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Renee & Steve’s Sunrise Picnic Wedding

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


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Renee & Steve

Have you ever thought about ditching the idea of an afternoon wedding and flipping the schedule on its head? That’s exactly what Renee and Steve did for their big day choosing a Sunrise picnic wedding to celebrate at their favourite part of the day! They chose Sarah Streets Photography to capture the first break of day with them.

Steve starts us off with the story of how they met. “We were friends long before there were any love feelings. Renée was training with me as a client and I was her personal trainer, there were definite sparks but we were both committed elsewhere. We trained together for 8 months until Renée left Brisbane to work on Superyachts in Europe, leaving me wondering…what if. Finally almost three and a half years later she returned home. I was single and so was she. I thought it was in my best interest if I sent her a message to see if she wanted to see me and catch up on the time that had passed. I don’t know if it was the mutual love for espresso martinis and pizza or just that the sparks we had felt a few years before started a fire in each of us, but here we are today awaiting our first baby almost a year and half into our marriage, 5 years into our relationship and almost 8 years since we first met.”

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Renee chose a gold sequin strapless wedding gown designed by Rachel Gilbert . She explains, “As Steve and I were working and living overseas, I felt that I had very limited time to find ‘the dress’ on a quick trip home to Australia. Especially as many dresses require you to come in for multiple fittings etc which I just wasn’t going to be able to attend. I tried on what seemed like a million dresses in all different styles and just couldn’t find one that I felt WOW in. On a trip to Melbourne, I found this stunning sequinned Rachel Gilbert dress and I fell in love with it. I was just imagining the light from the sunrise beaming onto the dress during the ceremony and making me feel like an old world glamour mermaid. Who doesn’t like wearing sequins during the day?!”

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A sentimental spot close to their hearts, Renee and Steve chose Pat Morton Lookout, Lennox Heads  for their ceremony, the bride explaining, “It is the first place we stopped off at, in Steve’s pimped out van, when we travelled up and down the east coast the first summer we got together. We love sunrises and we dragged each other up the lookout early that first morning to catch it. It is also the same spot that a year later we decided for our anniversary we would go and visit again – this is when Steve popped the question at sunrise. This is also the reason we were married at sunrise in the same spot.”

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Renee walked down the aisle to Xavier Rudd “Follow The Sun”.

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The Champagne Celebrant – Jacqui Patterson officiated the ceremony, the bride remembering, “We really wanted our ceremony to be quite intimate but also light-hearted. We even chose to be married standing in the centre of our friends and family and not standing up the front of the aisle. Steve and I stood on a beautiful vintage rug in the middle of our guests. Surrounded by love. Our celebrant told the story of how we met and then Steve and I were given the opportunity to say our own vows. It was beautiful, heartfelt and I’m not sure that there was a dry eye in the audience.

We both had leaky eyes – thank goodness I had tissues stuffed down my dress for this very purpose. haha! Before placing the rings on each other,s hand we had a ring blessing – our rings were passed through all the hands of our guests – each person blessing the ring with love and well wishes for our married future – before returning them to us. After the ceremony we served Prosecco, orange juice and croissants to celebrate a magic start to a beautiful day!”

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Of their photographer, Renee tells, “Sarah Streets is amazing – she is able to capture a moment so beautifully. Sarah has a way that when she photographs a subject the photo never looks posed or unnatural, which is what really appealed to Steve and I when we were choosing someone to document our day. We wanted fun, natural, in-the-moment photos of our day. Sarah also helped me with a little boudoir shoot before the wedding. I wanted to surprise Steve with a little memento for his wedding gift from me. Sarah has since gone on to shoot a couple of our friend’s weddings plus we recently did a maternity shoot with her with our growing bump.”

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Guests celebrated with a Farmers Market picnic brunch, a jumping castle and plenty of dancing at Ewingsdale Hall,. “We came across Ewingsdale Hall through a suggestion from a friend. It was really the only venue that we could really take over and do our own thing. Having an actual Wedding “breakfast” is pretty rare and not many venues were able to handle our requests. We were able to hire the hall for the whole weekend and just take it over including the grounds. It was fantastic and in just the most pretty spot surrounded by huge fig trees and a cute little chapel next to it.  ”

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“I had so much fun planning our wedding. I planned everything from overseas where we were living and working at the time with only a quick trip to Byron Bay to cement a few things and choose a dress and suit, 7 months before our wedding day. It was exciting seeing all the different and eclectic ideas we had come to fruition on the day and all our loved ones enjoying themselves so much. The most important part was that Steve and I had the most fun ever and we got to marry our best friend. I’m not sure that there was one particular aspect that I enjoyed the most. The whole experience was awesome!”

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The Events Lounge coordinated the day, working seamlessly with other vendors. Renee remarking, “We put together an absolute dream team for our vendors – everyone was so amazing in their own right. Rachael from The Events Lounge who was the on-the-day coordinator was simply the best person to have run our special day. Her cool calm ‘nothing phases her’ demeanor mixed with big smiles and warm hugs was exactly what we needed and her skills were indispensable. The boys from Anise Catering, Brendan and Remy were also complete standouts – their food, hospitality, the cocktails they mixed up, their staff – all superb. They were excited from the start to do something different and work with us in creating a wedding breakfast not to be forgotten.”

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The first dance was John Butler – Groovin’ Slowly. Renee tells, “We took dance lessons with River City Ballroom in West End, Brisbane. We wanted our first dance to be memorable and fun, not only for us but also for our guests. We chose to use this song because it’s our dance in the kitchen song and reminds us of delicious and loving times spent together.”

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Each element of the day was about fun, Renee remarks, “We had to have a jumping castle!! Not just for the kids but for us!! Jumping castles are so much fun!! We love breakfast so putting on a tasty hearty breaky for all of our guests was important. As was the espresso martinis that were served as a pick-me-up welcome drink. We had quite a few DIY aspects which were fun to put together – we had lots of help from different family members. We chose to have picnic style seating rather than formal seating as we felt it suited the time of day better plus we had so many friends and family from different parts of our life that had never met – it really encouraged guests to mingle and chat rather than being stuck at a table.”

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Renee and Steve added YellowBull Media  to their team to capture a video of their day. The beautiful golden light casting a sense of magic over the day.

Congratulations Renee and Steve! Thank you for sharing your day with us! Thank you also to Sarah Streets Photography for sharing today’s celebration!







Photographer: Sarah Streets Photography / Cinematographer: YellowBull Media / On the Day Coordination: The Events Lounge / Bride’s Dress: Rachel Gilbert / Bride’s Shoes: Stuart Weitzman / Bride’s Veil/Hair Accessories: Shut the Front Door Bridal / Groom’s Attire: Male Manor / Groom’s Shoes: Male Manor / Bridesmaid Accessories: Lovisa / Hairstylist: Gille Goncalves of Harvey Nichols / Hairstylist: Eve Adele MUA / Makeup Artist: Amy Stewart / Makeup Artist: Eve Adele MUA / Flowers: The French Petal / Invitations & Stationery: Etch and Co / Ceremony Venue: Pat Morton Lookout, Lennox Heads / Ceremony Hire Items: Retro in the Rough / Ceremony Hire Items: Lovestruck Weddings / Ceremony Officiant: The Champagne Celebrant - Jacqui Patterson / Reception Venue: Ewingsdale Hall, Ewingsdale / Reception Hire Items: Retro in the Rough / Reception Hire Items: Lovestruck Weddings / Reception Hire Items: Palace & Co / Reception Hire Items: Panache / Reception Musician: Miss Renee Simone / Favors: Bride & Groom / Catering: Anise Catering / Cake Baker: Rebellyous Cake Co. / Photo Booth: Sarah Streets Photography / Wedding Rings: Robert White Jeweller / Transport: Toby Hordern Bus Charters / Wedding Registry: Our Honeymoon Registry
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Friday Roundup

by | Blog News, Bride



Photo by Milk and Honey Photography via Toni and Simon’s Spring Harbourside Wedding

It’s been a weird week at Polka Dot Bride HQ – we’re getting set for one of our patterned people to head off to the good old US of A for a holiday so these last weeks of July are work, work work and well – plenty of play!

And where there is work and play – there is wedding inspiration and plenty of it. So let’s wrap up the week that was with a peek at the posts of the week.



Groom Lai shares his inspired memories over on Polka Dot Groom

Really need to try this Roast Duck Curry With Kaffir Lime Scented Rice Recipe

Bonjour mes amis – Let’s Elope To Paris!

Rounding up our favourite Opal Jewellery

The sweetest moments at Toni and Simon’s Spring Harbourside Wedding

Sitting down with a glass of whisky with Jack From Oh Lobster

Pack your bags! What To Take On A Winter Honeymoon

Elegant script style with the PF Champion Script Pro font

Emily shares her post wedding Inspired Words

Grab a cup of tea and sit down with Hannah and Konrad’s Captured Memories

Brendan shares his Lord Howe Island Groom Style

Honeymoons A – Z: Genoa – the picture perfect port city in Italy

We go Behind The Door With….The Shearing Shed

Sitting down for a What Would They Know with Magnus Agren of Magnus Agren Photography


News Roundup 22nd July 2016

Bridal salon Helen Rodrigues are hosting their annual Spring clearance from the 4th-6th of August.  Gowns from designers including Jenny Packham, Mira Zwillinger, Inbal Dror, Zuhair Murad, Monique Lhuillier, Oscar de le Renta, Amanda Wakeley will all be on sale along with accessories such as veils and jewels! Visit the website for more information.

Looking for a tropical island wedding? Daydream Island Resort & Spa  have just launched a brand new all inclusive wedding package! Everything from transfers, accommodation, ceremony and reception is included- making is stress-free and as much fun as a tropical holiday should be! See the full details and package inclusions here. Visit their website for more information and head to their Facebook Page  for a special 25% discount competition!

Dreaming of a stunning honeymoon!  Alamanda Palm Cove By Lancemore is offering Polka Dot Bride readers a very special honeymoon offer! Subject to availability, the exclusive Polka Dot Bride ‘Honeymooners Package’  includes a bottle of bubbles on arrival, 15% off Alamanda Day Spa treatments, complimentary use of the heavenly private spa pavilion which includes a stunning infinity plunge pool, an upgrade to a Beachfront room (if available at the time of check-in), and late check out. All you need to do is quote “I Am A Polka Dot Bridewhen you make your booking with the property directly. Click here to book!

Our film of the week is the gorgeous wedding of Belinda & Shaun captured by Memento Films. What a beautifully moving day these two had – complete with a beachside ceremony and coastal reception.



Jane & Alexander’s Modern Sydney Royal Botanic Gardens Wedding

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


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Jane & Alexander

From Jane’s silver wedding dress to her awesome bouquet and the beautiful stories – this gorgeous modern Sydney Royal Botanic gardens will  take you to a place where the bouquets are beautiful, the vows heartfelt and the days filled with plenty of beautiful stories. Jane and Alexander chose Mr Edwards Photography to capture their wedding day.

Jane tells their story. “We are high school sweethearts, together for about 12 years before we got married.”

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Jane wore a silver gown from Carla Zampatti , remembering,  “I chose a Carla Zampatti dress that I loved! I had tried on bridal gowns but none of them felt or looked like me, so on my lunch break one day, my mum and I went into Carla Zampatti and we found this dress straight away. I just felt like I was wearing a really special dress that I felt great in.”

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Guests gathered in the garden on beautiful wooden benches from Timbermill Rentals .

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Jane walked down the aisle to The Wedding Song by Peter, Paul & Mary.

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Jane and Alexander chose Robyn Pattison to officiate their ceremony. “All our vendors were wonderful, we felt really lucky.”

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Jane added a pearl cuff to her look made from a string of pearls from her grandmother and mother. It was a special nod to her grandmother who was unable to be present on the day.

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Jane and Alexander chose The Rose Garden & Pavillion, Royal Botanic Garden Sydney  followed by a reception in the gardens at the  Botanic Gardens Restaurant. Jane explains, “We wanted to keep it as simple as possible for our guests – not too much waiting around and an easy walk to the wedding and the reception. The Botanic Gardens were the perfect location. The Botanic Gardens restaurant was particularly fantastic, they looked after everything on the day from the drinks and canapes on the Rose Garden lawn after the ceremony to driving around in a golf buggy delivering champagne to the bridal party during photos to making sure the whole reception ran on time.”

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Sophia Kaplan  styled the soft pink and white floral arrangements, “Sophia’s flowers were a real stand out. She did an amazing job and managed to be in about five different places at once on the day!”

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“We got engaged in Amsterdam and were meeting some close friends in Paris a week later. As an engagement gift, they gave us a beautiful gold cake lifter. They flew out all the way from London for the wedding so we made sure to use it for the cake!”

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For the first dance, the couple chose a suggestion from Jane’s dad, explaining,  “A last minute change to ‘In the Garden’ by Van Morrison. Jane’s dad suggested (again!) it the night before the wedding and luckily Marc (our DJ) was very accommodating! Obviously, we didn’t have a rehearsed first dance!! This particular song goes for TEN MINUTES which gave us the idea of getting our families, the bridal party and eventually all the wedding guests involved. It certainly got the dance floor going as it’s got a big finish!”

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Congratulations Jane and Alexander! Thank you for sharing your day with us! Thank you also to Mr Edwards Photography  for sharing today’s wedding.




Photographer: Mr Edwards Photography / Bride’s Dress: Carla Zampatti / Bride’s Shoes: Christian Louboutin / Groom’s Attire: Calibre / Groom’s Shoes: Calibre / Groomsmen Attire: Saba / Bridesmaid Dresses: Carla Zampatti / Bridesmaid Accessories: Country Road / Hairstylist: Wildlife Origin / Makeup Artist: hair + makeup by Gavin / Flowers: Sophia Kaplan / Invitations & Stationery: Bride / Ceremony Venue: The Rose Garden & Pavillion, Royal Botanic Garden Sydney / Ceremony Hire Items: Timbermill Rentals / Ceremony Officiant: Robyn Pattison / Ceremony Musicians: Sydney Jazz Duo / Reception Venue: Botanic Gardens Restaurant, Royal Botanic Garden Sydney / Band: Above and Beyond Entertainment / Cake Baker: Sweet Art / Wedding Rings: Martin & Stein / Wedding Registry: Wedding Gifts Direct

Rachel & Barry’s Relaxed Baxter Barn Wedding

by | Australia - Victoria, Bride, Inspired Weddings,


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Rachel & Barry

Rachel and Barry accidentally chose a searing 42-degree day for their relaxed Baxter Barn wedding. The couple wanted their wedding to have a vibe that would allow guests to celebrate, dance the night away and have the focus be on them as much as it was on the newlyweds. They chose Jerome Cole to capture their day.

Rachel fills us in on how the two came to be. “We met in idyllic paradise on Orpheus, a luxury tropical island set amidst the magical waters of the Greater Barrier Reef. Alas, we were there for work not leisure, but also happened to find love.”

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The groom and groomsmen wore beautiful aubergine suits from Calibre. The suits were the groom’s favourite colour and tied themselves in with the bridesmaid’s aubergine skirts.

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Rachels mother made not only her wedding dress but also the bridesmaid gowns! She explains, “My Mum, a talented seamstress in her spare time, designed and made my bridal gown. The French lace was Valentino and was accented with leaf-shaped fine metallic thread work. The lace was purchased from ‘Stitches to Style’ in Armadale but there was only 2m of lace left on the roll so there was no room for error (or a wedding cake tasting blowout). Hours of workmanship went into making the gown, and every stitch was made with love! My ‘something borrowed’ was an heirloom veil worn by my Nanna at her 1953 wedding.”

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Rachel and Barry chose Baxter Barn for their wedding, noting “Both the ceremony and reception were held at Baxter Barn, on the Mornington Peninsula. The ceremony took place in a stunning rose garden, with the backdrop of heritage-listed Sages Cottage. Following the ceremony, guests made their way to the rustic barn and alfresco courtyard where the celebrations kicked on until midnight.”

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Rachel was played down the aisle by Barry on the ukelele with Rachel’s sister singing Elvis Presley’s “Can’t Help Falling In Love”.

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Cassandra Duncan officiated the ceremony. Rachel explaining “From the off-set, we wanted our ceremony to be short, uncomplicated and family-centred. Our Celebrant, Cassandra Duncan, is a good friend of ours and this made for a very personal, warm and humorous ceremony. She so effortlessly told the story of how we met and what we love about one another (without the cheesiness). To our surprise, the celebrant also sourced some funny quotes from our bridal party which she read out during the ceremony!”

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“Just as we said ‘I do’ there was a crack of thunder and the heavens opened up on our bridal party and guests. Everyone ran for cover in fits of laughter. Unbeknown to Baz and I, apparently a theatrical lighting show took place above our heads during the entire ceremony. Apparently ‘a wet knot is more difficult to untie’ and is believed to foretell a strong marriage.”

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Of their photographer, Rachel notes “We commissioned Jerome Cole to be our wedding photographer. He’s insanely talented, has an infectious personality and is very dedicated to his craft! He captured the ‘real’ moments of our wedding; from the raw emotion to the downright silly. It’s not easy to maintain such energy and enthusiasm on a 42-degree day that ends in a freak thunderstorm, but the end result is a work of art!”

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Barry made the wedding favours himself, Rachel telling, “A couple of days before the wedding Barry, a professional Chef, made batches of his much-loved lemon curd and famed summer stone fruit jam as wedding favours. I then hand-decorated the 120 jars by tying ‘With Love’ swing tags around each as a small memento for our guests. The morning after the wedding, the bridal party spread the left-over favours across fresh croissants, accompanied by much-needed coffee!”

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Rachel and Barry worked with Going Gourmet to create a BBQ style cocktail menu for the reception, the bride remembering,  “Going Gourmet had a reputation for good food (which they delivered on the day, and them some)! Before committing to a menu, Going Gourmet offers a complimentary tasting evening where you get to taste a selection of their dishes. We opted for the ‘Cocktail Menu’ for our 100 guests which included an hour of cool canapés, an hour of hot canapés, an ‘off the BBQ’ round, followed by desserts. Deciding against a sit-down meal led to a more social atmosphere and many guests remarked that it was the most delicious food they’d ever eaten at a wedding! ”

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Congratulations Rachel and Barry! Thank you for sharing with us the stories of your day! Thank you also to Jerome Cole for sharing today’s celebration!






Photographer: Jerome Cole / Bride’s Dress: Bride's Mother / Bride’s Jewelry: Mimco / Groom’s Attire: Calibre / Groom’s Shoes: Asos / Groomsmen Attire: Calibre / Groomsmen’s Shoes: Asos / Bridesmaid Dresses: Bride's Mother / Bridesmaid Accessories: Glisten Gems / Hairstylist: Sue Barnes / Makeup Artist: Sue Barnes / Flowers: Naughty Flowers / Invitations & Stationery: Etsy / Venue: Baxter Barn / Ceremony Officiant: Cassandra Duncan / Reception Hire Items: My Sweet Event / Band: The Bombastics / Favors: Groom / Catering: Going Gourmet / Cheese Cake: Calendar Cheese Company / Transport: Mornington Peninsula Limos
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