Catherine & Dylan’s Ethereal Old World Elegance Wedding At Bendooley Estate

by | Australia - New South Wales, Bride, Inspired Weddings,


Catherine and Dylan

A wedding that pays homage to your own sense of style – whether that is classic romantic or bohemian – goes down as magic in my book. Catherine and Dylan planned an ethereal old-world elegance wedding at Bendooley Estate, that was every bit as beautiful as the title leads us to believe. Luckily they chose James at All Grown Up Weddings to capture every last moment.

The newlyweds met at university, Catherine recounting “I was 19 and studying commerce, Dylan was 20 and studying chiropractics. I worked at the uni bar and met Dylan one afternoon in September. I saw him again at a house party where he lent me some tracksuit pants out of the back of his car because I was cold. We still laugh that he gave me pants as his first gift! But seriously, Dylan was selfless and kind from the start – thinking always about my comfort and happiness.”

The bride chose a beautiful Karen Willis Holmes gown to which she added accessories to change her look throughout the day. She tells “I wore custom Karen Willis Holmes, a structured ivory fit and flare dress with a v-neck and spaghetti straps. Over that, I wore a Chantilly lace top with full-length sleeves and button up back. I took off the top at the reception and replaced it with a glittery belt (because who doesn’t love a tiny bit of shiny!)” She added, “The experience with the lovely consultants in Paddington was easy, quick and fun with my Mum and sisters providing guidance and support. I didn’t get overly emotional, I just said ‘Ýes, this is good – here is the credit card!’”

Emma Blake Floral created the stunning floral arrangements for the day, including an arch under which the couple married. The arch also happened to be Catherine’s favourite detail of the day. She noted “I loved the arch under which we were married. The floral arrangement was stunning and everyone commented how spectacular it looked against the lake backdrop.” She adds “Emma Blake Floral designed stunningly beautiful bouquets, the ceremony archway, table and ceiling installations and other incredible touches. The brief was dark but creamy and moody tones, wild but classic.”

Catherine tells “My father walked me down the aisle to the song ‘1000x’ by Jarryd James feat. Broods. Dylan cried happy tears the entire time.”

The couple chose Bendooley Estate for their ceremony and reception. Catherine explaining, “We were set up by the lakeside for the ceremony and had pre-dinner drinks at the cellar door. The Book Barn had three long tables for a relaxed but glamorous reception. We chose wines not on the menu and ensured there was Moet & Chandon flowing all night long. We had delicious share platters of roast lamb, chicken, salad and sides.”

Of her vision for the day the bride explains, “Our wedding had autumnal, ethereal styling. I wanted to capture a sense of old-world elegance and Great Gatsby theming inside a beautiful country book shop (Bendooley Estate). I am a horse rider and country girl at heart (despite always living in Sydney). Dylan just wanted me to be happy so didn’t mind where we got married. “

Of their photographers, Catherine tells, “All Grown Up Weddings were a fantastic photography collective to work with – I had the option of many talented photographers. James was funny, easy-going and professional. He felt like a friend by the end of the day. He made us all feel very comfortable and was present without being intrusive. He moved quickly and confidently, ensuring we utilized the best spaces (despite the drizzly Southern Highlands weather).”

The couple’s wedding cake was created by The Cake Arcade and featured a topper of fondant-crafted replicas of the bride and groom with their bouncing dog, Bertie.

The newlyweds chose “Dog Years” by Maggie Rogers for their first dance. Catherine remembering, “Dylan was nervous to dance so we had a very short but special moment together before inviting everyone onto the dance floor.”

To cap off the beautiful day, With Heart captured this film; the video showing the emotion, the beauty and the moments of the day.

Congratulations on your big day Catherine and Dylan! Thank you for sharing it with us! Thank you also to All Grown Up Weddings for sharing today’s stunning celebration!

Photographer: All Grown Up Weddings / Cinematographer: With Heart / Styling: Hannah Stayton / Bride's Dress: Karen Willis Holmes / Bride's Veil/Hair Accessories: Nelder Jones / Bride's Shoes: Christian Louboutin / Bridesmaid Dresses: Carla Zampatti / Bridesmaid Shoes: Nine West / Bridesmaid Accessories: Etsy / Bridesmaid Accessories: Pandora / Groom's Attire: MJ Bale / Groomsmen Attire: MJ Bale / Groom's Shoes: Aquila / Groomsmen Shoes: Aquila / Hairstylist: Samantha Hancock Hair / Makeup Artist: Emma McGill / Flowers: Emma Blake Floral / Invitations & Stationery: D & D Letterpress / Bridal Party Gifts: The Bridal Box Co. / Venue: Bendooley Estate / Ceremony Officiant: Nina De Borde / Accommodation: The Coach House at the Rift / Accommodation: Peppers Craigieburn / Band: The White Tree / Favors: Etsy / Wedding Cake: The Cake Arcade / Wedding Ring: Linda & Co Jewellers / Transport: Wedding Cars Of Distinction
Visit Ms Polka Dot's Directory

Ashleigh & Nathan’s Winter High Tea Wedding

by | Australia - New South Wales, Bride, Inspired Weddings,


Ashleigh & Nathan

I love the country feeling of Ashleigh and Nathan’s Winter high tea wedding – the couple, who were soon to be married on the beach in Fiji were intent on having their grandparents, who were not able to travel, present at their wedding – so they tied the knot before their beach celebration with their grandparents in the front row. The vintage inspired details – from the beautiful wedding gown of her mothers that Ashleigh donned, to the vintage tea cups guests sipped tea from, gave this pre-wedding wedding such a beautiful sentimental feel. All captured beautifully by  K Thorpe Photography.

Ashleigh and Nathan found each other in high school – though not as quickly as one would think! Ashleigh explaining “We went through most of high school together, never meeting or talking for the first 4 years. In year 11 (17 years old) we happened to be in a class together and once we started talking, we never stopped.”

Ashleigh explains of the day. “Our wedding was a bit different in that we booked a wedding in Fiji with a big group of friends and the family who could make it. Our grandparents are all not able to travel, and as they play such an important part in our lives, we wanted them to share our special day with us. Before we left for Fiji, we decided to hold this legal ceremony/high tea with just our grandparents, parents, siblings, and two witnesses (and their partners).” Adding “Our grandparents were our guests of honour, and sat in the front row. We had a vintage and sentimental theme, using old songs and focusing on the simple things. We were so lucky to have the most beautiful winter weather and have everything outside in a gorgeous national park.”

Ashleigh and Nathan held their day at the beautiful Scheyville National Park, with stylist Events At Km Creations transforming the natural space to accommodate the wedding. Ashleigh remarking “We did the entire thing in Scheyville National Park which is quite close to our home. I had been in the park before and was blown away by its size and beauty, and the fact that not many people know about it! It has so much history and natural beauty. Our wedding stylist (the super talented Kiera from Events at KmCreations) found the most magnificent tree to hold the ceremony under, and it was just stunning on the day. The high tea was held a short walk away and our stylist set up and decorated tables and seats for our guests. My mum’s closest friends made all the food!! They did such an amazing job to make our day perfect! They’re such beautiful people to do that, and we are very lucky.”

The bride walked down the aisle with her father to Sam Cooke’s “Bring It On Home To Me” remembering “It is classic and beautiful, and the song still gives us goosebumps. It fit the day perfectly. My dad walked me down the aisle. I am very close to my dad and he was the perfect person to keep me calm and excited for the big walk!!” 

Justine Milne officiated the ceremony, Ashleigh telling “Our ceremony was done by the most wonderful celebrant – Justine Milne. She performed such a beautiful ceremony that was relaxed and intimate and felt very ‘us’. We wrote our own vows and Justine used our stories to create an intimate vibe.”

Ashleigh notes “I was completely shocked by how the day brings out different emotions. I (normally the super anxious, emotional one) got weirdly calm and just so excited before walking down the aisle. I could not wipe the smile off my face!! Nathan (normally relaxed and super casual about things) got so emotional and was so nervous, he cried as I walked down the aisle, more than I’ve ever seen him cry in 8 years of being together! It was really touching and amazing what weddings can do. My brother was very emotional, as were a few others who normally are very relaxed.”  

Haus 101 styled the beautiful floral arrangements of the day, the bride noting “The flowers were done by Haus 101 – an amazing and talented florist!!! She did the most elegant bouquet, buttonholes, and bunches, and completely understood my vision, in that I just wanted white flowers with plenty of greenery. She blew me away with her work, and understood that I didn’t want anything over the top.”

Guests celebrated the ceremony with a high tea catered by friends Lorraine, Jo, Karen and Julie who whipped up chocolate covered strawberries, fresh scones, sandwiches and meringues – along with plenty of tea!

Of their photographer, Ashleigh telling “We just wanted it to be special for the grandparents and make sure that we got family photos with them, as well as our couple portraits. Our incredible photographer, Konrad from K Thorpe Photography, understood the importance of this. I also just wanted very natural and candid shots, and that’s exactly what he delivered!! We always felt so comfortable and just had fun, and the photos were more than we could have imagined.”

“I love the above photo, I think it’s my favourite!” says Ashleigh, adding “It just shows the incredible natural beauty of the park, the sunshine, the amazing setup, and just how much I adore my new husband!”

Ashleigh donned her mother’s own wedding gown, explaining “My dress was actually my mother’s dress…from her wedding to my dad in 1980! I didn’t alter a thing, it fit beautifully and was the most gorgeous, perfect dress for what we wanted. It was so beautiful being able to wear it, as she had 37 years before, she was more than a bit emotional about it as you can imagine! It had the perfect ‘foresty’ vibe to it, and beautifully fit our elegant and vintage theme.”

Congratulations Ashleigh and Nathan! Thank you for sharing your beautiful day with us! Thank you also to  K Thorpe Photography for sharing today’s beautiful day with us!

Photographer: K Thorpe Photography / Styling: Events At Km Creations / Bride's Dress: Bride's Mothers / Hairstylist: Hair at Jewels / Flowers: Haus 101 / Makeup Artist: Tara Gregory / Ceremony Venue: Scheyville National Park / Ceremony Officiant: Justine Milne

Kimberley & Justin’s Surprise Wedding At Brunswick Foodstore

by | Australia - Victoria, Bride, Inspired Weddings,


Kimberley & Justin

The scene is set – it’s time to celebrate that birthday of one of your favourites. You don your party clothes and arrive early, hoping to make it on time for that surprise Beyonce impersonator performance you were so eagerly encouraged to show up for and then surprise, there’s no impersonator, there is, however, a wedding and doughnuts and cake and did I mention the wedding?  Well, that’s exactly how Kimberley and Justin celebrated – with a surprise wedding at Brunswick Foodstore. So beautifully captured by  Long Way Home Photography the day unfolded from a first look to a birthday, to a wedding with all the celebration in between!

Kimberley explains how the surprise came to be. “With Justin’s birthday in November and mine in December we had a small window of time in between to throw our “birthday party” without raising suspicion. We had been putting off getting married for so long that using our 30th birthday as a cover, we had decided to stick with tradition (kind of) and not see each other before we did our reveal. Justin spent the night at home, with his grandparents who were staying over. I had to sneak out my wedding dress and everything else we needed without them noticing! ”

The couple met before their day kicked off for photographs, the bride remembering “I chose to stay at a nearby hotel the night before the wedding so I was nice and relaxed on our wedding day. I then spent the day with my three best friends having our hair and makeup done (like a normal bridal party would.) Justin and I chose to have all our photos taken before the wedding so we did a reveal at the hotel, then headed to the gardens around the corner for some more photos with our dogs, Chuck and Roary.”

Of their photographer, Kimberley notes “Steph from Long Way Home Photography was absolutely fantastic! She was very laid back and unobtrusive. She was always there to catch everything but you never really felt like your photo was being taken. We wanted our photos to be natural and tell the story of our day, not feel posed or staged. With 896 photos, it’s so hard to pick a favourite one! We have so many beautiful photos of not only Justin and I, but all our guests as well.”

The bride chose a sparkling gown from Rachel Gilbert, telling “After years of trying on wedding dresses of all sort of shapes, colours and styles, the one thing I knew, was that I wanted something a little out of the ordinary. I absolutely hated the stereotypical gaggle of girls that attended bridal shops in packs on weekends and take over the entire store! So I took a day off work and walked up and down High St Armadale until I found something I liked the look of. After seeing a preview on paper in store, I pinned all my hopes on the Rachel Gilbert Spring Summer 2016 collection that was being showcased a few weeks later. When the day finally came for trying on the collection, I enlisted the help of my best friend Truc (and her honest opinion).”

She continues  “We arrived at Rachel Gilbert and were led through a secret door, upstairs to a huge private dressing room with strawberries, champagne and the entire collection hanging there ready to try on. and not a single gaggle of girls in sight! It was just us and it was perfect!
There were only 10 of each dress made so the pressure was on to make a decision that day or risk missing out! I tried on the entire collection and quickly discounted the two dresses I had originally thought could have been the one. It was instead the Electra gown that caught my eye with a dusty pink silk slip, a sheer beaded layer over the top and a small train. It fit me perfectly. Luckily Truc made me try it on again, and again, convincing me it was the one.”

Kimberley and Justin chose Brunswick Foodstore for their “birthday party” wedding, the bride remarking “Justin had been to the Brunswick Foodstore many times in his never-ending quest to find Melbourne’s best burgers. I had joined him there for brunch one day and noticed that they also did functions. With the beautiful hard wood floors and central location, this could be the perfect venue for my epic 30th birthday! A few months later, when we had decided to turn my epic 30th birthday into a secret wedding, we started to search for other possible venues around Melbourne but they just couldn’t compete against the Brunswick Foodstore.”

Kimberley and Justin worked with  Ruffles & Bells to plan and style their day, “By hiring Ruffles and Bells to style and set up the event, it took away a lot of the stress that I had about every little detail being perfect. I gave Eliska all the images I had saved in my phone of things I liked and she found a way to incorporate everything. The one item I really had my heart set on, was a doughnut wall. I’m still not too sure why I wanted one so badly, but Ruffles and Bells made it happen for me and it looked amazing! So good in fact that some of our guests didn’t realise they were doughnuts and were edible.”

The venue was also perfect for the surprise “The room could be easily divided in two, creating the secret ceremony space at the front, hidden behind the draping, and the rest of the party at the back with the bar and amenities. We were able to use all of the existing furniture from the venue, only needing to bring in our doughnut wall and arbour.
Suzy and the team did a great job. The food was amazing, the staff were so attentive and obliging to anything we needed. They even made Justin a special plate of burgers when he said he was still hungry! I didn’t actually get to eat any of the food, but all our guests commented on how delicious it was.”

Juliet Louise Flowers created the floral arrangements for the day, choosing plenty of greenery with pink and apricot blooms. Kimberley explains “I have absolutely no idea what sort of flowers I had! Doing everything secretly meant it was hard to get things organised without people knowing what I was up to. I chose to go with Juliet Louise for my flowers as they were only a few minutes’ walk and I could go down and organise things in my lunch break. Ruffles and Bells met with the girls from Juliet Louise who did all the hard work!”

The bride’s grandfather created the ceremony arbour – much to his surprise, the bride notes “I had my heart set on a copper arbour. I looked at cost of hiring one and decided that my Grandpa would be able to make one easily. I had to trick him into thinking it was going to be used as part of a back drop for the photo booth. He was so shocked to see it set up for us to get married under.”

Kimberley explains how the surprise unfolded. “As we finished our photos and it got closer to party time, I changed out of my wedding dress and into a party dress to throw people off. We were worried our guests wouldn’t arrive on time so my plan was to coerce our guests into arriving nice and early with the promise of “special entertainment”. I managed to convince most people that a Beyonce impersonator would be performing. The plan seemed to work as everyone was there nice and early! I greeted all our guests in my decoy dress before I snuck off to the bathroom for an outfit change.”  

Once the guests had arrived, it was time for the big reveal, Kimberley recounting “Just after 8 pm, our MC / Celebrant / my great Auntie Terri introduced herself, and announced that she was there to perform a wedding! The sound that followed after her announcement was my favourite moment of the day. First, there was a great big gasp, a few squeals, then cheers of excitement. Of my favourite photos is of Justin’s grandmother’s face and then our guests after the ceremony as they all came up and congratulated us individually.”

The bride entering in a wedding gown was a magic surprise for the guests, Kimberley telling “My Dad walked me down the aisle to a song called “When the right one comes along” from the TV show Nashville. We didn’t have a videographer there but our awesome DJ’s from Salacious captured my Dad and I walking in without me even realising. It was such a nice surprise to see the video pop up on Instagram a few days later.”

Of the ceremony vibe, Kimberley explains “We wanted the ceremony to feel nice and relaxed. I didn’t want the vibe of the party to die down while we stopped for a ceremony so we made sure our guests were huddled in nice and close with everyone going from party mode, to celebratory mode seamlessly.”

The bride’s aunt performed the ceremony. “Growing up, a visit to my Aunt Terri’s house would not be complete without some time spent sitting in her office, staring at all photos of couples that she had previously married. I always wanted to be up there so having Terri marry us was really special.”

“No one could believe that we actually got married and that I had been able to keep something a secret for once in my life! Over the course of the evening (and the next few weeks), our guests started to put all the pieces together and realised all the hints we had dropped over the previous months. Justin’s two haircuts in 3 weeks, me getting my first ever spray tan, why everyone needed to arrive by 8 pm…. It all started to make sense to everyone! There were a few guests who were already convinced they were coming to a wedding, apparently, the invitations were too nice for a birthday and gave it away!”

“All of our vendors were absolutely fantastic, in particular, Eliska from Ruffles and Bells who went above and beyond. Since our wedding was a covert operation, I didn’t have too many people to bounce ideas off. Eliska was a great sounding board and offered so many unique ideas. When my grandmother passed away a month before our wedding, the last thing I wanted to do was plan a wedding, let alone actually get married. We considered cancelling the whole thing but instead decided to scale things back. During this time, Eliska went above and beyond. She took control of everything for me, liaising with all my vendors to finalise the last few details for me (and ever so politely reminded me to pay their invoices). Words cannot express how grateful I am for Eliska!”

Even the bride’s love of Lego had a nod. “Since I love Lego so much, I decided I wanted a few more personal touches to the dessert table. Sandy (my auntie) generously offered to use my Lego moulds and make chocolates for the dessert table and for our guests to take home.”

Congratulations Kimberley and Justin! Thank you for sharing your beautiful day with us! Thank you also to  Long Way Home Photography and Ruffles & Bells for sharing today’s gorgeousness with us!

Photographer: Long Way Home Photography / Wedding Planner: Ruffles & Bells / Bride's Dress: Rachel Gilbert / Groom's Attire: Peter Jacksons / Invitations & Stationery: Studio Silva / Flowers: Juliet Louise Flowers / Venue: Brunswick Foodstore / Ceremony Arbor: Bride's Grandfather / Linens: Harry the Hirer / Photo Booth: Social Playground / Wedding Cake: LaManna Supermarket / Catering: LaManna Supermarket / Dessert: All Day Donuts / DJ: Salacious

An Ode To Autumnal & Winter Weddings

by | Bride, Wedding Inspiration


I shout it from the rooftops every single time we share an Autumn inspired weddings – my most favourite season of all is also my favourite to marry in!

As the days get longer and the sun begins to shine (for some parts of the country!) we’re saying farewell to Autumn, Winter and the fun of marrying in the cooler season for the year – but not before we send them on their way with a little lovin’! From the colours to the snuggling, I love it all.

Click on through for my ode to Autumn & Winter weddings and a little inspiration to plan your own colder weather day.