Back to Top
PolkaDotBride - Australia's number 1 Bridal Blog, Wedding Directory and Advice for Brides
Log In Register

Michelle and Martin’s Classic Sydney Wedding

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


Michelle and Martin

Today’s couple, Michelle and Martin wanted a “Timeless Elegance” feel to their wedding and you know I think they pulled it off beautifully! A classic colour scheme, beautiful moments and even a surprise appearance on Sydney Harbour. There is nothing like a classic wedding under the watch of the Sydney Harbour Bridge- it never fails to win me over. Michelle recalls “We have known each other since 1993, meeting through mutual friends. We dated for 3 and ½ years, then took time apart for another 3 and ½ years and then reunited again. As my husband Martin says, “My heart never left her.” Within 3 months of being together again we got engaged.” Photographs today are by SugarLove Weddings who always capture classic, timeless weddings so beautifully and elegantly, the couple also used White Designs to capture their memories on video.  Michelle and Martin hired Anthony Del Col of Staging Connections as their wedding planner.

Michelle wore a classic gown- a strapless Vera Wang gown from the Luxe Collection from VW flagship boutique in New York. She paired it with Jimmy Choo shoes.

Michelle’s bridesmaids wore custom made burnt orange gowns which they designed themselves and had made by All the Rage Formal Wear. The bouquets were styled by Maria Lush Flowers.

Michelle and Martin were married at St Francis of Assisi, Paddington. They made the church programs themselves. Michelle recalls “They featured cream embossed card paper to go with our theme with sheer black ribbon.”

Mother Nature played fair on the day of the wedding. “The morning of the wedding was clear blue skies, but as soon as it was time to go to the ceremony (early afternoon) and while we were in the church it was raining so hard. However, it was such a coincidence because each time we needed to be outside to take photos or go out of the marquee the rain stopped. Mother Nature was on our side.”

Michelle walked down the aisle to Ava Maria played by string trio Accent Strings and soprano singer Fiona Treloar.

Family and friends made the day special for the newlyweds. “I loved having our extended family here in Australia. We had relatives from Spain, Uruguay and Philippines that came for our special day. Some of which was their first time in Australia.”

Michelle and Martin held their reception at the Opera Point Marquee. Michelle recalls “The location and quality of service was beyond words. We enjoy our food very much and love fine dining. The food at the Opera Point Marquee was of a very high standard, we and our guests were very happy.”

Adding to the fun and Michelle’s favourite memories was entering the reception. “I loved the bridal party entrance – was crazy! Everyone from the bridal party and parents had their own special dance as they entered the reception to “I gotta a feelin” by the Black Eyed Peas.”

The reception was decorated with alternate floral arrangements, sheer black small Tiffany bows on the back of every chair, black and white chandeliers above the tables and even special black goblets. But there was one extra special touch. Michelle says “Our table numbers featured a framed picture of our puppy Arnold who is a pug. All our guests appreciated this personal touch and very much made the reception feel like “ours”.”

The couple chose a croquembouche as their wedding cake. Michelle says “Martin’s dad is a retired pastry chef and growing up he had many memories of  his dad making the croquembouche for weddings. “

Guests were up for a big celebration and it included an extra special surprise from the newlyweds. Michelle explains “At the reception, we had a surprise for our guests. Between the speeches we invited the guests outside of the marquee for cake cutting and a toast. Then after this, the first firework fired into the sky from the harbour. We had a 7 minute firework display to our favourite dance tunes at the time including: “Only Girl (In the world)” by Rihanna and “DJ got us fallin’ in love again” Usher. The firework display ended with a lit up sign of our initials “M & M” in a red love heart. Guests were surprised and this definitely picked up the party mood at our reception. Another highlight at the reception (that even the Event Manager and staff at Opera Point Marquee thought was very special and so rare to happen), was that while we were outside for cake cutting and before the fireworks, the large cruise ship (I think it was the Sapphire Princess) left Circular Quay and passed our reception. The cameras were flashing, such a spectacular sight. We had some great photos as the ship was passing.”

Michelle describes the first dance as “Very emotional, full of tears. Song was “At Last” by Etta James performed by the live band. Many of our guests cried too.” Soul Nights kept the guests on the dance floor with live tunes all night.

Congratulations Michelle and Martin! Thank you for sharing your wedding day on Polka Dot Bride! Thank you also to SugarLove Weddings for sharing today’s images! Photos by SugarLove Weddings.

Visit Ms Polka Dot's Directory

Cindi and David’s Shanghai Inspired Wedding

by | Australia - Queensland, Bride, Inspired Weddings,


Cindi and David

I’m always enchanted by the melding of cultures together at wedding – the traditions which are centuries old add such a special flavour to a wedding. I love the vibe of Cindi and David’s Shanghai inspired wedding. In Cindi’s words “Our wedding in a sentence? 1920s Shanghai decadence meets cats, bunnies and DRUMS!” Doesn’t that sound like a wedding you want to be at?

Cindi recalls how she and David met. “David and I first met on the “grassy knoll” at the Nathan Campus of Griffith University when we were both students there.  I guess we were attracted to each other initially (in fact, I was hopelessly attracted to him, just ask any of my long suffering friends who had listened to me blathering on about him), but things just seem to conspire against us.  When David left uni to go to America to pursue a career in documentary film making with his uncle, we had lost contact with each other.  Even though in the interim years before we met up again, David had returned to Brisbane, we just never ran into each other.

Weird, when Brisbane is the kind of place that you always run into people you know; even weirder still that he would periodically run into my best friend Jess and we all go to the same clubs and pubs.  Fast forward 13 years from the time we lost contact with each other, Jess had dragged me to a book launch/gig (Pig City at UQ – yay!) because I was going through one of my “blues period”, and she thought I had better go out there and cheer up or else.  David, meanwhile, was supposed to go to a friend’s place for barbecue and backyard cricket, but was invited out to Pig City by his friend’s girlfriend instead.  So he decided to go to the gig (he said that he preferred to go see the bands, after all the Saints were headlining; but I personally think he was trying to impress his mate’s girlfriend’s best friend’s sister).  Anyway, he initially spotted me coming out of the Port-a-loos when he was lining up for the toilets and recognized me.  Then he saw me going over to Jess, so he came over and said hello.  We’ve been together ever since.”

Photos today are by Melbourne photographer Lara Luz who traveled to Brisbane to shoot the wedding. Cindi describes Lara’s style as “organic and journalistic” and I have to agree. I love Lara’s raw captures- the moments, the details, the atmosphere. Cindi and David hired Danielle Manning of White+White to be their wedding planner and Hollie Noonan as their wedding stylist.

Invitation Station created wedding invitations, menus, place cards, table numbers and a wishing tree  rich jewel tones to compliment the “east meets west” theme of the day.

The bridesmaids wore gowns from Shanghai Tan. Cindi wore a George Wu gown for the wedding. She paired it with family jewels. “I wore the diamond necklace my mother wore for her wedding, and also a pair of sapphire and diamond earrings and matching ring (in the same style as Princess Diana’s engagement ring, in your face Kate Middleton!) also borrowed from my mum.” The Powder Room created Cindi’s wedding day look with skin and nails by Tammy from Pebbles Body Salon (07 5591 166).

The day kicked off with traditional Chinese games. Cindi recalls “My sister, Hayli, flying all the way from Paris to organize (flawlessly I might add) the Chinese portion of the celebrations.  The girl did a whole bunch of research prior to coming to Australia, and bought a whole bunch of props from Hong Kong.  Watching David sweating through the tests during the door games was a real hoot for me, especially when he was blind-folded and had to guess when I kissed him.  When his Godmother gave him a particularly sultry kiss on the cheeks, he thought that it was from me!”

The entire day’s festivities were held at Toparies At Beaumont. Cindi explains “It was imperative to us that we celebrate the day in one location, in order to minimize transportation, and to make everything easy and comfortable for all our guests.  We had also wanted to have our ceremony outside and in a natural setting.  We had chosen Topiaries because the setting of the venue is absolutely breath-taking; and we can have our ceremony and our reception at the same place with accommodation on site as well.

All the facilities at Topiaries are just beautiful, elegant and tasteful.  Being able to get ready in and stay both the night before and the wedding night in one of their lovingly appointed, vintage Victorian era rooms was just deliciously luxurious for me (not to mention it had taken a lot of stress away for the bridal party and myself).  Peter and Helen had been nothing but accommodating, considering we had a Chinese tea ceremony and door games before the Western ceremony.  They went out of their way to make sure we had everything we needed and even the smallest detail was looked after.”

Following the traditional tea ceremony, Cindi removed her red jacket to reveal her traditional style wedding gown.

The Bouquet Boutique styled a red bouquet for the bride.

Cindi recalls “One of the funniest moments from the day: I was walking down the aisle with my father to find Sam (our friend Peter’s young boy) standing in the middle of the walkway looking up and down the aisle, and  generally being very excited and confused.  When we got to Sam my father just put his hand on Sam’s head and gently but firmly guided the kid off to the side without missing a beat.”

The couple were married by Sally Evans (0422 656 231)

Cindi explains the theme, look and feel she and David wanted for their wedding day. “We wanted a 1920s vintage Shanghai theme, because the whole East meets West thing makes sense to us; I was born in Hong Kong which is a place that is strongly steeped in Chinese culture with a huge British influence from its colonial days, and now I’m a Chinese lass marrying an Aussie fella, again East meets West.  The colour scheme of the wedding is red, turquoise and black as we wanted something bold and not fussy, and because the colour red is considered auspicious and connotes happiness in the Chinese tradition, therefore the colour of choice for weddings.

We had lots of red lanterns for the same reason, (no self-respecting Chinese wedding will be seen without at least a pair of red lanterns).  The lantern theme extends to the seating chart – Hollie had created a lovely lantern installation with the names of our guests and their corresponding tables printed on cards, hanging beneath the lanterns.

Also, we had a beautiful red traditional Chinese cutout for our tea ceremony, lovely red origami roses for our menus, pin wheels gracing the aisle, cheeky black cats table number signs (the tables were named after streets from the 1920s Shanghai International Settlement district), a stack of drums wedding cake, bunnies cake topper, and pairs of drumsticks as bonbonierre.  This is because we are both cat obsessed, born in the year of the rabbit, and David is a whiz with the drums (I’m learning).”

Cindi remembers the first dance. “I was quite nervous about it because I am absolutely hopeless when I had to dance with someone else (I am just so afraid that he will dance me into a table or a burning pit of lava or something).  But it all turned out really well, and I love that towards the end, everyone just jumped right in and danced with us.  And who could forget all our friends’ little tykes breaking to Nina Simone’s My Baby Just Cares For Me.”

Cindi and David had many beautiful moments throughout the day. “I loved all of our oldest and closest friends and family (many flying from overseas or interstate) making the effort to come and party with us.  I was especially happy meeting Nils, Hayli’s boyfriend, for the first time, and seeing them dance together like something out of a beautiful romantic movie.

David’s father, Peter, who is terribly ill being able to attend the wedding.  It was really wonderful that with the help of quite a few excellent friends, they had managed to get Peter’s vintage Austin Healey (which he had been building in the last 20 years) up and running on the day.  So Peter was able to drive away in the Healey after the celebrations.”

The wedding cake was a nod to David’s love of drumming and made by Cake Star. “I made the bunnies cake topper for the wedding cake, and Holly (the stylist) had helped me with the pin wheels that lined the aisle on the day.  Also David had spray painted our drumsticks (which are the bonboniere) a lovely rustic red and turquoise, and we signed and dated them for our guests (‘cause we’re such rock stars :p).” Eyetopia Sound provided the music for the night.


Of her favourite memories, one was the friendships she made. Cindi says “Meeting really wonderful people like Danielle, George and Lara, who had helped made our vision for the day into reality.  We feel like we had gained some terrific new friends on this crazy wedding planning adventure.”

Congratulations Cindi and David! Thank you for sharing your wedding day with us on Polka Dot Bride! Thank you also to Lara Luz for sharing today’s images.

Photos by Lara Luz

Jennifer Gifford Designs

by | Bridal Fashion, Bride


I mentioned a new designer in my coloured wedding gowns post and I was quite taken with her gorgeous style. Jennifer Gifford Designs.

Jennifer started designing gowns for her dolls when she was eight and after much travel, study and adventures, Jennifer began working for some of the country’s top bridal designers before branching out on her own two years ago. This year she plans to launch her own online store with a range of bespoke gowns and accessories – all handmade by Jennifer.

I love how Jennifer uses really simple and classic shapes in her work but also branches out into unusual colour and fabric combinations – dusty pink laces, bold florals and funky accents like little belts and crystal embellishments.

Photos by Jennifer Gifford Designs

Vendor Of The Week – Jodi McDonald Photography

by | Blog News, Bride


Good morning Polka Dot Bridettes! Did you have a lovely weekend?

Let’s dive head first into the week with a peek at  Ms Polka Dot’s Directory members! I really do love scrolling through the pages of our directory and stumbling across interesting and exciting work from our vendors. If you’re looking for a vendor who offers the splendid, the different, the traditional, the awesome then  visit Ms Polka Dot’s Wedding Directory

Sunshine Coast photographer seems to embody the mood of the area – beautiful sunny clear photos, relaxed smiles and faces, stunning scenery and so much colour! Which is why it’s a pleasure to introduce and show the work of Sunshine coast photographer Jodi McDonald Photography today.

Jodi captures that beautiful Sunshine Coast feel with each of her photographs and makes the most of her surroundings. I love the fresh, clear images Jodi captures- they’re heartfelt and relaxed..just like the weddings she captures!

To learn a little more about Jodi McDonald Photography we asked Jodi five questions in five minutes!

What is your favourite after five drink?


Your favourite weekend getaway?

Very rare to get a weekend off in this industry especially on the Sunshine Coast – though simply getting to the beach with the kids (not office/computer/phone) is enough to recharge my batteries.

Favourite restaurant?

The Boat Shed on the river mouth at Maroochydore – best locale ever and relaxed atmosphere.

What can we find you eating for breakfast on a Sunday morning?

Pancakes is our specialty on a Sunday Morning.

Your favourite wedding story?

So many fabulous weddings and stories behind them. Usually the small simple genuine ones are the most heart felt – love the weddings where I really to get to know the couple as well as their families – friends are made as such.

Visit Jodi McDonald Photography’s page to find out more about our Vendor Of The Week! Jodi McDonald Photography’s is a member of Ms Polka Dot’s Directory

Back to Top