Tom proposed to me one Friday night completely out of the blue. We’d planned a long overdue date night and were on our way to a casual restaurant when he decided that we should take a walking detour down by the Brisbane River. He popped the question with the most amazing ring in front of the twinkling lights of the Story Bridge. I was in such shock I didn’t quite know how to react after saying yes! We celebrated with French champagne and cocktails at a Riverside bar before he surprised me with an amazing dinner at ARIA.

We were engaged for around 16 months to allow enough time for our family and friends from the UK and around Australia to plan holidays around our wedding on the Sunshine Coast. As a result our whole wedding was like a big happy reunion!

Tom + Kirsten-1268

Tom + Kirsten-1276

We chose to have our ceremony and reception at Weddings at Tiffanys in Maleny. We absolutely love spending time on the Sunshine Coast and we wanted a venue that could host both our ceremony and reception to makes things easy for our guests. As soon as we saw Tiffany’s we knew it was the place we wanted to get married – so much so we booked it on the spot. They offered an amazing locally sourced, ‘paddock to plate’ fine dining menu, exceptional customer service, a spectacular view of the Glasshouse Mountains as well as a gorgeous chapel and reception hall – really everything we could have dreamed of.

Tom + Kirsten-1414

We sent out our Save the Dates quite early to our friends from overseas so they had plenty of time to plan. One of my bridesmaids has her own bespoke stationery business called Love My Type and she worked with us to design all our stationery and wedding invitations. They were absolutely gorgeous and really set the tone for our wedding – colourful, sophisticated, unique and most of all fun!

The night before the wedding I stayed at the beautiful Montville Lake Terrace with my family and some of my bridesmaids. It was such a lovely place to prepare for the wedding and has the most stunning view. I woke up very early on the morning of the wedding and was too excited to go back to sleep so I watched the sunrise over the lake with my sister which was a special moment I’ll always remember from the day. It was an absolutely perfect spring day – we honestly couldn’t have asked for more perfect weather.

Tom + Kirsten-1027

Tom + Kirsten-1001

Tom + Kirsten-1006Tom + Kirsten-1043

Tom + Kirsten-1045Tom + Kirsten-1078

Tom + Kirsten-1058

Soon the lovely Khesanh and Erin from The Beauty Case arrived to do our hair and makeup. They were so much fun and really helped me to relax as the nerves had started to kick in. They also did a fantastic job on our hair and make-up – we all felt amazing on the day.

Tom + Kirsten-1026

Tom + Kirsten-1127

Tom + Kirsten-1130Tom + Kirsten-1132

Tom + Kirsten-1133

Before long, it was time to slip on my wedding dress! I wore the ‘Katelyn’ dress by Wendy Makin. I had first spied it in a magazine not long after getting engaged – I thought it was absolutely gorgeous but was certain that it wouldn’t suit me – plus it was strapless and had a sweetheart neckline and full skirt which was pretty much the exact opposite of what I thought I wanted. Funnily enough, when I put it on that all changed. I absolutely adored wearing it and am so glad that I chose to wear something a little less traditional and a lot of fun, whilst still being ‘bridal’.

Screen Shot 2016-01-19 at 12.53.29 pm

Screen Shot 2016-01-19 at 12.54.10 pm

I knew I wanted to wear pink wedding shoes even before I had decided on my dress. I found some pink suede strappy sandals online from Isola and bought them on a whim – they were perfect in every day and just the right height for dancing.

I didn’t focus too much on accessories on the day as my dress was already making quite a statement. I wore a diamanté hair piece that my parents gave me, some small diamanté drop earrings, a sparkling bracelet and of course my engagement ring.

We had a big bridal party – full of our best friends – and we wanted them all to feel comfortable and confident on the day. It was so wonderful having them all involved in our wedding – they made the whole day so much more fun.

Tom + Kirsten-1148Tom + Kirsten-1150

Tom + Kirsten-1151

Screen Shot 2016-01-19 at 12.50.07 pm

I had always envisioned my bridesmaids would wear different styles and colours and after a bit of research we stumbled upon Alfred Sung. The girls tried on a bunch of different styles, each picking their favourite, and we went with colours that complimented the fabric of my dress. They all looked and felt so fantastic.

Tom wore a three-piece navy tuxedo with black lapels from MJ Bale and black patent shoes whilst our groomsmen looked dapper in navy suits from MJ Bale with black ties.

Tom + Kirsten-1089

Tom + Kirsten-1116

Tom + Kirsten-1121

Tiffany’s Flowers arranged our wedding flowers and they managed to create the most beautiful romantic bouquets and flower arrangements that looked amazing with my wedding dress and the girls’ bridesmaid dresses. I couldn’t have been happier with how everything looked. They also created a stunning cake topper for our delicious three-tier wedding cake made by Cake Designs.

Tom + Kirsten-1068

Tom + Kirsten-1170

Tom + Kirsten-1283

We were married at Tiffanys onsite chapel. It has a glass wall behind the altar, so you can see the beautiful Glasshouse Mountains. We wanted someone young and fun to officiate our ceremony and when we met Kath from Lovestruck Ceremonies we knew she was the right choice – we didn’t bother meeting any other celebrants. Kath worked with us to create a personal, relaxed, and intimate ceremony that was still loads of fun for our guests.

My Dad walked me down the aisle to Jose Gonzales’ ‘Stay Alive’ and when I got to Tom at the end I was so caught up in the moment I temporarily forgot that I was meant to hand my bouquet to my bridesmaids and kiss my dad goodbye. I am a pretty emotional person so our bridal party actually had a couple of bets as to who would tear up first but Tom beat me to it which I was pretty happy about. We wrote our own vows which were really hard to get through but it felt so wonderful to say them in front of all the people we love. My nerves completely disappeared during the ceremony and it felt like it was just the two us at times. It was simply magical.

Tom + Kirsten-1176

Tom + Kirsten-1181

Tom + Kirsten-1194Tom + Kirsten-1196

Tom + Kirsten-1213 Tom + Kirsten-1238

Tom + Kirsten-1265

After the ceremony we were both on such a high and after lots of hugs and kisses we left our guests to enjoy cocktails and canapes while we went to have our photos taken. This was one of the best parts of the day – cruising around with our bridal party in the ‘Something Blue’ and ‘Classic Red’ Deluxe Kombis. We cranked up the music, stood up out of the sun roof, had a few drinks, and generally got a bit silly.

Tom + Kirsten-1349

Tom + Kirsten-1434

Tom + Kirsten-1436

One of the most memorable parts of the day was watching the spectacular sunset over the Glasshouse Mountains with our bridal party as we had photos taken. We were all having so much fun, popping champagne and doing silly poses – it was a magical afternoon.

Tom + Kirsten-1334

Tom + Kirsten-1339

Tom + Kirsten-1300

Tom + Kirsten-1299

Our Wedding 2016-01-13 at 5.24.25 pm

Tom + Kirsten-1313

Tom + Kirsten-1327

Tom + Kirsten-1413

We danced into the reception to ‘Happy’ by Pharrell – a last-minute decision because we’d forgotten to actually pick a song to walk in to. It was a fantastic night that had all the traditional reception things you expect at a wedding – speeches, laughter, cake cutting and lots of inappropriate dancing. The staff at Tiffanys were amazing – they put on an exceptional three course dinner and our guests were never without a drink in hand – needless to say lot of our guests were feeling a tad sorry for themselves the next day!

Tom + Kirsten-1514

Our Wedding 2016-01-13 at 6.34.41 pm

Our Wedding 2016-01-13 at 6.35.01 pm

I can’t recommend our photographer and videographer enough! Matt from Mattography and Bec from BXCSmxth were both super relaxed and fun which made it so easy for them to capture all the happiness, emotion and frivolities of our wedding. We felt like we were having our photos and video taken by friends which made relaxing in front of the camera so much easier. It’s so special to have those memories recorded for us to keep forever.


Swirl divider

Ms Chinoiserie Says: Congratulations Kirsten and Tom; such a beautiful and fun day in a picturesque location; wonderful memories for you both!

Ceremony and Reception Venue: Weddings at Tiffanys / Invitations & Stationery: Love My Type / Getting Ready Accommodation: Montville Lake Terrace / Hair and Make Up: The Beauty Case / Bride’s Dress: Wendy Makin / Bride’s Shoes: Isola / Bridesmaid Dresses: Alfred Sung / Groom's and Groomsmen's Suits: MJ Bale / Flowers & Decor: Tiffany's Flowers / Cake Baker: Cake Designs / Ceremony Officiant: Lovestruck Ceremonies / Transport: Deluxe Kombis / Photographer: Mattography / Videographer: BXCSmxth

Danika and Joel’s Rustic Old Broadwater Farm Wedding

by | Inspired Weddings, Inspired Weddings, Weddings,


Danika Gray


Danika & Joel

Joel and I met in 2007 whilst we were holidaying on Hamilton Island. We had an amazing week in such a beautiful part of the world – believing the fact it was just a holiday romance but the moment we both boarded the planes to go to our seperate homes (Joel is from Western Australia and I’m from Queensland), we knew we didn’t want to be apart. I packed up and moved to Western Australia where we started our lives together and the rest is our happily ever after.

Ben Yew Photography

Five years after we met, we were actually on Hamilton Island for my sister’s birthday. Joel hired a helicopter and we flew to a secluded Whitehaven Beach where a picnic was waiting; later we swam with a turtle and drank champagne. He popped the question – after asking for my Dad’s permission earlier that day ( while they were playing golf!) and we celebrated all night with our family and friends. It was a magical day!

On our actual wedding day, getting ready was so exciting! All the girls and I finished our final touches to the venue, Old Broadwater Farm, in the morning – I was up early, too excited to stay in bed a second longer!  I wasn’t nervous at all, just so excited to marry my best friend as we have both been ready for so long. I was dancing around the kitchen watching the girls get ready and I kept asking “is it time yet?!”

The glam squad, Abbie Mac and Top Cut Hair and Beauty were incredible – they made us all feel so beautiful and are so amazing at what they do. I even cried when I saw my finished reflection because I was so overwhelmed!

Finding my dress was easy; my Mum and I walked into Bohemian Brides to look for a headpiece but saw a beautiful Mia Solano gown hanging on its own. I tried it on and bought it that same day. It was strapless, detailed in heavy lace and so comfortable! I just wanted something that I could dance and sit down in.

I also bought the headpiece! It was perfect as I don’t like a lot of bling. My bridesmaids bought me some gorgeous Pandora rings which I also wore and now wear everyday.

Ben Yew Photography



Margaret River region has hundreds of beautiful wineries perfect for weddings but we chose the gorgeous original homestead Old Broadwater Farm because it had everything we needed in one location – an immaculate rose garden for the ceremony (we said our I do’s under the big poplar tree), an awesome wooden deck for cocktail hour and lawn games and a brand new amazing marquee with lighting for the party. Old Broadwater Farm also provided accommodation for our bridal party the night of the wedding.


The ceremony was my favourite part of the day – not a dry eye in the house! Joel walked both our mums down the aisle to start which was special to us and them – we wanted them to know how much they meant to us.  Just a note to brides – make sure you or your bridesmaids have a tissue on hand; we spent a few minutes trying to find one when the waterworks came (hehe!)

The whole day was incredible – so many of our guests had flown from around the globe to be there, which meant so much to both of us. The weather was outstanding after a week of rain; we were very grateful for the sun so we could have the ceremony under the big shady tree!

Ben Yew Photography



Our flowers were arranged by Mable and Grace.  The girls were so great to work with but then again I just put my faith in all our vendors ( after all, that is what they do for a living!) and it paid off in a big way. My key words were native, rustic and romantic – and that’s exactly what they gave us throughout the venue and our bouquets.

We  just wanted our guests and ourselves to be relaxed, have everything they could want and just enjoy themselves. We used lots of floaty fabric, candles and soft lighting to create a romantic, intimate vibe. All the girls in the family and bridal party made the details – chalkboards, menus and place tags. It was so much fun doing it all together.


We also had a gorgeous arch made behind our bridal table to which we put together ourselves and Mable and Grace styled it beautifully with flowers; we absolutely loved the final outcome and wish we could have kept it!


For our fabulous bridal party, we chose those special few that we have known us all our lives and have seen us grow as a couple – our best friends and my beautiful younger sister who was my Maid of Honour. They flew all the way from Canada and Queensland to be there for us in Western Australia which made the day all that more special.


Ben Yew Photography

Ben Yew Photography

Ben Yew Photography

Our photographer, Ben Yew was incredible – he made us feel so relaxed and made us laugh so much all day. Then in the intimate moments, it was like he wasn’t even there. Our wedding photos are now something we will treasure forever – when I look at them I feel every emotion we felt on that day.


Ben Yew Photography




For our music, we asked Bella Blakemore to sing; she has a very original sound and she made some of our favourite songs her own; they were the perfect background for our romantic, rustic farm wedding. All the guests commented how amazingly talented she was.

Our first dance was to an acoustic version of  ‘All Of Me’ by John Legend. We learned a few steps for it but forgot it all when the time came! It didn’t matter though as we just soaked up the moment and appreciated how lucky we were.



Our guests are still talking about the food from Supper Road. We couldn’t fault a single thing – from the two hours of tapas to the amazing chocolate torte (that I may have gone back to for seconds!) We made the cake ourselves the night before the wedding – I always was one for last minute activities. It turned out great!


The new marquee on the farm was set up beautifully by the staff – it’s like they knew what I was envisioning before I even knew! Festoon lights hung from the roof and an array of candles and flowers in assorted jars decorated the venue. The speeches were hilarious and full of love – then we headed back outside into the courtyard for the photobooth, bar and giant jenga before we danced the night away before leaving under a bridge of sparklers!




Swirl divider

Ms Chinoiserie Says: Congratulations Danika and Joel; how lucky you were to be able to share your beautiful day with friends and family from around the world!

Bridal Salon: Bohemian Brides / Bride’s Dress: Mia Solano / Ceremony and Reception Venue: Old Broadwater Farm / Hairstylist: Top Cut Hair and Beauty / Makeup Artist: Abbie Mac / Photographer: Ben Yew Photography / Flowers: Mable and Grace / Catering: Supper Road / Entertainment/Acoustic Artist: Bella Blakemore
Back to Top