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What Would They Know? Alanah Curbishley at Beachside Dojo

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


Polka Dot Bride

Beachside Dojo

Right on one of Australia’s most iconic beaches sits Beachside Dojo.  Just over 12 months old, Beachside Dojo has two spaces available for your ceremony and reception, views through the tall Manly pines over the sea and a stunning menu with the freshness of Japanese influences. It would be hard to find a more stunning venue for a wedding. Enjoy drinks on the deck and with sea breezes and a summer sunset, or in winter, have a wedding with the stormy seas rolling into shore while cocooned inside. And if you’re short on decor ideas for your wedding just look at the gorgeous Style Sessions which will have your mind buzzing with ideas to add your own personal touch to this beachy Hamptons style venue. Events Co-ordinator, Alanah will be by your side to help turn your dreams into reality!

Where is Beachside Dojo situated?

Beachside Dojo overlooks the beautiful and iconic Manly Beach on the Northern Beaches of Sydney.

Beachside Dojo 1

Image by Jessica Ross Photography

Dojo is a Japanese word. Why this name – and what influences does it bring to the venue?

Dojo is Japanese for ‘meeting place’. The dojo is a space that we love to see people come together with friends and family to celebrate and enjoy one another.

How would you describe the overall décor style of Beachside Dojo?

Beachside Dojo takes cues from its beautiful beachside location and relaxed Hamptons chic with a slight nod to its Japanese heritage.

You have a Gallery on your website with Style Sessions with various wedding stylists. What a great idea this is! What was the idea behind this feature?

We love working with other local Wedding Suppliers. Our Stylist Sessions were born with the intention of collaborating with different vendors and create images that feature their work and their interpretation on our space.
Each stylist is different and we love to see Dojo come alive in a different way each time.

Beachside Dojo 3

Image by Jessica Ross Photography Styling by Dani Butchart

Do you have an on site wedding planner who can assist bridal couples?

I am the Events Coordinator here at Beachside Dojo. It’s my job to help couples through the process of booking and planning their special day, from their first site visit to arriving at Dojo on the day itself.

Do bridal couples have exclusive use of your venue for their wedding?

Each wedding booked at Beachside Dojo has exclusive use of the entire space including its expansive outdoor terrace.

Please describe the spaces you have available for weddings?

Beachside Dojo is made up of two spaces; Sunrise and Northern Dojo.

Sunrise Dojo, larger of the two is open and light filled with large bifold doors that open onto the split level roof top terrace.

Northern Dojo, located on the north side of the space is an intimate lounge that also opens up onto the terrace and is the perfect break out space.

Both spaces boast incredible views of Manly Beach.

Beachside Dojo 2

Image by Jessica Ross Photography Styling by Dani Butchart

What do you consider special about these spaces?

What makes Beachside Dojo so special is the feeling of serenity and relaxed elegance it gives all that visits her.
The space has a calm and relaxed vibe.
Natural light fills each space and the views are simply stunning.

Coming into Spring and Summer where do you recommend having the wedding ceremony?

The Northern Beaches are filled with amazing ceremony locations.
Shelly Beach is a favorite location of mine.

Beachside Dojo 5

Image by Jessica Ross Photography Styling by Dani Butchart

How would you describe the food served at Beachside Dojo?

Beachside Dojo’s menu is a fresh seasonal fare.
We give our couples the option to embrace as much of the Japanese elements as they would like with the option to stick to more traditional menu items as well.

You have several wedding packages available for the bride and groom to choose from. Would you please give us a brief overview of these?

We offer both seated (capacity 80 pax) and cocktail (capacity 200 pax) receptions at Beachside Dojo.
Our seated receptions have a choice of the traditional Alternate Drop menu or our lush Grand Feast.
Our cocktail receptions have a choice of canape packages with the option to add our Experience Stations.

You also have the Beachside Experience Station. This is intriguing! Please describe what we can expect with this. Can the Experience Station replace one of the menu courses in a package? 

I love our Experience Stations!
Experience Stations are a great way to add interest and a bit of theatre to your reception.
Some stations are set up as large grazing tables and others such as our Sushi Experience Station feature a chef who prepares the food in front of your guests!

Experience stations can be used to substitute canapes, as grazing during Cocktail Hour, a Cheese Station is lovely to have after dinner or as an entrée.

We have a number to choose from including our Antipasto Station, and Cheese Station. We even have a Sake Station which is lots of fun!

Is there a dish on the menu at present that you love?

Its very hard to go past our pulled pork buns, I recommend them to everybody.

Beachside Dojo 4

Image by Jessica Ross Photography Styling by Dani Butchart

Are you able to offer accommodation options for wedding guests?

We are lucky enough to be located right next door to the beautiful Novotel Manly Pacific. We can help our lovely couples get in touch with the team at Novotel in regards to booking their wedding accommodation.

What do you love about weddings?

Its probably the most cliché answer in the book, but I am a bit of a romantic.
What’s better than a room full of people you love celebrating your happiness with great food in a beautiful location?

How do you celebrate the end of the working week?

We are pretty lucky to work on such a beautiful beach, finally being able to get your feet in the sand is a pretty fab way end the week.
We also work with and above rock bar Daniel San and they make a mean cocktail.

Thank you for sharing your story Alanah. What a beautiful venue, stunning location and yummy food for your guests to enjoy. To find out more about Beachside Dojo visit the website.

Headshot courtesy of Alana Curbishley.

Great Wedding Song Covers

by | Entertainment Wisdom, Wisdom


Serge of DJ:Plus! Entertainment, DJ:Plus! Entertainment
Find me on Ms Polka Dot's Directory |

geelong at home wedding070

Images by Leo Farrell Photography via Edwina and Tom’s Geelong At Home Wedding

Whilst the original versions of classic wedding songs, recorded by the artists that made those songs famous, will add a certain style to your wedding, there are quite a number of beautifully updated and modern interpretations that can give a refreshing lift to your wedding ceremony or reception. Here are a few of my favourites which I hope will inspire your selection and provide you with some alternative song choice options for your wedding.

I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles) by Sleeping At Last

Chances are that this song and lyrics will be very familiar to most of you. It is an incredibly popular song from the late eighties by The Proclaimers that is played often at weddings during retro dance sets. Well, this cover by Sleeping At Last, which featured on “Grey’s Anatomy”, is so heartfelt and changes what some consider a cheesy song to one which is full of emotion. It would be a magical choice for a processional, register signing or first dance.

All Of Me by Ginny Blackmore & Barry Southgate

Kiwi artist Ginny Blackmore and fellow musician and friend, Barry Southgate deliver a stunning rendition of one of the most popular wedding songs from 2015, John Legend’s, “All Of Me”. This is a beautiful song for the register signing or for a first dance as it contains both female and male vocals. Accordingly, if you love the John Legend original version but wanted to put a different spin on an overly used song, this amazing cover would be just perfect!

You’re The One That I Want by Angus & Julia Stone

“You’re The One That I Want” is a well-known song from the film “Grease”, originally sung by John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John. This remake by Angus and Julia Stone has been stripped back to give it a completely different treatment which gives the song a whole new feel and meaning. Perfect for a wedding ceremony, background music or even a first dance.

sweet blue mountains wedding056

Images by Anna Turner via Emily and Carl’s Sweet Blue Mountains Wedding

Marry Me by Martina McBride & Pat Monahan

“Marry Me” is the title of a song written by Pat Monahan and recorded by his group Train. Country music artist Martina McBride recorded a duet version with Pat Monahan for her eleventh studio album, Eleven. The female voice takes the song to another dimension and given that this duet is with Pat Monahan, the original singer, makes it more than just a cover. The two voices are akin to a bride and groom singing to each other, and whilst the original is already widely used at weddings, this version is a great alternative.

Forever by Boyce Avenue

Boyce Avenue are three brothers from Florida in the USA who release both originals and cover versions of popular songs. Their acoustic cover of the Chris Brown song “Forever” makes it just perfect for a special first dance or as background music during pre-dinner drinks or the reception.

Unchained Melody by Cyndi Lauper

Everybody knows the Righteous Brothers’ version of this song from the movie, “Ghost”. Cyndi Lauper interprets the melody and dynamics in such a way that makes this version really shine. This is a great music choice for a first dance.

elegant black tie wedding0123

Image by gm photographics via Flower Filled Black Tie Wedding

Only You by Train

The band Train covered the song putting their own spin on it by using a little of the instrumentation from “Hey Soul Sister” at the beginning, resulting in a more upbeat version of the song. This version, like The Platters original, would be fabulous for an upbeat first dance. It would also be suitable to be played as the wedding guests arrive, during pre-dinner drinks or as dinner is served.

What A Wonderful World by Katie Melua and Eva Cassidy

“What a Wonderful World” is a song that was first recorded by Louis Armstrong. Katie Melua released a cover of this song, in which she sang with a recording of the late Eva Cassidy and is a great alternative to the Louis Armstrong version. Perfect for the wedding reception pre-dinner drinks, background during dinner, Father/ Daughter or Mother/Son Dances.

Can’t Help Falling In Love by Ingrid Michaelson or The Eels

“Can’t Help Falling In Love” is a very popular song for weddings. The two most common versions that couples choose for their special day are the original of course which was recorded by Elvis Presley or the reggae remake by UB40. Whilst many artists have recorded this song over the years, these two versions which really stand out for me. They are full of emotion and ideal for a first dance at a wedding – just beautiful!!

You’re The First, The Last, My Everything by Joshua Radin

The first time I heard this awesome version of the Barry White song (also known as, My First, My Last, My Everything), I was so completely moved. This version has so much emotion and feeling and is vastly different to Barry’s disco version and would make an excellent choice for the register signing at the ceremony or a heartfelt first dance.

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Ms Chinoiserie Says: What a great list of cover songs; it’s hard to pick my favourite, but anything by Barry White is always fabulous!

About Serge of DJ:Plus! Entertainment: Hi, I’m Serge and I offer a boutique style, wedding DJ & MC entertainment service. My customised ideas for guest involvement, announcements and entertainment save you from having to ask Uncle Roger to do the honours, and then there’s the music – I’m a disc jockey too – so you can rock your socks off until the wee hours!

The Refectory at Werribee Park

by | Event Reviews, Industry News, Wisdom


Ms Fleur De Lys


Aside from the open range zoo, the polo, the mansion and the winery, there is now another reason to consider Werribee a fine destination. The catering virtuosa at Bursaria have launched The Refectory at Werribee Park.

Letterpress menu & invitation by Mickey Loves Jacqui Letterpress & Design

The space now known as The Refectory is situated within a wing of the historic, Italianate mansion at Werribee Park amid neatly manicured lawns and English gardens. This part of the mansion was constructed as a kitchen and dining room in 1922 when the Catholic priests, nuns and priests-in-training who resided here outgrew their former space. It remained in its original incarnation until the 1970s. The new name honours the building’s legacy as the term “refectory” means a monastic dining hall; it also has a nice thematic connection to Bursaria’s other wedding venue at the Abbotsford Convent.

Flowers by Botanics of Melbourne

Of the new transformation, Bursaria director Sara O’Callaghan explains “we had a baby in December and took over the space one month later…it was two babies at once!” Working with interior designers, Doherty Design Studio, over seven months, The Refectory was renewed. “The space wasn’t in its original condition, there were a lots of stars and it was a mustard colour,” says Sara, “so we’ve gone through and done the whole palette.” The modern room is now splashed with warm whites and soft greys. A custom carpet is one of the new statement features in the space, mimicking the forms of the lead light windows high above.

Styling by Georgeous | Simply Georgeous Occasions


Sara envisions elegant weddings here of up to 180 seated for a feast (including dancefloor) or up to 250 for cocktails. As with many modern weddings, The Refectory would suit couples who desire a minimum of fuss. “It’s a space that was designed for weddings so they don’t have to bring a lot of styling into the space. Once the tables are set with gorgeous linens and fresh flowers, they’re good to go.”

Calligraphy by Lemontree Calligraphy and Illustration

Bursaria’s food also reflects this relaxed style;  “we’re really not a caterer who’s into foams and froths and trends. It’s actually more about the produce and letting the food stand for itself and be the hero of the dish.”


IMG_5565-82Linen by Table Art

Sara makes it easy to imagine much celebratory feasting at The Refectory in decades to come (hopefully over plentiful wine from the nearby Shadowfax winery).

 Stringspace String Quartet

IMG_5326-41Hire of glassware, black cutlery, pressed metal bar, banquet tables by Place Settings

Images by Fran Parker

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Ms Chinoiserie Says: What a beautiful new venue: I love the spectacular high ceilings and chic contemporary styling; the food looks so delicious too!

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