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Emily and Jeremy’s New Zealand Beach Engagement Shoot

by | Bride, Engagements


Emily and Jeremy

What do you get when you put a beautiful turquoise couch on a beach in New Zealand with two people very much in love? Some very fun photos which I am so excited to share with you today! Have a wonderful Saturday!

Photographer Greta Kenyon of Vela Images tells the story. “Emily and Jeremy first meet as teenagers where they both grew up in the Bay of Plenty area, Jeremy was a couple of years below Emily and she had caught his eye more than once. Little did they know way back then that they would one day be married.

The couple lost contact with each other and then reconnected over a decade later. Their courtship was short and intensified in a beautiful way by the arrival of their gorgeous baby girl Clara.

Emily & Jeremy married in March of this year and decided to have an engagement shoot before the wedding to capture some more relaxed moments together. They both love the beach and live just around the corner from where we shot these photos. So this spot is very special to them.

The couch was Emily’s idea, Emily loves vintage furniture and colour and thought it would be fun to inject a bit of colour into the shoot by adding the couch on the beach which looks fabulous against the overcast sky.

Emily is an actress and is a delight to photograph, she has great energy in front of the camera which is contagious and before we knew it we were doing an improvised kind of a theatre sports session in front of the camera. Every 10 seconds the couple had to take turns of coming up with a new pose on that gorgeous turquoise couch (which by the way also featured in their marquee at the wedding). What a fun shoot this ended up being, lots of laughter, good times and a very unique and quirky set of images for the couple to treasure as a record of themselves before they were married”

Photos by Greta Kenyon of Vela Images

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Sofia and Alvin’s Stylish Richmond Wedding

by | Australia - Victoria, Bride, Inspired Weddings,


Sofia and Alvin

What a gorgeous wedding I have for you this lovely Friday afternoon. I am always, always so fascinated when a couple includes traditions and ceremonies from their culture into their wedding day – it’s been a week for it on Polka Dot Bride and ending off our week with this stylish Melbourne celebration – the wedding of Sofia and Alvin.

Sofia and Alvin met on the other side of the world. Sofia remembers, “I was seconded to London for work for 6 months but never met Alvin even though we had lots of mutual friends.  It wasn’t until the end of my secondment when we were both snowboarding in Whistler, Canada that we met on the slopes.  It was a whirlwind long distance romance … Alvin proposed 8 months later in New York City the day before Xmas!  I was surprised but apparently our friends had been taking bets on when it would happen.”

Photographs today are by Leo Farrell. I love Leo’s interesting take on wedding photographs. They’re incredibly stylish and unique but they don’t miss the great moments and details that make a wedding.

Sofia and Alvin decided to marry in Melbourne, though the decision was a hard one! Sofia explains “Alvin’s family lives in the US while my family are all in Melbourne, and friends spread out in Hong Kong, Taiwan, UK and Europe so it was quite hard to find decide where to have the wedding.  Eventually we decided on Melbourne: we love good food, coffee and the outdoors and Melbourne in summer seems quite perfectly poised to give us and our guests this.”

Sofia make up and hair was styled by  Anh Trinh ( Sofia says “She did an amazing job with my hair in the morning and afternoon.” Sofia’s first outfit, a stunning red cheongsham was from  Zuki Designs, Hong Kong. Sofia explains “As is traditional for a Chinese wedding, Alvin and his groomsmen had to pick me up in the morning of the wedding.  But they had to pass a set of challenges or “door games” as they are known which were set by my bridesmaids which ranged from eating strange concoctions (to mirror the “sour, sweet, bitterness and spiciness” of married life) to improvising a dance for the bride.  For this part of the morning, I was dressed in my cheong sam and put on my wedding gown after the boys had left for the ceremony grounds.”

The day was made all the more special by “Having amazing friends by our side.  Thinking back there were little crises along the way, but our bridesmaids and groomsmen took care of everything so well that we felt very relaxed and stress free all day. In the end, because of the help we had, we had a really relaxing day and we were able to fully enjoy every bit of it.”

After the groom left for the traditional ceremony, Sofia changed into her wedding gown (from Anaiss Weddings, Hong Kong) Initially I was only going to have a wedding dress and cheongsam but my Mum wanted to give me a an evening gown as a present. Just as well as my wedding dress did get quite grubby after a hot day in the sun in the gardens and I absolutely adore the evening gown now (possibly better than my wedding dress).  I was surprised I managed to find my wedding dress on the first day of dress shopping!” She paired it with a fascinator from Mariana Hardwick.

Sofia wore shoes from Rupert Sanderson. She says ” He makes the most comfortable high heels in the world.  I looked forever for hot pink shoes to wear with my wedding dress but never found them but I’m so happy I went with the RS white heels which I paired with”

Bouquet Melbourne created the floral arrangements for the day. Sofia remarks “They made absolutely stunning flowers for the day. I’d fallen in love with David Austin roses (never having known what they were before I started planning my wedding 🙂 ) and they did the most amazing bouquets for us. Initially we were going to go for a simple bunch of David Austins but we saw that the Fenix reception room needed a taller center piece, so in the end they managed to weave the roses with vines on a candelabra with candles which gave the room the magical feel.  On the bridal table, they thoughtfully left extra vases for the bridal party to leave their flowers.”

Sofia and Alvin hired chairs and decorations for the ceremony from The Wedding Zone Sofia says “They did the gorgeous decorations and equipment at the Royal Botanical Gardens.  Denise and Peter were so flexible and accommodating – they made sure we got exactly what we wanted and needed for the day.”

Sofia and Alvin chose to marry in one of Melbourne’s famous gardens. Sofia explains “The Royal Botanical Gardens were beautiful and green because it had been raining quite a lot in the months prior.  It has a lot of special memories for me as I grew up in Melbourne, and when we saw the big tree that we could be married under, we knew it was the perfect spot.”


For transport, the couple used a London cab and London bus by Deedecker Bus.

Sofia walked down the aisle to “Our harpist, Emily Rosner playing Canon in D by Pachelbel”.

Sofia describes the wedding day as ” A sunny delicious day shared with close family and friends” The groom wore a suit from Armani Collezioni with shoes from Saks 5th Avenue and the  groomsmen wore grey summer suits from Spurling.

The bridesmaids wore gowns from Spurling.

The couple enjoyed the company of family and friends form all over the world. Sofia recalls ” I loved having all our close family and friends there on the day – about 70% of our guests flew in from overseas, and it was really amazing to have them all there including two friends who were heavily pregnant, a couple who flew in from London just for the long weekend for the wedding, and Alvin’s elderly grandpa and grandma who took a long flight from Malaysia.”

Sofia loved “planning the wedding together – both of us were equally involved in planning most of the wedding, from choosing the venue, the menu, designing the invites and the wedding website “

The newlyweds loved the quiet moments together with their photographer. Sofia says “I knew I was going to change in my evening gown after the shoot so we just chilled out on the grass and kicked off our shoes and rested.  It was a really lovely quiet break for the two of us.”

Sofia and Alvin held their reception at Fenix restaurant in Richmond. She says “We didn’t know Gary Mehigan when we booked the venue but now we are big fans of his and TV series Masterchef! We loved working with Sophie Mcgregor from Fenix who patiently answered all the endless questions and pulled everything together beautifully.

As we love good food, we wanted to make sure the guests were served good food.  We tossed up some nice restaurants but we also wanted dancing so eventually we settled on Fenix which had rave food reviews.  Our first tasting didn’t go so well and we actually ended up having 3 tastings in total!  But in the end the food on the night was fantastic.”

The couple designed their own stationery together. Sofia says “We both love graphic design as a hobby, so we designed our own stationery for the wedding including the save the dates, wedding invites, info maps.  As a lot of our guests were flying in from overseas, we wanted a travel theme, so we made our wedding invites as boarding passes, placed inside boarding pass cases along with rubber “immigration” stamps based around the central image of a bridal couple marrying under the tree.

Continuing with the garden theme, we also created a wedding tree picture where guests could leave their thumbprints and autograph which formed the “leaves” of the wedding tree.  We chose different shades green and gold as the ink pads so the tree has some really pretty colours.  The wedding tree is framed and now hangs in the living room of our new home.”

Photos of guests were placed on each table. Sofia explains “Instead of a guest book, we collected a set of old photos we had of each and every guest attending the wedding which we made into post cards.  On one side was the photo and on the other was space for the guests to leave us a message.  There were lots of laughs from our guests – especially since we had dug up some real howlers.  We had a great time reading the messages left by our guests – not sure whether their humour and wittiness was in spite of, or enhanced by, the intoxication.”

The couple had a magical first dance. Sofia says “We started our dancing lessons 2 weeks before our wedding!  Luckily our instructor from The Secret Garden of Dance was fantastic so we managed to put together something.” For the reception, Sofia wore a Mariana Hardwick gown.

The cake was complimentary by Fenix. Sofia says “It was the most delicious chocolate mud cake ever. Free cake topper in David Austin roses and dodder vine by Bouquet Melbourne.”

The speeches were incredibly special. Sofia remarks “We were really touched by all the speeches given by our friends and family, and we really appreciated having the opportunity to thank our parents.  Growing up in Chinese families, we are not very vocal with showing our affection towards our family!”

The best moment of the night? Let’s leave it to Sofia to explain. “My favourite moment was throwing the bouquet.  I have a few girlfriends that we are dying to see walk down the aisle and I didn’t want anyone to miss out, so I threw not one but 6 bouquets (including the bridesmaid’s bouquets and the bridal table bouquets).  It was really fantastic to see them each holding one!”

Congratulations Sofia and Alvin! Thank you for sharing your wedding day with us on Polka Dot Bride! Thank you also to  Leo Farrell for sharing today’s photographs!

Photos by Leo Farrell.


Friday Roundup

by | Blog News, Bride


Photo from What Would They Know? Patricia Hardjopranoto of Yummy Cupcakes & Cakes

Happy Friday Polka Dotties! Did you enjoy the week we had of wedding inspiration? I hope so because next week is equally as superb and this afternoon? We have quite the wedding coming up for you!

Here’s a peek at what happened on the specialty blogs this week…

On Polka Dot Groom we meet Anthony who tells his thoughts on his wedding day, to Emelia See more of their lovely coastal wedding day here

Also on Polka Dot Wisdom Patricia from Yummy Cupcakes & Cakes shares with us her wise words and gorgeous cakes in ‘What Would They Know – Interviews with the Experts’

Robyn Pattison shares with us her thoughts on ‘Do I Really Need A Wedding Rehearsal?’ on Polka Dot Wisdom

Do a little cheer with Rah Rah Florals on Polka Dot Wisdom from Hello Blossoms on Polka Dot Wisdom

Shannon from Little Flamingo Stationery & Events teaches us how to make DIY straw flags with a printable template included on Polka Dot Made

Princess Cherry Pie gives us some really wise tips on The Pregnant Bridesmaid – Part 1 on Polka Dot Weddings

On Polka Dot Weddings we have Wedding Budget Busting Tips from Sarah and

Mrs Tagg-to-be encourages us to do what makes us happy, even if that means breaking with tradition, on Polka Dot Weddings

In Polka Dot Honeymoons share Lilac’s story on being ‘A Tourist in My Home Town’  – in her case, Milan in Italy

Around the wedding world this week…

Wedding photographer Smithographer is offering a special 10% discount on wedding photography and engagement sessions booked before the end of August for Polka Dot Bride readers! Simply quote “polka dot” when booking to be eligible and check out their website for more information! Smithographer are based in Canberra but do travel!

Western Australian photographer Emma Pointon has launched a photobooth service! Emma sets up a mini studio to capture you and your guests kicking up your heels at your reception! Check out the website for more.

The McGrath Foundation have launched bomboniere wedding cards – a really fantastic option if you want to donate to the McGrath foundaiton instead of giving favors to your guests. Each guest will receive a wedding bomboniere card for you to place at your reception to notify them that a donation has been made in their honour.

The McGrath Foundation, founded by Jane and Glen McGrath after Jane’s initial recovery from breast cancer, works to provide breast care nurses in communities across Australia as well as raise awareness for breast cancer in young women. Call the Donations team on (02) 8962 6100 to discuss your wedding donation.

To celebrate Spring, Sydney wedding planners Events By Heidi & Kate are offering 10% discount on our Wedding Day Management Packages for all weddings taking place in Spring. Visit their website for more information.

For our video this week, I wanted to end with a new installment of Roth TV where designer Henri Josef website gives real advice to real brides!


Cecilie and John’s Classic Melbourne Wedding

by | Australia - Victoria, Bride, Inspired Weddings,


Cecilie and John

There’s nothing quite like a classic wedding in the city – from the breathtaking architecture, to the stunning city backdrops! Cecilie and John had a classic Melbourne wedding – using one of the city’s beautiful churches for their ceremony and the backdrop of Melbourne’s Port Phillip Bay for their reception!

Cecilie explains how she met her husband. “John and I met when I was on a study abroad program at Boston College (USA) where John also attended and played ice-hockey. About a month before my planned return home to Australia, I was out with some friends at a local college bar. I know it sounds dramatic, but that night changed my life forever. I remember Johnny walking into the room with his yellow cap on backwards and a huge smile that I was immediately drawn to. I was secretly so excited when he approached me and said hello. I loved his humor, his laughter, and the warmth of his personality.  I definitely believe in love at first sight.”

And to continue today’s romantic love story, John tells how he proposed. “I like to think it went as smoothly as a scene out of ‘The Notebook’ – a pier lined with roses and candles, followed by a smooth row out to the middle of a lake where I get down on one knee and pop the question. The reality was that Cecile had broken her arm the day prior to our engagement, and the wind was a bit stronger than I had anticipated on the engagement day (making for a rather difficult row to the middle of the lake, and ‘not so lit’ candle scene). Either way, she said yes, and we shared the experience on Lake Calhoun, one of our favorite spots to get away, get some fresh air, and simply relax.”

Photos today are by Marcus Bell of Studio Impressions. I love Marcus’ dramatic, emotion filled photographs. Every shot tells a story in a stunning, intensely beautiful way.

Cecilie wore a gown and veil from Monique L’Huillier. She paired it with a necklace from Tiffany & Co (the first Christmas present John ever gave her) and shoes from Cinderella Bella. The girls had their hair styled by Shibui((03) 9820 9130) and makeup by Narelle Hall (0411 037 890).

The bridesmaids wore soft pink gowns from Zimmermann with shoes from Nude Footwear and earrings from Stellini. The girls carried bouquets styled by Sarah McDonald at Casa Verde.

John and his groomsmen wore suits from Arthur Galan.

Cecilie and John were married at St Ignatius Church, Richmond. Cecilie and her bridesmaids arrived at the church in a black classic cars from Melbourne Classic Car Hire.

Cecilie recalls, “I walked down the aisle to one of our favourite songs – “The Promise” by Tracy Chapman. The words really represent our many years of enduring long distance and waiting to be together again.”

Of the ceremony, Cecilie remarks, “Our traditional ceremony was held at one of the oldest and most beautiful churches in my hometown of Melbourne – St Ignatius Church. It was a truly special occasion as it was the first time that we had all our friends and family from opposite sides of the world in the same place.”

Cecilie says “We love the images taken as we are exiting the church – you can see our excitement and happiness all over our faces, that first realization of “we’re married!!””

Cecilie remarks, “We also LOVE all the images at the St Kilda pier – as the sun was setting, surrounded by clouds, walking out to the end of the pier with the ocean on one side and the Melbourne skyline on the other. It was great having this time alone with John, to enjoy each other before the commencement of the reception festivities…and it gave Marcus the opportunity to capture the most spectacular images in the city we love.”

Cecilie and John held their reception at The Harbour Room at the Royal Melbourne Yacht Squadron and had it catered by Food & Desire. Kirsty Little of Pinny (0417 152 271) made the cupcake wedding cake.

Guests were given mini hockey sticks and hockey pucks as favors as a nod to John’s seven year long ice hockey career.

Cecilie says “We wanted our reception to be fun, intimate and personal. It was held at the Harbour Room right on the ocean…perfect for a couple who loves the beach.

The color scheme was white, silver and crystal with a touch of blush. Two words I would use to describe the decorations are candles and candy…and lots of both.Crystal tea light candles accompanied the centerpieces, which were beautiful arrangements of white roses and freesias.”

The presence of the guests blew the couple away. Cecilie remarks “One hundred and thirty-five of our closest family and friends attended our reception celebrations. About forty guests had flown in from the United States. Having friends and family from opposite sides of the world together is such a rarity for us that it made the day so much more meaningful.”

A table full of sweets was a hit. Cecilie explains “John and I both have a big sweet tooth so we had a candy bar set up with our favourite American and Australian candy. Guests scooped everything from Hershey kisses and personalized “Cecile and John” M&M’s to Darrel Lea licorice and Cadbury chocolates into small, white organza bags to take home.”

Cecilie loved the speeches. “Probably the most touching moments for me were the speeches, especially those by my father, and by John. I had held back tears all day but when I heard the moving words come out of the mouths of the two greatest men in my life, I couldn’t help but shed a few tears.”

Congratulations on your marriage Cecilie and John! Thank you for sharing it with us on Polka Dot Bride! Thank you also to  Marcus Bell of Studio Impressions for sharing today’s imagery with us!

Photos  by Marcus Bell of Studio Impressions

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