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

How To Pull Off An Amazing Sunset Wedding Ceremony

by | Ceremony Wisdom, Wisdom


Brisbane City Celebrants, Brisbane City Celebrants

Ever wondered why the vast majority of wedding ceremonies here in Australia take place at around 3pm? The primary reason for this traditional ceremony time is to allow the photographer 1-2 hours of beautiful golden light to take advantage of for the couples post wedding photo shoot, before the bride and groom make their way to rejoin the guests at the reception. Well here’s some food for thought.

With the wedding ceremony being the most special and significant part of the day, what if it was also the most jaw droppingly beautiful with everyone present getting to share in that stunning sunset as the bride and groom share their heartfelt vows and first kiss as husband and wife to the dramatic and romantic backdrop of a brightly lit up sky and golden light in a truly beautiful sunset ceremony.

Sunset wedding with Brisbane Celebrant Ciara Hodge. Image by Leah Cruikshank Photography

Of course pulling off an amazing sunset wedding ceremony would require some tweaking to the traditional wedding day schedule, so here’s some tips we’ve put together on planning the perfect sunset ceremony.

Firstly, your professional wedding photographer will no doubt still love the opportunity to shoot you as a couple in daylight. A great way to do this is as a ‘First Look’ or ‘Reveal’ shoot, a couple of hours before the ceremony takes place. This is when the photographer captures the grooms reaction usually at a more private location when he sees his beautiful bride for the very first time, without the nerves that often come with having all your nearest and dearest present.

Not only does a first look shoot mean that you get to include this extra special element in your day, and have a stunningly romantic sunset ceremony, it also means that once the ceremony has concluded you get to stay and immediately celebrate with your guests instead of being whisked away from them.

Sunset wedding with Brisbane Celebrant Ciara Hodge. Image by Leah Cruikshank Photography

The guests will love it too not only for being the most beautiful ceremony they have probably ever witnessed, but a late afternoon wedding will also be a cooler more shaded time of day which is a huge plus for outdoor weddings. Best of all, the guests will love getting to celebrate and party with you right away and will really appreciate not having to endure the typical ‘waiting around’ time for the reception to commence.

The sunset ceremony schedule also takes away the pressure of having to organise entertainment and additional refreshments to keep the guests occupied in between the ceremony and reception.



As the sun sets, this is also an opportunity for the photographer to showcase their night time photography skills and creative lighting techniques with sparklers and candles.

Some considerations when having a sunset ceremony, include:

  • Choose an open ceremony location that is easily accessible and will embrace the sunset;
  • Consider where you will stand to get the best effect from the sunset and without the sun glaring in your or your guests eyes;
  • As it will get dark fairly quickly once the sun has set, consider assigning ushers or groomsmen to assist in promptly directing the guests on to the reception area for refreshments, a nearby reception venue is ideal;
  • Consider adding ambient lighting as ceremony décor, like strings of light bulbs, candles or a sparkling chandelier over the ceremony to work with the romance of the sunset.

Happy wedding planning!

Ciara Hodge and Jamie Eastgate Brisbane City Celebrants.

Sunset wedding with Brisbane Celebrant Ciara Hodge. Image by Leah Cruikshank Photography

Images by Leah Cruikshank Photography

Marriage Celebrant: Brisbane City Celebrants Ciara Hodge | Wedding Ceremony and Reception Venue: Spicers Hidden Vale

Ms Gingham says: Consider this time of day for your ceremony definitely in the summer time and especially in more rural locations where the elements can be much harsher.

Ciara Hodge & Jamie Eastgate of Brisbane City CelebrantsWe are a modern, passionate and enthusiastic team of Brisbane Wedding Celebrants. We love nothing more than seeing our brides and grooms so happy and relaxed throughout their wedding ceremony.

What Would They Know? Katja Anton of AKA Weddings

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


Polka Dot Bride

Fresh, clean photography always catches my eye and that’s just the style that AKA Weddings excels in. Stolen moments, magic moments, tender moments – all make up the wedding day – and indeed life! Working formerly for the BBC, Katja now calls Noosa and the Sunshine Coast home, but she loves travelling to capture your wedding. Approaching your day with a fresh eye, AKA Photography will capture moments that you’ll treasure forever.

Can you please explain the unusual name of your business?

It s a play on my initials Katja Anton hence A KA and as I couldn’t decide on the A (there were so many great adjectives which described my work, I thought it could actually be anything from Absolute Amour, Artistic, Amazing to Adventurous… Anything!

What is your (photography) background?

I have been photographing since an early age and have always been involved in visual arts dabbling in styling, theatre, fashion and then combining my love of travel, adventure and cinematography I went on to work at the BBC in the UK making wildlife documentaries which was fantastic. Throughout all this I continued to photograph anything and everything, in all sorts of environments, I love my camera! I did some formal training too of course in order to keep up with the technical side of things (I loved classic film and playing in the dark room before everything turned digital!) but luckily I seemed blessed with an eye for the visual and creative aspect.

What was the catalyst for starting photography?

It felt like a natural evolution: Since becoming a mother, my photography has evolved from travel journalism and commercial styles (which I still enjoy doing) and also to include portraiture of kids, families, pets and weddings. I now embrace all the special ‘people’ times – I enjoy my work tremendously and weddings are such a joy and an honor to be part of and I have been blessed with the opportunity to capture amazing couples from all over in their ‘I do’s’, so special.

How did it become a business?

I am a big believer in doing what you love and are passionate about… so going pro was a totally natural direction to take for me.

Do you have a mentor or someone you admire in business?

I think everyone must have artistic idols, fellow photographers and philosophers which inspire them – I certainly do… All these influences are so important in developing my work and myself personally which comes out through my imagery as it’s an expression of where I’m at and who I am.

This phrase on your site caught my eye – ‘I try and walk in with a sense of naivety ….’ Can you please explain this philosophy and how it informs your photography style?

I try and see every situation with completely fresh eyes as if for the first time, like a child would capturing the wonder of the situation from that new perspective hence the sense naivety – no two weddings, situations are the same and shouldn’t be treated as such, my wedding photography is not formulaic and repetitive that’s also why I enjoy the craft so much.

What do you love about photographing weddings?

It is quite simply a BIG in honor to be privy and part someone’s special day – its huge and intimate all in one, emotional and I love that… it must be the Italian in me coming through, I adore all things beautiful and passionate and rawJ

How do you remain unobtrusive on the wedding day, so that people are not conscious of you and your camera?

Stemming from my background, my style is mostly documentary coverage, which means letting your day happen naturally with as little prompting from the photographer as possible! I try and not direct people, get too close, I do not control the event and get in the way of how things are naturally unfolding – it’s the opposite: the magic moments are those that one cannot control…

How do you keep your shots looking natural and not obviously posed?

Its all about having fun and getting natural interactions between people – so it is more about setting up a fun, natural situation rather than poses in order to achieve the candid shots. I strongly feel it is the gathering of friends and family plus the unscripted moments and emotions that happen on your wedding day which are the most important and which I strive to capture.

What do you weigh up when composing a shot? 

Ah where to start – the mood and interaction between the couple is essential, so again trying to set up natural interactions but ‘placing’ them so that they are comfortable with whatever we are doing in one corner or place rather than another because the light, backdrop etc are better. I really enjoy playing with natural available light and different angels – the same scene can be shot in so many ways… a lot of the creativity is in the eye, mine in this case!

Do you love photographing the little details of the décor, the people and the day, so that the images tell a complete story?

I simply LOVE the details and capture heaps – I relish in composing and creating quirky beautiful images of those details that just ‘make’ the day, they just tie it all together beautifully and its those little details which the couple have spent time & resources creating which reflects the feel of the day, the couples’ signature look.

What advice can you give to brides and grooms?

Find a photographer you feel completely at home with and that you can fully trust – there are so many elements to a wedding it is nice to have the peace of mind of hiring someone who will, whatever happens, come rain shine, a locust plague (!) or whatever know they’ll just be there and take care of it all taking the stress off your shoulders…. and knowing you’ll have a beautiful record of your day for you to enjoy for years to come.

Is it best for you to get to know the bridal couple and let the ideas for their photography flow, or should couples approach you with set ideas?

I am very open & flexible to work with bridal couples in which ever way they feel comfortable – my packages and work flow are not set in stone as every one is so different! Some couples have their own ideas which I happily work with and add to, while others like to be guided more – this business is not just about happy snapping at events, but very much about people… interacting successfully with couples, listening and being sensitive to gauge how to behave and which direction to take to achieve the images you and they are after.

How do you switch off from photography – what do you do to relax and get right away from it? 

Ha yes does one ever!! Well I often catch myself looking at things with a view of how I’d like to photograph it (!) however I do think It is also important to put the camera down and enjoy the very big picture with those close to you creating memories and experiences in the flesh and heart – sometimes I put the camera down in order to enjoy the moment and there’s something magical about not capturing it but just experiencing it.

Thank you Katja for sharing your story. To find our more about AKA Wedding visit the website.

Images and headshot by AKA Weddings.

How To Match Your Wedding Band To Engagement Ring

by | Jewellery Wisdom, Wisdom


Jenny Wescott

How to Match Your Engagement Ring to Your Wedding Ring

Choosing a complementary wedding band for your engagement ring can be a tricky task. After all, you want it to stand out, but it still needs to look the part sitting next to your engagement ring.

Fortunately, there are a couple of tricks of the trade you can employ when it comes to finding the perfect partner for your engagement ring. Read on to find out more:

Two of a Kind

Picture of two rings on a leaf & petal

Image courtesy of Seth Lemmons

Is your engagement ring made from soft metal? If so, then it’s a good idea to choose a soft metal wedding band too. This is because hard metal rings can rub against soft metal rings and damage them over time.

It’s also a good idea to match the colour of your wedding bands. If you’ve gone for a platinum engagement ring, opt for a platinum wedding band. Not only will your rings look they were meant for each other, they will also wear at the same rate, so you won’t have one ring looking brand new, whilst the other one is looking a little tired!

Head to Sparkle Central

A Matching Platinum Wedding Ring and engagement Ring

Image courtesy of The Diamond Ring Company

Another effective way of matching your rings is to incorporate the same gems on each ring. This can tie two designs together very effectively, as well as making your finger extra sparkly!
Including gems on both rings will also help mask any scrapes and scratches a plain wedding band might obtain over the course of a lifetime. Make sure your gems match by following the same cut, clarity and carat specifications of your engagement ring.

Make Room for The Perfect Fit

Custom Design wedding bands

Image courtesy of Seth Lemmons

Have you considered a custom designed band to shape around your engagement ring? This can be a totally bespoke design and is a nice way to complement an awkward-shaped engagement ring.
You can, of course, purchase wedding band sets, where the engagement ring and wedding band are designed as a pair. However, more people are employing the skills of master jewellers to turn their designs into reality.

Don’t Upstage the Wedding Ring

Dont Upstage

Image courtesy of Chris Williamson

Depending on the type of engagement ring you have chosen, you will need to be very careful when it comes to looking at the width of your wedding band. Engagement rings run the risk of overshadowing delicate wedding bands. However, if you ensure your wedding band is slightly wider, it won’t be dominated by your engagement ring, regardless of how sparkly it is!

Ring Twins

Image by Moreland Photography via Style Me Pretty

Don’t forget, you can always match your wedding ring with that of your significant other. Why not get the same inscription on both of your bands? Or how about the date of your big day?
You could also think about including the same type of gem from your engagement ring into the groom’s wedding band too. Although this is fairly unusual and will depend on the groom’s style. Spend plenty of time conducting research and utilise the help of your friends and family to get their ideas on how you can find the perfect partner for your engagement ring.

Don’t be shy and dismiss any ring styles or diamond cuts that you hadn’t previously considered. It’s fine to experiment. After all, this is huge purchase! However, it’s not wise to head for anything too trendy. Bear in mind, this is a piece of jewellery you’ll be wearing for the rest of your life, with a range of outfits! Yes, it needs to be original and meaningful, but it should also be timeless and something you are proud to wear every day.

Ms Gingham says: Plenty of things to consider here and lots of opportunity to really customise this important piece of jewellery.

Jenny says: I am passionate about all things related to love and romance. I love to read write and share anything to do with the big day ;)

Back to Top