Melissa and Peter’s Romantic Brisbane Wedding

by | Australia - Queensland, Bride, Inspired Weddings,


Melissa and Peter

The thing about weddings in the city, is the incredible backdrops they provide. Not only do you get the amazing architecture, but there’s a sense of history, of stories between the walls. Brisbane’s Old Government House provided a grand backdrop for the ceremony and reception of Melissa and Peter. The classic style of their wedding lent itself to the historic beauty of the buildings.

Melissa says, “We met when we both worked in a Brisbane pharmacy where we were pharmacy students. ”

Photos today are by Studio Con Brio. I love the drama of these photographs, they capture the classic elegance of today’s wedding but have sense that this is a huge occasion.

Peter wore a suit made by The Cloakroom. His groomsmen wore suits from Stuart Suit Specialist.

Melissa wore a delicate gown by Bora Couture and carried a brightly coloured bouquet by Green & Bloom Wedding Flowers.

Melissa and her bridesmaids had their hair & makeup styled by Rebecca Calvert. Melissa paired her dress with shoes from Midas .

Melissa remarks “The time I spent with my bridesmaids for a dinner the night before and the morning of the wedding really set aside the nerves.  Broncos rugby league team were staying at the Stamford Plaza, where we were getting ready. One bridesmaid interrupted the photo session in the foyer to sprint across the Stamford plaza floor shouting ‘Alfie! Alfie!’ when she spotted retired player Allan Langer and within a couple of days of the wedding had  the resulting enlarged photo displacing other important documents in a frame!” Melissa’s bridesmaids wore gowns made by Ultra Suite.

Melissa and Peter were married at Old Government House Brisbane. Melissa recalls “Peter’s favourite moment was seeing me enter the room as I started the walk up the aisle.  My favourite was feeling him squeeze my hands and smile at me during the vows.” Friend Tim Windle played the music for the ceremony.

The couple were married by Father Mauro Conte.

Melissa notes “Peter and I took to the time to make sure we enjoyed each other’s company during the event.  The location photography session was great for this.  Peter also did well to send me roses to the Hotel on the morning of the wedding and wrote a beautiful letter.”

The guests kicked on with a reception, also held at Old Government House. Melissa says, “We used the same venue for both the ceremony and reception which made travel a bit easier for our guests.  Old Government House has a beautiful old grand piano which I felt needed to be used and a stunning chandelier and stair case as ideal extra features for the ceremony.  The reception gave us access to use the entire ground floor for the house, which meant we had a separate adjoining room for the lolly buffet & photo booth, separated from the dance floor which was important for our enthusiastic dancers who needed their space.”

The couple had their stationery designed and made by Beacon Lane. Green and Bloom Wedding Flowers styled the reception floral arrangements and decor.

House of Loulou & Co created a lolly buffet for the couple which also doubled as their guest favors.

Melissa had some fun with the table names. She explains “As my Husband’s surname is Jones – we named all the guest tables after songs with Jones in the title.  For example the bridal table was “Me and Mrs Jones” while the table with my Doctor friends was ‘Doctor Jones’.”

The couple set up a photo booth and Melissa injected personality into the props – and the guestbook! She says “I purchased some postcards online as an alternative for a guest book, with topics related to love, marriage and our respective professions and interests. (My favourite post card – was “Real Men Marry Doctors”)”

The couple’s two tier wedding cake was made by Cake Star . Melissa changed into a shorter gown for the reception, designed and made by Paul Hunt. Melissa says “Paul was absolutely fantastic, understood my vision perfectly (even though I difficulty describing it). Cakestar did a great job in replicating it in sugar for the cake!”

The speeches were a highlight ” The speeches were both entertaining and touching. Peter’s three younger  brothers gave a speech which had the guests in tears of laughter with their clever puns and friendly banter. “

The first dance was not just any old first dance. Melissa explains “We wanted to have a dance that would be less of a shuffle and more of a performance, so we took private lessons from two dance companies to make this happen.  I changed into a custom made dress designed by Paul Hunt, which was a shorter 50s style.

We had two ‘first’ dances. The first was an entrance dance to the reception to Glee’s version of Marry You. We did a combination rumba, and triple swing to set the mood of the party.

Our official first dance was a choreographed combination of a fox trot and jive to Michael Buble.  The fox trot was to ‘Baby – You’ve Got What it Takes’ and the jive to ‘Crazy Little Thing Called Love’.  Our finale and ending dip went off without a hitch, considering our last move was called a “death drop” from our dance instructor.”

Of their photographers, Melissa says “Trudy and Dean from Studio Con Brio stayed for the entire reception, were unobtrusive while making the process fun.  They were absolutely lovely and many guests commented on their enthusiasm and gorgeous personalities.  A favourite moment was seeing Trudy curled up in a ball on the floor in fits of laughter while photographing Peter’s brothers’ speeches. We were thrilled with the results.”

Melissa has so many memories of the day that delight her, including one from a tiny hotel guest. Melissa recalls “When we left the wedding to retire to the Stanford plaza we entered the lift with a couple and their young daughter who had just been to a wedding themselves.  The young girl looked at me and said “Mummy is that a bride?” The mum replied “You ask her,” to which I agreed.  The little girl said “Wow, doesn’t she look beautiful mummy.”    It was a lovely compliment to end the most perfect day.”

Congratulations Melissa and Peter! I wish you all the best in your married life together! Thank you to Studio Con Brio for sharing today’s photographs with us!

Photographer: Studio Con Brio / CInematographer: Chi and Suzanne Lee (friends of the couple) / Styling & Hire: Green and Bloom Wedding Flowers / Bride's Ceremony Dress: Bora Couture / Bride's Reception Dress: Paul Hunt / Bride’s Shoes: Midas / Groom’s Attire: The Cloakroom / Bridesmaid Dresses: Ultra Suite / Hair & Makeup Artist: Rebecca Calvert / Flowers & Decor: Green and Bloom / Invitations & Stationery: Beacon Lane / Ceremony Venue: Old Government House / Reception Venue: Old Government House / Ceremony Officiant: Father Mauro Conte / Ceremony Musicians: Tim Windle / Reception Music: Nathan Seiler / Catering: Wine N Dine’M / Cake Baker: Cake Star / Lolly Buffet: House of Loulou & Co / Wedding Rings: Bakker Diamonds / Transport: Prestige Vehicles / Wedding Regsitry: Myer
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Crystal and Steve’s Melbourne Zoo Wedding

by | Australia - Victoria, Bride, Inspired Weddings,


Crystal and Steve

I think a wedding amongst giraffes and zebras sounds like the most splendid way to tie the knot and it seems today’s couple Crystal and Steve got to live out my fantasy- saying their vows amongst the elephants, zebras, giraffes and ostriches at Melbourne Zoo.

Crystal and Steve have a lovely story of how they came to be. “Steve and I are complete opposites but somehow it still works. We don’t like the same music, we find it terribly challenging to agree on a movie and the perfect Saturday night for Steve would be to have a quiet evening in front of the telly whereas I am known to be the first at a party and the last to leave. Even though on paper we are not the perfect match I could not imagine spending my days with anybody else. For me he is perfect. Steve and I went to the same high school, grew up in the same neighbourhood and even knew some of the same people but it wasn’t until high school was well and truly over that we first met at the Caulfield Cup.

My first impression of Steve was not a very good one although it changed quickly enough. We were there with the same group of people and as you can expect on a hot day at the races we were sufficiently boozed. The boozy day turned into a boozy night and we found ourselves at a hippie themed house party and although I was questioning if this fella had ever come across a hippie I was curiously amused. As with all great love stories there was a bit of drama involved. After the day/night at the races our social circles were drifting closer together leading to more boozy evenings and a weekend at the beach. It was there that people started talking about Steve and I. As it goes the others had noticed a spark between us before we even did. It took people a while to start talking about us because I had a very casual fling with one of the other boys in the group and he was very open about his disapproval of Steve and I. We still think today that we might not have ended up happily ever after if it wasn’t for people insisting on telling us that we had a ‘connection’. Sometime later after lots of gossip and drama we decided to see if this hype was substantiated.

We got to our date and even before we had entered a restaurant we had a chat and decided that we didn’t want to hurt anyone so we should just let it go. Unfortunately by this stage I had realised that I was in fact head over heels. On a somewhat awkward and sober drive home as fate would have it we hit every red light. During one of these moments Steve and I caught each other’s glance and if my face looked anything like his we both felt as though we were making the noble but wrong choice. So then and there we decided to give it a shot. We didn’t want to upset anyone but we both knew that we were in it for the long haul.

Three years later and barely a moment apart Steve got down on one knee and asked me to be his bride. As a sort of homage to the day we first met I had consumed too much champagne and instead of the expected squeal hyperventilation and sobbing tears I blurted out a solid NO. After a moment to gather my wits it dawned on me that my mouth had just said no in disbelief but had also said no to the million dollar question! In a tone 5 octave higher than my usual voice I shrieked out a clear YES! I will never forget the relief on my now husbands face as I unattractively spat my corrected reply at him.

He then stood up, wiped the sweat off his brow and enveloped me into his arms. And then came the tears.”

Photos today are by Stewart Leishman. I love Stewart’s beautiful, gentle captures and his incredible way of making use of light. Beautiful! Crystal and Steve chose Wheelhouse Studios to film their wedding day.

Paying homage to the zoo and yellow aspects of the day, the couple’s friend Tim of  TMAction (website coming soon) designed bold and modern invitations. Crystal says “Tim , did all of our stationary, including the invites, place names, table names and thank you cards. We have had so many great comments on them all!”

Crystal wore a gown she purchased at Brides of Armadale and paired it with glittery Jimmy Choo heels. Crystal and her bridesmaids had their hair styled by Hair by Lauren Mackellar and their makeup done by The Beauty Room By Fiona ( 0412 034 420 ). The couple exchanged love letters before the ceremony “Before the ceremony when we were getting ready at our separate locations Steve and I read a letter to one another saying 11 things I love about you along with a gift. “

Crystal’s jewels held great meaning. She explains, “Sadly my grandfather passed away a few months before our wedding and before he passed he asked me to wear this necklace on my wedding day. He bought the necklace for my grandmother when they married in India. I was very close to my grandpa so it was a nice way to have him close to my heart on the day. I wore the gold studs that my grandmother wears every day.”

The groom and groomsman wore suits from Roger David with Converse shoes.

Crystal and Steve married at the Melbourne Zoo. ” We found that the location really suited the relaxed fun and exotic style that we were going for and made for some great pictures!”. The floral arrangements were styled by Mr Lincoln. Crystal notes “Sarah the owner is a friend of ours and I would recommend her to anyone!I asked my florist to make me up a second posy of flowers to toss so that I could place the bunch I walked down the aisle with, on my grandfather’s grave. ”

A special table was set up at the entrance to the ceremony location. Crystal explains “My grandmother and I scoured op shops and markets for vintage black buttons and red fabric to make into poppies for our guests in honor of remembrance day (our wedding date). These were placed on our remembrance table as guests arrived at the ceremony along with photos of our loved ones that could not be with us on the day. This was very important to me as I had three family deaths in the six months leading up to the wedding.”

The bride and her bridesmaids arrived in a Kombi van from Classic Kombi. Crystal admits ” I have never been on time to anything in  my life but surprisingly I was on time to my wedding! the bridesmaids were in one Kombi and my dad, my mum my little sister and I were in another. We had to wait to be let into a side gate so that the cars could drive us straight up to the ceremony site. There was another wedding on that day so the gate wasn’t able to be opened until 30 minutes after we were supposed to start. I wasn’t very nervous for the time leading up to the ceremony but I started getting a little antzy in the car. ”

Crystal walked down the aisle to a favourite song. “I always wanted to walk down the aisle to Kate Miller-Heidke ´Space the cannot touch´ so that is what we planned. Steve is not a fan of the song so as a surprise I changed the song to Israel Kamakiwole´ole´s version of ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’ – a song we both adore. ” With her mother and bridesmaids, she went barefoot, her feet only painted in henna.

The couple were married by celebrant Matt Derrick (0412 139 074).

There was special music provided by a family member. Crystal explains “Steve’s aunt, Anna Daniel, and her trio played on the lawn before the ceremony started and when we walked back down the aisle as man and wife.”

Of Stewart Leishman, Crystal says, ” Our photographer was simply amazing. I did a bit of research before meeting with Stewart and when we met him we knew he was the one. We even cancelled our appointments to see other photographers. He made us feel very relaxed on both our engagement session and on our wedding day. ”

Crystal remarks ” My favourite memory of the day is of my wonderful bridesmaids and I dancing barefoot on the road to the stereo blasting with lots of passers by watching and taking pictures! ”

Crystal’s bridesmaids were asked to wear a beautiful yellow frock. Crystal explains “I told my bridesmaids they could wear whatever they liked in the colour yellow. Neither I or any of the other girls had seen each other’s dresses before they day but they all looked fabulous together! No one had seen each others shoes and coincidentally all five girls chose the same colour!”

The couple continued their reception at one of the Zoo’s function rooms. There were plenty of personal touches, including table names. Crystal explains “When I was in high school my mum had a year of the rat (my birth year) symbol blessed for me by the Dalai Lama. Every time I go overseas I take this with me for luck and safety. I pinned the symbol to the inside of my wedding dress on the day.

In going with the theme of the zoo we named all of our tables after animals. Each table corresponded with an animal that either of us has shared a connection to with the guests on that table.”

Sugar Blue performed tunes to keep guests on the dance floor (including Crystal’s two year old sister!) but the couple had another surprise in store. Crystal explains, “As a surprise to our guests we organised two Bollywood dancers to perform at our reception. Everybody thoroughly enjoyed the girls and it got everyone up mingling. What topped it off was my 2 year old sister deciding to join the girls in the dance floor and copy their movements. She got upset when they finished their performance so my bridesmaids had to get up and dance with her to keep her happy.”

Congratulations Crystal and Steve! Thank you for sharing your wedding day with us on Polka Dot Bride! Thank you also to Stewart Leishman for sharing today’s images with us!

Photographer: Stewart Leishman / Bride’s Dress: Brides of Armadale / Cinematographer: Wheelhouse Studios / Flowers & Decor: Mr Lincoln / Invitations & Stationery: Tim Mcinerney / Ceremony Officiant: Matt Derrick 0412 139 074 / Groom’s Attire: Roger David / Groomsmen Attire: Roger David / Wedding Rings: Tim Sethna / Bride’s Shoes: Jimmy Choo / Hairstylist: Hair By Lauren Mackellar / Makeup Artist: The Beauty Room By Fiona / Venue: Melbourne Zoo / Reception Band: Sugar Blue / Transport: Classic Kombi / Wedding Cake: Deb Mester

Rachel and Phillip’s Quirky Country Wedding

by | Australia - Western Australia, Bride, Inspired Weddings,


Rachel and Phillip

Steam trains, Australian natives, laughter through the rain drops? That sums up the joy of the wedding of Rachel and Phillip in Western Australia. Their quirky country celebration embraced life and colour and even though the rain made for a change of plans, the celebration became richer for it- with guests pitching in and helping the couple have a beautiful, memorable wedding day.

Rachel tells their story. “Phillip and I actually went to the same primary school and high school, with Phillip being a year above me. It wasn’t until after high school that we first met properly when we were working on a yearbook together. I then went traveling and it wasn’t until a couple of years after that first meeting that we finally started going out and the rest is history.”

CJ Williams Photography  shot the wedding day and stayed true to the vintage, rustic feel that Rachel and Phillip wove throughout the many elements of their wedding day.

Rachel wore a sweetheart strapless gown from Hobnob Bridal. Her hairband was a prize she won on Polka Dot Bride from Belcanto Designs.

Rachel and Phillip were married at a historic village. Rachel remarks “Kalamunda History Village is a venue we had grown up with as kids and we thought it would make an interesting location for our ceremony and provide a lot of great photo opportunities as well. It is run entirely by volunteers and I would like to thank them for their cooperation and communication leading up to and on the day.”

Rachel chose an unusual song for her walk down the aisle. She explains “We actually went for something a little different and walked down to the Vitamin String Quartet’s version of Highway to Hell. Phillip is a massive AC/DC fan and in a funny way it seemed fitting.” The couple were married by a family friend, Pastor Richard Foster.

Rachel says “We DIY’d practically the whole wedding. I spent weeks colouring rice to be thrown as we walked back down the aisle and hand stamped ‘throw me’ onto 100 little brown bags for the rice. We made all the invitations ourselves, as well as the programs, menus and place tags for the night. We also re-labelled some of the Carldenn Homestead wine with a personalised sticker using the monogram we won from Poppiseed Designs through Polka Dot Bride.

We had made up the chalk board speech bubbles but didn’t really get to use them as much as we would have liked as the rain kept washing the chalk off. We had the bridal party writing things on them and it turned out most of them centred around beer!”

Rachel’s bridesmaids wore black lace gowns from Review and Pilgrim. They added sweet accessories from Lovisa.

Rachel and Phillip used bright, native blooms throughout their wedding ceremony arranged by a dear friend who is also a florist. Rachel says “For the ceremony, we collected the jars and Phillip made the wire loops and our florist sourced the bright red banksias. The theme with our flowers was to have natives and succulents and as many bright colours as possible.

I had a brooch from my Nanna who passed away last year, on my bouquet so it was lovely to have her represented on the day.”

The bride wore pink converse sneakers underneath her wedding gown.

Of their photographer, Rachel says “The photographer, Carly Williams, is a long-time friend of the bride and groom and there was never any doubt that she would be shooting our wedding. We love her style and the way she captured candid moments and had great vintage themed ideas that really worked for our style. ”

The rain did have cause the couple to change plans. Rachel explains “The rain did hamper our day a little but everything does always work out in the end. We had to change to plan B at the reception quite late in the day so all the guests were helping to move tables and wipe down plates and chairs before the bridal party arrived. We are very grateful to everyone that helped out and some even commented they enjoyed it as it gave everyone a chance to meet each other and having it in the smaller location allowed for conversations to flow across tables.”

The groom’s family played a special role at the reception, held at Carldenn Homestead . Rachel explains “The reception was held at the groom’s parents’ house. They have five acres of land in Walliston with a small vineyard called Carldenn Homestead. The original plan was to have the reception on their tennis court, surrounded by the bush and with lanterns overhead. The rain stayed away just long enough for our ceremony and photos but set in before the reception so we had to change to plan B and have it under the giant carport instead. This change of location lead to a ‘cosier’ environment and as a result everyone seemed to mingle with each other with ease.

I really loved our table centre pieces. I bought all different coloured teapots and had them filled with native flowers and succulents. Our florist was a dear friend and did a brilliant job with these and I handed them out to the friends and family that had helped us out in the lead up to the day.”

Rachel says “We spent several days before the wedding setting up the reception area hanging lanterns and calico and putting coloured lights going up the trees. Our mothers sewed the napkins for our 100 guests as well!

The candy bar was one of the few things we had decided to have right from the start and I bought jars here and there in the lead up to the day and then we stocked up on bulk lollies. For a while it seemed there was a permanent line to the candy bar so it was definitely a hit with the guests!” The three tier wedding cake was made by Rachel’s bridesmaid Calli.

The groom and groomsmen wore handmade Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle cufflinks from The Clay Collection. Rachel says “We bought the cuff links for the groom and groomsmen very early on in the wedding planning. Once we saw the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle cuff links we couldn’t go past them!  They were very well received by the boys on the day!

The first dance was held under the night sky. Rachel recalls “Our plan B location for all the tables was the location for the dance floor. So once dessert was over we cleared a few tables away and the dance floor was uncovered! Neither of us are very good dancers so we pretty much just swayed our way through Happy Together by The Turtles and then had everyone join us on the dance floor.”

Congratulations Rachel & Phillip! Thank you for sharing your wedding day with us on Polka Dot Bride! Thank you also to CJ Williams Photography  for sharing today’s photographs!

Photographer: CJ Williams Photography / Hire: Reeces / Bride’s Dress: Hobnob Bridal / Bride’s Shoes: Converse / Bride’s Veil/Hair Accessories: Belcanto Designs / Groom’s Attire: Ferarri Formal Wear / Bridesmaid Dresses: Review / Bridesmaid Dresses: Pilgrim / Bridesmaid Accessories: Lovisa / Hairstylist: Shannon Lammas / Makeup Artist: Shannon Lammas / Paper: Starfish Lane / Ceremony Venue: Kalamunda History Village / Reception Venue: Carldenn Homestead / Wedding Rings: Solid Gold / Transport: VIP Limo / Catering: WA Spit Roast

Jess and Val – A Wintery Melbourne Romance

by | Bride, Engagements


Jess and Val

The romantic story of Jess and Val is a whirlwind romance. The couple’s love has only been growing for a short time, but already they have been to the other side of the world, had incredible adventures and are now expecting their first child. Together with Milk Photography, Weddings Of Desire & All Things Girlie. They set about planning an engagement shoot to capture their love. Laura of Weddings Of Desire came up with the concept of using Melbourne’s colourful lane-ways – the couple started the day at their apartment and then, with Laura’s ideas wandered through Melbourne to capture what Jess and Val love most about the city “shopping and the fabulous graffiti walls “.

Jess and Val share their story. “In Jan 2005 Val moved to Noosa where he lived 3 houses up from Jess. Jess attended the practice that Val worked at and they shared many mutual friends. They went to many of the same parties and visited the same clubs every weekend. This happened for a year and a half, yet they never met! God had different plans… it was too soon.

Three years after Val moved from Noosa back to Melbourne, he was sharing an apartment with a mutual friend, Tara. God had decided it was time…..”


“In Feb 2010 Jess had an inexorable need to leave her 3.5 year relationship, and Val just had to give up on his 2yr relationship. They were both single and fancy free. Jess came to Melbourne in April for a holiday and stayed, where else, but at Tara and Val’s place.

They ate, they clubbed, they shopped at IKEA and the spark was ignited. Alas, Jess was only there for 4 days and then returned to Noosa. But the seed had been planted and the next day Val asked Jess if she’d go out for dinner with him on her next trip down. She wholeheartedly declined at first, but was talked around to ONE dinner.”

“6 weeks later, Jess came back to Melbourne and stayed with Val and Tara again. They ate, they clubbed and on Val’s birthday, June 21st, they shared their first kiss. They didn’t realize it at this time, but the wheels of destiny had been set in motion. Soon after, Jess decided to turn her Melbourne holiday into a permanent move. She found her own apartment 500m down the road and moved in with her best friend Emily.”

“At first, both Jess and Val were very resistant to forming a relationship. Coming out of long relationships, they were looking for healing and didn’t yet realize they had stumbled onto love. For the next 3 months they fought their attraction and tried many times to go their separate ways. Then in October, Val went on a holiday to Port Douglas. It was here, trying to relax and enjoy the tropics that Val realized something was wrong… Jess wasn’t with him and realized he didn’t ever want to be anywhere without her again, he know he wanted to marry her.”

“Jess picked up Val from the airport and their relationship began! 2 months later, Val asked Jess’s parents for her hand in marriage. Not surprisingly, they asked him to wait a while. 6 months later he asked again… they said yes.

Val and Jess went on their first overseas holiday together to Cambodia. They set up a make shift dental practice in a tiny village and volunteered their time to the locals. It was here, in the stinking heat, sleeping on the floor of a thatch roof hut that they realized that not only did they want to travel the world together, but that they could. They made promises to each other that they’d travel the world and share the rest of their lives but not by themselves. It was here that they decided to start trying for a family.”

“On July 2nd, Val picked Jess up from the airport, after a Noosa holiday. Jess thought she was going home, but Val had different plans. Jess had never been to the snow, so that’s where they were going.

So they arrive at Mount Buller in the evening and Val persuades Jess to go for a walk under the clear night sky. They walk all the way up to the top of the run where no-one is around. Jess didn’t realize but Val had organized to have the area freshly groomed. Perfect for her first snow angel! So snow angels they made, but when Jess stood up, Val stayed on one knee, and after devoting himself and his love to her… asked the most important question a man can ask… “Jessica Brittany Hammond, will you marry me?”

“Jessica said yes and just as well… for the real rollercoaster was about to start. Jessica was pregnant, and yes, with Val’s child! And that’s how we met hahaha!!

Oh! first date was at Longrain- where Jess being a vegetarian for the past 3 years, was here on that night she ate duck. Talk about impressing a guy! Our baby is due 6th of February.”

Photographer: Milk Photography / Stylist & Planner: Weddings Of Desire / Hairt & Malkeup Artist: All Things Girly