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Jess and Josh’s Canberra Engagement Shoot

by | Bride, Engagements


Jess and Josh

Today’s engagement session is simple and sweet, there’s  fresh in love faces, the colours of nature, the laughter of two people who hold something special together. “Josh and I met 5 years ago when we were both working at the national gallery of Australia in Canberra. We instantly connected as close friends but it wasn’t until I was living in Sydney studying that we both realized there was something more special between us. When he proposed on new years last year I was so excited I was marrying my best friend. Our wedding is planned for January next year on a tiny beach on the south coast called “joshs beach”. We are so excited to share our special day with all of our family and friends!”

Photos today are by David Robertson who describes his work as “Simplistically Honest photography” and I have to say it encapsulates so well the beauty of his work.

Photos by David Robertson

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Rustic Wedding Venues In Victoria

by | Australia - Victoria, Bride, Wedding Venues


To end off our Victorian spotlight week, I wanted to write for a request so many of you have for (NSW you’ve been heard, you’re coming soon!) rustic, barn like venues in VIC. Australia doesn’t “do” barns like the USA, but we do country, rustic style venues so beautifully that it’s worth shining another spotlight on them. Our last list was so long ago, that I’m starting from scratch!

Gum Gully Farm

Gum Gully Farm, located in Silvan South is only 50kms from Melbourne. The Barn is designed to fit 100 for weddings (banquet style or 170 for cocktails) plus has the option to have your wedding ceremony outside on the grounds or using their chapel. Visit the Gum Gully Website for more information.

Collingwood Childrens Farm – The Barn

Looking for a barn a little closer to town? Collingwood Childrens Farm (catered by Farm Cafe) can seat 50 or hold 120 for a cocktail function in the barn. There’s a fireplace, exposed beams and a beautiful country atmosphere. Couples can also choose the stables and farm paddock for their ceremony or pre dinner drinks.  Visit the website for more information.

Yering Station – The Historic Barn

One of the Yarra Valley’s favourite wineries, Yering Station has a beautifully restored historic barn available for functions. With a capacity of up to 120 guests, the barn was polished concrete floors and doubles as the Farmers’ markets venue every month! Visit the Yering Station website for more information.

Inglewood Estate

Inglewood Estate has all the trimmings for a winery wedding – from an  beautiful chapel complete with bells, stained glass windows and a chapel bar to the reception room (formerly the estate’s hay shed) which has a modern rustic feel to it – exposed beams, open fires, a stage and corrugated iron walls and can cater to a maximum of 120 guests. Visit the Inglewood Estate website for more information.

Emu Bottom Homestead- The Woolshed & The Slab Hut

Emu Bottom Homestead is one of my favourites when it comes to blank, country style canvasses for your wedding day. It sits on a massive 62 acres and has a multitude of buildings available for use- including the Slab Hut  which originally was a farmers worker’s cottage. The woolshed dates back to 1854 and can seat 130 guests or house 230 for cocktails. Visit the Emu Bottom Homestead website for more information.

Stones Of The Yarra Valley – The Barn

Stones Of The Yarra Valley is one of the wine region’s newest venues and with their conversion of the stables into yet another space on the property (which already includes the stone chapel, converted dairy and restored barn), there’s even more options for your wedding day. The barn can seat 150 guests and has modern features like brown leather chairs, a polished concrete floor and crystal chandeliers. Visit the Stones Of the Yarra Valley website for more information.

Warrawong Woolshed

Located in Melton, Warrwong Woolshed is a woolshed from the 19th century and packed full of history. including beautiful wooden floors and stone walls. The Woolshed can hold 120 for a sit down dinner or up to 200 for a cocktail function. Visit the Warrawong Woolshed website for more information.

Redcourt Homestead

Priding themselves on fresh local product,  Redcourt Homstead is a beautiful property located in Bairnsdale. Run by a close knit family, they offer a fully licensed venue with spaces including their grounds, courtyard and historic woolshed (which can hold up to 130 guests). Visit the Redcourt Homestead website for more information.

Emerald Bank Woolshed

Surrounded by bushland outside of Shepparton, Emerald Bank Woolshed complex includes a chapel, private bridal suite and even a gorgeous lake to complete the setting. The Woolshed can accommodate 150 guests seated or 200 for a cocktail affair. Visit the Emerald Bank Woolshed for more information.

Mt Sturgeon Estate Homestead.

The Mt Sturgeon Estate Homestead backs onto the stunning Grampians. The property is now available for ceremonies only with receptions being held at the Event Centre. Visit the Royal Mail Website for more information.

The Mill @ Malmsbury

This historic bluestone building located in Malmsbury in Victoria’s Macedon Ranges. There’s room for your ceremony with the property’s extensive gardens or inside the bluestone walls. There are three areas inside the building suitable for your wedding – the gallery space, the mezzanine chamber or the bridge level so you can take your pick or use all three. The venue features many rustic features including exposed wooden beams, original chimney, arched windows and deep window sills. Visit The Mill @ Malmsbury website here.

Okay Polka Dot Bridettes- what did I miss? Have you come across any amazing rustic style venues in Victoria lately?

Friday Roundup

by | Blog News, Bride


I lay awake on Monday night, with the tension of the week looming ahead, the promises of tasks to be done and dreams to be actioned and I wondered how I could get to today- how I would let out that sigh of relief, look forward to my Friday night of wine and TV shows I’ve saved and a weekend ahead- this weekend will be quiet but I’m looking forward to it. What are your plans dear readers?

Thank you for your patience as we’ve been ironing out little bugs since we moved the site- readers we’re back up and running! We have a few exciting things happening in Polka Dot land! The first is the lovely Alicia, who has been filling Polka Dot Made with beautiful DIY projects will be joining us formally next week as our Polka Dot Made contributing editor. She’ll be posting projects and fresh tutorials once a fortnight- written just for Polka Dot Made! I’m so excited because the dreams I had for my little site are slowly coming to fruition!

In case you’ve missed the action around the Polka Dot sites this week, here’s a recap!

Fancy bowties on Polka Dot Groom

Fabulous ceremonies by celebrant Robyn Pattison on Polka Dot Wisdom

One of your gorgeous blogger brides Miss T threw a tropical engagement party!

A Sombrilla for your beachside honeymoon? Check it out on Polka Dot Honeymoons!

Want to share your stories on our blogs? Register for a personalised collection and filling out our contributor application! We’d love to have you!

The Wine Suites at Manly Wine are holding an open day on the 13th of March with plenty of events to keep you occupied all day! From a cocktail masterclasses to food, prizes and makeup touchups.  Visit the website for more information.

Clarissa Grace is holding a sample sale today with selected gowns only $100 (marked down from $4000+). They’re in the final weeks of operation before their doors are closed forever (sob) so if you’re looking for a Clarissa Grace original, you better get down there!

Wendy Makin is holding a Designer Day at Brides of Melbourne from the 25th-27th of March! The days will showcase the brand new collection and you must make an appointment! Call (03) 9639 9900

Don’t forget as always if you want to subscribe to receive Polka Dot Bride daily in your inbox, just use the subscribe tab on the top right hand corner of the site or click this link. You can also subscribe via RSS reader by clicking this link.

Sally and Ben’s Stylish Garden Wedding

by | Australia - Victoria, Bride, Inspired Weddings


Sally and Ben

Let’s just take a moment to breathe in Melbourne’s style this week, from Sarah and Simon yesterday to Sally and Ben today- two completely different weddings, both encapsulating Melbourne’s unique and famous style.

Sally and Ben’s stylish Melbourne wedding was a nod to the 1950s era. It was an intimate celebration under a rotunda followed by a reception at an art gallery. Beautiful, full of culture and with lots of fine food – sounds like Melbourne to me!

Sally recalls how she met her husband. “Ben and I met and lived in London together as friends. Regularly caught up on phone and via email when the Ben left London. Ben and I caught up in Melbourne for a day in 2008, and it was love at first sight. Ben moved from Perth where he was studying, to Sydney for 7 months to work, whilst I lived in Melbourne. Ben then moved to Melbourne to live with me.”

Photographs today are by Leo Farrell who always stuns me with his style and composition – real, delicious moments that tell the story of the day so beautifully.

Getting ready with her parents was important to Sally. “I got ready at my parent’s house, my Mum, Dad and sister were with me in the morning. I also wanted Ben’s mum to get ready and spend some quality time with me before we got married. Ben’s mum arrived in the morning to receive the pampering treatment that the girls got on the day. This included champagne. We all then left in the cars (Holden silver Statesmans from Mario’s Limousines) – Dad and I in one and the Mums and my sister in the other.”

Ben and Sally made the save the date and invitations themselves using paper from Cristina Re.  They also designed and made Sally’s hairpiece together. Sally along with dear friend Sarah created the bride’s bouquet of white calla lilies, the reception flower arrangements and Ben and the family’s flowers.There were other special accessories on the wedding day. “Ben received a gold, Rolex watch from his dad to wear for the day. His dad had been keeping this watch for this special occasion for many years. My Nana had crocheted a handkerchief many years ago before she passed away, especially for me to use as something old on my wedding day. It was a very special piece of her on the day.”

Sally wore a Peter Trends halterneck gown while Ben wore his grandfather’s suit.

Sally and Ben were married in the Temple Of The Winds in the Fitzroy Gardens. Sally notes “Temple Of The Winds is a special place for Ben and I. We have had 3 great highlights in the park at that rotunda. 1) Our first date, taking photos in the park, 2) Ben proposed to me on Easter Monday 2009 after secretly organising an amazing day and evening, 3) the wedding day.”

Sally and Ben didn’t have a bridal party. “Ben and I decided early in the wedding preparations that we would not have a bridal party, due to many reasons. Through this we decided that we couldn’t have a wedding day without our brother and sister to be there by our side. Ben’s brother Peter and my sister Jodie were our witnesses. They did not walk down the aisle, but they did stand at the front with us, as well as signing the registry. This was a very special moment for both Ben and I to have such special people in our lives to be there by our sides.”

There were certain special benefits to having no bridal party for Sally and Ben. “Having no bridal party allowed Ben and I to spend some quality time together on the day. Both Ben and I were so relaxed with the structure of the day,  it even allowed us to have  the freedom to go to the pub with all the guests between the ceremony and the reception.”

The reception was held at a local converted warehouse art gallery. “Smart Artz Gallery is a small art gallery just off Clarendon Street in South Melbourne. Ben stumbled across the gallery on a website, small spaces. We met with the coordinators of the gallery and fell in love with the white washed walls, painted concrete floors, published art work and especially Dame Nelly Melba’s grand piano.”

Sally and Ben hired the B Sharp Big Band to keep the 50’s vibe happening at the reception.

Sally and Ben’s first dance was a show stopper and fit with the style of the day. Sally recalls “”Our first dance was in two sections. 1) We started the our dance very slow and romantic, swaying to Regina Spektors cover of John Lennon’s – ‘Real Love’, Ben being the smooth dancer that he is, added in some amazing turns and dips. We then had a small scene change, Ben flipped off his hat and jacket to reveal high wasted pants with braces to support, I ditched the high heals for a pair of shinny gold ballet flats. 2) We participated in private dance classes run by Swing Patrol for 8 weeks prior to the wedding. The style of the wedding was 1950’s and that meant swing was in, the Charleston was going to be a real laugh to dance. Ben and I danced the Charleston to Glen Miller’s ‘In The Mood’.”

Sally made the wedding cake – a beautiful iced banana cake!

Congratulations Sally and Ben on your wedding! Thank you for sharing it with us on Polka Dot Bride! Thank you also to Leo Farrell for sharing today’s imagery with us!

Photos by Leo Farrell Photography

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