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Cecilie and John’s Classic Melbourne Wedding

by | Australia - Victoria, Bride, Inspired Weddings,


Cecilie and John

There’s nothing quite like a classic wedding in the city – from the breathtaking architecture, to the stunning city backdrops! Cecilie and John had a classic Melbourne wedding – using one of the city’s beautiful churches for their ceremony and the backdrop of Melbourne’s Port Phillip Bay for their reception!

Cecilie explains how she met her husband. “John and I met when I was on a study abroad program at Boston College (USA) where John also attended and played ice-hockey. About a month before my planned return home to Australia, I was out with some friends at a local college bar. I know it sounds dramatic, but that night changed my life forever. I remember Johnny walking into the room with his yellow cap on backwards and a huge smile that I was immediately drawn to. I was secretly so excited when he approached me and said hello. I loved his humor, his laughter, and the warmth of his personality.  I definitely believe in love at first sight.”

And to continue today’s romantic love story, John tells how he proposed. “I like to think it went as smoothly as a scene out of ‘The Notebook’ – a pier lined with roses and candles, followed by a smooth row out to the middle of a lake where I get down on one knee and pop the question. The reality was that Cecile had broken her arm the day prior to our engagement, and the wind was a bit stronger than I had anticipated on the engagement day (making for a rather difficult row to the middle of the lake, and ‘not so lit’ candle scene). Either way, she said yes, and we shared the experience on Lake Calhoun, one of our favorite spots to get away, get some fresh air, and simply relax.”

Photos today are by Marcus Bell of Studio Impressions. I love Marcus’ dramatic, emotion filled photographs. Every shot tells a story in a stunning, intensely beautiful way.

Cecilie wore a gown and veil from Monique L’Huillier. She paired it with a necklace from Tiffany & Co (the first Christmas present John ever gave her) and shoes from Cinderella Bella. The girls had their hair styled by Shibui((03) 9820 9130) and makeup by Narelle Hall (0411 037 890).

The bridesmaids wore soft pink gowns from Zimmermann with shoes from Nude Footwear and earrings from Stellini. The girls carried bouquets styled by Sarah McDonald at Casa Verde.

John and his groomsmen wore suits from Arthur Galan.

Cecilie and John were married at St Ignatius Church, Richmond. Cecilie and her bridesmaids arrived at the church in a black classic cars from Melbourne Classic Car Hire.

Cecilie recalls, “I walked down the aisle to one of our favourite songs – “The Promise” by Tracy Chapman. The words really represent our many years of enduring long distance and waiting to be together again.”

Of the ceremony, Cecilie remarks, “Our traditional ceremony was held at one of the oldest and most beautiful churches in my hometown of Melbourne – St Ignatius Church. It was a truly special occasion as it was the first time that we had all our friends and family from opposite sides of the world in the same place.”

Cecilie says “We love the images taken as we are exiting the church – you can see our excitement and happiness all over our faces, that first realization of “we’re married!!””

Cecilie remarks, “We also LOVE all the images at the St Kilda pier – as the sun was setting, surrounded by clouds, walking out to the end of the pier with the ocean on one side and the Melbourne skyline on the other. It was great having this time alone with John, to enjoy each other before the commencement of the reception festivities…and it gave Marcus the opportunity to capture the most spectacular images in the city we love.”

Cecilie and John held their reception at The Harbour Room at the Royal Melbourne Yacht Squadron and had it catered by Food & Desire. Kirsty Little of Pinny (0417 152 271) made the cupcake wedding cake.

Guests were given mini hockey sticks and hockey pucks as favors as a nod to John’s seven year long ice hockey career.

Cecilie says “We wanted our reception to be fun, intimate and personal. It was held at the Harbour Room right on the ocean…perfect for a couple who loves the beach.

The color scheme was white, silver and crystal with a touch of blush. Two words I would use to describe the decorations are candles and candy…and lots of both.Crystal tea light candles accompanied the centerpieces, which were beautiful arrangements of white roses and freesias.”

The presence of the guests blew the couple away. Cecilie remarks “One hundred and thirty-five of our closest family and friends attended our reception celebrations. About forty guests had flown in from the United States. Having friends and family from opposite sides of the world together is such a rarity for us that it made the day so much more meaningful.”

A table full of sweets was a hit. Cecilie explains “John and I both have a big sweet tooth so we had a candy bar set up with our favourite American and Australian candy. Guests scooped everything from Hershey kisses and personalized “Cecile and John” M&M’s to Darrel Lea licorice and Cadbury chocolates into small, white organza bags to take home.”

Cecilie loved the speeches. “Probably the most touching moments for me were the speeches, especially those by my father, and by John. I had held back tears all day but when I heard the moving words come out of the mouths of the two greatest men in my life, I couldn’t help but shed a few tears.”

Congratulations on your marriage Cecilie and John! Thank you for sharing it with us on Polka Dot Bride! Thank you also to  Marcus Bell of Studio Impressions for sharing today’s imagery with us!

Photos  by Marcus Bell of Studio Impressions

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Eleven Fabulous Bridal Nailpolishes

by | Bride, Hair and Beauty


There are not many times in your life when your hands will be photographed more than your on your engagement. and your wedding day and it’s nice to have a manicure with a beautiful colour to enhance your nails on the day.

So I tried and tested eleven nail polishes from some of the top label’s bridal nail polish ranges.

ORLY “Kiss The Bride”

Opaque in colour, ORLY’s “Kiss The Bride” is a soft, creamy  pink (akin in some ways to liquid paper) that takes almost three coats to get looking perfect. It’s a high gloss colour that when paired with ORLY’s No Chip top coat lasted a few days and would look lovely in an English Country garden wedding paired with a bouquet of peonies and roses perhaps? The key to this polish is the application, as any imperfections show up quickly. I love the ORLY  bottles’ rubber caps too – it makes it so much easier when you’re trying to open the bottle with wet nails!


O.P.I “Hopelessly In Love”

O.P.I’s “Hopelessly In Love”s a a flesh tone pink, with peachy, coral undertones. Three coats gives an opaque coverage while two is a little more subtle. Careful application creates a nice neutral look, though it can be streaky if you rush. This colour would look perfectly at home at a beach wedding.

Sally Hansen “Shall We Dance”

Oh I love the sheer, nude pink of this colour  and it’s my top pick from Sally Hansen. The “Shall We Dance” colour from the Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicare range is  gorgeous. It’s subtle enough to give a hint of colour while still being very neutral. One coat of this just gives your nails a gorgeous shine, enhancing your natural nail colour while a few coats adds a lovely soft barely there pink. Building up the layers gives a glossy pale pink. (Plus I am in love with the Sally Hansen wide brush applicator). Go slow and thin with the application though to avoid streaks. This is the varnish for someone who just wants a hint of shine and colour for their wedding day.

O.P.I “Princesses Rule”

“Princesses Rule” is one of O.P.I’s most popular bridal shades. This polish gives the trifecta – sparkle, shimmer and pearl with a candy sweet pink to match. For one or two coats it’s pure shimmer and as you build up the colour a pearly sweet pink shows up. Originally I thought the colour was a little too sparkly for me, but I grew to like it more and more as a sheer but fun option. Perfectly suited for a bride that is perhaps going for a dramatic look and wants something fun, or a casual wedding with plenty of sweet elements.

Sally Hansen Diamond Strength “Blushing Bride”

With a sheer coat, the corally pink sheerness of Sally Hansen’s “Blushing Bride” from the Diamond Strength range is a lovely neutral with a hit of colour. Building up to three coats, the sparkly coral pink becomes a bold metallic (packed with teeny tiny glitter) pink toned copper which would look right at home on a tropical island or for a bride in an over the top dramatic gown. If you’re a fan of metallic, this colour will be right up your alley.

ORLY “Lift The Veil”

ORLY’s “Lift The Veil” is a milky blue-toned pink. I actually love the softness of this pink – which is less candy pink than the bottle makes it out to be. It needs 3-4 coats to get the colour looking smooth and streak free. Definitely a lovely choice if you’re wanting a classic creamy pink on your nails for your wedding day. (I love how fast ORLY polishes dry too, it’s nice not worrying about knocks and dents!)


O.P.I “Otherwise Engaged”

O.P.I’s “Otherwise Engaged” is a sheer pearl pink with an unexpected lilac tint to it. I love the glossiness of this and even with three coats it’s still lovely and sheer. This is my pick from O.P.I as I love polishes with a hint of colour that I can build up or leave simply glossy depending on my mood. I love the unexpected lilac tone too – just for something a little different.

Sally Hansen “Honeymoon Red”

One of the weddings I remember the most was a bride who wore red lips and red nails for her wedding day – I loved the vintage vibe it gave her! Sally Hansen’s Diamond Strength “Honeymoon Red” is just the right shade of red – a classic if you will – not too dark, or orange but a clean, clear red that is  gorgeous for the bride who wants bold colour on her wedding day. Red always makes diamond rings look beautifully white too!


O.P.I “Altar Ego”

O.P.I tells me “Altar Ego” is Kate Middleton’s favourite nail colour. The soft iridescent pink has a blue pearl to it. Altar Ego is almost clear, but has a unique lilac sheen as you build the colour up. There’s a very fine sparkle which just adds to the lovely glossy finish of this polish. Lovely for winter weddings or if you’re heading towards cooler colour tones.

Sally Hansen Diamond Strength “Fairytale Ivory”

In the bottle, this polish looks like a champagne glitter and for girls that want a neutral sparkle on their wedding day this one is gorgeous – it shines white, shimmery glitter with the smallest amount of flesh tone to enhance your nail colour. I loved the subtlety of this colour (it’s my second pick from Sally Hansen). It gave just enough sparkle to feel like I’d gone to an effort with my nails but the sheer white of the colour looked understated. Plus it makes diamonds look incredibly sparkly!

ORLY “Toast The Couple”

A soft neutral metallic, ORLY’s “Toast the Couple” can be worn sheer or opaque. This one was my top pick from the polishes I tried from ORLY as I loved the sheer skin tone of the one to two layers – a hint of sheen without being too bold. Building up it becomes more of a neutral metallic frosty colour which is still subtle while giving a lovely colour. If you want a nude, pink shimmer on your wedding day – this is your one.

What nail polish is your favourite? What shade will you be wearing on your wedding day?

Fiona and Stew’s Fitzroy Island Wedding

by | Australia - Queensland, Bride, Inspired Weddings,


Fiona and Stew

This marks a little announcement – we’re now going to be showcasing these amazing destination weddings on our specialty title Polka Dot Honeymoons. With much discussion with the lovely Ms Gingham, we figured our honeymoons blog is the perfect place – you go there to dream of your time away after the wedding and I must admit, probably during the wedding preparations, you dream of eloping to a tropical island! For a little bit of sunshine today, the wedding of Fiona and Stew who married on a little piece of paradise called Fitzroy Island.

Fiona and Stew met through a mutual friend –  “we clicked” Fiona recalls.

Today’s photographs are by Steven Elmer. Not only does Steven take spectacular photographs which envelope the atmosphere of the day but he’s the kind of guy you know would make a fantastic friend, which is something that is pretty important for a wedding photographer!

The newlyweds-to-be had an impromptu engagement shoot on the island the day before the wedding.

Fiona wore a strapless gown called ‘Chanel” by Ronald Joyce.

The bridesmaids wore coloured gowns from Works of Heart by Eleanor Jane while the groom and groomsmen wore shirts and pants from Ed HarryI Do Flowers Cairns styled the floral arrangements.

Fiona walked down the aisle to an acoustic version of Powderfinger’s ‘Burn Your Name.’

Fiona recalls “We got married on the coral beach in front of a lovely little beach shack with the Great Barrier Reef surrounding us then headed over to Foxy’s Bar to eat drink and dance the night away.”

Fiona says “All we wanted was to have a fun, relaxed and colourful wedding surrounded by people we love and we got exactly that, Steve captured all this in his beautiful photos.”

After their photographs, the newlyweds celebrated with their guests at Foxy’s Bar.

The colourful wedding cake was made by Lorraine Murray of Passion for Cakes. Music for the day was provided by Vikarious and Foxy’s Bar DJ.

Fiona says “Our first dance was to The Waifs ‘Beautiful Night’, very fun! Later, my new husband and I snuck off  down to the beach with a cocktail to watch the sunset and surprisingly all our guests followed us and we all sat there and watched the sunset together, it was really beautiful.”

Congratulations Fiona and Stew! Thank you for sharing your wedding day on Polka Dot Bride! Thank you also to by Steven Elmer for sharing today’s photographs!

Photos by Steven Elmer

Katrina and Ant’s Relaxed New Zealand Wedding

by | Bride, Inspired Weddings, New Zealand,


Katrina and Ant

Oh New Zealand, you never fail to make me fall a little bit more in love with you with every wedding I see! Today’s is beautifully relaxed – something New Zealander’s know how to do so gorgeously. Take a trip with me through the story of Katrina and Ant.

Katrina tells their story. “We are both accountants.  We met at work and a year later at a work function, Ant opened his mouth and I realised he could talk. The rest is history…(it’s brief, most people usually switch off at the mention of ‘accountants’, so I’ve learnt to move on quickly).

Ant proposed to me in Kensington, London.  After a delicious surprise picnic from my absolute favourite food spot, the Wholefoods Market, he whisked me to a nearby hotel and got down on one knee – with a ring box.  My heart did stop for second and my immediate thoughts were quickly flicking through when he could have possibly asked Cush (my best friend) what my exact preferences were (whilst maintaining my smile of joy – v naughty!) – hopefully I didn’t look too relieved when inside was Burger Ring and a wee note saying “As if I’d choose it without you!” I was actually pretty excited about the Burger Ring, in fact, sad to say that it might’ve hit the same excitement level had it been the ring I had wanted.

Then, he cracked open some homemade (!!) coconut ice (which I’d been having massive cravings for all year), champers, choc dipped strawbs (I can’t dispute he def knows the way to my heart!), and our fave choccies – which he’d already opened cos he’d bought them a week ago and couldn’t hold out!!  Cute (though he has been told he will need to make up for those missing ones).

I was then treated to a gourmet dinner at the hotel, topped off with a few treatments at the spa.  On top of that, when we came out of the spa, the beautiful day had turned into a massive thunder and fork lightening storm which we watched out of the gargantuan windows, very cool!”

Photography today is by WE DO Photography. I love the way they capture images – they call it “capturing images with a little bit of rock and roll” and it’s true, there’s a bit of grit to them, a bit of “I’d love to get on the dance floor with them!” a bit of “or perhaps have a martini with them too” (except they seem so cool I bet they’d drink something much cooler than a martini!)

Katrina wore jewels as her something borrowed. She says “I wore pearl earrings borrowed from my new mother in law and pearl drop necklace borrowed from my new sis in law (Bride).  The bridesmaids wore necklaces created by bridesmaid Cushla from some earrings, and pearl earrings which were given to them as a gift from me”.

The rose bouquets were styled by Katrina’s bridesmaid’s mother. They were, Katrina recalls “A mixture of Sweet Avalanche and Bianca roses, lisianthus, carnations and chrysanthemums. Karen used to be a florist, and she put together our beautiful bouquets.”

Katrina wore “A gorgeous lace Watters dress.  Spied on a trip to Melbourne – it was pretty much the only dress I liked, so was really lucky it suited me!  Strapless isn’t my thing – so that narrowed the choice down by about 95%.  It wasn’t available anywhere in NZ, so unfortunately I had the chore of taking another trip over the ditch to pick it up! The alterations were done by my new sister in law’s generous mum Barb.  She painstakingly unstitched and restitched the lace by hand!  I also wore a fascinator made by Ardern Farm.  I have always loved them and wanted to wear one – and it went perfect with the theme.”

The groom and groomsmen wore suits from Frank Casey.


Katrina and Ant saw each other before the ceremony, Katriona remembers “We didn’t want to miss out on any of the fun mingling with everyone after the ceremony, so had our photos done beforehand.  Because it wasn’t going to be our first time seeing each other when I walked down the aisle, we had a special ‘first glance’ ceremony at the photo shoot.  Ant was waiting with his back turned at the bottom of the garden steps at Erskine, and I pulled up at the top of the steps, wandered down, and tapped him on the shoulder.  It was pretty emotional when he turned around.  I had just been telling the girls in the car that I would have to tell Ant to stop crying like a baby since I never cry – and I was the one who welled up first.

The couple chose Erskine College for their ceremony and reception. Katrina says “It is a historic building that was once a Catholic girls’ school from the late 1800s. The exterior could be described as a derelict ruin (which however, I loved about it) but the interior has a grand hall furnished with ornate chandeliers, polished matai (native NZ wood) floors, and high stud ceilings.  We had the ceremony in the outdoor garden courtyard, and the reception in the grand hall.”

The bridesmaids’s gowns were “Bridesmaid Cushla’s design – she spent days in London scouring the high street shops for dresses and finally found these ones to match the vintage theme.  She then completed the look using lace found in her mum’s sewing room to make belts.

My bridesmaids were my best friend Cushla (who I’ve known for 21 years) and my good friend and old flatmate Anita.  Groomsmen were Liam (who Ant has known since he visited him at age 1 month in hospital when Liam was born) and Adrian, an old school friend.”

Katrina walked down the aisle to “November Rain (instrumental version).  We are big Guns ‘n Roses fans (we’ve even fancy dressed as them before).”

For their reception at Erskine College, Katrina says “We used the garden courtyard area for our ceremony – which was beaming with sun and a romantic atmosphere complete with chirping cicadas and a man in one of the surrounding houses above who decided it was a good time to beat the dust out of his rug.  When reading our vows we both immediately got the waterworks again (I absolutely had no idea I was such a softie!) and Ant set the crowd giggling (I also heard a snort) when he offered up his hankie which I promptly refused (he is well known as an obsessive hankie user)”

It was the perfect day weather wise. “We had perfect weather – sunshine, heat and no wind – Wellington barely ever has days like this (even in summer) – but after some crazy unseasonal low fog covering the city all morning, she pulled out a winner.  As the saying goes – you can’t beat Wellington on a good day!”

Their guests’ enjoyment was paramount for Katrina and Ant. “We wanted to create an informal, ‘party’ style atmosphere so we tried to create a recipe for success.  Main ingredients – a brilliant sunny day, a large selection of canapes instead of a sit down dinner, an over stocked bar, an amazingly talented piano man, dim lighting and a huge dance floor.  They mixed perfectly!”

Katrina decorated the reception herself. She explains “The venue was a stand alone hire, so I was in charge of all the decorations.  I spent months trawling the 2nd hand shops, the back cupboards of many relative’s houses, and Trash Palace (a shop next to the dump which rescues junk from ultimate death) for vintage style glass bottles and jars.  I ended up with over 200 in the end – filled them with clusters of flower stems and candles, tied them with a pretty ribbon, and scattered them in random clusters around the various tables in the grand hall.  There were also several wee rustic ‘bird cage’ candle holders around the room.  It was so pretty!”

The reception was filled with sweet treats explains Katrina. “I also had a dessert bar, which had a selection of large glass jars filled with different lollies, fortune cookies and chocolates; several vintage tiered cake stands laden with homemade rocky road, Russian fudge and meringues; and a giant cake stand in the middle – absolutely packed with 150 different flavoured cupcakes.  On the side there were wee noodle takeaway boxes, and a sprinkling of the flower and candle jars.  By the end of the night the whole table had been demolished!” The cupcake wedding cake was made by Cheeky Mouthful Cupcakes.

The speeches were a highlight for the newlyweds. Katrina explains “The best man brought the house down during his speech when he pulled out a life sized cardboard cut-out of a character from Ant’s secret shame TV programs – Beverly Hills 90210.  Steve Sanders (Ian Ziering) stole the show…and the dance floor, and probably got snapped more times than us. ”


The first dance? “It was to Dakota by the Stereophonics – obviously a big fave of ours.”

Piano man Shaun Preston kept guests entertained all night long.

Congratulations Katrina & Ant! Thank you for sharing your wedding day on Polka Dot Bride! Thank you also to  WE DO Photography for today’s images!

Photos by WE DO Photography.

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