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Caroline and Michael’s Stunning Wedding In Akaroa

by | Inspired Weddings, Inspired Weddings, Weddings,



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Michael and Caroline

Michael and I had been together 10 1/2 years when we got married. We met one night out on the town, in a bar in Christchurch. After spending the night dancing we exchanged numbers and have been together ever since!
I wanted to keep traditional elements in our wedding, yet keep it fun and relaxed at the same time. We chose to have our wedding in Akaroa, the picturesque French settlement on Banks Peninsula. It’s a gorgeous little place about an hour from Christchurch city and actually where we celebrated our first year anniversary together and where we got engaged too.

The girls got ready at a classic kiwi bach which belongs to the family of our good friends who were also bridesmaid and groomsmen, and the boys spent the morning surfing! My dress was an all over lace style by Allure Couture. I adored wearing it on the day – it was the perfect mix of traditional and modern styling. As I am very petite I spent hours looking for the perfect dress style that would work for my size and wouldn’t swamp me. Michael’s suit was brought from J.Crew on a trip to the United States. Nearly all the other elements were bought online (I’m a big online shopper!); I bought my shoes online from the UK, my earrings from Etsy, my veil off Trade Me (an online auction site in NZ), my fur cape from ASOS and the bridesmaid dresses and Sequin jackets were from Forever 21.

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We had our ceremony at St Patrick’s Catholic church, a beautiful small historic church in the Akaroa township. The local Priest, Father Paul Shannahan married us. He was very relaxed and put us all at ease.

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My dad walked me down the aisle to a song called “First Day of My Life” by Bright Eyes.

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The weather on our wedding day was pretty awful (which wasn’t in the grand plan!). It was raining all morning, so our legendary photographer Jim Pollard spent the morning scouting out under-cover locations for us. We couldn’t be more grateful to him for that! He managed to find an awesome old wool shed for us to use, and also organised for us to go up the Akaroa lighthouse. Bad weather sure makes for fantastic moody photos though, and we couldn’t be happier with how they turned out!

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We did even get a break in the weather which allowed us to get some shots outdoors also.We chose our photographer Jim as we love his natural style of photography and his fantastic ability at capturing these amazing little moments and true emotion of the day – which was really important to us. Both of us really dislike the overly posed look. He was very professional and easy-going and we had a lot of fun. We really loved the candid moments captured at the reception from the emotional speeches to the first dance to some crazy dance floor action later on in the night. We really felt he captured the whole day from start to finish perfectly!

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We held our reception at Mt Vernon Lodge which overlooks Akaroa harbour. We liked that it was a bit of a blank canvas we could make our own. There was also accommodation on site which was awesome as our guests could party the night away! We decorated the reception room ourselves (with a lot of help!). It was really pretty with tons of fairy-lights and paper lanterns hanging from the ceiling, and lots of candles and flowers on the tables.

Our wedding was very much a DIY affair.​ Being a Graphic Designer​ I designed and created most aspects of our wedding myself (it sure came in handy!) – from designing our logo, to designing/printing/putting together our invitations, ceremony programs, dinner menus, seating plan, guest book and making our cake topper and banners/signs at the reception. For the place settings I used magnetic alphabet letters which I spray painted gold and hand wrote the guests names on. It was fun, but kept me a very busy lady! I spent hours trawling pinterest and wedding blogs for ideas and inspiration.

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I also did my own Bouquets (I figured how hard could it be?). I watched some you-tube tutorials, and spent hours hunting down the exact flowers I wanted to include and did a trial run a few weeks before. I couldn’t have been happier with how they turned out! It also was a big cost saving. I then had the bridal party and family help me arrange the other flowers for the reception tables and my Dad created the arrangements for the Church. I was lucky to have so many creative people help me out! My mother-in-law made the table runners for the reception and also made our stunning (and delicious) wedding cake which she decorated with fresh flowers.

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We had our first dance to “Can’t Take my Eyes off You” by Frankie Valli. We had a sit down meal catered by a local restaurant The Trading Rooms which was absolutely delicious, and for dessert we had cheese platters and wedding cake. We then had a friend DJ for us and danced the night away with all our guests! All in all we had the most amazing day.

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Images by Jim Pollard

Swirl divider

Ms Gingham says: What an absolutely treat to kick off 2015. Anyone who knows me knows that NZ is one of my absolute favourite places of all time and this is a stellar example of why! Congratulations Caroline and Michael!

Caroline says: “My name is Caroline Thomson, I live in Christchurch, New Zealand by the seaside with my husband Michael and our pampered black lab, Harvey. I am a Graphic Design who works for an apparel company, and Michael is director of a wholesale Audio company. We were married in April 2014 after being together for 10 years.”

Photographer: Jim Pollard / Bride’s Dress: Allure Couture / Groom’s Attire: J Crew / Bridesmaid Dresses: Forever 21 / Ceremony & Reception Venue: Mt Vernon Lodge

Polka Dot Weddings Top Posts of 2014

by | Blog News, Weddings


Ms Gingham

This year was another jam packed year of beautiful celebrations and love stories. How lucky we are to be able to share such inspiring and joyful stories with you. To wrap up 2014, we’ve put together a list of the top ten reader’s favourite posts to look back on. Thankyou to all our amazing brides and couples for pouring their hearts out and sharing their thoughts to inspire us all.

1. Samantha and Blake’s Modern Wedding By The River

Samantha’s amazing gown custom designed by Paul Vasilef (who heads up label Paolo Sebastian) was a real reader’s favourite this year.

Image by Jemma Keech

2. Ask Ms Polka – Bridesmaid Dress Shops In Melbourne

Have a wedding related query? You must ask Ms Polka Dot!! And this year a huge number of you did!

3. Our Destination Wedding In Thailand Heaven

Stunning scenery and a beautiful story made for one of our most popular destination wedding posts.

Image by Deng-Image Plus Photography

4. A Stunning Hunter Valley Vineyard Wedding

When it came to designing her own wedding gown, bridal designer Tegan Asha left nothing to chance and the results were breathtaking.

Image by Photography on Hermitage

5. Edward and Emma’s Vintage Chic Inspired Hinterland Queensland Wedding

A beautiful wedding with lots of little handmade details made Edward and Emma’s wedding a hit with you this year!

Image by  Todd Hunter McGaw

6. Natasha & Ryan’s Wedding In The Yarra Valley

Who doesn’t love the rolling hills of the Yarra Valley? Natasha and Ryan’s wedding captured the scenery and complimented it to perfection.

Image by AMR Photography

7. David and Amy’s Rustic Brisbane Wedding

Such a sweet couple! David and Amy’s wedding was jam packed with smiles and laughter!

Image by Nick Evans Photography

8. Nick & Susan’s Whimsical Barn Wedding

Nick and Susan’s wedding was blessed by nymphs and fairies and we loved every minute of it!

Image by Pixie Rouge Photography

9. Lauren and Tim’s Warehouse Wedding

Industrial chic meets Australian style. This wedding was true to Lauren’s design background.

Image by Candice Van Moolebroek

10. Leea and Robert’s Vintage Style Barn Wedding

We wrap up on a real favourite them of our’s, the barn wedding. Leea and Robert’s was rustic, homey and intimate… just the way a barn wedding should be.

Image by Brown Paper Parcel

Lee and Colin’s Country Barn Wedding

by | Inspired Weddings, Weddings,



Wedding day

Colin and Lee

Ours is a slightly different love story as I first met Colin 18 years ago in a nightclub where he was playing in the band. He left shortly after to travel overseas for a year and I joined him in Europe for two months. Since then we have always been together. Together we renovated his old cottage and then in 2009 we started to renovate the old stone barn and from there the idea of our country barn wedding took shape.

Our ceremony was held in November 2014 overlooking Horeshoe Bay and I chose rose petals and an almond blossom arbour to decorate the aisle and gardens. Our beautiful flower girls had bouquets of Hydrangeas and were wearing dresses I designed to create an angelic princess theme. My dress was custom made by Alexis George using Italian silk and fine tulle with a frayed rose French lace trim.



Our two 1960s kombis provided nostalgic transport between Port Elliot and Willunga. Our 5yo Rottweiler ‘Harley’ was also a big part of our day.




After many years of transforming our dilapidated stone barn into a wedding venue we had the pleasure of hosting over 100 of our closest friends and family in Barn1890. I chose to use twisted willow, hydrangeas, bird cages and candles as table decorations. I also created a photo booth using an old door hanging from a tree on the property which was really popular on the day.












Colin handled all the renovations and rebuilding work on the barn and I took care of the design of our day with the help of many great people who have now become friends!

Ms Gingham says: That barn looks amazing! What an epic effort you both must have put in. Congratulations!

Lee describes herself as: Very recently married after 18 years with my wonderful partner. I work full-time and run my own jewellery design business as well as running our Bed and Breakfast Sea Vines Cottage.


Photographer: Luke Simon Photography / Bride’s Dress: Alexis George / Ceremony & Reception Venue: Barn 1890 / Catering: Cindy's Classic Gourmet
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