Toby and I decided on our very small garden wedding for a few reasons. The most practical factor was cost! A few months before the wedding we bought a house that needed a lot of work. So we couldn’t justify spending a lot of money on one day, we would much rather put that money in to our house. So instead we opted to have just our close family with us on the day, there was a total of 14 guests plus ourselves. Even my extended family who had expected an invite to the wedding thought the idea was great and congratulated us for breaking the norm.



After hours of research, I stumbled upon The Wise Foundation. The event coordinator, Kendal, told me they would be opening a new venue called The Gardens Club which should be open in time for our wedding. I could not believe my luck! The heritage listed Curators Cottage in the Brisbane City Botanic Gardens was entirely ours for the day, and 100% of the profits raised from our booking were redistributed back to the community. We loved having a relaxed and meaningful ceremony outside the venue with our Celebrant Jamie Eastgate surrounded by the amazing Botanic Gardens with the contrast of the City skyscrapers in the background. Toby and I love the city, and the view was just perfect!






At first I was incredibly stressed about the day going well, but once I realised that I had chosen an amazing group of talented suppliers it was so easy to relax and let them do what they do best! We loved that the venue allowed the toddlers to run amok safely, and their parents could relax and enjoy the incredible lunch put together by the chef, Alastair McLeod. The Gardens Club also lends itself to some pretty amazing photo opportunities which Kate captured so beautifully.






The best advice I can give to couples planning their wedding is to be yourself and stay true to yourself! Of course our parents and grandparents had expectations of how the day would go. My very religious grandparents had never been to a wedding that wasn’t in a church but on the day they were all thrilled and thought it was lovely and very ‘us’.



Photography by Quince and Mulberry Studios

Ms Gingham says: This wedding is proof that even the smallest affair can be full of the couple’s spark and personality. I absolutely adore this fun wedding cake with the adorable cake toppers!

Ceremony & Reception Venue: The Gardens Club / Ceremony Officiant: Brisbane City Celebrants / Cake Baker: The Cheesecake Shop / Lego Cake Toppers: Ebay / Groom's Attire: Roger David / Hair and Makeup Artist: Canary Hair and Beauty

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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.”

Bride's Dress: Allure Couture / Groom's Attire: J Crew / Bridesmaid Dresses: Forever21, UK / Ceremony & Reception Venue: Mt Vernon Lodge

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