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Bel and Dodge’s Eclectic Hinterland Wedding

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


Bel & Dodge

Today’s wedding is such a delight, an intimate celebration filled with delicious little touches, beautiful moments and life long memories. Today you will feel transported to France, to a wedding full of romance.  It’s nice to know it’s just near Byron Bay!

Bel explains how she and Dodge met. “Dodge and I met 4 years ago doing a summer camp near Washington DC, USA; thus beginning our friendship, but it wasn’t until last October that it eventuated into more. For the next 6 months we emailed non-stop and skyped every moment we could. Then last April I flew to his hometown of Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA to bridesmaid for a mutual friend’s wedding and to spend a month with him and his family & friends. Two weeks into the trip he planned an amazing proposal day consisting of a mix tape road trip into the Oklahoma countryside, a photoshoot in a magical field of yellow flowers (by bcreative) and a candlelit dinner under a big beautiful tree at dusk surrounded by fireflies. Down on one knee, an antique styled 57 diamond ring sealed the deal. Then he finished it off with a campfire under the stars. Two months later he moved to Australia and we started our creative company [db] collective. (we are both artists/designers/photographers).

On November 19, 2010 we had our big day. We collaborated on all the design/styling for the wedding, from the limited edition personally screen printed invite posters, to the garment design, to every last piece of decoration.”

Photos today are by Sayher Heffernan who captures images with such a calm, raw feel to them. His imagination creates the most beautiful images. Dodge and Bel are wedding photographers themselves so wanted a particular essence to their shots, They flew Sayher up from Melbourne to capture their wedding day.

Bel and Dodge had their wedding filmed by Red Carpet Weddings.

Bel and Dodge were married at Deux Belettes Country Guesthouse in the Byron Bay hinterland. Bel says “Deux Belettes is a dream. It has so much charm and character around every corner. Even the drive there is divine. The grounds are leafy and lush and the house itself is warm and luxurious. Our ceremony was planned to be under a big beautiful tree in a lawn area, but due to wet weather it was easily moved into a cosy pool house with vintage French features The reception was held in a long covered arched courtyard with a 300 year old brass chandelier. The venue owners make it feel like home!”

Bel wore a gown created by Leonard Derecourt.

Bel wore a stunning mantilla veil. “I loved my veil! It was a mantilla veil with Chantilly lace on all the edges, then it was tied in a big knot at the back of my head. My hair & makeup stylist, Erin Galliene, created an absolute masterpiece of braiding and curls and magic that showed through under the veil.”

Flowers On The Run styled the floral arrangements, but Bel’s had one extra special touch. “I attached a locket of my grandmothers to my bouquet, it had a picture of my grandma and grandpa inside it. They passed away a few years ago, but they remain in my mind, as having one of the most long, beautiful and passionate marriages I have ever encountered. I’m so happy they were there with me as I started my marriage.” Bel wore blue shoes from Wittner.

The ceremony was moved to the pool house after rain threatened. ” It rained! But my crack volunteer set-up team had the pool house gorgeous in no time. We restricted our guest list to 45 adults and 6 of my little nieces and nephews. The ceremony was intimate, we didn’t need any microphones to be heard when we said our vows. Everyone could visibly see the tears rolling down Dodge’s face as I walked down the aisle. And the reception was the same.” Bel walked down the aisle to “Such Great Heights” by Iron & Wine.

The pool house was strung with white bunting, a citrus wreath and a “db”. When I asked Bel if she did any DIY for her wedding she said, “Any? Ha! How about… EVERYTHING! Hehe. We run our own creative company ([db] collective) and we always insist on such a high standard for our clients, so we just had to create every last detail for our own wedding. Of course we did hire in the services of photographers, caterers, etc, but pretty much every bit of styling/decorating/designing/planning was a collaborative effort by us!”

Bel says “As we are both devoted Christians, the most important part for us, that we really knew that God was there with us. We had our pastor marry us, who has been like a dad to me, and such a true friend. We wrote our own vows that incorporated both traditional parts and more personal and spiritual additions. We took communion as the very first act as a married couple, then we did a foot washing, which is something Jesus did in the bible to symbolise serving one another and being selfless. And I know God was there throughout the reception as we ate, drank, danced and enjoyed!”

Bel and Dodge loved their intimate celebration. “We had a bunch of family and friends come all the way from the USA to be there. It was so nice for everyone to meet everyone and to share it with them.  And it meant so much that they would come such a long way to be there. Particularly having Dodge’s Dad as one of his groomsmen, was a really special part for him.”

The bridesmaids wore gowns designed by Bel and made by a local seamstress while the groom and groomsmen were dressed by Western Emporium. Bel says ” The whole event was vintage/eclectic themed. The guys wore late 19th century high waisted pants with leather suspenders and different shirts and bandanas around the collar. The girls wore different shades of yellow in all different styled dresses with little silk bands around their foreheads.”

Guests ate under a 300 year old brass chandelier in an arched, covered courtyard. “We had just one long banquet table and the food was share plate style. It felt like home. All our closest friends and family were there and we actually got to spend time with each of them. Numerous guests have since told me how much they enjoyed it, with even a few giving it the prize of ‘favourite wedding’.”

The reception photos are some of my favourites, and the memory? I think it’s one of Bel and Dodge’s favourites too! “We asked our other pastor to be our reception MC and to our delight she actually surprised us by writing us a song! Before she played it, she distributed cut-outs of me and Dodge’s face on sticks, with all the song lyrics on the back. It was a remake of “According to Him” and thus renamed, “According to Bel”. Every single guest was laughing the entire time! It was truly hilarious! So funny in fact, that once she finished I celebrated it, with a standing ovation!”

The first dance was a beautiful one. “We danced to “Love Me Tender” by Norah Jones, in an open part of the courtyard, under a big tree, strung with fairy lights. By that point of the night I had ditched my shoes, so it was a barefoot waltz – which for those who know me well, know how appropriate that was! The videographer even got a great close up shot of my bare little toes in his highlights reel. After our waltz, and half way through the dancing with the rest of the guests it started to rain, but I think that only added fuel to the fire! We all had too much fun busting a move with the rain sprinkling down.” The music was provided by Jaye Liubinskas, Simon & Arnya Reddrop, Nathan Carlson while the cake came from Love Bites Cookies & Cakes.

Congratulations Bel and Dodge! Thank you for sharing your wedding day with us today on Polka Dot Bride! Thank you also to Sayher for sharing today’s images!

Photos by Sayher Heffernan

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Sarah and Stewart’s Relaxed Black Tie Wedding

by | Australia - Queensland, Bride, Inspired Weddings,


Sarah and Stuart

Does black tie and relaxed go together? I certainly think so and today’s couple agree. Sarah and Stuart set out to have a relaxed, black tie wedding and I think the feeling of it is utterly beautiful. It’s glamorous, it’s even Hollywood glam, but it’s a whole lot of fun at the same time.

Sarah has written so many beautiful stories about the day, I can’t wait to share them with you!

First up is how the newlyweds met. “We met on a Friday night after work when I was out with my work colleagues. It was the last Friday of the working year before we all ‘broke up’ for Christmas holidays and I was due to fly to Melbourne the following day with my family. After a busy year, going out for drinks was actually the last thing I wanted to do and declined the initial offer to join everyone. After insistent requests to join them, I obliged and said ‘only 1’! Stew was good friends with one of my colleagues and had planned to meet him after work also. Before he got there, my work colleague at the time said to me ‘I think you would really like my friend Stewy’. At the time, meeting someone was the furthest thing from my mind so I felt like I was being polite when I told Steve I would go along with it. After Stew showed up, I remember he made his one into one of my conversations and introduced himself (to this day, he still denies such behavior and insists it was me who made the first move!) As they say, the rest is history but all I know is I remember the moment that night when I thought, ‘I can see him in my picture’.  To this day, my hearts beats faster as he walks through the door and I am so happy I went out that night!”

Photos today are by Feather + Stone Photography. Doesn’t it look like so much fun to have photos taken by these guys? Fun with beautiful, stylish and funky pictures as the end result!

Sarah says “I  bought slippers for myself and my bridesmaids from Pink Frosting as part of the fun, they came in  handy when we ditched our heels and donned the pink slippers on the dance floor.” The bridesmaids wore gold peeptoes from Myer.

Makeup for the girls was by Abigael Johnston from Latonas and hair by Penny Lane from Channel Ten. Sarah says “We all wanted a natural, soft look and the girls were both amazing in achieving this! They were also a lot of fun to work with and have around on the day – it’s so important to surround yourself with fun and positive people during this time. It was Abigael who gave me the best advice on my wedding day while we were sipping champagne and watching Sex And The City – she said ‘just be’. I remembered that all throughout the day and everything turned out like a dream.”

The invitations were designed by Invitation Station. “Cara was amazing right from the start. I felt the invitations were really important as they establish the theme for your wedding and create the feeling for your guests to expect at the wedding – I felt like we achieved this. They were simple yet elegant..… well I thought so anyway! They were ivory with a latte ribbon. We used the same style/colours for the rest of our stationary. Cara was so helpful and inspirational – we used the lyrics from our first dance song on the front of our invitation (‘We could fly, you and I, on a cloud’ – ‘Kissing’ by Bliss). We also incorporated ‘A journey of the heart’ throughout our stationery which are also lyrics from the same song.”

The florist that brought Sarah’s ideas to life was Julie of Julie Vine Flowers “I had a small posy of baby’s breath (inspired by Andrea Corr’s (from the Corrs) wedding). I wanted to have something different and stand out from my bridesmaids. My mum also loves those flowers so that influenced my decision also. They were wrapped with the satin material from offcuts of my dress. My bouquet was one of the favourite things at my wedding. The groom had matching flowers on his lapel. I wanted the bride and groom to match each other and the bridesmaids match each other separately so we stood out from them on our own. i.e. it didn’t matter that I was donned in silver/diamante accessories when my bridesmaids had warmer/bronze accessories”

Sarah wore a stunning crystal brooch in her hair. “I bought it online from a boutique studio called in LA. It was love at first sight and I knew it would be a perfect addition to my outfit and the perfect feature. They sent it to me with a handwritten note, it was so special!”

White shoes were never going to be Sarah’s choice. “I wore satin blue heels from Dune (UK label but I bought them in Doha, Qatar). I knew from when we got engaged that I wanted to wear blue shoes – I thought this would also reflect my youthful and fun personality. Only if I found the right pair and shade of blue – I knew it was meant to be when I ‘stumbled’ across the last pair of these shoes at Dune in a Doha shopping mall. Another reason for choosing these to wear was I knew I would never wear cream or white (or any other ‘bridal’ shoes) again, I know whenever I wear my blue shoes now, memories from my wedding come rushing back … “

Sarah wore a stunning strapless gown by Sydney designer Helen English. “I came across the dress when on a trip to Sydney with my sisters and friend a few months after we got engaged. I then returned with my mum not long after – a trip we planned as a ‘mother-daughter’ trip. I wanted to take advantage of this special time and tie it in with a trip with mum so I would always look back and remember it  – getting my dress with her. I felt wedding dress shopping should be about the experience and not just a task to find a dress so I will forever associate this time with sipping bubbles and strolling the shops in Sydney with my mum. It is such an emotional and exciting time that goes so quickly so I am so grateful for this special time spent together.

She Helen English) is a beautiful designer with a classic, relaxed and vintage touch to her designs – I instantly knew I would end up working with her. (sidenote – it was important that everyone I dealt with, possessed the same ‘vibe’ that would contribute to our wedding – classic yet relaxed and I felt it ran through from all the planning to the actual day.) I also noticed the other girls in the store had a similar style and approach to me so that was reassuring when making my decision.

The dress was sweetheart floor length, chiffon with a heavy satin underlay. I wanted a dress that didn’t scream ‘wedding’. I didn’t want any cupcakes or marshmallows or poofs! I wanted to take advantage of being a younger bride so something that reflected my youth and fun attitude. I wanted a train as that is the only think I pictured as a little girl, having that heavy trail follow me down the aisle and having my bridesmaids hold it for me! (is that bad?! ) The band around my waist was Swarovski crystal lace which I chose to add to Helen’s design – this made me feel like it was truly my dress with my touches. “

Sarah and Stewart married at Holy Spirit Catholic Church in New Farm.

Sarah’s bridesmaids carried bouquets of  latte coloured roses, wrapped with the same ribbon, used for our stationary. The ‘bestmen’ had matching flowers on their lapels. The girls wore floor length strapless silk maxi gowns in ‘blush’ from Zimmermann. Sarah explains ” On a regular walk home from work, I stopped by one of my favourite shops for a routine browse, I fell in love with the dress instantly and was trying to convince myself of what occasion I had coming up to wear it to – then it dawned on me, my bridesmaids could wear them to my wedding!! Within 48 hours, I had the girls trying them on and in love with them as much as I was. I loved that I discovered the dresses impromptu and came across them naturally with little effort. I know my style and taste so I was comfortable that it was completely ‘me’ and perfect for my wedding. Also unplanned, the dresses would then turn out to be the only block colour at our wedding – we didn’t want anything ‘matchy matchy’ or something that screamed wedding or grade 12 formal where the ribbon matches the dresses which match the flowers etc.”

The groom and groomsmen wore suits from Admiral Quarters. Sarah says “Tying in with the ‘classic’ theme we thought you can’t go wrong with a classic black suit and bow-tie combo – I thought they all looked handsome dressed the same – we chose the flowers to differentiate the groom from the groomsmen. We also bought the suits as presents for our bridal party instead of wasting it on rental hire …  Finally for the boys, we purchased black socks for them with ‘best man’ and ‘groom’ on them from Pink Frosting – just another fun touch.”

The reception was held at Restaurant Two “We chose to have it here for a few reasons. Mainly because it is where Stew proposed to me on my birthday in 2009. We also felt food and wine were one of the most important elements of a wedding so we chose a venue that was renowned for these things. The venue is also in a beautiful building, with lots of different spaces which cater for different phases on the evening – i.e. drinks and canapés, then moving to a dining area and then to the dancefloor! I think this helps with the flow of the evening and gives the guests a bit of direction as how you want the evening to go. Jade Thompson, the wedding planner at R2 was also amazing and even came in on her day off, on our wedding day, to make sure everything was in order. It was so nice to see her face as you spend so much time together planning and then to share the end result together, was quite special.”

Sarah has so many wonderful memories of the day “I remember thinking on the day, ‘someone is definitely watching over us’, it was just a dream come true how perfect it way! It was the most beautiful day and I felt like I could touch the love that was filling the room at the reception – a feeling I will never ever forget.”

Sarah puts the credit of styling the reception to her florist Julie Vine “A lot of my planning and styling for my wedding is due to the fabulous taste and work of Julie Vine. She was more than a florist for me, she was my wedding stylist! I completely trusted her as we possessed similar styles and tastes – she arranged my venue so perfectly that I was immediately blown away when I saw it. I wanted the place to feel like a garden with all sorts of flowers and colours. Every table had a different theme, will different colours/flowers/arrangements. The theme colours were warm oranges, pink, apricots and of course lots of white and green. Then I wanted it to be littered with candles – everywhere! The window ledges at Restaurant 2 were lined with tea light candles so the place lit up as it the night got darker. And when we had our first dance, I felt like we were alone – it was so romantic.”

Sarah and Stewart had set ideas from the outset. “From the moment we got engaged, we knew we wanted a wedding that didn’t feel like a wedding. Obviously we wanted to maintain some traditional aspects (saying traditional vows to each other in a church was the most important one) however apart from that, we wanted it to be a classy yet relaxed party! All we wanted was for everyone to have fun. We also wanted to have our own touch on our wedding and not have anything dictated by anyone else or feel like we had to follow a traditional run of events.

We made speeches quite short, we weren’t ‘announced’ at the reception, we just walked in! We had chocolate fondue instead of wedding cake, I wore blue shoes, the bridal party all went to the reception before the guests as I wanted us to be the first people to see it, we had Cosmopolitans on arrival (my favourite drink!), Stew didn’t have 1 best man, but 3! We wanted our day to be about us and the special people in our life. We wanted to have fun with each other and our guests knowing that we had invested in trusted and experienced vendors who ensured the day went without any hiccups! Choosing such professionals definitely creates a relaxed feel on the day and is so important …”

Congratulations Sarah and Stewart! Thank you for allowing us to share your wedding day and story on Polka Dot Bride! Thank you also to  Feather + Stone Photography for today’s photographs!

Photos  by Feather + Stone Photography.

Ginny and Jack’s Nautical Inspired Wedding

by | Bride, Inspired Weddings, International,


Ginny and Jack

A jump across the pond today, or rather the ocean as we celebrate the wedding of Ginny and Jack! Ginny and Jack had a beautiful nautical inspired, seaside celebration in Florida! I love Ginny and Jack’s take on a seaside wedding – vibrant oranges, corals, pinks and oranges and their ceremony? Well it took place in their living room (could you think of anywhere more romantic?)

Ginny tells her romantic love story. “Jack and I met on a blind date.  We were introduced by the bride’s best friend and husband and Jack’s classmate.  We dated more than 5 years, 3 of which were long-distance. Jack and I are very laid back and I think our wedding weekend reflected that”.

Photos today are by Lauren Kinsey Photography. Lauren has captured such colour and life into her photographs. They have a contemporary edge without loosing the detail and vibrancy of the day.

Ginny wore a gown from Watters Brides from  All About Weddings. Her hair and makeup was by Two Fishes Artistry.

Mother Nature caused a last minute change. “We were supposed to hold the ceremony on the beach but the weather did not cooperate.  Lauren and I went out to take my bridal portraits and I could not even hear her direct me for the shots.  I knew that we would have to struggle to hear the pastor during the ceremony and I wanted to focus on Jack and our vows so we moved the ceremony inside our home.  All of our guests helped move the furniture out of the living room and dining room.  We used every chair, stool, and bench we had to set up our make shift chapel!” Tammy D’Agostino of The Eventful Planner coordinated the wedding day plans.

Jack wore a grey suit from J.Crew.

Ginny put her own touch on most of the wedding details. “Our guest book was a Message in a Bottle.  I gathered all the pieces for it, cut the paper and stamped each one with our monogram.”

The wedding was incredibly intimate. “We only had 30 people in attendance counting Jack and I.  Family plus three special couples that we consider family. And the floral arrangements? One of Ginny’s favourite things! “I loved the bright peonies and the urns of baby’s breath!  The urns were just perfect and I felt quite unusual.”

Ginny says “I will never forget the intimacy of the small living room.  Everyone was so close and the room was lit by only candlelight.  It was quiet and calm and actually perfect.”

A special treat for her new husband, Ginny arranged a special car. “I borrowed my boss’ International Scout rag-top truck to take us from the ceremony site to the reception.  It was a surprise for Jack. He loved driving it and my boss had arranged for “Rocky Top” to play once the truck was started.  Rocky Top is the official song for the State of Tennessee.”

The reception proceeded at Courtyard Wine & Cheese. Nouveau Flowers styled the vibrant bouquets and floral decorations.

Plenty of elements were handmade. “My mother, her best friend and I made the Spanish moss covered letters that were hung on the doors of the reception venue.”

The elaborate cake was created by Confections on the Coast. Ginny says “Our favors were kolaches, which are Czech cookies that were made by Jack’s grandmother.”

The first dance was utterly romantic, made even more special by the band. “Jack and I danced to “Lucky” by Colbie Caillat and Jason Mraz.  Jason Mraz has been one of our favorites for years.  The song has a beach vibe and we sang to each other. The band that played the reception (Aaron Bostic) was awesome.  He allowed our guests to sing with them.  Jack’s best friend sang “Ice, Ice, Baby” and the guy that introduced Jack and I sang a Johnny Cash song with his 3 year-old son.  The same 3 year-old was our ring bearer and he was perfect!”

The night continued long past the reception was over. Ginny recalls,  “After the last dance of the evening, it started to pour!  I did not even run out of the rain. It was just icing on the cake! After the wedding our closest friends came back to our house and we reminisced about the details of the night.  It was great to hear their stories because I felt like I was everywhere at once.  And the leftover cake was devoured by the crew before morning!”

Congratulations Ginny and Jack! Thank you for sharing your wedding day with us! Thank you also to Lauren Kinsey for sharing today’s photographs!

Photographs by Lauren Kinsey Photography

Happy Valentine’s Day

by | Bride, Engagements, Wedding Inspiration


Happy Valentine’s Day! I thought we’d show off this very romantic Valentine’s Day shoot from Jack & Ruby Photography in Canada. Our very much in love couple are Cole and Des Hildebrand. Des is the brain behind design studio Paper Airplanes. I love this idea because to me, it seems like a perfect day (and I would win in Scrabble and beat Mr Polka by 10000 points, Happy Valentine’s Day Mr Polka!)

Kara and Becky, our photographers this afternoon explained the concept to me “The concept behind this shoot was to create a romantic day with a couple with Valentine’s Day as our inspiration.  It is based around a lazy Saturday… there are three “scenes” throughout the day, with them hanging out in bed in the morning, playing cards and scrabble in the afternoon, and then ready to head out for a night on the town in the evening”

The shoot took place at Level 3 Studios – Winnipeg Manitoba, D.I.Y Banner made by a fabulously crafty sister using supplies from Michaels and cupcakes from The Cupcake Corner.

Chris Radtke and Mark Hiebert of Paperback Films made the sweetest little behind the scenes video of the shoot.

Jack & Ruby Photography | Valentine’s Day Photo Shoot from Paperback Films on Vimeo.

Photos by Jack & Ruby Photography

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