Choni and Mark’s Surprise Wedding

by | Australia - Queensland, Bride, Inspired Weddings,


Choni & Mark

Can’t you just imagine how exciting it must be to invite your loved ones to your engagement party and then turn around and tell them they’re actually at a wedding? Today’s couple did just that and the excitement of surprise is such a huge part of their day!

Choni explains how she and Mark met. “Mark and I met in April 2011, we met at an Easter Music Festival called Easterfest held in Toowoomba.  We met in the morning and by the evening I knew that he was someone amazing!  Mark was working away at the mines at the time, after a month of “long distance” dating, he settled back in Brisbane… A year almost to the day that we met, we had the most amazing wedding that we could have ever asked for.”

Photos today are by Juddric Photography who captured such fun and spontaneity with today’s photographs!

For her surprise walk down the aisle, Choni remembers, “We chose “Better Than Love” by Griffin House as our aisle song.  This song is significant to us and the song fitted our surprise wedding perfectly.”

To make their ceremony a little bit different the couple kept their vows private until the moment. Choni recalls “Mark and I exchanged the traditional vows, but then we also wrote our own vows that we didn’t share with each other til the ceremony.  It was really beautiful to hear in each others words what our commitment meant to each other, I started crying when Mark gave me his vows.”

Choni’s bridesmaids wore gowns from Ojay, Forever New & Table Eight. Choni explains “Each of my Bridesmaids wore different dresses; their dresses complemented each other.  My two sisters and my dearest friend were my Bridesmaids, and I love these three women for all different reasons and I didn’t want to make them look like the same person.  To tie the Bridesmaids in they had matching bouquets and changed into matching shoes for the surprise wedding.  It was really special to me to have them standing beside me!”

Of their photographer, Choni says, “The decision to use Juddric Photography was the easiest decision of our whole Surprise Wedding!  My family has been using Juddric for several years, for family portraits and weddings.  The husband and wife team at Juddric are fantastic; they have the ability to allow those around them to forget that they are holding a camera.  They give people the space and freedom to enjoy their special day and just capture it all so perfectly.  Looking at so many of our Wedding Photos, I didn’t even realise that they were there shooting!  A photographer that can capture the moments of one of the biggest days of your life without intruding is a gift- and that’s what Juddric Photography is all about.”

Choni chose a brooch bouquet made by Noaki Jewelry. ” I really wanted a bouquet that I could keep, I found a vendor, Noaki on Etsy, that created custom made Vintage Jewel Bouquets.  My bouquet was silk flowers with vintage jewels as the centrepiece, I also had a flower made to match my bouquet that I wore in my hair ”

The wedding reception continued at the Sandgate Town Hall where the engagement party started. Choni explains the process. “We got engaged on Jan 21st 2012, and since we decided to have a surprise wedding at our engagement party we needed to keep the engagement party fairly close to Jan 21st.

We decided to have the party on April 21 and the venue that Mark suggested happened to be available on that day!  We chose to have the engagement party at the newly renovated Sandgate Town Hall, in Sandgate QLD.  Brisbane is home to both of us and we wanted our friends and family there to celebrate with us, the hall has just been redone and it was amazing.  It was the one and only venue that we visited and when we saw it we knew that it was the perfect backdrop to our wedding day.

The hall’s amazing molded walls, French chandeliers and polished wooden floors fitted perfectly with our vintage Inspired theme.  We also chose Sandgate Town Hall because just over the road is a beautiful park.  I had always imagined getting married in a garden and seeing the gardens and rotunda across the road just made it all the more special, we knew that it was the perfect place to have our engagement party in the hall and then have the guest move over to the garden’s for the surprise wedding.”

Choni says “My Grandma made (what she thought were our Engagement Party Cakes!) our four Wedding Cakes, we served the cakes and fruit salad for dessert.  Each cake was decorated differently from the others and she did a beautiful job.”

The tags even those have a story surrounding them! Choni tells “I surprised Mark by adding vintage tags to our wedding rings, one said “With This Ring” and the other said “I Thee Wed”.”

For the decorations, the couple chose to make the most of their vintage theme and put it together themselves. Choni says ” It was really important to me that our wedding had a hand made feel, I wanted the guests to be looking around all night seeing more decorations and details that they had previously missed.”

“We fell on to a theme for our surprise wedding, we used the quote “Grow Old Along With Me, the Best is Yet to Be”.  This quote was printed on the engagement party invites; it was hung in the hall, written on mini black boards and painted on our wedding tree.  We had been collecting jars from friends and family for weeks to decorate the hall.  On each jar we tied twine and added a vintage tag.  We made scrabble letters into Bunting, one said “Grow Old With Me The Best Is Yet To Be”, another said “We Are Engaged”, and after the wedding ceremony it was changed to “We Are Married”. “

The speeches are one of Choni’s fondest memories of the day. “I loved the speeches at our wedding.  Our parents gave speeches, so did Mark’s brother and my Bridesmaids, then my two Aunties that flew out from New Zealand stood up and gave a speech telling a few horribly embarrassing stories about things I had said about marriage a few years earlier!”

The couple danced a waltz for their first dance, Choni recalls, “We danced to “A Thousand Years” by Christina Perry.  My sister teaches dance and as our wedding present choreographed our dance.  For the first verse and chorus Mark and I danced alone.  The lyrics of the song say ‘one step closer’, at that point in the song my parents, and bridesmaids and their partners joined us and continued the dance with us.  It was an emotional moment for everyone.”

Congratulations Choni and Mark! Thank you for sharing your wedding day with us! Thank you also to Juddric Photography for sharing today’s images!

Photographer: Juddric Photography / Bride's Dress: Hills In Hollywood / Bride's Shoes: Ziera / Groom's Attire: Connor / Groomsmen Attire: Roger David / Bridesmaid Dresses: Ojay / Bridesmaid Dresses: Forever New / Bridesmaid Dresses: Table Eight / Hair & Makeup Artist: Odette Lithgow of Matisse Art for Hair / Invitations & Stationery: NUHU, Emma Messer Designs / Brooch Bouquet: Noaki Jewelry / Reception Venue: Sandgate Town Hall
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Vanessa and Juca’s Registry Office Wedding

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


Vanessa & Juca

I’m not sure why intimate weddings have a sense of magic about them, perhaps it’s because the focus is so heavily on the most important part of the day- the ceremony, the vows, that one moment. This wedding is simply beautiful.

Juca tells their story. “We met at work 5 years ago. Started dating, then started living together.  Last year, we traveled to Portugal where I (the groom) proposed. The wedding happened pretty quickly after that. Was just the time to bring family from overseas and interstate. ”

Photography today is by Polachinka Photography who captured Vanessa and Juca’s day beautifully – from the over the shoulder ceremony moments, to the magical setting in the sea.

Vanessa and Juca married at the registry office in Sydney city with only their immediate family present. Vanessa wore a simple white gown from Zara.

After the ceremony Vanessa and Juca had photos taken in the Chippendale lane ways.

Vanessa and Juca hired a house on Whale Beach for guests to stay at and celebrate, so naturally they decided to make the most of the seaside location for their photographs. Of their photographers, Vanessa says ” Xiaohan and Vitek were both really talented and well prepared. We met face to face where we discussed the sort of styles we liked and we clicked. We followed up that conversation with a moodboard with references of photos we liked. Then they went exploring and came back with a set of locations and a plan of which pictures to take. ”


Back at the house the family celebrated with drinks and pizza.

Congratulations Vanessa and Juca! Thank you for sharing your wedding with us! Thank you also to Polachinka Photography for sharing today’s images!

Photographer: Polachinka Photography / Bride's Dress: Zara / Groom's Suit: Brent Wilson / Groom's Shoes: Shubar / Ceremony Venue: NSW Registry Office

DIY Wedding Projects

by | Blog News, Bride, DIY


We were very excited today that a segment we spent an afternoon filming last month for The Circle would air this morning! Unfortunately the three DIY projects we created for the segment got cut (BOO!) but we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to highlight the DIY projects we pulled together for the segment!

Polka Dot Made is the Polka Dot Bride specialty blog that is all about DIY for weddings! We love out fonts, our handmade goods, our tutorials and even cocktail recipes. Pop over to Polka Dot Madeto get the lowdown on all the crafty goodness and even submit your own! Here’s some quick links to the three projects we made for today’s segment:

DIY Ribbon Wands

Chalk Table Numbers

Painted Glass Jar Centrepiece

Want to see more of Rin & Joe’s handmade Melbourne wedding? Check out our feature on it last Friday here!

Ang and Narada’s Rustic Australian Wedding

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


Ang & Narada

Today’s rustic wedding is such a beautiful one, starting off with a traditional tea ceremony. The bride and groom gathered their friends  family together surrounded by decorations made by the bride and a warm Summer’s night filled with laughter and massive macarons!

Ang tells their story. “The first time we met was on a bus in yr 10. A friend of mine had met him by chance and wanted to ask him to our yr 10 formal but was too shy to ask so she asked me to ask on her behalf. So I did! After that we became acquaintances and saw each other occasionally through mutual friends, but we were never really interested in each other – at least not until 5 years later when we started spending more and more time with each other!”

Photographs today are by Matthew Mead who captures such raw, happy moments in his photography!

The day started with a traditional tea ceremony in traditional attire.

Ang wore a gown from Monique Lhuillier (style Scarlet) and shoes from Mario Bologna. “I bought my shoes  years ago and never wore them, and decided they were perfect for the wedding. ”

Ang started a wedding business on the side with her friend called Made By Ae so together they made the bouquets.

Ang and Narada chose Merribee, in Nowra as their wedding venue. Ang recalls “Merribee was the very first place we looked at for our wedding and we immediately fell in love with it. It was a blank canvas that we could build on and the house and dear gardens were so sweet and charming as was Lucy, the owner of the property. “

Ang walked down the aisle to “North of the Atlantic  played an acoustic version of one of our favourite songs by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes, ‘Home’. ”

Of their photographer, Ang says “Matt is a long time friend of Narada’s and I think he was the first supplier we locked in for our wedding! We absolutely love all of Matt’s photography and had always said before we were even engaged that when we got married Matt would have to do our photos. His images are so special – they covertly captured so many intimate moments throughout our day and tell a real story.”

Ang loved “The perfect weather!! The weather last year was outrageous, the rain was constant throughout the months leading up to December last year and yes, right up to the day before the big day! Narada had hired a marquee 4 days before the wedding because he said it would rain, but I didn’t let them erect it in the exact lawn space I was hoping the wedding would be because I refused to believe it would rain. So I made them put the marquee on a different part of Merribee (that was my bridezilla moment!). You can imagine my absolute joy (and smugness) when I woke up on the morning of the wedding to clear blue skies and a perfect 25 degrees. It was perfect for our outdoor wedding under the sun.” The couple even bought old $19 doors from Reverse garbage and put them to use for the buffet.

Ang describes the day as “An elegant yet casual garden party, full of laughs, good music, flickering candlelight and beautiful food. “

The decor was arranged by Ang and her bridesmaids. She explains “I had all my friends and work colleagues collecting different kinds of jars and bottles for me to use as vases. The day before the wedding I went to the flowers markets and bought flowers. With my bridesmaids, together we arranged the flowers in the jars and bottles for centrepieces, made a hanging garland for the ceremony area and hand ties posies for bouquets”

Ang and Narada hiredNorth of the Atlantic to play at the wedding . Ang recalls “We provided a playlist to the band (one of the members is a friend of Narada’s) and they learned all the songs that we wanted. They were absolutely fantastic and when I think of the wedding I always hear the songs in my head too.”

Ang handmade many of the wedding details. “I guess the special details as you can probably see in the photos, were all the little home made things that I did, starting from the hand stamped invites, the assorted collections of jars and bottles by all my thoughtful friends, the colourful mix of flowers, the eclectic and rustic mix of platters and dishes the food and desserts were served on.

Through a chance meeting, we met Ray who at the time was one of the chefs at the Observatory Hotel. We asked Ray to cater our wedding and he was more than happy to. We conceptualised the menu, look and feel of the dinner together.”

One of Ang’s favourite memories was the speeches which were spaced throughout the night. She remarks “The speech by my bridesmaids, they did a hilarious rendition of the “she’s MY best friend” speech that was in the movie Bridesmaids, complete with a song performance and a “sexy saxing” dance from my cousins too!”

Ang and Narada chose a table full of sweet delights. Ang explains “We didn’t have a cake, we had a delicious dessert buffet with all sorts of goodness! Earl grey tea macarons, mango and raspberry flavoured marshmallows, rose nougat, mini lemon meringue tarts, green tea cupcakes, candy bars, opera cake and mini pavlovas with fruit and passionfruit crème garnished with edible flowers We also had a giant green tea macaron! This was a birthday cake made especially for one of my bridesmaids. Her birthday was the day before the wedding, and I knew weeks before that it would be impossible (time-wise) for me to get her a great present, so I asked our pastry chef to make this giant macaron cake in her favourite flavour – green tea! It was absolutely delicious!”

Congratulations Ang and Narada! Thank you for sharing your wedding day with us! Thank you also to Matthew Mead for sharing today’s images!

Photographer: Matthew Mead / Bride's Dress: Monique Lhuillier / Bride's Shoes: Mario Bologna / Groom's Shirt: Joe Button / Groom's Pants: Nudie / Groom's Vest: D'Squared / Groom's TIe: MJ Bale / Groom's Shoes: Cole Haan / Groomsmen's Shirts: Joe Button / Bridesmaid Dresses: BHLDN / Bridesmaid Dresses: Forever New / Hairstylist: Agents of Beauty / Makeup Artist: Hilary Ho / Flowers & Decor: Made By Ae / Invitations & Stationery: Cards of Wood / Venue: Merribee, Nowra / Ceremony Officiant: Bevan Badcock / Band: North of the Atlantic / Wedding Regsitry: Wedding List Co / Rentals: Décor of Distinction / Rentals: Pages Event Hire / Rentals: Ace Props / Rentals: Jacques Party Hire