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The Sugar Wharf Cat

by | Wisdom, Wise Words


Sass Studios
Find me on Ms Polka Dot's Directory

Sandy Cat – aka The Sugar Wharf Cat originally lived in the hills behind Port Douglas when his owner had a change of circumstances and could no longer care for him.  She brought him to Port Douglas but he opted to be a ‘ free range’ cat rather than adopting new humans.

He was often seen walking down the main street of town all hours of the day or night.  He liked to take the pedestrian crossing to get from A to B but mostly he lived on The Sugar Wharf, a heritage listed iconic building used for weddings and events and of course fishing.

His staple diet consistent of fish, and no doubt the odd hors d’oeuvre at weddings… he loved weddings. We often snapped him walking down the aisle, or standing with the bridal party, it was his house after all and no one seemed to mind.

He was a well travelled cat having a fondness for taking naps on tourist buses, he always made it back to Port Douglas though.

He lived a long and prosperous 13 years and instead of having one owner, he had many. This became very clear on the day of his funeral. An eclectic bunch of locals came together to shed a few tears and pay tribute to The Sugar Wharf Cat.   Speeches, poems and the spreading of his ashes in the sea became the perfect send off for Sandy Cat and a wonderful celebration of humanity.

RIP Sandy. You touched the lives of many.

Images by Sass Studios

Ms Stripey says – I just love this story. It just goes to show that even a ‘stray’ cat can touch our lives in a positive way!

Ben and Cath of Sass Studios are dedicated to offering couples the best in natural, elegant wedding day photography. We believe in working unobtrusively and capturing candid moments wherever possible, not restricting locations nor rushing your coverage to a set hour limit. With bases on the Sunshine Coast and in Port Douglas, we are available for weddings throughout Queensland, as well as destinations in Australia and overseas. Whether it is an elopement or a grand affair – tell us about your day and we would love to let you know what we can offer.

The Relaunch Of Bells N Whistles

by | Event Reviews, Wisdom


Katherine Eleyce

Overlooking the glistening ocean from the five star rooftop view of the newly refurbished InterContinental Sydney Double Bay, an intimate crowd gathered to celebrate the re-launch of a pioneer in the industry – Bells n Whistles by Jennifer Kennedy. As the sun set over Sydney, the wedding industry enjoyed a VIP cocktail party and joined Bells n Whistles in the celebration of their re-launch.

Upon the rooftop patio, guests were not only treated to a spectacular view of the harbor, there was also an array of gourmet canapés as prepared by the Intercontinental chefs. With a selection including bruschetta, varieties of arancini, pork belly and grilled squid – each was more delicious than the next. A decadent example of how a partnership between two Industry powerhouses is one of refined elegance and luxury.

Once guests had arrived and enjoyed a champagne moment in the beautiful surroundings, Ms. Kennedy addressed the audience in a beautiful striped chocolate gown by Carla Zampatti. Detailing the heart and soul of the company she has lovingly built, we were taken through the history of a wedding company that really does offer their clients “All the Bells and Whistles.” After 9 successful years styling, planning and executing premium weddings for brides everywhere, Bells n Whistles shared their exciting new offerings with the guests.

Not only was their sleek rebranding unveiled which represents their premium services, Jennifer shared two new offerings which cement the “Best of Both worlds” philosophy of the business. Destination Weddings was first to be unveiled; a unique offering allowing couples to marry in luxury destinations such as exclusive venues across Australia, New Zealand and Fiji. With tailored packages that have been tried and tested by Ms. Kennedy herself, couples can now have their dream destination wedding with complete confidence in their location and suppliers. Quite literally the best of both worlds!

During the event, guests were also privy to learning about a creative studio that Bells n Whistles are opening before the year’s end. Set to be the first of its kind in Australia, this new studio offers couples the opportunity to fully immerse themselves in the complete wedding styling experience. Not only will couples be able to see styling designs and creative workshops, it will be inspiration galore and a wonderful chance for couples to work with an abundance of industry professionals in the one place.

Bells n Whistles pride themselves on their innovation in the wedding industry and with these new developments; they definitely won’t be slowing down anytime soon!

Photos by Evoke Photography

What Would They Know? Milly Howell of Inglewood Inn

by | Venue Wisdom, What Would They Know?, Wisdom


Polka Dot Bride

Some of us are just so darn lucky to live in stunning surroundings, breathing fresh country air and drinking in the gorgeous views. But to have your business centred in this part of the world – surrounded by vineyards, cider makers and home grown produce – well, need we say more? Milly of Inglewood Inn in South Australia is the savvy (and need we say lucky!) owner of this amazing piece of paradise, offering the best in wedding services, food and wine to discerning couples. Making the most of an historic stone building built originally in 1857, and a junction of two creeks with rolling green lawns, this could just be your dream wedding venue.

Please describe Inglewood Inn to us?

6 years ago when we purchased the Inglewood Inn it had a restaurant that seated 30 people and a view of our surrounds only from the window in the ladies’ toilets. With a gorgeous view of rolling country hills and the Para River it had so much potential that we simply couldn’t just leave it the way it was.

Since then we have built a multi-level restaurant and function room with glass walls to showcase our amazing scenery, but still in keeping with the Inn’s heritage and rustic charm. The gardens around the creek have had some love injected into them making them the perfect spot for a garden ceremony nestled amongst our 100 year old Elm trees.

Where is Inglewood Inn situated?

Only 30 minutes from the Adelaide CBD and 5km from Tea Tree Gully, we’re hidden away in a little unknown hamlet of the Adelaide Hills on North East Road. The Barossa Valley is only another 45 minutes on from us but we also boast some fantastic local wines from our neighbours in Paracombe.

The hamlet was actually named after the Inn, a name that had been chosen by the workmen after the town they were from in England.

Do you have a number of different (room) options for a wedding reception? 

Our main room for wedding receptions is the function room. It’s private and separate from the rest of the hotel – most of the time you don’t realize there’s full dinner service happening above. The room has been designed for more intimate sit down weddings of up to 100 seated, however can easily cater for up to 160 cocktail. With the natural settings around us, we tend to find that our weddings take on a more relaxed feel – turning the receptions into more of a celebration than a formal occasion.

For those that want a really small, relaxed and casual reception we also offer the option of holding it on the beer deck on a Sunday afternoon. This area is only partly enclosed and looks out over all of our stunning surrounds. Being outside and being able to smell that fresh country air, you really feel quite peaceful up there with a drink in hand. This area can hold up to 60 people.

And for those wanting a large cocktail party of 200-250 we do have the option to hire out the entire upper level which includes the beer deck, restaurant and front bar.

You have a beautiful lawn area below the Inn bordered by two creeks. Can a bridal couple utilize this area for their ceremony, post ceremony drinks, and/or reception?

Not only can they – we encourage it! Our gardens have been developed with the sole reason for couples to be able to use it for their ceremony. It’s such a beautiful area that we’ve put a lot of love into and we want it to be utilised.

After the ceremony guests are able mingle in the area and enjoy some drinks and food – our famous antipasto keg top is always a popular choice! There are also lots of photo opportunities in the gardens so the bride and groom never have to go far for that perfect shot! We really wanted to be an all in one venue and provide an area for that awkward in-between time where guests need something to do between the ceremony and reception. Some of the couples even organize games for the guests to play down on the lawns such as bocce or giant chess.

The option is there to then continue on to the reception in this area however we find that most prefer the function room.

Lower right image by Sven Studios

What wedding services can you offer the bride and groom? 

I can offer as little or as much help and input as possible. Ultimately I want each wedding to be unique and individual to the couple, which is why we don’t provide centerpieces, etc and allow the brides to transform or leave the room how they like it.

It really all comes down to the bride herself though. I have some that text me constantly with photos of their invites, dress, etc and ask for my advice on everything, and then some that I’ll meet with when they book in and then won’t see again until a few weeks before. I’m always willing to offer whatever level of service they like and always there to offer help when needed.

Do you offer different levels of service/packages e.g. on the day co-ordination, or full service?

We don’t offer different packages for different levels of service – each wedding gets by default the absolute best service that myself and my staff can possibly provide.

Can a couple bring in their own vendors?

They are more than welcome to! I love seeing how each couple transforms our venue to something different.

How would you describe the style of cuisine you offer? 

I’ve worked really closely with the chef to create a menu that is upmarket but still tastes familiar. We’ve tried to create a flavor that’s reflective of our country surrounds and has that real homemade taste to it while also offering a broad selection to the bride and groom to select from so they’re able to pick their favourites.

Being in and near areas renowned for their fabulous local produce, do you base your menu around what your local producers offer each season?

We’ve always strongly believed in supporting the community and providing as much local produce as possible. Being in the pear district of South Australia, you’ll notice that pear is a constant feature throughout our sit down and cocktail menus. We also always try to source our meat and produce from local businesses.

Where is your wine, beer and cider sourced from? Is cider becoming a more popular option at weddings?

Being so close to the Barossa, we have some absolutely fabulous local wines on the menu – in fact we have tried to make it so that our entire wine list is local to us and the Barossa. Paracombe Premium Wines and Totino Estates are only 2 minutes up the road from us and two of my personal favourites!

With beers, we have to have all the standard favourites on tap such as Super Dry and Pale, but we also have a large selection of the Lobethal Beirhaus beers both on tap and by the bottle. The function room only has 4 beer taps, however we can attach any beer to them so each couple can choose what they’d prefer.

They also have the option of including a cider on tap as well, which is becoming standard now for all weddings and is probably one of the most popular drinks on the night. We’ve recently also started stocking a premium Perry from Paracombe, made with the famous pears mentioned before, which is popular with the cider connoisseurs out there.

How is the food served – alternative plates, shared platters, a la carte?

We have two different options available for those wanting a sit down reception. First is the traditional sit down option, served alternatively with a wide range of choices available for entrees, mains and desserts.

The other option is shared platters on tables with things such as Moroccan chicken, pork belly, prawns etc! This is becoming quite a popular option for those who don’t want the formalities of a set menu but still want to provide a more substantial meal for their guests.

Having said all that though – our cocktail menu is actually the most popular option of all. We understand that guests need to be fed at a wedding and so we make sure that this happens. While some expect cocktail to be small nibbly portions, we ensure that ours are quite substantial and filling – we don’t want anyone going home hungry!

Can you cater for food sensitivities?

Of course! All of our set menu mains are gluten-free, as well as a large selection of cocktail items being as well. If there are any vegetarians or vegans there on the night, or someone with a different allergy and the bride and groom have not stipulated something for them we’re always quick to provide an alternative for them.

We even have a wedding coming up next year that will have a completely vegan menu.

What accommodation options are there nearby for wedding guests?

There are a few little B’n’B’s around the area as well are bigger hotel accommodation available down in Tea Tree Gully. A few couples even choose to drive on the Barossa after the reception and start their honeymoon.

What do you love to do when you aren’t working?

I don’t think I’m never not working! Haha but seriously, when I took the job, it just so happened that an amazing house went up for sale 5 minutes away that had a lot of potential but just needed a bit of love and care. I’ve also been lucky enough to set up my office in there and work partly from home when I’m not required to be at the hotel. So lately I’ve become a bit of an amateur interior decorator while my partner has become an amateur handyman and together we’re transforming the house into our home! That and drinking a lot of Paracombe Sav Blanc and Totino Rose!

Thank you Milly for sharing your story. To find out more about Inglewood Inn visit the website.

All images courtesy of Milly Howell of Inglewood Inn.

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