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Sally and Ben’s Stylish Garden Wedding

by | Australia - Victoria, Bride, Inspired Weddings


Sally and Ben

Let’s just take a moment to breathe in Melbourne’s style this week, from Sarah and Simon yesterday to Sally and Ben today- two completely different weddings, both encapsulating Melbourne’s unique and famous style.

Sally and Ben’s stylish Melbourne wedding was a nod to the 1950s era. It was an intimate celebration under a rotunda followed by a reception at an art gallery. Beautiful, full of culture and with lots of fine food – sounds like Melbourne to me!

Sally recalls how she met her husband. “Ben and I met and lived in London together as friends. Regularly caught up on phone and via email when the Ben left London. Ben and I caught up in Melbourne for a day in 2008, and it was love at first sight. Ben moved from Perth where he was studying, to Sydney for 7 months to work, whilst I lived in Melbourne. Ben then moved to Melbourne to live with me.”

Photographs today are by Leo Farrell who always stuns me with his style and composition – real, delicious moments that tell the story of the day so beautifully.

Getting ready with her parents was important to Sally. “I got ready at my parent’s house, my Mum, Dad and sister were with me in the morning. I also wanted Ben’s mum to get ready and spend some quality time with me before we got married. Ben’s mum arrived in the morning to receive the pampering treatment that the girls got on the day. This included champagne. We all then left in the cars (Holden silver Statesmans from Mario’s Limousines) – Dad and I in one and the Mums and my sister in the other.”

Ben and Sally made the save the date and invitations themselves using paper from Cristina Re.  They also designed and made Sally’s hairpiece together. Sally along with dear friend Sarah created the bride’s bouquet of white calla lilies, the reception flower arrangements and Ben and the family’s flowers.There were other special accessories on the wedding day. “Ben received a gold, Rolex watch from his dad to wear for the day. His dad had been keeping this watch for this special occasion for many years. My Nana had crocheted a handkerchief many years ago before she passed away, especially for me to use as something old on my wedding day. It was a very special piece of her on the day.”

Sally wore a Peter Trends halterneck gown while Ben wore his grandfather’s suit.

Sally and Ben were married in the Temple Of The Winds in the Fitzroy Gardens. Sally notes “Temple Of The Winds is a special place for Ben and I. We have had 3 great highlights in the park at that rotunda. 1) Our first date, taking photos in the park, 2) Ben proposed to me on Easter Monday 2009 after secretly organising an amazing day and evening, 3) the wedding day.”

Sally and Ben didn’t have a bridal party. “Ben and I decided early in the wedding preparations that we would not have a bridal party, due to many reasons. Through this we decided that we couldn’t have a wedding day without our brother and sister to be there by our side. Ben’s brother Peter and my sister Jodie were our witnesses. They did not walk down the aisle, but they did stand at the front with us, as well as signing the registry. This was a very special moment for both Ben and I to have such special people in our lives to be there by our sides.”

There were certain special benefits to having no bridal party for Sally and Ben. “Having no bridal party allowed Ben and I to spend some quality time together on the day. Both Ben and I were so relaxed with the structure of the day,  it even allowed us to have  the freedom to go to the pub with all the guests between the ceremony and the reception.”

The reception was held at a local converted warehouse art gallery. “Smart Artz Gallery is a small art gallery just off Clarendon Street in South Melbourne. Ben stumbled across the gallery on a website, small spaces. We met with the coordinators of the gallery and fell in love with the white washed walls, painted concrete floors, published art work and especially Dame Nelly Melba’s grand piano.”

Sally and Ben hired the B Sharp Big Band to keep the 50’s vibe happening at the reception.

Sally and Ben’s first dance was a show stopper and fit with the style of the day. Sally recalls “”Our first dance was in two sections. 1) We started the our dance very slow and romantic, swaying to Regina Spektors cover of John Lennon’s – ‘Real Love’, Ben being the smooth dancer that he is, added in some amazing turns and dips. We then had a small scene change, Ben flipped off his hat and jacket to reveal high wasted pants with braces to support, I ditched the high heals for a pair of shinny gold ballet flats. 2) We participated in private dance classes run by Swing Patrol for 8 weeks prior to the wedding. The style of the wedding was 1950’s and that meant swing was in, the Charleston was going to be a real laugh to dance. Ben and I danced the Charleston to Glen Miller’s ‘In The Mood’.”

Sally made the wedding cake – a beautiful iced banana cake!

Congratulations Sally and Ben on your wedding! Thank you for sharing it with us on Polka Dot Bride! Thank you also to Leo Farrell for sharing today’s imagery with us!

Photos by Leo Farrell Photography

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Sophisticated Melbourne Wedding Venue – Sketch

by | Australia - Victoria, Bride, Wedding Venues


In a week that has become very Melbourne centric, I wanted to show off a venue that caught my eye recently. It’s not often I describe a converted warehouse as opulent and sophisticated but Sketch. is located Melbourne’s Docklands precinct and has a decadent, chocolate box feel to it.

Part of the Atlantic V Group, Sketch is decorated in richly toned purples and blacks and designed around the centrepiece of a glittering crystal chandelier from Milan, along with little touches like black lamps, a glossy black bar and an eye catching velvet purple chair.

The venue can hold 350 people for a cocktail function or 150 for a banquet and the menu boasts offerings from special guests chefs including legends like Guy Grossi, Ian Curley, Michael Lambie and Andrew Blake while being able to be customised to your own specifications.

With a view over Docklands and the Westgate Bridge through floor to ceiling windows, your guests can also spill out to the outdoor courtyard for a true waterside reception, they can also take a break in the informal lounge areas. A private bridal suite with a closed circuit TV allows you to take a breather while still enjoying the party if you need to.

I’m always a big fan of a blank canvas venue, but there’s something to be said for being in the surrounds of something unique different and interesting design, I can just imagine Sketch filled with glittering candelabras, stunning coloured crockery and a interesting floral imagination is piqued!

Photo by Yervant

Photo by Yervant

Photo by Sam D’Agostino

Photo by Sam D’Agostino

Photo by Sam D’Agostino

Photos courtesy of Sketch

Sarah and Simon’s Quirky Australian Wedding

by | Australia - Victoria, Bride, Inspired Weddings


Sarah and Simon

Are you in the mood for a touch of whimsy this afternoon? It’s a little vintage, a little glam, very relaxed and very Melbourne! Our bride today Sarah looks stunning in her retro inspired gown and the guests? Oh their faces are full of love and glowing smiles. It’s a beautiful Tuesday!

Sarah explains how she and Simon met. “Simon and I met in 1997 at TAFE. We were both studying gold and silver smithing and Simon was a year ahead of me. Soon into my first year we discovered that we bizarrely grew up one street away from each other our whole lives and we had never crossed paths. Simon used this as a courting technique to persistently offer me a lift home from TAFE everyday seeing we live practically in the same street! It wasn’t until the last day of Simon’s course that I gave into his persistence and accepted a lift and we went on our first date! And the rest is wonderful history!”

Today’s photographers, making their Polka Dot Bride debut are Love, Katie & Sarah. Brand new and squeaky clean, Katie & Sarah captured today’s wedding so beautifully and so in essence of the couple while still retaining their own style. Sarah and Simon’s biggest request was real moments and their photographers delivered!

Sarah wore a short retro inspired black and white gown which she designed and had it made by NICKOM (Nicole Komalarajun) in French cotton lace and silk with fabrics from Tessuti. Sarah’s retro glamorous makeup and hair was styled by Hayley Mac and she carried a colourful bouquet of blooms from Flowers By Entwine. Sarah says ” I love Bianca’s work. I was going for a vintage aesthetic and her flowers were perfect and so colourful against my cream and black frock.”

Sarah and Simon were married in The Darling Gardens in Clifton Hill. Sarah recalls “We stumbled across a cute little local park called the Darling Gardens and immediately knew that we wanted to get married in the rotunda. The wedding was held on a Sunday afternoon with the ceremony at 4pm. It was threatening rain all afternoon and I was sure we would have to relocate but to our delight the sun came out briefly for our ceremony and only a few drops of rain fell all afternoon! ” Sarah walked down the aisle to the Louis Armstrong version of “La Vie En Rose”.

Sarah and Simon were married by Gerard Van Dyke (

Sarah and Simon didn’t have an official bridal party, Sarah explains, “We had sort of had an unofficial wedding party of 5 girlfriends and 5 mates. They just wore what they liked. I did however get flower pins made up for all 10 of our “wedding party” so it would be known that they were a special part of our day. They all had a role each to perform during the course of the day. For example one girlfriend sang and played her guitar at the end of the ceremony (‘I Can Hear Music’ and a tongue in cheek, surprisingly sweet rendition of ‘Sweet child O’ Mine’). My sister and my darling little nephew were the ring bearers, others in the “wedding party” read Nick Cave’s song “Breathless” as a reading during the ceremony, and the last few did our speeches and all 10 were an amazing support for our wonderful day.”

With a love of jewelery, it played an important part in the wedding day, Sarah recalls, “I wore a pair of vintage marcasite Art Deco stud earrings that I found on eBay. I made my own hair piece/comb using black feathers and black silk (left over’s from the bow belt on my dress) and another marcasite vintage Art Deco clip I found on eBay. My clutch was handmade by Mermaids Dream in black silk to match my dress with a cream silk lining. Our wedding bands were handmade by an incredible jeweler at Ken Gray Alistor Reid Gallery.  My engagement ring was bought for me by my beautiful husband shortly after he proposed to me on the Almalfi coast whilst holidaying in Europe.”

Sarah and Simon’s footwear also rated a special mention. “We both wore John Fluevog shoes. LOVE LOVE them!! There were many photos taken of our shoes”

Sarah and Simon held their reception in a classic hotel. Sarah recalls “Our reception followed in the evening at 6pm at The Grace Darling Hotel (I promise the Darling thing wasn’t planned) where our guests were greeted with Bellini cocktails and bruscetta.

We didn’t have a wedding dance but we did make a grand entrance up the stairs of the Grace Darling being introduced for the first time as Mr and Mrs and entering into a room filled with our cheering and smiling friends and relatives to the tune of ‘Wagon Wheel’ by Old Crow Medicine Show. One of my favourite and proudest moments of the day. “

Sarah and Simon wanted a relaxed, Melbourne feel for their wedding day to reflect their lifestyle. “We both grew up in the North Eastern suburbs of Melbourne and when we were in our early 20’s we moved closer in to the city where the live music and action was. We have been here ever since and still love to immerse ourselves in Melbourne pub, café, food and music culture. So it was important that we choose a venue in Melbourne that represented what we were about as a couple. It was important to us that we had a simple no fuss wedding with a relaxed atmosphere.

The Grace Darling hotel is one of the oldest pubs in Melbourne and is made of bluestone and has lead light windows. We loved the look and feel of this venue with its vintage style wallpaper and furniture and it definitely had that relaxed pub feel we were after. The food was incredible and the wine served was all local to Melbourne.  We had the whole of upstairs to ourselves with our own bar and stage for our band and a great little space for dancing. We had 70 guests and the venue holds just that. It wasn’t a huge space but we loved that intimate feel to the room. The room was low lit with candles everywhere. We had a local band called Monouche a Trois play 1940’s gypsy jazz in the background while we all sat down to a 3-course meal. The venue really suited Simon and I and we were chuffed with how the day turned out.”

Not only did Sarah and Simon make their stationery –  “Simon and I are both creative and it wasn’t even an option to outsource invites/thank you cards. We had so much fun designing and making these and they were activities that we did together which made it special.” But they also made wedding favors for their guests. “We made our own wedding favours which doubled as our place cards on the tables. They were cute little honey pot jars with cork lids, all with our favourite old fashioned style lollies. Red liquorice bullets, jaffas, musk lollies, chocolate freckles… They were a hit and looked amazing with their individual name tags tied on with black ribbon. They worked perfectly with the vintage décor of the room and against the crisp white table linen and the black vintage style wallpaper and Simon and I both wore black and white so it all tied in well with an unintentional theme for the room.”

Adding to the non traditional elements of the day was a delicious wedding cake. Sarah explains, “We went for a non traditional wedding cake from  Brunetti. A luscious melt in your mouth chocolate mud with big striped white/dark chocolate curls on top. The cake tied in nicely with our black and white feel to the day.”

Congratulations Sarah and Simon! Thank you for sharing your wedding day with us on Polka Dot Bride! Thank you also to Katie & Sarah of Love, Katie and Sarah for sharing today’s photographs with us!

Photos by Love, Katie & Sarah

Johanna Johnson Templar Collection

by | Bridal Fashion, Bride


If there is one designer I can always guarantee will send hearts aflutter, it is the majestic Johanna Johnson. Having just unveiled her 2011 collection, hot on the heels of the launch of the new Johanna Johnson boutique and Trousseau collection, Johanna has surpassed it all with the stunning new designs of Templar.

While they still have the sleek, glamorous style that Johanna is loved for, her inspiration from early medieval jewelery is reflected through heavily beaded and crystal set accents. The heavy silk of the gowns is not only luxurious but drapes beautifully on the wearer and Johanna’s accents of collars, cuffs, neck-pieces and accents on each gown create a bold contrast.

I love that Johanna has designed some fuller skirts this year- layers of tulle that have a more “traditional” silhouette while staying true to Johanna’s design vision. There’s lace too – with beautiful shapes straight from Paris. Such a delight for the senses!

Photos from Johanna Johnson

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