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

What Would They Know? Catherine Williams of will&jac

by | Wedding Planning Wisdom, What Would They Know?, Wisdom


Polka Dot Bride


The sparkly Catherine and Clare of will&jac are your wedding planning angels, ensuring that your wedding day is as beautiful as it can be. How do you put a price on the skills, professionalism and organisation they bring to your day? With solutions borne of great experience honed from working from the ground up in various wedding roles, Catherine and Clare bring you the greatest gift – peace of mind! To be able to hand over your tasks big and small, and to be truly engaged in enjoying your wedding day without worrying over the details is priceless – after all you only get married once! Let’s take a peek into the world of wedding planning with will&jac.

How did you get into the wedding planning business?

Clare and I have both been fortunate to have a wide range of Wedding Planning experience. Clare founded her skills overseas in London, and I learnt my background in the sunny setting of Queensland. We met while working at one of Melbourne’s leading Victorian mansions, Butleigh Wootton, and found ourselves both striving to ensure every couple’s special day was executed to perfection. Weddings involve a lot of emotions, personalities and logistics – ultimately, we want to see all couples thriving in and enjoying the occasion, rather than being caught up in the minor details (which are terribly important) however, can take away from their Day.

What makes you passionate about this business?

People! You can not be involved in the Wedding industry and a couple’s Celebration without being able to listen, assist and support people. Couples need to trust you as their planners, planners need to have the ability to have strong working relationships to instill confidence and peace of mind, you happily offer guidance and encourage the Bride and Groom’s nearest and dearest on the Day, which in turn creates a relaxed and joyous environment. will&jac has a strong want to exceed everyone’s expectations.


Image by Steph Wallis Photography

Where did you learn your skills?

Like most event professionals, we worked our way from the ground up commencing as set-up staff for larger venues, moving onto waitering roles, management teams and then into coordination positions. This process did not happen over night and it is this strong basis of understanding all aspects of event processes that we find enables us to ensure every element is ticked and crossed brilliantly. Such experience is priceless!

What personal qualities do you each bring to the business?

Clare is the detail driven, logistics management and resident tape measure guru. Catherine is the IT and social media wiz, and trend spotter.

How would you describe your overall style?

Our stylings are whatever our gorgeous couples wish it to be! We are so lucky to be able to move from vintage glamour one week, to minimal and sleek, then bright and bold, to surrounding ourselves in Mother Nature with marquee Weddings. We’re a little mix bag of styling wonderfulness!


Image by Katie Harmsworth Photography

You offer several different packages to bridal couples. Which is the most popular?

will&jac can do as little or as much to elevate and execute a couple’s wishes – with no Wedding being the same, this ebbs and flows to make our options tailor specific to each occasion.

Our most popular option would be ‘The Big Day’ with will&jac taking over the reigns of our Bride and Groom’s confirmed Wedding suppliers and details 6 weeks before their Wedding arrives, and offering services to go over their bookings with a fine tooth comb, allowing the couple to enjoy their final count-down! These 6 weeks allow us to find any missing details (and fix them!) while also ensuring plan B’s and all other logistical elements are secured.

Have you seen a shift in bridal couples’ planning needs over the time you’ve been in business? What are they requesting more of now?

Couple’s are stepping away from venue Weddings in turn for creating their own venue, from the ground up, in barns, sheds, paddocks and rooftops. Briefs like this require additional hands, as no stone goes unturned to ensure all requirements are aligned in the greatest of detail.


Image by Steph Wallis Photography

Do you work on each wedding together – from the beginning to the end of the wedding day?

Clare and I are there from when the first supplier arrives (or marquee is underway), throughout the festivities, to the final hoorahs and the space is empty. We wouldn’t miss it for the world and having played such an integral role in the planning stages, our presence is paramount.

What do you see as your roles on the actual wedding day?

Project managers, our Bride and Groom’s support duo – your ‘can do’ team!

Do you feel that more often than not, your ‘wedding planning’ role goes beyond just planning? How does it evolve?

Absolutely and this is what we love the most – we become part of the Day as we form close relationships with our couples, their extended family and friends, and guests. We don’t want to be known as the Wedding Planners, we’re Catherine and Clare your go-to girls!


Image by Katie Harmsworth Photography

Do you work with vendors (such as florists) who understand your style?

Melbourne offers an array of talented florists and being that all Wedding stylings are individual to the couple, we are able to employee the assistance of any leading floral designers to create our couple’s statement pieces. The Bride and Groom decide on their preferred suppliers, after all, it’s their Day!

For bridal couples who have now idea where to start, are you able to provide some tips on what to start looking for (and book) first?

Venue is paramount. Your chosen venue/location detailing will flow onto dresses, suits, invitations, music, florals, styling, photographer, cars… the list goes on!

The choice of a venue is important. What should a bridal couple look for when deciding if it fits with their personal style?

Location, size depending on guest numbers, music restrictions, wet weather options and you can’t forget budget – you need to ensure that added pressures aren’t going to allow you and your fiancee to enjoy the processes from the very beginning.

What is coming through as colour or styling trends for 2017?

will&jac is still holding onto blush, marsala and ivory tones for florals – we think this is a timeless statement for any Celebration. And you can’t go past candlelight, so much atmosphere comes from these subtle touches for your Day.

Where do you find fresh inspiration?

Our couples! They all provide us with unique inspirations drawing on family history, special locations and their own romantic journeys. Clare and I also like to ‘stalking’ social media regularly to stay up-to-date with Melbourne’s ever changing Wedding opportunities.


Image by Chris Clinnick Photography

What do you like to do in your time off?

Escaping to Queensland for some beach time with the family!

How do you celebrate the end of the working week?

We love to bring out the cheese and Champagne on a Friday afternoon!

Favourite restaurant to celebrate at?


Thank you for sharing the will&jac story Catherine.  This dynamic duo will go out of their way to ensure your day is perfect – right down to the smallest detail. To find out more about will&jac visit the website.

Headshot image by Chris Clinnick Photography.

How Do I Decide On My Bridal Party?

by | Ceremony Wisdom, Wisdom


Mona Chung-Chao


Image by Chen Sands Photography via Jasmine & David’s Black Tie Mural Hall Wedding

This question should actually begin with another question:

Should I have a bridal party?

At Melbourne Civil Marriage Celebrant, often my couples feel like they should because everyone seems to have one but that’s not always true.  The question you should ask yourself is:
Who is so close to me that I must have him/her standing by my side at one of the most important moment of my life?

If the answer is:  He/she is already standing across from me and there’s not really anyone else – then you don’t need a bridal party!

For those who answer yes to that question, then bridal party it is.

Relaxed Como Gardens Wedding - Polka Dot Bride

Image by warrenphotography via Rhiannon & Matt’s Relaxed Como Gardens Wedding

Uneven bridal party

So many people mistakenly think that the number of bridesmaids and groomsmen need to be equal.  That is absolutely not true.  A good photographer can set up the group nicely for shots. For the ceremony, there are several tricks you can use too:

  • For the side that has fewer numbers, stand the celebrant or a musician on that side to balance out the look
  • The genders don’t have to be girls for the bride or boys for the groom – your closest friends are who they are
  • Just choose one or two of the dearest to remain standing and the rest to take a seat during the ceremony

Intimate Sorrento Wedding - Polka Dot Bride

Image by Sorrento Wedding Photography & Film via Tammy & Matthew’s Intimate Sorrento Wedding

Too many people you want to include?

Consider just choosing a few nearest and dearest for your official bridal party and then ask some others to dress in your colour theme and arrange a boutonniere or corsage for them. That sets them apart from other guests so they know they are special.

Don’t want to rank your friends?

No problem, just arrange them by height order. Or for those walking down the aisle, the first one to walk down the aisle stands furthest from the centre, so ask the least shy friend to walk down first!

A final test question I like to say to my couples when choosing your bridal party:

Are you confident those you chose will still be there in 20 years’ time?

Hard, I know – but if that friendship fades, effectively more than half your wedding photos may be tainted with a sad moment of “oh… I haven’t seen him/her in years”

At the end of the day, don’t just organise something because that is how it’s done.  Ask yourselves – does it apply to us and how?  Your wedding is your own so make it so and love every part of it.  For all of you getting married, you have already found the most important friendship ever and every extra person is a bonus.


Swirl divider

Ms Chinoiserie Says: Great advice – it is important to make decisions that suit you as a couple rather than following tradition or what your friends have done..

Top Tips On Choosing Your Perfect Bridal Accessories

by | Jewellery Wisdom, Wisdom


Name Jewellery


Image by Brown Paper Parcel Photography via Anna and Murray’s Rustic Mill Wedding

So the big day is fast approaching. You have all the ‘big’ items sorted – you have found the perfect dress, the ideal venue, a tasty menu lined up for guests and the partner of your dreams.

While you are sure to wow everyone on your wedding day in your gorgeous dress, it is important not to forget the role that the correct accessories and jewellery play in creating that perfect look.

We all know that accessories can make any outfit seem more special and personalised, and this rule also applies on your wedding day! Here are our Top 5 Do’s and Don’ts when it comes to choosing the perfect bridal accessories:

Do Number 1: Choose your dress first

While this may seem obvious, many brides will fall in love with a certain piece of jewellery, and make an impulse purchase before they have even decided on their wedding dress.

This can cause some problems down the line when you do finally find your dream dress, and find out that the jewellery or accessory simply does not match. Since the wedding dress is the main centrepiece of the bridal outfit, first decide on the dress and then shop for jewellery and accessories that match.

Do Number 2: Add a splash of colour

While traditionally wedding dresses are white, perhaps try mixing things up a little by adding a splash of colour to your outfit. Accessories are a perfect way to do this – add a coloured birthstone or gemstone to your jewellery.


Image by White Rabbit Productions via Kim & Joel’s Seaside St Kilda Wedding

Do Number 3: Accessorise the bridal party

Even though on the big day all eyes will be on the bride , it is important not to forget the bridesmaids! The bridesmaids are a very important part of any girl’s wedding, so let them all shine by giving them matching jewellery and accessories.

Do Number 4: Add your own personal style

With plenty of options available for accessories and jewellery, you are sure to find something to match your style and budget!

If you are keeping to tradition with your wedding dress, then let the accessories and jewellery be the thing where you break tradition and add your own personal style. For example, some brides may love animals so incorporate some animal jewellery into your wedding ensemble.



Image via Name Jewellery


Do Number 5: Be yourself and be comfortable

Although obvious, many brides will sacrifice their own wants and their own comfort to please others. This is your day and you deserve to have the special wedding day that you want.

As the bride, you should feel comfortable during your own wedding, so accessorise accordingly. While those crystal-studded stiletto heels may look pretty and match your dress , four hours standing up, dancing and mingling with guests, your feet will be paying the price!


Image by Welsch Photography via Beachside Valentines Day Inspiration

Don’t Number 1: Overdo It

While it is often easy to get carried away with pretty and shiny accessories – sparkly shoes, shiny necklaces, pretty bracelets, cute hair pins – too many bridal accessories and too much flashy jewellery will no doubt just end up ruining your whole look. You may just end up looking more like the disco ball, than the radiant bride!

Stick to classic accessories, warm colours, and simple jewellery pieces; if in doubt, remember that less is more when it comes to accessories.

Don’t Number 2: Leave anything until the last minute

Planning a wedding can be hectic! While there are lots of things to think about and lots of things to plan for your big day, be sure to write a list to avoid forgetting anything.

Do not forget the accessories, as you do not want to be rushing around finding jewellery and other accessories last minute. Plan ahead and try on accessories and jewellery once you have your dress – and when shopping online, leave plenty of time for your jewellery to arrive before your big day!

Don’t Number 3: Be tied down by tradition

Most girls have dreamt about their picture-perfect wedding for a long time. They have visions of the classic white dress and long veil trailing behind them as they walk down the aisle. However, do be sure to not let tradition tie you down or sway you from the wedding day you really want.

Although traditionally pearls were worn by brides as a symbol of wealth and beauty, you should feel free to wear exactly the accessories that you want.

Intimate Sorrento Wedding - Polka Dot Bride

Image by Sorrento Wedding Photography & Film via Tammy & Matthew’s Intimate Sorrento Wedding

Don’t Number 4: Get carried away with the price tag

Buying expensive and extravagant accessories just isn’t necessary. Shop around before you make your final decision on what accessories to buy. Shopping online is a great way to browse lots of accessories and jewellery and to find something in your price range.

Don’t Number 5: Not think beyond the wedding day

While it is your special day, choose jewellery pieces that are versatile and that you can wear again; have a look for pieces that will go with other outfits and occasions.

Choosing the right bridal accessories can truly complete any wedding outfit. Bridal accessories are all about balance – wear just the right amount and right kind and find pieces of jewellery you will wear again.


Swirl divider

Ms Chinoiserie Says: Great advice about accessorising – I love the idea about buying special pieces that you can wear again after your big day.

Back to Top