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Bec and Joel’s Elegant Hillside Wedding

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


Bec and Joel

Gosh I want to be a guest at today’s wedding – I’m not sure whether it’s because it feels like it was held in a  giant ‘hold’ of Mother Nature with the deep valleys and mountains surrounding it, or because of Bec’s infectious smile and the obvious laughter and joy of the guests and newlyweds, or whether it’s purely because I would possibly stalk every wedding I could, just to revel in that magical moment.. why yes I think today’s wedding is the perfect panacea for a Wednesday afternoon.

Our newlyweds met at university while living in college together.

Today’s photographer is John Benavente– I love the vibrancy and joy John captures. He somehow makes the life of the image shoot through the screen!

Bec wore a Mariana Hardwick gown with shoes Misano. Bec’s wedding day look was styled by Julie Bell.

Bec walked down the aisle to “A Pixie Lott cover of a Kings of Leon song: Use Somebody.” Abode Flowers styled the floral arrangements.

Bec and Joel were married at Bush Bank Bed and Breakfast Kiama. Bec explains “We had the ceremony and reception at the same venue. The ceremony was held in the garden overlooking the ocean and our cocktail reception was held in a marquee with tables spilling out onto the lawns. Guests enjoyed punch when they arrived and drinks and canapé’s following the ceremony.”

Celebrant Kerry Fair married the couple.

Bec describes the wedding day as “A relaxed day full of love, laughter and lots of dancing!”

The couple made a few fun elements for their day, Bec made the invitations and a few small reception decorations, while Joel made a swing which was hung from the huge Morton Bay Fig tree.

One of Bec’s favourite moments was the photographs. “Getting our photos with the bridal party was full of laughs. Climbing over fences and jumping over streams reminded me of being a kid again.”

Bec’s bridesmaids wore floor length navy bridesmaids gowns from Natasha Millani. Joel and his groomsmen wore suits from Marcs.

The cake was made by Gerringong Bakery.

For the music of the day, Bec says, “A friend of ours was the DJ who played a selection of songs we put together, along with a lot of requests!”

Bec’s mum and bridesmaid made a personalised touch for the guests, Bec explains. “My Mum and one of my bridesmaid’s Mother put together wish bones, which Mum had been collecting since my sister and I were little girls. They were they painted silver with a ribbon tied around them and handed out to the guests during the speeches so they could make a wish on behalf of the bride and groom.”

Bec and Joel performed the bridal shuffle, much to their own amusement. Bec recalls “We had the best intentions to learn some basic dance moves for the day but didn’t quite get round to it. Instead we rolled out a few of the oldies that we’d practised in the lounge room over the years!”

Congratulations Bec and Joel! Thank you for sharing your wedding day with us today on Polka Dot Bride! Thank you also to John Benavente for sharing today’s photographs!

Photos by John Benavente

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Wedding Feng Shui By Laura Lau And Theodora Lau

by | Bride, Magazines and Books


I’ve always been fascinated by Feng Shui since my mother bought a book on it from those office book sales. I remember pouring over the book and spending ages figuring out the corners of our house and to this day I still cannot bring myself to give knives to anybody as a present!

So I was fascinated to receive Wedding Feng Shui by Laura Lau and Theodora Lau in the mail for review. Covering all aspects of how your Chinese sign will affect your wedding plans, the book kicks off with plenty of advice on incorporating feng shui into your wedding. There’s plenty of advice on how  you might incorporate feng shui into your wedding theme, your wedding location, even down to what issues your bridal party might have and gifts that they’ll love. The book  also covers a Chinese horoscope timeline which, if you’re wanting to incorporate traditional Chinese culture into your wedding  day can be incredibly helpful with generalised timelines.

The most valuable part of the book for me, was the breaking up of each sign starting off with seasons, flowers, colours and stone  and moving into the personality traits that each bride might have as that sign, giving tips as to how to mange the different wedding stresses each sign might react to and how to deal with vendors, family members, bridal parties and even each other.  The book also merges lunar and sun signs and how these have an impact on your relationship and your wedding plans.

The ‘tiger’ bride, for example, might have a show stopping gown and is fiercely loyal of the loves in her life. A passionate bride, she will celebrate her loves during her wedding, and she hates getting bogged down in details. The ‘horse’ bride,  will be drawn to a summer wedding and have a gown with high drama and glamour. Her traits include a strength in following her instincts but she may have trouble compromising and guests will enjoy a longer reception and perhaps a shorter ceremony. While the ‘rabbit’ bride  loves a gown of high quality and may be known as the “harmonizer bride”. She loves to surround herself with beautiful things  and will avoid conflict and rather seek out peaceful alternatives.

The uninitiated to Chinese culture are not left in the dark, the  book starts with a handy ‘how to’ guide and not only is it easy to find your sign, but the book also has suggested “lucky” wedding dates for the next two years. There’s even a glossary and set of worksheets so you can work out the sign of each of your bridal party and be aware of certain traits that may occur in their behaviors.

Wedding Feng Shui by Laura Lau and Theodora Lau is a fun read for anyone interested in incorporating Chinese culture into their wedding day and an interesting look at how Chinese horoscopes and signs cause people to react in different ways during the planning of a wedding – it’s a fun title to pick up and explore!

Wedding Feng Shui by Laura Lau and Theodora Lau is available at any good book store or online.

Amy and Jon’s Relaxed Abbotsford Convent Wedding

by | Australia - Victoria, Bride, Inspired Weddings,


Amy and Jon

I feel transported into the warm sunshine with the beautiful Melbourne wedding I have for you this afternoon.It’s relaxed, full of joy and full of beautiful blooms – a nice treat for a Tuesday afternoon!

Amy shares the story of how she met her husband. “We met at university doing some postgraduate study in law. The subjects were pretty dry, and our friendship developed around coffee breaks and group exercises. I was living interstate at the time, and when I moved back to Melbourne Jon asked me out. We felt so happy and at ease with each other, our relationship just seemed to take its own course.”

This afternoon’s photographs are by Louisa Bailey. I love Louisa’s mix of candids and classic shots – of details and atmosphere and the crisp clean colours she captures in every photograph.

Jon wore a suit from Joe Black The Tailor.

Friends and family were a highlight of Amy and Jon’s wedding day Amy recalls. “Most of the people involved in creating our wedding were family and friends. My girlfriend Sally owns a fantastic flower shop Pash, which did the flowers. My brother’s girlfriend Shelley Cox is a very talented graphic designer, and she did all the stationary and styling. And our friend Louisa was the photographer.” Amy wore a gown from ncln Collection and her bridesmaids wore gowns from Mr K.

Amy and Jon held their wedding at the Abbotsford Convent. They started with a ceremony in the beautiful gardens.  The tune to which Amy walked down the aisle was a heartfelt one, she recalls. “My uncle is a professional bagpipes player so he piped me down the aisle.”

Amy says “Our wedding was happy, relaxed and full of love.”

Amy recalls, “All of our close family and friends were there. We were particularly lucky to have our 4 month old baby, Hugo, in attendance.”

Amy says “The photos were taken around the beautiful gardens and historic grounds of the Abbotsford Convent. There are so many beautiful locations within the grounds that it was difficult selecting a few. We were also keen to join the party as soon as possible so we didn’t allocate much time for photos. The weather was magnificent, and the light filtered through the trees creating quite an ethereal feel.”

The couple held their reception in the Abbotsford Convent Rosina room following canapes and cocktails in the Rosina courtyard.

Speeches were filled with love and laughter, but the bride and groom skipped one tradition. ” We didn’t have a dance! Jon’s only request for our wedding was that there be no awkward first dance. We are both fairly uncoordinated and don’t like being the centre of attention, so it suited us both to sidestep that particular tradition.” Sergei Ercole kept guests entertained.

Congratulations Amy and Jon! Thank you for sharing your wedding day with us on Polka Dot Bride! Thank you also to by Louisa Bailey for sharing today’s photographs!

Photos by Louisa Bailey

Tara and Tim’s Perth Waterside Wedding

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


Tara and Tim

Don’t you love a wedding by the water? I must admit I think there is a serenity about marrying by something that is always so beautiful and today’s wedding? Well not only did they envelope the beauty, but they threw out tradition and did some beautiful things their way to celebrate their relationship! That I love!

Tara and Tim met years ago and Tara tells their story. “We  met in 1997 in Darwin. NT, when I was 17 and Tim was 19. We met through Tim’s sister Anna whom I was friends with. We finally married in early 2011 after 13 happy years together!”

Photography today is by Photography by Emma Pointon. I love Emma’s dreamy captures. They have a soft, soulful feel without taking away from the subjects and what’s going on in the photograph – they simply enhance it!

Tara and Tim threw out of lot of tradition on their wedding day and it all started with seeing each other before the ceremony. Tara says these were some of her favourite moments. ” I loved making it personal and individual, and doing what we wanted to be true to ourselves on the wedding day, and not feeling pressure to succumb to norms or traditions that didn’t suit us. For example, we walked together ‘down the aisle’,  had photos before the ceremony.”

Tara wore a gown from Bride’s Selection, Leederville. Her bridesmaids wore individually styled gowns from Studio Collections, Mt Lawley . The groom and his groomsmen wore suits from Roger David.

The photos before the ceremony were as much fun for the bridal party as they were for the almost newlyweds, Tara explains. “We wanted out wedding photographer to be able to capture the day without needing us to spend hours posing and we were keen to have pics that were candid, natural and truly reflective of the day.

When we met Emma and had a look at her work it was clear that this was her approach and she was going to suit us perfectly! On the day she was fantastic – friendly and approachable and was snapping away constantly, directing us discreetly and unobtrusively capturing many beautiful shots both in the photos taken with the bridal party before the ceremony, and during the ceremony. We decided to have the bulk of the photos of the bride, groom and bridal party taken before the ceremony, to allow us to get straight into the celebrations with all our guests right after ceremony, instead of keeping them hanging around for hours waiting for the reception. This suited us really well, and helped calm the bride and groom’s nerves as we were able to meet up and see each other before the formal ceremony and have a bit of fun with the bridal party getting the pics taken.”

The floral arrangements were styled by Paulik Flowers ((08) 9418 1651).

Tara and Tim were married at Green Place Reserve, Mosman Park. “We wanted a summer wedding and one of our main criteria for the ceremony/reception was somewhere outdoors and by the water! The spot where we had the ceremony – Green Place Reserve – on the river in Mosman Park is a secluded, quiet and beautiful little gem on the Swan River. It is peaceful and sheltered from traffic and passers-by (other than occasional people on boats, and dolphins and swans that regularly swim past!) so it feels very intimate, and is just perfect for such a special occasion. It feels like a bit of a secret garden, and the photos of it from the day are just beautiful.

Tim’s sister Anna and her boyfriend Danny are talented musicians, and they played a beautiful acoustic guitar version of a gorgeous and moving old Irish folk song called ‘O’Dowds’, which was significant as both Tara and Tim have Irish ancestry. Generations ago Tim’s surname was ‘O’Dowd’ but somewhere along the line the ‘O’ was dropped and is now just ‘Dowd’ but the connection remains.”

The couple had a different kind of walk down the aisle, Tara explains. “We had been together so long and it seemed silly to have my dad ‘give me away’ and we weren’t keen on such an old fashioned tradition – so instead the bride was led in by her 3 bridesmaids, and she then met the groom at the bottom of the steps, they paused to take it all in and then walked up the human aisle of friends and family together, and met the groomsmen and bridesmaids at the front with the celebrant.”

The celebrant Sandy Bayly helped the ceremony run smoothly. “Sandy Bayly our celebrant was great fun to work with, and we would recommend her to anyone. She did a marvelous job of running the ceremony, and of ensuring it was very personal and reflected us as a couple.”

Having family and friends involved as much as possible was important to Tara and Tim. “We are close to our families and were keen to involve all of our immediate family members in their own special and significant way on the day, and it was wonderful to be a little bit different and creative to allow this to happen. Tara had her 2 sisters as bridesmaids (along with a girlfriend); Tim had his brother as a groomsman (along with 2 best mates); Tim’s sister Sally was ring bearer; and his sister Anna played the music at the ceremony and while ‘walking down the aisle’; the fathers acted as witnesses and signed the wedding register; Tim’s dad was MC at the reception; Tara’s dad filmed it all; and really breaking with tradition the mothers gave the speeches at the reception.”

A bird theme ran throughout the reception. Tara remembers “Our close friend Edd Shepherd is a graphic designer and he created our gorgeous wedding invitations for us. Tim and I liked the idea of love birds, and this inspired the simple design on the invites, and the wedding cake toppers were beautiful little fabric handmade love birds made by Ashley Anna Brown in the USA, which I found online and ordered from her website in time for the wedding! The invites and cake toppers tied in sweetly with the bird cage wishing well.”

Tara and Tim held their reception at the Mosman Park Golf Club catered by Katrina Sykes Catering (0413 869 988.). Tara explains “We chose the Mosman Park Golf club as we wanted to be by the water and the views over the river from the club are spectacular. It was also nice and close to the ceremony venue which was important to us as we wanted it to all be as easy and hassle free for ourselves and everyone else as much as possible! We were also able to hire our own caterers this way, which was our preference as we wanted to have a lot of choice and say on what food was served. We went with a Moroccan flavoured theme/influence for our buffet meal.”

The personal decisions for the day extended to the sweet treats and decorations explains Tara. “The cake (made by Takes The Cake) was a little different – we both love carrot cake and so went with that instead of traditional fruit cake or done to death mud-cake – and it was so delicious and was devoured by the guests! We had the cake as dessert along with some great big cheese platters put together by the caterer, for a dessert a little different but still delicious. Our mothers set up the decorations and tables at the venue with some simple and elegant glass vases of white lisianthus flowers, with lots of tea lights and pillar candles throughout the venue.”

A friend of Tara and Tim’s acted as DJ for the reception with a fun first dance. Tara says “We wanted our first dance to be a fun and funky love song with a celebration feel to it, and we didn’t want to do a stuffy ‘waltz’ to anything. Instead we wanted to be able to dance more naturally together – so chose Al Green ‘Let’s Stay Together’, which had everyone else dancing before too long also!”

Congratulations Tara and Tim! Thank you for sharing your wedding day on Polka Dot Bride! Thank you also to by Photography by Emma Pointon for sharing today’s images!

Photos by Photography by Emma Pointon

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