After seeing the photos from Fiona and Gareth’s gorgeous south coast wedding earlier today, I couldn’t be happier to share their stunning wedding video by Encore Media as a special treat! I had more than a few goosebump moments a lot of wet eyes as I watched this beautiful tale of Fiona and Gareth.
Fiona and Gareth
If you’re itching for the warmer days of Spring, you will love the beauty, romance and elegance of Fiona and Gareth’s wedding- from Fiona’s spring coloured bouquet to the lush greenery of the surrounds, it feels like nature is poking it’s hand up and saying hello!
Fiona explains how she met Gareth. “The first time I met Gareth was at my sisters 18th birthday party. After being together for some years we went our separate ways to see the world . It wasn’t until years ago when Gareth returned from traveling, we started seeing each other again”
Photos today are by Milk & Honey Photography. I love Milk & Honey’s classic yet relaxed captures and the mood they infuse into each photograph.
Fiona and Gareth were married at Bush Bank Bed & Breakfast. Fiona explains “We had searched everywhere for the perfect location for the ceremony, the beach was not an option. Trying to find somewhere on the coast which had views, was easy for guests to get too wasn’t as easy as we thought. Then I found Bushbank and discovered they catered specially for small weddings, photo locations etc. Everything went perfectly on the day including transporting guests by bus to ceremony. The setting was perfect and we couldn’t have asked for anywhere better to ay our vows.”
The groom wore a suit and shoes from Kostula.
The bride and her father arrived in a car hired from Leisure Coast Limousines.
The bride walked down the aisle to music played by David Christopher.
The ceremony was incredibly special to the couple “One of my favourite parts of the day was the ceremony, everything was perfect I couldn’t stop smiling. Even though everyone was there with Gareth I, I felt as though it was just us saying our vows and enjoying very minute.”
Asked to describe the wedding, Fiona says “Relaxed, natural, simple, elegant and fun for everyone. Still in keeping with the formal side of this very special day.”
Of Milk & Honey Photography, Fiona says “Anni & Laura were great, very relaxed and friendly. They mixed with the guests well so many didn’t even know they were there. Once all our photos were taken they just mixed with the guests and were able to take some great shots.”
Fiona and Gareth held their reception at Bellachara Boutique Hotel Gerringong “As we had over 100 guests we decided to have the Reception at the Bellachara, we love the hotel and had been to several weddings their ourselves. It was great to be able to have our wedding the way we wanted, relaxed and easy without having to compromise on venue to accommodate over 130 guests of close family and friends.”
The couple had a two tier wedding cake made by Balgownie Village Patisserie.
The couple hired The Escalators to entertain their guests. Fiona remarks “The Escalators were great entertainers at the reception, music was perfect . To my surprise they had brought their own dress up box which included hats of all sorts. Everyone was on the dance floor and they opened it up in the middle. All the guests had so much fun trying them on and playing around, it was very funny.”
The speeches were a favourite for Fiona. “The speeches were another moment which I will always remember. Listening to both dads and best man speak about Gareth and I made me realise how lucky we are to have such wonderful family and friends. I know Gareth was nervous, his speech was beautiful and perfect. It was him and us summed up. Simply in love and can’t wait to start the rest of our life together.”
Fiona remembers “Our first dance was to Lets Stay Together, Al Green. It suited our relaxed nature.”
Congratulations Fiona and Gareth! Thank you for sharing your wedding day with us on Polka Dot Bride! Thank you also to by Milk & Honey Photography for sharing today’s photographs!
Gina and Markus
Our couple today tell a beautiful story. They got ready together in their home, married a church of their faith and held a casual but fun reception in their backyard. It’s simple, yet heartfelt and the most lovely way to start off this Thursday.
Photos today are by Jeremy Beasley. I love Jeremy’s creative captures- the little moments and the big ones all pull together to tell the story of the day.
Gina and Markus got dressed together. “We found that we were the centre of attention on the day, though neither of us felt proud. We were doing something we had both wanted since our engagement in 2008, and we wanted close friends and family there.
Getting ready was a very personal experience. We decided to get ready together at home, and instead of traveling to our family’s houses to get ready, we asked our family to come to us. We felt that preparing for the day together and being together before the ceremony was the right way to enter marriage for life. It was fun to help Markus with his bow tie and suspenders.”
Gina wore a gown by Clare De Mayo (firstname.lastname@example.org)who also designed her hair flower. Sarah, from Kristine’s His and Her Hairdressing styled her hair while her makeup was done by Annie Lopez from Pure Serenity Beauty Salon.
Gina and Markus were married at Ceremony was at St. Alban’s Anglican Church, Leura.
Gina walked down the aisle to Wagner’s “Here Comes The Bride”.
Asked to describe the wedding in a sentence, Gina says “All about us; uniting as one, nurturing love, celebrating God, praising creation, dancing with Marlo (our dog), seeing friends and family joyful and happy for us.”
Of her favourite moments from the day, Gina says “We loved the sermon given by Greg Olliffe, the Minister at St. Alban’s Church and we loved the time we spent with Jeremy being photographed at the Pool of Siloam in Leura and around the old farm house and tin shed. The night was enjoyed by guests and we crashed on the sofa when it was all over, content at the idea that we now had a much bigger event to plan for – our life together!”
After the church ceremony, Gina and Markus headed home for a fun backyard reception. The event was full of love and help from friends and family. Gina recalls “I made the knitted flowers and table setting and arrangements. Markus set up the marquees for the reception and general organising of the garden setup. Friends and guests did the barbequing on the day and helped with catering.” The Indian food was catered by Anki’s Indian Restaurant.
The floral arrangements were styled by Katoomba Fine Flowers who also provided the basil plants to decorate the tables.
Congratulations Gina and Markus! Thank you for allowing us to share your wedding day on Polka Dot Bride! Thank you also to by Jeremy Beasley for sharing today’s images.
Photos by Jeremy Beasley
Note from Ms Polka Dot : If you’ve been reading Polka Dot Bride for awhile, you’ll know I rarely, if ever take guest posts. Today though, I want to introduce you to the newest Polka Dot Bride team member Ms Gingham. Ms Gingham is our new content manager and is working with all of our wonderful contributors and editing posts for our specialty titles. So you can find her in the footer of each entry on Polka Dot Groom, Polka Dot Wisdom, Polka Dot Made, Polka Dot Weddings, and Polka Dot Honeymoons. (pssh If you’d like to register to be a contributor simply click here and she’ll send you more information)
Ms Gingham is the sassiest lady you will meet and always has us bursting into giggles with her commentary. She’s also had us jealous of the wonderful traditions of her Greek heritage (it is now on my bucket list to get Ms Gingham to teach me how to Zorba dance and make the best saganaki in the world..two of my favourite things) and thus suggested & written the first in what will be a long series of posts on multicultural weddings. Help us give her a wonderfully warm welcome!
If you are of the Greek Orthodox faith, then a wedding ceremony is a whole different ball game to, say, a civil ceremony in the park. The priest will be chanting a lot, he’ll give you some wine to drink (hooray!) and he’ll put some “crowns” on your heads and make you walk around a table. At the end of the ceremony the result is still the same … you are married. But have you ever wondered what significance the crowns have in the ceremony? I know I have, so here it is.
As with many of the church’s ceremonies, the traditions and rituals in a Greek Orthodox wedding service have followed us from Ancient times. The crowns that are used today in the modern Greek Orthodox wedding service originate in Ancient Greece and have been carried through by the Greek Orthodox church.
A little history … In ancient Greece, the bride would leave her parent’s home in a horse or oxen drawn carriage. She would sit between the groom and the best man (the best man drove the carriage), as they made their way to the groom’s residence. The bride was dressed in her finest and she had spent the morning indulging in a bathing ritual. In addition to this, the couple wore crowns made from various plants devoted to Aphrodite such as olive branches, vines leaves and lemon blossoms. In other parts of Greece, the crowns were made from Asparagus. The ancient Greeks who followed this custom believed that as Asparagus is grown out of thorns and hard dirt, thus the union of the two will create beauty and fertility.
There were no photographers in Ancient Greece! The famous Francois Vase depicts an ancient wedding procession.
There was a bridal procession which accompanied the bridal party and all those involved wore the same crowns. The air was celebratory and jubilant. The whole bridal procession wore white to symbolize purity. Not so much the purity of the body but that of their relationship. Later on, with the arrival of Christianity did the wearing of white come to symbolize virginity. Interestingly, in Ancient Greece, a woman was married at around fifteen whereas a man was around thirty as this was the age that he would have completed his military service. To think that in these days you could be thrown in jail for this!
In the Byzantine (9th – 13th century), the crowns became symbols of royalty. The ceremony of marriage became a coronation service and so the tradition stands today.
Byzantine wedding crowns. Image from the Byzantine Museum
Today the crowns are often made of silver or gold. They are a sign of the bond between the Bride and Groom and represent the glory and honour which God bestows upon the couple who have observed His Commandments. The couple is crowned as King and Queen of their new family and ordered to rule with justice and integrity. The priest places the crowns (which are tied together by a long ribbon) on the heads of the bride and groom and the “koumbaro” or best man exchanges the crowns three times.
Modern Greek wedding “stefana” (crowns). Crowns by Lena Septembri
Another significant moment in the Greek Wedding Ceremony is the removal of the crowns. In the past, the bride and groom were required to wear their crowns for a full week after the ceremony and then return for the removal in a different ceremony. That could prove to be interesting on the honeymoon … thankfully we are not required to do this in Modern ceremonies!
The Greek Orthodox faith is rich in rituals, customs and ceremonies which brings a very different feel and essence to the wedding ceremony. So there you have it! A brief history of the significance of the Crown in the Greek Orthodox wedding service. So next time you’re invited to a Greek wedding, you can astound the little old ladies at the wedding with your knowledge of their culture. Maybe they’ll make you some baklava in return!
References: Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia