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Everything Old is New Again – My Recycled Polka Dot Wedding Dress

by | Bridal Fashion, Inspired Memories, Weddings


Polka Dot Bride


When I walked down the aisle on a sunny afternoon in 2013 , so did the polka dot dress my mother wore 40 years ago!

From a small country wedding in 1973 to a 2013 Melbourne bash, my Mum’s dress enjoyed a little facelift thanks to the incredible talent of Kyha Simpson and One Day Bridal. I’d always loved Mum’s dress, but until my brother-in-law suggested wearing it, it had never crossed my mind. I chatted to Khya and while she loved the idea of re-imagining this polka dot beauty, she couldn’t make any promises before seeing it.

SixtySecrets_Signing Registry_OLD



The first fitting was a hoot. Once Kyha saw the condition of the fabric she was confident we could use it. Being three-tiered was a bonus as there was plenty of fabric to work with which meant there were no limitations on the design. Initially I struggled to see Kyha’s vision – mainly because of those ginormous bell sleeves! It was a big moment when she asked if we were ready to pick up the scissors. There was no turning back after that, but once we lost the sleeves, I knew we’d be creating something incredible.



The One Day Bridal team then set about unpicking the whole dress so that we could use the outer polka dot fabric with new fabric underneath. We went for a V-neck front and back with cap sleeves and a fitted skirt instead of a full one. I loved Kyha’s touch of including the three lines along the skirt as a nod to the original tiers (plus it was a sneaky way to hide the seams where different fabrics were sewn together). I included my grandma’s brooch on the belt. She had worn it on her wedding day in 1946 and it’s been worn by nearly every woman in our family since (I think I was the 14th!)



When the big day rolled around I was so in love with what we’d designed. It was beautiful, fun and full of history. And being able to share the dress-making experience with Mum made it even more special. She was sceptical about how we’d be able to make the old thing new again, but was in awe of the end result. Two years on and the dress is packed away safely… if I have a daughter one day there may be another polka dot bride 40 years from now.



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Alex’s wedding images by The White Tree

I was so excited about what we had created, but it was a bit of an unknown until we actually started the alterations! Here’s some of my thoughts that might help if you are considering ”something old’ or ‘something borrowed’ for your dress:

  1. Share your plans with the previous dress owner. If you hack the dress to pieces to only use a few inches of the fabric, that might not go down too well – or it might be fine. Just ask.
  2. Find a dressmaker/designer who you trust. They’ll understand the limitations of the original dress and have grand ideas for the new one!
  3. Look after old fabrics. Use a specialist dry cleaner and minimise the time exposed to light and air.
  4. Don’t assume it’ll cost less than a new dress. It might, because you’ll save on buying fabric, but the costs of labour and alterations can add up.
  5. If you don’t have a loved one’s dress on hand, you can still enjoy that sense of history by using an old hairpin, veil or jewellery. Who knows, you might start a trend that’ll be passed down for generations to come.

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Ms Chinoiserie Says: What a special day for you Alex – and also for your Mum! Of course, we love the polka dots…. such a heartfelt way to include “something old”!

About Alex Miles: Hi, I’m Alex! I published my first play at age 17 – and since then have worn quite a few writer, producer/director hats!!! In my new book, Sixty Secrets for a Happy Bride, I offer advice on staying balanced and getting organized in the lead up to getting hitched!

Amy and Casey’s Vintage Chic Pastel Wedding

by | Inspired Weddings, Inspired Weddings, Weddings,


Amy Shallcross

AmyCasey0866Amy and Casey

Casey and I met many years ago and though a mutual friend. We grew very close when I took a job on a rural property in South Australia. This job was a Jillaroo (farm hand) position and I willingly accepted even though I had absolutely no experience in the industry. I thought, “What am I doing and who can help me”. The only person I could think of to prepare me for this adventure was Casey who had grown up on a dairy farm. He patiently taught me how to ride a motorbike and gave me a rundown of what to expect when I left home. I lived on the property for three months. When I returned, we decided to catch up but our love did not flourish straight away as I was adjusting back into normal life. We spent a lot of time together over the coming months before he asked me to be his girlfriend. The rest is history.

We actually fell in love in a Jeep! Hehe! Our first date was on Casey’s family property and we rode motorbikes all afternoon. As the sun was setting we arrived back at the house. Case, being the romantic he is, pulled the back off his jeep, popped some smooth tunes on and we kicked back and relaxed as the stars started to peek though the sky. He looked into my eyes which gave me instant butterflies and goose bumps. Case then asked me to dance and there we were, slow dancing in a “topless” jeep, under the starry moonlight sky. We then kissed, and that was it. Love!

Together for two years, getting engaged was not something that had crossed my mind yet.  At the time we were living at my parent’s house, while our first home was being built.  Our weekly date night was the perfect chance for Casey to implement his plan! He suggested over dinner that we go and see our house block and pop open a bottle of champagne to celebrate our home. When we got to the block, I went ahead and as I turned around,  the jeep’s roof was gone, there were candles, and a big sign saying “WILL YOU MARRY ME?” I was so overwhelmed and of course I said YES!

Before even getting engaged, I had seen Evalyn Parson‘s hairstyling work countless times over and was already impressed with her service and professionalism. So when Casey proposed, Evalyn was immediately locked in for our wedding day. I think she was the first vendor I booked!



Make up was one of the things on my list that I needed to be perfect. I had a high expectation of what I wanted my makeup to look like and really needed someone who could give me the look that I had been imagining. Melita from Boudoir Blush Makeup Artistry and I had known each other for some time before the wedding; her work is so beautiful ans I was very impressed with her attention to detail.


I had envisioned having two gowns on my wedding day. One for the ceremony and one for the reception. But the budget said NO. I selected my Alfred Angelo gown from a catalogue in a store called Angelic Bridal. The ladies ordered in a sample gown in white and I absolutely loved it. I was referred to Deborah Kaylique Designs for my gown alterations and “big plans”.

My wedding dress was one-piece gown altered into a two-piece gown. None of my bridesmaids had seen my wedding dress until I walked down the aisle with my Dad. Velcro was attached to the skirt and under my beaded belt. During our first dance, Casey peeled the entire top layer of my skirt off, to reveal a very simple, elegant “party” dress underneath. It was such a heavy dress, and I was instantly relieved to have the “dress change”. I also switched my shoes to a hot pink stiletto and I was ready to dance and boogie!



Purchased from Connor, Casey wore a grey suit, white shirt and bow tie as well as grey braces. His groomsmen, two of cousins and three friends from school, complemented his outfit with black shirts and bow ties.


Casey and I held our ceremony and reception at Maleny Manor – they cared, loved and supported us though all of the planning and preparation. They are like a second family and we could not have chosen a better venue. The views, food, service and attention to detail were out of this world.




We really envisioned a simple, elegant wedding – nothing too big or extravagant. We also wanted to include something vintage and different with a little twist . Casey and I chose fresh country styled theme with soft pastel tones, in the bouquets and bridesmaids’ gowns.

We were so lucky we had the Lovebird Weddings stylist team on speed dial! Trudy and Ashley put together the most amazing proposal together for us and they were very flexible with the ideas we had. They decorated the pavilion at Maleny Manor with soft white muslin draping and two crystal chandeliers hanging from the beams in the roof. They also supplied all of the timber chairs to give a rustic feel to an elegant setting with a magnificent view. Mondo Floral Designs added pastel coloured posies to the chairs and two extravagant pedestals at the end of the aisle.



We also incorporated some of the old dairy cream cans from Casey’s farm, which really put our own personal twist on things. I commend and applaud Mondo Floral Designs on everything they did for us – including finding possibly the last hydrangeas in season in Australia for my bouquet!


We selected three songs for my “walk down the aisle”. The bridesmaids, three of my sisters and two girlfriends, made their entrance for the ceremony via the white balcony to “Bittersweet Symphony”. Once they all got to the bottom, the music changed to Chris Brown’s “Forever” as they danced down the aisle. When it was my turn to enter, another music change – Florence and The Machine’s “Never Let Me Go”.








Jarrad Bayliss – close friend, marriage celebrant and all ground top guy – officiated at our wedding. We were so delighted when we found out that Jarrad was voted number one celebrant globally! Jarrad gave us the most amazing day and best experience of our lives. Without him, we could not imagine it. He had all of our guests feeling the love and even a few tears were shed. I remember looking over at Jarrad at one point during the ceremony and seeing his eyes slightly welling. This is one memory that I will hold close to me forever. It was a very heartfelt moment that truly made me realize that his entire heart and soul had gone into our wedding.








Lovebird Weddings also provided a vintage chandelier hanging from the love tree at Maleny Manor and a beautiful lounge suite with ottomans.



For the reception, Lovebird Weddings also provided our seating chart and all of our table numbers whilst Mondo Floral Designs created a “tree” floral structure on our tables to give a rustic elegant feel. We also added a family dairy cream can for our wishing well.  We loved it all!




We chose Artography to photograph our wedding because we had seem their work in the past and loved them straight away. Talitha, James and Cathy-Lee are all so honest, kind-hearted and true professionals. They are so incredibly talented and it really shines though in their photographs.





“Photography wise” we didn’t want to try to do “too much”. We really only wanted one particular shot, and we figured that everything else was going to be a bonus. This shot was our Jeep Wrangler doing a burn out behind us, on a dusty road. OMG!!!! So fantastic.



Ben from Universal York was our videographer. As the saying goes a picture paints a 1000 words. How many words can a movie paint? 10,000, maybe more? When we sat down to watch our wedding film we were instantly overwhelmed with how amazing it was.

To us music is one of the most important aspects of our wedding. It helped create the feelings and set the mood for particular events during the day. Without music there would be no life behind a great story. Aaron from Cut A Rug gave us life!!! Lets just say we didn’t go easy on him. We set a very high task, which involved of an extremely complex list of songs that consisted of edits, sound effects and a lot of attention to detail.  Aaron showed amazing skill on the day and is not only an amazing DJ but is now one of our very close friends.

As Casey and I fell in love in a Jeep, naturally our wedding cake  from Sam’s Cakes was designed with an edible Jeep flicking mud on a beautiful wedding cake. We really wanted something fun, different and us!



Our First Dance was to “Kiss Me” by Jason Walker. Casey and I enjoyed every minute of the day, especially seeing each other as I walked down the aisle. It was unforgettable!



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Ms Chinoiserie Says: Such a beautifully happy wedding day Amy and Casey; your sentimental touches, including the Jeep, were so special!

Photographer: Artography / Bride's and Bridesmaids' Dresses: Alfred Angelo / Bridal Salon: Angelic Bridal / Dress Alterations: Deborah Kaylique Designs / Groom and Groomsmen's Attire: Connor / Ceremony and Reception Venue: Maleny Manor / Hairstylist: Evalyn Parsons / Makeup Artist: Boudoir Blush Makeup Artistry / Stylist: Lovebird Weddings / Flowers & Decor: Mondo Floral Designs / Ceremony Officiant: Jarrad Bayliss / Videographer: Universal York / DJ: Cut A Rug / Cake Baker: Sam's Cakes / Children's Babysitting Service: Bo Peep Babysitting

Inspired Words – Katie

by | Inspired Words, Weddings


Ms Chinoiserie

Bride with daisy wedding bouquet

Following her rustic backyard wedding to Tim, Katie spoke to us with some inspiring words of advice about what marriage meant to her. “Getting married is about the marriage of two people, not the wedding,” Katie recalled.  “Don’t forget the reason you are getting married or stress levels will rise and there will be conflict. Work together with anyone willing to help you and have fun planning and creating a beautiful wedding”

“Your wedding day will fly by so enjoy the lead up to it and talk about the wedding afterwards to keep the good memories alive!”

Bride and bridesmaids making bouquets

Bride walking down stairs

Bride and bridesmaid selfie

Bride with father

Black and white photo of bride in forest

Australian forest wedding

James Goff Photography


Images by James Goff Photography

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